This time of year admissions officers are the champions of multi-tasking. Less supportive individuals might say we have the collective attention span of a three-year-old who recently consumed vast quantities of high fructose-filled breakfast cereal.
This frenetic activity has several sources. Most offices are still reviewing applications for Fall, even as most of the decision letters are in the mail. There are boatloads of appeals and clarifications (very few of which change any decisions) that occupy LOTS of counselor time. Just as important (maybe more so), most schools have a few students in limbo – waiting for additional grades, scores, or other new information – while the university keeps a careful eye on how fast deposits are being made. If more deposits have been received than expected, than these students are likely headed for waitlist or deny decisions. If, however, fewer deposits are made, than these students may be more likely to get admitted.
Some universities may find themselves with fewer deposits that they hoped. Those institutions may start going to their waitlist now, since admitting students before May 1 makes it much more likely students will accept the admission offer. Of course, making decisions before May 1 is based on a lot of statistical projections, also known as guesswork. This is why admissions deans all have ulcers.
To try to control these numbers admissions offices are holding on and off campus events, conducting phone, email, IM and text campaigns, and building all manner of online nonsense designed to make you feel already a part of their communities.
Even while attempting to crystal ball/manipulate what admitted freshmen will do, many universities are busy reviewing and processing transfer, graduate, and international applicants, which at many institutions have later application deadlines.
All of those processes involve worrying about enrollment for Fall 2009. Most universities are also deep in the midst of recruiting for Fall 2010, and some even Fall 2011 and 12. Staff are attending rounds of spring fairs, names are purchased from ACT and SAT and hundreds of thousands of mailings, emails, text messages, IM’s and phone calls are launched.
Since Mason is no exception to this multi-year recruitment focus, I’ll try to steer the blog in the same direction. We’ll be inviting a number of prospective 2010 students to view the blog, so I’ll have quite a few posts on how the college admissions process really works, but I’ll intersperse those with posts on what kind of decisions happen this time of year, and what things you might consider in making your final decision about which college to attend. Feel free to send additional questions and I’ll get to them if I can. Fortunately my student employees have been sharing their diet secrets for multi-tasking, which appear to consist of eating whatever you want while drinking a steady stream of Redbull. While I realize this runs any number of health risks, I gain the beneficial side effect of no longer needing (or being able to) sleep. As a result, my posts should be far more frequent, while likely also far less coherent (if that’s possible). Be seeing you.