When Will I Know?

The most common question we are getting on the phone and via email these days is, “When will I find out about my admission decision?”  In a perfect world I could tell you all the exact date and time, and I could also guarantee that every decision would be published on the same day.  However, we live in the real world and not the perfect world.

The real admission world, just like the real policy world, can be a bit tricky.  With numerous people reading files and some subcommittees meeting to discuss certain applications in more detail, it is a balancing act.

When applications are first completed they are assigned to readers and begin the review journey.  When the readers have made their comments we then compare the comment sheets and break files into groups.  There are three broad groups.  Let me elaborate on the process by describing the following picture –

Pile #1 is representative of applications where there is unanimous agreement among Committee members.  I would say that about 60-65% of applications fall into this group.

Pile #2 represents those where the readers of the file did not entirely agree and they have asked for additional review by a Senior member of the Admissions Committee prior to making a final decision. Approximately 20-25% of applications fall into this category.

Pile #3 represents those who the readers believe should be considered for first year fellowship awards – approximately 15-20%. These files take longer to process because they have to go through additional rounds of meetings.

This is not an exact science and decisions may not go out in this exact order, but this is generally how the process works.  Rather than make the majority of applicants wait until the Committee has reviewed all of the files, we will start to send out decisions as soon as there is agreement.

Our goal is to start sending decisions in the first or second week of March.  When we enter a decision into the system you will receive an email message telling you to log in to the application site to view your decision letter. Thus you will find out your decision on the application Web site.

Admitted applicants will receive a paper copy of the same letter posted on the site a number of weeks later. Applicants who are not admitted will only see the letter on the application Web site; we do not send a paper copy of letters to those who are not admitted. We also do not send a paper copy of the letter to those who are placed on the waitlist.

I hope this provides a bit of insight into the process and please wait to receive an email letting you know when you can view your decision letter on the application site.  I will continue to post updates on this blog so stay tuned.