Our community blogs
-- Update irregularly --
Obivously, I started playing this game called "The Waiting Game" after submitting all of my grad school applications few weeks ago. Like many others, I was hoping to get e-mails or phone calls regarding my applications - ideally for interviews/acceptances, of course. Unlike some of the users at the forum that check their e-mails extremely frequently, however, I check the admission results here once every hour or two.
- First Week of January -
The fact that my stats are not outstanding subconsciously makes me to believe that there is no way I will receive any e-mails or phone calls for interviews at this early stage. From my observation, people who received e-mails / phone calls for interview in mid-late December tend to be the most competitive applicants. Even though there are some exceptions based on the numbers presented on the result page, I think it is a reasonable assumption that I will not get any response until that day -- the day where most people receive their admission decision(s). It sucks to see someone who got an interview from a school that you applied and/or wanted to go, when this person has similar stats (or worse numbers) than yourself. Although I tried not to take things personal, I can't help but wondered "why haven't I receive that e-mail or phone call" - could it be my statements, my recommendation letters, or simply because I am not a citizen? Drilling into these dead-end questions can only make me more pessimistic; hence I tried not to hopelessly anticipating and desperately searching for some sort of positive responses. But sometime it's just difficult when you got a phone call with unfamiliar area code at 7 or 8 in the morning. You pick up the phone call that the person did not make a sound, and later you found out that the number is a toll-free number by searching it on Google. My body just responded to that phone call swiftly like a ninja -- I Can't Help It.
And I really try hard to achieve what I just said. But it is difficult. For instance, as of Jan 3, I realized that there are 3 applications that I submitted did not actually confirm my submission. A school that I applied sent me an e-mail back in early-December right after the submission. The e-mail said that the school will send me information and link(s) about my application status few days after my submission. The school, however, did not send me any e-mail since then. I sent e-mails to the graduate school and the program that I applied, and addressed my situation in mid-December, but I did not receive any response. Until Jan 3 morning, I check my list of grad schools application statuses (that I have it in .xls/.xlsx), this school has never confirmed/finalized my application since I paid the fees and submitted it online.
Given that this school did not respond to any of my e-mails that I sent using my personal e-mail address (with a popular e-mail domain), I used my private (school) e-mail address and sent them e-mails with the same info. About two hours later, I got a response from the program and the school claimed that some parts of my application are missing, possibly due to some technical problems at their ends. So, I confirmed the situation with the school and resend my materials to the program awhile later on the same day. It was unlucky that my application was "incomplete" at their ends, yet it was fortunate that this issue can be resolved just two days before the adcom review the last batch of the applications. Not if I resend this e-mail out of my anger, anxiety, and curiosity, I would not send them an e-mail at all. I won't be able to know that my application was incomplete and I would have flushed my almost-a-hundred USD to the toilet for nothing...
By the end of the week, I received 3 rejection letters before and during a short trip that I visited a neighboring country of the U.S. The trip was alright. It could have been better if I was into nightlife and if I was not paranoid because of the unpeaceful atmosphere of the city at night. As for the rejections, the results are predictable considered the following statistics:
School A: Number of Applicants = 700-800. Number of International Applicants who are accepted/enrolled = 7-8 (of a "umbrella" program, which consisted of no less than 5 departments/subprograms), provided by the school website.
School B: Number of International Applicants who are accepted for the program = 1, provided by the Dean through the "follow-up" of rejection e-mail.
School C: Number of International Applicants who are accepted/enrolled = 20-25 out of ~80 enrolled students per year, provided by the school website.
I should have paid extra attention on these stats prior submitting my applications... FML.
- Second Week of January -
The second quarter/semester began earlier this week. As a quasi-nontraditional applicant and student, I am not enrolling in this term. Main reason is to avoid any negative impacts on my academic performance due to traveling and interviews (if any). Although I am not academically active on my school system, I am sitting two courses just for fun - 1) electron microscopy and 2) structural analysis of materials using X-ray diffraction. Introduction of these two classes are pretty simple, which only requires basic physics (optics) and some basic symmetry/point group/space group theory from organic and/or inorganic chemistry. Because the basics of a technique are always the same, and therefore whether if one is into material science or molecular biology (E.g. X-ray crystallography for small inorganic/organic molecules vs. proteins), sitting-in these classes can only be beneficial. While I am enjoying my chill schedule for the coming weeks, I got another rejection letter. No surprise I guess. The schools that I applied to are the most competitive ones. Even when someone who has an almost-perfect scores was rejected by this school, I supposed anything bad can happen on my other applications (i.e. complete rejection streak), which is my worst possible scenario.
This week I also began sending out e-mails to various programs to confirm whether an update for the fall term grades is necessary. While schools such as Yale has an option for applicants to update their grades for the fall semester/quarter, many other schools did not explicitly indicate whether an update is necessary or not. Considered that I did decent in my last term (tiny increase in my overall and major GPA), I decided to send out e-mails to confirm whether an update is possible. I figured that there isn't much I can do to make my application more competitive, I would do anything possible to tip the balance in my favor.
Speaking of sending out e-mails, has anyone send out e-mails before the application season begins? Back in summer 2011, I sent out e-mails to potential PIs that I would like to work with, and I only got two or three responses out of 10 or even 20 e-mails. Maybe I didn't write a decent e-mail, but I have been told that some professors tend to have "scattered brains" where they may skim through an e-mail and forgot to reply after awhile (instead an instant removal.) Regardless, there are very few professors replied my e-mail that I didn't even bother to send out more e-mails after awhile. Just imagine when you received, for example, 3 e-mails out of 20 e-mails, and you are applying +20 schools. If you apply to a school that has at least 3 POI, then you'll need to send out at least 60 e-mails. What a tedious task!
And early this week I talked to a friend about funding and fellowships. It is not like I did not attempt to apply any fellowships, but in reality, there are very few fellowships for international students. From my research, I would say 80-90% of the fellowships that is available for science students are only for U.S. citizens, while more than 50% of the fellowships are for female only. I was extremely frustrated when I know that the one and only fellowship that I am eligible to apply (Fulbright) does not offer any fellowships for my home country... well technically they do, but they only offer fellowships for students (regardless of nationality instead of my original nationality) to go to graduate school in non-science programs at my home country. I then realized how ridiculously unsupportive my home country is - science stands almost no place in this small piece of land and the only thing that is important is money.
