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Thursday, November 05, 2015

About the SIS Application Status

I just got off the phone with a counselor from my territory who said he has a super nice family that is getting really worried about their student's status page. The counselor mailed the school credentials on the 29th and they thought that a week was enough time for the documents to get to us.

First of all, if you are at a school where counselors aren't allowed (ahem, my territory) or don't have the computer system to submit documents online, I can almost guarantee that it takes more than a week for a document to get to us. Just think about the chain of possession on that envelope.

1. Your High School
First, the counseling office prepares the required documents and probably sends them to the location where all the outgoing mail for your school is collected. Either the same day or the next day, the envelope leaves the building with the US Postal Service.

2. The Journey to Charlottesville
The US Postal Service has their own network of facilities that sort and distribute mail. We all know it is hard to predict how busy the distribution system will be. Eventually, the envelope will make it's way to Charlottesville, possibly after a stop in another city.

I don't have a picture of a mail truck. Pretend that is one. Beep beep!

3. The Journey to UVA
The US Postal Service delivers all mail for UVA to UVA's University Mail Services. Mail Services handles all of the mail for the University and the UVA Medical Center. This includes all the "messenger mail" that we send from one office to the next. Just because mail arrived at UVA doesn't mean we have it in our office.

University Mail Services sorts all the mail that comes in for UVA and then delivers it to each building. Once something arrives at Peabody Hall, our staff sorts it and distributes the items to the proper staff members.

Now, our staff members are pretty busy at this time of year. We have have a little over 16,000 Early Action applicants and each has a counselor and teacher sending us documents to support their application. Opening all that mail takes time and checking all those documents in takes even longer.

A long line of mail bins.

If your school sends items electronically, it still takes a few days for that information to make it into your file. The Common App doesn't send anything until YOU hit submit your application. After that, it will probably take a few days for us to get the documents downloaded from the Common App and then our staff has to match the newly-arrived item up with an application that is here. 

Bottom line: At this time, your SIS status is not a call to action. It is view into where we are with your file. There will be a point when we start contacting students about items that are missing, but that won't happen until December. Please do not rush into your counselor or teacher telling them they didn't send the documents correctly. In all likelihood, those items are either on the journey to us or are waiting to be checked in and linked to your application. I'll let you know when all submitted documents have been filed.