kap09c wrote:The response? We don't have the resources to provide individual feedback
What a load of bull. For one, a similarly ranked institution with comparable application numbers had no trouble at all filling my request-- politely at that. And secondly, I paid you $125 to review my application. Everyone did. Does the 125*600 = $75000 not cover the time needed to cover the 30-60 heart broken students who might actually ask about this? Someone in gradcafe said it well... they are clearly divas
Sorry, just needed to rant there. Now I'm out to prove that I don't need them.. Gonna kick so much ass in gradschool they're going to beg me to their postdoc and I'll "politely" decline without reason
sorethumb wrote:I think you should send an email to the professors on the admissions committee about this. (I'm sure their emails are easy to find on the Stanford website.) Just tell them what you're saying here-- you spent a lot of money and effort on their application, and all you want is a reason for not being admitted (something other institutions were ready to give you). The person on the phone is not the end-all, be-all.
TakeruK wrote:If you just wanted to/needed to rant/vent, it's understandable and I felt the same way about my generic rejections too! I was frustrated there was not more closure! I sympathise with you! Also, if you don't really want to discuss it further, then stop reading here
But if you do want to, and to other people in this thread who might want to, I don't think it's fair to say "I spent $125, I deserve a full evaluation."
1. First of all, the department faculty/staff (the people who evaluated and put together your application packages) do not actually get the application fee. It goes to the grad school to maintain their University-wide application system. All the stuff the profs do are part of their salaried work, which means the more time they spend on it, the less other stuff (their current students, their research, their classes, their other committees) get done.
2. I think it's true when they say they don't have the resources to individually respond to each applicant. I think the majority of their rejections are very broad and swift with very little actual review of your application package. It's not like they pored over every single application and made meticulous notes on each one that they can simply forward to you. If you ask for a review, they will likely have to re-evaluate your application in order to provide meaningful feedback. Otherwise, if you insist on feedback, you will probably get a generic response like "Your GPA/GRE/research experience was not competitive enough compared to our top applicants." Would that really be helpful?
3. They will be assuming a lot of risk when they do this re-evaluation. Some people don't take rejection or criticism well and might try to argue with them or ask for a re-evaluation because they didn't consider this fact or that fact. I'm not saying this is what you're planning to do, but they don't know who will be doing this. Ultimately, I don't think it is a wise decision for the department to use their limited resources (time and effort) on ensuring every rejected applicant gets a detailed feedback report when there is a lot of other work to do, just because the students are "heartbroken" (and it might be worse if the reason is just as generic as the rejection, which will be the case most of the time). Not every applicant will request one but if they start doing it for some, they will have to do it for everyone.
4. This doesn't mean they are not willing at all to help you though. Like some others said, you might have better luck with other people in the department. However, I would actually say to wait until late April or May, when the visits/admissions/etc. season is all over and they have more time. Also, you should only ask for this extended feedback if you ended up being rejected everywhere and need to know how to improve your applications for the future. I think if you ask again in April/May, explain that you were not successful at all this year and would like feedback for future years, you will probably get a more sympathetic and helpful response. Not all of your schools might respond, but you should hopefully get enough responses to help you in next year.
In my opinion, if you got into other places and plan on attending, then why do you even need feedback from the places that rejected you? Maturity and professionalism means you accept rejection with grace, not to find out ways X is stupid because they rejected you. Applications is not like taking a class--the evaluator does not have to justify their reasons for their decision like an instructor would justify their reasons for a grade. It's more like a job search and at many companies, being rejected/not selected for an interview means you don't even get notified about rejection at all.
5. Finally, it's unlikely the school will actually be able to give you helpful feedback on things like the content of your LORs (since they would want to keep it confidential) or the writing quality of your SOP (they are not writing counselors). You can see what some others have written on this forums as well as other places on the Internet. They may be able to tell you how your GRE and GPA compared with the applicant pool. You might not be able to do anything about your GPA at this point, but you can retake GREs if you find that your score was way too low. They might even comment on your fit (maybe you identified research interests not present at the department) or maybe that you did not sound like you have a clear research focus/plan/goal etc. in your SOP. That might be useful.
I think many schools will try to help you if you ask politely and at the right time, and if you really need it (i.e. no acceptances anywhere). Don't expect things like "you ranked 15th out of 100 candidates and we could only take 10" though. If you want help on things like your SOP, then you should try your university's writing center or similar services.
Monkerest wrote:I think TakeruK's point stands. If it got out that a school was offering personalized explanations for their rejections, then who wouldn't want to know why they were rejected, for exactly the reasons you state?
You must remember what your 125$ paid for: their consideration and a timely decision, which you got.
"if they don't want a well equipped researcher who can smoothly transition into one of their groups that DOES have a vacancy... wtf are they looking for?"
Perhaps a better well-equipped researcher who can more smoothly transition? What kind of a question is that? Stanford is one of the most competitive programs to get into... Nobody is a big fish at that level, and there are guarantees for no one. You think you were actually just the very best candidate in the world? Apparently not, but don't worry about it! That's life - there's always a bigger fish, and there is always some place else for you to learn and grow.
With respect to the "rotten egg" letters of recommendation, remember that it is your duty, and your duty alone, to make sure that your application is as strong as it can be. And if you wanted to see the letters of recommendation, you could have opted not to waive the right. My rules for letters were to only get people to write for me who either volunteered, or told me outright that it would be a very good letter upon my request, with no further prompting. Also, you got into Yale, yet you still think one of your LOR was a problem?
I also don't understand why everyone is upset about the mass rejections... Some poor secretary is probably just stuck updating the profiles for hours on end. You want him/her to update every one in real time? I write this as someone who was mass rejected by Berkeley today.
kap09c wrote:Just as a response to your #2, It is unlikely that even 10% of applicants would ask this so they are exaggerating the costs by choice of language. If I was eliminated by some mass casualty system I specifically want to know that. Even more important, I want to know if there is a rotten egg in my LOR's because I received a lot of unexpected rejections this season and I will be wise to request future letters from these profs. If you want to know more about my personal motive, I had planned on reapplying if I didn't see a future panning out for me at whichever grad school I end up attending. By next application season I will have likely published a paper directly extending the work of my dream PI at Stanford (work I am currently doing now, which just adds to the confusion in my rejection...if they don't want a well equipped researcher who can smoothly transition into one of their groups that DOES have a vacancy... wtf are they looking for?)
Monkerest wrote:Okay, real advice:
If anyone in the Stanford admissions committee, or any other admissions committee, stumbles across this thread, they would be able to identify you in about ten seconds by looking at your post in the 2014 results thread. (How many domestic white/hispanic females with precisely your test scores are there?)
If all you had done is vented, I think you would have found commiseration. But you insisted on portraying the situation as one where Stanford had somehow mistreated you or denied you something that you were entitled to. I hope not all of your emotional processing depends on that sort of self-deception.
kap09c wrote:It's like you people have never seen someone who has just wanted to vent before.. just let it go unless you have complaining to contribute also. I am irritated and I am not seeking to rationalize this in any way shape or form. None of your justifications or speculation about either myself or the program are of interest to me
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