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When I am on an admissions committee, I will....

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Send balloons filled with confetti to all those accepted and sympathy flowers to all those I have to reject... and keep everyone well informed during the whole process.

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Check TheGradCafe to see how stressed out applicants are and see how long I can keep them guessing. Then, put pressure on them to decide in a week or less without visiting.

The sarcasm is strong in this one.

 

Incredibly cruel. I would not be surprised if somebody was doing this, judging from the standard operating procedure for several of the schools I applied to [i'm looking at you, NYU and UT-Austin, ya bastards!].

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Maybe unusual - but my main goals would be automation and transparency - making the selection more fair, speeding the process up, and saving uncompetitive applicants time & money. 

 

  1. Integrate some kind of survey-esque/Qualtrics-like software that can quickly and neatly divide applicants based on the most relevant stats, such as GPA, GRE, and years of research experience [if most schools have this, they really have no excuse for their slowness].
  2. If sub 3.5 GPAs don't cut the mustard and/or the university has strict GRE score requirements, auto-email all applicants fitting those criteria w/in a week of their submission with a short message explaining just why they were rejected so that they don't reapply next year. 
  3. (related to the above) Have such spoken and "unspoken" stats published on the admissions website.
  4. (related to the above) Release stats for the previous five years of admits. 
  5. If interviews are required, reject all applicants who are not invited to interview IMMEDIATELY.
  6. List whether or not faculty are seeking students on their webpages, preferably 2 month in advance of the application deadline.
  7. Indicate in instructions whether students should contact faculty or not; make it clear when individual faculty are responsible for accepting students [uT-Austin is, admittedly, very explicit on this front].
  8. If I were a faculty member, have guidelines for exactly what I would want for a prospective to email me (CV + 1 page research statement, etc.)
  9. (related to above) Maintain a separate lab email for this purpose
  10. Expunge identifying information like name, race, gender, and undergrad/master's university from adcomm's first read-through materials. Add back in uni information and names only after top 5-10% are chosen based on CVs and SOPs.
  11. Publish this exact process as well as any other relevant procedures on the website.
Edited by TXInstrument11

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Maybe unusual - but my main goals would be automation and transparency - making the selection more fair, speeding the process up, and saving uncompetitive applicants time & money. 

 

  1. Integrate some kind of survey-esque/Qualtrics-like software that can quickly and neatly divide applicants based on the most relevant stats, such as GPA, GRE, and years of research experience [if most schools have this, they really have no excuse for their slowness].
  2. If sub 3.5 GPAs don't cut the mustard and/or the university has strict GRE score requirements, auto-email all applicants fitting those criteria w/in a week of their submission with a short message explaining just why they were rejected so that they don't reapply next year. 
  3. (related to the above) Have such spoken and "unspoken" stats published on the admissions website.
  4. (related to the above) Release stats for the previous five years of admits. 
  5. If interviews are required, reject all applicants who are not invited to interview IMMEDIATELY.
  6. List whether or not faculty are seeking students on their webpages, preferably 2 month in advance of the application deadline.
  7. Indicate in instructions whether students should contact faculty or not; make it clear when individual faculty are responsible for accepting students [uT-Austin is, admittedly, very explicit on this front].
  8. If I were a faculty member, have guidelines for exactly what I would want for a prospective to email me (CV + 1 page research statement, etc.)
  9. (related to above) Maintain a separate lab email for this purpose
  10. Expunge identifying information like name, race, gender, and undergrad/master's university from adcomm's first read-through materials. Add back in uni information and names only after top 5-10% are chosen based on CVs and SOPs.
  11. Publish this exact process as well as any other relevant procedures on the website.

 

That would be amazing!! When we're faculty we need to do this :D

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Argue in endless circles for who I believe should get in, while everyone else does the same.  The rift of opinion grows so deep, it can only be mended via liberal application of Timbits, cocoa, and compromise.  I trade my candidates for extra tiny marshmellows, and call it a win.

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That would be amazing!! When we're faculty we need to do this :D

Thanks. :)  If I ever become  a faculty member, I really hope I could form a coalition of junior faculty and sympathetic oldsters to create these kinds of standards. 

 

I think clear, coherent policies on #10 especially would calm a lot of our anxieties and provide a balm for my deep skepticism of this process. Besides being more fair, combating discrimination and bias helps them select the best applicants anyway. 

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Maybe unusual - but my main goals would be automation and transparency - making the selection more fair, speeding the process up, and saving uncompetitive applicants time & money. 

