When I left yesterday, following a late afternoon PhD Admissions Committee meeting that Laurie and I attended, Roxana and Peter were still toiling away at their desks. Laurie had moved on to an early-evening MIB Admissions Committee meeting with Kristen.
I said earlier this week, only partly accurately, that all decisions had been made. I was looking at the piles of green folders that we use for MALD applicants, with some blue (MA) folders mixed in, forgetting that MIB, PhD, and LLM committees still had some admitting to do.
A reasonable person might ask us why we don’t simply release decisions as we have them, at least in blocks. In fact, we have done a little of that. There are the Early Notification applicants, who heard from us in December. And there are a few dozen people who heard from us in February — their applications were complete, had been read twice, and were strong, so why not share some good news. But even the ENs and the “Febs” are waiting for us to release scholarship information, as are students who deferred their enrollment from last September, and those who were admitted last spring for Fall ’09 entry.
Though each of us fills the day with a variety of tasks, the overall focus of the Office right now is all the data entry, letter production, letter proofreading, and packet compilation that leads up to release of decisions (both online and by mail). That communal focus helps us get the job done without errors. Once we release decisions, our communal focus turns in another direction: providing the information that will help newly-admitted prospective students to make their plans. Almost as soon as the decisions go out, we start receiving requests for deferrals, for housing information, for details on the wait list, and also for feedback on unsuccessful applications. (In fact, we are already handling deferral requests from the ENs and Feb admits.) Minimizing errors requires careful attention, and trying to support applicants/students while also preparing decisions is not a recipe for success.
One last thing I’ll point out is that this is a small office, dealing with a LOT of paper. We don’t rely on students for this final phase of our work. (Among other reasons — Fletcher students will be on their spring break vacation next week and many have exams this week.) So we’ll keep at it. As I wrote in answer to a comment yesterday, I’m sure that all decisions will be out by next Wednesday. I hope everyone will have decisions on Monday, but I’m not ready to promise yet. Thanks to all of you for your patience!
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