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Which school or admissions habit got you your nerves?


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This isn't meant to be super negative...

 

I just had an... interesting... experience with one school. I emailed them on the Friday before April 15th to get my decision because I had heard absolutely nothing! That got me thinking, there are some things about this process that are truly annoying. The waiting, the writing, the repetitiveness and monotony of parts of the applications... 

 

What irked you the most?

 

 

 

Things that bothered me the most:

 

1. Spending a bunch of $$, then not hearing anything from a school. (UNC, amirite?)

2. Filling in my work history AND submitting my resume

3. Turning in my app, THEN finding all the typos

 

 

 

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Dealing with my letter writers. Most of them were excellent-- I had asked them for letters well in advance and, when the time came, they submitted their letters to all of the schools before the deadlines. One, however, was the exception. He submitted his letter to all of the schools that I applied to except for one (which is strange, given that the deadlines were so close together and he was presumably using the same letter for each school). I contacted him several times as the deadline approached, but got no response. Then the deadline passed and I tried again, but still nothing. At the time, that school was also my top choice, so I really started to panic. It got to the point that the department head emailed me several weeks after my interview and basically said, "Look... we like your application, but we can't make a final decision on it unless you get your third recommendation in." At that point, I made one last effort to contact him, but it didn't go anywhere so I frantically called up another professor and he [thankfully] sent in a quick LOR for me. To this day, though, the original letter writer has yet to get back to me... not even an apology for ignoring me or a few sentences to let me know what happened.

 

Last year, this same professor wrote a bad recommendation for me which, according to my POI at the time, directly caused my application to be rejected before interviews were even set up. I didn't find this out until after he had submitted letters to some of my schools this year; fortunately, either his letters were better this year or they were simply overshadowed by my other letters (which I know were strong). But still... it was a pain to deal with him during the application process. It was also surprising considering that we worked closely together during my master's program and he never even once made any hint that he was upset with me.

 

So, yeah... deadbeat LOR writers are at the top of my list. But there are a couple of other little things that I didn't like:

 

-- Admissions websites that don't let you check your status and websites that don't email you when your status changes

 

-- Ordering transcripts. My master's school required me to mail a form by snail-mail to request them, and took over a month to process my request.

 

-- Interviewing with professors who obviously didn't want to interview me. At one school, I had to meet with six professors aside from my POI. One of those professors started the interview by saying, "I'm not taking any students this year and we don't have any research overlap, so I'm not sure why we're meeting. Tell me about yourself."

 

EDIT: Wow, I sound like negative Nancy. :lol: For the most part, I didn't think the process was *that* bad... mostly just tedious because of all of the waiting. The only thing that I'd say truly annoyed me was that one letter writer.

Edited by zabius
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Submitting an application (and fee!) and not hearing a single thing from the school. I know they made some offers back in February, so I think the least they could do was inform me that I am waitlisted. Not really professional to keep a majority of us waiting, especially after the deadline for many schools has passed. 

 

:rolleyes:

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Paying however much money it is only to wait 6 months, no response, no response to emails, can't afford the international calls right now on my phone. The least they could do is reply saying "We cannot tell you anything at this stage" as an acknowledgement of my existence.

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Submitting an application (and fee!) and not hearing a single thing from the school. I know they made some offers back in February, so I think the least they could do was inform me that I am waitlisted. Not really professional to keep a majority of us waiting, especially after the deadline for many schools has passed. 

 

:rolleyes:

 

You know I agree with you!

 

I hate that some schools don't notify applicants in a timely manner. Messed up.

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I hate it when POIs who do not plan on taking  new advisees encourage you to apply. I know a few professors in my program did that to potential students, and I don't understand it. I am still extremely grateful to one of my POIs who told me about the budget constraints at her school and the way that impacted which professors got to take on new students in a given year. She explained that she really wanted to work with me, but it was not her year to take on new advisees. 

 

I also hate the whole no response thing. Two of the schools I applied to did that and it was extremely frustrating. My advisor informed my that the adcom for one of the schools made decisions in early January, yet they didn't sent me my rejection letter until nearly March. 

