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The Silence is Killing Me!


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When I got my 'unsuccessful' letter at the end of January I faced the difficult truth that my gpa is not competitive. I applied thinking that every other part of my application was strong--I didn't know that they barely scan applications that are great, nevermind those that are less than stellar. I have already started looking for courses I can take to bring up my gpa and try again next year. If I happen to get accepted in the meantime, I will be thrilled not to have to spend all of that extra $$ to take courses I dont really need.

I'm saying this not to bring down everyone, I'm just saying it because being proactive is a great way to fill the silence. Knowing that no matter what the outcome is, you have choices can be incredibly empowering.

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I completely agree with this. If I get in anywhere I'll be more than grateful to have my foot in the door and really have a chance to shine and do what I do. I'll show I can handle the workload and th

Don't worry. Schools are on different schedules and timelines and there are a lot of applications. I disagree with regal's theory of some computer algorithm for a number of reasons. I'll note my long

Self care is so very important under stressful conditions. Sometimes it is important to take a step back from the situation and gain some important perspective. You may get in, you may not. You may

When I got my 'unsuccessful' letter at the end of January I faced the difficult truth that my gpa is not competitive. I applied thinking that every other part of my application was strong--I didn't know that they barely scan applications that are great, nevermind those that are less than stellar. I have already started looking for courses I can take to bring up my gpa and try again next year. If I happen to get accepted in the meantime, I will be thrilled not to have to spend all of that extra $$ to take courses I dont really need.

I'm saying this not to bring down everyone, I'm just saying it because being proactive is a great way to fill the silence. Knowing that no matter what the outcome is, you have choices can be incredibly empowering.

Be careful with your course selections, if you do go that route. If it's obvious that those courses were taken simply because they were easy, that will hurt you even more.

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Be careful with your course selections, if you do go that route. If it's obvious that those courses were taken simply because they were easy, that will hurt you even more.

Yes, you are quite right. I'm kind of stuck--I graduated back in....well, lets just say it has been a while....and have a bunch of great experience. The only think that I can improve on drastically is the gpa. I'm at that age where I really dont want to take a course just for the sake of boosting my gpa. I want to LEARN something. I'm hopeful that the adcomms will consider every part of my application. But the realistic part of me says that if my gpa is not competitive, they wont really care what else is there.

I haven't given up...I'm just being realistic. But I also know that anytime I haven't gotten a job/promotion etc, it has ALWAYS worked out for the best. Better opportunities came along that I didn't see coming. This instance is no different.

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You could look at certificate programs. That would not only raise your gpa, but give you an extra credential to put on your apps. In the meantime, let's hope we all get in somewhere. My gpa isn't super either, but I've been told by all the faculty I spoke with that things like lors and program fit can easily outweigh a gpa issue, unless it's lower than the program reqs.

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Everybody has a lot of great thoughts. I'm just so frustrated because I feel like I should have made it through that GPA review. I worked my butt off for a 3.9 and I also have three years of experience in a social psych lab. Oh well I'm sure there are lots of other applicants who have really good experience too. Its just been hard to stomach that I didn't get a single invitation for an interview. I just hope it all works out for the best. As MSW12 hopeful said sometimes opportunities come about that you didn't even know were there.

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It sucks not knowing then you see other people getting news ... it almost makes you want to scream out loud

I know that "they" say to just wait patiently for a response, but truly I dont think that there is much harm in making a quick call asking if decisions have been made. Admissions offices are used to that this time of year and on some level expect it. It only becomes a problem if you call frequently and draw negative attention to yourself. I mean, if they start to recognize your voice then we have a problem...haha

If you dont want to do that then try to remind yourself that the longest part of waiting is already over. You will get the results within the next few weeks, guaranteed :)

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I know that "they" say to just wait patiently for a response, but truly I dont think that there is much harm in making a quick call asking if decisions have been made. Admissions offices are used to that this time of year and on some level expect it. It only becomes a problem if you call frequently and draw negative attention to yourself. I mean, if they start to recognize your voice then we have a problem...haha

If you dont want to do that then try to remind yourself that the longest part of waiting is already over. You will get the results within the next few weeks, guaranteed :)

See with the calling, I have often been told once it goes to the committee, it is poor form to call and ask about the status of your application. They do not want to encourage this behavior, so I am told, because they don't want all 400-600 applicants calling. I am sure it would easily get annoying for them

