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Penn State Acoustics rip-off


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I had high expectations from this particular school and program. I spent ~$100 on this application which is around 1/4th of my family's monthly income (don't be shocked, its pretty normal in India..and I'm well above the poverty line ;)) The grad secy emailed me and said the following:


Hello liszt85,

We have received your applications to the Acoustics Program at Penn State and supporting documents. However, we have not received your financial verification. The financial verification is important as funding is not coupled to admission. All students are advised to come prepared to pay the full cost of their studies and cost of living. This is particularly important for foreign national students as most project sponsors require US citizenship as a criterion of eligibility for a project funded graduate research assistantship. In addition, because we are a graduate program only, all of our course must be taught by those who already hold the highest degree in the filed (i.e. PhD). With over 10,000 graduate students on campus, other departments have their own graduate students teaching undergraduate course, so that is not an option. Therefore we require that students understand the funding situation and come prepared. I believe the financial documents can be found at the web site of International Students Services, http://www.international.psu.edu/iss/fi ... nts_p.html .

You seem to be very interested in the acoustics of music. Be advised that we so not have an emphasis area in musical acoustics. If that is that area in which you want to do your research, you may want to explore other options.

If you have questions about this matter , you can contact me by email or phone at ___.

Program Coordinator


http://www.acs.psu.edu/Program/assistanships.htm This is the funding information and never does it talk about this requirement! I mean, it does talk about limited no of RAships and TAships but never does it mention that submission of financial verification is necessary for fully considering the application of an international student! I'm seriously pissed off at having wasted 100 bucks here.

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Hello I found this on the website you just linked to:

The process of applying for admission to graduate school at Penn State requires the following application materials, some of which are submitted to The Graduate School (items 1 and 2 below), and others that should be sent directly to the Graduate Program in Acoustics (items 3 through 9 which includes a copy of item 4):


2. Application fee.

3. Official transcripts (two (2) copies).

4. Application for a U.S. Visa which includes financial verification documents. (This applies to Foreign National Students Only and is not required for Distance Education student applicants).

5. GRE General Test scores.

6. TOEFL scores (Foreign National Students Only).

7. Two letters of reference sent to the Program from people who are in a position to comment on the candidate's education and/or abilities. Reference letters must come directly from the individual authoring the reference and should be on institution or company letterhead. Forms are not provided. Letters not sent directly to the Acoustics Program by the authors will not be accepted as a part of the application package.

8. Resume.

9. Statement of purpose.

Were there specific professors you were thinking of working with?? It seems strange they would not have anyone in your area of specialization. You could always see if they will refund the $100 if you withdraw your application. I have heard of some schools refunding the app fee if you withdraw.

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Yea, but if you actually go to the financial verification document, one option listed is Penn State funds, and I assumed that this is a document that people submit after they received a funded offer and so then they could always check "Penn State funds" as the source for their funds. Its standard practice everywhere else to submit an application for an I20 after you accept an offer and I thought this would be something similar.

No, there were no specific professors I wanted to work with. I had only listed what areas in acoustics (beamforming, acoustic holography) I'd worked on earlier and I had also mentioned musical acoustics as a possible area of interest for the future. Following your suggestion, I have now requested a refund.

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