In the midst of regular decision application evaluations, Penn’s Admissions Office has diverted some of its focus to applicants who have already been accepted.
Ever since a group of Stanford students discovered a way to request access to their admissions files through the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in January, college students all over the country have been invoking their legal right to view their records — and Penn students have been no exception.
As of Feb. 22, the Admissions Office had received over 140 FERPA requests. Before the Stanford students posted a step-by-step guide on the internet, the yearly average was only five.
Dean of Admissions Eric Furda said the Admissions Office is in the process of accommodating the enormous volume of FERPA requests. “We have been working through the process of getting in touch with those students,” he said.
Students have primarily been sending emails to the Admissions Office with a letter based on an internet template provided by the Stanford students.
“They’re cutting and pasting what they saw on Buzzfeed and they’re sending it to us,” Furda said.
However, Furda believes that providing students access to their records is moving the Admissions Office away from other priorities.
“That takes time away from us for evaluating Quaker Days, likely [letters],” Furda said.
Nursing freshman Delaney Jenkins requested to view her admissions files nearly 45 days ago. She said that the Admissions Office prompted her to arrange an appointment to go to the office and view her files electronically for a limited 30 minute period. Her time slot is scheduled for this Friday.
“I was always really curious about how admissions works in general,” Jenkins said. “Now I think it’s going to be interesting just to go and see.”
Jenkins believes that students should have the right to view their admissions records. “Everyone has a right to know — not just why they got in, but how they got in — and how the process works,” she said. “It’s so secretive and so mysterious.”
Students who wish to view their files should contact the Admissions Office via email. The office is legally required to provide access within 45 days of the request.
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