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My application season so far

Posted by eklavya, 07 February 2011 · 340 views

I apologize to you all for being gone for a long time. It wasn't the application process that took me away. Rather, current project/s in my MS research have been taking up a lot of my time lately. Anyway, let me share with you how it has been so far.

I started the season with 7 applications (to 7 programs/schools, of course). Three were my top choices, and four backups. Applying to these many schools in my field (plant breeding and molecular genetics) is quite uncommon as the field is very specialized and deduced to its finest sub-category (quantitative genetics, disease resistance, qualitative traits, etc). Despite having excellent undergraduate and MS (ongoing) records (both from a well reputed private university in the US), I applied to these many programs because I am an international student, and funding can be somewhat of a problem. Recently, I was invited for the interview/recruitment weekend at one of my top choice schools (deadline Dec 1). It went very well, and I should be getting a formal email followed by papers that will include funding, project details and so on. I am very excited about this university, the program, my PoI, and especially the project.

[Few words regarding the interview: I saw that many students (especially undergrads) dressed not-so-formal, and seemed like they did not know much about the science, and what they wanted to do. Please, please and please, be prepared for the interview. You don't have to dress up in blazers and suits, but looking nice and formal certainly adds up to the positive impression. You also don't have to know butt loads about the research being done at that school. But do know what you want to do in the future. And why you chose to apply to that particular program. You don't have to outline the research you want to do, but coming up with a fair sketch on your mind, and then expressing that verbally with your PoIs shows that you are intelligent and mature in that field. If you are serious about attending that school, it is important to maintain your professionalism and display your level of confidence among the professors, current grad students and also other interviewees.]

I was admitted to another of my top choice schools as well (this one had rolling admission system), but was offered no funding. I later discovered (via a friend of mine who interviewed at this place) that my application file never made it to the desk of the director of the program, who had the power of dividing funds among/for prospective applicants. This because the head of the department and the director of the program are not in good terms. Which totally sucks. For me!! But I am a karma guy, and believe that things happen for a good reason. So, good bye to this school. However, the acceptance gave me a decent amount of morale boost as this school is regarded one among the top 3 schools in the US, for my program. Still, I sometimes feel that I could have put that 75$ to a better use :( My last top choice school's deadline was Jan 15. Haven't heard from them yet. But anytime now. Right?

Last week, I also withdrew my application from one of my safety schools (deadline Jan 1). Primarily because I got into two of my three top choice schools, and I honestly felt that I should let go of this school so that someone else gets that 'extra' spot in this school. I politely emailed the director of the program, and he replied in polite manner saying my application was still being reviewed by the adcomms, and that they appreciate me notifying them of my decision. This school is pretty good for horticultural plants, but I am more interested in crops. So in retrospect, this school was not that good of a fit for me.

Also waiting from a medium level school (deadline Feb 15) and two other backup schools (both with Jan 1 deadline). I am going insane because the (backup) schools are taking awfully long time to make a decision. I really don't care about getting in into these schools but I at least want to visit the schools, and see how their facilities compare with where I ultimately want to go. In case you think it is unethical to go interview at these schools when I have already made up my mind about attending another school, let me tell you this: I won't sign the formal letter till all interviews are over. By doing this, I think I am giving all schools - backup or not - an opportunity to impress me with their faculty, facilities and research. Who knows, the Florida warmness might just melt my heart, and alter my decision to attend one of the Midwest schools! Besides, the application fee were expensive man... one was like 95 bucks! A dinner, and a short town visit is totally worth the money! :)

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yay bhikhaari! First off, I am super glad you have returned! Second, congrats! Sorry to hear about that funding situation, but it's so great to hear about the other top two!!

It seems like you're approaching this the right way. Every grad student I've talked to has really insisted that I give every school I'm accepted to a chance. I mean, who knows what could happen. (Most of those students said that when they were applying, they ended up being not impressed by their top choices at all! Or they felt like they wouldn't work well with the advisor, or just didn't like the vibe of the grad student culture at those places.) We might both be surprised with what we find Posted Image
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definitely! at this point, i don't think i would want to be surprised, basically because my state of mind is very fragile and delicate. a nice interview offer, followed by an admission decision would be ideal. that said, i haven't set my heart on any particular program either. so, there's still room for exploration and making changes. we shall see how it unfolds in the next couple of weeks.

how are things for you though? if i am not wrong, i remember seeing few earth/ocean science related results (mostly acceptances) in the results search page. was that you? i hope it is! :)
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pfffft, I wish. I've only heard from two schools (interview-type invites), but they're in my bottom three (out of seven). And I haven't heard a thing from any of my top four (but apparently others have, according to the results). So this has lead to me being a nervous wreck, and I'm starting to feel like a total loser. I mean, considering how much I worked on my apps and such. (Sorry to be such a debbie downer on your blog! Posted Image)
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lol.. no worries. you're cool :)
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Thanks for sharing! you are so coooool!
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hey bhikaari.....i'm pretty new to all this.....m planning 2 apply for fall12...n giving gre in nov11....dats all i know so far......will love to get sum tips n ny kinda help from u....
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