Friday, December 29, 2006

Rearranging deadlines

We've just heard that post offices will be closed on January 2 in honor of deceased president Gerald Ford. Therefore, the postmark deadline for application materials is now January 3.

Online application should still be submitted on January 2. The post office being closed does not change that.

If you want to read more about exactly when you can submit your online application, click here.

A little note about the earthquake and damaged undersea internet cables office of coast of Asia:

Apparently it could take up to two weeks for internet and phone services to return. Obviously we don't expect anyone to be able to read this blog or be able to communicate readily with us, but rest assured that we will read your application when it gets here. Many students have already contacted us and are making plans to send us paper copies of their applications.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

What does my decision mean?

I was deferred. Is that a lot like being denied?

Not at all. Being deferred is our way of saying that we need more information, both about you and about the regular notification pool, before we can make a final decision.

How many deferred applicants are accepted for regular notification?

In recent years, between 18 and 27 percent of deferred candidates were offered admission. We have no way of telling what this year's new applicant pool will bring.

I was deferred, and I think that an interview with an alum would really help me out. How can I have one at this point?

We are offering alumni interviews only to early action candidates who were deferred and who requested an alumni interview before the October deadline and did not get to have one. Students who did not previously request an alumni interview cannot have one now--we just have too many interview requests for this to be possible. To inquire about an alumni interview for the regular notification round, email your admissions counselor.

My deferral letter said to update our files with new information. How can I do that?

The most common and convenient thing is to include any new information--including grades, classes added or dropped, or awards--in the midyear report, which will be available online in late January. If you have new writing samples or significant letters of recommendation, mail them to the office.

I was denied. Can I apply again for the regular notification cycle?

If you were denied, then you cannot apply again this year.

I want to know why I got the decision I got. Can someone in the office tell me that?

It is our general policy not to discuss admissions decisions with applicants or their parents. Our decisions are made during a careful reading of the entire contents of your application by three or more members of our committee.

Hello! I haven't gotten my decision yet!

If you haven't yet received an email or anything in the mail (we mailed last Friday), please email your full name and hometown to (me!) so that we can re-send your letter.

I was admitted. Do I have to do anything else?

All candidates, even if they were admitted early, must submit the midyear report in late January. We will email everyone about how this is done. Students who matriculate must also submit a final grade report by July 1.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A message from the dean

Here is an update from the dean:

I’d like to take a moment to explain the ways we distributed Early Action decisions.

At 4:00 pm on Friday, December 15th, all domestic admissions decisions were metered first class mail and delivered by courier to a post office downtown. From there they began their journey to your homes around the country. International applicants were sent decisions by UPS courier and the first of those packets should begin arriving Wednesday, December 20th.

These letters are your official admissions decisions.

However, as a courtesy to applicants, email notifications of all decisions were sent at 5:00 pm on Monday, December 18th. For some reason, a very few email decisions were not received. We will not resend email notifications, nor will admissions decisions be given over the phone, in order to protect the confidentiality of these decisions.

We understand your anxiety if you have not received your decision letter. Please be patient as the US Postal Service does its work during this busy time of the year. If you have not received your official letter by Thursday, December 21st at 5pm, please call our office on either Friday, December 22nd or Tuesday, December 26th. At that point we can work to resend admissions decisions by mail.

Ted O’Neill
Dean of Admissions

Monday, December 18, 2006

A wise person once said

Wow, I leave my computer for 4 hours to go downtown to a sneak of We Are Marshall and the blog explodes (by the way, the movie was Velveeta cheesy, in a really bad offense to the kind souls from Huntington, West Virginia).

For those of you who received good news earlier (by post or by email), congratulations.

For those of you that did not receive the decision you had hoped for, I know it is hard to swallow (believe me, I've been there for deny letters...more than a few). However, at times like these I'm reminded of wisdom spoken by two people who have done this much longer than I. Firstly, in selective college admissions, the vast, vast majority of students can do competent work and succeed academically at the institutions at which they apply. It's not simply about the GPA, the rank or the test scores. Following from this, as a sage person once stated, "College admissions is a game not to be won, but instead a match to be made". Please keep this in mind as you proceed through the college search. Though you may not find a home at Chicago, realize that you will do great things and find a home some place amazing.

Finally, a quick aside. To those that think the email is just a scan of your original letter, I'm both pleased and hurt by that statement. I'm elated that you thought they imitated the letter so closely (indeed, that was the point). But, it's sad because Libby spent a lot of time creating them in our email program to look exactly like them, though they are not duplicates.

Anyway, here's to everyone getting some sleep and resuming normal proceedings in their daily lives...more work looms for us: Regular Notification.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Decisions are coming

It sounds like some people have already received their decisions in the mail. We will email everyone their decisions on Monday afternoon, followed by a note on Tuesday from the Office of College Aid for students who were admitted and who applied for financial aid.

In the meantime, I'm going to take a brief break from posting due to a family emergency. You're welcome to keep talking to each other in the comments, but there won't be a new post until Thursday.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Post your favorite recipe

It seems like there's a lot of freaking out and cooking going on. So, everyone, post your favorite recipe.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Reminder: RN applicants should request alumni interviews by December 15

Regular notification applicants have until December 15 to request their alumni interviews. To request one, log into the online application and click "Request an alumni interview."

Also, now six University of Chicago teams are in the NCAA top 25 for Division III.

Monday, December 11, 2006

More Truth

Gee, it took last year's class months to get up to the sheer volume of commenting that you guys have.

The party line for when decisions will be mailed and e-mailed is: "Early next week."

