March 5

A Day in the Life of an Application Reader

By Stacey Milton

Stacey Milton, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions

Getting ready to read some apps! (yes, that sweatshirt is as cozy as it looks)

Although most of what we do here at BU Admissions is very collaborative, our staff must read through tens of thousands of applications before we are ready to embark on the committee work that results in the selection of our class. Most of this initial reading happens solo, often in the comfort of our own homes, away from the office. We call these “reading at home” days—I like to think of them as “pajama days” or “quality time with the cat” days. As we are about to transition away from this time spent at home, we thought you may like to see where, and how, the bulk of the application review happens! Warning—it’s not glamorous.

French press coffee

The application reader's breakfast of champions.

8:00 a.m.
Time to wake up! While many of my colleagues are up and at it well before eight, I like to get some extra zzz’s. Often this means reading well into the late evening, but I’ve always been a night owl. First thing: coffee—strong and from a French press—with just a dash of hazelnut. Today’s background music: the James Brown Pandora station.

10:00 a.m.
Break from reading to answer some emails, and have a little breakfast with the Today show on in the background. I like that my days at home allow for some Al Roker.

10:45 a.m.
Back to the grindstone, and my cat has made herself comfy next to me on the couch. I think Chloe enjoys my being home more than I do and many files are read with a nice, warm lapcat. Time to switch up the music, too; I’m listening to a lot of XM radio and discovering new music lately. Another perk of being home all day, and I’ve learned that many of the bands will be swinging through Boston, so my spring concert card is quickly filling up.

1:30 p.m.

Stacey's cat, Chloe.

Full disclosure: Chloe is an invaluable resource in the decision making process.

Time for lunch, and a change of scenery. I live in a one-bedroom apartment, so this means moving from the couch to the kitchen table. I’m about halfway through my goal for the day. We are often asked if we read every application – the twitch in my right eye is a pretty good indication of the answer to that question. We have a large staff, so we read our regional files initially, and then help out in areas where we receive a heavier volume. It’s a lot of work, but even in the depths of winter, it’s exciting to remember the goal we are all working toward – building the next great class of BU Terriers.

4:00 p.m.
I stashed some goodies from the office snack wall in my bag before leaving yesterday, so this next hour is sponsored by Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. We are already planning our travel for admitted student events this spring, so I just purchased my tickets for a trip to Dallas and Houston in April. I’ve never been to the Lone Star State, and I’m looking forward to new travels and some quality BBQ.

5:00 p.m.
Break time! I always slow down in the afternoon, and find that I am pretty easily distracted. Funny how some things don’t seem to change as you get older. Today is a laundry day – I know, fascinating – so it’s time to throw in a load of whites and clear the head a bit before reading some more.

7:00 p.m.
Dinner from my favorite Thai place and a little relaxation. Time to catch up on some DVRed shows – there’s nothing like The Walking Dead to calm your nerves after a long day. I made good progress in reading today – I generally average between 40 to 50 applications when I devote a whole day to reading.

10:00 p.m.
Time to double check my travel plans for tomorrow – I’m headed to Philadelphia for a program at one of my schools, so I’ll be hopping on the train in the early morning. Now for some last-minute packing and prepping, The Daily Show, and then it’s off to bed!

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