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Waitlisted - waiting for your school AND everyone else's


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For those of you who have sent letters of continued interest, have you had any further corresponce from the school? I sent a letter a couple weeks ago and don't know if they typically send a courteous email or if they only contact you if a position becomes available. Any experience with this process?

 

Ugh...I'm stressing and overanalyzing everything...this is going to be the longest month everrrrrr.

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I respectfully disagree.    I was waitlisted last year, and it almost physically HURT. I got on the waitlist of my (at the time, #1 program) on April 4th. Yes. I remember the day, and the sour weeke

Just got a call from the DGS! ACCEPTED! Fully funded! Hopkins! So many exclamation points!!!!!!!!

I got off the waitlist and am in. I am in shock. I actually took a picture of the email and asked someone to read it and verify that I read it correctly. Now I am afraid to check my email now in case

My WL school seemed to not want any additional materials/info beyond a simple confirmation whether or not we would like to remain on WL. Emailed them last week and they replied to confirm they would keep me on the WL. Hoping for some good news as well, as they will begin re-evaluating WL candidates like myself next week.

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My WL school seemed to not want any additional materials/info beyond a simple confirmation whether or not we would like to remain on WL. Emailed them last week and they replied to confirm they would keep me on the WL. Hoping for some good news as well, as they will begin re-evaluating WL candidates like myself next week.

 

My experience was similar. Their letter stated that we should NOT call/e-mail other than to confirm our spot on the waitlist. 

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My experience was similar. Their letter stated that we should NOT call/e-mail other than to confirm our spot on the waitlist. 

 

 

My WL school seemed to not want any additional materials/info beyond a simple confirmation whether or not we would like to remain on WL. Emailed them last week and they replied to confirm they would keep me on the WL. Hoping for some good news as well, as they will begin re-evaluating WL candidates like myself next week.

My letter was the same except it stated that they would like to be informed about other opportunities that I may have, so I am just confused as to whether I should email them or not. It has been over a month now. 

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My letter was the same except it stated that they would like to be informed about other opportunities that I may have, so I am just confused as to whether I should email them or not. It has been over a month now. 

 

I've also just tipped over the one-month mark on a waitlist, gave into temptation, and sent in a (hopefully) low-key email today asking if there was any news.  

 

That being said, I don't seriously expect the contact to be fruitful, for the following reasons:

 

1) Goal: reminding the department that you exist

...But:  The schools are probably very eager to know exactly the shape of their cohort, so I can't imagine that they'd delay in notifying waitlisters of changes to our status.  Also, I don't think they've forgotten about us either- I'd imagine that phd yield is a subject of reasonable attention within the department at the moment.

 

2) Goal: Float up the list

...But:  I don't think that one inquiry a month will change anything about how they assess you. More likely, place on the waitlist is also an exogenous factor, and which has to do with grant money and departmental politics about the composition of their subfields.

...Exception:  You're checking in with game-changing info (ie: anything that would substantively change their expectation of your probability of enrollment or a new fellowship award that would dramatically reduce your funding)

 

3) Goal: Affirmation that admission is likely

...But: They're not going to commit to anything positive in writing-- don't want any indignant waitlisters who thought they were told that it was a sure thing when it was not-- so probably any information they part with would be tilted towards the negative.

 

More likely, you and the contact person will engage in a round of vague pleasantries about how much you both hope you'll be offered admissions next year.

 

The above being said- I still gave in and contacted them.

 

AO

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Yeah, I applied to 12 (however, 12 top programs)..result: 9 rejects, 3 interviews..2 post-interview rejects and 1 waitlist 

I feel ya: 17 applications; 4 interviews; 3 waitlist; 2 post interview rejects; waiting on 2 more and rejections in between. Oh and a partridge in a pear tree.

 

Counseling Psych PhD application process is rough....crossing my fingers on MSW-clinical program (my eyes are on this one) especially since it is the city where I live (no moving)

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I've also just tipped over the one-month mark on a waitlist, gave into temptation, and sent in a (hopefully) low-key email today asking if there was any news.  

 

That being said, I don't seriously expect the contact to be fruitful, for the following reasons:

 

1) Goal: reminding the department that you exist

...But:  The schools are probably very eager to know exactly the shape of their cohort, so I can't imagine that they'd delay in notifying waitlisters of changes to our status.  Also, I don't think they've forgotten about us either- I'd imagine that phd yield is a subject of reasonable attention within the department at the moment.

