I'm going to pass on this information, [and copy a link to this thread ]to the admissions dean at USC.
They have been very responsive to past suggestions about simplifying regular admissions notification procedures and the various messages that students receive -hopefully they will review the current method[s] of scholarship notification and make some adjustments.
Last edited by menloparkmom; 02-07-2012 at 04:38 PM.
I know it is really hard for those waiting who don't get the early admit packages, but on the other side is the experience of those who DO get that package. I kind of like the tradition of a big acceptance package that you can hold, and the excitement of opening it without knowing what it contains! As a parent, the day the USC package arrived unexpectedly in January and the experience of watching my daughter open it with shaking hands was VERY memorable.
Maybe it would be a good compromise for them to send the packages and follow-up with emails after a set number of days so that applicants don't wonder if something was lost in the mail. They could send the early admit packages on Jan 26th, for example, and announce on the admissions website that on a set date - maybe a week later - the USConnect account would have either "accepted" or "still being considered" as the status. That would retain the tradition while keeping everyone informed.
I think they need to transition to posting ALL decisions online FIRST, and then they can mail the big package. When my son applied to college in 2005, 7 years ago, he learned of every single decision online [all 15 of them which included an early decision] except USC's. Every single college THEN mailed a copy of the "CONGRATULATIONS' letter and a package. We still have all the letters.
Continuing to rely on the very shaky USPS for delivery of important information is not in USCs', or applicants' best interest. USC does not communicate with its students on campus via USPS mail, why should they treat future students differently. The old method of mailing decisions is quaint, out of date, and is no longer the most reliable method of communication with the outside world.
Last edited by menloparkmom; 02-10-2012 at 12:36 PM.
For my daughter, she had not seriously considered USC until she was holding the package in her hands. She had already received two admits w/scholarships from other schools via online notification, and they did not hold anywhere near the excitement of USC's package - even though one of the other admits was (at that time) her top choice. With the online notification, she saw it and told us and... we all just stood there and said, "Great!" With USC's package, we all gathered 'round and paged through all the info... reading and re-reading the letter... looking at the pictures of the dorms... reading about the meal plans... it was SO fun.
That was beginning of her choosing USC. I wonder if things would have turned out differently if she had only received a quick online notification?
It wouldn't be the same if you already had been notified! Berkeley, for example, does that - she got online notification and a very nice package about a week later. There was no excitement attached to the arrival of the package at all - she knew what was inside. It was just set aside for later (and she didn't ultimately choose Berkeley ... so maybe USC has something here... ). I would suggest the opposite - mail the packages first and then provide mass online notification ~1 week later.
I think this depends on the person. After all, some people like to know what they are getting for Christmas/birthday in advance, find out the sex of their babies before they are born, etc.. (count me in that group).
My D was just as excited to receive online results as mail ones. Her first acceptance online caused screaming and tears (me again). The amazing package that showed up a couple of days later was still opened and read multiple times. Finding out online just took the anxiety away faster.
IMHO, the USC package is wonderful and packaged exceptionally well. However, I don't think this in any way outweighs the problems reported here with mail notification. Going to an email/portal system with CLEAR dates and expectations might help numerous applicants and their parents, and this might make a better impression by USC to them than any package would. Again, this is from a person who doesn't like surprises and likes to plan ahead, though.
"It wouldn't be the same if you already had been notified! "
That is not what ANY current applicants and parents are asking for. Most seem to want to KNOW the status of their applications at the same time as all other applicants.
Students and parents have different ways of getting "excited" about admissions decisions. And most are willing to trade off "excitement" for information. There IS a reason that every other "elite" college or U in the US has gone to online notifications . Our reactions [ shrieking, OMG's!!!', etc, etc] to the multiple "yes" decisions that we read online was NO different from when DS received the big package from USC. YMMV.
As parent of someone who waited 2 weeks to get the hold notification, I suggested instant notification. There were 26000 of us as opposed to 1000 positive notifications that had to wait an extra two weeks and wondering what it held or whether things got lost in the mail. Since we have already withdrawn, it is not relevant but I am hoping for a better solution for 2013 applicants.
