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Fall 2017 Acceptances/Interviews/Rejections Thread


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I have been taken off the waitlist at Umass Amherst and offered a fully funded place! (thanks to whoever declined!)

I really applaud your determination to get into a PhD program But I think you may be overlooking some serious weaknesses in your application profile. You say, "Look at me. I am your ideal candidate,"

Just got rejected from Harvard, it's my last out of the three that I applied to (I know everyone calls me crazy for this, but I'm used to applying to only the one that I really like and feel I have the right for) and won't try for a doctorate again for the next few years. Surprisingly it's not as crushing as the Berkeley rejection for some reason.

I just want to thank you all for being in the same boat, sharing your superior knowledge of applications, interviews etc. and just stressing out and congratulating each other vocally on this forum board for me to read to relate to. No one I know applied to a Sociology phd and I don't come from a very academic hometown, either. You guys - along with friends from my masters who are now scattered all over the world - were the only people who gave me peace and companionship throughout this specifically stressful journey. 

Just wanted to put that out there because I was definitely a lurker and not a poster most of the time. Peace.

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Got an email from my POI at Boston College. I sent her an inquiry like weeks ago, and she just replied saying she was very interested and "let's wait and see how the admission results work out". 

I am guessing she has just finished reading my portfolio? And decided to reply to emails from prospective students? Which might mean that decisions are not far on the way.

Looking at past results, I would also say BC releases their offers around this week. So to those waiting on Boston College, sit tight and refresh your inbox!

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I've received 4 rejections in the past 24ish hours (Michigan, Northwestern, Stanford, and Princeton-- ouch), but I'm starting to have a clearer sense of things now with the field narrowed. I have 3 offers plus one wait list-- I'm ultimately considering Wisconsin-Madison, where I know I'm accepted/funded but not sure of the funding package yet, and weighing whether I'd attend Penn if I were to get off the wait list there (if they are able to make me an offer, they've outlined the funding package, which is very competitive). Broadly speaking, my interests are gender, sexuality, family, and adolescence. I'm interested in qualitative and mixed methods. 

 

I am well aware that I might not get off the wait list and then my choice would be made for me (I was on two wait lists last year and didn't get off either), but I don't want to wait until the last minute to think through the possibilities. So with that significant and humbling caveat-- any thoughts on comparing these two programs? Just interested in hearing others' thoughts on this. 

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15 hours ago, c11m07 said:

I've received 4 rejections in the past 24ish hours (Michigan, Northwestern, Stanford, and Princeton-- ouch), but I'm starting to have a clearer sense of things now with the field narrowed. I have 3 offers plus one wait list-- I'm ultimately considering Wisconsin-Madison, where I know I'm accepted/funded but not sure of the funding package yet, and weighing whether I'd attend Penn if I were to get off the wait list there (if they are able to make me an offer, they've outlined the funding package, which is very competitive). Broadly speaking, my interests are gender, sexuality, family, and adolescence. I'm interested in qualitative and mixed methods. 

 

I am well aware that I might not get off the wait list and then my choice would be made for me (I was on two wait lists last year and didn't get off either), but I don't want to wait until the last minute to think through the possibilities. So with that significant and humbling caveat-- any thoughts on comparing these two programs? Just interested in hearing others' thoughts on this. 

Wisco is a great program, you should be through the moon to be accepted here especially based on your interests. Nice job here. MI, NW, Stan and Prin are all comparably ranked as Wisco...Keep in mind that acceptance is largely about fit once you make it past hard thresholds like GPA and GRE, which you clearly were capable of since you were accepted into a top program (wisco). Sometimes the committees know more than we know about ourselves. No committee is going to admit you into a program that cannot ultimately support your trajectory. I would be in touch with Wisco as soon as possible, with a cheery and grateful disposition. You are very lucky. Madison is a great town to spend 5 years in, as icing on ze cake.

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3 hours ago, kelris said:

Wisco is a great program, you should be through the moon to be accepted here especially based on your interests. Nice job here. MI, NW, Stan and Prin are all comparably ranked as Wisco...Keep in mind that acceptance is largely about fit once you make it past hard thresholds like GPA and GRE, which you clearly were capable of since you were accepted into a top program (wisco). Sometimes the committees know more than we know about ourselves. No committee is going to admit you into a program that cannot ultimately support your trajectory. I would be in touch with Wisco as soon as possible, with a cheery and grateful disposition. You are very lucky. Madison is a great town to spend 5 years in, as icing on ze cake.