I know a lot of you will be disappointed to hear that, but believe me, it's better to get the correct letter than to get the letter early!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Truth about admissions decisions and alumni interviews

A.k.a. More Bad News

It's a great time to be an admissions counselor at the University of Chicago.

Early action admissions decisions will be emailed this year to every applicant. Regular notification decisions will not.

We are trying to get this email out before December 15. We are not quite sure when it will go out. It depends on how fast we can read and how many hours we can put in. I'm happy to say that we've been reading a lot and working a lot, and making a ton of progress on our record-breaking early action pool. However, we still have a long way to go.

We readers have been noticing that more interview reports are coming in this year than ever, and they are really helping us out. Of course, since there are more of you, more requests were made, and more people will hear that they won't have an interview. If you have not been contacted by your alumni interviewer yet, you probably will not get one for the early action cycle. If you are deferred, you will have another chance at an alumni interview.

I don't know if I've already told this story on this blog, but back when I applied to college, there was no internet. I checked a box on my paper Basic Information Form that said I would like an alumni interview. A month later, I got a letter that said no alum lived within 75 miles of me. AND my science teacher recommendation never made it.

Not having an interview, and not having two recommendations, does not hurt your chance of admission.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Truth about the common application

First, a message from Ted O'Neill, the Dean of Admissions:

The University's Office of College Admissions has just submitted an application to be accepted as a member of the Common Application group. You will find attached a statement which explains something of the reasons we have decided to add the Common application as an option for applicants to the College. Let me add a word from those of us who recruit the students and who read the applications. We have come to love our Uncommon, so named seven or so years ago, but at heart the application we devised some 24 years ago when we began to ask "uncommon" questions. But, even as we loved the document, and patted ourselves on the back for being different and clever, we realized that there was a chance that some students would be confused or intimidated by our use of an instument that looked different and difficult. And, we always feared the the students who might turn away from the Uncommon might be, disproportionately, students who were the ones most likely to be least comfortable with competitive college admissions--e.g., those without counsel, the first-generation applicants, and the low-income students. Now, as other universities have followed Harvard's lead and have, one by one, decided to add the Common Application or to replace their own application entirely with the Common, we find that we are almost alone (Georgetown seems to be the other holdout) in requiring a separate and different application. So, we have decided to keep the Uncommon as an option for those students who like the look and feel of it, and who appreciate the hard work that has gone into making our on-line application so useful and friendly.In addition, we hope to add the Common Application as an option. The students who use the Common will have to fill out a substantial supplement, which means they will have to answer our interesting questions. Maybe more applications will be forthcoming as a result of this change. We hope so, because we devote a lot of our energy every year to persuading more students to apply to Chicago. More students should apply to Chicago--we know that too many students who would love this college don't apply, and our mission is to spread the good word to any student who wants this kind of education, which is only offered here. Who wants to tamper with a great thing? Well, sometime the time comes to try something new in the interests of furthering the values we hold dear. If some new, worthy, Chicago-type kids are welcomed by the Common Application into the fold, this change will be a very good thing. And, in our welcome to them, we are determined to let them know, in no uncertain terms, that whether they choose to use the Uncommon or the Common application, they are filing a distictive application to a distinctive University.

And now, a message from Michael Behnke, our Vice President for Enrollment, and John Boyer, the Dean of the College and the guy who edits our history books:

The current application for admission to the College of the University of Chicago consists of two parts. “Form One” collects routine information such as name, address, school information and an activity list. The “Essays” part contains the uncommon essays that are the distinctive part of the application.

The University has applied to be a member of the Common Application. This will give students the option of submitting the Common Application instead of Form One of the University’s application, which asks for similar routine information. The uncommon essay section of the University’s application will remain the same and will continue to be required of all applicants.

This additional option will be available to students in the 2008-2009 or 2009-2010 application cycles depending on when systems can be modified.

This option to use the Common Application will allow students to submit standard information in a standard format, while still preserving the distinctiveness and important information contained in our uncommon essays.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Truth about application credentials

Here is the email:

As of this date, your University of Chicago Early Action Application
remains incomplete. It is likely that whatever is not here has gone
astray, though we assume that you and your school have made
every effort to send all material in a timely way. We still have time
to complete your file, to read it, and to render a decision in December.
Let us work together to complete your application.

Please go to the Uncommon application homepage. Enter your username and password, and click "Login." Click
"Check Credentials" in order to see which credentials continue to be missing.

If any of the following credentials are missing from your application, please email the documents by the end of the day, Monday, December 4 to or fax the documents to 773-702-8599 (domestic fax) or 773-702-4704 (international fax):

  • Essays
  • Secondary School Counselor Report (Form 2B)
  • SAT or ACT test scores as reported to your high school
  • Teacher recommendations (Forms 3A or 3B)

    Official high school transcripts and application fees, which must be paid
    by check or money order at this time, must be mailed to:

    The University of Chicago
    Office of College Admissions
    1101 E 58th Street, Suite 105
    Chicago, IL 60637

    Transcripts and fees must arrive in our office by Wednesday, December 6.

    We look forward to working with you to complete the remaining credentials
    required in support of your application.

    Applications which remain incomplete after December 6, 2006, will be
    deferred to our Regular Notification program.

  • Only 308 people got this email. Now, if you did not get the email, that means your application is complete, or at least complete enough to be read. Applications with only one teacher recommendation are complete enough to be read. Will your chances of admission be harmed if you got the email, or if you only had one teacher recommendation? No. I found this out after I graduated, but I was admitted with only one teacher recommendation! Mrs. Sturgill, where did your recommendation go?

    Knowing how shy I was in high school, I probably never gave her the form.

    Any questions? Ask them in the comments section.