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Suspicions, Predictions, and Post-Submission Anxiety

HKimPOSSIBLEHKimPOSSIBLE 335 replies27 threads Member
edited November 7 in College Admissions
With the Early Decision/Early Action deadlines just behind us and decision announcements slowly rising up from the horizon, I think a lot of students (myself once included and even still) tend to feel a bit more anxious, a tad more observant, and much more paranoid instead of letting out a sigh of relief, taking the time to relax, go out in the sun, throw frisbee, or hang out with friends.

What I mean by this paranoia and anxiety is checking the portal every day for "mysterious updates" that may pop in and out of the portal home in the form updates, changes to font, and shifts in textboxes and images.

Some students have gone even further, using the infamous "Inspect Element" trick to find out early, or clues, at least, to determine their fate.

Even this year, on a Discord server exclusively for Questbridge students with nearly 700 current applicants, people have gone crazy over the smallest details from dates changing on their Brown Video Profile to small emails from Dartmouth flashing the header "This is Your Place, This is Your People".

Of course, it means nothing (or maybe it does?), I don't know, but to still think about this weeks later, only a week or so before decisions are announced, knowing very well that one's decision is already set in stone, seems kind of crazy and unhealthy.

We also shouldn't forget people on the other side of this, asking what it means to be invited to a "Brown Class of 2024 GroupMe" on Facebook despite them knowing it was a fan-made group made by an applicant or the "Has anyone gotten a [X College] Interview? I have one on Saturday!" which brings up suspicion and anxiety among students who conclude "No Interview = Rejected" (which also certainly is NOT the case). It's really a very subtle, but noticeable shift in atmosphere between those who "Got the email" and those who "Didn't get the email" or between those who received Interview Requests and did not.

So I'm just thinking, wouldn't it be great if colleges and universities publicly announced these changes? Be more transparent on how interviews are really based on location? How whatever speculation students might have was mere coincidence? I think it would help a lot, but honestly, this is probably something the Admissions Officers wouldn't be able to relate to, because, after all, they're the ones pulling the strings.

P.S It also doesn't help the case since a few colleges (namely, the University of Pennsylvania) state in their Questbridge policy that they may prematurely reject applications that have not even been completed - bringing the possibility of rejection either day before November 1st or days after it onto the table.
edited November 7
22 replies
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Replies to: Suspicions, Predictions, and Post-Submission Anxiety

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7582 replies61 threads Senior Member
    Please don't read anything into being offered an interview (or not). Most schools use volunteer alumni and the person doing the assignments doesn't even see the applications. When I was a committee chair I only had the students' names, contact information, and intended major/college. That's it.

    My D had no correlation between having interviews and admission.

    Deep breath!
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  • HKimPOSSIBLEHKimPOSSIBLE 335 replies27 threads Member
    Haha yes thank you. Since I'm taking a Gap Year, I am fairly immune to these rumors and speculations, but if colleges were more transparent about these changes, as tiny as they are, it would truly give students a peace of mind.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5844 replies10 threads Senior Member
    The thing is... their IT folks are constantly maintaining their servers. Info is downloaded for readers, and they may separate pieces internally (to protect personal data). Your application will be touched. That's what you signed up for when you submitted it.

    The schools usually send an email before they release decisions. There is no need to try to read the tea leaves, so why should they help you do it?

    I think this is a case where applicants need to accept the system rather than the system changing to accommodate nervous applicants trying to divine a decision that WILL be released. And @HKimPOSSIBLE , I am almost as excited as you are to see where you will land!
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4415 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Many sites that my kids applied to do state that things like interviews don't really matter if you do /don't get one. But unfortunately, I think it's human nature to question. Question like EVERYTHING!

    My son had a Cornell interview. Lots of kids that applied from his school got one. It was like he was soul mates with the interviewer. She went into engineering but landed in business and got her MBA. Pretty much his course at the time. He had a great interview. She told him to dress causal like jeans since it was a Sunday. She said "dress like your going to school" .

    Two weeks later he got rejected from Cornell. Hmm... Was it that he didn't wear a sport coat? He wore kackies and a nicer shirt, not the typical t-shirt and jeans that he would wear to school. Maybe it was because he didn't follow her suggestions? He didn't order anything even though he was asked if he wanted something. Maybe that was code for seeing how assertive he was? He admitted he liked Cornell since it was a business focused enginerring school. Maybe that was to wishy washy? ... Etc etc. Maybe he should not of done the interview? Hmmmm.... 🤔.

    One thing I gave him credit for is that he didn't really check constantly. We just reminded both our kids to check the portals every now and then to make sure their were not things that needed updating. Some schools needed more information for like financial aid and just to make sure the schools got everything they needed.

    His attitude was when the acceptance day hits he either finds out with the commotion at school or through his email accounts.



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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7582 replies61 threads Senior Member
    @Knowsstuff - Cornell's alumni reports are non evaluative. I'm super disappointed every single cycle since I'll be lucky if one or two of the dozen of kids I interview get an acceptance. I'm sure your son's interviewer said nothing but positives! (And I tell my students to dress casually too ; )).

    For those students reading this - alumni interviews are a great way to show interest about the school, and make a more personal connection, especially if you live far from campus. The alumni are rooting for you and really just want you to get excited about our school. It's nothing to stress and worry over. Be yourself and come prepared with questions.
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  • milgymfammilgymfam 890 replies14 threads Member
    @momofsenior1 genuine question: if the alumni interviews don’t really mean very much, why do schools offer them? My daughter’s interviews were all with admissions officers- did they carry any weight, I wonder? I had hoped so since it was an expense to travel to the schools and get hotels, etc- but again, who knows. My daughter is already in college at this point, but I’ve been curious about it since I always hear how uninfluential the interview process is, and that it’s no biggie to not be interviewed.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4415 replies18 threads Senior Member
    @momofsenior1... I hoped that came across as "tounge in cheek" response... Lol...