- Third Week of January -
See here: ()
- Fourth Week of January -
To make it short and brief, I got my second interview - from a school at an urban city. When I told my former student mentor and some non-biochemistry/biology majored friends about it, they were all happy for me because of the reputation of the school. I didn't know much about this school until I search it on wikipedia, and turned out that it seems pretty nice. The reason I applied to that school was because my former PI suggested that they have a good program in biophysics. Turned out that one of the paper that he co-authored with, the other author is the professor from this school (and he was a grad student from another school from the same city.) I look up the "package" information, and everything sounds pretty attractive to me. Even though the cost of living is high, the urban settings will be pretty cool considered that I was born and raised from the extremely similar setting, plus I am the kind of person that would work in the lab past midnight and walk home 2 or 3 in the morning if necessary. And therefore if the housing is close enough, then my lab-style (lifestyle in the lab) won't be affected by the fact that I have no intention to get a car or motorbike (even though getting a scooter seems to be a possibility). I got notification through e-mail in the morning after a lecture that I am sitting in. I was surprised that I got another interview! I instantly ran back to the classroom, and told the professor about it (and the professor is also my former PI). Later that day I got my tickets and everything. The feeling of getting interview is almost the same as being accepted, even though it is totally not the same. But again, considering myself a weak candidate, any interviews would light my hope. My jubilant feeling fades a little when I got a rejection letter the day after, but that's okay.
As for the classes, space group symmetry is slowly FML.
- First Week of February -
Going to have two interviews in 2 weeks, I started preparing myself for the interviews. While I printed out some of my POI's publications and read them briefly, I also prepared a list of questions that I would like to ask when opportunities come. These questions, mostly from tgc forum, were quite useful. However, when I asked my former PI to check out the list, he found some questions were not really appropriate to ask, at least in his perspective - an interviewer for my home department's grad program. The idea of printing out a list of questions isn't really a good idea in the first place, and he suggested that I should keep these questions in my head instead. Then he told me a tiny bit about one of my trips - Manhattan, NY.
I have been to Manhattan before, but it was the spring break 4 years ago (2008). Back then, I can still recall that New Yorkers in downtown/midtown Manhattan were wearing suits and huge coats (sometimes with fur) on the streets, when I was wearing an undershirt, a (long-sleeve) collar/shirt, a sweater from Berkeley / Cal, a short pants, and a pair of sneakers. But this time is slightly different - it is in the middle of Feburary. So my PI suggested that it may be really cold over there and I should considered wearing underlayers. Opinions from tgc suggested that they probably wouldn't do that unless it is sub 0 degree celcius, and also because I will probably spend most of the time indoor, and therefore I may find myself uncomfortable by wearing underlayers in a warm indoor atmosphere.
On the other hand, because both of my trips are in the East, and therefore I am trying to adjust my circadian rhythm this week. It is pretty abnormal for me to try to go to bed at 9 or 10 pm and wake up at 4 or 4:30 am - for I am a night person. That also means that I will have to get my dinner at around 4:30 pm, when I usually (back in my home country) eats my dinner at 9/10 pm, or 6/7 pm (when I came back to the West).
I am very excited for my return to NYC. I was very impressed by the urban atmosphere (ps. I was born and raised from an urban atmosphere just like NYC), I guess it was because after all these years, I finally went to Time Square on Broadway and 7th (I think), at the middle between the two giant Coca-Cola TV displays, and surrounded by many of these familiar places that I learned from commercials, films, tv drams, shows, morning talk shows, new years eve countdown a.k.a. MTV, and so forth. I once thought that it was because of the tall buildings and everything that impressed me, after I went to the West for college for a year or two. Turned out that it was not true when I returned to my home country. Hopefully, this time around, I will still be impressed by the atmosphere over there! I definitely can't wait to eat those street food over there, which I missed it last time. Hopefully a 5 hours quick tour in the city allows me to do everything that I missed from my last trip!
- Second Week of February -
Rejections that I received this week doesn't mean anything to me right now - 'cause this week is LIN-sanity! My trip to east coast also carried me away. Like I always believe - things happen for reason(s). If the school is going to reject me, then clearly I am not a good fit for the program in their perspective (and it really doesn't matter what I think).
Leaving for my flights in 13 hours and I have not completed my luggage packing. However, my head is just looping the chorus of Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys. Next update will be a new entry just for my visiting week. So long until then.
- Third Week of February -
- Forth Week of February -
Nothing fancy going on here besides following NBA All-Star game. I guess it is reasonable to assume that schools that I have not hear from will send me a rejection letter next month. Most of the bio-science programs tend to send out invitation for interview / acceptance letter on or before early February. Therefore, I already expect the rejection roll on its way in a week or two. While I vented my story from last week to a couple people and I got over it, I still find it absurd for their given (rejection) reason. My situation at this moment is kinda bad because I do not know if school(s) that I have visited will accept me. Therefore, I kind of expecting for the worst, or executing my plan B in a few months. A couple professors find it "unbelievable" that I received so few interviews based on my profile and essays. Well, I almost always blame it on my international applicant status. Surely you may say that there are tons of international applicants who did well in GRE and school, but I would argue that I just happened to be suck at exams, especially standardized ones. It is also funny that different schools have a different understanding with Chinese (international) applicants. While some professors know about some of the shady stories from the academic in China (e.g. a PhD thesis was reused 31/32 times for 32/33 doctorates became a news and documentary. Everything in the thesis was the same with the exception of the author list. PI were not punished), most of the school did not realize the situation at all. As a result, these people have an upper-hand than people like myself. Now I am definitely not saying everyone goes into this category, but I find it sucks to compete with these people.
If you are interested in reading academic integrity scandals (not sure if this is the right word) in China, here is a blog:
Let's s wait for March 1 and March 15. Two big days regarding my application process.
