How are the apps going?

  • 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.

geomar
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How are the apps going?

Postby geomar » Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:40 am

Was hoping to start a more "get your emotions out"/ "share your pain" thread. So how's everybody doing?

I've been working pretty hard to get all my applications in early after I had some serious stressing about recs and whatnot on the Dec 15th Deadline. Got 8 out of 9 submitted now, and I think I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Still probably gonna apply for some random fellowships with late due dates after I have everything in, but at this moment, I really never want to see/read my personal statement again.

How's everyone else feeling?
For me, it's time to stop worrying about whether I got my app in and start worrying about whether my app got me in... :roll:

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Sat Dec 22, 2007 2:10 pm

This is how my apps are going... I picked up 5 transcripts that included my very good fall grades on Wednesday and had 3 days to send them out to my schools but haven't done it... and since my semester ended 10 days ago and there's nothing else competing with my time, this is pretty bad.

I too am sick of seeing my personal statement... I am just not happy with it but I'll just have to stick with it since I'd be aimless how to write another one. I could picture this... my GRE and grades get me through the first cut, and next comes the stage where a round table of 10 profs scrutinizes each statment, just trying to find the slightest excuse to put my app through the shredder...

I'm also annoyed at MIT's app because it asks about all kinds of family income data and crap. These apps were getting pretty routine and easy until I hit this one. Also, Caltech only asks for a scanned copy of our transcript, but when I scan it in, it doesn't look very readable on my comp :(

When you send an updated transcript after the deadline, should you send it to the grad school or to the physics department?

nvanmeter
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Postby nvanmeter » Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:06 pm

i've gotten pretty lazy and haven't done anything since the dec. 15 deadline... i guess i should get to it, as i have 4 left due by jan. 15 and will mostly be watching football during the first week of january.

@quizivex

what universities are you applying to and what is your proposed field? mine's condensed matter theory. we seem to have a similar list of schools. mine is:

Harvard
MIT
Cornell
Stanford
Berkeley
CalTech
Santa Barbara
San Diego
Illinois

geomar
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Postby geomar » Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:54 pm

I've been sending my new transcripts to the address the university specifies for the delivery of mailed materials, usually the office of graduate admissions or the physics department.

I recently found a couple of typos in the personal statement I have been sending out, nothing major, but gives me cause to worry nonetheless. I am really not that convinced that they read these things that closely - probably only used to get a closer look at your research experience and as a supplement to the reference letters.

I'm actually applying to almost exactly the same places as you, nvanmeter, with the one exception of I am applying to Princeton and not UCSD. (I assume you meant UCSD and not San Diego University)

nvanmeter
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Postby nvanmeter » Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:28 pm

haha, i just completed MIT app and upon re-reading my personal statement, i found a typo too..."purse" instead of "pursue." but oh well, i can't seriously see my rejection/acceptance riding on my insertion of a "u" into a word that spellcheck wouldn't catch.

@geomar
that's cool, what field are you applying for? and actually i don't really want to go to UCSD, it's my safety school, since the other 8 are...well...all damn hard to get into. so i picked UCSD purely based on location...i love the beach.

geomar
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Postby geomar » Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:59 pm

I am applying in experimental condensed matter. (the similarity in field is certainly the reason for the similarity in school selection)

I didn't apply to any "safeties" because I figured I should only apply to schools where I would really want to go. Why spend 6 years somewhere that you don't want to be? Although now and then I have doubts about whether I would really want to go to UIUC/Caltech.

I love the beach (I am a pretty serious volleyball player and love beach volley), and that is certainly a reason UCSB has moved up a few spots in my list of preferences. Basically, I have Caltech's application and the NDSEG fellowship left, but I found a couple of weird fellowships that I might be eligible for, but haven't looked at in detail (CSGF? SSGF?). Knowing myself, I probably won't bother with anything but the bare minimum.

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:05 pm

@ nvanmeter

Yeah I'm applying to pretty much the same places, though I have a few different possible interests for each... (all experimental)

<deleted for anonymity>

I decided not to bother with any more safeties since I couldn't picture myself being able to handle the intensity of graduate school at a place where I would not feel intellectutally inspired or have a tolerable social experience. If I'm not admitted anywhere nice, I'll do something else with my life.

We seem to have similar backgrounds, though I don't want to post too many details that could give me away because of the possibility of grad schools and people I know getting a negative impression from some of the things I've said. A few people from my school have already figured out quizivex was me, but only those who know me well would understand the reasons behind some of my opinions.

Though one difference is that my research background is not related to the things I'm applying for and wasn't very successful in the first place. I wonder how important the "relevance factor" is for admission.

