Now is the time for the admissions offices to be tackling their internal planning processes for the Class of 2019, and now is the time where EssaySnark puts out our impassioned entreaties for change (like previous years – where we offer suggestions – adcoms, are you listening?).
First: Some schools like to release their application round deadlines early, which is kinda useless. Stanford just did this and while it’s nice to see SOMETHING come out for the next season, it’s not the most helpful kind of information. When you’re sitting here in the Spring, it does not matter if the Round 1 deadline is on September 7th or September 14th or October 15th. What is beneficial to the applicant community is information on the app requirements, the essay question(s) in particular.
But, the dates do matter. They definitely do. And since you adcom folks like to post those first, then we’re going to make a request to you today.
Especially this year with the admissions season that’s coming to a close, where the Round 2 decisions came out spread across an entire MONTH – yes that’s right, a MONTH – well, that means that some schools are able to get through their stacks of apps more quickly.
To those schools – specifically Ross, Darden, Booth – WOULD YOU PLEASE MOVE YOUR ROUND 2 DEADLINE OUT LIKE A WEEK?
In 2016, here are some of the deadlines that BSers had to deal with right after the winter holidays:
|Round 2 deadline||School that inflicted this pain||Round 2 decision|
|Monday, January 4th||Michigan Ross||March 18th|
|Tuesday, January 5th||LBS||March 23rd|
|Tuesday, January 5th||Wharton||March 29th|
|Tuesday, January 5th||Booth||March 17th|
|Tuesday, January 5th||Duke||March 22nd|
Not only are there CRAZY number of apps all stacked together and due within the same 48-hour period, but c’mon, an app due the first business day after New Year’s?
Five more schools were due on Wednesday, January 6th: HBS, Tuck, Kellogg, Columbia and UCLA. Yeah, it’s a brutal week for BSers.
The main issue we’re calling out though is how early some of these schools then issued decisions. Ross, we love it that your decisions came out so early, but we can assure you, your applicants did not love it when they were tearing their hair out to get that darn application done on January 4th.
For reference: Harvard Business School did not release Round 2 decisions until March 30th.
Yes, March 30th.
They weren’t even the last ones to issue decisions. NYU decisions came out on April 1st.
We understand that making applicants wait for decisions really sucks, and at first we thought the solution was to exhort Harvard to move their decision date earlier (like our exhortations aimed at HBS would ever do anything; that would be like pingpong balls aimed at a fortress of steel).
Instead however, we see such an applicant-friendly move that is just lying on the table wafting deliciousness up at our noses: Schools can be kinder about their just-after-the-holiday deadline.
Stanford was able to do it this year. They didn’t require apps to come in until January 12th. Talk about a nice, reasonable period for people to regroup after the winter break. That was impressive, and much appreciated.
NYU has long done it, with a standing January 15th round deadline. They are consistent year in and year out with this. This year, Cornell also had a January 15th deadline, and they released decisions on March 15th. INSEAD has published due-dates for their upcoming intakes and their deadline (for their Round 3, of four rounds) is not until January 25th (we’re celebrating over here). So you see, it can be done!
We do understand the concept that applicants should not be waiting till the last minute and working on their applications on the day of the deadline. We acknowledge that anyone with an early January deadline should be trying to submit that app sometime by the end of December. But let’s live in the real world. If you have a life AT ALL then there’s a very good chance that the end of December is consumed with
eggnog!!! other things. You adcom people, just think back to how you spent the last two weeks of December 2015. Was it at the ski lodge? Was it in the Caribbean? Was it entertaining hordes of family and friends with feasts laden on tables? Yeah. That’s what your applicants were doing, too. And feeling royally guilty about it, since they knew they should’ve been writing essays.
We appreciate how much the schools have changed their app cycles in the past decade. It’s been radically transformed in the applicants’ favor. However, the urgency in getting decisions into applicants’ hands really factors in with Round 1 applications. With Round 2, sure, the wait sucks from submit time to decision time, but it’s a different situation. Admissions Directors, if you have been trying to optimize your processes to be more applicant-friendly and release decisions more quickly, we applaud that effort, but please recognize that it matters a helluva lot more to do that in the Fall Round 1 cycle, when your candidates need to strategize on whether or not Round 2 apps will be necessary. In that case, yes, squeezing as much time as you can out of the process, and moving your deadline up further and further into the summer, is totally appropriate and welcome. All top schools now have Round 1 decisions in December so clearly you’ve got that part working.
For Round 2… there is not the same level of urgency in getting these decisions back to people. If you can find a way to be a little less Scrooge-like in where you set your January deadline, and not make it in that very first week of the month, well, on behalf of future applicants everywhere, we will thank you!!!!
Update 5/11/16: Harumph. We’ve seen four schools release Class of 2019 dates and the only shift so far is that Harvard moved its Round 2 decision date up by a week. Not exactly the change we were looking for. -ES