- First Week of March -
Back to the waiting game is not fun. I e-mailed a couple schools but I have not hear anything back yet. General perspective is that rejection letters are on their ways to my inbox. So I am prepared to execute my plan B, which is reapplying in Fall 2012. More importantly, I'll have to 1) get a job back in my home country, and 2) retake GRE so that I get a combined +1300 in the old format. One of the classes that I'm auditing changed the lecture room and therefore I no longer sit-in in that class. What a shame. Sent a few e-mails to professors from schools that I have not hear from, but I haven't get any response yet. I also contacted to schools that supposedly reimburse or my visit expenditure. Now I'll just continue my waiting game and chill at home.
- Second Week of March -
First acceptance received 6 in the morning through e-mail. Not as excited as others that I've read on the forum. Interesting.... (will update the rest of the week later.)
And then I got a couple rejections in this week to eliminate other potential options that I might have. While I am waitlisted by two schools, chances of me going to my first acceptance school is extremely high. This is a short recap of my current application status:
Applied - 25
Interviewed - 2
Rejected - 18 (Including 1 post-interview)
Accepted - 1
Waitlisted - 2
Waiting for official response/decision - 6 (2 waitlisting, 2 expecting rejection, 2 unknown)
It appears to me that rolling admission, for most of the time, does not apply to international students. It appears that I did not receive rejections from these rolling-basis schools until March, when I submitted my applications back in mid/late November, with the deadline on or before Jan 1. That being said, I would suggest any future international applicants to optimize their applications (e.g. improve your SOP/PS) and submit it just a day or two before the deadline, instead of weeks before the deadline. After all, admission of international applicants almost always limited by funding sources and therefore it doesn't mean much if you apply early or not - issues with funding always resolve for domestic students first.
- Third Week of March -
It is the last week of the quarter here and I am just chillin like the past couple weeks. Got three more rejections this week so I can potentially choose between a school that has made me an offer, a school that I am waitlisted, and a school that I have no idea what the current status is, besides "decision pending". There is nothing much to talk about besides March Madness is going on, got a new bike for daily commute, applied to be an undergrad TA for next quarter (but the coordinator is a hater). Other than that, I am packing for my a-bit-early-Spring Break out of country. I hope I'll have a chillaxing time with my old friend.
- Forth Week of March -
Been chillin at the other country for about a week. Before my trip, I got a rejection from "a school that I have no idea what the current status is". And by the end of the trip I got an e-mail saying that a school that rejected me awhile ago placed me on their wait list, but due to the unexpected high acceptance of initial offer leads to the ultimate rejection of my application. I don't know if that makes any sense to anyone, but given that the school claimed that they will only take 1 international student, to me, it does not make me feel any better. This e-mail (as if an explanation why I am rejected) is completely useless and it goes straight to the trash bin.
- Fifth Week of March -
It is spring break over here and I have been back in town for a few days since. This is gonnabe my final semester at school and I am very happy about it. Mostly because I am finally done with undergraduate studies and ready to move on things and works that are more interesting. Looking back for the past couple years, I have been through a lot of deferment on my studies all due to personal/family financial issues. While I know that there are many people out there who are non-traditional applicants, I consider myself a quasi-traditional student. Although I completed my freshman and sophomore coursework half a year sooner, I took a year off after my junior year and work in a lab full time (without pay), before I went overseas for another year to take a few classes towards my degree. My mentor, who was a year ahead of me in college, is now a 3rd year PhD student; a friend of mine, who just became a junior when first I met him, is now completing his first year for his PhD at another school. I'm glad that I'm leaving soon after all, for I know I should be a 2nd year in grad school; for I am sick of living in this apartment with a girl who has no personal hygiene; for I can start paying off my debt with my stipend in grad school; for I can finally make some green after 3 years (employment for international students are difficult and complicated).
Now I'll go back to the book and read a chapter or two to prepare for a class that starts tomorrow. First and last time to TA at this school, hopefully it will be amazing and fun.
- First Week of April -
Things went well the first week of class. Has been pretty chill so far--just taking a lab, a seminar, and sitting a lecture from a class that I'm TA'ing. Got 2 more rejections this week and that really ends my application journey. I guess I can write a wrap-up here.
Applied: 25 schools, 26 programs
Wait list: CU Boulder, UVA, Cornell
Interview: FSU, MSSM
Well I guess this entry ends here! If any of you have any questions, feel free to PM me. Ciao!
So at this point, I am looking at three rejections, and still two unknowns. Out of those two unknowns, I am thinking that one is a definite rejection, and the other one I think is not looking that great either. Not necessarily impossible, in my cynical mind, but unlikely, mainly do to the fact that they take so few people.
But at this point it looks like I have a good start for my plan B, which I have been thinking a lot about this season. Considering what I want to do in the future, with a PhD, I am hoping that it really does work. It is also with the museum that I am hoping to work with while getting my PhD in the future. I applied to two programs that have affiliations with the museum I am hoping to be working at soon. I am hoping that it is a start for me improving my application the next time I apply in the next year or two, if the last two schools don't work out. One of the schools that work with this program is still unknown to me at this point.
This whole situation is depressing.
Just finished a hilarious interview, and I really mean hilarious. When I first got the email from the POI of a school that I was already accepted to but had no funding yet, asking to chat, of course I was excited, who wouldn't be? So I immediately went off and prepared for the interview by reading the POIs personal webpage.... only to discover that he specialized in a field where I had abysmal grades in as an undergrad. And by abysmal I DO mean abysmal, not the 'oh my grades were awful, my only Bs in my row of straight As' sense. Not to mention, this field is definitely something that I do NOT enjoy doing and have never encountered in my work, my strengths and experience definitely lie elsewhere. Just reading his research and publication abstracts, I was sure that there was no way this was going to work. But I pushed through with the interview, because who knows? He may be branching out into a new topic or something. And he wouldn't bother contacting me if he didn't see a possibility, right?
For the first time in the whole graduation application process, I was finally 100% right about something. So after the introductions and description of my work and goals for grad school, he asked me if I knew something about him.
Me: I've read your website and your projects seem geared towards *pause* X topic.
