Jump to content
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt

(maybe) a confidence booster for everyone


sansao
 Share

Recommended Posts

I posted something similar to someone in another thread, but here's a way to look at your odds that might boost your confidence, or at least be some consolation.

Consider the number of schools you're applying to. There are three possible final outcomes (I'm excluding interviews here). So if you take that number and raise it to the third power (fourth power if you want to include interviews), that's how many possible combinations of admissions decisions there are for you.

The only bad options are: all waitlists (which may not turn out to be bad), and all rejections.

So for me, I applied to four schools, that means there are 64 possible outcomes, and only one of them is awful. These include all possible combinations of rejections, waitlists, and interviews. Of course, if you get a rejection, you have to recalculate with the lower number, and that could be alarming, but imho, it's still better than looking at it as a countdown from 4 to 1.

Try it, feel better, drink some coffee, and proceed to the refresh button. ^_^

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I posted something similar to someone in another thread, but here's a way to look at your odds that might boost your confidence, or at least be some consolation.

Consider the number of schools you're applying to. There are three possible final outcomes (I'm excluding interviews here). So if you take that number and raise it to the third power (fourth power if you want to include interviews), that's how many possible combinations of admissions decisions there are for you.

The only bad options are: all waitlists (which may not turn out to be bad), and all rejections.

So for me, I applied to four schools, that means there are 64 possible outcomes, and only one of them is awful. These include all possible combinations of rejections, waitlists, and interviews. Of course, if you get a rejection, you have to recalculate with the lower number, and that could be alarming, but imho, it's still better than looking at it as a countdown from 4 to 1.

Try it, feel better, drink some coffee, and proceed to the refresh button. ^_^

NO. You take 3 and raise it to the number of schools you applied to.

So if you applied to 2 schools then you do 3^2 = 9 possible outcomes. proof:

accepted - accepted

accepted - waitlisted

accepted - rejected

waitlisted - accepted

waitlisted - waitlisted

waitlisted - rejected

rejected - accepted

rejected - waitlisted

rejected - rejected

9 possible outcomes.

You applied to four schools, so 3^4=81 possible outcomes. NOT 64.

Also, this doesn't actually tell you anything about the likelihood, or more specifically, the probability of being rejected by all your programs. Why not? because the probability of being rejected by a school is not automatically 1 out of 3 just because there are 3 choices (accepted, waitlisted, rejected). Each of these choices is not necessarily equally likely for each candidate. If you have a terrible application than your chances of being rejected are probably much closer to 1 out of 1 than 1 out of 3.

Edited by We regret to inform you
Link to comment
Share on other sites

NO. You take 3 and raise it to the number of schools you applied to.

You applied to four schools, so 3^4=81 possible outcomes. NOT 64.

Yes, you are correct, My counting technique was backwards in my morning haze :wacko: - thank the (not from a grad school) email that woke me up at 3am. As I said though, it wasn't an effort to say anything about the likelihood of anything. It's just a more friendly way to look at it (to me anyway). And 81 outcomes, instead of 64 just makes it even less intimidating.

Also thanks for hitting me over the head for bad math. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okies..so create a weighted probability distribution by assigning weights to each of your applications and then evaluating joint probabilities..

Whatever, I just want to feel better and hope that I have the slightest chance of getting into grad school and the fact that there are so so many possibilities and only 1 (or 2) are bad (even though it might be highly probable) gives me hope, even though its only fools hope.. :)

Edited by hope4fall2012
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whatever, I just want to feel better and hope that I have the slightest chance of getting into grad school and the fact that there are so so many possibilities and only 1 (or 2) are bad (even though it might be highly probable) gives me hope, even though its only fools hope.. :)

That was pretty much the point. Though I wouldn't call it fool's hope, even if I don't get in anywhere. It was worth it to apply, and will be worth it to apply again if the unthinkable happens. In the meantime, I plan on staying as optimistic as possible, even if it makes me neurotic and takes away my ability to do simple math. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been telling people my chances are 33.3333% chance of getting in somewhere, getting in nowhere, and getting wait listed. I'm not sure where I pulled the number from, I just know somewhere it was stated that in Clinical Psych people had about a 1/3 chance of getting in somewhere. Or maybe it was 33.3333% chance of not even getting an interview. Either way it's probably bad math but sounds better than saying "it's harder to get into clinical psych than it is to get into med school" to family and friends although it's true.