How close was your undergrad research to CMT?

I don't think there are any spelling errors in my SOP, though I worry some of my sentences will seem run-on-ish and disorganized.
Last edited by quizivex on Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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zxcv
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Postby zxcv » Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:15 pm

I'm applying a similar list, that is, the intersection of those schools and California. I'm also applying to University of Washington and UC Davis (safety).

UCSD is also pretty safe for me since I was there last summer. I learned how to surf. Best. REU. Ever.

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Sat Dec 22, 2007 7:39 pm

After the rush to meet the deadline on the 15th I also wanted to get the rest taken care of earlier. Plus, I've also been on my computer stressing about my submitted applications, so working on the ones I had left gave me something do to instead of checking my application status five times a day. I submitted my ninth and final app a few days ago. Good to hear I'm not the only one with nine!

Cornell
Harvard
UCSB
UCB
Stanford
Yale
UCLA
UW (Seattle)
UCSC

cancelled20080417
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Postby cancelled20080417 » Sat Dec 22, 2007 7:44 pm

I completed all my applications before Dec 15 even those with late deadlines!

Do we need to send out our new trancripts with fall grades in? I mean, is this mandatory? My fall grades are already up, but I am in the Holland now and the Registrar's office at my school is already closed by now and won't open until Jan 10!!!

I guess I will pack a gift from Amsterdam to the Registrar and come to the US( if I am lucky) and ask him to open his office and then send the transcripts!
Oh well, forget it! I am gonna enjoy Amsterdam!

hey quizivex, I don think garden is gonna come back!

cancelled20080417
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Postby cancelled20080417 » Sat Dec 22, 2007 7:46 pm

I applied to 15 schools! AM I CRAZY?
Last edited by cancelled20080417 on Sat Dec 22, 2007 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

nvanmeter
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Postby nvanmeter » Sat Dec 22, 2007 7:53 pm

@ quizivex
actually my undergrad research, though extensive, has absolutely no relation to what i've applied to for grad school. in undergrad, everything was either topology or theoretical quantum optics related to quantum computing. for grad school, it's condensed matter theory all the way. relevance shouldn't matter much...i mean a lot of people will change interests by the end of the first year anyway.


@ geomar
i'm applying for the NDSEG fellowship also and i did the NSF one too. i'm just going to assume that you did NSF also. and yeah beach volleyball is freakin' awesome and is a big factor for why santa barbara is in the top few for me too. what are you, my long lost twin? do you also happen to look gorgeous like me? lol

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:00 pm

ok settle down, you two!

cancelled20080417
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Postby cancelled20080417 » Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:34 pm

:lol:

geomar
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Postby geomar » Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:53 pm

Yeah it's pretty uncanny. There aren't that many physics/math double majors applying to the same schools in CMP, who happen to also be volley fanatics. Too bad I am hideous, like boiling acid all over the face gruesome, like harvey two face's ugly side gross. Thus the similarities stop there... (j/k)

I'm going skiing for the weekend and now the only way for me to check my apps is via cell phone internet, but hopefully the skiing will just keep my mind off this whole thing.

cancelled20080417
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Postby cancelled20080417 » Sat Dec 22, 2007 9:14 pm

why is no body interested in Amsterdam????

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:19 am

ok RG, tell us about Amsterdam!

rohan
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Postby rohan » Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:25 am

umm.... their sites either got no info.... or i havent looked carefully enough...

cancelled20080417
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Postby cancelled20080417 » Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:45 am

Grae, I was tryin to piss off some of you guys who are still going over their SOPs and their application!
I think at this point we shud get over our app and dream about Amsterdam! Are not we all on the winter vacation now!!


One more thing.. you gotta come to Amsterdam to see what it is like. I cant say nothing from here! you gotta come here and feel it for yourself!

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butsurigakusha
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Postby butsurigakusha » Sun Dec 23, 2007 5:29 am

These are the schools I'm applying to:

UCSB
UCSD
Stanford (Applied Physics)
CalTech (Applied Physics)
Berkeley
UIUC
MIT

I was going to apply to Cornell and Harvard, too, but I would prefer to go to school on the west coast, so I wouldn't apply to any more non-west coast schools. Plus, I'm too lazy to fill out any more. The same reason I didn't apply for NSF. When I saw the essays I had to write, and when I considered the low probability of me getting it, I decided not to bother. I think I might be able to muster enough unlaziness to apply for the NDSEG fellowship, though.

