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  1. Today I sent all the remaining applications, whether their deadline was today, the end of the month or later. Then I cooked something nice and turned on some Hootie and Blowfish. All last week I was checking this website but did not have any time to write something up here, working full time on the side and all.

    I must say though, it's a great feeling to have all this behind me. And every two days I get a few emails from schools, saying applications are complete or missing stuff, then I email them back and they are all very nice (well mostly) and things get done and we keep rolling.

    I remember last August when I told myself, "Gee Whiz, I will finish ALL my application essays before the school year begins and I'm gonna do this right and I'm sure gonna get somewhere". Well it wasn't downhill from there. As imagined I did absolutely nothing until December. I had set my aim at 12 schools, and it seemed very difficult to get down to all the bits and pieces of the application. then hit the school year and as a teacher from September on there is really little time to do anything besides the school work. So applications were somewhere in my head as "IbnU": important but not Urgent. In the meantime I took GRE and got a sad little verbal score which I just had to increase because it looked ridiculous. Coming back that day the first thing I did was to register for another GRE, so GRE costed in the end 180 bucks TWICE! Luckily the second one was better, I increased my score by 100 points and reached 1370, and I thought that was as good as I can possibly get as an international student because Quantitative was already 800.

    After that slowly December came and there was the time to call the previous schools to get the transcripts and ask advisors what happened to those recommendations maybe. A few major problems came up. My university didn't want to give my transcripts because they claimed I hadn't checked-out properly, which I had to do online once more, and for about two weeks I heard nothing from my main recommender, who was a reliable person otherwise and whose letter I needed desperately. He did come through though in the end and everything came in time. I checked the price of fast international delivery and admitted with despair that $1600 altogether is probably a good price to pay for a chance of 5 years of funded and organized life but I must tell you that sometimes it didn't feel that way at all. Grad stipends are one of those things which a developing country teacher's salary can still beat, but hey, there will always be more money in the future, but when will I do my PhD, like at 40? Won't it be harder to leave my even higher salary then and I'll wonder if I did the right thing not applying?

    The good thing is that all this thinking is over, this impulse to just not apply to anything, a voice in your head saying, "if you stop now you can still save $1200, go buy a mac with that money and live together happily ever after". I'm glad I didn't listen to that and went ahead with this and now there is no turning back, there's just sitting and waiting for whatever will happen. But just for fun's sake I'll predict that the final situation will be like this: I'm applying to one master's program which I will get into (It's Harvard TEP), but the scholarship will not add up completely, of the 8 PhD positions I ended up applying to Penn State will reject me due to the sloppy research paper they needed in APA style. I mean I had already written a 23000 word thesis in a different style which I wanted to convert to 2000. It sounded crazy and probably looks terrible. Of the other programs I think I will be rejected right out by 4 of them, be accepted with good funding from at most 1, and the other 2 will be like "hey you have some money?".

    We'll see how it works out, but now back to Hootie and sleeping more than 5 hours every day.

    Good luck to us all.

  2. acup313
    Latest Entry

    I just got back from my first interview and I felt that it went good, and I am leaving for another one tomorrow. I will talk more about these later, but I wanted to talk briefly about all of the worries people are having regarding their LORs. I know a lot of people say that the LOR is one of the most important parts of the application, and that without them it is hopeless. While that may be true for some programs at some schools, I can tell you that it is definitely not the case everywhere. Both of the schools where I am interviewing invited me to the interviews before they had my LORs. In fact I think one of the schools still has not received one of my LORs and they are not too worried about it. So, I know this may not be helpful for everyone, and it may not help you relax, but I wanted everyone to know that there is still hope even if you have to rely on unreliable people. I hope everything works out for the best for everyone.

  3. Okay, so raise your hand if you are full of nerves at this point? That's right, everyone's hand is up.

    I have a story for you and hopefully it will help everyone take a deep breath and realize, it will all be just fine.

    Having filled out the online portion of my application, I put two packets in the mail, one for School A and one for School B (my top choice, as these things go) on the 31st. Today, I received an email from School A, informing me that in their hands they held my supplemental materials for School B.

    Let that one sink in, folks. I sent two schools the WRONG application.

    I immediately called the Grad Coordinator who could not have been nicer. He agreed to throw out my School B application, and I emailed him the missing information. After discussing the culinary deliciousness of School A's city, I called School B and explained the situation. They, too, could not have been nicer. I will overnight them my supplementary information and, as they say, crisis averted!

    Mailing the wrong application is probably one of the biggest mistakes one could make right about now. But you know what? It was a non-issue. So please remember my story when you are in the throws (throes?) of panic!

  4. i've spent several weeks trying to create the perfect SOP and not once have i complained about the word limit. but now that it's getting down to the wire, i just need to vent.

    400 words is not enough to thoroughly describe everything the question asks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    it's nearly done but it just doesn't feel right. doesn't feel like me. i like imagery. i like to create a feeling. that's what people remember. what they connect to.

    it's been a long time since i've written something for an adcomm. i know they value concision. it's just not me. in turn, i feel defeated. like what i am submitting barely scratches the surface of my commitment and dedication. everything else about my application meets my expectations. i only have two weeks to figure this last part out. yikes!

  5. I had a pretty bad experience with a letter writer today. After I confirmed with her several weeks ago that she was willing to write, I immediately registered her for the online applications. At the same time I sent an email to tell her the timeframe so she didn't get stressed from me flooding her inbox. In the same email, I said that a couple of programmes required paper letters and that I'd have the forms etc to her soon. Then a couple of weeks later I sent an email saying that actually one of the remaing letters needed to be sent to an email address, and (again) I'd have paper forms for other schools for her soon. The day after my first deadline, she uploaded all but one of the online recs. This meant she missed the deadline for the one that needed emailed. Not one to stress, I figured she'd get to it eventually.

    Today, I went to drop off the forms for paper applications, and I had a cover note mentioning that there was still an online app to go (deadline mid jan; so no pressure) and could she please send the letter as an email attachment (this was the one overdue).

    So after I politely and deferntially told her that I was at there to drop off the forms, her response was a grunt of dissapointment. "So much work to do, I'll get to it later" "that's fine, I'm so sorry to be a pain" etc etc. She acted as if I was adding extra schools at the last minute, rather than following up on what had already been agreed (and a deadline that had passed). It's her who hasn't read/understood/remembered emails, but I'm the one who gets branded in her mind as demanding.

    It's not that I don't get how busy she is or that she's doing me a favour. I really hate how the LoR part of the application makes us so dependent on other people. The process is designed to demand a lot of work not just from applicants, but from the letter writers. There's a post on the Chronicle Forums where a single professor has 120 LoR-related emails! The thing is, this recommender is no busier than the other two of mine are. If anything, my other recommenders have more rights to feel like I'm a pain in the rear because of how I know them - I'm this person's only MA advisee, while the others are my employers.

    Sigh. Nearly over.

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