Currently viewing the tag: "GAMS"

It’s Day One after the main application deadline: the printer is whirring and the files are forming.  As an annual service to our applicants and the Admissions staffers who would otherwise answer applicants’ questions, this post gives you the information you need to remain patient for a few days while we compile and process your application.  Please read it, and then, at the risk of sounding harsh, do not contact us for a few days.  Right now, it’s a challenge to put our hands on any particular application, but hearing that over the phone about your own materials is unnecessarily alarming.  Hold tight, and when you start to worry anew about whether you’ve done everything you need to, reread this blog post.  Meanwhile, here’s the rundown of what has happened since you submitted your application, whether you followed my advice and applied early or waited until 11:59 EST last night.

1.  Once you hit the online “submit” button, your application was “stamped” with the date and time.  The electronic application then waits within the Embark system for your registered online recommenders to do their work.  If all your recommenders have already 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.  (If your recommenders haven’t done their part, it’s your responsibility to remind them that the deadline has passed.)

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.  The email also provides you with a username and password to access the Tufts Graduate Application Management System (GAMS).  GAMS will be the best way to track your application.  We’ll also be posting decision letters to your GAMS account, so hang on to your username and password!  Remember that we don’t receive your application (and you don’t receive the email) if the application is stuck in Embark, waiting for recommendations.  And emailing a member of the Admissions staff will generally give you only the information you can access yourself through GAMS.  (After a few weeks, there’s more that we can do to help track materials down.)

3.   Uploaded applications are printed in batches.  Once we have the paper copy, we’ll create a file folder for you, giving you a tangible presence in the Admissions Office.

4.  Meanwhile, Admissions Office staffers will open the daily piles of envelopes holding test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation from recommenders who weren’t registered online, 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 manually 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. This is the ten-day process I referred to in point 2 above.  If you’re not patient, GAMS will alarm you by indicating we haven’t received anything at all.  Until we manually process your application materials, the information in GAMS is not complete.  Keep on top of things, but remember that the registering of your materials won’t happen immediately.

6.  Your completed application is then given to Committee members to review, and you’ll receive your admission decision in late March.

Though the post-submit process hasn’t really changed for applicants or for the Admissions Office, we’re hoping that everything will come together more quickly than in the past, because we’ll be waiting for fewer transcripts.  In another few weeks, we’ll know what the impact of this year’s tweaks to our process will be.

The bottom line:  Make sure you monitor your application, but give us a little time to pull everything together.  In only about two weeks, everyone who has submitted all the materials needed for an application should find accurate and reassuring information on GAMS.

Tagged with:
 

This was my weekend for remembering that the Boston area can have a small-town feel. Everywhere I went, I ran into people:  on Saturday at the winter farmers’ market (one of two in Somerville and Cambridge) and, later, at the movies; on Sunday, when we went to see Red at the SpeakEasy Stage Company and then at dinner, when we met Anne, one of last year’s Januarians, and her family.  But funniest was bumping into both Laurie and Kristen at the mall yesterday, when we were all taking care of a few shopping errands.

Now we’re back to work and compiling applications is the theme of the day.  We’re fortunate to have had a crack team of student interns working through the break, with the satisfying result that we’re up to date on processing mail (until a big bag of envelopes arrives later today).  But just printing the applications that were ready on Sunday took two hours, and we know it will be days before all the materials in the office (the applications and their corresponding transcripts, etc.) will be united in a folder.

But being realistic, I know you’re primarily concerned with the progress your own materials are making.  So here’s a summary of how everything happens.  Note that many of these steps (some done by machine and others by humans) are taking place simultaneously:

1.  You hit the online “submit” button.  Your application was “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 already 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.  (If your recommenders haven’t done their part, it’s your responsibility to remind them that the deadline has passed.)

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.  (Note that this means that you don’t receive the email if the application is still waiting for recommendations.)  The 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 folder for you.  (A big moment in the life of your application!)

4.  Meanwhile, Admissions Office staffers will risk paper cuts and worse while they open an endless stream of envelopes holding test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation from recommenders who weren’t registered online, 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 manually 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.  Emailing a member of the Admissions staff will, at this point in the process, give you only the information you can access yourself through GAMS.  And I want to stress here that the aforementioned ten business days are the period during which the humans will be entering information into GAMS.  Keep on top of things, but remember that the registering of your materials won’t happen immediately.

6.  Your completed application is then given to Committee members to review, and you’ll receive your admission decision in late March.

The bottom line:  Pressing submit is the easy part for you, and receiving online materials is the easy part for us.  The challenge is that most applicants submitted their applications during this past weekend, and it will take us a couple of weeks of mad scrambling to clear the instant backlog and create a thousand-plus application files.

Be sure to stay on top of the status of your application, but try to give us a little time to pull everything together.  By early February (only two weeks away, though we know it can feel like forever), everyone who has submitted all the materials needed for an application should find accurate and reassuring information on GAMS.