I was kind of half-laughing at this point because I could see where this was going. Not maybe half-laughing, but maybe a voice tone which suggested that hilarity was about to ensue.
POI: Yes, I've looked over the classes you took in X topic and your grades were *pause* not great.
At this point I couldn't help but let out a chuckle because I could see exactly where this was going. What followed was the most relaxed interview I have ever had, where I basically confirmed that I only had basic knowledge regarding the topic, no experience doing it, added that my group usually collaborates with other people when it comes to studies/projects in X because we know we don't have the skill set necessary, and had no interest in developing deep skills in topic X since I thought I would be better honing my strengths elsewhere. Also, I would be a horrible fit for the open position, TA-ing a class related to topic X, and I admitted that I would be as lost as my potential students if I were to be their TA. For some reason, knowing from the start that there was no way anything was going to happen really loosened my mind, and I was able to relax and talk to the POI in a way that I have only seen narrated from grad cafe posts. In interviews I usually have 'OMG I can see myself working with this person so I better not mess this up because if I do there'll be no more chance for me' running through my head, which results in much stammering, talking too fast, nervousness, and generally making a complete fool out of myself, so this was quite a welcome change, in a way!
Of course, it wasn't all bubbles and giggles. I admit I would have felt more despair over the pointlessness of the interview if I didn't already have another acceptance. But I'm still waiting on 3 schools which I would seriously consider going to, and my insides/mind have been churning overtime, so this was like a semi-breather. The POI was also kind enough to give some feedback regarding my application. When he first asked me what skills I envisioned myself developing in grad school, I said that I was keeping an open mind since I am slightly new to the field (only gained interest in it during work) and I wanted to gain an understanding of the field while exploring my options. He then told me that in his opinion, an MS degree should develop a specific skill, something that I agree with. The problem is, I don't know exactly what skill. Or wait, do I really not? Because after the interview, I got to thinking. Certainly I don't want to develop skills in topic X. But how about in the relation of topic Y to topic Z? In my work experience, that has what struck me the most, and the one that I have some experience and skill at. Although I have an idea of the topic that I want to work on, I should have made this more clear in the interview instead of being vague. Because in truth, I'm not open to ALL the options- I have experience in this certain topic that I wouldn't mind going deeper into, and I have a few selected topics that might be worth exploring (more on this later). That's certainly not all the topics in the overall field.
Also, he asked why I put down the names of Prof. Z and Prof. Y as people who I'd like to work with when he thinks they're totally out of my field and experience. Ok, he didn't say the latter part, but I could tell that that was what he was hinting at. I had no answer to that. I had wanted to work with other professors, but when I contacted them before applying they told me that they had no funding at the moment and were unsure if they would have in the future. I was still interested in the program, so I listed down Prof Z and Y- I had some interest in their topics but I knew they were a reach in terms of fit. Now I see I should have stuck to my guns and maybe listed down the original people I wanted to work with. I admit this was a pretty big mistake and made my application look very ill-prepared (maybe slightly delusional?). Oh dear.
Now I'm sure that all my applications are completely idiotic and unfocused. The moment of levity has passed and the rumination begins. My experience and skills so far are undoubtedly in the relation of topic Y to topic Z. However, I'm also open to gaining experience in either of topics A and B. In no means are they reach topics like topic X. But how can I do this when research regarding A and B is very limited where I'm located? Grad school may be my only opportunity to find out if A or B are right for me. But is this even possible given my background? Should I give up on A and B and cleave more towards the relation of topic Y and Z? It is certainly too late to change my applications to reflect that. But I'm not even sure I WANT to. Don't get me wrong, the relation of topic Y and Z is something that I think I would be happy to work on for the rest of my life, but I want to explore other options, or at least gain insight on them. However, there's no way to do this where I currently am. Am I asking for the impossible?
I'm sorry this was so long, my thoughts are all over the place right now. I think it's time to leave these distressing thoughts behind for a while and fix myself a nice cup of hot chocolate.
So it was recently my mother's birthday. Like a good little offspring, I sent her a card and called her. My younger sibling, rebrobate that he is, forgot (or chose not to?), despite reminders from me and our dad. Alas. Now he's gone incommunicado and the current parental theory is that he's avoiding contact because he'd have to awkwardly address the belated birthday thing.
I of course, assured them that this probably wasn't the case and that his phone or something probably died. Then, I logged into my email and considered whether or not it was too late to email my POI. Which sort of made me realize its the same situation. So much for being the good sibling.
That probably doesn't make any sense, so I'll explain what I'm getting my knickers all in a twist about: A week and a half ago, I got website notification that I got into my dream school. Yay! But it was just online, no email or anything from the DGS or my POI. For the first couple days, I was still in shock-mode, and unwillling to email anyone at the school in fear (terror) that they'd rescind their offer. Now, I realize that its probably unlikely (though stilll odd that I haven't heard from them otherwise, right?) So I should email my POI right? Generally, I figure that she's an awfully busy person, and that if she wanted to talk to me, she'd have done it. And last week, I rationalized that she was certainly busy with CAAs (big art historian conference). This week, I'm running out of rationalizations, and full of legitimate questions about the school/program/city/etc. But...now it is all awkwardly belated. I'm like my younger brother avoiding calling my mom- and its only getting worse as I wait (is it?) So I've worked myself up into even more confusion. Do I email her? Do I wait until I hear something else from the school, until I officially accept, until I hear back from other schools? What do I say to her? It is a small program, what if someone noticed I was being awkwardly quite and just decided to pipe up two weeks after the fact. Le sigh. Proof I can make myself nervous about anything.
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So, like a good little nerd, I've mapped it out:
My happiness is on the y-axis, ascending from 0 (none) to 100 (most).
The time of day is on the x.
-- And the waiting game is a perfect quadratic equation.
I wake up and check my email, and when I see that I still have not heard from graduate schools, I start off my day at (0, 0). Never mind that, surely, it is irrational to expect a POI to have emailed me between 3 am and 7 am EST.
I go to campus, go to class, go to lab, do my thing. Sooner or later I run into my adviser who always has either a stimulating philosophical/scientific topic to discuss or words of wisdom/encouragement about the app process. For the duration of the time spent with him plus an hour and a half or so of afterglow, my parabola is at its peak.