 

  • Integrate some kind of survey-esque/Qualtrics-like software that can quickly and neatly divide applicants based on the most relevant stats, such as GPA, GRE, and years of research experience [if most schools have this, they really have no excuse for their slowness].
  • If sub 3.5 GPAs don't cut the mustard and/or the university has strict GRE score requirements, auto-email all applicants fitting those criteria w/in a week of their submission with a short message explaining just why they were rejected so that they don't reapply next year. 
  • (related to the above) Have such spoken and "unspoken" stats published on the admissions website.
  • (related to the above) Release stats for the previous five years of admits. 
  • If interviews are required, reject all applicants who are not invited to interview IMMEDIATELY.
  • List whether or not faculty are seeking students on their webpages, preferably 2 month in advance of the application deadline.
  • Indicate in instructions whether students should contact faculty or not; make it clear when individual faculty are responsible for accepting students [uT-Austin is, admittedly, very explicit on this front].
  • If I were a faculty member, have guidelines for exactly what I would want for a prospective to email me (CV + 1 page research statement, etc.)
  • (related to above) Maintain a separate lab email for this purpose
  • Expunge identifying information like name, race, gender, and undergrad/master's university from adcomm's first read-through materials. Add back in uni information and names only after top 5-10% are chosen based on CVs and SOPs.
  • Publish this exact process as well as any other relevant procedures on the website.

Definitely some excellent stuff here. More transparency would be such a boon, and seems like it would be beneficial to both the prospective students and the schools.

I don't know if something like this would be feasible (or if it's even advom related), but a system like the undergraduate Common Application would be very nice for nonspecific applicant information (name, age, DOB, undergrad institutions, etc.)

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Have a dart board with all the applicants pictures I exported from Facebook taped to all parts. With an evil laugh, I will throw a dart and at the face/ faces it lands on.. Well those will be the rejected, yes 4.0's and all... but not right away!! I will wait 2 months after the deadline no three months! Hold on.... is this is what I would do or what I think they actually do? Lol

Edited by jenbugg86

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Definitely some excellent stuff here. More transparency would be such a boon, and seems like it would be beneficial to both the prospective students and the schools.

I don't know if something like this would be feasible (or if it's even advom related), but a system like the undergraduate Common Application would be very nice for nonspecific applicant information (name, age, DOB, undergrad institutions, etc.)

Ditto! I completed a common app for summer research programs. I think Texas has such a system for its public universities. I don't know of any that have been implemented nationwide though, which is too bad. 

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Ditto! I completed a common app for summer research programs. I think Texas has such a system for its public universities. I don't know of any that have been implemented nationwide though, which is too bad.

Texas does have a common app for it's public universities (I'm an undergrad at one) and it saves a lot of time when applying as you'd only have to submit all the basic background info once instead of n (number of schools) times!

I kept thinking while I was applying that it'd be great to have one for grad schools!

If I ever have that kind of power that's something I'd like to implement!

Edited by FantasticalDevPsych

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I would also charge no more than $15 for the application fee. This is enough money to hit the wallet of a broke college student (especially if applying to 5 - 10 schools) but not enough to devastate them since a lot of the applications will end in rejections.

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Expunge identifying information like name, race, gender, and undergrad/master's university from adcomm's first read-through materials. Add back in uni information and names only after top 5-10% are chosen based on CVs and SOPs.

 

 

I think this is super important.  There is so much bias that is unintentional, even within the most conscientious of people.  And then there is also the perfectly deliberate bias that REALLY needs to get routed out.

 

Honestly, I think that gender and race have no business at all showing up on applications.  It should not matter if I am a white woman, a black woman, an Asian man, a purple hermaphrodite -- it is my qualifications alone that should be viewed and judged.  For that reason, I also think it would be far better if we went by assigned numbers on applications rather than by our names.

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I think this is super important.  There is so much bias that is unintentional, even within the most conscientious of people.  And then there is also the perfectly deliberate bias that REALLY needs to get routed out.

 

Honestly, I think that gender and race have no business at all showing up on applications.  It should not matter if I am a white woman, a black woman, an Asian man, a purple hermaphrodite -- it is my qualifications alone that should be viewed and judged.  For that reason, I also think it would be far better if we went by assigned numbers on applications rather than by our names.

 

That is easier to say when you have systematically benefited from the privileges of being of a certain gender or race. By which I mean that the literature is very clear that, for example, first generation, low SES, and some minority students are at a disadvantage from their first day of college, which affects things like their GPA, their CV (unpaid internships or volunteer lab work are a financial impossibility for many), their summer opportunities (for example, being expected to come home in the summer to watch younger siblings rather than being able to pursue summer jobs or research assistant positions), and much, much more. As an example, not all institutions have similar research opportunities. Should we privilege those who went to schools that offer abundant research experiences for undergrads (integrating them into the class, requiring them for graduation) over those who do not? Without knowing where they went, that's precisely what would happen. Your (HistoryGypsy and TXInstrument11) idea would eliminate the ability of the admissions committee to consider such factors on the first pass. My guess is that this would actually lead to less diversity in graduate programs, which may very well be the goal of some.

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Send a ton of emails with subjects like:

 

"We are pleased to announce...our fall seminar series on xyz"

"Congratulations! ... you're on our mailing list!"

