Universities share information about prospect students?

  • This has become our largest and most active forum because the physics GRE is just one aspect of getting accepted into a graduate physics program.
  • There are applications, personal statements, letters of recommendation, visiting schools, anxiety of waiting for acceptances, deciding between schools, finding out where others are going, etc.

Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:50 pm

Universities share information about prospect students?

Postby gachmian86 » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:09 am

For example, I am applying to astrophysics in some universities, and to geophysics (atmospheric physics) in others. In any case, in my essay/research proposal I stated that my main research interest is the program I was applying to. If universities share my data, they may discover that I am applying to different fields in different universities, so I am not sure if this could damage my posibilities of being accepted (You know, this guy does not have well defined research interests, lets reject him). Of course that would not happen if universities do not share our data.

User avatar
Posts: 402
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:08 pm

Re: Universities share information about prospect students?

Postby zxcv » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:50 am

Disclaimer: I have not been involved in any admissions process.

That said, here's what I know. Schools do coordinate somewhat, at least for things such as choosing non-overlapping visiting days, so the mechanism for exchanging information exists. Still, I doubt they would bother to exchange notes except in the case of the discovery of grave misconduct, such as substantial lies on someone's application.

So I think you're probably in the clear. This is doubly so since (if?) you're applying to different departments at different institutions, because in that case there are clearly far too much people with too little overlap to make such communication worthwhile.

There are also possible legal issues with different institutions sharing information about applicants -- I'm not sure what those are.

Still, next time, I would be more careful. In most cases, it does little harm to suggest that you have broader interests than what you focus on in your statement of purpose, assuming you show that you are passionate about and willing to commit to your chosen program. In fact, it could do substantial good to suggest your scientific interests are not closed.

Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 2:01 am

Re: Universities share information about prospect students?

Postby sirius » Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:57 am

you're situation seems totally acceptable. I do know however that Caltech and Stanford coordinate with each other on even whether a student is admitted. For instance, Caltech is strongly considering someone.... They would call Stanford, and ask what they think, and even decide which program is better suited for someone, and you might only get into one instead of the other based on this. Someone I know who went to Caltech and knew this is the reason why I applied to both when I was only planning on applying to Caltech. I imagine this sort of situation is present elsewhere, but I'm pretty sure that this is rare. I don't see any reason to be worried in your case.

Posts: 369
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: Universities share information about prospect students?

Postby admissionprof » Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:00 pm

Never, never, never would I share information about an applicant with anyone else, unless there was a serious suspicion of misconduct. I haven't heard about the alleged Caltech/Stanford communications, but would consider that inappropriate--I've never heard that before, so it must be very rare.

There is one case in which information could be shared. If there is a two-body problem, and the other body is applying elsewhere, but nearby (say in another field), then we might contact the other institution (or our own if the other department is here). In one case an accepted student's boyfriend got accepted somewhere else, and I made some phonecalls on her behalf to schools nearby her boyfriend's school. She ended up getting accepted at one of those places (so we lost a promising student, but she's much happier, and that's more important).

Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:41 am

Re: Universities share information about prospect students?

Postby astro_prof » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:43 am

I would consider this a breach of privacy. Besides, we simply don't have time for such things

User avatar
Posts: 809
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2007 7:11 pm

Re: Universities share information about prospect students?

Postby Helio » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:47 am

astro_prof wrote:I would consider this a breach of privacy. Besides, we simply don't have time for such things

Seems like we have gotten a new faculty-level member.... Welcome to our illustrious group of those seeking for PhDs

The only time i have heard about schools sharing information about applicants is the ivy's among themselves for undergrad admissions and the UCs with their weird system of if you don't get in here you will automatically accepted here (UCSB and UCM have something like that)

Return to “Prospective Physics Graduate Student Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: nafiz and 3 guests