Maybe this didn't come through in my original post since I'd very freshly been rejected from 4 schools and was accepted to Wisconsin weeks ago, but I am indeed thrilled to be admitted to Wisconsin. Feels a little like I'm being chastised for being ungrateful, but perhaps I'm misreading your tone-- easy to do with just text. 

I'm sure I'd be happy there-- I've done my research into the program and city. I was just seeking people's perceptions of Wisconsin vs. Penn. 

Anyway, thanks for your input. I agree-- it seems like a great program. 

Edited by c11m07
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Some brief concluding thoughts as I check out of this year's admission cycle. I found this site very useful throughout the application process. I trawled it when I was a younger undergrad interested in grad school, and it was a good relief valve during the application season. Not many of my friends and peers apply to graduate school, not least sociology, so it was great to have the forum. My experience is anecdotal of course, but I hope people glean something from it.

I applied to 14 schools in this cycle, and I was accepted to 5. All of them were ranked in the top 20. While I wasn't admitted to some of my top choice programs (namely, Harvard and Berkeley), I do have great options available. I'm writing this in the wake of a few rejections, so there may be a strain of ambivalence to my words, but I know that in more sober moments I am very thankful and humbled to have the options I do.

I have a reasonably strong application profile. Without identifying myself, I come from a top 10 liberal arts college. I'm currently a senior. My GPA is within the summa/magna cum lauda range. My GRE scores (verbal/quant/writing) are above the 90th percentile. I have worked as a research assistant, and have dabbled in an independent summer research. 

I applied only to top ranked programs that were strong in what I was interested in (culture/theory/networks). I thought I made a strong case for my admission in each case, but as you can see, I was far from uniformly successful. 

I'm passing on tips and advice that I have accumulated from all over.

  • Make sure your file is as strong as it can reasonably be. Low test scores can entirely break through application (though high ones don't necessarily make it).
  • Prestige and status of your undergraduate institution matters. There might be very little you can do to change and affect this, but it is wise to cognizant of its effects on your application, and to try to accommodate for this as best as you can.
  • Network early and often with your letter writers. Make sure they know who you are, and how/why you're dedicated to a career in academia.
  • Apply widely! You cannot apply to just a select few and expect to get in, unless you're a bona fide star (and perhaps, even if). I imagine my application profile does not look too dissimilar to that of the modal "good" applicant: in which case you might expect a similar result from mine.
  • Start early! Start preparing your writing sample and personal statements by June, if you can. I started in September or so, and I wish I had started earlier.
Edited by theorynetworkculture
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Hi everyone, this is my first ever post on here, though I have been lurking for two years, as this is the 2nd year in a row applying to PhD programs. I was rejected from all the programs I applied to last year, so I tried again this year. It's not looking good for me.

I'm really scared and not taking this well. I took the year to strengthen my dossier, finished my masters. I think it is still not enough, and I'm finding it a really really hard pill to swallow.

I know this sounds dramatic. But, it's getting to be the end of February and I got a "no" from CUNY and no word on anyone else (had an interview w/ POI at Stony Brook Uni weeks ago but nothing since; nothing from Boston College, Temple, NYU Steinhardt) and I can't imagine a future anymore where I'll get good news in my inbox.

I feel sick to my stomach and endless dread and I can't sleep. I have this nauseating feeling that I didn't get in anywhere again. I don't know why I'm writing this. I suppose it's cathartic and it's things that have been rattling in my head but I've never gotten to articulate. 

All I can ask myself at this point is: at what point do you give up on your dreams? I can't feasibly funnel more money or emotional energy into this. How far down the ranking of schools do I keep trying for until getting a PhD from just anywhere is unappealing?

I'm just thinking aloud and word vomiting. I'm...just terribly gutted and sad and am trying to come to terms with it. Last application cycle destroyed any and all optimism I ever had about this process. Ugh. Just ugh. I just so desperately want to know what good news feels like :/

Edited by olive_via
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Olive_via

First, I'm really sorry that you're having a hard time with grad school applications. Your post saddened me and I don't even know you.  I'm a current PhD candidate and was on the admissions committee of my program this year so I think I have some general words of wisdom.  It might also be useful to note that I applied to 10-12 programs and got admitted to only 1 of them even though I was generally competitive for most of them. While I applied to only the top 15 schools, graduate school is competitive regardless of the tier of school.  I wonder if (1) you are applying to too few programs in (2) a particular geographical area.  I noticed that all the programs you listed are mostly in NY or in the Northeast.  It is possible that those programs are much more competitive because more people live in those places.  If you do choose to apply again, I would suggest applying to more schools all across the country inasmuch as they are good fits for you.  In the meantime, I know that there is not much I can say that can comfort you right now; it is difficult.  However, I believe that every disappointment is indeed a blessing in disguise - perhaps those programs are wrong for you.  Take this year to reflect on what you can do differently and apply again.  I wish you luck! 

