I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

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CarlBrannen
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I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby CarlBrannen » Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:03 am

February 3 and I've still got no responses to 9 applications. I know this is still very very early but I'm horribly bored and worried and curious.

I'm thinking about going to The Grad Cafe, looking up the schools I applied to, and chart the waves for when they accept and reject. For example, UCSB:

http://www.thegradcafe.com/survey/index ... &t=a&pp=50

March 30: accept 1 by email
March 23-26: reject 18 by website
March 18-22: accept 3 by email
4+ 18-

February 19-24: accept 3 by email
February 22-23: accept 3 by post service
February 20-22 accept 3 by website
9+ 0-

February 2: accept 3 by website
3+ 0-

So I can estimate that about 20% of the UCSB acceptances have been sent out while none of the rejections.

axiomofchoice
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Re: I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby axiomofchoice » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:00 am

There's biases there though. There are definitely people who post their acceptance/rejection much later than they first received it, but did not change the decision date field.

CarlBrannen
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Re: I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby CarlBrannen » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:46 am

axiomofchoice wrote:There's biases there though. There are definitely people who post their acceptance/rejection much later than they first received it, but did not change the decision date field.


From the look of the data, I'm guessing that most of it is legitimate. And there's a lot of information in it. For example, some schools don't send out their first acceptances until quite late in February. Those ones tend to not send out early acceptances in early February. Not sure if this is a habit they repeat from year to year but knowing academia, in most cases it probably is.

CarlBrannen
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Re: I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby CarlBrannen » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:41 pm

For the nine schools I'm interested in, here's the 2010 data. The 2011 data, so far, looks similar. I.e. the same schools that were early with the first wave of acceptances in 2010 were responsible for the first wave in 2011:

2010 Acceptances

First wave acceptances
UCSB: Feb 2
Washington: Feb 3-5
MIT: Feb 4-6
Caltech: Feb 9-10
Harvard: Feb 10-11
Princeton: Feb 10-12
Stanford: Feb 21-23
UCB: Feb 25-28
Texas: Mar 1

Second wave acceptances
Washington: Feb 8-12
MIT: Feb 17
UCSB: Feb 20
Caltech: Feb 22
Texas: Mar 10-15

Third wave acceptances
Washington: Feb 16-19
Caltech: Mar 1
UCSB: Mar 18-20

Final rejections (and a few acceptances)
Princeton: Feb 19-20
Stanford: Feb 23-24
Marvard: Mar 1-3, 9-15
MIT: Mar 2-3
UCB: Mar 3-11
Caltech: Mar 12
Mashington Mar 18
UCSB: Mar 23
Texas: Apr 22?

By the way, the data suggests that the universities (or at least the ones I'm applying to), do not bother to send out very many rejections until after they've filled up their quotas. This seems a little in contradiction to the pressure put on grad students to send out declines as soon as they have better offers. Things would probably work a little smoother if the schools didn't hang on to so many "acceptable but not good enough" applications for so long.

Anyway, I've got no acceptances or rejections so far. It was a bit of a relief to collate this data. Given that it's now only Feb 4, I can see that I've still got a long wait ahead of me.

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HappyQuark
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Re: I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby HappyQuark » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:15 pm

CarlBrannen wrote:For the nine schools I'm interested in, here's the 2010 data. The 2011 data, so far, looks similar. I.e. the same schools that were early with the first wave of acceptances in 2010 were responsible for the first wave in 2011:

2010 Acceptances

First wave acceptances
UCSB: Feb 2
Washington: Feb 3-5
MIT: Feb 4-6
Caltech: Feb 9-10
Harvard: Feb 10-11
Princeton: Feb 10-12
Stanford: Feb 21-23
UCB: Feb 25-28
Texas: Mar 1

Second wave acceptances
Washington: Feb 8-12
MIT: Feb 17
UCSB: Feb 20
Caltech: Feb 22
Texas: Mar 10-15

Third wave acceptances
Washington: Feb 16-19
Caltech: Mar 1
UCSB: Mar 18-20

Final rejections (and a few acceptances)
Princeton: Feb 19-20
Stanford: Feb 23-24
Marvard: Mar 1-3, 9-15
MIT: Mar 2-3
UCB: Mar 3-11
Caltech: Mar 12
Mashington Mar 18
UCSB: Mar 23
Texas: Apr 22?

By the way, the data suggests that the universities (or at least the ones I'm applying to), do not bother to send out very many rejections until after they've filled up their quotas. This seems a little in contradiction to the pressure put on grad students to send out declines as soon as they have better offers. Things would probably work a little smoother if the schools didn't hang on to so many "acceptable but not good enough" applications for so long.

Anyway, I've got no acceptances or rejections so far. It was a bit of a relief to collate this data. Given that it's now only Feb 4, I can see that I've still got a long wait ahead of me.


I've created a Venn Diagram showing the overlap between schools you've applied to and schools I've applied to.

Image

axiomofchoice
Posts: 199
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Re: I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby axiomofchoice » Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:36 pm

HappyQuark wrote:I've created a Venn Diagram showing the overlap between schools you've applied to and schools I've applied to.