 

2) Goal: Float up the list

...But:  I don't think that one inquiry a month will change anything about how they assess you. More likely, place on the waitlist is also an exogenous factor, and which has to do with grant money and departmental politics about the composition of their subfields.

...Exception:  You're checking in with game-changing info (ie: anything that would substantively change their expectation of your probability of enrollment or a new fellowship award that would dramatically reduce your funding)

 

3) Goal: Affirmation that admission is likely

...But: They're not going to commit to anything positive in writing-- don't want any indignant waitlisters who thought they were told that it was a sure thing when it was not-- so probably any information they part with would be tilted towards the negative.

 

More likely, you and the contact person will engage in a round of vague pleasantries about how much you both hope you'll be offered admissions next year.

 

The above being said- I still gave in and contacted them.

 

AO

Thanks for this. I guess I will give in and send them an e-mail as well. It can't hurt at this point. Do you think it is a good idea to reiterate why you want to attend their school? or would this just be seen as a desperate attempt/sucking up? In this case, I really wouldn't be lying about it being my first choice (though probably my only choice if the other waitlist doesn't come through). 

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Thanks for this. I guess I will give in and send them an e-mail as well. It can't hurt at this point. Do you think it is a good idea to reiterate why you want to attend their school? or would this just be seen as a desperate attempt/sucking up? In this case, I really wouldn't be lying about it being my first choice (though probably my only choice if the other waitlist doesn't come through). 

 

Welcome. I hope that it helped you.

 

Re: describing your reasons for wanting to attend. I'm not sure that telling them *why* you want to attend would be as helpful as signaling your likelihood to attend if admitted. Provided that it is a true message.  

 

If you did your job correctly as an applicant -- and you did, or you would have been rejected-- they know why you want to attend. They want you there too; although, for whatever reason, your file was evaluated as lower priority. 

 

Of course, you do want to send a message of continued interest, but you did that already when you confirmed your position on the waitlist. 

 

The above primarily refers to contacting the person in the department who conveyed the waitlist information. If that contact wasn't your POI, it might be worthwhile to ping the POI, in which case you might be able to be a bit more demonstrative. They might even be able to convey back-channel information about the admissions endgame from the faculty's perspective (although I'd expect it to be high-level generalities that are interesting to people on the waitlist but not all that telling for your specific case).

 

AO

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I just got waitlisted this week to a school I legitimately thought I would receive a rejection - at least I convinced myself as much. However, apparently not many people in the current cohort received acceptances off the waitlist. I'm stuck wondering how this waitlist actually operates and where I actually stand...this purgatory stuff sucks. 

 

Also, did any of you write persuasive emails or make phone calls insisting you wanted to get in and this was your dream school and miraculously received an acceptance a few days later (hearing these stories on the streets)?

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I'm not technically sure that I'm on a waitlist, my acceptance is pending approval by a senior faculty member, but does anyone else feel like you're not really wanted (desired?) at a school when you're waitlisted / not immediately accepted? I have no doubts that the school that accepted me really wants me. Ah, pride...

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I don't feel that way, but that is in part because I know that the reason I was waitlisted had nothing to do with my abilities or credentials. Rather my POI did not have priority in choosing adivsees this year. There are so many factors that go into who is waitlisted and who is accepted. Being waitlisted doesn't necessarily mean you aren't wanted or are second best. Sometimes there are just politics at play that are completely beyond your control.

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I don't feel that way, but that is in part because I know that the reason I was waitlisted had nothing to do with my abilities or credentials. Rather my POI did not have priority in choosing adivsees this year. There are so many factors that go into who is waitlisted and who is accepted. Being waitlisted doesn't necessarily mean you aren't wanted or are second best. Sometimes there are just politics at play that are completely beyond your control.

I was talking to a professor from one of my former universities. Although each waitlist is different and each school is different, sometimes waitlists has nothing to do with your ability, but with tiny little things like someone not liking one of your letter writers or the fact that you didn't put them down as a POI. Having said this, I still feel like I am "second best." 

