Updating Applications

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  • 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.

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Unnatural Log
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Updating Applications

Postby Unnatural Log » Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:10 am

So, I started a job in late December. It's all physics related and it's getting me research experience. Of course, I mentioned it in my statement of purpose, but couldn't really go into too much detail since I hadn't started it at the time I submitted my apps.

Now that I've been here a few weeks, I have the urge to tell my schools about what I'm doing here. My question is, what is the best way to do this? Send the grad secretary an updated CV, or just write a few paragraphs about my new research experience (and, perhaps more importantly, programming skills)? And is there a best time to do this - as in, should I do this ASAP or try and save it for an opportune moment?

asouljahman
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Re: Updating Applications

Postby asouljahman » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:21 am

If these are recently acquired research/programming skills gained as a result of your recent employment between December and January (less than a month), then the admissions committee will immediately recognize that you are not being truthful if you try to give the impression that you have more experience than you actually do.

On the other hand, if you possessed these skills prior to your employment and prior to having submitted your CV, then your CV should reflect this.

Never, ever lie on an application.

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Unnatural Log
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Re: Updating Applications

Postby Unnatural Log » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:27 am

What the hell are you talking about?

asouljahman
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Re: Updating Applications

Postby asouljahman » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:31 am

Unnatural Log wrote:Now that I've been here a few weeks, I have the urge to tell my schools about what I'm doing here. My question is, what is the best way to do this? Send the grad secretary an updated CV, or just write a few paragraphs about my new research experience (and, perhaps more importantly, programming skills)? And is there a best time to do this - as in, should I do this ASAP or try and save it for an opportune moment?



What possible research/programming experience could you possibly have gained in a few weeks that would dramatically change your application status?

This is precisely what the graduate committee would ask.

Hypothetically, if I were on a graduate committee, this is precisely the question that I would ask :)

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Unnatural Log
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Re: Updating Applications

Postby Unnatural Log » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:39 am

I'm not looking to be dishonest or misleading at all. I'm just talking about mentioning that I've learned a programming language that I had zero experience with before, telling them about the experiment I helped run, and just in general letting them know what I'll be doing here over the next few months.

I don't expect it to "dramatically change" my application, but it's certainly a plus, and it costs me nothing to inform them about it.

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a13ean
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Re: Updating Applications

Postby a13ean » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:58 pm

blanked
Last edited by a13ean on Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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zxcv
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Re: Updating Applications

Postby zxcv » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:27 pm

a13ean wrote:It's not unusual to gain a lot of useful skills in a short amount of time. I learned how to program fluently in Matlab in a single week and went from never using a cad program before to producing complex photomask designs in three days.
This is certainly true, but I'm not sure how much grad schools care about particular skills. Any experienced programmer can start to pick up a new programming language in a week, especially an easy one like Matlab. And any physicist is clever enough to pick up programming.

Instead of particular skills, they're admitting you for your potential and ability to do research. If this is significantly different at this point than when you applied (i.e. you had minimal prior research experience) than this could be something important to update them on. If you have some particular concrete accomplishment (e.g. a publication) that would also be something to report. Otherwise it's probably not worth adding something to your admissions file for them to skim over when they already have the important info. Just IMHO.

If you give them something, keep it short and sweet and to the point. If it looks like you're sending a new personal statement they will probably be annoyed.

Do it ASAP if you want it to be considered in admissions since those decisions are being made right now, but again it's probably not worth it at this point. Much more likely to help is to solicit your current professor to make a few inquiries for you once offers start rolling in.

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a13ean
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Re: Updating Applications

Postby a13ean » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:57 pm

Point taken. I didn't actually mention any of that in my applications. I think I would only try to make an update if I had a new paper or two accepted, which unfortunately won't happen until well after decisions are made.

bencpp
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Re: Updating Applications

Postby bencpp » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:12 pm

a13ean wrote:Point taken. I didn't actually mention any of that in my applications. I think I would only try to make an update if I had a new paper or two accepted, which unfortunately won't happen until well after decisions are made.

well, recently, i do have a new paper published in a little known (probably unknown) peer-review journal and finished another one paper and submitted to a renowned journal (also to arXiv)... but it seems that it is not appropriate to make any change now....

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grae313
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Re: Updating Applications

Postby grae313 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:03 am

Unnatural Log wrote:What the hell are you talking about?


Thirded. What the hell are you talking about?

I was being considered for a fellowship when some recent developments in my research occurred -- I found out that I would be giving a talk at a conference and a poster presentation at another. I emailed the university and asked them if they would be interested in an updated CV and they told me to send it over. It can't hurt to ask.

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zxcv
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Re: Updating Applications

Postby zxcv » Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:59 am

bencpp - I would definitely send them an update, but it's up to you. Even papers only on the arXiv are worth mentioning, since those are concrete research products.

----

Question for others: there's not any such way to send updates to fellowships like the NSF or NDSEG, is there? I'm pretty sure I recall warnings that this is not possible but now I can't find it in the FAQ pages. Since applying this year I managed to complete and submit an article (my first!) that was just accepted by a journal.

bencpp
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Re: Updating Applications

Postby bencpp » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:06 am

zxcv wrote:bencpp - I would definitely send them an update, but it's up to you. Even papers only on the arXiv are worth mentioning, since those are concrete research products.

since I already have some publications before I submitted the applications (main author and renowned journal), so the last two papers seem not very important for the reason that I have not given significant contributions to them.




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