On-campus recruiting might be stressful, but the Wharton School is trying to make club recruiting less so.
Starting this year, the Wharton Council — the student body that supports Wharton clubs — is implementing new policies that restrict the ways in which clubs can recruit new members. The requirements, which only apply to clubs officially recognized by Wharton, came in response to consistent feedback from freshmen and transfer students that the club recruitment process was unexpectedly — and unnecessarily — stressful.
The Wharton Council’s club liaisons tried to balance club needs with the Council’s goals, as clubs were concerned that the new guidelines could restrict their ability to select members.
“This is a balancing act,” Wharton and Engineering senior Connor Swords said. Swords and fellow Wharton and College senior Erina Shan helped devise the new rules as the Council’s co-chairs. “In order to make this completely un-stressful for freshmen, we would have to disadvantage the clubs — we can’t allow every freshman to get into every club.”
The earliest application deadline for any Wharton club is Wednesday, Sept. 14 — two weeks after the beginning of term, allowing students to adjust to the academic year. The deadline was moved up after clubs complained that the three-week delay implemented last year caused some students to lose interest, decreasing applications.
The new policies also include measures designed to make the recruiting process more transparent and casual, often by banning requirements that older students may have carried over from their own interviewing experiences.
“The students who were doing the recruitment ... were students that had gone through on-campus recruitment, and so they knew certain questions that they were asked or what they were told to look for in a resume,” Wharton’s Director of Student Life Lee Kramer said. “I think they were setting the bar a little too high and expecting ... a freshman to be as polished as them.”
In designing the guidelines, the Council tried to focus on areas that added “low value” but “high stress,” such as requirements for a formal resume or brainteasers. They also tried to make the recruitment process seem less impersonal, following complaints that rejected students often received letters with vague phrases like “Dear Applicant.”
While initial feedback from clubs has been mostly positive, the co-chairs said, some have expressed concerns that the Council’s guidelines may make them less competitive.
“All of the clubs that are Wharton-recognized have to follow the [policy], while other clubs don’t have to,” Shan said. “So when it comes to clubs that are often very competitive, that really care about the numbers and the talent that they get, [they] find themselves competing against clubs that have earlier deadlines ... they feel like if they had access to those candidates earlier, they might get more talent.”
The Council is hoping to conduct more focus groups to get feedback on the new rules.
“There were some clubs that people thought were pretty straightforward,” said Wharton freshman Dylan Milligan. “But other kids that I talked to who applied to some more competitive clubs ... said that it was really stressful. And yeah, rejection stings.”
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