Okay, I lied.
I promised a new blog in a short time frame, and it’s been seven weeks since my last posting. My bad. (“Did the dean of admissions at Tufts just say ‘my bad’?!,” you ask. I did.)
Tomorrow, at long last, Tufts will release admissions decisions for the Class of 2013 (around 2 p.m. Eastern Time, in case you’re wondering) and my colleagues in Undergraduate Admissions are excited to watch as the new class takes shape. We’re also excited to watch our server swarm with nervous traffic as 2 p.m. approaches, kind of like O’Hare International when it snows and the planes do slow circles over Chicago until the runways are plowed.
I’m also relieved to pass the decision-making back to you: March Madness doesn’t just mean NCAA basketball when you work in admissions. (We do have an office pool, although UConn is the only one of my picks that made it to the Final Four, so my “picking” skills as dean are clearly much better than my athletic prognostication.)
March Madness in Bendetson Hall meant 12 consecutive days of committee (including weekends) as we rendered decisions; too much junk food as we debated each case; and too many slices of pizza and Thai food as we worked late. The junk food was comforting: there were too many kids who we loved and too few spaces in the class.
March in Medford witnessed a slow, deliberate march as the Selection Committee sorted the pool of 15,039 applications to the 3,960 who will be invited to join the Class of 2013 tomorrow afternoon. Actually, 512 of those 3,960 were Early Decision acceptances or students who were accepted last year but took a gap year, so the number of students getting good news from Tufts tomorrow is 3,448, an uneven, messy number that proves that the admission process is not neat and clean. Who would deliberately pick 3,448? Why not add two more and make it an even 3,450?
To get to this moment, the 19 admission officers and five adjunct readers (seasoned people who work at Tufts for six months each year as we read and evaluate your files) read and reread and discussed each of your files. I reviewed all the files slated for admission, so I’ve read lots of essays and teacher recs and mid-year grade reports since I last blogged. Words like “compelling,” “oomph,” “octane,” “boom!” (you had to be there…) and “Obama” (lots of you did Optional Essay #3) echoed across the committee room as we reviewed your applications. I even got bifocals, an occupational hazard. Personalities emerged. A class took shape.
Tomorrow, some of you will scream with delight as you read our e-mail, a few will need to wait 30 more days for a final verdict, but most, I’m afraid, will sigh with disappointment. 15,039 people don’t fit comfortably into a class of 1,275 and hard decisions must be made. If the letter says “sorry” please remember that our inability to offer you a place at Tufts is a by-product of a very competitive selection process; it’s not a negative reflection on you. Saying “no” is the least appealing part of my job but it doesn’t mean you are not appealing. That’s the thing about a place like Tufts: there’s a lot of quality to sort. We really do see merit in more candidacies than we can accommodate.
Anyway, your admission process at Tufts is about to conclude and then it’s up to you to make a choice. We hope you pick Tufts but, unlike an invitation to the prom, we won’t be hurt if you chose another college. That’s the way it works; that’s why we picked more people than we can ever enroll. You’ll have options, just like we had too many options during March Madness.
I hope your Final Four (college options) are more promising than my bracket proved to be.