As the clock ticks down toward 5 pm, however, the slope of my line becomes negative once more, until at last I'm sitting in bed, right back where I started, having come full circle since that morning.
Lately, my parabola has become increasingly like a flat line, at a very low y value, continuously, as I begin to give up hope altogether.
But you know what?
I'm rewriting this equation.
We cannot control our circumstances or our environment, but we can control our responses. I choose to continue to think positively, to hope, and to believe that I am still an excellent scholar whether or not I get into a Ph.D. program this time around. I choose to respond by finding the best ways to improve my application for the next round. I choose to learn from my mistakes, and to write my own internal story.
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, "Think of the worlds you carry within you."
These worlds within your mind do not disappear simply because you feel they are going unrecognized. The worlds are ever-evolving, crafted and populated by your own will, and full of infinite possibility.
Not getting into graduate school does not mean the destruction of every world, every dream-castle you've built for yourself.
It just means you get to spend a bit more time in their construction.
I thought I would add some thoughts now that I have one semester left for my masters degree (hopefully two of them).
1. I am way dumber than I thought I was smart. Previous entries list my undergrad stats if you're interested. I have worked harder in the last sixteen months than I ever have, and have probably just begun to discover what I don't know.
2. Since I'm not on the PhD track I have enjoyed the lack of stress from prelims or qualifiers, and this has enabled me to do a lot of exploring and reflection on the vast subject of mathematics. I'm glad I've had that luxury. It's nice to see the landscape before picking a subject to dissect.
3. Grades are funny, and seem to have a much more (inflationary) subjective content in graduate classes. In an odd way this gives motivation to continue the struggle, as if the prof. is saying, "Hey, we know this is hard stuff, and that you are working hard. Even if you haven't done that great on performance measures, you should keep it up." Hopefully it isn't that I have someone paying the bill.
4. I haven't been on a thesis option, but that might have been a good idea. I did manage to do a topics/reading course with a prof. and went through the process of writing and rewriting a block of (relatively difficult at the time) problems/exercises to complete correctness. This was a great learning experience and I highly recommend it.
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As so many students are right now, I'm biting my nails and gnashing my teeth over my possible GRE percentiles. I feel like waiting for them has triggered so many emotions! I've been reading the Grad Cafe forums multiple times a day trying to figure out what the ranges could possibly end up being. There have been times I've been sure that I'll be at the higher range of my possible scores (V 740-800, Q 730-800) and times I've thought I'd be at the lowest. It's impossible to tell with the amount of information that we've been given. I wonder if ETS knows just how stressful this whole process has been? This site has been such a boon; nobody else in my life could understand the way this community does.
I can tell you this much: this past month and a half has not been worth the $60 I saved.
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I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to all of you, and hope that I don't bore you too much; if nothing else, you can use my blog as a sleep aid!
My story: I'll be graduating from Rutgers in December with a BA in English, but I actually started my college career as an Anthropology/Sociology/Psychology major in 2003. Everything was going great until one of my siblings took a turn toward "scary psychotic" in 2006, at which point I very reluctantly withdrew from courses to focus on regaining emotional balance. I entered the corporate world in 2007, where I spent the next three years traveling around the country to fire people who violated policies and procedures--then clean up the messes they'd made. In case you're wondering, it's nothing like Up in the Air. I hated corporate life - I hated being away from my partner for weeks and months at a time; I hated that my entire life revolved around my work e-mail; I hated that I was responsible for more than 200 employees; and I hated that I wasn't doing something I loved. But above all else, I hated that I had to stay there because other companies wouldn't hire me without a degree. And the few who did couldn't come close to matching my pay. I couldn't afford to take a lower-paying job, though, because my student loan payments pushed my expenses to the extreme. *Shudder.*
My Mom's body decided to wage war with itself in 2010, which gave me the big wakeup call I needed to apply for readmission to Rutgers. (This sounds so cliche, but life really is too short to be miserable.) Two weeks later, I woke up to my acceptance e-mail, and here I am! Literature was really a major component of helping me to preserve the little bit of sanity I hadn't yet lost to psycho-sibling and awful job, so I decided to change majors when I returned to school. Best. Decision. Ever. My professors have been amazing both in and out of the classrooms and have been instrumental in helping me cultivate and nurture my passion.
I'm applying to PhD programs in Literature with a focus on the rise of the novel and Laurence Sterne/Tristram Shandy. I am both excited and terrified, just like all of you. But the support I've received thus far on this forum has been amazing and I am happy that I don't have to go through this process alone.
Anyway, I'm always looking for new ways to procrastinate, so please feel free to message me on here. I leave you now with a quote from my man, Laurence Sterne:
"So much of motion, is so much of life, and so much of joy—and ... to stand still, or get on but slowly, is death and the devil."
So, just as I was finally recovering from the shock of the subject test and feeling good about my applications again (I found the most kick-ass source for my writing sample last night!), I had the most disappointing meeting with a professor I've had this entire application season. The only part of the meeting that was good was solidifying my second letter of recommendation. Now I only have to obtain one more. And now I've finally decided who I'm going to ask, after going back and forth between two profs for the past few weeks.
