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Hurtful Rejections

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I had a great connection with the faculty member I wanted to work with. I visited the university in October and the spoke with two of the faculty members I was interested in and made a great connection with one who stayed and chatted with me for over three hours and insisted on hugging me prior to leaving and emphasized that I needed to be there and not at the other programs I was considering applying to.

So I arrogantly assumed I was a shoe-in until last week when I received a cold blunt rejection letter from them. Now it's awkward, I'm thinking what am I going to do when it comes to running into each other at conferences, we are in the same sub-specialty. I just wish I could have received an email from the professor or something nice just stating they couldn't accept me this year so that when we do see each other it wont be awkward.

We are all colleagues so you think it would be in these professors interests to be as professional as possible.

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The rejection letter from Duke was not only impersonal but done through automated computer system. I got an e-mail saying that decicions were made, go check online, and when I clicked on the "message", it' was a pdf file of a very impersonal, generic letter scanned and uploaded. They didn't even bother sending the letter, but make you go read that hurtful rejection online. :(

UCLA did that too. it sucked. :evil:

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I had a great connection with the faculty member I wanted to work with. I visited the university in October and the spoke with two of the faculty members I was interested in and made a great connection with one who stayed and chatted with me for over three hours and insisted on hugging me prior to leaving and emphasized that I needed to be there and not at the other programs I was considering applying to.

So I arrogantly assumed I was a shoe-in until last week when I received a cold blunt rejection letter from them. Now it's awkward, I'm thinking what am I going to do when it comes to running into each other at conferences, we are in the same sub-specialty. I just wish I could have received an email from the professor or something nice just stating they couldn't accept me this year so that when we do see each other it wont be awkward.

We are all colleagues so you think it would be in these professors interests to be as professional as possible.

that is really lame! i can't believe that a professor would be so careless and unprofessional. first of all, this person should have NEVER hugged you and insisted that you needed to be there instead of the other schools you were applying to (without KNOWING that you were going to get in...) maybe the circumstances were out of their control in the end, but like you said, he should have e-mailed you or sent you something nice... (an apology, maybe??)

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I called a school today to check the status of my application because I had not heard anything.

The graduate secretary told me "you were not accepted and not on our wait list, goodbye"

She spoke to me like I was so stranger walking up to her on the street to ask her for the time.

I feel really good now (just a hint of sarcasm)

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I had a great connection with the faculty member I wanted to work with. I visited the university in October and the spoke with two of the faculty members I was interested in and made a great connection with one who stayed and chatted with me for over three hours and insisted on hugging me prior to leaving and emphasized that I needed to be there and not at the other programs I was considering applying to.

So I arrogantly assumed I was a shoe-in until last week when I received a cold blunt rejection letter from them. Now it's awkward, I'm thinking what am I going to do when it comes to running into each other at conferences, we are in the same sub-specialty. I just wish I could have received an email from the professor or something nice just stating they couldn't accept me this year so that when we do see each other it wont be awkward.

We are all colleagues so you think it would be in these professors interests to be as professional as possible.

Your situation looks exactly like what happened to me. I guess that this is not uncommon. I share your fear of running into the dude who dumped me at a conference or whatever. In fact, just seeing a picture of him on the internet really made me angry. I wonder what the problem is here. I mean, why can't they communicate with us to explain what happened? Any kind of response would be better than the sudden rejections that so many of us have received.

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I called a school today to check the status of my application because I had not heard anything.

The graduate secretary told me "you were not accepted and not on our wait list, goodbye"

She spoke to me like I was so stranger walking up to her on the street to ask her for the time.

I feel really good now (just a hint of sarcasm)

That's appallingly rude. The way I am reading it, it sounds just like the way I might handle a sales call (I'm not interested goodbye). I'm sorry you were treated that way. Professionals should act more professional, especially when they know how much this process means to their applicants.

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I've had bad experiences with secretaries at grad departments and actually told the professors there. They mentioned that they can't control who gets hired but it used to be much worse, now it's just bad.

I understand you're already down about being rejected so it's hard to muster up the strength to tell the department. However I would consider notifying the Head of the department about the lack of professionalism. Maybe you can mail an anonymous letter and state the grad. secretary's full name so they wont be confused.

Regardless I wish you the best in your graduate pursuits and always remember these grad secretaries are most likely jealous of us and this is shown through their apathy!

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Because, you know, it's incredibly impractical for me to spend $50 or more working on this application only to get a one page form letter in return, polite as it may be. We should demand more from our rejection letters.

Here Here! I agree, those application packets are terribly painstaking. The first few I did, I almost didn't want to mail! Then to get a rejection letter with no explanation is very unsatisfying. I told my sister I was going to email the Grad Director and ask her for my ad. packet back!

