Don’t Freak Out 2011

With the Richmond Scholars deadline today, we have a lot of anxious students and parents on the phone, asking whether their applications are complete and everything has arrived. I know you want to confirm everything as soon as possible, but please take a deep breath and… wait. We’re dealing with thousands of applications, and, even after the different parts of your application arrive here, it can take a little while for everything to come together in the same place. We have an incredible operations staff who meticulously file everything away, but with the volume we’re receiving, it takes some time. So don’t pick up that phone to call us just yet! Here’s what you need to know first, and this can help make the process much smoother and less stressful for all of us.

When you apply, here’s what will happen from your perspective:

• Shortly after submitting your application electronically, you should get an e-mail from the Common Application confirming your submission.

• Within three or four business days of our receiving your application, you should receive an e-mail from our office acknowledging that we have received it and reminding you of the other required pieces (transcript, letter of recommendation, etc.) This is not to say that we have not received those pieces already – it is a form e-mail that goes out to everybody who applies, not a specialized e-mail telling you we’re missing those things.

• Within two weeks of applying, you will receive a letter in the mail, which will give you a login and password for BannerWeb, our online filing system. Using that information, you can log in and actually see which pieces of your application we have received and which we haven’t. Make sure you keep that letter – while we do our best to let you know if we’re missing anything, it is ultimately your responsibility to check and make sure your application is complete.

And, for the curious, here’s why it happens this way, based on how things happen on our end:

• You click “Submit” on the Common Application.

• Every morning, a member of our operations staff downloads all of the applications from Common App that have been submitted in the previous 24 hours. (Note that the applications don’t automatically come to us − this is a common misconception. We have to go get them from Common App, and it’s a manual daily process.)

• The applications have to be entered into our application processing/tracking system, BannerWeb. This takes some time (a day or two) when we’re dealing with hundreds of applications on a daily basis and making sure everything is done accurately.

• Once an application is safely in BannerWeb, we send the e-mail to let you know that we’ve received it. This e-mail is generated automatically once per day (so any applications entered after it is sent won’t get the e-mail until the following business day).

• The applications are printed out, one at a time. A unique folder is created for each application. Each folder is cross-referenced against any materials that have already been received/filed for the same student (e.g. if your high school sent your school report and transcript earlier, or if letters of recommendation have already arrived).

• Once applications are safely in our giant, super-high-tech filing cabinet (seriously, you should see it), we send the letter with your login information for BannerWeb, so you can see for yourself what’s been entered in our system. This letter is generated and printed once every other day. We wish we could just send an e-mail – it would be quicker and more frequent – but University policy and FERPA don’t allow us to provide login and password information by any method but print. (This is also why we can’t give you your login/password over the phone.)

• At various points, other materials will be submitted, either electronically or through the mail, by your school and/or references. Once received, these materials are sorted, matched with the proper application, and entered into BannerWeb. We’re receiving more than one thousand pieces of mail per day at this time of year, so this can take a little time.

As long as all of your materials are postmarked or submitted electronically by the proper deadline, you should be good to go. If you receive our letter two weeks later, log into BannerWeb, and discover that something is missing, that is the time to call our office – and don’t worry, because even after the deadline we will be able to accept materials, if for some reason they did not make it here in the first place. We would rather you wait until you receive the letter, check BannerWeb for yourself, and call us after the deadline, than call us sooner, when materials might still be in the mail or in processing and we can’t confirm anything for you.

There’s been some confusion this year about the deadline for the Richmond Supplement. Our website says everything is due December 1 for the Richmond Scholars deadline, while the supplement itself says that it is not due until December 15. We apologize for any confusion this has caused; really, we’d prefer to receive the supplement as close to the December 1 deadline as possible, but because some students are not notified about the supplement until after they submit the Common Application, we wanted to avoid causing undue stress. It’s fine if your Richmond Supplement is submitted after December 1, as long as you have it in by the 15th. (This is true, too, for other materials like high school transcripts; we know that some schools will be late in submitting them, and we won’t penalize you for that.)

So the message is: don’t freak out. We’ve got you covered.


  1. Price Bruno
    Posted December 5, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the info. – very helpful to know what is going on in the Admissions Office. Sounds a bit stressful on your end too!

    • Tom
      Posted December 5, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      You’re welcome, Price. It is a bit stressful on our end – and I haven’t even covered the actual review process, which is equally meticulous and time-consuming (more to come on that in a later post). I like to say that this time of year is time for high school students to relax and focus on their senior year, once their applications are all submitted, and let the stress pass to us for a couple of months.

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