This weekend, Kayla (my daughter) and I are going to see In the Heights here in Boston. We’ve already seen it in New York, but decided to take advantage of its local visit to see it again. How does my theater-going connect to admissions? Now that I’ve been writing the blog for a few years, I’m conscious of repeating myself. But then I remind myself that the audience is new, even if the information isn’t. I’m confident the actors in In the Heights won’t simply refer me to the previous night’s performance; similarly, I shouldn’t always point you back toward previous posts. Sometimes, I’ll just repeat the information. And this is one of those times, because tracking applications is an annual topic of interest.
Once you hit “submit” to send your application our way (and out of your control), you’ll probably wonder what’s happening. Here’s a rundown of the behind-the-scenes action, much of which takes place simultaneously:
1. You hit the online “submit” button. Your application will be “stamped” with the date and time, and will wait within the Embark system for your registered online recommenders to submit their letters. If all your recommenders have submitted their letters, or if you haven’t registered any online recommenders, the application will be ready for us immediately, and we’ll upload it into our internal program.
2. When your application (with online recommendations) is uploaded, you’ll receive an automatically generated email stating that we have received your application, and that you should wait ten business days before contacting the Admissions Office about any missing materials. This email also provides you with a username and password to access the Tufts Graduate Application Management System (GAMS). GAMS is the best way to track your application throughout the process. We’ll also be posting decision letters to your GAMS account, so hang on to your username and password!
3. Uploaded applications are printed in batches. Once we have the paper copy, we’ll create a file for you. (A big moment in the life of your application!)
4. Meanwhile, Admissions Office staffers cheerfully open a mountain of mail, which includes test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation from recommenders who weren’t registered online, writing samples, etc. We sort and file the mail. If the application hasn’t yet been uploaded, the paper materials will “wait” for it to emerge from the system.
5. Once we have your application in a file folder, we dig out the mail that has already been received for you and include it. Then we update your record in the admissions system to show what materials have come in by mail. You should track your application through GAMS, but we’ll also email you if there’s a document missing.
6. Your completed application is then given to Committee members to review, and you’ll receive your admission decision in late March.
If the details only cloud the picture, let me give you the bottom line: Receiving online materials is the easy part for us. Connecting applications with the materials that arrive by mail is what takes the time. It’s a surprisingly labor-intensive process. Be sure to stay on top of the status of your application, but try to give us a little time to pull everything together. We need to pass through about two weeks of controlled chaos before order is restored to our back office.
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