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DeWinter

What you think the adcoms are saying about your application

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"Guys listen up. Jeez Janice, is that your fifth cup of coffee? It's been a long day Bill, back off. Yes it has, It's been quite long. We've gone over at least a hundred applications...I'M HUNGRY CAN WE GO? Hold on Bartholomew, please don't interrupt. BUT I'M...As I was saying ...hungry :( AS I WAS SAYING, we've gone over at least a hundred applications but we've this last one for the day. Sesquipedale, hmm, ha. What is, haha, what is he, hahaha. What is he saying? Janice read this.We better save this and post it online as an example. This is brilliant, just what we needed. Call him and ask if we may. The web page will read: how NOT to apply to grad school. See if he will waive the rights to his application so we can post it online as a scarecrow to deter other silly applicants from wasting our time."

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That sucks! I was going to say, why didn't you ask Prof Famous and Uberleet to write letters! I think this is a nightmare for more applicants-that the letters will just never get it! Did they ever give you a reason?

Prof. Uberleet is a known procrastinator - as in, didn't get tenure because of it, it's that bad. But he's still at Top University decades later because, well, he's Uberleet. I think he's still planning to turn it in one of these days - I gave up pestering him after two months. rolleyes.gif

Prof. Famous is just busy. Last year, he was getting married and setting up a new research institute, so it just never got done. After six weeks of long-distance stalking, I sent him an email more or less telling him to go fuck himself, and to his credit he apologized and wrangled me an interview at his new university. Wasn't enough though, particularly since he knew I wasn't going to work for him (although it wasn't just that, my interests had shifted a bit). And I'd already been rejected everywhere else.

Prof. Famous is back this year, but I had the sense to get a fourth letter for the schools which would allow it (3/5 did). And sure enough, it's a week past the deadline for most of them. The letter exists; he submitted it for NSF, by some miracle. And I worked for him for years, and he apparently thinks I'm brilliant (has said this to third parties), so I really want that letter! Argh.

I'm currently trying to think of a professional way to remind him that I'm bigger than he is and I know where he lives. biggrin.gif

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"She speaks several different languages, and she knows about drugs...and she is a chemical engineer and had awesome grades in nuclear physics and radiochemistry...she comes from the countries of Third World...should we get her in, or consider her a national threat?":blink:

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Wow what a low GPA, he even thought to apply here? Oh wait, extensive research experience in industry with patents and publications to match? AND an outstanding letter of rec from a close friend and respected colleague of mine? How could I possibly say no?!

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*Looks at transcript* "Huh, Cairo University? Is that even a real school? We have no idea how strict or lenient their grading system is, but her GPA isn't that high and her record is spotty. Graduated in 5 years. Her GRE scores are average, too." *Looks at SoP* "She says she wants to study contemporary Egyptian lit, but she barely passed her Arabic courses... And what is this crap about France in the 60s? We have like 10 other applicants who want to study that!" *Sees LoRs* "Who ARE these people?!" *And now for the writing sample* "I... I have no idea. What is she even talking about?"

:(

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Person 1: Wow, look at that, a 730 verbal!

Person 2: Yeah, but she also got a 590 the first time. Her writing score went down a whole point the second time she took the GRE. And, her quantitative score dropped 100 points. Maybe she cheated?! Too much hassle. Next!

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Stats are good, but this SOP is frighteningly bad.

And psh, Africa? So passe.

balderdash - i suppose its better to be passe than to have an interest that no one else in the entire grad school shares... ack.

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This is a real one

My Professor in Chinese History (after finishing and probably submitting her LoR): Oh sure. You are definitely a bright student. Good GPA and good research. You should make a competitive applicant to any Chinese history program. Writing a strong LoR for you was easy. Oh by the way, I mentioned I've invited you to my next quarter's graduate course.

Me:...

Professor: Why can't you come over next quarter?

Me:!@#$

Professor: What? You are not even a Chinese history major?! Why don't you tell me that earlier?!!

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"How did she get X award and X fellowship with such terribly immature and lackluster work?" and "Why doesn't she have more publications?"

Answer 1: I don't know how the eff.

Answer 2: The work still feels inadequate so I don't really send it out enough.

I also hope they don't notice or care how my last semester of senior year was such an undemanding one. I had already been accepted to grad school and didn't expect to be going further, so I took it rather easy in comparison to previous semesters, so I could enjoy the last few months and spend time with my friends. (Though two of the four courses, being in the 400-level, might look like more work than they actually were).

Otherwise, I think things are pretty solid. Acceptable GRE, very high UG and grad GPA, a couple high notes on the CV, etc. It's just, you know, the most important parts of my application that feel weak. No big deal...

Edited by sarandipidy

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Professor X: Ok, good grades from top public school. Good GRE's, good publications, worked with good professors. So far, she looks great! we want her!

Professor Y: Wait, what about the fact that she only has one year of arabic?

Professor Z: Wait, and she's a sixth year senior? Take a look at her 2.9 from her first school! And she transferred twice! Why is she applying here?

sigh.

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"Didn't she apply here last year?"

"Yeah. We liked her mostly, but bad undergraduate GPA."

"Well, she has a 4.0 for her MA."

"Yeah, we noticed that last year."

"Has anything about the application changed?"

"New SOP, different writing sample, more publications on her CV, different LOR writer for the third rec."

"Oh. So, she changed a lot of things, that shows some initiative."

"Have we heard of any of her recommenders? Any name-brand profs?"

"No."

"OK, then." *toss into reject pile* "Next?"

"Oh, lookie! Stanley Fish wrote his LOR!"

"Full ride, four years!"

siiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

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"Oh, lookie! Stanley Fish wrote his LOR!"

shouldn't that ^ be her and not his? :lol:

ETA: i see now - dude wrote a letter by himself using his pen and brain (=HIS, right?) for her.

Edited by bhikhaari

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Also I think my research statements are mostly too long and some of them are a little deficient in discussion of professors I want to work with and specific future work I want to do. Some of them really shine in this area (I think Stanford and Princeton are schools where I definitely blew this out of the water), while this section in some of them is as silly as "here's a random paper by this guy at your school, and here's a brief overview of what he does in it, and I think that's cool so I want to work with him" expanded into a couple of paragraphs. My research statement for my home institution I think doesn't even cite any papers and can be summarized as "lots of people here are good, here are some names for you!"

ditto. my UCSF SOP=amazing. my home institution=started on the SOP on the day it was due... didn't have enough time to really investigate prof's stuff, so name dropped a couple people I already knew.... got unofficially rejected because of this. lesson: they know when you're BSing them.

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Bad day:

"She's not the right fit here. Not a bad application, but nothing stellar. Moving on."

Seriously bad day:

"Seriously? She thinks she can get in here? Seriously? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA1!!!! Oh got that's great! Oh, I needed that...Moving on to a real candidate to get into this school..."

...I don't really have all that many good days right now. Too paranoid.

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