Interview with HDS Admissions Staff Assistant, John Rzasa

Post by John Rzasa, Admissions Staff Assistant 

Editor’s Note: Meet John, the HDS Admissions Staff Assistant! When prospective students email, John is the staff member who responds to your questions. In this article, we asked him a few questions so that you all could get to know him! 

Photo Courtesy of John Rzasa

Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you want the HDS community & prospective students to know about you? 

My name is John Rzasa, and I am the Staff Assistant for the HDS Admissions Office.  I have been in the role for a year and a half at this point, and previously worked at the Harvard Law School (HLS) for just over four years.  Outside of work, I enjoy writing, watching ‘B’ movies (or lower, all the way down to ‘Z’), and cats. 

What attracted you to working at the Divinity School? 

While working at HLS, I had the opportunity to work alongside students from the Divinity School.  Their poise, magnanimity, and overall friendliness made me very curious about HDS both in terms of culture and as a possible career destination.  When I became aware of the opening in Admissions, I took the opportunity to apply, and found that those students were excellent representatives.    

What’s your favorite thing about the HDS community? 

From a staff perspective, HDS has a wonderfully warm and welcoming community of professionals who are dedicated to HDS’ mission.  In both my personal and professional experiences, I’ve found this to be true of the student body as well. 

What is your favorite part of working in the HDS Admissions Office?   

My favorite thing in general is interacting with prospective students, even if only through email conversations.  I enjoy being able to answer questions and provide resources to help make the application process more approachable.  

As a California native, what advice do you have for prospective students from places warmer than Boston? 

I’m kind of cheating here, as I was born in Connecticut and sort of remembered what I was getting into.  What I didn’t fully account for was ice.  I do a lot of walking as part of my commute, so my advice is to go slow, and pay attention to the condition of sidewalks!  Otherwise, summer humidity is my bane, and I have no useful advice on how to handle it. 

What’s your admissions philosophy? Why is this work important? 

Admissions is hugely important work.  Our office is often the first point of contact for prospective students, so it’s essential to be precise, thorough, and open in those interactions, so prospective students have the answers and resources needed to create their best application.     

What advice do you have for prospective students? 

Ask questions!  The application process has a lot of components and moving parts, and getting all those parts aligned can be stressful.  There are no ‘bad’ questions, so please do not hesitate to email if you are uncertain about anything! 

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