"WELCOME...to spring! Here are the top 5 ways to enjoy YOUR spring equinox"

"ADMISSIONS DECISIONs for undergraduate programs came at a slower pace in 2015 than previous years...more analysis inside"

 

 

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Send a ton of emails with subjects like:

 

"We are pleased to announce...our fall seminar series on xyz"

"Congratulations! ... you're on our mailing list!"

"WELCOME...to spring! Here are the top 5 ways to enjoy YOUR spring equinox"

"ADMISSIONS DECISIONs for undergraduate programs came at a slower pace in 2015 than previous years...more analysis inside"

 

You're joking but I've gotten SO many of these deceitful emails. :( 

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That is easier to say when you have systematically benefited from the privileges of being of a certain gender or race. By which I mean that the literature is very clear that, for example, first generation, low SES, and some minority students are at a disadvantage from their first day of college, which affects things like their GPA, their CV (unpaid internships or volunteer lab work are a financial impossibility for many), their summer opportunities (for example, being expected to come home in the summer to watch younger siblings rather than being able to pursue summer jobs or research assistant positions), and much, much more. As an example, not all institutions have similar research opportunities. Should we privilege those who went to schools that offer abundant research experiences for undergrads (integrating them into the class, requiring them for graduation) over those who do not? Without knowing where they went, that's precisely what would happen. Your (HistoryGypsy and TXInstrument11) idea would eliminate the ability of the admissions committee to consider such factors on the first pass. My guess is that this would actually lead to less diversity in graduate programs, which may very well be the goal of some.

Okay, then they can scrap the CV on first pass if those are their priorities. Likewise, if they want to make sure smaller schools get due consideration, they can add that back in. Really, the process can be adjusted for each school, but overall goals of less ID info and the process being more open are better than what we have now. We cannot even imagine how much the factors you listed are or are not being taken into account with how subjective and mysterious it is now.

I also question whether even deliberate moves to include minorities can override first, implicit impressions. Some schools openly acknowledge a policy that low SES and minority is given special consideration and that's great. For other schools who provide no such info, we can only guess.

Besides, at least in the schools I looked at, grad students appeared to be overwhelmingly white and (at least) pseudo-Ivy,so it is debatable how much the current system is helping disadvantaged applicants.

If schools are genuinely committed to eliminating bias, transparency is a good first step - especially since establishing clear standards makes them more accountable for their decisions. I also think it's inexcusable for psych departments, which are very well aware of how bias can cloud selection processes even with the best intentions.

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That is easier to say when you have systematically benefited from the privileges of being of a certain gender or race. By which I mean that the literature is very clear that, for example, first generation, low SES, and some minority students are at a disadvantage from their first day of college, which affects things like their GPA, their CV (unpaid internships or volunteer lab work are a financial impossibility for many), their summer opportunities (for example, being expected to come home in the summer to watch younger siblings rather than being able to pursue summer jobs or research assistant positions), and much, much more. As an example, not all institutions have similar research opportunities. Should we privilege those who went to schools that offer abundant research experiences for undergrads (integrating them into the class, requiring them for graduation) over those who do not? Without knowing where they went, that's precisely what would happen. Your (HistoryGypsy and TXInstrument11) idea would eliminate the ability of the admissions committee to consider such factors on the first pass. My guess is that this would actually lead to less diversity in graduate programs, which may very well be the goal of some.

Dead on.

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That is easier to say when you have systematically benefited from the privileges of being of a certain gender or race. By which I mean that the literature is very clear that, for example, first generation, low SES, and some minority students are at a disadvantage from their first day of college, which affects things like their GPA, their CV (unpaid internships or volunteer lab work are a financial impossibility for many), their summer opportunities (for example, being expected to come home in the summer to watch younger siblings rather than being able to pursue summer jobs or research assistant positions), and much, much more. As an example, not all institutions have similar research opportunities. Should we privilege those who went to schools that offer abundant research experiences for undergrads (integrating them into the class, requiring them for graduation) over those who do not? Without knowing where they went, that's precisely what would happen. Your (HistoryGypsy and TXInstrument11) idea would eliminate the ability of the admissions committee to consider such factors on the first pass. My guess is that this would actually lead to less diversity in graduate programs, which may very well be the goal of some.

 

I am a woman in science from a low income background. I do not want preference in admissions based on these factors at all. I want my application to be considered against a white wealthy male from a long line of academics and if admitted, I want it to be because my application is better than his.

 

Giving me an advantage because I am female is no better than giving white males an advantage. In either case, you discriminate against a specific group based on factors that are out of their control. I find the concept of admitting less qualified students based on gender, ethnicity, etc insulting and discriminatory and I would never accept an offer if I thought these factors contributed to my acceptance. By not holding me to the same admission standards as males, you imply that I am not as capable as they are. You lower the bar for me and only perpetuate the gap between performance.

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