Bring on the ED applications!
Today is 14 days past the November 1 Early Decision I (EDI) application deadline at Vanderbilt. Students who applied under this decision plan are those who have decided that we are their #1 college choice. These students, their parents, and their guidance counselors have all signed an agreement indicating that they support this decision. These ED applicants receive two noteworthy benefits. They will be notified of their admissions decision in mid December (instead of April, which is the national decision day for all Regular Decision applicants). At Vanderbilt, these students receive a slight admissions advantage. Basically, a student who is a borderline applicant in our Regular Decision pool will be admitted during the ED process. Students applying ED are saying that they LOVE VU, and we admissions officers respond to this by being a bit more generous in our admissions decisions.
I have already heard from some anxious ED applicants. Compared to the majority of high school seniors who are 45 days behind them in the process (who will apply to their schools by Jan 1, and so are still in the midst of finishing applications), you may think they would be relieved that their application has already been submitted. Unfortunately, they are very worried and stressed as they anxiously wait for the decision letter to arrive in the mail. If that last sentence describes you, please read on…
I know it’s difficult, but I want to encourage you to relax and not obsess about your application. But first, there are three things you should do before actively “not obsessing’.
*First, you should confirm that we really do have your complete application. Nothing is worse than waiting for a decision letter that doesn’t arrive, only to inquire and find out that the we didn’t process your application because we never received your official test score (or some other required part of the application). To help prevent those kinds of problems, we have mailed letters to all ED applicants whose files are incomplete, to notify them that we are missing pieces of their application. If you get one of these “incomplete letters”, do not panic. Please do not call our office to debate why we do not have it, why we should have it, etc., etc. Please just send it (or re-send it if you are confident that you already sent it). As soon as possible. For those of you who read my earlier posting about keeping copies of all pieces of your application, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who missed that one, scroll up and check it out. I assure you that no applicant is penalized for these items arriving a bit late.
*Second, you should ask your guidance counselor to mail your first quarter grades to us so that we can see how you are performing so far in your senior coursework. Office policy requires us to obtain first quarter grades for all applicants, so help us out and have those sent to us.
*I know you don’t want to even consider the chance that you may be denied from your ED/EA school, but you should be prepared for that possibility. Students denied in mid December from their first choice school need to have “back up” applications ready to submit, probably before January 1. That means you will have approximately 15 days (in late December, when most of your teachers and counselors are not available) to mail applications to the schools remaining on your list. If you are denied in December, you don’t want your lack of preparation to cause you to submit hastily prepared applications (which may negatively your chances at other schools). My third recommendation is that you do the basic preparations on those applications now; if nothing else, it can take your mind off of the wait you are currently enduring.
After doing those three items, try to relax, enjoy the holidays, catch up with friends or family that you may have ignored in October as you were finishing your Early application. At this point, my office is about to kick into high gear to evaluate all of those ED applications, and get started on the Regular applications that are arriving a bit early. I assure you that I will be doing a lot of reading over the Thanksgiving weekend (as will everyone in my office). So, if nothing else, I hope you are glad that your part is done- ours is just beginning. We really are excited to read your applications, and to start shaping the Vanderbilt class of 2012 with some great early admits.
Lastly, I want to tell all Vanderbilt ED applicants that your decision will be mailed on December 14 in a small envelope. All decisions are mailed in a regular sized envelope (no big admit packets in December), so do not be scared of the small envelope!