Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Early action activities in the office

We're all back from our travel -- here's the view out of my office window today:

In a few minutes the whole office will go downstairs and start opening mail. We will remove staples (even though we said do not staple, to err is human), flatten folds, and discard envelopes. Then, the mail will go to our scanners, which will scan it in. Each individual piece will be linked to the student's file (which is why it's completely okay to send your application in separate pieces, and for some pieces to arrive sooner than others). When a file becomes complete, it will be available for us to read electronically.

At the moment only four files are complete. Does this scare us? Not in the slightest. It takes weeks and weeks for us to receive and open every piece of mail. We usually aren't ready to start reading in the first week of November. So we just sit back and enjoy the foliage and the sunny weather.

We believe at this office that decisions should be made based on what an applicant says, not in how many words it takes him or her to say it (that's why we have no word limit on our essays.) We also believe that decisions should rest on the content of a file, not how long it takes to get here. The November 1 deadline should obviously be honored by each early action applicant, but no freaking out is necessary. If your application remains incomplete when we are well into the reading cycle, we will contact you.

That said, as of November 1, you will be able to log into the online application and check your credentials. However, I don't want anyone to panic when they see that a credential is not listed. Your credential could be in one of our many brimming mail bins. It could be in a stack waiting to be scanned. It could be in the electronic ether, waiting to be linked to your application. Once again, we will contact you if your application is in danger because something is not in our office. The credential checking feature is meant to reassure you, rather than to induce widespread panic.