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A couple rejections and nothing else?


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I feel that rising_star's comment is unnecessarily harsh. Being rejected doesn't mean you are a weak candidate. Lots of factors go into admissions, and "fit" is way more important than we realize. Schools get lots of applications for only a handful of spots--many "top candidates" are rejected simply because there aren't enough spots. Without knowing your stats, experiences, and interests (I'm not asking for them, btw), it's hard to say anything about your fit with a certain program or if you maybe haven't done something a program prefers (like a master's or something). Being rejected from one program doesn't mean you'll be rejected from another, unless you are underprepared for graduate school. You can always contact a school and ask if there's an approximate time applicants should hear back--unless they have stated this on their site or in a previous email. Good luck! This process is very stressful. 

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7 hours ago, LittleCritter said:

Hi all. I've been rejected to three programs so far, and I got these rejections a few weeks ago. For these schools, would I have been a weaker candidate? What does it mean if I have not heard from the other schools yet?

There are a lot of stories that applicants got rejected at their "safety" schools and then got admitted to their top choices. The decision process at one school is also different from that at another school. As a result, even though you got rejected for those 3 schools, do not lose hope yet.

I am waiting for my results too. Good luck to everyone of us in this process.

 

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Hi all. I go to a Midwestern liberal arts college and I study anthropology and modern languages (going for anthro). My GPA is okay (3.79) and my GRE scores were all over the board (far below average Q, average V, and above average W). My recs were okay I think. Idk how my writing quality compares to other's. I'm interested in human-animal relationships, so I looked for programs that had faculty who do human-environment stuff. Human-animal stuff is not a big emphasis in anthro, so it was difficult to find departments that had more than 1-2 faculty who share my interests. The focus of my essays was my research experience (including ethnographic work in Jamaica, the college's town, and Costa Rica).

One of my profs who recommended me said that I was a "strong" candidate, whatever that means. 

Also I'm one of those people who likes to plan, and now I'm looking into jobs in case grad school doesn't work out. My school has a partnership with Henan University in China where I might apply to teach English for a year. I don't know any Chinese, though.

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8 hours ago, LittleCritter said:

Hi all. I've been rejected to three programs so far, and I got these rejections a few weeks ago. For these schools, would I have been a weaker candidate? What does it mean if I have not heard from the other schools yet?

A rejection can mean many things, especially things that you cannot control. I try to focus on the things that I can control. For example, you are not going to get "feedback" on the application so you might as well focus on your next steps. Now, you have not been rejected from other schools, and that can play a role in your next move. I'd say be patient and allow things to unfold. Again, you only had so much control over the process, and now it is not up to you. Lots of variables are at play in the admission process that might not even have anything to do with your application. All the best! 

4 minutes ago, LittleCritter said:

Hi all. I go to a Midwestern liberal arts college and I study anthropology and modern languages (going for anthro). My GPA is okay (3.79) and my GRE scores were all over the board (far below average Q, average V, and above average W). My recs were okay I think. Idk how my writing quality compares to other's. I'm interested in human-animal relationships, so I looked for programs that had faculty who do human-environment stuff. Human-animal stuff is not a big emphasis in anthro, so it was difficult to find departments that had more than 1-2 faculty who share my interests.

I'm sorry, I don't understand this post. Is it a response to the topic? Is there a question? I might be tired because I don't see the connection with the thread. Could you elaborate please?

 

AP

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16 hours ago, artsy16 said:

I feel that rising_star's comment is unnecessarily harsh. Being rejected doesn't mean you are a weak candidate. Lots of factors go into admissions, and "fit" is way more important than we realize. Schools get lots of applications for only a handful of spots--many "top candidates" are rejected simply because there aren't enough spots. 

I didn't say the OP was a weak candidate. What I said was that the OP obviously wasn't one of the school's "top candidates" because, if they were, then they would've been admitted or waitlisted, rather than rejected. If someone is a school's top candidate, then they'll be admitted not rejected. I think you may be overestimating how many truly top candidates there are once the admissions team takes everything into consideration.

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20 hours ago, LittleCritter said:

If I haven't gotten decisions yet, could it mean that I'm a "maybe?" Otherwise wouldn't they just deny me?

Unfortunately, it could be anything... I know you want to hear you are a maybe, but no one except committee members can know that. Admission processes are SO dependent on departments! For example, in my department we don't have recruitment weekend, we have "admitted students weekend" whereas others around campus invite people before they make the decision of admitting them. 