My emailed rejection from Tulane:

________________________________

Dear XX:

Thank you for applying to Tulane University's graduate program in history. I regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you admission into our program. We had a number of excellent applicants, and could not accommodate all qualified students.

I and the rest of the admissions committee wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

Yours,

XX

Director of Graduate Studies

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

_________________________________________

I found it pious and condescending, especially the feel-good encouraging quote. And who quotes Emerson? Oh yeah, everybody.

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I think the signature is really encouraging...especially if you're going to reject someone.

I notice a lot of people are just sensitive when it's a rejections, some get pissed when they're only sent an email and not a letter in the mail, and some get pissed when they only get a letter in the mail and not an email.

Either way I think it's nice of them to put such a thoughtful quote which implies you may not be getting accepted here but as long as you still have a fire inside of you then you will succeed!

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You are right, it was the signature and not part of the email.

Maybe I should have written, "I felt it was inappropriate to use a signature that denoted a 'keep your chin up kid, you're still special'" sentiment.

I feel a much more appropriate way to handle a rejection would be to give the applicant the same amount of respect the applicant had given the institution by following their application guidelines to the letter. To me, respect does not include a quote suggesting that "even though we may reject you, it's what inside that matters." Sorry guys, I don't appreciate "you are all special snowflakes" in my rejection letter. I want respect from one academic to another. I worked damn hard in my undergrad and I would have appreciated it had they respected me as an academic, not as a kid. I didn't want a pat on the head and someone telling me I'm special. My mom can tell me that. I go to a university for academic guidance, intelligent discussion/debate, and higher learning. When you are applying to a graduate program we've left behind the "fire inside" ideas. What matters are our papers, our rec. letters, our scores and how we can contribute to the program. If we were all admitted on the basis of "what's inside our hearts," university admissions would be vastly different.

It is for that reason I felt it was condescending.

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I think you're a bit intense...however this is a very stressful period of time for all of us.

I think a lot of people apply who don't even know what PhD stands for and don't deserve a nice rejection letter, therefore if i see a university has gone out of there way to add in something nice, I couldn't dream of getting upset with them for it.

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You are right, it was the signature and not part of the email.

Maybe I should have written, "I felt it was inappropriate to use a signature that denoted a 'keep your chin up kid, you're still special'" sentiment.

I feel a much more appropriate way to handle a rejection would be to give the applicant the same amount of respect the applicant had given the institution by following their application guidelines to the letter. To me, respect does not include a quote suggesting that "even though we may reject you, it's what inside that matters." Sorry guys, I don't appreciate "you are all special snowflakes" in my rejection letter. I want respect from one academic to another. I worked damn hard in my undergrad and I would have appreciated it had they respected me as an academic, not as a kid. I didn't want a pat on the head and someone telling me I'm special. My mom can tell me that. I go to a university for academic guidance, intelligent discussion/debate, and higher learning. When you are applying to a graduate program we've left behind the "fire inside" ideas. What matters are our papers, our rec. letters, our scores and how we can contribute to the program. If we were all admitted on the basis of "what's inside our hearts," university admissions would be vastly different.

It is for that reason I felt it was condescending.

suck it up and take it like a man. you're not getting in. unless they literally told you to, "go fuck yourself for wasting our time", then a simply stated rejection letter is not worth blowing up over.

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It's certainly likely I overreacted. Getting 3 other rejections in the same 2 days didn't help matters... It is a really stressful time and thanks for reminding us all of that.

Frankdux: Christ man. THAT was an overreaction.

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Frankdux...that was a bit intense...there were better ways of stating what you were trying to convey.

Underdog...It sucks to get rejections on top of rejections...sometimes we're so angry that we misplace our anger. I think with you it was directed at the actual letter. I totally agree with you about the effort we put into applications, we really get our hopes up, imagine going there, write a statement of purpose with x school in our heart. Mentally you're there...then they send us an impersonal rejection letter. It hurts!!! I just really hate the fact that we have to put so much energy (emotional, mental, etc.) into our apps. all to get a friggin rejection letter!

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I just got a hurtful rejection over the phone. I hadn't heard anything from one school, so I contacted the graduate advisor at the university and he told me my application was "pending." But then he explained to me that acceptance letters were already sent out last month, along with wait list letters. He told me my chances of getting into the school at this point were "very slim." He then went on to add that his university was VERY SELECTIVE with who they let in.....and some other garbage about their standards. I felt like I was being broken up with. His tone was chilling. After I hung up the phone I just muttered to myself....f*ck off. Seriously, he was that rude.

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Finally, got rejected by Penn State today for CS PhD. I emailed the graduate director last friday that I have offers from other schools and requested for a decision before 4/15.....I did mention in my email that I am still very much interested in their Phd program.....but it looks like they didn't care a bit about it.....

anyway, now that they've rejected...it's less complicated to make a final decision....The clouds are clearing around the University of Arizona.....

