OPUS Explained

Hi! My name is Dree Magee and I am the Visit Experience Coordinator for the Office of Undergraduate Admission at Emory University. In addition to trying to make your visit to Emory memorable, I am a member of the Public Relations Team with my colleagues Rachel and Ally. A main collective role of our team is to answer questions that come to the Admission office by phone and email. During my three years at Emory I have spoken with countless applicants, parents, and counselors; through these interactions several application related issues have become apparent. One of the most confusing aspects of our application process seems to be centered around a student’s OPUS account. How do I access it? What does it mean when I do such and such? What does initiated mean? What is all this information?

This entry is designed to help our applicants sort out their OPUS account and understand what they are looking at. It’s a little long but I hope you read until the end because there is a ton of helpful details here. Let’s get started!

I applied, now what?

The submission of your Common Application AND Writing Supplement starts the process. It is important to note that our office does not immediately download your application from the Common Application. The download does not occur until both your Common Application and the Emory Writing Supplement are submitted successfully. About 48 hours (2 business days) after submission you will receive an email from our office letting you know your application has been received. This email is sent to the email address you used with your application and is sent from admission@emory.edu. We encourage you to approve admission@emory.edu as an email address you can receive communications from, so that important emails like this application received message does not go into your SPAM folder.



It is important to note item #1 in the letter. Just because you receive the email it does not mean you will instantly have access to your OPUS account. It is necessary to allow at least 48 hours from the time you receive the email to attempt to log in to your account for the first time; there are processes that go on behind the scenes that need this time to update.

After you have waited 48 hours, it’s time to log in for the first time. When you follow the link, you’ll see a screen that looks like this:



You will enter your date of birth and Social Security number. The email provides you instructions for what to do if you don’t have a SSN. Do note, that you may have a SSN but did not include this information in your Common Application so Emory does not have it. If this is the case for you, simply follow the instructions as if you don’t have one and it will ask for your email address instead (the one you used for your application.) NOTE: Make sure to save your initial password! The first thing you should do after logging in is change your password to something you will remember.

I’m logged in! What am I looking at?

If you have successfully logged in your screen looks like this:



Everybody’s view will look slightly different based on unchecked notifications and other personalized content, but in general this is what your basic OPUS home page will look like. This page is referred to as the Student Center and is the hub for all things you need to know. Here is a brief breakdown of keep content:

  • EMPLID: This is your unique student number and is referred to frequently when speaking with the admission office. It is the 7 digit number next to the Student Center header. In this case, James EMPLID is 0022365. (Don’t worry, James Dooley is a fake applicant we use to test our system.)
  • Academics Section: You can ignore this section, it will remain blank.
  • Finances Section: The account summary should say $0.00. This section really only becomes relevant after you have been admitted and enrolled.
  • Personal Information: This is the contact information we have on file for you, based on what you provided through your application.
  • Admission Section: This is where applicants view their admission decisions. When admission notifications become available, the “View Online Decision” link becomes active.

Aside from these sections, the right hand menu is going to be your main focus as an applicant. The first thing you want to review, pretty much every time you log in, is your To Do List. This option is on the right hand menu and is in the middle of the page (usually the 3rd or 4th option down). The To Do List will have diferent options like Admissions and Financial Aid that you click on to review the status of required application materials.


Above is an example of a To Do List. This is where you will see all of your applications materials that we are still working on processing for you. All of your materials will be marked as “Initiated.” We will get to what that means in just a moment. As we process your materials your individual items will disappear from the To Do List. The goal is for your To Do List to have zero items listed; when this happens your application is complete and ready to be reviewed by the Admission Committee.

What does initiated mean? Admittedly, this is probably the most confusing part of OPUS. We will use a teacher recommendation letter as an example. As you know, we need two teacher letters of recommendation for your application. Your To Do List may show Teacher Evaluation 1 or Teacher Evaluation 2 with a status of Initiated. This can mean one of two things:

1. We’ve received the letter but have not yet processed it.

2. We haven’t received the recommendation.

How are you to know which it is in your situation? You can first confirm with your teacher (or whoever is responsible for sending the document) that it has been sent. If it has, then you need to allow at least three weeks for our office to process the document. If some sort of problem was encountered when trying to submit a document via the Common Application or Naviance the document should be resubmitted to us as an email attachment to admission@emory.edu. If the item hasn’t been submitted, naturally we will need you to go ahead and submit it as soon as possible. If it has been sent and it’s been longer than three weeks you can send an email to admission@emory.edu specifying what the problem is so we can investigate it further for you.

The To Do List will include both your admission requirements and financial aid items (if you are applying for need-based financial aid). Do note the admission office does not handle the processing of any financial aid documentation  so you will need to contact the Office of Financial Aid with questions about financial aid application materials.

My To Do List is empty, is my application complete? Now what?

That is correct. When your To Do List is empty, your application is complete and under review. Now you patiently wait for decision release. Much easier said then done, I know. All admission decision notifications will be posted to your OPUS account on decision release day. See why it is important to know your way around OPUS? When the time for decision release draws near, we will send you an email telling you the day and time to check for your decision. Keep an eye on this blog for such announcements as well.

If you’ve made it all the way through this post, good job! If you skimmed through it but still feel like you understand how OPUS works, then I guess I can be happy with that too. Be sure to check out our #IAMEMORY student blogs for profiles of our awesome current students. Remember to continue to enjoy your senior year!

There are 9 comments left Go To Comment

  1. Bethlehem Demissie /

    Thank you so much! This blog is extremely helpful. I do have a question revarding Financial Aid though, does it matter whether or not I use 2012 IRS Form 1040 instead of an updated 2013 IRS form?

    Thank you so much for your help.

  2. Princess Faith Singleton /

    So informative! I’m glad I found this site.

  3. AdmissionDaniel /

    @Bethlehem – You will need to contact the Office of Financial Aid for an answer to your question: http://www.emory.edu/FINANCIAL_AID/contact-us.php

  4. Bethlehem Demissie /

    @AdmissionDaniel, I appreciate your help. Thank you.

  5. Pingback: Now What? | Inside Emory Admission /

  6. alassane /

    i don;t know why on opus account i am still having “emory undergraduate college and oxford college” while it is said” you do not have any pending application at this time” at the bottom .is it normal?

  7. AdmissionDaniel /

    @alassane – Can you explain your question more clearly. If you are an applicant to both Emory College and Oxford College, your OPUS account will list both applications.

  8. Sergio Perez /

    Hello, I applied and whenever I login into my portal, it still says that I need to submit my SSN. Whenever I click on the link to submit it, it only takes me to the OPUS login page. Is anyone else having the same issue?

  9. AdmissionDaniel /

    @Sergio Perez:
    Since you are experiencing issues setting up your OPUS account, you will need to contact Emory’s IT Service Desk at OPUSHELP@listserv.cc.emory.edu for information on how to proceed. The Office of Admission does not operate the OPUS system and is therefore unable to assist with such issues.

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