Image


:lol: :lol: :lol:

t2kburl
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Re: I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby t2kburl » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:54 am

This was a useful exercise for my friend who has applied to 4 Computer Science programs and has yet to hear anything. We noticed a few acceptances came in as late as early May! Probably after students waited to withdraw until the last minute.
Shows being waitlisted is not the end of the world.

The_Duck
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Re: I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby The_Duck » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:41 pm

Interesting data, Carl; I'll now hold out a bit of hope for a second wave of acceptances from MIT. Here are some 2010 summaries from thegradcafe for some other schools I'm applying to:

Cornell: First set of acceptances Jan 29-Feb 3. Then the majority of the acceptances and rejections came during Feb 9-Feb 13.
Columbia: Acceptances sent Feb 18-22, rejections sent Mar 12-13.
UIUC: Acceptances Feb 14-21, rejections April 9-10 (!)
Maryland: Acceptances strung out from Feb 18 to Mar 4, rejections starting around Mar 15 (mostly after people asked about their status).

At this early date, these schools haven't yet contradicted last year's patterns. It does seem like schools wait a while to send rejections. I almost get the impression that they don't reject anyone until they've confirmed that they've filled up all or almost all their slots.

CarlBrannen
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Re: I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby CarlBrannen » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:48 pm

I'm curious how they come in waves. Maybe AdmissionProf will have something to say.

And it's very clear to me that essentially all schools send out almost no rejects until the very end. It's not entirely obvious to me why they have to do this. If they gave out half of their rejections when they gave out their first wave of acceptances, one imagines that there would be a lot more students who'd know where they were going early (and so could accept somewhere else).

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grae313
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Re: I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby grae313 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:53 pm

CarlBrannen wrote:I'm curious how they come in waves. Maybe AdmissionProf will have something to say.


It's a fairly well discussed phenomenon around here. Every school starts out with a target class size based on how much money they have that year. They send out a first wave of acceptances early, usually with some fellowship offers, and wait to see what response they get. Based on how many accept their offers early on, they can then offer more people admission and potentially fellowships. If they made all their acceptances at once, they'd have more of a chance of overshooting or undershooting their target class size which makes things difficult for the department. Most schools don't bother sending rejections until they are done with admissions.

You can also look at the admissions threads (not the profiles threads) for previous years on these forums to get lots of dates if you are looking to see exactly when the waves come for each school. However, it's very well known that they send out a few in late January, the largest waves come in mid to late February, and the last usually trickle in by early March.

Rule of thumb is if you haven't heard back by the end of February your chances aren't good.

axiomofchoice
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Re: I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby axiomofchoice » Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:45 pm

grae313 wrote:
CarlBrannen wrote:I'm curious how they come in waves. Maybe AdmissionProf will have something to say.


It's a fairly well discussed phenomenon around here. Every school starts out with a target class size based on how much money they have that year. They send out a first wave of acceptances early, usually with some fellowship offers, and wait to see what response they get. Based on how many accept their offers early on, they can then offer more people admission and potentially fellowships. If they made all their acceptances at once, they'd have more of a chance of overshooting or undershooting their target class size which makes things difficult for the department. Most schools don't bother sending rejections until they are done with admissions.


I'm curious about it too. Do students actually respond as early as they receive the acceptance? I would think most will wait out a bit, at least until the open house. I sure as hell won't respond until I heard from most, if not all, of my schools, since making a decision involves all kinds of factors (locations, available advisers, the prelims :?, how far away from home :lol:, living expenses vs stipend ...). I probably will withdraw my application from one school now that I'm accepted to MIT, but that's as far as I will do before I heard back from others.

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grae313
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Re: I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby grae313 » Sat Feb 05, 2011 6:28 pm

axiomofchoice wrote:I'm curious about it too. Do students actually respond as early as they receive the acceptance? I would think most will wait out a bit, at least until the open house. I sure as hell won't respond until I heard from most, if not all, of my schools, since making a decision involves all kinds of factors (locations, available advisers, the prelims :?, how far away from home :lol:, living expenses vs stipend ...). I probably will withdraw my application from one school now that I'm accepted to MIT, but that's as far as I will do before I heard back from others.


Some do, especially if it's their first choice school or they are offered a fellowship or something. Probably not the majority though. However, with many years of practice I think departments are able to get at least a better idea of how many of their offers will be accepted based on the initial round of applicants.

Waves also make sense when you consider the most efficient way to sort through a few hundred applications. You can put a bunch in a "definitely" pile right away, probably most in a "pretty good, maybe" pile and some in the "definitely not pile." The best thing to do after this initial sorting is to send out a bunch of acceptances to the ones everyone agrees are "definitely" while you sit around a few more weeks and debate an order of preference for the maybes while waiting to see how much of your fellowship money is used up.

vesperlynd
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Re: I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby vesperlynd » Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:48 pm

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Last edited by vesperlynd on Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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grae313
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Re: I'm tempted to go use The Grad Cafe to chart response times

Postby grae313 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:38 am

Don't worry, no one is asking you to withdraw your application unless you're sure you wouldn't attend.




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