I should be done with my applications pretty soon. I think I just have a few loose ends to wrap up.

vicente
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Postby vicente » Sun Dec 23, 2007 3:54 pm

deleted
Last edited by vicente on Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

schandre
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Postby schandre » Sun Dec 23, 2007 11:12 pm

I'm applying in theoretical nuclear physics to:

University of Washington - Seattle
Michigan State University
Indiana University - Bloomington
Florida State University
Texas A&M - College Station

I am guessing these are difficult to be admitted since they all have strong nuclear physics groups. I wonder if applying only to these 5 schools is too risky...

schandre
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Postby schandre » Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:58 pm

Now that I finally sent all my applications I'll share my pain.
I spent around ~ U$ 1,500.00 on applications and related stuff! Two thirds of it "thanks" to ETS!
ETS made me spend around U$ 600 on tests and to know/report my scores plus another U$400 traveling 200 miles to take the TOEFL and 500 miles to take the GREs. Then I spent U$ 300 on admission fees and another U$ 200 sending supporting materials.
Fortunately the pain will go away once I get an admission letter.

geomar
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Postby geomar » Sat Dec 29, 2007 5:28 am

Hey, anyone having problems with embark? I finally decided to finish up my caltech application and I can't seem to get onto the caltech application (or any other applications, even though embark.com itself is fine).

Rather annoying since it is due in a couple of days, and I would really like to get that guy submitted. I'm hoping that its not a server overload, in which case I bet near Jan 1st its even going to be worst - I think that one of the most common deadlines for all sorts of programs.

nvanmeter
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Postby nvanmeter » Sat Dec 29, 2007 6:39 pm

i'm not having any problems accessing the application. hope it works out for ya

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Sun Dec 30, 2007 9:12 pm

It's such a helpless feeling, just sitting here hoping that my prof submits his rec by 5pm tomorrow :(

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Sun Dec 30, 2007 9:32 pm

UGH quizivex, me too! I emailed him the 26th but haven't heard back. He's probably out of town again, not checking his email, and forgot all about it. This SUCKS.

tomar
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Postby tomar » Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:03 pm

So what does one do when the prof is late with the online REC? Hypothetically, for something like Princeton and Caltech, if the prof doesn't submit it in time, is your application gone, or can he submit it a couple of days later?
I am in the same ugly boat

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zxcv
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Postby zxcv » Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:19 pm

I have a friend who was in that situation. Well, technically he was actually writing the letter for his research adviser, and it off until the like the day before.

According to one of his other professors, grad programs generally expect letter writers to miss deadlines, and would probably not penalize an applicant for it. But of course, if they don't have it they probably won't read your application, so it had better be in at least soon after the deadline.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Tue Jan 01, 2008 2:14 am

One of my letter writers missed his deadline. *** this bullshit and *** the new year.

tomar
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Postby tomar » Tue Jan 01, 2008 3:27 am

Yeah me too! But I hope they accept late recommendations. Problem is this time is vacation time, and most profs are out.

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Tue Jan 01, 2008 7:06 am

Yeah, me too. And he was already late for Cornell and Harvard a couple weeks ago. I think it's ok, but I know exactly how you feel.

JWC
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Postby JWC » Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:03 pm

@RG, you may know Tini Veltman, who is a big man @ U of M

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:19 pm

Seeing how busy the admissions offices are at this time I think it's pretty safe to say that a recommendation/transcript arriving a few days late would not harm your application. Of course, I would much rather have everything in on time and was sweating bullets until my last prof submitted his rec 4 hours before the deadline on Monday. But still, the strict deadline only really applies to the core application form you fill out online and have full control over. If you fail to turn that in on time, that'd clearly look irresponsible and in fact Princeton no longer allows people to access the page now that the deadline's passed. But don't worry if a rec or transcript is a few days late. Many of the offices just reopened today and will take days to sort through everyone's mail so they won't notice or care.

Today I called Harvard and they kindly looked at my file and told me my transcript/GREs are there. Just call 617-496-6100 between 2-5pm EST. You may get a busy signal a few times but they'll help you eventually.

Princeton acknowledged receiving both documents on the embark "check your status" page.

Stanford told us they'd e-mail us in mid-late December if anything is missing from our app, and I haven't gotten anything so I guess I'm safe to assume they have all my stuff.

MIT was pretty serious about not wanting phone calls, I couldn't even get through to a person. They told us they'd e-mail us once they have everything and our application is complete, and sure I don't mind waiting, but my question is what happens if they are missing something? Will they still contact us? Otherwise how would we address the problem, lol?

But overall I feel pretty comfortable that everything's complete and that it's all out of my hands now. I'm no longer going to communicate with any schools, except maybe I'll try to reach MIT if I don't get that sublime e-mail within a week or two. Other than that, I've deleted all the school's websites from my favorites folder. Hmm what am I going to do with the last 3 weeks of my break? My NFL team missed the playoffs.

