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Fall 2017 Acceptances/Interviews/Rejections Thread

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On 2/24/2017 at 0:38 PM, c11m07 said:

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. 

From what I've read, these are the pros and cons to Wisconsin and Penn.

Wisconsin:
Pros: more highly ranked, good job placement, lots of faculty researching the same areas you're interested in (possibly better mentorship?)
Cons: less competitive funding package, heavier TA load, less diversity

Penn:
Pros: competitive funding package, more diversity, easy access to other metropolitan areas (e.g., NYC), prospect of joint PhD degrees
Cons: worse job placement (according to rank and compared to other top 20 schools), some senior faculty have recently moved elsewhere

There are probably a lot more to each, but this is what I could think of for now. I hope his helps!

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I was going to apply to Wisc, but was told by a few different professors that they have a reputation for a fairly high grad student attrition rate. I didn't hear anything about Penn though. You might want to email the departments and see if you can figure that out for both. I think it is a good way to get at whether grad students truly feel supported in the program. 

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23 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 :/

Olivie_via

Might you share your stats with us? 

I wanted to preface this message with, something is wrong with the admissions process. Something very, very wrong. Why do I say this?

I have spent the better part of my twenties trying to get into a Sociology PhD program. After 3 rounds, and roughly $10,000 later, what do I have to show for it? A beefed up CV. That is it.

When I initially applied to 10 PhD programs, I was fresh out of college with poor GRE scores and a gpa of 3.16. Only a couple of MA programs accepted me. I accepted an MA program, unfunded. Then, after grad school, I applied again. This time, with a graduate GPA of 3.77, 1.5 years of research with CDC, slightly below mediocre GRE scores, and a co-authored paper. Again, I was rejected from all 6 PhD programs. So I worked. During this time, I worked 4 more years, designing and conducting research with several state and federal agencies. In addition, I taught college level courses at multiple colleges. And I co-authored papers and attended conferences. I applied to 12 tier 1, 2, and 3 universities. I had everything, an MA, GLOWING LOR from professors and researchers, a perfectly crafted personal statement with a clear research goal, 6 years of research and teaching experience, articles, and conferences. Everyone thought I was going to get in. Friends and family assured me this was it, and always spoke as if I was going off to another state any time soon. Two months later, I have been rejected from all programs except one, and the one I got into has yet to offer me funding.

I have literally made every effort to get into a program. I even reached out to professors, spoke with them on the phone, and followed up in emails, discussing how we would be mutually beneficial. Despite this effort, I have been rejected by 11 more universities. In total I have been rejected 27 times over the course of 10 years.

Do not accept the statement "You are not made out for graduate school." Because look at me. I am your ideal candidate, who has made every effort to grow over 10 years, and I am still being met with a no.

Despite this, seniors are being admitted fresh out of college, with great grades, and little to no experience. Just follow these blogs to see who are getting in. A professional in their field, with years of actual, real world, research experience with state and federal agencies, is getting turned down for individuals with BAs and no real research or teaching experience. 

None of this makes sense, and there isnt much to do other than try and try again. Despite me saying I am done, its likely ill be back here again, applying and wasting money to a new set of schools. Just like I have done all through out my twenties.

Good luck.

 

Edited by inooradd

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57 minutes ago, inooradd said:

Olivie_via

Might you share your stats with us? 

I wanted to preface this message with, something is wrong with the admissions process. Something very, very wrong. Why do I say this?

I have spent the better part of my twenties trying to get into a Sociology PhD program. After 3 rounds, and roughly $10,000 later, what do I have to show for it? A beefed up CV. That is it.

When I initially applied to 10 PhD programs, I was fresh out of college with poor GRE scores and a gpa of 3.16. Only a couple of MA programs accepted me. I accepted an MA program, unfunded. Then, after grad school, I applied again. This time, with a graduate GPA of 3.77, 1.5 years of research with CDC, slightly below mediocre GRE scores, and a co-authored paper. Again, I was rejected from all 6 PhD programs. So I worked. During this time, I worked 4 more years, designing and conducting research with several state and federal agencies. In addition, I taught college level courses at multiple colleges. And I co-authored papers and attended conferences. I applied to 12 tier 1, 2, and 3 universities. I had everything, an MA, GLOWING LOR from professors and researchers, a perfectly crafted personal statement with a clear research goal, 6 years of research and teaching experience, articles, and conferences. Everyone thought I was going to get in. Friends and family assured me this was it, and always spoke as if I was going off to another state any time soon. Two months later, I have been rejected from all programs except one, and the one I got into has yet to offer me funding.