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-An email notification of how the admissions process was going would be great. I was checking my email and mailbox more than a sane person should since March 1st! When I finally caved in and emailed a school this week, it just happened to be the same day they mailed out my acceptance letter lol.

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you would think that paying $60-120 for a stupid application entitles you the courtesy of prompt email responses and constructive feedback after the process is over. I mean for f*k's sake the NSF fellowship, which has a free application, sends back comments to those that make the first cut. Another reason why I hate the school administrations' guts. My hard earned money is just another drop in the bucket for their BS.

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One school I applied to had absolutely NO type of online application system, so it was impossible to check my status. (All application materials had to be physically mailed in.)  I hadn't received any communication by early/mid-April, so i finally called and learned that my application had been reviewed for the bilingual program (even though I had only applied for the monolingual program), and that I was waitlisted. I'm amazed that I wasn't flat-out rejected, considering I have no bilingual experience and no foreign language classes on my transcript! :P 

 

 

Aside from that phone call, I still haven't received any other notification from the university. So strange!

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  • 1 month later...

This isn't meant to be super negative...

 

I just had an... interesting... experience with one school. I emailed them on the Friday before April 15th to get my decision because I had heard absolutely nothing! That got me thinking, there are some things about this process that are truly annoying. The waiting, the writing, the repetitiveness and monotony of parts of the applications... 

 

What irked you the most?

 

 

 

Things that bothered me the most:

 

1. Spending a bunch of $$, then not hearing anything from a school. (UNC, amirite?)

2. Filling in my work history AND submitting my resume

3. Turning in my app, THEN finding all the typos

It would have to be 3 for me! But am sure they give applicants some latitude! They have to or we are all doomed!

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1. I'd have to say it's applying to schools that don't have an online application system. It's expensive to apply to so many schools.Then it costs even more to FedEx everything because that's the only way you'll know for sure that the parcel was received. 

 

2. Waiting for extremely forgetful referee to submit references. Luckily one school was electronic and I knew there was a problem when it still wasn't there the day before the deadline. Unfortunately, the other school had no online system and it ended up arriving 2 months late, after my application had already been assessed!

 

3. One school wanted work history forms completed, while all the other schools were fine with a resume. There were so many sections to copy and paste into little fields. So I ended up writing it out neatly by hand and probably saved myself a few hours of "copy and paste."

 

4. Being put on an unofficial wait list at a school where probably 90% of applicants who aren't accepted are unofficially wait listed. What is the likelihood of being accepted???

Edited by jenste
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  • 3 weeks later...

Applying to a school on December 1st that cost almost 175 dollars just to wait until early April to get a rejection letter in the mail.

The extreme opposite (also annoying) one: Applying to a school on Jan. 5 and getting a rejection email 3 weeks later. That app fee would've been more useful to me as toilet paper.

The waiting sucks, but everyone has to deal with that part. I think the price you pay for the process is overwhelming.

I want to reapply this fall, but reading all of these posts reminds me of how it was last time, and makes me re-consider things :unsure:

Edited by CP3
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  • 3 weeks later...

I most dislike how financially draining the whole process is, like : paying the application fee, sending GRE and TOEFL score reports, sending official transcripts by fast courrier services... And at the end of it all : just to get a stupid rejection letter. Makes you wonder why you bothered in the first place.

 

I personally also highly dislike the fact that any professors I have tried to initiate contact with were all met with radio silence. I mean, I understand that they don't answer mails quickly, if at all, but I find this very frustrating. And I'm hours ahead of phase from the US/Canada so that's another problem.

 

I think the whole anxiety around the admission process makes you a nervous wreck in the end, obviously we are putting our future on the line and then the decision still carries some large amount of randomness in it. Your SOP can be read by someone in a joyful mood in the morning and be well-received, it could equally by read late in the evening by someone you is just interested in going to sleep and he doesn't even bother reading the first paragraph in full and puts your file in the dustbin...

 

Sorry, rant over. Needed to say it. I'll keep trying until I get something though.

Edited by MikKar
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