ISA application moves to LC common app

Helen Shen '23, Staff Writer

This school year, applications for International Student Ambassadors at Loomis Chaffee have become a part of the Community Work Program Common App.
International Student Ambassadors (ISAs) are “international students with leadership qualities who desire to promote an understanding of international cultures and viewpoints at Loomis,” according to the job description in the common app.
One major event the ISAs take part in is new student orientation for international students. Throughout the school year, they also host events in spreading cultural awareness and helping to improve the experiences of international students at Loomis.
Meanwhile, the CWP common app is a relatively new installment to the community. The idea of having a common app and streamlining most leadership applications came from Mr. Helfrich and Mr. Laforest a couple of years ago. However, Loomis did not start utilizing the common app until two years ago.
Lillian Corman, associate director at the Norton Center and faculty in charge of the Community Work Program Common App, revealed the reasons for creating a common app.
Previously, students would open respective links from different sources and fill in multiple long applications. It was extremely time-consuming and difficult for them. With the common app, however, students answer fewer numbers of questions in total when applying for leadership positions on-campus.
Additionally, another main purpose of the Common App was to ensure that students get a balanced workload instead of taking all the leadership positions they can possibly apply to.
“Maybe a student was applying for five positions, and then got all of them,” said Ms. Corman. “Then that student gets stretched thin. So, the intention of the common app is really so that faculty are getting together and sharing who’s on their team, and looking at students as a whole and saying, ‘how can we distribute the leadership so that kids aren’t stretched thin?’”
Dean of International Students Molly Pond agrees with the logic behind the common app. “We hope that if a student holds a leadership position in a certain area of school, they can dedicate themselves to that position and to that enterprise,” she said.
She believes that a lot of the time, students apply for too many leadership positions, not knowing how much work they are capable of taking on and thinking that the more roles they get, the more colleges will like them. She debunks this theory and encourages students to pursue the roles that they are truly interested in, instead of signing up for the job as an upperclassman and hoping to embellish their resume.
For this reason, rising seniors who were not previously ISAs will not be able to join the ISA program.
Lastly, Mrs. Pond explains that last year, the ISA program was not a part of the Common App mainly because many international students chose to study virtually instead of in person. Thus, with such a small number of international students on campus, it did not make much sense to make the move. Furthermore, it was also Mrs. Pond’s first year as Dean of International Students, so she didn’t want to implement too many changes at once.
“What we wanted to do was twofold: one was to help students to identify where they really want to invest their time and energy, but also give more students the opportunity to learn leadership,” concludes Mrs. Pond.