With the deadline coming on a Friday this year, I thought it would be helpful to tell you what to expect after you submit an application, even if you haven’t yet submitted yours. As I wrote earlier this week, we’ve been keeping up with the applications that were submitted ahead of the deadline, and the printer is churning out the ones that arrived overnight. We’ll keep going until 5:00 p.m., but any further compiling of applications will wait until Monday.
In other words, we won’t be updating applications over the weekend. But even when we’re back in the office on Monday, we need to ask you to remain patient for a few days while we compile and process your application.
By “patient,” I mean: Please don’t contact us on Monday to ask about an application that was submitted today! Everything will come together very soon, so 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 happens when an application is submitted, whether you followed my advice and applied early or will wait until 11:59 EST tonight.
1. Once you hit the online “submit” button, your application is “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 contacting 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 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.
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. So long as you submitted the application by the deadline, you can relax for a few days while we do our work.