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None of you are second best. It's a very strange, convoluted process and it may not always make sense. I'm sure each of you brings something wonderful as an applicant. I will be wishing you all luck.

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With April about to start, we only really have a couple of weeks left. I had to decline my non-funded offer, so if I don't hear from my waitlisted school by April 15, I'll be rocking my backup school... my undergrad institution. I hope I didn't say anything too bad on my senior exit survey...  :rolleyes:

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With April about to start, we only really have a couple of weeks left. I had to decline my non-funded offer, so if I don't hear from my waitlisted school by April 15, I'll be rocking my backup school... my undergrad institution. I hope I didn't say anything too bad on my senior exit survey...  :rolleyes:
I don't think they're too worried about that. They funded you after all, right? I'm glad it's almost April too. I can't wait to accept and start prepping for the move. I didn't move for my undergrad, so this is going to be a new experience for sure.
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It's tough to know if one is being a nuisance with email. I'm all for advocating for myself, but I wonder about seeming too needy or demanding.

 

This is my main problem right now. I want them to know that I'm interested and that they're my top choice..... without sounding like a stalker or someone super needy. How are other people navigating this dilemma? Especially now that we're barely more than two weeks until the deadline. Is it really pushy to remind them that you will have to make a decision (that will impact the rest of your life) in two weeks? But then again, seeming like a crazy person might impact your chances too. UGH.

 

I'm also struggling with the whole "second best" thing. On the bluntest level, someone had to rank all of us and say "errrr, not first option, but enough to save for later." On the other hand, the differences separating people might be arbitrary or completely stupid.

 

What do you think the etiquette is for asking about the admissions process (regarding your app) once you've gotten in? Just wondering.

Edited by Emdave
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What do you think the etiquette is for asking about the admissions process (regarding your app) once you've gotten in? Just wondering.
I'm almost more interested in who all read my app. Only faculty? Other grads? After rereading some of my application materials for interviews, I kind of hope they burn them after you accept.
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This is my main problem right now. I want them to know that I'm interested and that they're my top choice..... without sounding like a stalker or someone super needy. How are other people navigating this dilemma? Especially now that we're barely more than two weeks until the deadline. Is it really pushy to remind them that you will have to make a decision (that will impact the rest of your life) in two weeks? But then again, seeming like a crazy person might impact your chances too. UGH.

 

I'm also struggling with the whole "second best" thing. On the bluntest level, someone had to rank all of us and say "errrr, not first option, but enough to save for later." On the other hand, the differences separating people might be arbitrary or completely stupid.

 

What do you think the etiquette is for asking about the admissions process (regarding your app) once you've gotten in? Just wondering.

 

Ok, sorry, I tried to highlight the second part of your post ("I'm also struggling with the whole 'second best' thing.") but apparently I posted the whole thing.

 

What I wanted to chime in about this was that I too struggled with this feeling for over a month while being waitlisted at 4 schools.  Of course my confidence took a shot and I wasn't shy about telling my boss, relatives, and friends that I was seriously beginning to doubt my abilities.

 

However, when I thought back at my non-traditional route to this point (my PhD will be in a field completely different from my first Bachelor's degree), I commended myself for having even gotten this far. 

 

The most striking thing about this whole process is how arbitrary it can be at times.  Luckily I had people who were more than open in describing their experiences, so I knew it wasn't only happening to me.

 

The way I see it, just to get an interview is an honor because so many factors beyond our control can influence how the chips fall.  As much as people want to think everything is cut and dry, it is simply not that way.

 

Just my two cents.  Nobody on here should doubt themselves because it takes a lot of commitment and hard work just to apply, never mind interviewing and waiting patiently.

Edited by acquablu
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here is hoping the next 15 or so days gives everyone some good news and clarity for next years plans! 

 

I definitely have been questioning my abilities after being wait listed but definitely agree with acquablu, its such an arbitrary process and while its personal for us applying to not personal to the admission committees  they don't know any of us outside of our applications and every reviewer will look at your application differently. I'm glad to have made ti to the wait list and am just really hoping for some good news soon. 

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Haha me too! Although my WL letter said "April at the earliest" for notifications so I'm trying not to hold my breath. Is it bad that I secretly feel a little more hopeful/happy when I see on the thread for my WL school that someone is declining their offer?

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