EssaySnark does not mean to turn into ColumbiaSnark. Really, we don’t.
However, we have yet again experienced a case of conflicting information from the Columbia Business School adcom.
Or maybe it’s misinterpretation of what they’re saying. That’s definitely possible. One source of this information is EssaySnark’s clients, so some of this is second-hand.
And the fact is, Columbia’s rolling admission and different admissions policies are so darn confusing when compared to the standard rounds and pre-published dates at other schools. So it’s possible for people to misunderstand.
However, this is what EssaySnark has heard:
* June 2010: “Applying early in Columbia’s Regular Decision cycle is equivalent in terms of your chances as applying in the Early Decision cycle.”
* October 2010: “If you’re applying Regular Decision, you better get your application in now.”
EssaySnark cannot imagine what the definition of “early” is for submitting to the Regular Round process if October is too late! As a reminder, the quasi-deadline for the Regular Round process is January 5, 2011, which is when anyone interested in a fellowship must submit by. (That’s when the school traditionally has received the bulk of their Regular Round applications; also, because that date coincides with many other schools’ Round 2s, which means that many people consider January 5 a “de facto Round 2” deadline for Columbia.) The final-final Regular Round deadline is way off in April – but anyone submitting then really doesn’t have a chance in h3ll.
No Regular Round apps are even opened until December, and then they’re processed in order received. Since the Columbia application has been “live” since the Spring or early Summer, that could be quite a few apps queued up. And spots are filled on a rolling basis: as they decide they like someone, they make an offer. So yes, you want to get your application in before January. But to send the message that you’ve already missed the boat ENTIRELY on Columbia if you didn’t submit in October?? Why not just have one deadline and call it October 6?!? Sheesh, Columbia.
To be clear: The first words of advice above came from a presentation conducted in late June 2010 by Christina Shelby in the Columbia admissions office. The second (theoretically) were reported by a client as coming from adcom members at an info session conducted on campus in mid-October; could be pure hearsay, who knows. And, sure, the school cannot know in advance how many applications they’ll get at any given time; the second advice was we’re certain well-intended, in reaction to them receiving more apps than they perhaps expected at this stage of the process.
It’s definitely freaking some people out, this contradictory info from the admissions people themselves. This process is stressful enough. Why can’t this school be more transparent and consistent in what they’re telling the marketplace?