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Vanderbilt expressing interest in an incomplete application


Catria

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Today, I received an email from Vanderbilt saying that they have received my application even though I haven't submitted it. Admittedly, it was almost completed but I chose to exclude from consideration all three recommenders (which, btw, wrote recs to all 11 I chose to actually apply to) as a sign of withdrawal, hence not submitting it.

 

 

Dear students, (bcc to all applicants)

 
Thank you for your interest in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Vanderbilt University.

This email is to acknowledge that your application to the Vanderbilt University PhD Physics program has been received and is being reviewed. 

My name is Don Pickert and I am the Administrative Assistant to the Physics & Astronomy Graduate Program Committee. (GPC)

If you should need any help with your application or have any questions regarding it, you may contact me.

If any items are missing from your application or if the GPC needs additional information from you, we will contact you.

 

So how could Vanderbilt receive my application when I didn't actually submit it? How often do situations like these arise?

 

If the end result is getting a free rejection letter in Vanderbilt's letterhead (if only because of missing recs), then so be it. I must admit, however, that, for Vanderbilt's physics dept to be willing to consider an incomplete application with recs missing, there must be at least one of the following at work:

 

- Desperate to take me (and likely with an UGF to boot) and then there had to be a few elements that caught their attention

- Have an otherwise incredibly shallow or poor applicant pool

- Not weigh recs much

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On some of the online application systems, any information you enter can be seen by the department. They may have mistaken it for complete. I applied to Vanderbilt's neuro program and there wasn't an application fee (not sure if this is true for physics) so I could see how it could be difficult to discern whether an application was intended to be submitted (versus other schools, which can tell by receipt of payment).

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On some of the online application systems, any information you enter can be seen by the department. They may have mistaken it for complete. I applied to Vanderbilt's neuro program and there wasn't an application fee (not sure if this is true for physics) so I could see how it could be difficult to discern whether an application was intended to be submitted (versus other schools, which can tell by receipt of payment).

 

There wasn't an app fee for physics either... should I just complete the application then?

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Might as well. Why did you decide against Vanderbilt?

 

Had too many non-reaches (I felt that, with Notre Dame in its stead, I would have enough non-reaches to have my bases covered, alongside Tufts, Dartmouth, Minnesota, WUSTL and CMU)...

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My guess is Don meant to send the email to the "Submitted" applications instead of all of them. The other possibility is that because you were close to completing it they assumed (or maybe hoped) that you would complete it soon.

 

And yes, I can see everything even if it hasn't been submitted yet.

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