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39 minutes ago, olive_via said:

Hi everyone, this is my first ever post on here, though I have been lurking for two years, as this is the 2nd year in a row applying to PhD programs. I was rejected from all the programs I applied to last year, so I tried again this year. It's not looking good for me.

I'm really scared and not taking this well. I took the year to strengthen my dossier, finished my masters. I think it is still not enough, and I'm finding it a really really hard pill to swallow.

I know this sounds dramatic. But, it's getting to be the end of February and I got a "no" from CUNY and no word on anyone else (had an interview w/ POI at Stony Brook Uni weeks ago but nothing since; nothing from Boston College, Temple, NYU Steinhardt) and I can't imagine a future anymore where I'll get good news in my inbox.

I feel sick to my stomach and endless dread and I can't sleep. I have this nauseating feeling that I didn't get in anywhere again. I don't know why I'm writing this. I suppose it's cathartic and it's things that have been rattling in my head but I've never gotten to articulate. 

All I can ask myself at this point is: at what point do you give up on your dreams? I can't feasibly funnel more money or emotional energy into this. How far down the ranking of schools do I keep trying for until getting a PhD from just anywhere is unappealing?

I'm just thinking aloud and word vomiting. I'm...just terribly gutted and sad and am trying to come to terms with it. Last application cycle destroyed any and all optimism I ever had about this process. Ugh. Just ugh. I just so desperately want to know what good news feels like :/

2 things about your schools... all hope is not lost

I also interviewed at Stony Brook weeks ago with you, and a few days ago got an email saying I was rejected. The fact you had the interview but havent heard anything yet, is actually good. It means that you weren't weaned out in the round I was... so your even closer to making their final list. They have  alist they whittle down over and over till they have their list. No word with an interview means you havent been tossed out yet.

 

I also applied to Boston College and have zero word. I found out no word at this point can still mean waitlist actually. 

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23 minutes ago, olive_via said:

Hi everyone, this is my first ever post on here, though I have been lurking for two years, as this is the 2nd year in a row applying to PhD programs. I was rejected from all the programs I applied to last year, so I tried again this year. It's not looking good for me.

I'm really scared and not taking this well. I took the year to strengthen my dossier, finished my masters. I think it is still not enough, and I'm finding it a really really hard pill to swallow.

I know this sounds dramatic. But, it's getting to be the end of February and I got a "no" from CUNY and no word on anyone else (had an interview w/ POI at Stony Brook Uni weeks ago but nothing since; nothing from Boston College, Temple, NYU Steinhardt) and I can't imagine a future anymore where I'll get good news in my inbox.

I feel sick to my stomach and endless dread and I can't sleep. I have this nauseating feeling that I didn't get in anywhere again. I don't know why I'm writing this. I suppose it's cathartic and it's things that have been rattling in my head but I've never gotten to articulate. 

All I can ask myself at this point is: at what point do you give up on your dreams? I can't feasibly funnel more money or emotional energy into this. How far down the ranking of schools do I keep trying for until getting a PhD from just anywhere is unappealing?

I'm just thinking aloud and word vomiting. I'm...just terribly gutted and sad and am trying to come to terms with it. Last application cycle destroyed any and all optimism I ever had about this process. Ugh. Just ugh.

Hello Olive, 

I don't know you but I want to simply tell you to NEVER give up on your dreams. If your dream is to be a trained sociologist studying and writing on gender (just an example), GO FOR IT. Of course, we desire admissions into a top 20 program but it doesn't always happen. However, during my research, I have noticed that a number of top professors in different sub-fields did not come from "top schools." It's my assumption that their passion and quality performance landed them in tenured positions at top tier schools. 

If you are not admitted this year, no worries. I have a really good friend that applied to PhD programs three years in a row and got into his top choice plus a Fulbright on the last try. Here's the kick, he meet his future professor on a park bench during a conference. She then advocated for his application, and no he is in his last year at an Ivy with groundbreaking publications. 

It's often at the point that we're about to give up, that we're closest to reaching our goals. 

I am in a similar position. I didn't cast a wide net because I jumped in the cycle VERY LATE and I don't foresee acceptance but who knows. 

