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In this week’s installment in the Real Talk series, we cover the role of second-hand information in the application process. 

Real talk: the admissions process can be overwhelming. We know applicants often hear from a wide range of voices and seek out guidance from many different sources (including this blog, hopefully!) as they prepare their applications. And we know it can feel paralyzing to parse through so much information. When it comes to applying to HLS, we want to make sure every applicant has equal access to information. So here’s our advice on finding reliable sources of application related insight.

First, suffice to say, we have mixed feelings about online communities. We appreciate that they give some applicants an opportunity to feel less alone in this process and it is lovely to see moments of support amongst strangers. (And yes, some of the memes are rather funny). But there’s a real danger to obsessing and a sincere risk to taking others’ words as uncontested truth. There have been countless moments where we’ve had to resist the urge to log on to an online platform in order to calm someone’s anxieties or correct misinformation, whether outdated or ill-intentioned.

The reliance on second-hand information and its effect on applicants has been a big driver in constructing a more transparent admissions process. We understand there’s a great deal of unease in submitting your application, unsure of what the result might be and when it might come. We hope the work we are continuing from last cycle, from committing to acceptance release dates to logging on to Instagram to share an update on the day’s activity, offers some peace of mind – or at least some sense of certainty.

More than that, we want everyone to have equal access to information about our process, beyond an inside look into our timeline. It’s why this summer we were open about the fact that you likely won’t be considered for admission off the waitlist without expressing your continued interest in a letter. It’s why Dean Jobson launched a podcast. It’s why we’re doing this real talk series! We don’t want to penalize applicants for not having information that others might have only because their resources afforded it.

Trust there are no tricks we’re hoping you figured out from a message board. There’s no secret test you pass if you happen to send a thank you after your interview. We take your application much more seriously than that. The process of putting together a class is both a science and an art – but it’s most certainly not a game.

We understand there’s a lot we can’t share, because we don’t always know what the future holds and we don’t know what’s going to happen to your particular file (even during the review process). Rest assured that we will continue to make transparency a priority and share information worth knowing when we can. Hopefully the result is that we have done our part to provide all applicants equal insight into what to expect from the cycle and what they can do in support of their applications.