If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ve probably noticed that I like numbers. Here I go again.
There are 12 days until the Regular Decision and Early Decision II deadlines. (Heartbeats flutter.) The Twelve Days of Christmas are also upon us (although I think that span starts on Christmas Day and runs through the Feast of the Epiphany, if my dusty Catholic catechism is correct) and the eight nights of Hanukkah are also underway. December is a holiday traffic jam.
I’m (finally) in the holiday spirit so I thought I’d play Santa and offer 12 “gifts” in the form of last minute tips as you finish applications. They won’t be gift-wrapped. You can’t return them for store credit. None can be characterized as a stocking stuffer. But whether you’re Christian or Jewish or any other faith tradition I think they’ll have some practical value as you get ready to hit the send button.
(These are in completely random order. I typed them as my late semester brain thought of them—you aren’t the only ones who welcome the start of a semester break…)
#1. The deadline is for you, not for the people who recommend you. In other words, you must hit “submit” on your parts of the application (the Common as well as the supplement) by midnight on January 3 but your teachers and guidance counselor can send their recommendations after that date. The deadline creates your file; the various pieces of it (that includes any late-breaking testing) will continue to arrive in the days after that. So don’t worry when you check TAMS and see that one of those pieces has not arrived. We’ll tell you if it’s missing.
#2. Let me repeat that last thought: We’ll tell you when something is missing. And for goodness sake (oh, I sound like a grandmother), DO NOT PANIC on January 3 or 4 or even the 8th when you check your status via our on-line, application tracking system and you discover that something is “missing.” And you don’t need to call. Submitting a multi-part application is not like sending a text or a Tweet; everything does not arrive at its electronic destination in a blink. It takes us a couple of weeks for my army of credentials clerks (many of whom are grandmothers) to load and verify everything. Chances are high that your recs are sitting in a bin next to a cubicle waiting to be data entered. Chill out. Go play in the snow (or whatever the warm weather equivalent might be).
#3. “Tufts” is never spelled with two Fs (“Tuffts”) or with an apostrophe between the T and the S (“Tuft’s”). You giggle but you’d be amazed by how many people make that mistake… (I know. It’s unbelievable. They clearly didn’t buy the sweatshirt when they visited campus.)
#4. We like Jumbo as much as anyone but please refrain from sending us an origami version of him. Enough said.
#5. Alumni interviews are optional. If you’d like one, check “YES” to that question on the Tufts supplement and your name and contact info will be forwarded to the Alumni Admissions Committee in your home area (assuming we have a committee in your home area, which we usually do, but alumni might be a little scarce in some rural regions). One of our alumni volunteers will contact you about setting up a meeting. But if you don’t feel like that forum would add anything new to your file, check “NO.” The choice is yours. The interviews are conversations, and they usually take place at your school, in a library or a coffee shop, maybe your home if that’s cool with your parents. But you should never go to the interviewer’s house. If they suggest that option, please say “no, thanks” and let us know. (That feels creepy.) We’ll reassign you.
#6. The word limits on our supplemental questions are suggested lengths, not limits. Say what you want to say.
#7. The US Postal Service still delivers mail to the Admissions Office. I know that’s so 20th century but here’s the thing: if you drop something in a mailbox (have you noticed those blue metal things on the street corner?) it will magically arrive in Bendetson Hall in a few days. That’s how you should send us “other stuff” that cannot be uploaded via the Common Application. Trust me. Our credentials clerks will make sure it finds its way into your manila file.
#8. (Technically, this should be the last one for the Hanukkah celebrants...) There’s no need to send us your resume. We know everything we need to know from that section of the Common App.
#9. There’s really no need to send us a teacher recommendation or a newspaper clipping or a resume (see #8) or an origami elephant (see #4) via express mail. Save the money and go see a movie over your break. The Muppets are always a hoot and I bet The Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo will distract you from all things admissions-related for a few hours. (The book was intense.)
#10. Send us your mid-year grades. No admission decisions will be released without them. (And that goes for you, too, ED1 admits! There’s no “slacking” just because you have a letter with my signature in your paws. We’re still paying attention…)
#11. (Isn’t this the one about drummer’s drumming or some lords leaping? I forget. And does anyone know why those lords are leaping?) Stay off College Confidential. At this point it will just make you anxious. (And if you’re the type who makes New Year’s resolutions, delete your bookmark and don’t go back.)
#12. Stop thinking about admissions for a few weeks! Once you submit your app, it’s out of your hands (midterms notwithstanding, see #10). Try to resume some semblance of your pre-college search life. This conversation about “college” will reignite in late March but, between now and then, you’ve done what you had to do. Enjoy being a senior.
Ho, ho, ho.