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Decision Time

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MarkMc

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So I had intended to start to knock these out one by one as I heard back, but life happened.  I'll walk through what some of the experiences have been and how I thought things would shake out.

Kansas State - I thought for sure I'd be in here and it was my first response.  My LOR's were from the department chair, associate dean, and my employer.  The program fit with both the department chair's background who could make a stronger argument as well as my research interests.  In the end I was rejected.  I got a form letter that was a scanned PDF emailed to me.  The letter contained a grammatical error (and I resisted my initial urge to correct it and send it back to them).  It contained the typical verbiage one would expect (many applicants, research interests, etc, etc, etc).  Annoying, but it is what it is.

NYU - I knew this was a stretch, however they had solicited me for the PhD program, so I went right on ahead an applied.  It was their school of engineering (formerly the Poly, now Tandon due to a $100,000,000 gift - yes - that's the right number of 0's).  I attended an open house where I was the only PhD candidate for the particular field I applied to.  I thought things were well crafted, my LOR's strong.  At the open house was when things started to become a concern.  My understanding is that the department is fairly small.  They typically accept 4, hoping to get 2.  Last year they only took 1.  1 out of however many applicants (the person indicated they get 30-40).  Also, the person I met I had previously emailed and called (no response) in addition to emails that went unanswered from various faculty, department chairs, and other heads of the department.  So.  To the garbage went their rejection email. 

Wilmington U - This was one of the early contenders.  The format worked for me being mostly online.  Not being a PhD wasn't ideal, but I could've made it work.  I did discover that the program is set up in a cohort model, which I tend not to prefer.  At my interview (which I drove down to Delaware for) everything went well, but it became apparent that this wasn't the program for me.  I was given assessments (finance, verbal reasoning, and writing that was correcting a sample paper).  They didn't want my GRE - but gave these, which seemed to be kind of novice level.  I was concerned that their DBA would be less academically rigorous than my MBA.  I knew when I walked out it wasn't the place for me.  Inevitably it would become my first acceptance.  They sent a letter offering me admissions to two different cohorts (neither of which were the cohorts I applied to).  They wanted a response in early March, earlier than I would hear from anyone else.  I rolled the dice and declined, sending back the form.  I never heard from them.  I would've thought they'd want to know why someone had opted out.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania - This was one of my emergency pics after being declined admission at Kansas State.  KSU was my first response, so panic set in quickly.  Someone I worked with ages ago is in the program and seems to enjoy it very much.  So I applied. While not a perfect fit I think it's something that could be very interesting and change the direction of my learning a bit.  I drove out to interview with them and it seemed to be a fit.  While driving home (about 4 hours) of course questions came to mind.  I emailed the program coordinator who happily answered all of my questions and also told me I had been admitted.  These folks have been the easiest to reach, given the best information, and generally have been the nicest - something I value greatly in this process.  I don't want to go it alone in this process and it is largely a welcome change to have a school help you through the process.

Indiana State - This was one of the more rigorous applications (5 LOR's).  I applied for Summer, but would be open for Fall.  They over specializations in the program, so I found that rather refreshing.  I was able to track someone down at Indiana State who was quite helpful.  The department chair also answered questions as needed and as I reached out.  I was told in February that I could expect an answer the week of 3/14.  Turns out it's also the same week as their spring break.  I followed-up immediately after their spring break to be told they hope to have answers by the end of April, but can't guarantee this.  It's slightly frustrating as this program is probably the best fit and will likely win out, should I be accepted.  More to come.

Valdosta State - This was a contender early on, however I dropped it from the set as it was the program that seemed to be the lesser fit (DPA rather than PhD, no comps or dissertation, etc) but after bad news started coming I added it to my list.  My package isn't due until 4/15, but I'm now only waiting on a single LOR (ugh). 

Overall some disappointments and more stress than I anticipated.  It's going to be a long 4-6 weeks after this. 


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