Dear Heidi:Given that numbers of applicants are down, I cannot say with confidence that our school's number of "ghosted" applicants is any different from preceding years. I would however recommend a few things that might help with these situations. As a school we clearly state the response time needed in our admissions letters, but we also use WebAdMIT to monitor the status of that correspondence. We also use shared offers and shared acceptances reports as a part of this process. A few years ago when we were seeing this behavior, we added another letter in our correspondence to applicants that were near deadline or just passed it before we "cut them loose." This letter gives them specific language that denotes we are aware they received our offer of admission (eg. the e-mail letter was opened, etc.), do they have additional questions for which they need answers before they can make an informed decision about our offer etc. Then we ultimately give them 48 hours to respond after which time we rescind their offer. We feel this clearly communicates to the applicant that they have standards they are expected to meet to enter the profession and our program, but that we as a school do not want to miss out on the opportunity to have them join our program if there has been a "technology" glitch or some other issue that is delaying them in making a commitment to us. We also believe that using this 48 hour letter gives the urgency in response while still providing courtesy to the applicant as indicated above. We believe that this "rescinded" decision, in this example for those who are "ghosting" us, will be ultimately shared with schools (those programs with whom we share the applicant in common) on end of year reports that something occurred which caused us to rescind an offer. Given the end of year reports are one way in which we assess our work, we think this helps competing schools to understand that our program offered a position to that applicant that was later rescinded. It also keeps those who "ghosted" us as appearing a legitimately withdrawn applicants, a category that would be misleading in evaluating your programs admissions process in comparison to peers.Personally, I believe that "ghosting" is an unprofessional behavior and therefore should be considered a violation of the Applicant Code of Conduct, but I'm not entirely sure how others within the academy might feel about that. In today's busy world, I am sure I am guilty of unintentional ghosting behavior so I should entirely be casting stones. While I had hoped the Cooperative Admissions Guidelines would address some of this behavior, the guidelines have not entirely accomplished this since not all schools participate in their use. Of course, technology is not perfect, and things do happen with e-mail systems, spam filters, etc.; however, given today's announcement regarding the change to the Code of Conduct process, it might be worth visiting the idea that failure to respond to offers of admission within the allotted time frame as communicated by the offering school be considered a violation of the code. Maybe a violation is too harsh, so at the very least, it could be handled in the same manner as the interview no-show policy is currently.Having served on the Applicant Code of Conduct Committee since its inception, I am pretty passionate about appropriate applicant behavior. Of course professionalism is a two way street and in light of "Varsity Blues" court cases, the recent NACAC decision from the Department of Justice, etc. regarding admissions practices, I think it is a good time to consider this concept now. It will not only help us with clarity about what is expected of applicants but that we also take the time to reflect critically on the practices we have in our admissions processes. In light of current pharmacy admissions climate with declining applicant pools, job market uncertainties, etc. the pressure on us as admissions officers is higher than I have felt it during the course of my career. So, I welcome you and others within the academy to keep this thread/discussion going. Perhaps it is a concept that can be taken to the PharmCAS Advisory Committee, on which I currently serve, that can continue our collective discussions surrounding applicant and school responsibilities.Ghosting is a frustrating behavior that we all face to some degree, so thank you for positing your question!Warm Regards,Jenn
I disagree. From my perspective, failing to respond to an offer of admission prior to the posted deadline is simply a passive withdrawal from the program and that is how we record it within the system. "Offer Rescinded" should be reserved for situations where the applicant committed an egregious act whereby they became no longer eligible to be admitted into the program. Whether or not we like it, with an available seats to applicant ratio that is very close to 1:1, for qualified applicants virtually all of the "game cards" are in their favor. They are receiving multiple offers and they do not always feel it is necessary to "close the loop" by formally withdrawing following acceptance.
To answer the original question, I can't say that we've had a significant change in the number of applicants who do not respond to our offers. We do, however, make several attempts to contact with them prior to the deadline.
Steven Davis, MAPsy
Director of Admissions
Touro University California
Marlon Prince, MBA
Director of Admissions and Recruitment
Howard University, College of Pharmacy
2300 4th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20059
Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I am able to adjust our process a bit by taking your suggestions into account and am most grateful.
I guess it is up to each college to determine how they view the lack of response and how they define egregious. Personally, I feel that it is enabling to accept that they do not always feel it is necessary to close the loop, but sadly, it is a reality.
Though they are not yet 'professionals' and it is our job to teach and model professionalism, we have to set the bar at some point. We are prepared to expect a response to our offer of admissions as a minimum standard, especially since we note the importance of responding to the offer both on our interview day and in all of our correspondence, formal and text.
Once again, with gratitude,
Imagine Your Future
Touro College of Pharmacy, est. 2008
Celebrating 11 years of training the
next generation of pharmacists!
Assistant Dean Admissions and Enrollment Management