However, this meeting discouraged me more than anything else. I've been working on my writing sample almost every day--or at least thinking about it. I've been focusing my independent study in theory on theoretical works that will be utilized in my sample, and I've talked to other professors and academically-minded friends about how I'm going to structure my statement of purpose to connect my subfield (18th-century lit and the novel) with my writing sample (on a Modernist author and feminist literary theory). I'm incorporating novel theory into my writing sample to make my interests in the novel really shine through, and I want my statement of purpose to focus on the novel rather than depending upon extensive periodization, though I've chosen the 18th-century as my primary subfield because I have to. The professor I met with today, though, told me absolutely not to use the paper I've planned to use as my writing sample if I plan on doing 18th-century stuff. She wants me to use another paper I wrote for one of her courses last year on two 18th-century novels, because she thinks some programs will reject me simply because my paper is not in my stated period. I am planning on using that paper for the schools that require two samples, but, bottomline, it's just not as strong a paper as the other one. It functions fairly hermetically; it looks like a course assignment. The other one has been developing consistently for over a year now. I won an award for it, presented it at a conference, and now can't think about anything other than working on it. I know exactly how I want to expand and develop it, whereas I have no desire to do anything past minor revisions on the other paper. It makes some kick-ass conclusions and, most importantly, it is my voice and my soul that shines through in that paper. I've never been more passionate about a paper. I love it so much that I've considered the possibility of transitioning to Modernism. But there's nothing in the period that appeals to me critically except for D.H. Lawrence. I don't like writing papers on Woolf or Joyce or Forster--I love reading them, but I don't find my critical interests working to the same extent as those writers. I am, essentially, a forward-looking 18th-centuryist, with some interests resting within the 19th and 20th centuries. And I don't want to "lie" about myself in my statement of purpose. I want to get down to my heart and soul, and the novel--starting in the 18th-century but moving forward as well--is where those essential parts of my being lie.
In addition, this professor disapproved of my list of schools. Everyone else has told me they think it's really solid, but she was looking at it from a purely 18th-century perspective. When I sat down and did my research into faculty at different programs, I made sure that I took into account faculty from all of my areas of interest; after all, I don't want to end up at a program with a kick-ass 18th-century faculty, discover that's not exactly what I want to do, and end up stuck. Though I think I know what I want to do now, I'm still an undergrad, and I know that my intellectual identity is nowhere near fixed at this point. So I want a program with a good faculty across the board. She said things to me like, "Take Brown off your list. You won't get in there." She also said things like, "You might get in somewhere, but I won't even say that, because it might not happen. You have to be as pessimistic as possible." She called schools like Indiana and Rutgers "the kind of schools you could actually get into." Things that were just discouraging overall. She told me to apply to Stanford but then said that she'd be disappointed if I got into Stanford and went there, even though I'd get a good job. I think a lot of this is residual bitterness from her own experiences. Since I've known her, she's been bitter about one thing or another, so maybe it's just her. I also think she might feel offended that I've talked to other professors before her, though she's the one in my primary area. It's just discouraging to have someone who I've put so much trust in seem to have so little faith in me and act like I don't know what I'm talking about. Everyone else has been impressed by how much progress I've made on my own. But, still, I need her. She knows my writing better than almost anyone, and she explicitly referred to my sophisticated approach to texts and to writing. So that's good. It was just disappointing not to have her faith in me.
At one point during the meeting, she said, "You're not going to listen to me. You guys never listen to me" (she was referring to the girl who applied last year and made a number of mistakes in her application). I told her I'd listen but I wouldn't necessarily follow all of her advice.
Ultimately, this is my life, and it's up to me what of that life I choose to put into my application. I know I won't get in everywhere; I know I may not get in anywhere. But that's not going to be because I restrict myself to programs that will cater to only one of my interests in a very specific way. I've chosen my programs the way they at least ostensibly will be choosing their students--holistically. I want my own self coming out in my application, and that means I must use my D.H. Lawrence paper. Maybe I'll end up studying the 18th-century, maybe I'll end up having a change of heart and becoming a Modernist. I don't know. All I know is that I need to be in a program that can accommodate me in every way possible.
*Sigh. Sorry if you've gotten all the way through reading this! I guess this is the purpose of having a blog...? Better than me ranting on the general forums, I suppose?
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So far, the only PhD program I got into has been NYU's. I have offers for master's at Edinburgh, SOAS and Columbia, but they're all unfunded, while NYU's funding me for 5 years. I also got rejected at Yale's and Columbia's PhD programs, which means I'm only waiting on Cornell, where, as far as I can tell, I am waitlisted.
I'm accepting NYU's offer if I don't hear from Cornell by tomorrow. I don't think I'm gonna get off the waitlist at this point, but I'm still waiting for the week to end before I take action.
This is so overwhelming! In a good way, but still!
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My application season can be broadly divided into two-applications sent between November and December (including those sent to the States) and applications sent January onwards. Nothing really came of any of my applications before January so I drastically changed my approach to applying (and the continent on which the schools I was applying to are on!) Anyway, since January I've had more success with getting to interview stage which was encouraging-at least I was doing something right now! BUT, and there's always this but, I am still an international student and fuding is difficult to come by easpecially now.
In my experience I had PIs who wanted me but needed to go back and check if they could hire me because of my international status-no funding body is going to change their funding eligibility criteria for one candidate so that was a definite dead end but it's nice to feel wanted. There was one PI who put me forward for another source of funding and I made the list of 10 students to be funded but then the funding body cut the number of studentships to 5 so I was outcompeted by people with masses more research experience and publications.
Anyway, that's all behind me now because I've now secured a place in the UK-fully funded with a stipend which is ideal. Really excited about it all especially because I'm going to be living in an amazingly exciting city. I still have an interview at another place-if I get offered this one too I might change my mind but at the moment the first one is winning in my head!
I was really keen on moving to the States for Grad School but I'm really excited about what I've got now. I don't know if I would feel differently or what I would choose to do if I had both an offer from the US and one from the UK but I guess I'll never know.
I may be back to rant about Grad School in the future but for now, thanks for reading, good luck to those still applying/waiting and thanks to everyone who offered advice and support!
Today I spoke with the POI from one of my top choices, if not my top choice, by Skype. I would have loved to have heard right off the bat, 'We're going to accept you', while I feared that it would have been an inquisition that would determine whether or not I got accepted. Needless to say, I was nervous
The talk, and I'll say 'talk' rather than 'interview', was a lot closer to the former than the latter, with the POI telling me at the end that he was 'confident' that I would receive an offer later this week. I'm guessing this means that I've been recommended for admission and that the offer just needs to be approved by the grad school - that's a fair assumption, right?
The chat lasted about 30 mins and we talked about his interests and mine and how they overlap. He also gave me the opportunity to ask him questions, and I asked him about a couple projects that he is working on that I'm interested in. I also made sure to point out that I'd met one of his grad students at the conference I was at in December and worked in a mention of the paper that student presented on. He also asked if I like programming and about my mathematical background - nothing specific or technical, he just wanted to make sure I didn't have a fear of Maths, as he put it. He also repeatedly made it clear that all PhD students are guaranteed funding for 5 years - it almost seemed like he was trying to convince me that this school would be a great place to go to (as if I needed any convincing). Since I'm from a tropical country, he made a joke about the winters at this place and asked how interested I'd be in coming - seemingly gauging my interest in attending.