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See with the calling, I have often been told once it goes to the committee, it is poor form to call and ask about the status of your application. They do not want to encourage this behavior, so I am told, because they don't want all 400-600 applicants calling. I am sure it would easily get annoying for them

Yes, I can see how that can seen as a problem. I guess I was suggesting a more 'general' type call. For instance, I would call and acknowledge that they are still in the selection phase but I was wondering if the bulk of acceptances have gone out yet. Or I may ask what there timeline is for notifying applicants--that is, when is the latest I can expect to hear an answer by? Hopefully any answer received would provide some level of perspective to the seemingly endless wait.

I would hesitate from asking anything more detailed than this.

I did call one of my schools regarding a document I submitted. The person looked up my file and volunteered that they are reviewing it now. I wasn't calling for that but it was good to hear. Like I said, they DO expect some calls...they just dont want anyone to be a pest about it.

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I did call one of my schools regarding a document I submitted. The person looked up my file and volunteered that they are reviewing it now. I wasn't calling for that but it was good to hear. Like I said, they DO expect some calls...they just dont want anyone to be a pest about it.

May I ask what school you called and asked? I notice that you are applying to UofT. I'm just wondering if you have heard anything from them about MSW admissions? ....I hate how late we seem to have to wait for these MSW decisions lol

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May I ask what school you called and asked? I notice that you are applying to UofT. I'm just wondering if you have heard anything from them about MSW admissions? ....I hate how late we seem to have to wait for these MSW decisions lol

Actually, it was UofT that I had called. However, I applied for the advanced standing so they review those applications first. This was approx 2weeks ago (?). My experience with UofT is that they are very good at keeping to timelines. I haven't seen any evidence of them notifying applicants earlier than what they posted (Mid March for advanced standing, April for 2yr program). Hang in there! I submitted my applications at the end of Nov/early Dec and after being nervous/anxious/frustrated, I think I am finally at numb. We got through Christmas/New Years, we can certainly get through a few more weeks :)

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Don't worry. Schools are on different schedules and timelines and there are a lot of applications. I disagree with regal's theory of some computer algorithm for a number of reasons. I'll note my long post is in regards to competitive funded PhD programs (like Psych). One it is against the terms of use for ETS tests (aka GREs) to apply cut off scores and algorithms. This doesn't mean schools can't set minimum requirements or suggest competitive scores to keep some people from even applying. It'd be a scandal if schools got caught using a system to weed out on numbers alone. However one school revealed through its contact with applicants that you "met the minimum graduate school requirements and your application will now be forwarded to the department for their decision to be made" aka they screen out in the larger grad school then pass it along.

Two you don't need an algorithm when you can throw applicants aside easily if something is "missing" and the deadline passed. You either set high hurdles (complicated application process, multiple chances for info to get lost, etc) and discourage some possible applicants or you as a school know some LORs will never arrive (or transcripts, or scores, or documents) and thus can reject based on incomplete applications. How many people would apply then read the average grades/scores of successful applicants and say "that isn't me" or realize a LOR never arrived and thus application never got looked at. Easy weed out right there.

Thirdly even just a quick glance at an essay or CV can reveal something very appealing about an applicant. Remember in some fields it is ALL about fit with a professor's research. If something piques the interest of a reader, professor, or admissions committee member that could get the applicant at least a second glance or even an interview. Since some schools screen out using the larger grad school "minimum requirements" as an unofficial screen out process, they already know the applicants they see in the dept are at least somewhat intelligent individuals and if that fit is there it may be worth a shot to interview them.

Some schools insist they (the committee) review every single applicant, like someone else said likely with a quick read over but still human eyes checking it out. Schools, especially funded ones with a name to build, are fearful to miss out on the next big superstar of their research areas. Sure a perfect GRE and GPA is great but is not a great predictor of overall success in the program or in the field. (Close to 60% of doctoral students end up in ABD status for years and many never get a PhD because of it, high scores don't predict ability to survive and finish in grad school).

A great match and fit coupled with dedication, motivation, and a unique research interest IMO overrides some numbers. If they don't review most applications they might miss out on something amazing and a competitor school might instead get that next research superstar. You have to consider what they really want. I'd say they want a dedicated motivated and very loyal student who will do the dirty work of TAing, teaching, or grunt research work without hesitation and help that professor with respect and focus. And one that will make them look good later down the line. And maybe some want to help the next generation of researchers but really its about what you can do for them and their name.

