Peek a boo, I see you.

I have some bad news for the recent spate of “anonymous” phone callers to the Admissions Office: What with our being in the 21st century and all, we have caller ID. It’s sort of awkward for us when someone calls and says, “I don’t want to tell you who I am,” but we’re sitting there looking at a screen that, in fact, tells us who you are. On the one hand, saying “too late!” seems a little confrontational and snarky; on the other, playing along seems a little disingenuous. The solution? I’m putting it out there: we know who you are. If you want to be anonymous, you’re going to need to invest in call-blocking technology.

But let me discourage that. Almost nothing good comes from anonymity. It tempts people into being rude. Lots of evidence for that exists in heinous online commentary, a forum that combines anonymity with a sense of distance. But while you might think social norms would prevent people from being rude on the telephone, where you actually have a human responding in real time, it is apparently sufficient protection to send some people off the rails.

I seriously doubt that making an anonymous call and being mean to our receptionist does much to eliminate the frustration that seems endemic to the admissions process (try as we may to eliminate various sources). Getting your questions answered, on the other hand, might eliminate the frustration. Starting the conversation anonymously, though, is likely to make you more quick to abandon the effort to keep your cool, which is foundational for productive communication. We’re actually pretty eager on our end to have you hang up feeling satisfied, so give us a try. Could be a win-win.

-Dean Z. Assistant Dean and Director of Admissions