Peabody is the building, Jack is the dog, and I'm Dean J (she/her, btw).

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Preparing yourself for your admission decision

This evening, most early decision applicants will log into their online application accounts and see a short message revealing their admission status. Please don't hammer the site at 6 PM or even 6:15 PM. I will be changing the settings on the system at 6:30 PM on the nose and they will go into effect within about 30 seconds. Consult if you feel the need to sych your clock.

Some of you will see a congratulatory note and not think a lot about the Office of Admission again. Others will see another message and probably think a lot of things about the Office of Admission.

Deferral, obviously, puts a student in a holding pattern of sorts. We understand that it's frustrating. But, I hope you can also see deferral and an opportunity to improve your application. If you get the defer letter, you have some follow up to do. Send us updated grades as soon as they're available. If a teacher wrote a great rec for a different school, sent that along, too. If something happened in your life that you're really proud of, tell us about it.

I think our acceptance rate for deferred students is low because so many fail to give us new information. When I open the folder of a deferred student in February or March, if there's nothing new to go on, I don't have any reason to push for an offer to be made.

Now, if you're going to call the Office of Admission on Monday, here are a few tips:

1. Don't have mom or dad call for you. We're much more impressed by a student who shows initiative and interest in their application than by one who lets their parents do the talking for them. Even the busiest student can carve out five minutes during lunch or after school to talk with us (we're open until 5 PM).

2. Know why you're calling. Many people call us to rant and have no real questions to ask. We'll sit here and patiently listen, but we'll also think about the students we could be talking to; those who actually have questions for us. So, before you pick up the phone, think about the goal of your call. Do you want to get tips on strengthening your other applications? Are you calling to see what else needs to be done? Write down concrete, specific questions. "How would you rate my program strength?" is specific.

3. Refresh our memory. Sometimes I'll take a call from someone I've met, but don't remember. We meet thousands of students in our travels and while we try to remember them all, it's not always possible. Remind us of where we met and if we had a conversation, what we talked about.

4. Be realistic. We received 2,311 early decision applications last year and we made about 950 offers. The vast majority of students were deferred, primarily because at the time of our review, we could only see information pertaining to freshman through junior year. In many cases, we want to see more information before making a decision.

In addition, while we try to analyze school profiles and use our personal knowledge during our review, we can't possibly know everything that's going on at every high school. If you don't have a top program because of scheduling conflicts, you have to tell us about it. Also, it's very rare that we know that your Physics teacher is the hardest teacher in your school and that your B in class is miraculous.

Hang in there just a few more hours.