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Final Response & Decision

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After an incredibly long day I rolled home.  I ate some swedish fish for dinner (because that's what grad students do, right?!?).  I took a shower and took the dogs for a walk.  I opened my mailbox and the final response I had been waiting for was in there.  Valdosta was the last school to get back to me and had sent an email telling me to expect results last week.  The date on the letter to date of receipt was a nine day difference.  I was rejected.  I was kind of surprised.  When I check their admission criteria I checked it all (over GRE requirements, over GPA requirements, lengthy job history, related MA).  I had already made my decision and largely just wanted the ego boost associated with the acceptance (I know - barf here.  I get that's kind of a gross way of thinking).  Still, it's disappointing.

I set out the school search with very strict criteria - the ability to remain in my job, no relocation necessary (so either local or residency sessions only), career related that could lead to something in academics, and a price that was affordable.  In the end it came down to Valdosta, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Kansas State, Indiana State, NYU, and Wilmington University.  Texas Tech also offered a program that could have been a fit, but it hit my radar after I was well underway with other programs.  I knew my GRE could be a limitation (my scores were respectable and higher than many fields, but in Business I was behind, especially in quantitative measures).  I had a couple of F's on my undergrad transcript (from classes that the withdraw was never processed for when I relocated from PA to IL).  My Graduate GPA was ok (nothing spectacular, however it's a combined GPA for my MA/MBA as it was a joint program - the MBA alone was something like 3.93.  I struggled more in the MA program). 

As I searched things unfolded.  In some ways it seemed cosmic or that fate had a hand.  Initially I had planned to apply to only Wilmington, Kansas State, and Valdosta.  Valdosta fell off of the list.  A friend who's in the program at IUP recommended it.  I added it to the list.  Kansas State came up in a google search.  NYU sent me a solicitation to apply after the GRE.  That solicitation lead to a google search that revealed Indiana State's program.  I saw it and immediately it checked all of the boxes.  Price tag, flexibility, field of interest, etc.  When I received the acceptance I was over the moon.  I was on a losing streak with both Kansas State and NYU.  I was in at Wilmington (which I immediately turned down with no other offer in hand) and IUP (which was a very serious consideration).  I was trying to wait out ISU's response and when I got it I fell all over myself.  I didn't realize how deeply tied I already was to going here or how well I saw the program going.

I graduated on Friday the 13th and started my PhD on Monday the 16th (for the purposes of being up front I finished in December, but Seton Hall only offers one graduation per year).  I had been tied up teaching 15-20 hours a week on top of my full time job, so I never got a break.  The program is a bit convoluted in terms of navigation, but I'm getting the hang of it.  I'm not sure if I should be elated or disappointed that i only got into 50% of the programs I applied to (though getting into my first choice is huge).  I'm looking forward to what comes and the process.  I'm hoping I can weather the storm nicely and come out the other side a minted PhD.

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1 Comment

That was a beautiful story! I'm currently in the application process and am having a lot of difficulty deciding where I want to apply and whether I realistically could with less than good GRE scores. Your story really gave me a positive outlook on the possibility that even with a 50% rejection rate, you could still get into the top school that you wanted. Thank you for sharing it with the gradcafe community.

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