    It just seems candidate's question everything when they don't get accepted. It's human nature.

    We told our kids it's a big game. It's not about you, so don't take it to personally.. But I know that hard to do.

    BTW - as you landed he landed well and more importantly happy and active on campus.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7582 replies61 threads Senior Member
    @milgymfam - Schools that do admission officer interviews are totally different and my understanding is that they are evaluative. My D only had 2 out of 8 schools that did interviews with admission staff. One was prior to submitting her application but she was asked specifics about grades, course rigor, and test scores. The other was after the common app was submitted and the admission interviewer had it with him.

    For alumni interviewers, my school looks at it as a way to make a more personal connection with applicants, especially those who live far from campus and may not be able to visit. There has been some data that shows that there is higher yield for accepted students who interviewed (and we don't even use that word any more, it's "alumni meeting"). In many ways, the meeting is a way for us to sell the school to the applicant and try to help them ascertain fit.

    Students certainly wouldn't be "dinged" in any way for declining a meeting. I had a student two cycles ago that politely said 'no' because she had been to campus multiple times and had a sibling that attended. She was accepted. That said, not responding at all to an offer of a meeting after multiple attempts on the alumni's part for contact would result in a "three attempts made to contact applicant with no response" which I would think wouldn't look great for demonstrating interest.



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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7582 replies61 threads Senior Member
    It's not about you, so don't take it to personally

    This. 110% this!
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7582 replies61 threads Senior Member
    @homerdog - So sorry that happened to your son! That's absolutely terrible!

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  • homerdoghomerdog 5209 replies98 threads Senior Member
    @momofsenior1 I’d love to find that other student who applied RD from the lunch. The four of us really bonded while there.

    The email invite from the alumni group had a fine print disclaimer at the bottom that said alumni don’t affect admissions decisions. The AO tried to say that at least there was that? But that disclaimer was on all email from the alumni including invites to interviews.

    S19 still gets Dartmouth alumni emails inviting him to stuff! Pretty messed up. He’s responded and tried to get off of their list but to no avail. Lol.
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  • happy1happy1 22947 replies2261 threads Senior Member
    Always keep in mind that you have an outstanding back-up at your state flagship so you will be going to a fine four year college next year.
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  • HKimPOSSIBLEHKimPOSSIBLE 335 replies27 threads Member
    Yikes that must've been terrible @homerdog. I was also invited to a Dartmouth Luncheon.

    However, and, thankfully, my email had a note saying:
    "Please Note: Attendance of the holiday luncheon does not indicate or influence acceptance to Dartmouth - we'd just like to give you an opportunity to get to know the Dartmouth community in Chicago."
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4415 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Hope at least it was a good meal. Lol
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1517 replies30 threads Senior Member
    edited November 8
    milgymfam wrote: »
    @momofsenior1 genuine question: if the alumni interviews don’t really mean very much, why do schools offer them? .

    Two reasons: a) it keeps the alumni involved in the process and college so they give their time and money ($$) in the future and b) to make sure the applicant is not a total psychopath. I really doubt most interviews by alumni mean much of anything. Close friend is an alum at a second tier ivy and he has interviewed dozens and dozens of applicants, many whom were absolutely outstanding according to my friend and NOT one of them was ultimately accepted by the college.

    I would take the alumni interview with a grain of salt and look at it as a way for the applicant to find out additional information about the college and the alum's experience; nothing more, nothing less.
    edited November 8
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  • milgymfammilgymfam 890 replies14 threads Member
    @socaldad2002 I think it’s an interesting perspective that it goes back to money and alumni donations- more about the school than the applicant really at all. I remember last year when my D19 hit submit on her Harvard app. It was about 24 hours later that she got an interview request for the next week, and she was pretty nervous/excited despite me telling her it wouldn’t matter one way or the other. She never did the interview because she was accepted ED elsewhere, but the speed of the response turned her head. All her other interviews had been planned months in advance at the school. Now my D20 is applying to schools where the only interviews are in relation to the audition process and it’s much less nerve wracking to her to know it’s a standard part of the auditions that everyone does.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5209 replies98 threads Senior Member
    @HKimPOSSIBLE that wording seems a little more specific than the wording on S19's emails. Regardless, it was still weird, right? How could they invite all applicants in the Chicago area? That would be 20 just from our school and none of the other applicants were invited that we knew of. And then, only TWO non-accepted kids actually showed up? If we got there and there were 20-30 RD applicants, we wouldn't have felt like it meant anything but that was not the case.

    My larger point is that alumni groups and admissions aren't talking much.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 5209 replies98 threads Senior Member
    @knowstuff The meal was nice. I will say that the experience (even while it was happening) was not a turn on for S19. The alums were super stuffy and the current students who were there to talk to the kids were VERY prep school-y and not relatable for S19. I would type their names here because you would all die laughing at how upper crust and preppy they were but that's probably not a great idea. We still laugh about the names.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1666 replies10 threads Senior Member
    I'm wondering whether the interviews may also be there to help with yield. Maybe a kid who was accepted after having a good interview would be more likely to attend than a kid who did not have such an interview, or any interview. Since most of these interviews are by alumni, they cost little to the college, and, as @socaldad2002 wrote, it keeps alumni involved.
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