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Asking about notification dates?


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Hi everyone! 

I'm just wondering what the etiquette is for calling a program and asking about when they generally send out notifications. I was looking on the results search to try and get a feel for when they send their notifications on average, but the only entry I saw was from 2008. 

So, basically- would it be rude of me to ask when they think they might be sending information out? Would it hurt my chances at all? I just want to get some advice before I consider calling and asking. 

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In my opinion, the etiquette is to do this only when you absolutely have to know. For example, if your top choice school is School A and your second choice is School B and you have an offer from School B but School B wants you to commit by March 1**. In this case, it might make sense to ask School A about the general timeline of decisions---if they tell you it will be before March 1, then that's great. If they say "We plan to release decisions by March 8" then you can go back to School B and ask for an extension on the decision to something like March 12, or March 15. This is just one example of a scenario where you do need to know about timelines. 

If you don't absolutely need to know the information, then I would suggest that you do not contact the school and ask. And also, if you do need to know, I would be careful to phrase my question as "when is your expected timeline for decisions?" instead of implying that you want them to make an expedited decision for you.

** This can still be within the convention of the CGS April 15 agreement if School B offers a basic financial package to the student, with a deadline of April 15, but they are interested in nominating (not offering) the student for a university-wide fellowship that is just lost if the student doesn't accept, so the department wants to know how likely the student will commit before nominating the student to this fellowship so that is why they are asking for a decision on the admission by March 1.

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