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Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009!

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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2008, 16:07
solaris1 wrote:
Folks, anyone know if the Letter of Recommendation requires recommenders to respond to each of the 8 questions individually, or allows them to upload a single response in *.doc or *.pdf format?


Pretty sure it is each question individually (cut & paste into textbox). When I applied last year, one of my recommenders told me how ancient the system was, especially compared to the other schools he helped me with.
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 06 Aug 2008, 16:13
Ugh! Thanks ryguy!

ryguy904 wrote:
solaris1 wrote:
Folks, anyone know if the Letter of Recommendation requires recommenders to respond to each of the 8 questions individually, or allows them to upload a single response in *.doc or *.pdf format?


Pretty sure it is each question individually (cut & paste into textbox). When I applied last year, one of my recommenders told me how ancient the system was, especially compared to the other schools he helped me with.
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2008, 11:15
Hey All,

Have any of your Recommenders told you that the online form's rec questions are different from those posted on Columbia's website? The website shows 8 recommender questions that are slightly modified from last year's app. I gave these 8 questions to my recommenders to work on and then paste into the online form when they were ready. One of them just told me today that the questions on the online form are different! He said there are actually 10 questions and he gave me a screenshot of the online form... it looks like the exact same 10 questions from last year!

My problem is that my other recommender already submitted his rec. I asked him how he handled the different questions and he said he didn't even pay attention to the questions- he just mindlessly pasted his prewritten answers! Anyone else have this problem? I wonder if he alter his answers after submitting. Or if Columbia's office can reset his submission?
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2008, 11:30
ZOMG! This is really badtastic news. Did your second recommender face the same problem Tieny?

I can only hope that their antiquated applications system is having some server hiccups and still showing the J-term recommendation questions because the application isn't officially ready for submission yet.

TienyChesney wrote:
Hey All,

Have any of your Recommenders told you that the online form's rec questions are different from those posted on Columbia's website? The website shows 8 recommender questions that are slightly modified from last year's app. I gave these 8 questions to my recommenders to work on and then paste into the online form when they were ready. One of them just told me today that the questions on the online form are different! He said there are actually 10 questions and he gave me a screenshot of the online form... it looks like the exact same 10 questions from last year!

My problem is that my other recommender already submitted his rec. I asked him how he handled the different questions and he said he didn't even pay attention to the questions- he just mindlessly pasted his prewritten answers! Anyone else have this problem? I wonder if he alter his answers after submitting. Or if Columbia's office can reset his submission?
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2008, 12:28
My other recommender didn't remember anything... he didn't notice a difference in the number of questions. He said he didn't even pay attention to the questions and just started pasting his pre-written answers (since i had supplied him this year's 8 questions previously).

Here's the wrinkle now... I just got off the phone with my first recommender who reported the problem. He said he just logged in again to submit his revised answers to the different set of 10 questions... and he said this time, there are only 8 questions!!! Crazy. He said that he is 100% positive that the questions are different from when he logged in yesterday... so it sounds like Columbia's system is inconsistent with the questions it provides your recommenders. So my first recommender is fine now... he is reading all the questions and his answers again before submitting.

I am just worried about my other (less careful) recommender... he might have answers that are completely irrelevant to the questions in his app. Or he may have completely ignored two questions. Or he may have done it correctly. Impossible to say if the questions change each time a recommender logs in... i'm going to call CBS adcom on monday to ask. I guess my advice to everyone is to get your recommenders to actually read everything! :/
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2008, 13:19
That's interesting Tieny. And weird.

By the way, do you remember if your recommenders received the "Columbia Recommendation Request" e-mail as soon as you checked that "Send" box on the "Recommendations" section of the online application?
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2008, 14:23
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Hey Solaris,

Yeah, I know for a fact that both of my recommenders received the email immediately (within 10 seconds) of me clicking the "send" button on my application. This is cuz I was on the phone with them to make sure they understood everything before I submitted their names... as soon as they said yes, I clicked the button on my computer and they said they got the email right then.

You know how everyone complains about Columbia's app system being antiquated? I admit it's not the most user-friendly but I didn't have too many problems initially. Now the rec thing is definitely freaking me out. Also, am I the only person who couldn't edit their excel transcript after saving the first time? I actually had to re-write an entire transcript from their blank template to make the change. Weird.

Solaris, lemme know if you have any other questions- I've been living and breathing this CBS admissions process for a while now so maybe I can help somehow.
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2008, 15:08
Thanks very much - by the way you know if that Excel transcript upload is a hassle you could use their "alternative transcript upload" and send them a PDF instead. That's what I'm doing - I don't use MSOffice at home and it's a little too cumbersome to use their transcript template on OpenOffice.

And welcome to GMATClub! Nice blog, too.
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 09 Aug 2008, 21:29
Hey Solaris,

Thanks for the welcome- I've actually followed this thread for two weeks but didn't start posting til now. GMATclub certainly appears more helpful than the BusinessWeek forums.

I have some more insight regarding the dynamic CBS recommendation. My first recommender tried again for a 3rd time tonight and he thinks he's figured out why there are different sets of questions. There are two options for recommenders: they can either submit their rec via a template (download, complete, then upload) or via an online form. He noticed that when he used the template, he got the 10 question set that was used last year. When he pasted directly to the online form, he got the 8 question set that we originally anticipated for this year's app. So if you don't want any unpleasant surprises, I would recommend that you tell your recommenders to paste directly into the online form (and ignore the template).