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:13 pm

my letter writer still hasn't submitted the letter due on the 1st of this month, or the four others due this month :(

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will
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Postby will » Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:08 am

which team were you going for quizivex?

i'm out too. =(

(go browns!... next year)

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:20 am

<deleted for anonymity>
Last edited by quizivex on Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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twistor
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Postby twistor » Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:29 am

grae313:

It's not too late. Mine was able to submit last night and everything went through smoothely. I'm sure a gentle reminder would work wonders.

Best of luck.

tomar
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Postby tomar » Thu Jan 03, 2008 2:25 pm

So now that everything is submitted, we're supposed to forget about grad school and "chillax" for a month and a half right. Mid Feb to Mid March is when they'll be contacting us, correct?

woooster
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How are the apps going?

Postby woooster » Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:39 pm

I don't think any one needs to worry about professors not submitting the recommendations by the deadlines. 4 out of my 5 recommenders didn't send in the letter in time, and two of them happens to be in the admission committee this year at my schools (one of the top 5 program). They all told me how no one cares about the deadlines, and they have been doing this for decades. My advisor (the one in the committee) said the only advantage of completing the applications early, like finishing by Dec 1st, is that they can review you application early.

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grae313
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Postby grae313 » Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:04 pm

thanks, twistor. I already sent him three reminders. Still no letters.

I just called his office and his secretary said, "he's working on it."

schandre
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Postby schandre » Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:21 pm

One of the Universities I asked my GRE scores to be reported to claims they have not received them. I just called ETS and they claim to have send it over a month ago.
Fortunately the lady I talked to was nice enough to ask for another score report to be sent to them free of charge - I really wasn't expecting that from ETS. However, she did say something about the scores being send to them electronically. Anyone knows what is this about? Does it means a nonprofit organization charges us U$ 15,00 to send e-mails to the universities with our score reports? Then why don't they send us e-mails too a month after the test with our score reports? It is driving me mad to think about it since I still haven't received my score report for the Subject test and had to pay U$ 12,00 to know my score.

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quizivex
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Postby quizivex » Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:26 am

So now that everything is submitted, we're supposed to forget about grad school and "chillax" for a month and a half right. Mid Feb to Mid March is when they'll be contacting us, correct?


I guess so. It's all out of our hands now. I want to relax with what's left of the break but I don't really know what to do...

Decisions do come as early as the last week of January and as late as the 2nd week of March.


-Today I actually got an e-mail from MIT saying they have everything execpt my 3rd recommendation, but that it's possible they have it but just haven't processed it yet... It's so annoying that the prof had to wait until last minute since he already had my rec written for stanford on December 11th and all he had to do was copy and paste school names... but at least now I know they have my transcript and test scores.


I had a similar problem with ETS. I took the October test but also registered for the November one in case I screwed the first one up... After the October test, I called to cancel my November test, and they said they did it, but I never got the money refunded to my account. They said it would take ~8 weeks, so a few days ago I called to ask about it... and their record said that my refund was processed on 12/1 and randomly canceled on 12/6, but she didn't know why. So she said she would "start a case" for me and told me to call back in a week.

Strange, but hey I'm not too mad, at least they didn't screw up my scores or score reports.

nvanmeter
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Postby nvanmeter » Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:21 am

just when i thought i was done writing the essays and the only thing left to do was [insert school name here], the berkeley app has to have a second essay called "personal history statement"??? f*** them! i think i'll just split my personal statement in half and call it two essays.... depressing

marten
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Postby marten » Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:12 pm

haha, yeah, nvanmeter, that happened to me also with UMich. Then *surprise* there was a THIRD essay! It was definitely weaker then the second, which was weaker then the first...

Marten

VT
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Postby VT » Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:37 pm

Marten, where did u see the third essay for U Michigan!!!!
I completed my application back in Dec and I found only two. Did I miss something?

marten
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Postby marten » Fri Jan 04, 2008 2:58 pm

Ahhh... it was an optional additional essay to add anything else that didn't fit elsewhere. No worries!

Marten

VT
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Postby VT » Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:39 pm

oh ok.

nvanmeter
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Postby nvanmeter » Mon Jan 07, 2008 3:02 am

i am completely done everything associated with this bullshit!!!! now it's all about football and patience...

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zxcv
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Postby zxcv » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:08 am

I have a tendency to cut close to deadlines... perhaps too close:

Thank you for applying to UC Berkeley. Our records show that you submitted an online graduate application on Monday , 07 Jan 2008 23:59:52, PST.


8 seconds to spare.




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