Students and parents have different ways of getting "excited" about admissions decisions.
Exactly. And for at least one of USC scholarship candidates (my daughter), their current notification system had an impact on her choosing USC. As USC's Trustee and Presidential scholarships are all about recruiting students who are admitted to other highly ranked universities, it may be that there is a method to the early admit madness, and setting themselves apart may be a factor in the way they do things.
I would agree that, since only a very small percentage of all applicants are admitted in the early round, "most" applicants who were aware of the early admit system were recently disappointed. However I think the major change they would like to see would be that they DID receive an early admit regardless of the notification system.
None of that changes the impact the early admit package + scholarship letter may have had on the students USC is working so hard to recruit. As I said, the current system had a part in gaining them at least one of their early admits.
I'm a bit stumped. Son loved that he received a "surprise" package from USC and it definitely brought the school to the top of the list. But- I knew he was in before we received the mail due to his USConnect showing "admitted students" box. If that shows up - and it only took an extra 24hrs for Deans recipients to show- why go on wondering after that 24 hr time period?
When my older D applied a few years back - same sequence of events- just a different look to the portal. After 24-48 hrs we knew she was not an early admit and went on about our business- the letter came about 2 weeks later - and life moved on.
Personally- the kids that are admitted early are ecstatic and those not are sad- but it all moves on - this happens at all schools every year.
As a parent who can compare USC applications 3 years ago to the current format. MUCH better as part of the common app. S only applied to 2 common app schools but it did make it easier to manage.
It would probably be safe to say that those who get the news they are hoping for are in general satisfied with the system, and those who do not get the news they wanted are not satisfied - so ultimately, more than 35,000 applicants will be unhappy with the notice they receive regardless of the way it is delivered.
Snowdog, if you are unable to log in to reserve a spot at Explore at this point, your student has not been selected to interview for a scholarship and is still being considered for admission and the many other scholarships USC offers to December 1st applicants. You will hear by April 1st. That information was posted on the admissions blog on the 3rd of February. http://admissionblog.usc.edu/2012/02...isions-part-1/
About the 'letter:' Our son never expected a presidential or trustee scholarship.from USC. He knew that those went to very few. He was just pleased as punch to have submitted a fabulous app and happy to wait; he did not expect to hear anything until March. So when the 'Mysterious Letter of Nothing' (as another poster called it) arrived, he was stumped.
The wording was poor. It noted the highly competitive numbers and stated that only a small group "will proceed to the next phase for consideration." This sentence seemed almost designed to build *positive* anticipation in the reader (even for those who never expected the scholarships). The next sentence says: "DS, I am sorry to say you were *not* selected for further consideration..."
Huh? Then why send the letter?
It read as a strange rejection, though we know that was not the intent. As a result, DS went from being very-satisfied-to-wait-until-March, to feeling oddly punked by USC. He knows that nothing has changed and that he will hear in March, but I honestly think he's not as excited now--not because he wasn't selected for something he never expected in the first place, but because the tone of the letter was (unintentionally) off-putting.
We have received no letters from other schools saying SORRY, BUT YOU WERE NOT SELECTED FOR OUR TRUSTEE SCHOLARSHIP. What is a point of sending such a letter to 20,000 kids? It seemed gratuitous. If they wanted to provide an update, they could have simply done as other schools do: send a thank you for the application and tell them to hold on until March. They could provide the 'sorry you didn't make the cut' info with mention (lower on the page) that a select few were already chosen for possible pres/trustee, but that DS would still be considered for all remaining scholarships (should he be accepted) in March. It would have had a very different tone if the 'you failed to make the cut' info was at bottom, instead of leading the letter.
We still love everything about USC, of course! It's not a big deal to DS--he's shrugging it off and has some nice EAs with merit $ in the bag elsewhere. I am posting here only in hopes that maybe USC can do a little better by the kids next year.
Good luck everyone and congrats to all of you who were admitted early.