April 1, 2010
Stay thirsty, my friends
From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...
I know the last time I mentioned writing exceptional admission requests for international students, you were all clamoring with anticipation to hear more about what that entails. Wait no longer friends, I'm here to elaborate.
Sometimes an international student doesn't technically have the required credentials to matriculate into our university, and when that's the case, we write a letter saying that yes, we're aware of this and for XXX reasons, we want them in our program anyway. It used to be more of a formality than a real requirement, but that was before the central admissions department became THE MOST IMPORTANT PLACE IN THE WORLD. (Not to be confused with the Most Interesting Man in the World.)
So anyway, last year I wrote a bunch of letters, sent them off, and our students were let in without a hitch. This year, however, there's a new sheriff in town and she apparently doesn't trust us to decide who we do and don't want in our program, so she's requiring supporting documentation (letters of rec, transcripts and the like) to justify our offering admission to someone that they deem unqualified. I told her that we never had to do that before and she said it's always been a requirement, which is a total lie, but I wasn't in the mood to talk to her about anymore after she yelled the following at me over the phone:
"You just sent these letters with NO SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS!! HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO SHOW THIS TO THE DEAN?!"
Oh, God, not the dean! He has the authority to kill people! Oh wait, no he doesn't. So, as I'm sure you were expecting, an open letter to the bitch who thinks special circumstance admissions processing is a matter of life and death:
Chill the hell out.
PS: Your requirements are super generic and apply to all disciplines, making the assumption that what makes a good chemical engineering student also makes a good modern dance student, but that's bonkers. Special circumstances exist. Please trust our admissions committee to know better than you what kind of student we want.
About 10 minutes after my little lecture, another woman from their office called me, not knowing I had already been berated for my lack of supplemental documents. Her voicemail went a little like this "Hello, S, I've got your exceptional admit letters, but it doesn't look like you have any supporting documents with them and we really need those before we take it to the dean. Could you please send some over? Thanks!"
Nice. Normal. A proportional response. She seems like a rational person with a clear understanding of the relative level of importance of what she does for a living in comparison with oh, say, a heart surgeon or President Obama. I give her 6 months in that office, tops.