I really hope you get in and that this waiting turns a "maybe" into an "in". :)

 

AP

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22 hours ago, LittleCritter said:

If I haven't gotten decisions yet, could it mean that I'm a "maybe?" Otherwise wouldn't they just deny me?

Maybe. As others said, it could mean anything. It could be that no decisions have been made yet. Or, they have made the first set of acceptances and rejections but you are still a "maybe". Or, it could mean you will get a rejection letter in a few weeks.

For example, my program makes almost all of its admission decisions in mid-January. However, we do not inform the people we decline until late February. So, I think at this point, for my program, if you have not yet heard anything, it's almost certainly a rejection. But on the other hand, another program in my field was just starting to give interview invites when all the other programs I applied to were sending out rejections. So, other than using the "Results Search" to see when results are typically announced for your programs, there's really not much information to be gained from hearing no response at this time.

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3 minutes ago, LittleCritter said:

So....I could still hear good news yet? No one really knows...I have seen acceptances from some of the schools on the decision page within the past month.

Anything's possible until you get a rejection. We live in a strange, uninformed world.

The only programs that I'd be certain are finished are the ones that have had a lot of applicants, and a giant swath of results were already posted over a few day period for both acceptances and rejections (like Princeton history). For example, I'm assuming I'm rejected from RPI's STS program, but my application status says nothing informative even though some acceptances were sent out a week and a half ago.

Who knows, really. Departments behave in vastly different manners.

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10 hours ago, TakeruK said:

Maybe. As others said, it could mean anything. It could be that no decisions have been made yet. Or, they have made the first set of acceptances and rejections but you are still a "maybe". Or, it could mean you will get a rejection letter in a few weeks.

For example, my program makes almost all of its admission decisions in mid-January. However, we do not inform the people we decline until late February. So, I think at this point, for my program, if you have not yet heard anything, it's almost certainly a rejection. But on the other hand, another program in my field was just starting to give interview invites when all the other programs I applied to were sending out rejections. So, other than using the "Results Search" to see when results are typically announced for your programs, there's really not much information to be gained from hearing no response at this time.

So, sometimes programs don't notify rejected applicants right away on the off chance they could turn into accepted applicants if admits turn down their offers/they find more funding and more spots open up? 

Just clarifying/wondering why there's sometimes that lag between acceptances and rejections.

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1 hour ago, gingin6789 said:

So, sometimes programs don't notify rejected applicants right away on the off chance they could turn into accepted applicants if admits turn down their offers/they find more funding and more spots open up? 

That's part of it, yes. There was also a school that didn't admit me right away because my POI unexpectedly decided to leave the university and they were trying to recruit a new prof in that subfield. Once the new prof was recruited, I was offered a spot with funding and told that the uncertain advisor situation was the reason they'd delayed telling me anything about my application. I doubt this is normal but, it has and does happen.

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12 hours ago, gingin6789 said:

So, sometimes programs don't notify rejected applicants right away on the off chance they could turn into accepted applicants if admits turn down their offers/they find more funding and more spots open up? 

Just clarifying/wondering why there's sometimes that lag between acceptances and rejections.

That's true sometimes. But some schools, like my program, do not do admits in waves. With a few exceptions (e.g. uncommon cases like @rising_star's above), we only send one set of offers and we get who we get. The philosophy is that in the long term, the class sizes average out. This practice is in line with the real world (and academic) job market---when you apply for jobs, if you ever get notified of a negative result, it would likely only happened after the chosen candidate actually starts work.

But I think another reason there is a lag is because working with accepted students to arrange visits etc. is a lot of work and consumes a lot of everyone's time (faculty, current students and especially administrative staff). It also consumes a lot of on-campus resources across the campus. It sounds a little mean, but unfortunately, it's in everyone's best interests to focus on the accepted students first and coordinate visits etc. with them. Once that is done, then there's time to send rejections and answer the many emails that undoubtedly will come (maybe you would just accept the rejection, but as you see from other posts on this forum, many people will want to email the programs and find out why exactly they were rejected etc.).

Also, it sounds like my program does form rejection via the grad school. If you were accepted,  you would get a call from a POI first, then a formal acceptance from the Grad School. But rejections are sent directly from the Grad School. I think what happens is that each program will forward names of accepted students, and then once they have finalized decisions, they tell the Grad School that they are finished. Maybe the Grad School waits until every program does this and then batch sends all the rejections at once. And during this time, they are very busy with both processing incoming students and doing admin work for current students. For example, I submitted all required paperwork for candidacy in February last year and my department approved in a few days, but the Grad School didn't get around to formally approving it until July! 

