It's February 1. You may be thinking about Groundhog Day or Valentine's Day. Colleges, on the other hand, are thinking about how well all you Regular Decision (or deferred Early Action/Decision) applicants have been doing in school since your applications have been submitted.
The way the admissions folks keep an eye on you through this home stretch of the process is through the so-called Mid-Year Report (MYR). For college applicants, the importance of keeping up academic focus the whole way through senior year is reflected in the MYR, an important component of your college applications.
What is the Mid-Year Report and why should you be aware of it as part of your college process?
Nancy Griesemer, in a currently unavailable (for some reason) Web article, notes that "The Common Application ... issued a Facebook reminder to students and counselors that midyear reports need to be submitted as soon as first semester/trimester grades are available. ... So, every New Year for high school seniors begins with an alert that this important submission needs to be tended." She goes on to explain that not all colleges require the MYR. "For those that do, however, there is good reason. With the surge in applications submitted this year and the relative comparability of credentials among applicants, the midyear report is taking on greater importance. It’s no longer a “pro forma” document simply to be filed after admissions decisions are made."
Here's a reminder of that Facebook caution issued by the Common Application:
Counselors should submit MidYear Reports as soon as first semester/trimester grades are available. The Common App Online School Forms system does not send reminders about these forms, nor do counselors receive invitations to submit as they do with the Secondary School Report. It is the student's responsibility to keep track of this requirement and ensure that the counselor is aware of it.
The Universal Application's instructions state:
This form is developed for, and is to be used by, the members of the Universal College Application. All members evaluate this form equally with all other forms accepted by the institution.
Please complete the applicant information questions below, then give this form to your school counselor. For ease of submission, please provide your counselor with a stamped envelope addressed to each of the Universal College Application colleges to which you are applying.
What have some of the most knowledgeable college applicants said about the meaning and importance of the MYR? Let's check the College Confidential discussion forum for some high quality college knowledge.
In this thread, entitled "Midyear Reports," we see the following Q&A responses:
- How does a school like Harvard weight midyear reports? In reality, are they weighted equivalently with the rest of a transcript? More? Less?
- They matter. After all, your senior-year classes most closely approximate the difficulty and complexity of college classes. (At least, they should.) OTOH, a strong mid-year report won't make up for an otherwise lackluster transcript or mediocre standardized test scores.
- Every school in the country that values academics and school grades uses the midyear report as crazily important. Only if u are applying RD tho... because mid year report will have first semes grades and potentially FINAL class rank and basically the most up to date ur standing with ur classmates
- Mid-year reports are one-half of your senior year's grades; they are part of your overall transcript. I imagine all college's recalculate your GPA when they receive your mid-year report grades.
- These days, with most college applications being electronic, it's very easy for a college to include a student's mid-year report grades into their overall GPA. So yes, I think that colleges recalculate GPA's after a mid-year report has been received.
- One follow up question for anyone that might have an answer: Don't universities start reading regular decision applications as early as January? If that's the case, how can they take midyear reports (that often aren't released until February onwards) into account? Or am I safe to assume if a regular decision application doesn't have its midyear reports that a university won't begin reading it, yet?
- Admissions Officers need to start reading files are soon as they can to get through everyone's application. To do that, an Admissions Office usually waits until they have received your transcript, test scores and teacher recommendations before reading your file. Sub-committee members, which includes your Regional Admissions Officer, begin reading and start separating applications into piles of: clear admit, maybe, and clear reject. All those students that make it into the "clear admit" pile and some from the "maybe" pile will be brought before the entire Admissions Committee of about 40 people in March. By that time, everyone's mid-year report has been received.
In another thread, "Common App Mid Year Report," we find the following exchange:
- Ok this is probably a really dumb question, but how the heck do i send my mid year report for my counselor to fill out for the common app? I can't find a "send" anywhere on the common app...
- Print out the downloadable .PDF, and then hand it to your counselor. At least, that's what I did.
- Hmm... I thought that was the counselor's responsibility? We just kind of shove our info/addresses/postage fees at them and they take care of the rest while we shop for thank-you gifts...
- Well, don't "shove" it to him/her. It IS their responsibility, so just give it to them and say, "I need you to fill these out and send them to these colleges," and be sure to add a please and thank you. And if your school doesn't supply the info/addresses/postage fees (for some reason, mine does the minute you supply the list of schools), then give it to them in a big old folder, so that it's all self-contained.
- Remember, your applications are your responsibility. Your guidance counselor has a ton of students they are working with and it is the right thing for you to make their job as easy as possible. I suggest that all applicants check with their guidance counselors to see what is their specific school policy on mid-year school report submissions. Every school sets their own policy.
The keywords here are "your responsibility." Stay on top of your application process. Nancy G. (from above) adds further context to the MYR process:
Most midyear reports also provide counselors with the opportunity to bring colleges up-to-date on additional achievements, scores, or distinctions since the original application was filed. Be sure to let your counselor know if there’s anything worth reporting to the schools receiving these reports and ask that the information be included along with grades on the document forwarded to your colleges ... Note that the midyear report can be an important “marketing” opportunity for your counselor to support your candidacy. [As you might suspect, I love that word "marketing."] ...
What about colleges that don't use either the Common or Universal App? Nancy comments:
For colleges using neither the Common App nor the UCA, you will have to research the requirement on individual websites. Georgetown, for example, required its own midyear report to be submitted no later than February 10, 2013. Although somewhat apologetic, James Madison University clearly advises that midyear grades are a required part of the admissions process.
Among other local colleges, American, Catholic, George Washington, UVa, Christopher Newport University, Goucher, the College of William & Mary, Mary Washington, Randolph-Macon, University of Richmond, and Johns Hopkins require midyear reports. Towson, UMBC, Salisbury, McDaniel, St. John’s, and Marymount do not.
So, you can see that the MYR is a crucial part of your overall college application process. Don't be foolish and think that as soon as your applications went in, you can relax. Remember what I said about Senioritis:
For those of you who don’t know the term, Wikipedia defines senioritis as “… decreased motivation toward studies displayed by students who are nearing the end of their high school, college and graduate school careers.” That decreased motivation can also be caused by burnout … just too much educational pressure, after 12 (or more) years of school. Anyway, I’m here to warn you about the consequences of turning off your switches, or even letting up during the the final handful of months of your senior year ...
... Think this can’t happen to you? Think again. Bottom line on this issue: Be who you are consistently. If you were good enough to get into that cool school early, then keep showing them that you’re still that same person. Your mid-year report will expose any cracks in your academic resolve, and your year-end grades will finish your profile’s portrait. Keep up the great work that you’ve done so far. When you finally see that finish line, you’ll know that all those miles and stalactites were worth it.
These words to the wise should be sufficient. Thus, manage your Mid-Year Report with care.
Don’t forget to check out all my admissions-related articles at College Confidential.