Apologies for the lack of updates the past couple of weeks. The pace in the Office of Admission at this time of year can only be described as fast and furious. After battling Mother Nature twice to release our Scholars notifications on January 31 and a delayed release of Early Decision II notification on February 17, the staff has been hunkered down processing and evaluating Regular Decision applications. With a goal to complete first-reads by March 10 and then three weeks of committee work to meet a decision release by April 1, we have little time for non-application review activities.
We’re discussing today a common practice in the college admission process known as the “likely letter.” A likely letter is a notification sent by the admission committee to a select handful of applicants in advance of the official release of admission decisions. This letter informs these highly accomplished applicants that the admission committee finds their application quite impressive and the likelihood of their admission is strong. Though a likely letter is not an official letter of acceptance and conditions are included in the letter encouraging students to maintain their academic performance and strong personal conduct, in almost all situations these letters foreshadow a student’s admission.
The Emory University Office of Undergraduate Admission has not pursued the practice of sending likely letters to applicants in the past, but this year it was decided to release a handful of such letters at the end of February. The landscape of highly selective college admission becomes more competitive each year. It is our belief that by sending an early communication to some of our strongest candidates in our Regular Decision applicant pool, they will “feel the love” and think more fondly of Emory as their future destination. It is also a chance to invite these students to plan an April admitted student campus visit in advance.
Though less than 10% of our future admitted students will receive this communication, we know that word can spread quickly and lead to many questions. Therefore, in the spirit of transparency, we felt it important to discuss this new practice for Emory and answer some of those anticipated questions.
How many students will receive a “likely letter?”
Less than 300 letters were released to Regular Decision applicants to Emory College. Oxford College did not release any such likely notifications, but last week did send approximately 30 early acceptance letters.
How will I know if I am getting such a letter?
We sent an email to those students receiving this notification and informed them to check the Communications Center of their OPUS account. Our likely letters are not mailed but uploaded to a student’s OPUS Communication Center as a new, unread notification.
Please do not contact our office to inquire whether you have been selected to receive this updated notification. If no new letter appears in your OPUS Communication Center then you are not one of the selected students. Unfortunately, our communications staff cannot check your status if you call or email.
I got a letter. Do I have to reply? Does this mean I am admitted?
First of all, congratulations on your achievements thus far. Please review the letter carefully as it explains clearly the purpose of the notification. There is no need to reply, just accept the letter as a celebration of your strong accomplishments. However, note that this is not a formal offer of admission and your application will continue to be reviewed by the admission committee. As the letter explains, a review of your mid-year report will still need to take place, and there is an expectation that you maintain your academic performance and personal conduct. We only sent these letters to students that are the strongest in our applicant pool, so if nothing drastically changes with your application in the next month, you can expect to receive an official admission offer by April 1.
If I don’t get one of these letters, what does that say about my chances for admission?
Nothing. As explained above, only a very small handful of Regular Decision applicants received this notification. This is approximately less than 10% of the students who will be admitted Regular Decision. The vast majority of applicants do not receive a likely letter, and not receiving a letter does not reveal anything about one’s chances for admission. There are many other strong applicants out there and offers of admission to be issued in a month.
We understand that knowing that other applicants received a sneak preview of potential good news can be frustrating and even disheartening. Do not read that much into this. There are many other students in our applicant pool that the admission committee will be excited to admit in a few weeks. The wait can be agonizing and we respect that. The light at the end of the tunnel nears, and we thank you for your continued patience.
Please feel free to post a comment to this blog entry if you have a question not addressed above. We will attempt to answer your question as best as possible.