Applying Early

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YAHA
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 11:22 pm

Applying Early

Postby YAHA » Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:41 pm

I have heard from several people at my undergraduate institution that applying to grad schools early is important. The common claim is that if one applies early, it gives him a bit of an advantage since the programs will have enough time to contact him if needed, thouroughly review the materials, and so on. Also, it supposedly demonstrates one's seriousness about the given program. How credible is this notion? Should one strain to finish the applications by October or will it not make a difference with submitting a couple days before deadline? Is the rolling admission a typical practice for physics field? I am curious to hear people with knowledge or experience on the matter.

admissionprof
Posts: 364
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: Applying Early

Postby admissionprof » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:01 pm

YAHA wrote:I have heard from several people at my undergraduate institution that applying to grad schools early is important. The common claim is that if one applies early, it gives him a bit of an advantage since the programs will have enough time to contact him if needed, thouroughly review the materials, and so on. Also, it supposedly demonstrates one's seriousness about the given program. How credible is this notion? Should one strain to finish the applications by October or will it not make a difference with submitting a couple days before deadline? Is the rolling admission a typical practice for physics field? I am curious to hear people with knowledge or experience on the matter.


It makes no difference, as long as everything is in before the deadline. Committees will generally not even meet before the deadline. Just don't be late (and being a week or two early is good because you have time to fill in anything that is missing). If a deadline is listed as X, admitting a student before X would cause legal issues...

bfollinprm
Posts: 1197
Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Applying Early

Postby bfollinprm » Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:40 pm

Agreeing with admissionprof, but do want to say that getting started early is critical to making a good application. Your statement of purpose should undergo multiple drafts, you should give letter writers significant lead time, it takes time to get to know the faculty at prospective institutions, and generally fellowship deadlines precede the application deadlines for schools. Getting started on the process of at least building a detailed list of places you will be applying in the fall (schools, profs of interest, areas of institutional strength, chance of acceptance) should begin now, in my opinion (and really should be 'finalized'* by the end of the month. There's also a faction of people who think that contacting individual professors at the schools you apply to is a good idea (I count myself among them), and doing so obviously takes time and is ideally done before the application deadline.

As for rolling admission, sort of...there are multiple admission waves because schools wait to send out some acceptances until they see how well they do in recruiting their top choices. Sometimes schools will take an applicant after the deadline but before the last wave of admissions rolls out (resulting in an effective rolling admission), but you really have no excuse for not getting in stuff before the deadline, and not doing so definitely hurts you (and almost always guarantees that you're precluded from any departmental fellowships). Some lower-ranked schools have actual rolling admission that extends even beyond April 15th (they accept until they fill all the spots they have, which sometimes never happens), but no one gives you an advantage for applying before the stated deadline.

*Of course, nothing is really ever finalized until April 15th. But you don't want to be figuring out where you're applying this fall while you're doing your coursework (and probably want a draft of your SoP--at least a general version--before school starts too).

kangaroo
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:31 am

Re: Applying Early

Postby kangaroo » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:57 pm

What is really underrated is Spring admission applications. The lack of competition yields a far more favorable outcome.

microacg
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:06 pm

Re: Applying Early

Postby microacg » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:24 am

What percentage of programs actually offer an application for Spring Admission?

YAHA
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 11:22 pm

Re: Applying Early

Postby YAHA » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:54 pm

Thank you everyone. By the way, I am not applying this year. I am going into the junior year and just trying to plan out the time table for myself.

It seems that the only programs that have Spring admissions are those on the weaker side. Maybe the stronger programs are too busy with research to run admissions twice a year? :)

kangaroo
Posts: 130
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:31 am

Re: Applying Early

Postby kangaroo » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:13 am

microacg wrote:What percentage of programs actually offer an application for Spring Admission?
YAHA wrote:Thank you everyone. By the way, I am not applying this year. I am going into the junior year and just trying to plan out the time table for myself.

It seems that the only programs that have Spring admissions are those on the weaker side. Maybe the stronger programs are too busy with research to run admissions twice a year? :)


MIT

YAHA
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 11:22 pm

Re: Applying Early

Postby YAHA » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:37 am

kangaroo wrote:
microacg wrote:What percentage of programs actually offer an application for Spring Admission?
YAHA wrote:Thank you everyone. By the way, I am not applying this year. I am going into the junior year and just trying to plan out the time table for myself.

It seems that the only programs that have Spring admissions are those on the weaker side. Maybe the stronger programs are too busy with research to run admissions twice a year? :)


MIT


Fair. However, it does say that chances of admission for Spring are radically lower than those for Fall. It has to do with distributed financial aid.

CarlBrannen
Posts: 381
Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 11:34 pm

Re: Applying Early

Postby CarlBrannen » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:11 pm

I'm going to guess that the paucity of spring admissions is due to money. At least where I'm at, there's more jobs for physics teaching assistants in the fall than in the spring. I guess there's a lot of students who take just one physics class and they take it in the fall.




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