Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Even more on the wait list

Now that the April 15 deadline to respond to the waiting list has passed, here are a few more tidbits.

Visiting campus

Our decision to accept students off of the waiting list will not be contingent on whether or not they have visited campus. If you will be on campus anyway, you are welcome to come in for a tour and information session, and ask to speak to your counselor or the counselor on duty. If your admissions counselor is unavailable, there is always a counselor on duty.

Housing and financial aid

If you are admitted from the waiting list, you will be treated the same as any student who was admitted outright. Housing is guaranteed for all four years, and you will receive the same sort of financial aid package you would have received in the first place.

Contact us

If you have not yet emailed your admission counselor expressing interest, you should do so as soon as you can. We won't always be able to respond, but we are forwarding your emails to your file. If you are concerned that your counselor has not responded to you, send your emails to questions@phoenix.uchicago.edu

Friday, March 30, 2007

More information about the wait list

Answers to questions that came up on the last post:

How many wait list offers can I respond to?

One, or all... just make sure you put down a deposit at a college that has accepted you. If you are admitted to a waiting list after May 1 (which is when most colleges make their waiting list decisions), you will have to forfeit that deposit.

If waitlisted students follow your advice in this post, and accept another college's offer of admission and send in a deposit, how will we waitlisted students be able to accept a Uchicago offer of acceptance if it is given? Will we be obligated to pay the other college's tuition?

No, you will not. You only have to forfeit the deposit. But make sure to tell them you are withdrawing! A phone call will let you know how to do that... most colleges will require something in writing (including us).

And... Okay, why was I wait listed? (Or denied... or even admitted)

It is our policy to not discuss reasons for decisions with students or families. Decisions are made over the course of several months, by a committee of individuals, about thousands of applicants.

What should I send in now?

Send an email or letter to your admission counselor expressing interest. Keep sending these throughout the month of April... we want to hear from you so that we know you are still interested. If you have more grades, send them in.

How will this affect our consideration for financial aid?

It won't -- students who are admitted from the waiting list will get the same kinds of financial aid packages as students who were admitted outright.

How important are our 2nd semester grades going to be?

We will most probably make all admission decisions before the end of your second semester. But keep working, because we require a final transcript from all admitted students.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Here come decisions

We mailed all regular notification decisions to first-year applicants this afternoon. We emailed decisions around 5 p.m. CST (i.e. a few moments ago). The subject is "Notification from the University of Chicago" in case you didn't want to get your decision via email – you'll know what it looks like and can ignore it. We waited until the afternoon so that your counselors would not object to us bothering you during school. We’ve been working very hard for the last week (if not months) to get these thousands of letters out; you may have noticed because the blogging has been mostly left up to you. I figured that any further posting this week would only fuel your anxiety when you realized it was not the post you hoped for.

Well, this is the post you’ve been hoping for, dreading, etc. This is the most anxious time of the year for you and for us – we’re anxious because we’ve gotten to know you through your applications and we’ve watched you talk on the blog, and we know that not everyone gets admitted. We're anxious because we want the students we've admitted to come, and for every one of you to have wonderful options for next year. You’re anxious for obvious and similar reasons – you worked hard on your application, you worked hard in high school, and you’ve gotten to know and like each other and us. But I have also noticed that you have all been relatively level-headed about the news that is to come. You are savvy – your intelligent questions show that. You know what’s going on here.

The decision isn’t the end, though. For everyone, it will be the beginning of more questions – “where should I go” being the biggest one. Here are some answers to some questions that we expect will come up today.

You sent the email… so why isn’t it in my inbox right now?

Our emails will probably take a few hours to clear some mail servers. We did hit “send,” but you may not get the email until the evening.

I don’t think I got the email… what should I do?

If you did not get the email, you will have to wait for your decision in the mail. There is no need to call or email the office. We will not give you your decision by phone, and we will not re-send the decision email.

Did you email scholarship or financial aid decisions?

We did not email scholarship or financial aid decisions. Scholarship decisions were put in the mail with admission decisions this morning. Financial aid letters will come in the next weeks, depending on when your financial aid application became complete. We will not give out scholarship decisions over the phone or by email.

Only scholarship winners will be notified.

For international students who applied for financial aid and were admitted, your financial aid letter will be in your admit packet.

I was wait listed… what do I do now?

You should reply to an offer of admission at another school and put down a deposit there in the coming month. If you wish to remain on our waiting list, you should send back the form in the enclosed envelope. Also, contact your admission counselor – their contact information is given in the wait list letter. We have no way of knowing right now how many students we will be able to take off of the waiting list. Statistics for past years are given in the letter.

Is there an appeals process for admission or merit scholarship decisions?

No, there is no appeals process for admission decisions. There is no appeals process and no waiting or back-up list for merit scholarships.

Decisions are out… is this blog going away?

Yes, unfortunately, like all wonderful things it will slowly fade. Last year we noticed that there wasn’t as much traffic in the weeks after decisions. We expect that it will have outlived its use by April 15, when we will disable comments.

That’s all I can think of now – if more questions come up in the next few days, we will address them here. Good luck, everyone.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Childish Fun with the Camera

What's going on on our campus this week? The world's largest Jenga game, that's what.

I make the first move, removing a block from the top because I am a coward!

Libby responds by taking a block from the middle. She likes to live dangerously!

I challenge Libby to place a car on top of the tower:

I see her car and raise her a bus!