I have literally made every effort to get into a program. I even reached out to professors, spoke with them on the phone, and followed up in emails, discussing how we would be mutually beneficial. Despite this effort, I have been rejected by 11 more universities. In total I have been rejected 27 times over the course of 10 years.

Do not accept the statement "You are not made out for graduate school." Because look at me. I am your ideal candidate, who has made every effort to grow over 10 years, and I am still being met with a no.

Despite this, seniors are being admitted fresh out of college, with great grades, and little to no experience. Just follow these blogs to see who are getting in. A professional in their field, with years of actual, real world, research experience with state and federal agencies, is getting turned down for individuals with BAs and no real research or teaching experience. 

None of this makes sense, and there isnt much to do other than try and try again. Despite me saying I am done, its likely ill be back here again, applying and wasting money to a new set of schools. Just like I have done all through out my twenties.

Good luck.

 

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," but if you've been rejected 27 times over the course of 10 years, I think there's more to this.

For example, your grad GPA is 3.77. That's a poor GPA for graduate school, akin to to 2.8-3.3 GPA range as an undergrad. Especially since getting an MA is supposed to be used as a leverage to "prove" to PhD admission committees that you can handle PhD level coursework at the bare minimum, this GPA alone is a damaging signal.

There's a lot more you raise that a lot of questions. Like are you really sure your LOR wrote you "GLOWING" letters? That your personal statement was "perfectly crafted"? Or maybe your aggressive reaching out to professors actually backfired on you?

It's absolutely true that there is a lot of arbitrariness in graduate school applications. Specific programs reject wonderful applications for completely random reasons beyond their control. But there is also a lot of overlap. There are students, for example, who get offers from all the schools they apply to. 

To get rejected 27 times over 10 years does suggest that something is "very, very wrong." But it's probably not the admissions committee.

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2 hours ago, csot said:

From what I've read, these are the pros and cons to Wisconsin and Penn.

Wisconsin:
Pros: more highly ranked, good job placement, lots of faculty researching the same areas you're interested in (possibly better mentorship?)
Cons: less competitive funding package, heavier TA load, less diversity

Penn:
Pros: competitive funding package, more diversity, easy access to other metropolitan areas (e.g., NYC), prospect of joint PhD degrees
Cons: worse job placement (according to rank and compared to other top 20 schools), some senior faculty have recently moved elsewhere

There are probably a lot more to each, but this is what I could think of for now. I hope his helps!

One colossal con to Wisconsin that hasn't been discussed: tenure policies were "revised" last year in a way that has been dramatically concerning to professors at public universities across the state . Some faculty at the Madison campus have left or publicly articulated plans to leave. Given their effectively dissolved tenure system, I wouldn't be able to confidently expect that faculty I hope to interact with would stick around for 6-7 years.

That's why I didn't even apply.

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/education/2016/03/university_of_wisconsin_and_the_aftermath_of_destroying_professor_tenure.html

This change could impact UW-Madison's rank and quality in the long run. If you have more than one offer, picking a program can be viewed as a big risk-minimization game at this point. I think UW's tenure situation is a risk that people should be aware of.

Edited by 1too3for5
clarity

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On 2/24/2017 at 9:39 AM, jojokitty47 said:

It seems like Ohio state has started sending out rejections through their website...does anyone else's site still say pending? Does that mean we might be waitlisted? (Holding on to a glimmer of hope)

Hey! I applied to Ohio State and on the website my status says pending. When I called the department this week they told me they are actually still making some decisions. Hope this helps! 

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To the discussion above and all the up/down votes.  I think we've done a great job up until now being fair and supportive of everyone.  Let's not ruin that because people are commiserating over what they see as an opaque admission process.  We might disagree with the content or the conclusions they've drawn, but rather than being mean we should be constructive.  This is an incredibly stressful process and, as everyone knows, no one really knows why some people get in and others do not.  Just be fair, stay constructive.  

Best of luck to everyone still waiting to hear back this week!  And congrats to those who have choices to make!  

Edited by montanem

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8 minutes ago, montanem said:

To the discussion above and all the up/down votes.  I think we've done a great job up until now being fair and supportive of everyone.  Let's not ruin that because people are commiserating over what they see as an opaque admission process.  We might disagree with the content or the conclusions they've drawn, but rather than being mean we should be constructive.  This is an incredibly stressful process and, as everyone knows, no one really knows why some people get in and others do not.  Just be fair, stay constructive.  

