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Can I ask where I am on the waitlist? <-- Is this a faux-pa?


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I received an email informing me that I was on the waitlist at one of my chosen schools. I am wondering if it is considered a faux-pa, or if it will some how hurt my chances of admission, to ask where I am on the wait list? I'm dieing here..lol.. and they said that I won't know anything till the next month or so. Uggghhh.. So, where do we stand on simply ASKING where we are located on this wait list?

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*faux pas ;)

 

I'd be surprised if "wait list" meant something formal. More likely it means that if another person your POI is trying to recruit declines, they might invite you instead. What I mean is, it probably depends on who declines and who they wanted to work with, not a specific number of people. So I doubt you'll get a useful answer from them.

Edited by lewin00
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I know how you feel! I just did this (could not resist) and got an answer. I still have no idea about the likelihood of getting in to this particular program. So, if you decide to commit this potential faux paux, be prepared to still have unanswered questions, lol. 

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It is perfectly fine to email and ask them where you are on the waitlist.  If you have an offer already from another school you can tell them that you are sitting on an offer and they are your first choice, but you'd like to know you chances.  They may tell you nothing useful - but it's not a "faux pas" to ask.

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How are wait lists chosen? The admission process seems to be psych faculty meeting to decide who gets recommended to the dean for admission. Do wait listed students get "on the wait list" in the psych faculty meeting, or are they technically "accepted" at that level, recommended to the dean, and then the dean puts them on the wait list if too many students were recommended?

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Stefanka -- it likely depends on each school, but in general, I think it's the department that determines who gets accepted and who gets on the waitlist. After all, it's the department who has to balance its budget, not the dean's, so the department is the body that decides how many students are "too many". The graduate school office / dean's role is to make sure all students admitted/recommended actually meet University-wide guidelines (e.g. English language requirement, GRE scores, etc.) and to do all of the paperwork to formally enroll someone as a student.

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Since most psychology departments have different areas (Cognitive, Clinical, et), my understanding is that usually each area has command over their applicants.  Typically, the budget dictates how many students the entire department can accept and then the Chair dictates how many students each area can accept.  So the faculty in each area vie for a position if they want to accept a student, and students are ranked accordingly within the area. 

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*faux pas ;)

 

I'd be surprised if "wait list" meant something formal. More likely it means that if another person your POI is trying to recruit declines, they might invite you instead. What I mean is, it probably depends on who declines and who they wanted to work with, not a specific number of people. So I doubt you'll get a useful answer from them.

 

I want to say that it might not always be "who declines" over "how many decline"-- I know someone who was told she was first on the waitlist for social psych, but if anyone accepted to any of the psych disciplines declined, she would get in. 

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I want to say that it might not always be "who declines" over "how many decline"-- I know someone who was told she was first on the waitlist for social psych, but if anyone accepted to any of the psych disciplines declined, she would get in. 

 

I think this depends on what the constraint is - in the above case it seems like funding might have been a constraint, so any decline would free up funds. 

 

Also, it depends on the field - for example in business PhD programs I understand there may be a slightly more structured waitlist; for areas where the research interests within a specific department are highly heterogeneous, the waitlist may depend on who declines, etc. as the constraint is usually the bandwidth that a particular POI has to take on additional students.

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