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Shattered Dream



This year I applied to a total of 10 schools. Of those 10 schools, there was really only one school I wanted to attend. If I had my way, I would have only had applied to that one school, but I felt that I needed to apply to more schools. This particular school had a very unique program different from all the rest. It was an interdisciplinary program fusing art and computer science. Employers within my industry love this program and all the students pretty much had a job waiting for them right after graduation. They also placed a heavy emphasis on research. It was my dream program...synthesis of art and computer science, excellent employment rate thanks to the classes, and great research.

I've recently learned of 6 people who were accepted into this program. Decisions were finalized a while ago and I've pretty much heard nothing from anyone. No one has responded to my emails and I guess that pretty much tells me that I have not been selected among the chosen few to attend this program. There really shouldn't be a reason why I haven't been notified if I wasn't accepted. So the dream has been shattered...I guess I'll just go to one of the other schools that accepted me. I'll probably be miserable attending, but what other choice do I have?


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Hey hope for the best, you may still get in. But prepare for the worst also, and do not go to the other program with that attitude. Trust me, you don't know what might work out best for you. When I came to Canada as a Masters student, I had to go to my last choice, and I was miserable, but had no other option. And guess what? After 2 years and six publications in top conferences and journals, I could not be happier that I came here. I got a lot of research opportunities with several other professors than my supervisor, and because of my masters performance, I got into PhD from Fall 2010 under supervision one of the "celebrity professors" in my field. So yah, don't lose hope, and good luck!

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This is not the mindset to have in grad school, nor is "no other options" a reason to go to grad school. There are a lot of options to a recently graduated student.

If you mean options as in job options, then I've tried. 34,000+ applicants and they only hired 50 from that bunch the entire year. And this was just for one company. Another company received 46,000+ applicants and hired only 120 from that for the year which included interns.

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Don't assume you haven't been selected until you get the notice (or call them), and don't assume you'll be miserable going anywhere else until you really explore your other options. You can be happy somewhere else, and not getting in at your #1 pick might be a good indication of that. You may not have wanted to, but still applied to other schools for a reason!

I also flirted with the idea of only applying to my top choice, which is considered #1 in my field. But then I would have missed out on the school I'm most strongly considering now!

In fact, I was amazed to get into my "second-choice" school, since at the time I didn't think it was as good a fit for me (too ambitious -- program intended for people with more industry experience than I have), and most of my energy was spent agonizing over my application to my #1 choice.

I thought my #1 choice was my perfect fit, but -- even though I still like them -- now I find them a little cold and distant, and not so appreciative of my humble career goals. You may be finding your #1 a bit cold now, too, since they haven't contacted you yet.

My second-choice is now the equal of my prior first-choice, in my book, because they've welcomed me with open arms, are extremely appreciative of my humble goals and will help me achieve them.

I've found that, sometimes, when you're so dead-set on one school, you don't give other programs a fair shake. Especially when your favorite program seems to be everybody else's favorite program. That can make it hard to see other schools as valuable.

As I'm dealing with that kind of situation right now, I'm trying to sort through the clatter in my mind, "But everybody thinks this school is THE best..." in order to consider the other program I know I could thrive at.

Give a few points to the wisdom of the admissions committees -- they think you'd be excellent at their schools and be a great contribution to their academic environments. Do some more research, try to visit some, get to know people and find a new favorite school.

Also, ask yourself, would you want to wait until next admissions cycle, to give your dream school another shot?

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I can understand being let down. I was accepted into my 1st choice, but with absolutely no funding - which made it a no go for me. It was very sad to see those options slip away, but I've been trying to get myself psyched about my second choice. They're actually excited about me, willing to fund me, and there are still lots of opportunities there. In addition, while advisors/classes are important, grad school is also what you make of it to a large extent and I know I can still make things happen for me in this other program. I think I will be happier than I expect there once I get settled in, and maybe you will feel the same way about your other program as well once the disappointment passes for this first choice.

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I agree that if you're going to be attending a school just because and you feel you're going to be miserable or losing out because you didn't get into your first choice school, then you should probably not attend. Save your money and travel, work, do something else, because you'll never be able to satisfy your expectations wherever you go. There was a reason why you didn't get in, and though as harsh as that may mean it's important to realize that. It never hurts to dream, but it is never worth destroying reality just because of a dream. If you're really passionate about it, take a year off and reapply next year. That's what I did. I didn't get in the second time around either, but that's that. It's one dream, there are many ways to achieve it.

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I've decided to attend my 2nd choice. I've convinced myself that even though it isn't exactly my ideal program, it isn't a bad program and I'll be okay attending it. I'll probably have to work twice as hard as the other school to get noticed by employers such as taking classes elsewhere since my program doesn't cover those topics, but I think I'm fine with that now...

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can i ask what program it was?

also, i agree with the above poster who wrote that grad school is not your only option - and your choice of work is also not your only option. maybe you can't get that dream job in your field with the 34,000 applicants - maybe take a shitty job that isn't in your field but allows you the time and the money to work on your portfolio. look into more programs, expand your network, and apply again next year.

wouldn't that be better than forcing yourself to go to a school you won't be happy at?

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It seems that my 2nd choice program has a newly formed lab which actually coincides with my interest. The focus of the lab is pretty much what I'm looking to do so I can say that I will be happy attending this school. Perhaps it is my fate to go there and work on great things? It's funny because they actually updated their site yesterday and it lists the lab now. I'm still bummed about my first choice, but I don't think I'll be miserable anymore at my 2nd choice.

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I just thought I'd post back in here and mention that I saw who was accepted into my first choice.

They accepted 14 of their undergrads and only accepted 5 people who weren't from their school...

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