Vanderbilt expressing interest in an incomplete application

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Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Vanderbilt expressing interest in an incomplete application

Postby Catria » Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:28 pm

Today, I received an email from Vanderbilt saying that they have received my application even though I haven't submitted it. Admittedly, it was almost completed but I chose to exclude from consideration all three recommenders (which, btw, wrote recs to all 11 I chose to actually apply to) as a sign of withdrawal, hence not submitting it.

Vanderbilt wrote:
Dear students, (bcc to all applicants)

Thank you for your interest in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Vanderbilt University.

This email is to acknowledge that your application to the Vanderbilt University PhD Physics program has been received and is being reviewed.

My name is Don Pickert and I am the Administrative Assistant to the Physics & Astronomy Graduate Program Committee. (GPC)

If you should need any help with your application or have any questions regarding it, you may contact me.

If any items are missing from your application or if the GPC needs additional information from you, we will contact you.

So how could Vanderbilt receive my application when I didn't actually submit it? How often do situations like these arise?

If the end result is getting a free rejection letter in Vanderbilt's letterhead (if only because of missing recs), then so be it. I must admit, however, that, for Vanderbilt's physics dept to be willing to consider an incomplete application with recs missing, there must be at least one of the following at work:

- Desperate to take me (and likely with an UGF to boot) and then there had to be a few elements that caught their attention
- Have an otherwise incredibly shallow or poor applicant pool
- Not weigh recs much

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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Vanderbilt expressing interest in an incomplete application

Postby TakeruK » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:39 pm

Alternatively (and I think this is the most likely), it could be that the system automatically sends this email to everyone who has created an account and started an application in their system, whether they actually submitted it/paid the fee or not. An incomplete application is not a sign of withdrawal, if you actually want the system to register you as withdrawing the application, you need to click on the button that does so. I would say that this email does not necessarily mean the department will actually consider your application (although if the same automated system is at work, you will probably get a reject letter eventually too!).

Systems with issues like this are not that rare. In 2010, I applied to McGill for a Masters program but decided to not attend. In Fall of 2012 (the Masters program would have had me graduate in Summer 2012), I got a phone call from McGill Alumni Association. They greeted me as a McGill alumni and asked me how I enjoyed my time at McGill and whether or not I would be willing to donate to McGill so that others can have a wonderful experience as well! I thought the whole experience was very funny!!

Posts: 355
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Vanderbilt expressing interest in an incomplete application

Postby Catria » Fri Dec 12, 2014 4:34 pm

Submitted the app anyway (Vanderbilt was a free app) so I now submitted 12 apps rather than 11.

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