He also described the process to getting a PhD, in that there'd be coursework for 2 semesters and I'd be expected to start research by next summer. I asked if it would be possible to start research earlier and he said I could start from day 1 if I knew what I wanted to do right away. He explained that once I was admitted I would be free to choose any advisor I wanted, but also said that I could contact him before the fall for reading material or any advice I wanted. While pointing out the importance of selecting the right advisor, he made the analogy that is often made here, that selecting an advisor is like getting married to someone, since you're going to be working closely with them for several years.
Somewhere along the conversation he switched saying 'if you get an offer' in describing the process to 'when you get an offer'. Then at the end he told me I should look out for the offer later this week since he was confident that I'd get one.
I'm thrilled at the prospect of attending this school and I'm eagerly awaiting the official offer.
UPDATE (Feb 16): I received an email today saying I've been recommended for admission with funding at this school. An hour later, I received another email of admission with funding from another school I applied to. I'm living a dream.
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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I was first rejected by my top choice school last year and so I went with my third choice at the time. I was pretty bummed about going there, but realized that they had more to offer than I realized. Fast forward to completing my first semester of grad school...
It sucks here! The ONLY Professor I wanted to work with has no funding now. The classes which helped defined the program and the school are NOW no longer offered. My friends (at this school) and I are pretty much pissed about the whole thing. We all actually had the same idea and that's why they chose to go here. Now we're all rethinking this decision. /end rant
After being really, disgustingly sick for the past couple of weeks, I have now also lost some motivation.
One of the profs I approached for the LoR has stated that she can write only 4 total, and has not responded to my request to look over my SoP (which has been stagnating for the past two weeks. I think the current version will be sent for one more peer review and then will be set aside and revised for the shorter version and the MA version, while working on Diversity statement and Writing Sample - CV is done).
She has also recommended that I apply to MA programs since all my recommendations are from undergrad (which I finished 10 years ago. they remember me, but it's getting seriously dated).
Due to that, I am now considering narrowing applications to 7 PhDs (the best fits and schools I'm most excited about) and 3 MAs (one of which is possibly a new school recommended to me by same prof that cannot write more than 4 LoRs).
Am also in a particularly low point emotionally regarding this process. It's extremely tiring being upbeat and positive about this when ALL YOU GET IS DISCOURAGEMENT.
And I haven't even started tackling the writing sample yet.
Welcome my minions!
Someoow you managed to stumble upon my blog. You have three seconds to click the back button and run away...
Really? You want to stick around? Okay...but don't say I didn't warn you!
So, to the introductions!
Hello, my name is Devin Berry. You can call me Devin, Dev, Devy, red-headed one, Dix (more about that later), or Devdev. Let's see, what else? In may I will be graduation with a BA in Religion and a minor in Psychology, from Atlantic Union College. You haven't heard of AUC? that's okay...no one has. Atlantic Union College (AUC) is a small Seventh-Day Adventist college in South Lancaster, Massachusetts. But your name is Presbygeek and you're Sevneth-Day Adventist??? No, I'm not Seventh-Day Adventist, as much as they have tried to convert me. I am a Presbyterian but seeing as their aren't any Presbyterian Colleges in the area I am at AUC.
I suppose I should tell you why I have decided to start blogging. If you look at the description of the blog you will see it is "The Quest to Understand Myself" and that is exactly what I intend to begin to do. This blog will chronicle my adventures and misadventures as I finish out my last year of college and work on getting into a Master's program.
Or, at least that's how I feel. LOL
I drove the 8 hours to Atlanta on Thursday and then drove around Atlanta for 10 yours on Friday scouting apartments and then drove 8 hours back home on Saturday.
I am both crazy and exhausted.
But I couldn't fathom renting sight unseen. And I have a wish list with items hard to judge from afar. I mostly want to walk to campus and I found that many places bill themselves as "close to Emory" but I would disagree.
However, the area around school is le awesome about sidewalks and being bike-friendly -- huge plus -- but the apartment communities are crazy expensive! Well, for me. I know it's not L.A. and N.Y. expensive but still, $1000 a month is pretty much my stipend. Yet, I cannot, cannot, cannot have roommates. I'm just too old for that.
I found some options and crossed Emory's "grad housing" totally off the list. (see why here)
But still nothing to commit to. I see another drive -- or three -- in the future.
I’ve never been one to care about brand names or signature labels. Last weekend when I went shopping for sunglasses, I passed by the stores selling those expensive name brand shades and went straight to the sunglasses kiosk. You know, those little carts in any US mall where you can by Dead Sea oils and novelty gifts and the like.
Anyway I found these sunglasses for 10 bucks that looked good and fit well. So I got them and saved at least 40 in the process. My wife of course has a different opinion on all this, opting for (or wanting) the name brand.
My point in mentioning this is that I have been weighing what is arguably the largest brand-name versus value pricing choice out there. Today, after months of waiting, I finally got the financial information I was looking for from NYU. Aside from a meager $1500/semester grant, I’m on the hook for the remaining tuition, fees and whatnot. Per semester, that works out to almost $18,000-20,000.
That’s a lot to pay for that “NYU” label.
And given my acceptance into CUNY/Baruch, I believe I have a value-priced alternative to choose from. Even with one year of out-of-state tuition, the total cost for the entire program should not exceed $30,000. And that’s without any assistantship or funding assistance whatsoever. With an assistantship (decided on April-June) it could be lower. And for that reduced price I still am getting a quality education and connections in a program that many people reassured me is comparable to what the big name private schools can offer.
Even knowing the cost implications, I spent the last few weeks focusing on ways to justify attending (and paying for) NYU. It’s out of character for someone who purchases store brand groceries, unknown or mass-produced clothing labels and of course, no-name sunglasses. In the end, my head and wallet will win this absurd battle. Tomorrow I will inform CUNY/Baruch that I will attend classes this fall. I’m 99% sure this is the right choice.