I was always told to BE UNDENIABLE. 1. Try to get a publication. 2. Strengthen your GRE scores. 3. Get personable yet strong recommendation letter.

At the end of the day, do a bit of soul searching and figure out why you're in the game because if you're in it for the right reason, NOTHING should deter you from reaching your goal.

Best Wishes.    

 

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7 hours ago, olive_via said:

Hi everyone, this is my first ever post on here, though I have been lurking for two years, as this is the 2nd year in a row applying to PhD programs. I was rejected from all the programs I applied to last year, so I tried again this year. It's not looking good for me.

I'm really scared and not taking this well. I took the year to strengthen my dossier, finished my masters. I think it is still not enough, and I'm finding it a really really hard pill to swallow.

I know this sounds dramatic. But, it's getting to be the end of February and I got a "no" from CUNY and no word on anyone else (had an interview w/ POI at Stony Brook Uni weeks ago but nothing since; nothing from Boston College, Temple, NYU Steinhardt) and I can't imagine a future anymore where I'll get good news in my inbox.

I feel sick to my stomach and endless dread and I can't sleep. I have this nauseating feeling that I didn't get in anywhere again. I don't know why I'm writing this. I suppose it's cathartic and it's things that have been rattling in my head but I've never gotten to articulate. 

All I can ask myself at this point is: at what point do you give up on your dreams? I can't feasibly funnel more money or emotional energy into this. How far down the ranking of schools do I keep trying for until getting a PhD from just anywhere is unappealing?

I'm just thinking aloud and word vomiting. I'm...just terribly gutted and sad and am trying to come to terms with it. Last application cycle destroyed any and all optimism I ever had about this process. Ugh. Just ugh. I just so desperately want to know what good news feels like :/

I think what the others said in terms of advice is solid and I don't think I have anything to add. This is my first round of applications and the only good news I got was a waitlisted spot at a lower ranking school. I've been wracking my brain everyday for the last two weeks about how to make sure this doesn't happen to me again besides just being BETTER-- I've even begun to consider switching areas of interest as to not compete with gender folks. I thought I was getting better and growing after a sad sad week but today I totally lost my shit and cried as if I had just received my top pick rejection letter again. I don't know about you, but being in Sociology makes me feel like I've found my purpose in life. It's so emotional for me. I just wanted to say, you're not alone, and we must be persistent! During our journey, we may find something better, or the right school will come along.

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I applied to 8 top-20 schools and didn't get into a single one, or waitlisted. I have a coauthored pub and worked at a big well known demography center. I can see (from my lay person acceptance-less POV) points of improvement, like producing a much better writing sample and doing better on my quant area of the GRE (though got above 90 for everything else).

I cried yesterday, because I'm a very neurotic future forward, long term thinker, and getting rejected from grad school was like... a shattered dream. Who am i, if not a future Dr./life long bookworm/baby sociologist?? As corny and pretentious as it sounds, academia was really important to me, my identity and my future. It's been hard as a first generation college student, to not read my rejections as a sign that: you're not only under-qualified, you can't even sell yourself or dress yourself up pretty on paper. 

At the same time, I recognize that academia is also one of the least meritocratic fields out there (let's be honest, entry level investment banking may be more diverse nowadays  -_-), kids from PhD families are most likely to get into these programs, the type of stuff you do in academia you can get do in many other jobs, and the growth we have in industry and other fields is bigger and more likely.

Sad truth is: I'm more likely to land a $70,000 entry level marketing gig right now (srsly) than get into Columbia, and I'm not sure what message to take from that. What I can glean is that I'm not quite sure this is a race I want to keep running in. 

I'm gonna swim around the corporate world for a bit (I'm 24 ATM) and if by my late 20s I start getting that urge to write a literature review, I'll reconsider reapplying. 

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I still haven't heard from Yale or Toronto, but UCSD was nice enough to reject me twice! Haha! 

For those of you who are thinking about reapplying next year, if you'd like, I would be willing to look over statements of intent and writing samples over the summer. (I am writing my thesis right now! Eeek!) I have been a writing tutor for over 4 years and love helping with statements of intent. Obviously, I can't guarantee success, but I can help you strengthen what you have. 

For those of you who are thinking about not applying again, I offer the same as above and encourage you to never give up on your dream. I know how vulnerable this process makes us and how much we want to give up sometimes. We can't. Each of us brings something to the table that others don't. Students need that. Sociology needs that. Academia needs that! Maybe we can be the generation of scholars that works to change the face of academia, making it less competitive, more equitable, more diverse, and more applicable to and accepted by the broader public. 

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