If you’ve submitted college applications that were due January 1st, you may have received letters, postcards, or email notifications that a part of your application is missing. While you may have submitted your application online, teacher recommendations and evaluations, school reports, transcripts, and standardized test score reports are, for the most part, sent via regular mail. However, if you have received a letter, email, or logged on to see your application status and found out that a part of your application is missing, just know that it usually isn’t missing. Most likely, it just isn’t filed yet. Sometimes, though, it’s misfiled.
College Admissions Offices Are Deluged with Mail
It might help to know that colleges face a mountain of admissions mail every day — mail that requires very systematic and careful handling. As a result, there is typically a reasonable delay between the time your documents arrive at the admissions office and the time they are processed and placed into your file. You see, admissions offices are deluged with mail. Here is but a sampling of just how overwhelmed admissions officers are: “I wish I had a photo that I could send you of thousands of pieces of mail sitting in the mail bins waiting to be processed…We estimated that we received over 100,000 pieces of information for our freshman applicants alone last year (each application requires Part I & Part II, or the Common App. and our Supplement, the Secondary School Report, the high school transcript, test scores, and at least one letter of recommendation.)” Or “We never receive a complete application all in one envelope since we require that ACT/SAT scores be sent to us directly from the testing agency. There always are sorting and matching processes that must take place daily since we receive hundreds (sometimes thousands) of applications, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc. each and every business day!”
Don’t Panic If You’re Notified Parts of Your Application Are Missing
So if you get a note from a college saying that a piece of your application is missing, there’s no need to panic! The material in question is usually in the admissions office, somewhere in those stacks of mail. Admissions offices, too, are under pressure to get all of the folders complete so that applications can be read and evaluated in a timely manner. And so, as a result, the letters regarding missing information go out automatically. If your transcript is missing, speak with your counselor. If a letter of recommendation is missing, speak with the teacher who promised to send a letter on your behalf. If your official standardized test scores are missing, check with The College Board or ACT. In the meantime, keep checking your online application status and, if necessary, call the college and ask the receptionist if they can look through your file.
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