Wow, I have really been ignoring my blog- oops! I have a great excuse though, really. My last 2 weeks of travel season were very, very busy, and concluded with a weekend at home in FL to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding. I assumed that when I returned to Nashville (over a week ago), that things would settle down and I’d have plenty of time to “catch up” on everything. So, imagine my surprise when my boyfriend told me that he had arranged with my colleagues and my boss to allow me to take off a couple of days so that he could take me on a whirlwind trip to London. Off we went, and while there he surprised me with a romantic proposal. Since I have returned I have been on cloud nine, telling and retelling our engagement story, and am just now “catching up” on work and sleep.
In the meantime things in our office are slowly returning to normal. My colleagues are returning from the road, weary but victorious with successful stories of fun high school visits and college fairs (and some serious frequent flier miles and hotel points as well!). It is great to have so many back in the office, some of whom I haven’t seen for weeks.
The admissions cycle is cranking away. Instead of answering emails and phone calls about Vanderbilt or the admissions process in general, I am now confirming to students that we have received their transcript, or reminding them that our application deadline is a postmark deadline. Our processing staff’s daily trip to the post office (we certainly don’t have a normal sized mailbox here) is becoming a two person job. Every day we are getting “buckets” of mail. You know those big rectangular sized tubs that the USPS uses to deliver your neighborhood’s mail? Well, we get several of those all to ourselves every day. Around January 3 (our application deadline), we will get up to 30 buckets of big envelopes containing applications and transcripts, and several trays (for regular sized envelopes, usually containing a recommendation letter) a day! Even though we are working very diligently (putting in overtime for sure), we are already behind in opening all of these envelopes, tracking them in our system, and then filing them into the correct application file. Unfortunately, if a student puts something in the mail to us today and it arrives on Friday, it may not get opened, tracked, and filed for over a week. When students call to inquire about the status of their application they get very nervous about this (understandably), but we try to assure them that it will all get done as soon as possible, and not to worry. This is why I encourage applicants to save copies of all pieces of their application. While I am proud that we manage to get 99% of all pieces of an application processed correctly, I know that the 1% error rate represents very important items that are not getting properly processed. For the few errors that we make (usually, it is a filing mistake- you would be amazed at how many applicants have the same names!), we have to ask the applicant to resubmit the missing item. This is because we have such a time sensitive process, we don’t have time to sort through 15,000 files to find the one missing essay- we jut have to get it ASAP.
One of my first blogs centered on the kick off to travel season, and it’s hard to believe that it is now complete. I am proud to have survived a 6th travel season! My last expense report reimbursement arrived today, so I can officially put that part of the admissions cycle to rest. Thanks to all of the students who made my travels in CT and FL so fun! The transition to reading season is about to start, so I’m going to hurry up and read all of the US Weekly magazines that arrived during my absence- besides some fun wedding books, the only thing I’ll be reading for the next 5 months will be applications!