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NEHiker17

Bizarre and Confusing Admissions Experience

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I was recently admitted to an MS program at a very good public university, and my experience has been frustrating.  Has anyone else had similar experiences?

  • I was invited to a visit weekend before I was admitted, with no information about what my admissions status was at that time.  The visit weekend was described as a chance to meet with advisors who are interested in applicants, but no meetings were set up for me.  I didn't find this out until after I paid for a plane ticket.  My roommate for the weekend had the same experience - confusion about her admissions status and no meetings arranged.  Neither of us had a clue why we were even invited.
  • I wasn't told until the week before the visit that I would have a roommate for two nights in a hotel and the third night would be with a grad student host.  I'm an introvert and need time alone to decompress, and I would have appreciated being told when the invitation was sent out.
  • The weekend involved tours of several labs that were interesting, but specific to certain research interests.  Not many of them matched mine.  I guess they were just trying to make the scheduling less complicated, but I thought much of it was a waste of time for me. 
  • They ended up scheduling a couple of meetings for me.  I'm sure this was only because before I left for the trip, I asked why I had no meetings with professors and expressed concern.  But, I didn't know about the meetings until the first day of the visit when I arrived on campus.  At that point, I had no time to prepare.  One of the meetings was via phone with a professor, during the campus visit.  I still don't know if he was on campus and couldn't be bothered to take the bus 15 minutes to meet with me in person.  I could have just done a phone call at home.  My roommate never did have any meetings, so I feel even worse for her.
  • They nominated me for a fellowship that I clearly didn't qualify for under the eligibility requirements.  When I pointed this out, they said they'd find out the results soon. I even mentioned this to one of my potential advisors.  Despite pointing out the problem to two people, they continued to await the results and act like I might get the fellowship instead of finding other funding sources for me.  This was the most baffling and frustrating part of the process.  I have no idea why they didn't admit the mistake, withdraw my nomination, and find another funding source.

The program sounds great, I like the location, and I've talked to a very nice, smart, and grounded potential advisor that I think I'd work well with (and doesn't have funding).  But this process has been beyond annoying.

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This all seems more or less typical, except for paying for your own flight. I never got a schedule of meetings more than a day or two in advance and definitely toured some unrelated labs. For one, I knew I was admitted but otherwise, no idea. It is weird they had someone come out that didn't have any meetings.

They might know something about that fellowship that you don't or more likely, know they don't have funding for you from any sources. 

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