That remaining 1% uncertainty whether I made the right choice or not continues to vex me though.
I visited with the faculty and students at the program I am going to be attending in the fall (although I didn't officially accept until today). It was nothing short of amazing. Everything clicked--the people, the research, you name it. I'm so excited that I'm already antsy for September!
I also found out that I was THE ONLY student accepted for organizational behavior. It varies year to year, but this year they wanted only one OB student. I could hardly believe it; they said I was their top choice above all the applicants. They told me a little bit about what they liked concerning my background (and cited some little things on my application, it's kind of weird realizing these people you just met already know so much about you) and I think what helped put me over the edge for my acceptance was my prior research experience. It's just crazy to think I beat out all those other applicants for that one spot. (I get the feeling too, though they didn't say it explicitly as not to pressure me, that they were waiting on whether I would accept the offer or not before going next on the list--I don't think they've wait listed anyone, so I imagine others are still waiting.) If I had known how competitive this program was (um, one spot?) while I was still waiting to hear from programs, I really would have thought my chances were about 0%. So I'm glad I didn't know until now! But so incredibly happy that they did choose me, it has certainly given me a boost of confidence that I had started to lack throughout this process.
I also sent an email to the last program where I have yet to hear anything (they finally updated my application as complete last week...for a December 15 deadline). I just let them know I was withdrawing my application. I have a feeling they were one of those programs that would send you a rejection in May or something, so I decided to email rather than leaving it out there in limbo when neither of us want each other.
I am ten times more excited than I was when I received my acceptance...now that I've seen the office area where I'll be working, what being a GA will entail, met some of my future classmates, gotten to know the professors I'll be working with a little bit...seriously awesome. I can still hardly believe that everything has worked out.
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Coming to the home stretch before notification I'm feeling better about grad school than I have over the course of my application process. It looks like we'll be getting a decision in a week (or two) and I'm more excited than nervous.
The excitement comes not from finding out if I've been accepted or not, but where my mind is at the end of this process. I've always had a general idea of what I wanted to do with my life, a vague point of destination somewhere far down the line. Then I started my application.
I started making a list of volunteer work, accomplishments, and updated my resume. It was this point that I realized just how scattered all of it was. Looking at all of my efforts objectively I realized all my application said was "this girl works really hard and can excel at difficult tasks". I started formulating a plan.. what would look good on my application if I had to do it a second time? I made a list of things to improve: languages (learn a second), volunteer work (how to focus it so I am working toward my ultimate goals), publications (do I have something to say, and what research do I need to do about how to say it), and Research (what do I want to know more about).
I started buying books, looking into classes, reading articles. Somewhere along the line my efforts transformed from "how do I become a better applicant" to "how do I use my enthusiasm to help". I thought up educational programs I want to develop, started following the efforts of futurelab, read "Pedagogy of the Oppressed", and other books that spoke to educational methodologies.
If I get into Harvard that is great. It will give me a wealth of information and resources to pull from to help me realize all the programs I want to develop. It will immerse me in a world I've only encountered tangentially. However, if I do not get into Harvard they have already provided me a starting point to change lives and contribute to a new system of education for the future.
It is a liberating feeling, and I will be eternally grateful to Harvard for giving me the opportunity to arrive at it.
This application season has already been quite a learning experience for me. Much to my disappointment, I was rejected from my top choice earlier this week. To add to it, since I'm abroad, my mother had to type out the rejection letter and send it to me. I'm sure it was harder for her to do it than it was for me to receive it. I was at work so I just read it before leaving for lunch and then told my boyfriend as soon as he came to pick me up. Surprisingly, I was not that upset by the news. I'm not completely sure it was something out of my hands so instead of lingering I'm already taking measures to improve my one obvious weakness: my less than stellar GRE scores. Even if this application season ends up with a pleasant surprise (I'm not even close to confident about that happening) I will need to have much more competitive scores to apply for more fellowships next year. If I do end up applying again next year for programs I will, hopefully, be in a slightly better place. It's easy to feel like the world has wronged you, "it's not me, it's them" and so on but I can't afford to waste time whining. Now if it happens again next year or whenever then maybe I'll whine for a minute.
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A lot of my schools seem to notify mid to late Feb or even into March. I don't know how I will survive.
I am forcing myself off of the computer. Which is so good for so many reasons.
I am definitely in the phase of the game where I believe I will not get into any of my schools. My GRE did not even crack 1200 (missed by 10). And they will be receiving so many applications this year. I am done for. And I am not going for a Master's alone. I have kids and that would mean uprooting them and then again in two or three years. Can't do it.
Well, off to obsessively check application status updates. Haven't done that in a few days.
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So a friend of mine, who I had to pep talk into applying to grad school, got accepted to Berkeley the other day.
I'm not panic-y/jealous at all. :/ In case you didn't realize, that is typed in sarcasm font.
I'm super excited to already be accepted to a school, but my dream school is still not yet in my reach. And I don't get it. I have a ton of publications, a great cv, good letters, and good grades. Where are the rest of my acceptance letters????
Finally, something from somebody. I feel like I'm a homeless puppy feeding off scraps in the trash, awaiting anyone to take me in.
A POI at the U. of Maryland emailed me to say they are reviewing applications now and I should hear something soon. Soon! Soon? Days? Weeks? Ahhh!
She also sent me a new article she's published along with someone else at UMD and someone at OSU. It is basically everything I've ever dreamed of about my future graduate career. Insects, ecology, urbanization...
I worried whether or not I had submitted enough applications. I worried whether or not the weird grammar and typos would disqualify me from the programs I applied to.
I worried a little bit about the Letters of Recommendation but what I now realize is that this may be the biggest factor of my application and should have been the one thing that I should have worried about....
And I say this because I now have an application due mid-December that has a missing LOR from a faculty who I just learned is in another country with intermittent internet access.
Since I now need to bother another professor for a rushed replacement letter, the good thing in all this is that now I can't realistically apply to any more programs.
And I can move on.
Once I get that last letter that is...