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POI really wants me in but is not a part of the admissions committee. What are my chances?


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My application is alright (not too strong, not weak). I have average math score in GRE (bad for PhD in Computer Science). I do have some publications (only 1 of them is peer-reviewed), and two Masters' degrees (one relevant, one totally irrelevant).

 

I have been talking with my POI since the last few months, I mean to the point where I know for sure that he's behind me 100 percent. He's very nice and has hinted that, and I quote: "mostly it (decision) should be about what kind of support to offer. I'd be very surprised if it is anything but that". 

 

When I expressed that I am having trouble sleeping at night (I really am!), he emailed the grad director asking about when I "might hear about acceptance". The grad director told him that it should be in a week or so. My POI said, "wait until a week and then email me if you don't hear something; I'll ask again."

 

6 days have passed and now I'm constantly sitting in front of my Gmail, just staring at it. I know the Gmail page is dynamic and yet, I sometimes refresh the page in hopes of seeing a new mail. I can't get any work done and I keep thinking about my chances.

 

What do the good folks here at gradcafe think? Do I have a solid chance if my POI is so supportive and nice? Yes, I know it's not his decision, but he's a respected professor (in his 60s) and I am thinking the admissions committee would respect his opinion of me. What do you think?

 

PS: Argh, I'm going to need some therapy after this.

Edited by thegraydude
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Sounds like he is pulling hard for you, so while it is impossible to say what your chances are, that is always a very strong positive.

 

However, best advice I can give, get away from your computer.  Seriously.  No matter what people say here, no matter if they say your chances are great or poor or they have no idea or whatever, it is up to the adcom team.  End of it.  I was having the same issues but, you did what you could do for your application, you made a strong connection with a POI, now it is time to be confident in what you put out there and see what happens.

 

I recommend, make a limit: you can check your email x amount of times a day (and no refreshing!) and check your application page once or twice a day.  Go do something else... away from your computer if possible (that helped me) because anxiety sucks and the waiting by the computer is going to amp it up.

 

And, from what I have gathered (though I do not know about CS specifically) but GRE is just one portion of your application packet and it usually is not what singularly garners an acceptance or rejection, out of hand.  So, I wouldn't stress about it.

 

Be confident, sounds like you have a lot of good things going for you!  One of the acceptances I heard back from, I had a really strong connection with the POI and we were in contact for awhile (also, research really matched up) so I do think that helps a lot.

 

Good luck!

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I second CM's advice. The best thing, I've found, is to go spend time with people. Spending an evening out with friends completely removes the constant hang-wringing from my mind, and it's truly such a relief. 

 

And for what it's worth, you cannot beat yourself up if this doesn't work out.

 

I had strong relationships with POIs at two different schools. One of them actually told me "it just so happens I'm on the admissions committee, and yours is exactly the type of application we look for." I had a very friendly chat with this same professor at a public discussion in the department (on a paper situated VERY close to my research proposal) and she pointed at me and said "(grad_wannabe) and I were just talking about this topic, it's very unexplored in this field and researchers have barely begun to scratch the surface. In fact, she's written her application to this very department on this topic!" and the entire faculty and student cohort smiled and nodded and said "welcome to [program]!"

 

I didn't even get an interview. 

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I second CM's advice. The best thing, I've found, is to go spend time with people. Spending an evening out with friends completely removes the constant hang-wringing from my mind, and it's truly such a relief. 

 

And for what it's worth, you cannot beat yourself up if this doesn't work out.

 

I had strong relationships with POIs at two different schools. One of them actually told me "it just so happens I'm on the admissions committee, and yours is exactly the type of application we look for." I had a very friendly chat with this same professor at a public discussion in the department (on a paper situated VERY close to my research proposal) and she pointed at me and said "(grad_wannabe) and I were just talking about this topic, it's very unexplored in this field and researchers have barely begun to scratch the surface. In fact, she's written her application to this very department on this topic!" and the entire faculty and student cohort smiled and nodded and said "welcome to [program]!"