At this point the tower collapsed. No construction workers, cranes, cars, buses or theological seminaries were harmed in the making of this post. Between my two fingers you can see the front door of the Seminary Co-op, which Libby and I will visit later today and post about a bit later.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

StatueWatch 2007

This was taken today at 11:20 a.m.

Just think, by the time all of America's admitted students have replied to their offers of admission at quality institutions around the country, that shadow will be a nice hammer and sickle.

And here is the campus: empty because it's spring break, but getting greener every day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Botany Pond update

After the question about where the fish go when the pond is frozen, I emailed Lorna Straus -- Professor Emeritus of Organismal Biology and Anatomy in the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division, former Dean of Students in the College, and University Marshal -- to ask her where the fish and turtles go. Here is her response, and she's asking a colleague to write a little history of Botany Pond for us after he's done grading papers.
But in answer to what may be the most urgent question: No [the pond does not need to be restocked every spring]. The turtles dig themselves into the ground and survive quietly and well until it warms up. They will be emerging in a couple of weeks. The goldfish survive in the water under the ice. The ice is gone, after yesterday, the fish are swimming around today.
Yes, folks, it was 70 degrees yesterday, and humid, enough to melt all that ice Austin was standing on. Today we had a high of 63, but it is cloudy and temperature is falling. It should be in the 40s or 50s for the rest of the week.

This was taken in May a few years ago... no lily pads yet.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Signs of Spring!

Exciting news! Warm weather has (kind of) arrived. While we are still dealing with a lot of melting snow and many of your applications, we decided to take a brief break and walk around the campus to demonstrate that it is indeed true that Chicago has two seasons: winter and construction season, which in other places is called 'spring' and sometimes 'summer'.

Here we observe living things emerging from a pile of dead plant matter, as if by magic. As we all know from reading Aristotle, this is not magic. It is spontaneous generation in action.

This is botany pond, which we pointed out to you in a previous post. Now, with the snow melted, we discover that there is indeed a pond here, or at least a large block of ice (see next picture).

I bravely took my life into my own hands and ventured out over the depths of the pond to test the thickness of the ice! Since the pond is only about two feet deep, I suspect it simply froze all the way through during the winter. Applicants - please don't try this at home or here next winter, though I do have a funny story about taking a tour group through botany pond once and Jon has a funny story about testing the thickness of the ice when he shouldn't have.

More spontaneous generation in front of the Administration Building.

Here Jon points to an interesting piece of history: a stone from a building which was part of the old University of Chicago, which no one knows about and of which only one piece survives.

And here Jon points to his favorite bit of stone on the campus. Would you call this a capital or simply a molding? We can't decide. Anyway the 'decorative element of an unspecified type' is carved into the shape of a few ears of corn.

Carolus Linnaeus (= Carl von Linne). A famous former professor and loyal college alumnus, he is considered the father of engineering and is the namesake of our world famous engineering school. Actually that's not true, but he did come up with the binomial classification system for living things.

His statue was signed by the King of Sweden himself. (This is true!)

Jon and I walk down a path along the Midway Plaisance towards Rockefeller Chapel.

Yet one more thing you should not try either at home or while you are here. Jon, Libby and I decide to play ring-and-run (also called 'ding-dong-ditch' in some parts of the country) at President Robert Zimmer's house.

On the way back, we stopped at our famous Communist statue, which is in front of Pick Hall. As you should have heard on your campus tour (if you were able to visit) and as you can begin to see in the two pictures above, the statue casts a shadow in the form of a hammer and sickle for most of spring quarter, notably on May Day at noon. You should also note that May Day was started to commemorate the Haymarket Riotwhich took place in Chicago in the late 19th century. Incidentally if any of you are looking for a book on that subject, the early history of the labor movement in the US, or the history Chicago in the late 19th century, I would highly recommend James Green's Death in the Haymarket, which is an excellent history of the riot, the trial which followed it, and the broader history of Chicago in that era. Note that our link leads to the website for The Seminary Co-op, the official bookstore of the University of Chicago, and of the forces of goodness. Also note that the book is scheduled to come out in paperback in a few days. We hope to feature the Co-op in a future post, as it is the world's greatest bookstore.

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What else we know

There's not much that's new to report. It's getting warmer and sunnier (in the 50's this week) and the students are nearing exam week and spring break. This winter, I took a course at the public policy school on public policy and higher education. If you want to talk about the economics of financial aid, we can talk about the economics of financial aid. The final exam is next Friday.

To clear up something from the last post: scholarship decisions and admissions decisions will be sent on the same day. Scholarship winners who were admitted early action will get just the award. Scholarship winners who are being admitted regular notification will get their admit packet and the award. Something that people have requested over the years is that students who did not win scholarships get letters informing them that they did not win, so that they do not wait for an award in the mail. This is not something we're going to do this year. Scholarship winners will be notified that they have won, but scholarship non-winners will not be notified that they have not won.

Does that make sense?

Since it's getting warmer, the admissions staff has been venturing out a little more. Last weekend, some of us went to see Australian dance ensemble Chunky Move at the Museum of Contemporary Art. If you're planning a visit to campus, definitely go see the MCA's Rudolf Stingel exhibit or a performance. I'm also excited about seeing The Sparrow, a new play by the House Theater, which is extending its run at Steppenwolf. You may not have heard of this play, but it has taken Chicago by storm. If you want to see it, reserve tickets now for your trip... it'll be sold out very soon! Kate and Jon are going to see The Strangerer at Theater Oobleck--Camus' The Stranger meets the 2004 Presidential Debates.