Tagged with:
 

I’m still having trouble believing that October is over, so imagine my surprise that the first application deadline for September 2012 admission is tomorrow!  Our newly selected student members of the Admissions Committee are already busy reading files, grabbing two last week and two today — a pace that will soon be unsustainably (laughably) slow.  (I think they know that, but we’re glad to allow them to breathe for a few days more.)  Time for me to get going, too!

For the majority of you who have not yet submitted your EN application, it’s not too late to avoid running up against the precise deadline of Tuesday, November 15, 11:59 p.m. EST (GMT -5).  Submit your application today, and you can pat yourself on the head that you were early.  Note that the piece that must arrive by the deadline is your online application.  It’s preferred that your recommendations, transcripts, and test scores arrive by tomorrow, too, but please don’t hold your application simply because your professor hasn’t zapped through a letter.

Once you’ve submitted your part of the total file, you can monitor our work through the Graduate Application Management System (find details here).  Fortunately for you ENers, we’ll receive a very manageable number of applications tomorrow, and we can compile files much more quickly than in January.  In fact, the whole turnaround for the EN process is super rapid.  You’ll hear from us well before the end of December (exact date still TBD).

Finally, the decision options for Early Notification fall in three groups.  We may choose to admit applicants (occasionally with a condition, such as additional foreign language study); to defer the decision to the spring, when we’ll look at the application in the context of the larger pile; or to deny.  Last year was the first year we denied some applicants and, while I appreciate how disappointing this is, we believe it’s better for the applicant to have clear information that can be used in deciding which other schools to apply to in January.

Tagged with:
 

My email inbox seems to receive a message a day with the same question:  When will admissions decisions be released?  The answer is, as noted above:  Before the end of March.  Out in the real world, it’s not too far off.  In our Office of Admissions alternate universe, decisions are still ages away.

But that doesn’t mean it’s too early to ensure you’ll be able to find your decision whenever it’s ready.  Now is a great time to check that you’re able to log on to the Graduate Admissions Management System. Perhaps you’re already checking GAMS so often that the idea of being unable to log on is alien to you.  That’s good — your job is done.

But if there’s a possibility that you’re among the applicants who have lost the login instructions, please take care of it.  Back when your application was first complete, you received an email with the details.  If this rings only the faintest of bells, look for that original email, because you’ll need to log in to access your admission decision.

Every spring we receive calls from people complaining that they haven’t received a decision.  In fact, the decision is there for them to see, but they can’t access it because they don’t know how to log in.

So check your email inbox and find that message.  (It would have reached you when your application was uploaded, complete with all online recommendations — not the day you first submitted it.)  If you can’t find it, go back to the Application Management System site, where you can click “Don’t know your username and password.”  You’ll soon be in business.  Spread the word!

Tagged with:
 

Blog readers may be wondering how the application processing is going.  And the answer is FANTASTIC!  I’ve already noted that having Kartik, Lauren, and Caitlin in the office during the break was a gift, and we were in unbelievably good shape when the paper started to attack.  Since Tuesday, we’ve been closing the office in the morning to minimize disruptions, and we’ve all alternated application processing with the other stuff for which we’re responsible.

At this point, broadly speaking, applications can be found in several different places:
1.  Stuck in “the system” waiting for recommendations to be submitted.
2.  On a table, waiting to be put in a file folder.
3.  In a folder, waiting to be paired with transcripts and other materials we have already received by mail.
4.  In a box, waiting for transcripts (or whatever) to arrive by mail.
5.  In a different box, waiting for a student to read them.
6.  In yet another box, waiting for a member of the Admissions Staff to read them.
7.  On someone’s desk, waiting for final Committee discussion or processing.

We start reviewing applications as soon as they’re complete.  The student members of the Committee on Admissions are all back in town now, and they have reading targets to meet.  After they do their work, the Admissions staff can get started on serious reading — no more grabbing the occasional handful.

There are a few hundred files that we just formed today, and we’ll be updating each applicant’s information in the Graduate Application Management System.  Until that batch was printed, we were up-to-date on all the updating.  In other words, applicants whose materials have all arrived will be seeing reassuring information in a timely way on the Graduate Application Management System.  Applicants whose recommendations or transcripts (or whatever) are lagging behind the application should continue to be patient.

Tagged with:
 

Lots of snow all around, but we’re more-or-less back in business.  Even without having missed a day of work yesterday, we are SOOOOO LUCKY this week to have our super student interns, Caitlin, Kartik, and Lauren, sacrificing their vacation time to help us out.  They’ve been keeping the mail mountains to molehills, updating applications in the online system, and generally serving as the barricade separating us from nuttiness.  But, with the application deadline coming on Saturday, we’re getting ready for chaos (of the controlled variety, we hope) next week.