My theory on delayed rejections is as follows: In some cases (as another pointed out) the schools already cherry pick their top picks and set up interviews and push the rest aside (eh we'll let them get their rejection later because our focus is on these top picks) and thus a simple issue of allocating resources to getting the very best applicants they can. However this doesn't explain wait lists and acceptances that come after the first picks have been looked at and "wined and dined."

Wait lists are a nice way of saying "Well our top applicants are so cream of the crop that they may go to even better schools so you're our second and third pick. When 2 or 3 of our dream applicants reject us we'll come to you and offer you their spot." Same with late acceptances. The school either realizes a top applicant isn't what they expected or the person is likely to turn the school down so they keep a bunch of applicants on tap in case. Which explains why some schools don't send out rejections until well after the initial interview/acceptances. If you reject a possible student they may go elsewhere in meantime and as a school you want to meet your quota and have backups as needed.

As for the schools that are quick and make their decision at the same time, that is how in a perfect world we'd want it to work. We selected 50 people for interviews and will offer admission to 10 of them and wait list 5 of them and know 3 or 4 of the top 10 won't come here so the rest of you are rejected.

Of course a supervisor of mine had another theory: Keep in mind these individuals went through the same hard, scary, intense application process. They obviously made it through the process and thus see this all as part of the game they had to go to, so you have to go through it too.

Edited by quickinstinct
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quickinstinct it seems that it does not take much effort to do the massive rejection of students who clearly don't make the cut after the supposed thorough review of all applications. Seems as if schools have the whole process computerized; of course all of this is my assumption. Assuming this, why not just send out massive rejections at the same time they are sending their first admits so that the hopeless ones can at least know they are hopeless, instead of delaying it and leaving the hopeless with hope. In fact, many of the more naive to the process may even think that the long delay means that the schools are giving their applications a great deal of thought and so they have a good chance of being admitted. There must be a reason, other then they don't have time, to explain why the massive rejections are the last thing a school does.

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quickinstinct it seems that it does not take much effort to do the massive rejection of students who clearly don't make the cut after the supposed thorough review of all applications. Seems as if schools have the whole process computerized; of course all of this is my assumption. Assuming this, why not just send out massive rejections at the same time they are sending their first admits so that the hopeless ones can at least know they are hopeless, instead of delaying it and leaving the hopeless with hope. In fact, many of the more naive to the process may even think that the long delay means that the schools are giving their applications a great deal of thought and so they have a good chance of being admitted. There must be a reason, other then they don't have time, to explain why the massive rejections are the last thing a school does.

It is something to ponder. In my current experience I currently have only rejections coming in and so I assume from those rejection schools they notify everyone pretty much at once what the decision is: interview, reject, wait list. So not all schools are delayed. Other schools I think its a matter of keeping some applications around in case the current top picks don't work out (it would be better for all schools to notify all at once and use wait lists). I've also heard of schools offering interviews (non-rolling applications!) to applicants before the application deadline is even near! So they must consider something better could come through the process too. I think most schools that delay it do so because they are either focused on recruiting the few they want or they need some backups.

It's really hard to tell because every school is different. Last time i did this for masters, I got a few rejections , an acceptance, and another few rejections after. It ranged from mid-January to late March all said and done and the acceptance came in March. I do wish they'd all standardize it, but I don't know if they intentionally wait to notify rejected applicants. Seems more a matter of poor organization or wanting to keep some backups just as a job application process would.

You are correct I think, people would be naive to think its because they are getting extra special review. I'm sure if it comes down to two people and theres a wait list, one gets offer one gets wait list. As we all know schools have rough timelines for when committees review, one school I applied to is behind based on their website timeline and took the time to email applicants who made it through the "graduate school minimum requirements" and let them know it was slightly behind and notices would come next week at the latest. Its cruel to leave people in the dark or give false hope, but it is what it is and not all schools do that.

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Of course a supervisor of mine had another theory: Keep in mind these individuals went through the same hard, scary, intense application process. They obviously made it through the process and thus see this all as part of the game they had to go to, so you have to go through it too.

