Our inboxes get flooded at this time of year — "this time of year" being the confluence of winter break, our Early Decision II deadline, and the looming Regular Decision deadline.
First off, thank you for your questions! We know this is not the easiest process, and it is certainly not stress-free. By reaching out, you're taking ownership of your process, and we respect that. You have counselors, parents, friends, peers, tumblr (shout out to the appblr community), and plenty of other resources at your disposal. But sometimes the answer you need is particular to your individual case or very specific to our requirements, and the best course of action is to either call us or send us an email.*
I wanted to take a few moments to address some of your questions, the ones we've been seeing time and again cross our screens. In November, I posted the Top 5 Emailed Questions from International Students and, while a few of those questions are applicable to all applicants, I wanted to address questions we've received at the main admissions email account.
So here goes, the top 5 emailed questions we received in fall 2014:
1. Can I do an interview with an alum in my area or by phone?
As of January 2nd, registration for alumni interviews — outside of our Off-Campus Interviews Days — is closed. We still have a few on-campus interview spots available, as well as Skype and phone interviews. We have an informational page where you can request an interview, and while we encourage every student to do an interview, they are only mandatory for home-schooled students or those who are graduating early from high school.
Please note that our last day to conduct interviews is January 30th. You will need to make your interview request well before this date.
2. What are music opportunities for non-music majors?
There are plenty of opportunities for non-music majors to take part in the music scene at Oberlin! There's the Arts and Sciences Orchestra. Various a capella groups. Secondary music lessons. Taiko. Musical theater. Jam sessions with the Punch Brothers:
I could list a ton more, but I'd much rather turn this over to the amazing bloggers who've lived the experience of making music at Oberlin. Here's a brief introduction:
And these are just a sampling of what you can do, music-wise, at Oberlin. There's also the Oberlin Stories Project for even more on music and musical opportunities as an Obie.
3. How do I submit arts supplements for art/dance/theater?
This year, you can actually check the status of your application materials online, so you'll know which pieces of your application we've received and which have yet to get to us. The email prompting you to establish your login credentials should reach you within 2 days of submitting your Common Application, so keep an eye on your inbox for that.
The important part here is that applicant portal. Once you've established your login username and password, you'll get to a page that will give you a bit more information about your possible intended major, financial aid info, and a link to submit your art supplement.
This is the only way we're accepting art supplements this year. We will not be able to evaluate your supplement if you send us a CD, or a DVD, or a packet of papers representing your life's work as a poet. The only way for us to view your art supplement as part of your application is by submitting it through the applicant portal.
If you can't access the portal, please email us!
4. Can you waive the fee to send my SAT score report to you?
If you have concerns about getting your official SAT or ACT score report to us, please email your regional counselor with your questions.
5. I'm taking the SAT in January. Will you still read my file?
I'm going to go ahead and borrow from myself here. As I mentioned in the Top 5 Emailed Questions from International Students, our review process is holistic. This means we read everything you send us in an attempt to get as full a picture of you as possible. Missing pieces mean a less developed portrait.
In our review process, we don't read incomplete files. It isn't fair to the students who have diligently completed their application, and it isn't fair to the students who haven't (yet). If your file is incomplete, we won't get a full picture of you as a candidate for admission.
If we don't have your scores, we'll email you. In extreme cases, we will read your application without your score report. You have to request this of us, and even then we will advise against it. With a competitive applicant pool full of students who are sending us their test scores along with a whole host of other information, it simply isn't to your advantage to be missing any piece. We want to see you, as clearly as we can, and make our determination based on all of that information.
I couldn't resist: one more from a Punch Brothers jam session! Photo by Yevgen Gulenko
I know you've got plenty of other questions — this was barely the tip of the question iceberg. Keep your questions coming!
And by the way, Happy New Year!!
*Besides each counselor's personal email, we have two general email accounts for the Admissions Office: college.admissions [at] oberlin.edu and international.admissions [at] oberlin.edu. The Conservatory Admissions Office can be reached at conservatory.admissions [at] oberlin.edu.