I want to continue to provide applicants with an idea of how our process works in the hope that it will allow for relaxation to take place as we work as quickly as we can to complete files so that they may be forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review.

Please read this paragraph slowly – it is rare that an application is marked as complete by the deadline.  We receive several thousand applications in a matter of days and it takes us several weeks to review applications for completion.  It is best to wait to hear from us – if we need something we will let you know.

In an effort to provide a bit of insight into the enormity of the work involved in processing applications, I offer the following picture:

Starting with the rear of the picture near the IFEP bin, 7 stacks of paper are visible.  We call these stacks “batches” and each batch consists of applications that have been printed (in the picture the batches are in various stages of completion). Batches typically range from 100 to 300 pieces of paper and each piece of paper has information on both sides.  Each piece of paper will be manually reviewed to check for completion and to make sure the information submitted is readable (sometimes transcripts come out blurry for example).

A person in our office will take a batch and start to work through it – remember there can be up to 600 pages of information in one batch and we will print a few hundred batches by the time the process is complete.  Think about the time involved in simply flipping through 600 pages of information, let alone reviewing each piece for accuracy and completion.  Our hope is that every document we require was submitted online because if so, we can complete a file more rapidly.

If when going through a batch a document is missing, we then have to begin the matching process.  This involves going through mail that has been sorted into filing cabinets.  In the picture, you can also see a stack of mail in front of the first batch. As you might imagine, it takes a bit of time to work through batches and to complete the review, matching, and tracking process.  And to be honest, if a piece is missing we will typically set the file aside to work on later and continue working through the batch because we can move faster this way.

My hope is that by explaining this is twofold.  First, I hope applicants will realize how difficult it is to respond to inquiries regarding receipt of individual documents.  We know the stress associated with applying but encourage you to trust our process and wait to hear form us once you have submitted your application.  With several hundred batches and mail in various stages of processing, it is next to impossible to respond to a request about the receipt of a particular document.

Second, with hundreds of batches to work though, it can take us several weeks to complete a file.  Do remember that when a file reaches completion is not a huge concern.  Because of the way our Committee structure is set up we will not start to distribute files for reading until about three weeks after the deadline has passed.

Rest assured that we will work as quickly as we are able to get through all of our batches, and if we need additional information or clarification we will email you.  Also, when a file becomes complete we send out an email.  If you wish to review how you can track your application online, please see our Tracking and Communication entry from last week.

Thank you and Happy New Year!