Meanwhile, it seems that, for some applicants, completing the application is the easy part.  The real stress comes during the post-submit information void — that stretch of time between hitting the submit button and learning that the application is complete.  (It’s worth noting that the chaos and the duration of the void are intricately linked.)  To try to ease some concerns, here is the blog’s annual rundown of what’s happening after you submit the application.  Note that many of these steps are (thanks to the wonders of technology and human effort) taking 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 already 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.  The 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 folder for you.  (A big moment in the life of your application!)

4.  Meanwhile, Admissions Office staffers will risk paper cuts and worse while they open an endless stream of envelopes holding test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation from recommenders who weren’t registered online, 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.  Emailing a member of the Admissions staff will, at this point in the process, give you only the information you can access yourself through GAMS.

6.  Your completed application is then given to Committee members to review, and you’ll receive your admission decision in late March.

The bottom line:  Pressing submit is the easy part for you, and receiving online materials is the easy part for us.  The challenge is that most applicants will submit their applications within 48 hours of the deadline, and it will take us a couple of weeks of mad scrambling to clear the instant backlog and create a thousand-plus application files.

Be sure to stay on top of the status of your application, but try to give us a little time to pull everything together.  By early February (only two weeks away, though we know it can feel like forever), everyone who has submitted all the materials needed for an application should find accurate and reassuring information on GAMS.

Tagged with:
 

I bet you’re wondering about my weekend activities.  Yesterday was beautiful outside — I did five minutes of gardening, took a long walk, baked a loaf of bread — but I suspect it’s my Saturday in a windowless office that interests you more.

We accomplished a lot here on Saturday, completing a big files-all-over-the-place task that’s much harder to do when the office is open for business.  Let me give you a sense of where everything is:  Nearly all (let’s call it 90%) of the decisions to admit or deny are set.  Most of the scholarship decisions for admitted applicants have also been made, though we continue to tinker and make sure we don’t go over-budget.  At around this time, it always seems like there’s a lot to wrap up, but experience says that we’ll move quickly through the to-do list.

Meanwhile, we feel the heat as our (friendly) competitors release their decisions.  But our competitive juices are balanced by our need to get everything just right.

Here’s a bit of info I should have shared earlier:  Once we have the decisions posted, we’ll send you an email telling you to check your account in the Graduate Application Management System.  I encourage you to confirm you’re able to log in, but you don’t need to check your account by the hour.  A related key point is that you should be sure you’re receiving our emails.  If you have any doubt, scrounge around your spam folder for past messages, and make sure that Fletcher Admissions is an approved email sender.  Once you receive the email prompting you to check the system, you can log in and find the decision letter.  Students who are admitted will also receive a packet by mail in the coming weeks.

And one last note.  In some years, there’s a small bunch of straggler decisions.  The applications may have been here since January (though many arrived for MIB and LLM on March 1), but for whatever reasons a decision isn’t in place.  We face the challenge of deciding whether to hold all decisions, so that all applicants hear at the same time, or release everything that’s ready, which will leave a few people wondering.  This year, we’re going to go with option #2.  When decisions finally go out, all the MALD and MA applicants should hear at once.  Most MIB, LLM, and PhD applicants will also hear at that time.  A few decisions will be posted within about a 10-day window after the first big batch.  I’m sorry that it’s going to turn out that way this year, but that’s what it looks like.

I had planned to provide information about decisions today, but I’ll hold off just one more day and get to it tomorrow.

Tagged with:
 

Every winter, there’s a day when I realize that the next few weeks will be filled with work, and not much else besides work.  Now’s that time!  Not that we don’t generally work hard on applicants’ behalf, but the final phase of the process is the most intense.

In coming days/weeks, the Admissions Committees will be wrapping up their review, though there are still applications circulating around the office, being read for the first, second, or (sometimes) third time.  Files are sitting in tall piles, waiting for someone to enter a decision in the system.  Committee discussions will start soon on scholarship assistance.  So we’re running the last lap of the process, though that last lap can be among the most challenging.

While you’re waiting for us, there’s one important task for you to take care of:  make sure you’re able to log on to the Graduate Admissions Management System.  (I realize that people who are checking the blog regularly are among our applicants with the strongest grasp of IT systems, but I’m going to make the point anyway.)  Back when your application was first complete, you received an email with the information you would need to log on, and you may have checked your record already (perhaps a dozen times, even).  If you haven’t logged on yet, look for that original email, because you’ll need to log on to access your decision.

Every spring we receive calls from people complaining that they haven’t received a decision.  In fact, the decision is there for them to see, but they can’t access it because they’ve lost the login information.

So check your email inbox and find that message.  (It would have reached you when your application was uploaded, complete with all online recommendations — not the day you first submitted it.)  If you can’t find it, go back to the Application Management System site, where you can click “Don’t know your username and password.”  You’ll soon be in business.  Spread the word!

Tagged with:
 

Spam prevention powered by Akismet