The records of the Office of Admissions (1888, 1902-2000), including annual reports, minutes, correspondence, student applications, statistical tables, consultants' reports, and printed materials, document the office's administrative, recruitment, research, and marketing activities over six decades. Minutes of the Committee on Admissions, 1907-28, are housed with the records of the Office of the Secretary. The collection is divided into six series alphabetically arranged: I. Administrative Files of the Office of Admissions; II. Committee Files; III. Public Relations Files; IV. Recruitment Activities; V. Student Applications, College of Arts and Sciences; and VI. Student Applications, Conservatory of Music. Within series, materials are typically arranged in either alphabetical or chronological order.
Of the administrative files of Series I, the annual reports from the Admissions Office to the College President (1928-84), together with a group of statistical reports and admissions studies, provide a thorough and consecutive account of admissions policies and procedures at Oberlin. The annual reports, which contain Secretary George M. Jones' final report as Director of Admissions (1928/29), review the director's recruitment efforts for the preceding year, including travel, attendance at national college fairs, entertainment of prospective students on campus, and arrangements for publicity. Carl Bewig's annual reports to the General Faculty (1974-79, 1984) examine significant enrollment trends, such as declines in the applicant yield rate or shifts in intended majors, and offer explanations for them. The reports of David Davis-Van Atta (1980-87) of the Oberlin Office of Institutional Research, prepared for the Admissions Office, analyze various admissions trends, such as male/female differences in the enrollment decision, and provide projections for conservatory and college admissions. Statistical studies on admissions at Oberlin exist for the College of Arts and Sciences from 1928 to 1986 with gaps for the years 1958-63, 1967-71, and 1974-79. Conservatory of Music statistical studies exist for the years 1928-62 and 1965-67; they are filed in Series IV, Recruitment Activities, together with other materials related to Conservatory recruitment.
Equal in importance to the annual reports are the minutes of the Faculty Committee on Admissions (1929-), housed in Series II, Committee Files. (Minutes for the years 1907-28 are housed with the records of the Office of the Secretary). These minutes record the role of the general faculty in shaping admissions and enrollment policy and include discussion of such topics as scholarship plans and financing, student searches, selective mailings to prospective majors, new publications and slide-shows, the impact of financial aid on enrollment decision, minority recruitment, and staff changes at the Office of Admissions.
Series IV, Recruitment Activities, includes records relating to work carried out by Admissions Office staff in order to attract high school students to apply to Oberlin College. Files include staff memos outlining travel plans for admissions counselors, instructional memos relating to interviewing and travel scheduling, and calendars showing counselors' itineraries. Counselor visit files (1978-85) include thank you letters from high school guidance counselors participating in the Five Ohio College Tour (1981). Recruitment efforts directed at special constituencies are well documented by correspondence, memoranda, and committee reports. Of particular significance are the files of the Committee to Review Minority Recruitment (1976-78, 1981). Also housed here are files of the College Board Student Search Service (1975-87), which include Oberlin's applications to the service for names of prospective applicants; form letters to be sent to identified students; and official publications from the College Board describing its search services.
Files documenting Oberlin's efforts to design and market an institutional image attractive to its applicant pool are contained in Series III, Public Relations Files. Consultants' reports (1975, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982) assess the effectiveness of college publications, analyze the results of student surveys, and evaluate Oberlin's marketing strategies. Promotional materials include the texts of audio-visual presentations for the high schools and multiple edited copies of "Oberlin College Prospectus," (1984-85) produced by the North Charles Street Design Organization of Baltimore. Also filed here are college publications produced by the Office of Admissions, including a brochure, "Profile of the Oberlin College Class of 1970." This item was printed but never mailed, as President Robert K. Carr objected to the article it contains by Kiyoshi Ikeda, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Oberlin.
Series V and VI contain application materials (1902-56) from students applying to Oberlin's two divisions: the College of Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory of Music. Often accompanied by letters from parents and teachers, these applications provide a record of the academic and character standards to which Oberlin held its freshmen applicants during the first fifty years of this century.
* See also 1997/33, Various publications produced by the College, including video productions, brochures, course catalog, admissions applications, and others; and, 1998/067, Publications of Oberlin College, used for recruiting students or incoming fresh persons or new students. Includes a copy of the Course Catalog, 1998-99; a copy of a booklet of facts about Oberlin College and a blank form used for requesting information; a copy of the packet given to incoming fresh persons for the class of 2002 (i.e. phone card, T-shirt, schedules of events on campus 1998, and a copy of Around the Square, April 1998); and, a copy of "Stepping Stone," a newsletter for parents of high school seniors (Spring 1998).
Series I. Administrative Files of the Office of Admissions, 1928-2000 (6.8 l.f.)*
Series includes files documenting the operation of the office charged with student recruitment and admissions. Included are annual reports to the College President (1928-41, 1964-68, 1977-84); to the General Faculty (1974-79, 1984); and reports of the admissions staff (1980-85) to Carl Bewig, the Director of Admissions. Other administrative records include budget sheets, incoming correspondence from students, inter-office memoranda, staff meeting minutes, and statistical reports on admissions and enrollment. Subject files include materials used by the Admissions Office for reference purposes, such as the 1974 Buckley Amendment guidelines; also filed here are records of the Carnegie Building renovation. Files are arranged alphabetically by type of material.
*Admissions and Financial Aid Reports to the Trustees are restricted for two years. These reports are from the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid.
Series II. Committee Files, 1929-86 (1.65 l.f.)
Contains minutes, memos, and accompanying documentation created by committees concerned to review or further the admissions process. Of particular significance are the files of the Faculty Committee on Admissions and Relations with Secondary Schools, which date from 1967 to 1986. Minutes of the full Admissions Committee date from 1928. Files are arranged alphabetically by committee name.
Series III. Public Relations Files, 1888, 1932-51, 1966-86, 1990s (2.45 l.f.)
Contains reports prepared by consulting firms contracted by Oberlin College to assess the effectiveness of Oberlin's marketing strategies. Included are the texts of audio-visual presentations, corrected drafts of catalogs prepared by the North Charles Street Design Organization of Baltimore, and related correspondence. Files are arranged alphabetically by type of material.
Series IV. Recruitment Activities, 1928-87 (4.55 l.f.)
Records document the efforts of admissions counselors and staff to recruit applicants to Oberlin College and its Conservatory of Music. Files include correspondence and reports relating to Conservatory, minority, and international student recruitment, counselor visits to out-of-state preparatory schools and Ohio high schools, as well as records of the College Board Student Search Service. Files are arranged alphabetically by subject.
Series V. Student Applications, College of Arts and Sciences, 1902-48 (72 l.f.)
Each "entrance certificate" includes biographical data on the applicant and is accompanied by forms filled out by high school teachers indicating both academic achievement (courses taken and grades received) and individual character traits. Other supporting documents include photographs and letters of explanation or recommendation. Files are arranged alphabetically by applicant name.
Series VI. Student Applications, Conservatory of Music, 1905-56 (36 l.f.)
Applications are filed chronologically in two series as they were received by the archives, c. 1905-43 and c. 1925-56; thereunder, files are alphabetically arranged by student name. The first series of applications normally includes a photo and personal account written by the applicant. The 1905-43 series contains these features only occasionally. Files include cancels and rejected applicants.