Memoirs of an Application

By Maria and Tom

This is a story. The story of my life. The exciting life of a University of Richmond college application.

My first memory: cyberspace. After carefully considering colleges and universities across the United States, my applicant decided it was time to submit their application to several competitive schools. My applicant spent a great deal of time thinking about extracurricular activities and leadership, crafting an essay, and putting me together in a way that would make me an accurate representation of their character and accomplishments. When I was finally prepared, proofread, and ready to go, I found myself zooming through cyberspace to the University of Richmond.

The next few days are a blur in my mind. I remember being printed and placed in a folder specifically created for me – it even had my applicant’s name on the tab! Then I had a bit of a growth spurt, as I received my applicant’s transcript, letters of recommendation, and other supporting materials. Before I knew it, I was carefully placed alphabetically into a rather cozy filing drawer.

And suddenly I found myself surrounded by other applications from all over the United States and the world! We became friends quickly. Some of us were Common Applications, while others were Richmond Web Applications, but we were all there for the same purpose. I became fast friends with my next-door neighbors, and I have very fond memories of times spent together during those early days, sharing our applicants’ stories with each other.

Then, one day, one of my neighbors disappeared. I wasn’t sure what happened, but I was soon to find out, for my own turn came shortly afterward.

It didn’t seem like a long journey, but I was entering a different stage in my life as I traveled to the desk of my regional officer. There were only a few of us there, and since none of us had been there before, we nervously chatted about what might happen next. When we discovered that we were there to tell our applicants’ stories, the nervousness gave way to a strong sense of excitement. It was time to shine!

I was happy to find that the regional admission officer spent time getting to know my applicant and taking detailed notes. She examined the rigor of my applicant’s curriculum, spent time reading and highlighting the essay and letters of recommendation, noted the grades and standardized test scores, and reviewed my applicant’s involvement, both in and out of high school.

When she was finished, the reader took me home and returned me to my filing drawer. It still felt just like home – and my neighbor was back, too – but I now felt a new sense of accomplishment. I had done my job: my applicant’s story was told, loud and clear.

A few days later, it happened again! I had the opportunity to tell my applicant’s story a second time, to a different reader. Working with the second reader was a very different experience. I heard an older application say that different readers bring their own unique perspectives when reading us; I could definitely see how the second reader’s comments were different than the first reader’s, but together they made a more complete picture of my applicant.

After hanging out at home in the file drawer again for a few weeks, I found myself headed to a new place once again. Many of us made this journey together in a smaller, rolling file cart… we were off to Committee!

Committee was different than anything I had experienced so far. First of all, there were many admission officers there, each presenting a different applicant to the group. It was exciting to hear the stories of applications I hadn’t met before, from the far-off drawers of W and Z.

When it was my turn, I was surprised at how well the regional officer was able to capture the essence of my applicant. She made sure to emphasize my applicant’s strong academic accomplishments in a very rigorous program, highlighted my applicant’s test scores, and quoted portions of the essay. She also discussed my applicant’s involvement – especially those areas of significant commitment and leadership, in school and in the community. Some of the other officers had questions, and the regional officer provided thorough answers. After some more discussion, the committee made a decision… I was admitted!!

While I was thrilled to be admitted, I know that not all of my drawer-mates received the same decision. Although the University of Richmond’s smaller size is one of its defining characteristics, it also means that not all applications can be admitted. Some of the applications in my drawer decided to accept a place on the wait-list, while others were denied. I know that all of their applicants will end up enrolling at a school that is just the right fit for them.

As you can see, it’s been quite an experience! I’ve accomplished my purpose, and now I can retire with all of my friends to the archives. After spending so much time here at Richmond myself, I know it’s the perfect place for my applicant, who has already sent in a deposit. I can’t wait for all the new students to start their own experience here!


  1. Shelby Peterson
    Posted January 25, 2008 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    I have been checking the mail everyday and emails just as often.
    I even read the admission blog just to keep me going in the hope I might get some inside “scoop”on how much longer I might have to wait.
    Your memoir of an application gave me a sense of relief that “I” will really be represented through the people who pour over the details I worked so hard to share. It feels good to understand the process and that all of the items I sent will be looked at and considered. I am off to check the mail! Thanks for the blog!
    Shelby Peterson

  2. Maria
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad the post helped you to understand a bit of our process. It certainly was a fun one to write!

    If you’ve applied ED to the University, you should expect your decision letter on or around February 15. But, if you’ve applied as a regular decision candidate your letter won’t be mailed until around April 1. I know time seems to creep by as you await your decision… we’ve all been there!


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