At precisely 8:05am, Mia Ibarra handed Sue and me our first region to read -- 9 files, choose one as a scholar and one for a second read (that student will either be named as a scholar or receive an honorable mention). Sue finally made it in last night, by the way, getting here around 1am -- and she's up and at the files already. We're an eager bunch -- reading and making these decisions is a real honor, and I think everyone is excited both to take on the challenge and to live up to the expectations. We all want to do right by the applicants.
As I write this, Sue is finishing the last file in the region, and then we'll make our decisions. An early recommendation for NAFAns: focus on B1 and B2. Most of them that I have read have been overly vague and non-directed. We all know the value of the process, and it can be more valuable in B1 and B2 than perhaps anywhere else in the application. Make your applicants be specific -- what do they want to do? How? Where will they go to grad school? Why there? Not only does it improve their application, but it will make the process much more worthwhile for them to know all of this about themselves.
We also need to find a way to get campus enviro groups to share acronyms. I've seen some really creative ones already that could work on a number of campuses.