Now if I can only finish up these essay drafts...
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 17:50
Folks, are you keeping things short and sweet on the "Employment History" section of the CBS application - let's say to correspond to a resume one-page in length?

I know the admissions committee said there's no limit to how much information you can provide on that section, but considering the general consensus is to keep resumes to one-page in length, I'm a little unsure of how exactly to approach this.

At this point I don't know how different my "Employment History" section is going to be from the resume upload for fellowship consideration.

What do you guys suggest?
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 18:25
Hey Solaris,

For the employment history, I believe the adcom when they say any length is fine. After all, they are very clear when it came to the 400 character limit (including spaces! this is verified by Christina on the BusinessWeek thread) for the Activities section. So I guess you can write as much or as little as you think is necessary to provide a clear explanation of duties and the reason for leaving. I know that doesn't help so I can say that I plan on taking about a paragraph or so. And yes, they will be very very close to my Resume's description. I believe this is completely okay because the resume is optional. It appears that the resume is only for the Fellowship Committee to award grants, aid, etc. So it sounds like the resume isn't even considered by the Adcom when making admissions decisions thus I'd think it's okay to provide repeated information. But then again, maybe I shouldn't assume ;) Either way, that is what I'm planning on doing until someone tells me I'm an idiot.

Best, TienyChesney
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 18:34
solaris1 wrote:
Folks, are you keeping things short and sweet on the "Employment History" section of the CBS application - let's say to correspond to a resume one-page in length?

I know the admissions committee said there's no limit to how much information you can provide on that section, but considering the general consensus is to keep resumes to one-page in length, I'm a little unsure of how exactly to approach this.

At this point I don't know how different my "Employment History" section is going to be from the resume upload for fellowship consideration.

What do you guys suggest?


I'm just copying and pasting from my resume for the post-college stuff, since they don't look at the resume anyway. For college internships I'll probably be more brief (I'm thinking 2 bullets) but I still need to write those
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 18:58
Cool - thanks, guys!

So if it seems fairly obvious that none of those fellowships on offer at CBS really apply to me, then I can just skip the resume upload altogether, right?

Right now I'm leaning towards just copy/pasting my one-page resume into the "Employment History" section and adding a line or two each for the jobs I held through college (which are not on my resume anymore).
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 10 Aug 2008, 19:27
IHateTheGMAT wrote:
I'm just copying and pasting from my resume for the post-college stuff, since they don't look at the resume anyway. For college internships I'll probably be more brief (I'm thinking 2 bullets) but I still need to write those

This is the approach that I used last year and I plan to do the same this year (allthough my current position will be slightly updated with work activities since January).

Two sentences for internships/college work is plenty.
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2008, 06:10
You guys all done with essays?
I am still lost in the essay forest that I haven't looked at things like EC & work history, etc....

BTW, talked to my recommender yesterday, and he said back in the 60s he only gave the business school his college transcript and he was in! Unbelievable... schools have become more and more demanding over the years, I guess.
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2008, 06:37
Heck no! I'm only sort of done with essay 1 in the sense I have a draft I'm reasonably happy with. I know what I will write about in essays 2 and 3, but haven't actually done any writing so far.

I just realized that people are going to start turning in their ED applications in 2 more days, so I'm trying to get all this other stuff organized during office downtime.

One more question (Tieny?) - is the 400 character limit on the EC's determined by 400 characters as counted by the application system or 400 characters as counted by my word processing program? I get different character counts!
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2008, 10:22
which one gives you more characters? I would probably go with the Columbia systems count. I'm wondering if we can use the +10% rule here....
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2008, 10:46
solaris1 wrote:
One more question (Tieny?) - is the 400 character limit on the EC's determined by 400 characters as counted by the application system or 400 characters as counted by my word processing program? I get different character counts!


Same thing happened to me. I'm going with the CBS word count to be on the safe side.
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2008, 10:59
IHateTheGMAT wrote:
which one gives you more characters? I would probably go with the Columbia systems count. I'm wondering if we can use the +10% rule here....


CBS showed that I had used more characters than in MS Word.

I'm more of a follow the rules kind of guy and not a proponent of the +10% rule in general. I think you can get away with it on a CBS essay (read: not EVERY CBS essay should be +10%) because they say "recommended" word count. My waitlist manager confirmed that they do not count words and it's "OK if you go a 'little' over."

I'd stick with 400 CBS characters for the EC's. I think the bottom line is that they want to know when you did them and what your main role is/was. For instance, if you were the Treasurer for your fraternity, you don't need to go into detail saying "responsible for collecting payments, leading fundraiser campaigns, etc." A broad one sentence overview is all they are looking for in that section. If you can bring things up in your essay that reflect your EC's and why it is important for the school to know MORE, then do so.
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Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009! [#permalink] New post 11 Aug 2008, 11:49
I guess we all should use Columbia's system count. I figured out the different character counts happen because the word processing programs don't count each space as one character.

Ugh! The name alone of one of the organizations I was involved with in college is 50 characters long!!
Re: Calling all Columbia Applicants for 2009!   [#permalink] 11 Aug 2008, 11:49
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