These people then are clearly sadists, because if you go through something like this, why would you want to inflict it on others? Or am I just whinning? It's like joining a fraternity and people are paddled excessively. I never personally saw the point in carrying out barbaric acts so I chose not to participate in organizations who did etc. Maybe I should rethink this?

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Well, I got my second rejection today and I can tell you that, regardless of the process, not hearing anything is not a good sign; as this is my second application season, I now know that schools actively pursue applicants that they want and contact them very early, at least for my area of interest; I've already seen them actively pursuing and contacting the applicants in whom they are really interested.

I actually don't think that the process is any different from dating: if you really think that someone is a catch, you actively pursue them and make things clear from the beginning. All of this rationalizing from people sort of reminds me of the rationalizing people go through when they are dating someone who is really not that interested in them. If a school (or a member of the opposite sex) really values you, they let you know in a fast and clear manner.

Hence, even if I do get on a waitlist, or a late acceptance, knowing that I was not a top candidate doesn't exactly endear a school to me; in fact, it's actually kinda sleazy. It actually makes me not want to go to any school that treats me that way, even if it is a top choice that deigns to offer me a spot.

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Well, I got my second rejection today and I can tell you that, regardless of the process, not hearing anything is not a good sign; as this is my second application season, I now know that schools actively pursue applicants that they want and contact them very early, at least for my area of interest; I've already seen them actively pursuing and contacting the applicants in whom they are really interested.

I actually don't think that the process is any different from dating: if you really think that someone is a catch, you actively pursue them and make things clear from the beginning. All of this rationalizing from people sort of reminds me of the rationalizing people go through when they are dating someone who is really not that interested in them. If a school (or a member of the opposite sex) really values you, they let you know in a fast and clear manner.

Hence, even if I do get on a waitlist, or a late acceptance, knowing that I was not a top candidate doesn't exactly endear a school to me; in fact, it's actually kinda sleazy. It actually makes me not want to go to any school that treats me that way, even if it is a top choice that deigns to offer me a spot.

I hope this doesn't come off as rude because that is not my intention but I have to ask this question: isn't the application process subjective? I mean the schools have a weird marker of what they are looking for. Let's say you and another candidate have the exact same set up, they offer the other candidate a spot but they also want you, what are they to do? They only have one slot available? Obviously they know you are interested, isn't that the purpose of the waitlist? They want you but they have to make a seat at the table, not some sort of 'sleazy' attempt to lure you into academia.

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no Starlajane you get an offer you take it. Think about the real story behind most successes. I don't know, anything, like a rock band. I am sure a famous rock band got booed off stage the first time they played. I heard Prez Lincoln lost tons of elections before he became prez. It is the nature of reality. The true story is never as pretty as the sanitized version that they make for TV. You get an offer you take it, and having gone through all of this you will appreciate it more than if you were a shoo in.

Edited by regal
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no Starlajane you get an offer you take it. Think about the real story behind most successes. I don't know, anything, like a rock band. I am sure a famous rock band got booed off stage the first time they played. I heard Prez Lincoln lost tons of elections before he became prez. It is the nature of reality. The true story is never as pretty as the sanitized version that they make for TV. You get an offer you take it, and having gone through all of this you will appreciate it more than if you were a shoo in.

No if you are ever booed off a stage those fans can NEVER cheer for you ... it is almost sleazy because they didn't appreciate you in your first incarnation ... I keed I keed ... but in all seriousness I can see where starlajane is coming from but at the same point this is business not personal ... you aren't looking to date your schools ... you are looking to get a degree (hopefully one that is fully funded for 5 years) and because of the dollar amounts related to it you have to be thick skinned ... on top of it you are competing with people who are just as smart (if not more intelligent) than you so there is a natural pecking order of things. I know I'm sound condescending and that is not my intent here but at some point we have to disabuse ourselves of any romantic notions we hold about academia.

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No if you are ever booed off a stage those fans can NEVER cheer for you ... it is almost sleazy because they didn't appreciate you in your first incarnation ... I keed I keed ... but in all seriousness I can see where starlajane is coming from but at the same point this is business not personal ... you aren't looking to date your schools ... you are looking to get a degree (hopefully one that is fully funded for 5 years) and because of the dollar amounts related to it you have to be thick skinned ... on top of it you are competing with people who are just as smart (if not more intelligent) than you so there is a natural pecking order of things. I know I'm sound condescending and that is not my intent here but at some point we have to disabuse ourselves of any romantic notions we hold about academia.