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2 minutes ago, TakeruK said:

That's true sometimes. But some schools, like my program, do not do admits in waves. With a few exceptions (e.g. uncommon cases like @rising_star's above), we only send one set of offers and we get who we get. The philosophy is that in the long term, the class sizes average out. This practice is in line with the real world (and academic) job market---when you apply for jobs, if you ever get notified of a negative result, it would likely only happened after the chosen candidate actually starts work.

But I think another reason there is a lag is because working with accepted students to arrange visits etc. is a lot of work and consumes a lot of everyone's time (faculty, current students and especially administrative staff). It also consumes a lot of on-campus resources across the campus. It sounds a little mean, but unfortunately, it's in everyone's best interests to focus on the accepted students first and coordinate visits etc. with them. Once that is done, then there's time to send rejections and answer the many emails that undoubtedly will come (maybe you would just accept the rejection, but as you see from other posts on this forum, many people will want to email the programs and find out why exactly they were rejected etc.).

Also, it sounds like my program does form rejection via the grad school. If you were accepted,  you would get a call from a POI first, then a formal acceptance from the Grad School. But rejections are sent directly from the Grad School. I think what happens is that each program will forward names of accepted students, and then once they have finalized decisions, they tell the Grad School that they are finished. Maybe the Grad School waits until every program does this and then batch sends all the rejections at once. And during this time, they are very busy with both processing incoming students and doing admin work for current students. For example, I submitted all required paperwork for candidacy in February last year and my department approved in a few days, but the Grad School didn't get around to formally approving it until July! 

All of this makes perfect sense, as does @rising_star's post.

That's not mean at all. Coordinating travel is SO HARD. I can only imagine how tough it is coordinating travel for a bunch of admits, when it's been so difficult for me to coordinate travel as an individual. 

And that part about the grad school vs department notifying acceptances and rejections makes total sense as well!

Thank you both for clarifying! Makes me feel better about the wait.

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2 minutes ago, gingin6789 said:

That's not mean at all. Coordinating travel is SO HARD. I can only imagine how tough it is coordinating travel for a bunch of admits, when it's been so difficult for me to coordinate travel as an individual. 

We have about 30-40 people visiting the department each year. And each visitor meets with 4-6 professors. All in one day! I know how tough it is to get even 5 professors to agree on a time for a committee meeting, so I can't imagine the amount of logistical expertise is necessary to make the visit days go smoothly for the 60-70 or so people involved. One year, they sent out the master schedule (in case a visiting student gets lost then they can literally get help from any current student or faculty member) and that giant spreadsheet with 40 columns was really scary. Made me very grateful for all of the work that goes into making our lives go smoothly.

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8 hours ago, TakeruK said:

We have about 30-40 people visiting the department each year. And each visitor meets with 4-6 professors. All in one day! I know how tough it is to get even 5 professors to agree on a time for a committee meeting, so I can't imagine the amount of logistical expertise is necessary to make the visit days go smoothly for the 60-70 or so people involved. One year, they sent out the master schedule (in case a visiting student gets lost then they can literally get help from any current student or faculty member) and that giant spreadsheet with 40 columns was really scary. Made me very grateful for all of the work that goes into making our lives go smoothly.

Committees are hard to plan for since it is really open ended. On the other hand, most professors are told the recruiting schedule long beforehand and that they need to be around for it so they aren't allowed to schedule anything else. I know a lot of people on the MCB recruitment team at my school and they usually spend 10-15 hours a week planning as soon as the school year starts. On topic though, I had the same problem when I was applying for jobs a long time ago, in my experience, the longer you wait the less likely that something will come through. But I've had plenty of exceptions to the rule so I wouldn't worry too much as long as you have a backup plan.

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7 minutes ago, zipykido said:

Committees are hard to plan for since it is really open ended. On the other hand, most professors are told the recruiting schedule long beforehand and that they need to be around for it so they aren't allowed to schedule anything else. 

For the record, it is basically impossible NOT to schedule other things, even if you don't know all the details of the visit schedule yet. Why? Because there are students (advisees and those in your courses) to meet with, service work to perform, and other responsibilities. Just looking at how difficult it is to schedule a campus job interview on our end (we give the candidates dates and then faculty are juggling their schedules to try to find a time when they can meet with the candidate) is a gigantic pain. If you've ever worked in event planning or stage/production management, you'll totally understand what I mean.

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