 

I didn't even get an interview. 

 

Oh, dude, that is harsh! Ouch.  I'm sorry.

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Oh, dude, that is harsh! Ouch.  I'm sorry.

I second CM's advice. The best thing, I've found, is to go spend time with people. Spending an evening out with friends completely removes the constant hang-wringing from my mind, and it's truly such a relief. 

 

And for what it's worth, you cannot beat yourself up if this doesn't work out.

 

I had strong relationships with POIs at two different schools. One of them actually told me "it just so happens I'm on the admissions committee, and yours is exactly the type of application we look for." I had a very friendly chat with this same professor at a public discussion in the department (on a paper situated VERY close to my research proposal) and she pointed at me and said "(grad_wannabe) and I were just talking about this topic, it's very unexplored in this field and researchers have barely begun to scratch the surface. In fact, she's written her application to this very department on this topic!" and the entire faculty and student cohort smiled and nodded and said "welcome to [program]!"

 

I didn't even get an interview.

Holy cow. Did you ever ask why you didn't get an interview? That's baffling. I'm so sorry.

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I was frankly dismayed when I saw on the results search that people were getting interviews for that program when I'd heard nothing, but this process is honestly SO arbitrary.

 

It could be that they had too many applicants who proposed to do fieldwork in America.

 

I do know that one of the other POIs I'd named in the program had just left for another university. 

 

I also know that the POI with whom I'd spoken so many times was new in the department, and it could be that she just didn't have enough pull on the adcomm. 

 

It could be that other students came in with NSF funding, while I had none. 

 

This entire process is a total shot in the dark. There's nothing about this that reflects personally on ANY of us, we must remember that. 

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Thank you for the sound advice CM and grad_wannabe. I'm just going out with my friends now and trying not to think about decisions. If my phone notifies me of an email, I will check it and I hope to see some good news.

 

I was frankly dismayed when I saw on the results search that people were getting interviews for that program when I'd heard nothing, but this process is honestly SO arbitrary.

 

It could be that they had too many applicants who proposed to do fieldwork in America.

 

I do know that one of the other POIs I'd named in the program had just left for another university. 

 

I also know that the POI with whom I'd spoken so many times was new in the department, and it could be that she just didn't have enough pull on the adcomm. 

 

I'm so sorry for you. It must have come as quite a shock. I hope you get into other schools of your choice. Best wishes.

Edited by thegraydude
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Thank you for the sound advice CM and grad_wannabe. I'm just going out with my friends now and trying not to think about decisions. If my phone notifies me of an email, I will check it and I hope to see some good news.

 

So glad to hear! And I hope that you get good news soon.

 

grand_wannabe: wow -- that is rough.  But I agree with you that sometimes it is totally arbitrary.  I emailed a POI and that person replied back saying that very soon we would talk to discuss my interesting work.  Thought it would mean an interview.  Never heard back and never got an interview :/  Nothing like your story, there are so many potential factors...

Edited by c m
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I was frankly dismayed when I saw on the results search that people were getting interviews for that program when I'd heard nothing, but this process is honestly SO arbitrary.

 

It could be that they had too many applicants who proposed to do fieldwork in America.

 

I do know that one of the other POIs I'd named in the program had just left for another university. 

 

I also know that the POI with whom I'd spoken so many times was new in the department, and it could be that she just didn't have enough pull on the adcomm. 

 

It could be that other students came in with NSF funding, while I had none. 

 

This entire process is a total shot in the dark. There's nothing about this that reflects personally on ANY of us, we must remember that.

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Unfortunately, even if the POI supports you, it doesn't mean you will always get in. I was in contact with a POI for two years about my research and he encouraged me to apply to work with him and said I was a good fit with his area of interest. He doesn't sit on the admissions committee. I got a generic letter this week saying that my application was unsuccessful because my research proposal doesn't fit into the long-term goals of the department. I was really stunned, to say the least. And the POI has gone silent. Sigh. 

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