Agreed. I got rejected from only one school so far and it upset me a little, but they gotta do what they gotta do and so do I. I keep it moving and wait for the next. Thick skin is not something that justs happens, it will take some time to learn to be composed in those situations.

All I need is one school to let me in (hopefully many won't know until later this month early march) and I will show them why I am a great choice for their school up front.

Another thing, some girl was talking about how she has all these choices and feels bad because she is "taking" people's slots. She was blowing hot air out her a**. I was so upset that people like to rub their success in someones faces and try to mask it as being concerned. She is one of those "romantics" of academia. All people want me...blah blah blah. I think that is the worst part of waiting is hearing people act like they know it all when they got in somewhere. People like that make me sick.

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no Starlajane you get an offer you take it. Think about the real story behind most successes. I don't know, anything, like a rock band. I am sure a famous rock band got booed off stage the first time they played. I heard Prez Lincoln lost tons of elections before he became prez. It is the nature of reality. The true story is never as pretty as the sanitized version that they make for TV. You get an offer you take it, and having gone through all of this you will appreciate it more than if you were a shoo in.

The way that I see it, I want to be in a place that wants me and sees me as a top choice, not a backup, the same way that I want to be with someone who sees me as a dream mate rather than something that they settled for. The analogy has nothing to do with whether something is personal or business, nor does an analogy to a romantic analogy mean that I am being "romantic;" I made the analogy because the same "pecking order" is often involved.

You might excuse/accept waitlists et al. as "reality," but such things are only a reality b/c people accept them. I actually think that schools should not be able to waitlist candidates; you either accept or reject but you don't leave people hanging on, the same as you shouldn't do that in other relationships, be they personal or business.

As far as waitlists et al. go, if you want to accept a spot after being on a waitlist, that is your prerogative. However, at the moment, my top choice school is the one that contacted me first and sees me as one of their top choices rather than a backup.

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Agreed. I got rejected from only one school so far and it upset me a little, but they gotta do what they gotta do and so do I. I keep it moving and wait for the next. Thick skin is not something that justs happens, it will take some time to learn to be composed in those situations.

All I need is one school to let me in (hopefully many won't know until later this month early march) and I will show them why I am a great choice for their school up front.

Another thing, some girl was talking about how she has all these choices and feels bad because she is "taking" people's slots. She was blowing hot air out her a**. I was so upset that people like to rub their success in someones faces and try to mask it as being concerned. She is one of those "romantics" of academia. All people want me...blah blah blah. I think that is the worst part of waiting is hearing people act like they know it all when they got in somewhere. People like that make me sick.

LOL, that's so obnoxious, that would really piss me off, too :angry:

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The way that I see it, I want to be in a place that wants me and sees me as a top choice, not a backup, the same way that I want to be with someone who sees me as a dream mate rather than something that they settled for. The analogy has nothing to do with whether something is personal or business, nor does an analogy to a romantic analogy mean that I am being "romantic;" I made the analogy because the same "pecking order" is often involved.

You might excuse/accept waitlists et al. as "reality," but such things are only a reality b/c people accept them. I actually think that schools should not be able to waitlist candidates; you either accept or reject but you don't leave people hanging on, the same as you shouldn't do that in other relationships, be they personal or business.

As far as waitlists et al. go, if you want to accept a spot after being on a waitlist, that is your prerogative. However, at the moment, my top choice school is the one that contacted me first and sees me as one of their top choices rather than a backup.

See my issue with this sentiment is justly: you are applying to multiple school and when multiple schools want you, what happens to the other students who are also applying there? Schools can only sustain a certain #. Now you turn down schools 2,3,4 etc. They all had a slot for you and now it is sitting there. Meanwhile back at the ranch, old Joe wants a PhD too and has applied to schools 2,3,4 and no where else. The schools all chose you over him. In your world, if there is no waitlist old Joe togon't get to go grad school. If he applies the next year and gets accepted, isn't that practically the same thing as being on the wait list? Or to use the kind of logic you are implying, isn't that even more 'sleazy'? Isn't there an implication that he wasn'h good enough one year and then all of a sudden he is?

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