Top scholars, athletes get ‘likely’ letters from Office of Admission

By
Thursday, April 12, 2007

While most regular decision applicants to Brown waited nervously for their admission decisions late last month, some students could rest easy in the knowledge that a fat envelope was headed their way.

The Admission Office sent out 75 “likely” letters, most of which went out in the second week of March, to top academic students. “It’s the first time we’ve done it in a number of years,” said Dean of Admission Jim Miller ’73. “We’re always looking for ways to enhance our recruiting efforts.”

The Ivy League Admissions Statement – a set of rules governing admission to Ivy League schools, signed by the directors of admission and athletics from each school – states that admission offices can send likely letters to both early and regular admission candidates after Oct. 1. The statement describes likely letters as formal letters of admission conditioned on a candidate’s continued “satisfactory secondary school experience.”

“I truly don’t know why it wasn’t done in past years,” Miller said. “We decided to do it essentially as a way to reach some of our top students early in the process and to bring Brown to their attention as early as some of our competition.”

Miller said Dartmouth College and Harvard University also send likely letters to outstanding applicants.

The recent batch of likely letters was in addition to 35 likely letters sent to recruited athletes in the fall. Ivy League schools cannot offer athletic scholarships and will often use likely letters to attract student-athletes with time-sensitive scholarship offers from other institutions. William Fitzsimmons and Janet Rapelye – the deans of admission at Harvard and Princeton University, respectively – announced last fall that they will continue to send likely letters to athletes, despite their institutions’ decisions to discontinue early admission programs as of next year.

In addition to likely letters, the Office of Admission takes other measures to promptly contact admitted students. International applicants receive their acceptance letters by express mail, Miller said. All admission letters were sent on March 28 at midnight, and Kartika Chaudhary – who lives in Gurgaon, Haryana in India – received her acceptance letter on March 31.

“I was really surprised to hear from the University so fast! It was rather quick and I was pleasantly surprised,” Chaudhary wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

“We send (international letters) on overnight mail because the mail for a lot of the countries takes a very long time,” Miller said. “We get them out as quickly as we can.”

“We do also have decisions available on the Web site, but some students can’t get access to it,” he added.