Oberlin Blogs

What's going on in the Admissions Office?

March 13, 2010

Elizabeth Houston ’06

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!

Responses to this Entry

Hi Elizabeth! I am an applicant from India. I was wondering when the decision letters for the international applicants will be emailed.
Thanks in advance,
- Shohini

Posted by: Shohini on March 13, 2010 2:48 PM

Do the conservatory letters go out the same time
as the college letters? Or do double degree majors
just get one letter?

Posted by: Karen on March 13, 2010 3:55 PM

As to conservatory letters... I know I was notified of my acceptance to the conservatory by email first (that was in 2008). Maybe that has changed, though.

Posted by: Megan on March 13, 2010 5:10 PM

If we did apply late, will that push our notification date back?

Posted by: :) on March 14, 2010 10:13 PM

Shohini, our target date for sending out international decisions is this Friday.

Karen, the Conservatory tries to send their letters at the same time as the College, so they are usually sent within a day of each other.

If your application was not complete until sometime in March, you might receive a delayed notification. But we do try to send all letters on the same day, so there is still a good chance that you will receive notification at the same time as everyone else.

Posted by: Elizabeth on March 15, 2010 9:17 AM


Posted by: Karen on March 15, 2010 10:18 AM

Thanks for the reply!

Posted by: Shohini on March 15, 2010 4:40 PM

Hi Elizabeth~ Most of my friends have got their results around this time, but those who applied for FA are still waiting. I wonder whether you have some kind of a "final list" among these applicants or you just haven't finished sending out all results. Thanks!

Posted by: Yuanshuai Cui on March 20, 2010 9:44 PM

Yuanshuai, all international students who had submitted complete applications were emailed on Friday.

Posted by: Elizabeth on March 22, 2010 8:47 AM

Elizabeth, would you mind checking my application status? I haven't got the email yet. Thanks!

Posted by: Yuanshuai Cui on March 22, 2010 10:56 PM

If you're an international applicant and haven't received a decision email, you should contact Charles Grim (cgrim@oberlin.edu) to find out why.

Posted by: Elizabeth on March 24, 2010 9:10 AM

This might be better on your GPA blog, but how much do you rely on teacher recommendations?

Posted by: An applicant's mom on March 24, 2010 3:19 PM


Posted by: Yuanshuai Cui on March 25, 2010 4:56 AM

Do you have an update on when the decision letters will be sent out? I know you said no earlier than today (March 25). Thanks.

Posted by: Anxiously waiting on March 25, 2010 9:53 AM

Letters are going out today! Keep your eye out for a post this afternoon (possibly with pictures)!

Posted by: Elizabeth on March 25, 2010 11:21 AM

@mom--I could write a whole entry on the effect of teacher recommendations (and perhaps I will soon), but the short answer is that, with holistic review, every part of the application is important, but not too important. The impact of a teacher rec will vary depending on what is said, and they have the most influence when they are particularly enthusiastic or notably unenthusiastic. They do have significantly less weight than an applicant's transcript.

Posted by: Elizabeth on March 25, 2010 11:27 AM

Do you know if conservatory letters go out by email or by mail as well? Do you know if they were also sent out today?

Posted by: rachty on March 25, 2010 12:10 PM

Rachty, my sources tell me that Conservatory letters are being mailed out today and tomorrow. I believe they are also only sent through postal mail.

Posted by: Elizabeth on March 25, 2010 4:19 PM

I am trying to find an email re requesting some info on scholarships for my dtr who will be a freshman this fall.
I am wondering if student is a music minor, bio major, would they be eligible for any scholarships?
Ann Spangler

Posted by: Ann Spangler on September 20, 2010 1:23 PM

Ann, all students are automatically considered for scholarships when they apply to Oberlin. If you have questions about a current student's award, you should contact the financial aid office. If your daughter is interested in applying for other scholarships, the best person to contact at Oberlin would probably be Carol Sedgwick, coordinator of fellowship advising.

Posted by: Elizabeth on September 20, 2010 3:23 PM

When should information on audition/interview acceptances be emailed/mailed? Don't I have to be accepted past a first-stage type thing before I get an interview, which I believe happen in February? (Composition) Not sure how it works. Thanks.

Posted by: Jimmy Morcaldi on January 22, 2011 6:34 PM

Jimmy, Conservatory admissions are handled by a separate department, and I don't know the answer to your question. You will need to contact the Conservatory Admissions Office or the Composition department to find out about your audition.

Posted by: Elizabeth on January 24, 2011 9:00 AM

Hi, I understand that this blog is from three years ago and probably doesn't have the most up to date information, but for my application status to the liberal arts college, should I assume that I'll get notice in the mail if anything hasn't been received yet or awaiting?

Posted by: Dane Skaar on January 6, 2013 6:33 PM

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