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Contacted out the blue after PhD rejection-& "strongly urged" to reapply


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Would like some feedback.

 

Was rejected earlier in the year for a PhD and last week was sent an unsolicited letter that outlined a plan to reapply.

 

Comments, ideas or insight ?

 

 

 

 

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How personalized was the email? If it came from the graduate admissions office and is totally impersonal, you can safely ignore it. If it came from a member of the admissions committee and talks specifically about your application, you probably want to listen. Unless, of course, you're not interested in that program anymore. 

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It was specifically written for and to me by the person who was to be my supervisor at the committee's behest .

 

Guess  that by being so vague ( to remain anonymous) that I have not given enough information. 

 

What I'd really like to know is how often does this sort of thing happen?

 

And some anecdotes about the application process the 2nd time at a school that has previously rejected you would be appreciated. 

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My bet? Your potential advisor wanted you, but either there was some area of your application that scared off other committee members (or the graduate school), and he couldn't swing your admission through the committee. 

 

You mentioned his e-mail outlines a plan to reapply, does this perhaps include some specific pointers on things that would make your application stronger?

 

It's also possible he's recently come into some funding (or other forms of inter/intradepartmental power) and would be able to better push your application this year. 

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I agree--if this is a school you really want to go to and you don't already have an alternative for this year and you were plan on reapplying to grad schools next year anyways, then I would definitely reapply with these pointers in mind. I would also apply to other schools too though! In fact, I might even use the advice in that email to improve my application for all the schools (where appropriate).

Edited by TakeruK
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  • 3 weeks later...

Personal anecdote, as requested:

 

I applied for the Fall 2013 application season and was basically waitlisted without an interview (meaning that one of the faculty who was involved told me that I was not officially in the reject pile, but still didn't even get an interview). 

 

Between application seasons, I was working as a volunteer at first and then a junior scientist in a lab in the same department, and multiple faculty members frequently asked whether I would be applying again. 

 

For the 2014 application season, I was told that I was their top choice, and I was awarded a 3-year fellowship that I only found out about in my acceptance letter. The only difference was the amount of research experience I had in the field (and I probably the strength of the LOR from my PI). 

 

Some skepticism is healthy, but don't cheat yourself out of a promising opportunity and something to be excited about just because you don't think it means much. Sounds like this PI is really interested in your talents. 

 

ETA: If it matters, my program is very small. Like, my cohort of 4 students is the largest they have taken in one year. Some years they have taken no one that has applied. The type of experience I had with the faculty in my department may not be plausible in a larger program. 

Edited by Taeyers
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