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Silly Schools...


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So I have some questions for anyone out there who knows more than I do.

It seems like all of us are waiting on at least one, if not several, decisions. Is the way they do this to admit their "top" students and then keep everyone else wait in limbo unless or until one of those students turns down the offer and a spot opens up? My programs each get about 180-250 applicants and only take between 2 and 6 people per year. Therefore it seems quite likely that if these programs give out X acceptances, half of those people would turn down their offers for another school. Thus, it would make sense to have a back-up or wait list of maybe 15-20 students to make SURE they fill these openings with great candidates. But why hold on to the other 150 applications that they aren't seriously considering? Why not get those rejects out right away, after they've notified thier top students (as the results board so clearly states they have done already)? Is it at all possible that these schools haven't finished going through all of the applications? Like they've admitted half of their alotted number of students (so those people have been notified) but the committee is still sorting out the other half? I know it isn't actually productive to speculate but it just seems weird to me that we have a nominal number of rejections/acceptances but TONS of "waiting to hear"s. They can't possibly still be considering that many people-- especially since there is at least one post of an acceptance (or interview) from 4 of the 5 schools I am waiting to hear from. So what gives? This perplexes me a bit too because those of us who have both acceptances and "waiting to hear"s can't really make a decision yet. And if brilliant student A got into my top choice school but can't decide whether to take it because he's waiting on Ivys Y and Z, then how am I supposed to be notified about an open spot with enough time to decide between it and already accepted school B with enough time for that school to notify student C should I turn down their offer adn so forth. Shouldn't there be different deadlines for schools to notify us and for us to notify them? Will schools be giving out rejections and wait lists soon so we know where we stand or will we simply remain in this limbo state all through March and possibly into April? I don't know what my order of preference is for the schools I applied to... I have one reach I'm waiting to hear from, 2 target schools (which I'd consider equal to the acceptance I already have and thus would need to visit if I had more offers) and 2 safeties (which I don't want to withdraw from just yet b/c what if they offered amazing funding or if I visited my target school and hated it).

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The problem is that schools need a lot of information from many different sources. They have a flood of mail to sort that all has to come together for each person in particular. It's a nightmare that admissions has to deal with - I've seen it; it's AWFUL. At a large university the sorting is done at admissions for every department. Then its forwarded once complete to the department for review... If you have even just 100 applications per their hypothetical 10 programs, that's 1000 folders full of transcripts, at least 2 or 3 recommendations, statements, writing samples, cover letters, and whatnot! And, in some cases, it can't all go in one neat envelope. Chasing mail, sucks. My friends who work in admissions drink a lot during this season.

Then, depending on the set up, the admissions committee of each department must schedule a time to either meet or set aside time to look over each admissions that didn't get cut off. For small universities it's usually only the director or chairperson. Sometimes it's a selected tenured faculty member. Other people go through several people... It can vary so much and has to do with each university's set up. They're trying to go through the pile still! Some of them are probably only still hefting through the weeding process... it's slightly psychotic and I've seen people wither under the paperwork of admissions students. And, to note, every school has a different dynamic - which makes thinking of the overall process and its variations is daunting (like reading this).

Really, 'education' isn't a real business and these people are the poorest paper pushers I've ever seen. Most of them wouldn't know what a deadline is if it hit them square in the genitals. They do a lot of navel gazing which can take up our time but, well, it's 'education' at its finest.

Sure, we could try and regulate the piss out of it. Yet the fact of the matter is that it wouldn't mean anything in academia - and probably shouldn't. These are people with real professional lives (well, in some cases). Admissions just has to happen by the end of March in most cases and they're busy teaching, running departments, interacting with students, doing research, and a slew of stuff - before even thinking about admissions! And, if they're as bad as their students (which they are) they're probably still wrestling to get peoples schedules coordinated to meet, let alone even looking at the god damn piles, in some departments (coughanthrocough)!

The decisions will come but we are not allowed to have our cake and eat it too in this case. We've done our part of the application process - we're done. They get to do the selection process, folks, and I wouldn't hurry them if I had the chance. Let the 'waiting' be part of the story - after all, we signed on to tolerate all of it - and, in some sense, this is OUR relief time.

So, wash your hands of it!

We can appreciate this time as down time. Rejection hurts, so don't hurry it. And, yes, acceptance would be glorious but it opens another can of worms to deal with... Right now, Limbo means we don't have to do crap...

Consider the moment the envelope was snatched by the post office lady or gent that at that moment you got that big 'To Be Continued...' marker, take a deep breath, and give it another two weeks before you tune in. You can now successfully do everything and anything you want until you have the pressure of the future on your doorstep. Paintball your house! Paint the cat red. Bathe the kids or the cat in the sink. Get drunk and have sex in the car. Set campus art on fire. Take up quilting... whatever.

I consider this time a mental health session before May when I lose my cool, get cocked and vomit at graduation, and have to start a "real" job that I hate - verses playing gopher/office bitch/lab rat (which I sincerely enjoy)... I've taken up sewing, knitting, painting models; and painting most of my boss's office supplies with white out. I curl my hair every morning. I daydream about birds. I fantasize about my boss - wait, no... Anyway, I check the mail for crap I bought online. I write thank you cards. I'm planning my graduation party. Hell, I even ignore the dishes in the sink and I consider that once the world crumbles in March and I get the first letter I'll be a basket case.

Until then, save all that intensity for one grand ole rupture! Make it the scream heard round the world, rather than the constant broken record... And really, who wants to antagonize all ready confused/disoriented/busy faculty? Jesus, the last thing you want to do is hurry them!


Good luck and go get a drink... 8)

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it's different for every school/program.

for one of my schools, i know for sure that they have a GRE and GPA cut off- those who don't make that get a reject right away. in other words, they don't hold onto those 150 applicants who didn't make the cut off scores.

for another one of my schools, i had one of the admissions people tell me that they accept about 10-12 people each year, but if only 8 people accept then those are the 8 people for the incoming class. they don't replace the 4 or so people who turned down the offer and they don't have a wait list. sometimes they've had an incoming class as small as 5.

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I have friends who got acceptances from schools I applied to, and I haven't heard anything. It really pisses me off. I have been checking my mails every hour which is kind of crazy (I also mean postal mail). I would really like to hear the rejections if I am not on the waiting list. What is this waiting time for? Just give us some time that you will make your decisions so we can plan accordingly. I am also applying for full time jobs as a backup so it would be great to know something.

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