Part of this I think came from looking at number of spots, number of applicants, and number of schools. So 16 schools with an average of 7 spots per school is 112 spots (likely higher as one school takes like 22 a year). Average number of applicants per school is probably around 300 (one got 800 this year and another got maybe 80). The rough chance of getting a spot at a single school is 2.33% but that's at each school so multiply that by 16 and you get 37.7%. Keeping it conservative bring it down a few points. Math isn't my strong suit haha.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I applied to 16 schools and was rejected by 3 so far so that leaves me with 2,197 possible outcomes excluding interviews?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been telling people my chances are 33.3333% chance of getting in somewhere, getting in nowhere, and getting wait listed. I'm not sure where I pulled the number from, I just know somewhere it was stated that in Clinical Psych people had about a 1/3 chance of getting in somewhere. Or maybe it was 33.3333% chance of not even getting an interview. Either way it's probably bad math but sounds better than saying "it's harder to get into clinical psych than it is to get into med school" to family and friends although it's true.

Part of this I think came from looking at number of spots, number of applicants, and number of schools. So 16 schools with an average of 7 spots per school is 112 spots (likely higher as one school takes like 22 a year). Average number of applicants per school is probably around 300 (one got 800 this year and another got maybe 80). The rough chance of getting a spot at a single school is 2.33% but that's at each school so multiply that by 16 and you get 37.7%. Keeping it conservative bring it down a few points. Math isn't my strong suit haha.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I applied to 16 schools and was rejected by 3 so far so that leaves me with 2,197 possible outcomes excluding interviews?

You are making the incorrect assumption that everyone has an equal likelihood of being accepted, and that it is truly a roll of the die. For example, if a school has 10 spots and 100 applications, then you are assuming everyone has a 10% chance of being accepted. This is false. Stronger applications obviously have a stronger chance of making it through.

There really is no way of knowing what your exact probability is of getting into a particular program since the decision is being made by people and not some sort of lottery or coin toss.

But if you could make a rough guess as to your probability of getting accepted to each individual program, then at the very least, you could figure out your chances of being accepted to at least one program by doing the following:

say you applied to 4 schools.

estimate your probability of getting into school 1: let's say it's 25% (perhaps this is your safety school)

estimate your probability of getting into school 2: let's say it's 10%

estimate your probability of getting into school 3: let's say it's 10%

estimate your probability of getting into school 4: let's say it's 5% (perhaps this is your dream school)

the probability of getting into at least 1 program is equal to (1 - probability of getting into none).

also, the probability of not getting into a school is just (1 - probability of being accepted)

so for our example it would be ( 1 - (1.00-0.25)*(1.00-0.10)*(1.00-0.10)*(1.00-0.05)) = .4228 which is about 42%

so in this scenario with these estimates, you'd have a 42% chance of getting into at least 1 program.

For you, you applied to 16 programs. let's assume these were all difficult programs and that a fair estimate is that you have a 1% chance of being accepted to program 1, a 1% chance of being accepted to program 2, .... , 1% chance of being accepted to program 16.

your probability of getting into at least 1 school is (1 - (1-0.01)^16) = .1485. so you have about a 15% chance of being accepted to at least 1 program, with these 1% acceptance rate estimates.

Edited by We regret to inform you
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are making the incorrect assumption that everyone has an equal likelihood of being accepted, and that it is truly a roll of the die. For example, if a school has 10 spots and 100 applications, then you are assuming everyone has a 10% chance of being accepted. This is false. Stronger applications obviously have a stronger chance of making it through.

There really is no way of knowing what your exact probability is of getting into a particular program since the decision is being made by people and not some sort of lottery or coin toss.

But if you could make a rough guess as to your probability of getting accepted to each individual program, then at the very least, you could figure out your chances of being accepted to at least one program by doing the following:

say you applied to 4 schools.

estimate your probability of getting into school 1: let's say it's 25% (perhaps this is your safety school)

estimate your probability of getting into school 2: let's say it's 10%

estimate your probability of getting into school 3: let's say it's 10%

estimate your probability of getting into school 4: let's say it's 5% (perhaps this is your dream school)

the probability of getting into at least 1 program is equal to (1 - probability of getting into none).

also, the probability of not getting into a school is just (1 - probability of being accepted)

so for our example it would be ( 1 - (1.00-0.25)*(1.00-0.10)*(1.00-0.10)*(1.00-0.05)) = .4228 which is about 42%

so in this scenario with these estimates, you'd have a 42% chance of getting into at least 1 program.

For you, you applied to 16 programs. let's assume these were all difficult programs and that a fair estimate is that you have a 1% chance of being accepted to program 1, a 1% chance of being accepted to program 2, .... , 1% chance of being accepted to program 16.

your probability of getting into at least 1 school is (1 - (1-0.01)^16) = .1485. so you have about a 15% chance of being accepted to at least 1 program, with these 1% acceptance rate estimates.

That is a good point. Have to consider the difference in applications, ones that never make it through a cutoff or initial screening, incomplete apps, and of course those that seem to defy logic of grad admissions and gets offers. You're right, it is people reviewing the applications and thus there could be wide variations in which applications get the offers.

Thank you for taking the time to calculate the math, I'd hope my chances are higher than 15% of getting into at least one as i'd hope not all 16 are considered top difficultly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.