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Finally, got rejected by Penn State today for CS PhD. I emailed the graduate director last friday that I have offers from other schools and requested for a decision before 4/15.....I did mention in my email that I am still very much interested in their Phd program.....but it looks like they didn't care a bit about it.....

anyway, now that they've rejected...it's less complicated to make a final decision....The clouds are clearing around the University of Arizona.....

Penn State's (Poli Sci) rejection letter was the worst in my case, even though it was much lower on my list than several programs to which I was accepted. They wrote a "comforting" letter, informing unsuccessful applicants of the department's "exceptionally high" median GRE score of 1290... mine was a 1400. That means their typical student didn't break a 650 in either section, and they were proud of it. I chalk it up to the fact that I turned them down for undergrad, so this was payback hahaha.

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It seems goofy to me for them to post median GRE scores in a rejection letter, partly for the reason you mentioned that half the folks have scored higher than the median so the letter would not be pertinent to them. I think form rejection letters (hard copy, e-mail or web based) in general are tacky. I received a two line form e-mail rejection from a grad sec from U. of Arizona, (consolation prize: i was done dealing with her rudeness and ignoring my questions for weeks about missing supplementals resulting in my late application.) :evil:

I don't think it is too much to expect an individualized letter preferably with a checklist and/or a couple lines - maybe on strengths and weaknesses, suitability to research of dept) to the applicant. Does the culture of higher academia assume it is intellectually cool to be cold? Pink Floyd Song coming to mind. :roll:

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After six months of complete silence (during which I was admitted to several other schools, went on visits, and made a final choice because I had long ago given up on ever getting a response from this program) I get a rejection letter from Purdue's BME department, in which they tout themselves as being a "highly selective" program. Maybe I'm just being sensitive, but doesn't that seem a bit tacky to you all? I mean, I'm quite aware that they're selective. No need to rub in the fact that I didn't meet their high standards. The other outright rejections I got were much more gracious and prompt.

The last paragraph of the letter made very little sense to me. "Please note that because admissions is a confidential process we are not able to provide you any feedback about your evaluation. Therefore we ask that you not contact the Weldon School to ask for any information about your application or your review. " Er...yes, but it's my application, what's in there that can't be shown to ME? It sounds to me like their way of blowing off applicants yet again. "Don't call us, we'll call you." Why not just say, "We are too busy to waste our time helping you?"

I guess any letter beats the complete lack of a response from Case Western. Still, I hope a paper copy is coming so I can burn it out of sheer malice. Overall I am very happy with my final choice, but this was just so inconsiderate. Thanks for letting me rant.

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The last paragraph of the letter made very little sense to me. "Please note that because admissions is a confidential process we are not able to provide you any feedback about your evaluation. Therefore we ask that you not contact the Weldon School to ask for any information about your application or your review. " Er...yes, but it's my application, what's in there that can't be shown to ME? It sounds to me like their way of blowing off applicants yet again. "Don't call us, we'll call you." Why not just say, "We are too busy to waste our time helping you?"

That seems really odd. Last year when I went through my slew of rejections, schools were always happy to go over my application strengths and weaknesses with me.

Oh well, forget them anyway. :D

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After six months of complete silence (during which I was admitted to several other schools, went on visits, and made a final choice because I had long ago given up on ever getting a response from this program) I get a rejection letter from Purdue's BME department, in which they tout themselves as being a "highly selective" program. Maybe I'm just being sensitive, but doesn't that seem a bit tacky to you all? I mean, I'm quite aware that they're selective. No need to rub in the fact that I didn't meet their high standards. The other outright rejections I got were much more gracious and prompt.

The last paragraph of the letter made very little sense to me. "Please note that because admissions is a confidential process we are not able to provide you any feedback about your evaluation. Therefore we ask that you not contact the Weldon School to ask for any information about your application or your review. " Er...yes, but it's my application, what's in there that can't be shown to ME? It sounds to me like their way of blowing off applicants yet again. "Don't call us, we'll call you." Why not just say, "We are too busy to waste our time helping you?"

I understand. One of my schools did something similar with the letter, though they sent it Feb 1 (a clear sign that I wasn't up to snuff for them). Don't let it get you down and definitely burn it if you can.

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Some schools have had legal problems after explaining why applicants have been denied acceptance, so many programs outright refuse to provide that information anymore. It happens -- I wouldn't take it to heart.

The "we're very selective" line is included, in one form or another, in just about every rejection I've ever received. It's meant to make you feel better, not to rub it in your nose (I hope). They're just trying to say that they had lots of highly qualified applicants, including you, so they had a tough decision to make. "Better luck next year."

Although it was hardly what you wanted to hear, I seriously doubt they were trying to be cruel or unprofessional.

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