In case you don’t recall, we reported back in January about these undergrads at Stanford who collectively submitted requests to view their admissions records. There’s this little U.S. law called FERPA that entitles you to access to your files at school – including the files captured on your acceptance. That prior post has the details if you missed it.
Well, as we predicted in that original article, Stanford did a great job of protecting themselves with this. After first waging a public relations campaign trying to discourage students from requesting the records, they enlisted lawyers and consultants in an effort to comply (wonder how much all THAT cost). Apparently the first batch of students who requested their records have now seen them – privately – in a 20-minute supervised viewing session with no photography or other recording devices permitted. Apparently, granting access does not mean giving you the records.
And, the University has deleted the admissions records for all other students, and presumably will continue that as a policy going forward.
The article about it in the Stanford student paper is fairly interesting , mostly that the comments from students who had the chance to see their files ranged from regret, that they actually wished they HADN’T seen them (feedback can be brutal, when the person who wrote it never expected you to see it!!!), to remarks echoing what we’ve always said all along: The process is holistic and essays and recommendations matter a lot.
Here’s the best one:
“It felt like you reached some threshold with the numbers, and after that they mostly talk about your essays and extracurriculars,” said Will St. Amant ‘15. ”They were able to glean a lot from my application.”
Yup. Essays and extracurriculars – and recommendations, and the resume. These things paint picture of who you are. That’s how admissions decisions are made. Test scores are just checking a box, they matter but they are not definitive.
True at an elite university, true at pretty much any business school you can name.