Best of luck to everyone still waiting to hear back this week!  And congrats to those who have choices to make!  

Mean? No, that's just straight talk, which I think is far more productive and helpful for the OP in the long run rather than meaningless platitudes like "you can do it!" "next year you'll get in!"

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22 minutes ago, oranges said:

Mean? No, that's just straight talk, which I think is far more productive and helpful for the OP in the long run rather than meaningless platitudes like "you can do it!" "next year you'll get in!"

 
 
 

People are upset right now, they just realized that it isn't going to happen...don't kick a man when he's down.  There are more constructive ways to say the same thing and that's all I'm saying.  This has been a great community to turn to as I've gone through this process and I'll be back next year if my waitlists don't work out.  I think we all can stay respectful, however.  How is it our place to tell another person to give up on their dreams?  More to the point, I wasn't taking sides.  Just trying to point out that we are going to hear more of the "it isn't fair" as people get bad news.  Please, please don't drag me into the arguement. 

Edited by montanem

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Adding to the discussion, I'd like to recommend Fabio Rojas' book, Grad Skool Rulz: Everything You Need to Know about Academia from Admissions to Tenure. It's only $5 to download as an ebook. I've had my eye on it for a while and downloaded it this morning. From what I can tell, it has quite a lot to offer in a blunt and constructive way. Fabio teaches sociology at Indiana.

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1 hour ago, song95 said:

Do someone know how to write an e-mail to decline several offers?

Are there any rules?

You might want to check and see if you need to decline via a portal. I know I needed to decline offers last round and some were online while others had a form that needed to be filled out and sent in. 

I would suggest that you construct each email individually. Thank them for their offer and kindly let them know you have decided to go elsewhere. If it is a program that offers post-doc positions, maybe you could mention that you hope to continue a positive relationship with the program and indicate that you may apply to the post-doc position in the future. I think individualizing the email and keeping future possibilities open is professional and would be good strategizing on your part. 

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Has anyone else NOT heard back from UPenn? I have not been accepted, waitlisted or rejected. I know most people got rejected through their website. I checked but nothing has changed on my account ("View Your Decision Letter" thing doesn't appear on my site). They either forgot to reject me or I am being waitlisted for getting into the official waitlist.

Edited by nanashinogonbei

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29 minutes ago, AmityDuPeuple said:

You might want to check and see if you need to decline via a portal. I know I needed to decline offers last round and some were online while others had a form that needed to be filled out and sent in. 

I would suggest that you construct each email individually. Thank them for their offer and kindly let them know you have decided to go elsewhere. If it is a program that offers post-doc positions, maybe you could mention that you hope to continue a positive relationship with the program and indicate that you may apply to the post-doc position in the future. I think individualizing the email and keeping future possibilities open is professional and would be good strategizing on your part. 

Thanks for your nice advice, very good! Then I am going to write e-mails case-by-case, I guess.

Totally agree with the positive communication strategy (actually not only strategizing but also being polite), will do soon!

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2 minutes ago, song95 said:

Thanks for your nice advice, very good! Then I am going to write e-mails case-by-case, I guess.

Totally agree with the positive communication strategy (actually not only strategizing but also being polite), will do soon!

Do you mind me asking which you are declining?

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2 hours ago, doublethinkplus said:

Has anyone heard about rejections or wait lists at Chicago? It's the only school I haven't heard from yet, and I'm starting to feel like they forgot about me. 

I've felt that a few times and shot the DGS an email or called them, and they're usually happy to tell me the status (or to just say they haven't made any decisions yet, which I know is a lie...). However, on the results board NO denials for U of Chicago have gone out, so you may just need to wait it out. 

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A friend and I were talking about the application process and the existential crises it can catalyze. She said she was having a similar discussion last year with another grad student in our program (who has since left to earn their PhD at another institution) and that a statistic was thrown out that about 5% of those who apply actually get into a PhD program. This seems very off to me. Some of the top programs have an acceptance rate between 3% and 10% (in Soc), but some of those applicants would be accepted into other programs too. Also, the tier 2 and tier 3 schools probably have higher acceptance rates. Does anyone know where I could find overall, not program specific statistics (i.e. not statistics from one specific school's soc PhD program) on the percentage of applicants who get accepted? I would be interested in seeing all disciplines or just sociology. 

