If you've applied to Oberlin, you're probably getting a bit anxious right now, wondering when to expect a decision letter from us. You may also be wondering what's going on in the Admissions Office right now, so this is your update.
First things first: the date that we mail our decision letters is not definite, but will not be any earlier than March 25. So hold off on your obsessive mailbox-checking for a couple more weeks.
Second thing: No, we don't email our decision letters (unless you're not in the U.S.), or have a way for you to look up our decision online. Sorry. You are at the mercy of the U.S. Postal Service. (We also won't tell you your decision if you call us up, wanting to know before the letter arrives, because personally rejecting people is no fun.)
Now that that's out of the way, here is what we've been up to: At this point, unless you completed your application really late, your application has been read twice and we have talked about you in committee at least once. We have probably made a tentative decision about you. We do still have some committee meetings scheduled to talk about students that, for various reasons, we didn't make a decision on the first time we talked about them.
You might think that, once we have made a decision, we could just mail you a letter right away. Unfortunately, things aren't quite that simple. Because our incoming class is ultimately quite small, and because we care not just about individual students, but also about how the class as a whole looks, we go through a "double-checking" stage after we have made all of our initial decisions.
In the "double-checking" stage, we look for a variety of things. It gets a bit complicated, but the general idea is that we want to make sure that the decisions we have made over the past few months are consistent with each other (example: if we admitted weaker students during our early committees, and then rejected stronger students in later committees, that's something we would want to correct), and that the incoming class as a whole meets all of the goals we have set for this year (example: if we haven't admitted the right number of students to meet our target enrollment number, that would be a problem). So some changes to our initial decisions are made at this stage.
After all the final decisions are made, we still have to review all of our admitted students for merit scholarships before the letters go out, which takes a bit of time, as does actually preparing to mail out 6000 letters.
So at this point, the admissions staff is starting to relax a bit, because we no longer have hundreds of files to read, but we still have a bit of work to do before we can welcome you to the Oberlin class of 2014!