We’re approaching the midway point in this year’s admissions season, and it seems like a good time to run though the process with you.
As you know, application forms come into our office through the on-line system. For a few weeks, our back office was the site of piles of paper and mountains of mail. Today, though, all I see are boxes and boxes of files. Some applications haven’t yet been read, some have been read once, and others have been read twice. Roxana has been uploading new applications that arrived before our late deadline, and there are others that have been in the office for a while and are nearly complete but, well, not complete yet. We work with the applicants to complete them, which often means advising them to chase a missing transcript or set of test scores.
Once a file has been reviewed twice (usually by a student first, and a staff member second), it receives the appropriate amount of discussion by the full Admissions Committee, and then sits for a while in a new box. Its new box location depends on the final decision we believe is likely for that application. Over time, Laurie gives all the applications a last review, and notes the final decision. Along the way, if it seems necessary, one of us may read an application just one more time.
By the end of the first week in March, we will be done reviewing nearly every application. At that point, we do some clean up (making final decisions on a few stragglers), and turn our attention to scholarship awards. Then, it’s on to the final processing, including preparing decision letters and admissions packets. This is the point when we know applicants are on pins and needles waiting for us, but we won’t send out the decisions until we have made sure that everything is perfect. It’s a tense couple of weeks — we want you to receive your decisions as soon as possible, but errors just aren’t acceptable to us. So…we’ll all sweat it out a little.
Every day of the work week, at least one member of the staff is at home reading applications. The student members of the Admissions Committee rush in and out grabbing and returning files. Each week, we add a big pile of applications to the workload of the professors on our Committee. Everything is moving right along. When I look at what we need to do, I feel tempted to worry that we’ll never finish it. But I’ve been through this before and, somehow, it always gets done.