These are the replies that I got from professors before applying and while waiting for the decisions.......
School A: First Professor
1a.) You have a good resume. Do apply to( ....) and mention in your statement that you are interested in working with me.
I applied and was constantly touch with the particular professor updating him about my work and thesis and later he also had contacted me for the write up for an Independent study that I did last semester....The mail read thus...
1b.) Could you send me a write up on your independent study on (....). It would help me evaluate your application on a more technical basis.
and I did sent him the write up without delay.
School B : Second Professor
1.) I'm interested in your application. I encourage you to apply to (....). I am looking for new students in my group and would like to consider you.
Similarly I kept in touch updating about my work although I did not hear from the professor later. This school was my safe bet as well.
School C : Third Professor
1a) Thank you very much for your interest in my research program. Your interests are certainly well correlated with mine. I won't have time to study your paper for about 1.5 wks, as I'm very busy right now with (.......). I also value your industry experience. We are building
a (...........................) to demonstrate new techniques. It seems that you may have some of the skills that would be needed to do experiments with that testbed. Please let me know when you have applied, and I will look at your application and letters of recommendation.
Later when I updated her about my work.........
1b) Thank you for your continued interest. I am printing out your paper, and hope to take a look at it soon.(....................). Still no word on my pending (.....) proposal, but I know I won't hear anything for a few months yet.
School D : Fourth Professor
When I mailed one of the professors albeit late march, I got the reply like this.....
1) I have not had the chance to look at your file earlier for some reason. At this point, I do not have any RAs to offer. However, I do share your interest in (........), and may have some funding in the future. So, please keep in touch. If you interested in getting admitted to (........) (without aid at this point), I can make a recommendation.
Of course I wanted to and sent the professor a reply promptly even though I know its without funds.
It is quite frustrating when coincidentally all the above schools rejected admission to their programs . I am just happy that before I need to endure all these rejects I got an excellent offer from another school but where I had no contacts and was doubtful of admission. It will be worth to wait for the decision of another of my safe bets, where the professor had personally talked with me more than a couple of times and made an informal offer for admission as well. All the rejection letters have a common pattern though - too many applicants to the program and hence highly qualified students might also be rejected. I know it as I have seven rejection letters with me for my life, but I doubt whether it is just a platitude for all rejects this year.
I am kind of quite determined to find out the reason for this pattern of rejections. I had sent mails to department asking them what I need to improve my application next time around, but not heard from any so far. As regarding my credentials, my SoP is, I would say very good and focused because I am sure what I wanted to do for my Phd and that too in the latest field of research on which I am working now. Other credentials I assume were good so as to get a replies like the above ones (I am sure I have not bluffed in my resume). The LOR from my adviser is going to be excellent.
Things that I see as a reason are:
1. LOR from other two referees because I have not interacted with them much although I got top grades in their courses.
2. Schools are out of funds and they do not want to give admission to Phd without money.
3. And of course too many applicants this year makes it difficult to look at all the carefully prepared SoPs and LORs !!
4. Does the committee views international student (with a US degree in masters though) differently ?
5. or Quite simply they just bluffed when they sent those mails and found me not competitive when the real applications came in.
I am eager to hear comments from those who read this and more so if they had similar experience when applied this year or whenever. If there are any professor or people from some admission committee reading I would like to hear heir comments as well, like what other factors might have affected the admission.