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On 2017/2/25 at 1:28 AM, OccasionallyCaffeinated said:

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. 

“academia is also one of the least meritocratic fields out there”, I may not totally agree but I do feel you to a great extent! I applied to 8 top-20 schools and get into none of them, not even a waitlist. I was told my many of my professors and supervisors that as a undergraduate student, my profile is comparable with many PhD students they have worked with. So I totally didn't expect this result and it increasingly looks like a joke to me. I used to think that at least some of those I applied will accept and I will have a chance to choose but it turns out to be a fantasy. It's really hard for an undergraduate graduating from a selective (ivy/elite/highly selective/selective/ordinary 4 years/bob's community college) institution to get into the small circle. Please don't perceive that as your lack of intelligence as I can assure you kids from those institutions are mostly just normal people with some superior resources and connections since I have been to several conferences and saw many of them presenting and asking questions. In terms of the argument whether you want to give up, I would say no unless you figured that there are something that interest you more than being in the academia. As far as I'm concerned, I will start to prepare my application for fall 2019 while pursuing a master's degree. Applying to the top-20 programs comes with a price, as I was told, a general's success is usually shored up by thousands of his soldiers' lives. That's what I nowadays understand how those programs works, they need soldiers' lives to shore up the generals admitted. Whether someone is a general or a soldier is really at odds.

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1 hour ago, AmityDuPeuple said:

A friend and I were talking about the application process and the existential crises it can catalyze. She said she was having a similar discussion last year with another grad student in our program (who has since left to earn their PhD at another institution) and that a statistic was thrown out that about 5% of those who apply actually get into a PhD program. This seems very off to me. Some of the top programs have an acceptance rate between 3% and 10% (in Soc), but some of those applicants would be accepted into other programs too. Also, the tier 2 and tier 3 schools probably have higher acceptance rates. Does anyone know where I could find overall, not program specific statistics (i.e. not statistics from one specific school's soc PhD program) on the percentage of applicants who get accepted? I would be interested in seeing all disciplines or just sociology. 

I read on a news article once that something like 22% people get accepted to any PhD program and 48% to any master's program. But this was obviously not cited in a peer reviewed journal with any info on SD or sample size so it's probably completely useless. 

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4 hours ago, bradley610 said:

Thanks for the down votes. How bout if you disagree with my reasoning you actually tell me and explain why. 

@bradley610 - I keep almost upvoting your comments about decision-making, until I hit the barbed clauses.

9 hours ago, bradley610 said:

Because decisions are personal and they have to be made according to individual circumstances, not based on your or anyone else's desires. Why anyone would down vote my comment is totally bizarre to me.

I agree that it seems a bit small of someone to push you to make a decision before you might be ready because of their belief it will benefit them, especially if it's a decision as big as this - it can seem self-centered if you're in the lucky position of having options. But the opposite is true for folks on a wait-list: if you haven't been accepted to a program yet, and you know it's your dream, it would be stressful and shitty-feeling to watch (or imagine) people casually deliberating while the time for wait-list movement begins to dry up.

I don't think the timing of your declination really influences whether or not someone will actually get into a program (unless you do so very close to April 15 and the program doesn't have time to extend other offers), but wait-listed applicants likely want to hear from schools earlier rather than later, so people in that position might be sensitive to a [somewhat callous-sounding] rejection of their request.

I don't enjoy reading the hurry-it-up comments either because I definitely need to visit a few programs before I can make a decision (I'll release most of my offers soon), and the visit days for some schools are pretty late. But we're all strangers who aren't accountable to each other at all socially, so you can take all the time you need and ignore the comments insisting you decline stat.

Unsolicited advice for undergrads who are stuck on wait-lists and may reapply: search for industry research jobs now! Don't wait around on the Grad Cafe expecting wait-list movement. You might not get it, and get stuck unemployed or in a job you hate for a year. Research firms are hiring now, but those doors will be closed by May.

Edited by 1too3for5

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On 2/18/2017 at 0:52 PM, ndrun said:

I applied! I haven't heard anything and based on past years they seem to send out decisions the first week of March (last year looks like the first acceptances were on March 3rd).

 

I applied also! Waitlisted today, e-mail notification. Fingers crossed.

I've been admitted to Clark (Geography) and Melbourne (Geography). Waiting to hear from British Columbia. But Cornell is my first choice.

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