Through the Looking Glass: Looking at my Admissions Application

By Lisa Fan, Class of 2018

By Lisa Fan, Class of 2018

I recently had the opportunity to open up a very special time capsule—my admissions files to the University of Chicago. As a longtime UChicago student, you can imagine my excitement when I was finally able to see what the admissions offices thought of my applications, from my undergraduate College files to my Law School and Booth ones. Opening this trove of documents brought back so many memories and feelings of nostalgia. I reread my admissions essays—words I had written years ago—with fresh eyes and saw for the first time why this university took a chance on me and gave me this opportunity to pursue my education at one of the greatest institutions in the world.

If you ever wondered what the admissions office thought of your application to Booth, you might be surprised to learn that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (commonly known as FERPA) grants students the right to inspect and review their education records. These records include admissions records and even assessments made by the admissions office as long as they are retained with the applicant files. About a month after I submitted my FERPA request, I was contacted regarding instructions on how I could review my files. For my Booth files, I was able to view the following:

  • My entire interview report, including my interviewer’s evaluation and ratings (which means my interview reports for students I interviewed as an Admissions Fellow could be viewed by them if they matriculate to Booth!)

  • Comments by the admissions staff member who reviewed my application

  • Quantitative scores assigned to my application based on my test scores, recommendations, academic record, and other personal attributes

  • My entire application and transcript

  • Some additional evaluative fields (this could include any unique attributes that admissions noted about one’s application)

This photo taken on my college graduation day at the University of Chicago predicted my future!

This photo taken on my college graduation day at the University of Chicago predicted my future!

At the end of my files, I saw a line that read “Recommendation: Admit.” Seeing this brought a quiet feeling of joy inside me because this one little word encapsulated the reason why I am here. To all my classmates at Booth, I like to conclude with something that my law school classmates heard on the day they arrived on campus: “The Dean of Admissions does not make mistakes.” And that is the same for Booth.

I encourage you to view your files to Booth if you are curious because you are at this incredible school for a reason. You can find the instructions below on how to submit a FERPA request.

Lisa Fan is a JD/MBA student at the University of Chicago and a proud triple Maroon.

To make a FERPA request, deliver a written letter (e-mail or verbal requests are not accepted) to the Office of Campus and Student Life located in Edward Levi Hall, Suite 203.  You can use the following language that was suggested by one of Stanford University’s student publications.


Office of Campus and Student Life

Edward Levi Hall, Suite 203

5801 South Ellis Avenue

Chicago, Illinois 60637

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232(g)), I am writing to request access to and a copy of all documents held by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Admissions Office, including without limitation a complete copy of any admissions records kept in my name in any and all university offices, all associated content (including without limitation the qualitative and quantitative assessments of any “readers,” demographics data, and interview records), and any e-mails, notes, memoranda, video, audio, or other documentary material maintained by the Admissions Office.  I understand that I may have previously waived FERPA rights pertaining to recommendation letters submitted on my behalf.

As per 34 C.F.R. § 99.10(b), these records must be made available for my inspection within 45 days of this request.  I look forward to receiving a full response within 45 calendar days.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.


[Your Name]

[School E-mail]

[Student ID]