It’s Sunday evening and I’m sitting here at my desk looking at the work ahead of me for the upcoming week.  We are almost done.  All first round decisions should be finalized this week.  I know many of you have been waiting… and waiting… and waiting for a decision.  As I have mentioned to some of you in recent phone calls, I know that the process can be agonizingly slow.  At the end of each season I take stock and try to find ways to make things move more quickly.  This year -if we manage to finish up this week as anticipated – we’ll be about two weeks ahead of schedule, but there is still room for improvement.  Granted, speeding up the process is not the primary concern – the thorough and detailed review of each file takes precedence, of course, but if there is a way to become more efficient I am willing to explore it.  Now, you and I both know there is a very quick way to reach a decision – look only at the numbers and skim everything else – but that is so antithetical to our philosophy here at SLS and that idea will never take hold.  It is not a numbers game to us.  Of great importance to us as we make our decisions is how each member of the class will contribute to his or her classmates’ experience.  What will you learn from your fellow students?   And what will they learn from you?  How do you create a class with this in mind if you pay homage to the numbers only?  You don’t – it would be impossible.  So, we march on with our process, refining it as necessary, and continue to do the best we can in creating a class that enters SLS brimming with all kinds of experiences and talents.

My job is, at times, a most unenviable one.  Letting candidates know that the good news will not be forthcoming is not a task I relish.  Signing those letters is tough – no doubt about it.  As the end of the season nears, I have to let some candidates go whose files I’ve been holding on to just trying to see if I can fit them in.  You may not realize it, but many of you get multiple reviews by me and I get to know you quite well.  This is a one-sided relationship, I know, and it is common knowledge that one-sided relationships are not healthy, but it works in the admissions world.  I also realize that applicants sometimes hold me responsible for forcing their life plan to veer off path and I am not surprised when someone reacts in an unusual way upon hearing unpleasant news from me.  So, let me tell you a story from a few years ago. One unhappy candidate sent me a little package in the mail with a not-so-nice note about my karma being completely negative.  How could it be otherwise if I am the bearer of such bad news to so many people over so many years?  His answer to get my karma back on track?  Glow-in-the dark karma string.  Who knew such a thing existed?  I’ve never seen them anywhere.  Glow-in-the dark stars, glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs, of course, but karma string?  In the package I found yards of it with instructions to hang the string around my office.  I got a good laugh out of it as did my colleagues when I told them all about it.  Bad karma?  I’m not convinced.  I know I am the bearer of bad news for some people, but I remain convinced that other opportunities will turn up.  What is that oft-repeated saying?  When one door closes, another one opens.  SLS is not the only law school in the country and I know many of you will take up your law studies at another fine school.  Or not.  Maybe you’ll try a different path.  Maybe you’ll take advantage of a job that’s just come your way.  Maybe you’ll take the trip you’ve been thinking about for years.  Maybe you’ll work for a few years and discover something else you are passionate about.  Maybe you’ll reapply when the time is right again for you.  Maybe you’ll explore other areas of interest.  Maybe you’ll open one of those other doors.

Please don’t send any glow-in-the-dark karma string…

3 Responses to Almost Done…
  1. This entry was an encouraging one– thanks.

  2. Thanks for the post! Any idea when wait list movement might begin?

  3. A former student worker of mine sent me a link to this blog entry via Twitter this afternoon and what a pleasure to read these thoughts. I am just finishing a long day of reading undergraduate admissions applications for Johns Hopkins University and it was nice to read such eloquent words on how the process works from this side of the desk. We are just at the start of the long arduous journey of reading close to 20k applications by the end of March, but your comments about the attention that is paid to applications by admissions professionals rang true tonight. Thanks for sharing, and best wishes from a compatriot.

    Daniel Creasy
    Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions
    Johns Hopkins University

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