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Friday, August 06, 2004

Considering the Stanford App 

I spent some more time yesterday evening filling in some of the Stanford app. Doing it online is certainly easier than trying to write neatly and legibly, with correct spelling, on a paper form. The only bug I've come across so far is the fact that it requires me to answer the ethnic orgin question, despite my being neither a US citizen nor a permanent resident.

The questions where they want you to give a bit of descriptive information (eg employment history, community activities) have very tight character limits, which is proving to be a bit of a challenge. Some of them are going to take as much thinking about as the essays in order to take get across as much as I want to. I'm somewhat surprised to see the differentiation the application makes between full-time and part-time employment. I can see that there's a difference between 'real jobs' and vacation work, internships etc., but the way the application is structured seems to put all part-time jobs in the latter category. Now, I know plenty of people who've had serious professional jobs that have only been part time. They've been combining work with a caring responsibility or with study, working part-time to give themselves some financial security whilst also starting their own business or working on a freelance basis, or combining two part time jobs in organisations that don't feel they need or can't afford someone full-time (not uncommon in the nfp sector). It's perfectly possible to have a 'career' job without working 40 (or 50, or 80) hours a week at it. I'm planning on ignoring the part-time section. Do they really need to know that I worked as a tour guide when I was 19 (given that I'm now 31)?

I'm relieved, and somewhat surprised, to find that I still have all the information I need to complete the salary details. UK law requires people (and organisations) to keep financial records for seven years, but I haven't got round to throwing out a couple of yearsd worth of stuff that I could have safely got rid of. So I can give them a ful record of the pittances I've been paid since I graduated. I just need to remember to note the exchange rate I'm using in the additional information section.

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