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Wisconsin-Madison


Chuck
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Anyone else starting to get excited/nervous/antsy about UW Madison? Looks like their major wave of acceptances went out Jan 31/Feb 1 last year. This date is equivalent to the last Friday/Saturday in January, so depending on how the committee timeline shapes up, it's possible that we could be hearing tomorrow.

Yikes.

I don't think I'm ready! I haven't heard from any schools yet, and UW is definitely one of my top choices.

My POI at Wisconsin told me that last year, in addition to receiving a record number of applicants, they majorly ramped up their selectivity. I think they accepted on the order of 6% from a pool of ~350. The upside of this (if you are lucky enough to be accepted) is that they started guaranteeing 5 years of funding to all students starting with the 2011 entering class.

Wisconsin was already a fabulous program, and I would be honored to be admitted. However (also as my subfield is extremely small) I know that the chances are not amazing. Sigh. Trying not to worry to much about tomorrow.

Any other Wisconsin hopefuls?

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UW is definitely one of my top choices. Given, however, the figures you just listed (and the fact that it wouldn't surprise me if their applicant pool hit the 375 mark this year), I'm being realistic about my chances. My one ray of shimmering hope is that one of my LOR writers used to be a tenure track professor in that department. It's not much, but i'll take anything that might possibly distinguish me from the masses!

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Sociograd- you're right, UW has gotten REALLY competitive since 2010. Both my UW POI and the grad secretary dropped the 6% figure rather - dare I say - happily when I made my inquiry last fall. I do see their perspective - they must be quite pleased to be up in the rankings and matriculating such competitive students! Last year's yield was a bit lower than expected, so the admit rate may go up slightly this year (according to the DGS). But I do think slightly is the operative term here...

I can't imagine having to slog through 350+ applications over the course of just a few weeks. Makes me wonder how 'holistic' their selection process really can be. Though they publish guidelines for competitive GPA & GRE ranges, they also stress the importance of the picture painted by the overall application. My early interactions with the department (several years ago, before I was ready to apply) gave me the impression that they were much more interested in me as an intellectual being than as a set of numbers. But these past few months I've heard a lot of talk of admit stats and how objectively brilliant everyone is. My general sense is that their selection bias is going to lean more and more towards the quantifiable aspects of applicant materials. Can they really be reading hundreds of 20-50 page writing samples? Even if they read the top 50 or so, that's a lot of time away from other professorly duties.

The NRC data on Wisconsin admits between 2003-2006 shows an average GRE Q score of 706. Nothing to scoff at, but this is quite low for what now is such a competitive program. I do wonder how much this figure will likely change with the new admissions rate. If I am lucky enough to be admitted to UW, I will most likely accept. But not if my cohort is a bunch of political scientists! ;)

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It's funny how "inviting" the application site is..."we look at everything, there are no cut-off's" etc. etc. They should add a new line...."By the way, we've become beyond competitive so unless you are perfect, don't expect to be accepted.

I really don't think it's a matter of being perfect. While having a stellar GPA and GRE score will increase likelihood of acceptance, you can get into top programs, even top 10, without them if you stand out in other places!

Edited by xdarthveganx
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I think a trend that is going on with some of the top public schools like UCLA is that they are placing a lot of emphasis on making sure all admitted students have decent full funding packages, which would lend to a lower admit rate and also a higher selectivity. This is probably what is happening at UW. Both Wisconsin and California got hit hard by state budget cuts, so this probably means that they have less funding, and in turn, probably less spots. I know in years past, the public schools got known for being a bit cutthroat with the cohorts competing against each other for funding in their first two years, but many of the schools now seem to find this model unproductive and are leaning away from it. I noticed on the UCLA site that they gave every student some sort of funding last year? And someone just said this about UW? If this is the case, then that is very different from years past, and perhaps UW is also following this model of funding all its students and cutting its admit rate. Both good and bad for us I guess...

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I see someone just got accepted to the Masters program in Spanish and Portuguese at UW-Madison. I have a feeling the rest of us, including sociology applicants, will be getting a notification soon, probably this week.

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I see someone just got accepted to the Masters program in Spanish and Portuguese at UW-Madison. I have a feeling the rest of us, including sociology applicants, will be getting a notification soon, probably this week.

Well I was right about myself at least. I was informed via e-mail that I've been granted an "informal" telephone interview and that, pending positive results, I will be accepted at UW-Madison! Hopefully the rest of you will hear from your prospective departments this week as well.

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Well I was right about myself at least. I was informed via e-mail that I've been granted an "informal" telephone interview and that, pending positive results, I will be accepted at UW-Madison! Hopefully the rest of you will hear from your prospective departments this week as well.

Congrats! I might start checking my email 24/7 now...

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Hmmm. I was just trying to post some quick graphs I made showing the last 10 years of admission trends for UW Sociology, but I can't figure out how to upload an image to GradCafe. Hints?

Just upload it to tinypic.com and then use the "image board url" that it gives you.

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Hey all... I'm not applying this year (already in grad school, phew!), but I wanted to confirm what someone had said earlier. I had a discussion with a faculty member at UW this past fall and she said the department made a choice to trim incoming cohorts, but guarantee funding for students. So, if you get in, you'll be in a better situation than previously, but getting in is obviously a bit harder.

Edited by tmatt
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Well, only 9 new entries last year...maybe they can afford 15 this time around.

Yup, this is likely true. The DGS told me that last year's yield (people accepting offers) was a bit lower than expected, so the admit rate will likely be a bit higher this time around.

Still- if graph #1 is any indication - this one bright spot could be overshadowed by a steadily growing applicant pool.

Considerable anticipation about my own admission aside, I'm worried about the effects of this extreme selectivity on the composition of the student body. Yeah, I do want to go to school with top students. But I don't want them to all be amazing in the same way. A diversity of strengths, backgrounds, and experience is as important to me as a diversity of academic specialties. I have a hard time seeing how a program can become so extremely selective without relying on the more quantifiable aspects of student profiles.

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