GradApps: The Waiting Period

Hi everyone. Roky's SciTech is back with one of the final posts of the Grad Applications series. This post deals with the post application-deadline period. So, it is not a technically heavy one. But "the Waiting Period" is the most painful timespan of the whole process. If you have missed the earlier and more important posts regarding the grad applications, feel free to check them out here .

What is The Waiting Period ?

So, Here's the deal. Generally, after the deadlines around mid-Deceber you shall be done with all your applications. Roughly speaking the waiting period starts from the application deadline and lasts until the first acceptance notification or the first "aced" interview ! The timespan can be anything from 2 weeks to 3 months to infinity (in case one gets rejections from everywhere :-( ).

Moreover during the waiting period, unless you are getting an interview invitation, you shall receive almost 0 communications from the schools. They will only contact you if there is something missing in your application. So, the silence shall add upto your mounting anxeity and you shall keep refreshing the application decision pages and your email inbox for hours just to catch if there is an update.

Sometimes the admission office can mail you for additional info or some professor might personally email or call you after he/she has read your application. Professors mainlny read the SOP and LORs thoroughly. And hence they become extemely important. However, sometimes admission offices follow strictly no contact procedure and only formally sends the acceptance and rejections letters or interview invitations. But, there is no telling when any of this shall happen, And that's where the mental pressure comes - No fixed decision declaration date.  

So, What to Do During the Waiting Period ? 

  1. If you are the strong hearted type you can start following TheGradCafe Result Survey. There from early January  and in some cases even from  December end you shall see people putting up their acceptance/rejection/interview invitation notifications. You can also browse past year results for the schools you have applied to get some idea about when they usually send out decisions. Most top schools start sending interview invitations from  January itself.  
  2. You can also join the forums to discuss info and share your feelings with the fellow applicants. There are some truly hilarious threads on the forum. This one is my personal favourite : Favorite Rejection Quotes from the Results Page ! and this one too: scream thread. The forum becomes a nice time pass with people in similar situation when you are too anxious to carry on you daily work.
  3. However, If you are the weak hearted type, I would suggest not to engage gradcafe too much. The reason being sooner or later you shall see acceptances or interview notifications to people from programs you have applied to too. Which will give you excruciating pain knowing most likely you are secondlisted behind those who are getting notifications. If you can look on the brighter side it is fine. It means sooner or later you are going to hear from that school too. (well, sometimes they held back the rejections until very late, which is very annoying. But, at least you can mail them to ask if you have any chance left once you see they have sent out a bunch of acceptances /interview invitations). But, if you are unable to do so, just avoid that abyss of darkness and despair.
  4. Take the easy way and relax (forcefully ?). You have worked hard starting ffor you GRE/TOEFL preparation, application preparation upto finally submitting the applications. That's a huge amount of work. On avergae people apply to 7-8 schools. So, after all those hard work you deserve some rest. Keep in mind once you get your first acceptance or interview invitation you have to start worry and working again. It may be many things startinng for interview prep to visa application (yey!). So, take the chill pill and go on a mental vacation. 
  5. Whatever you do, sometime you won't be able to escape the anxiety on your own. Take help. Discuss your feelings with your family and trustworthy friends. A good evening spent in laughter shall be perfect antidote for the rest of the night.
  6. Give it a rest. Spend a day without addictively refreshing the email inbox or application decision pages. Tell your brain to that if something comes you will get a notification anyways. Not that your brain will listen always, but worth a try once in a while. Meditation helps too. 
  7. Device a plan B. For the unlikely and unfortunate event where it is April 15 and  you are almost certain that no acceptance is going to come you will need to hold your nerves and embark on the next step. It is painful to consider the scenario of ultimate failure but a plan B is essential and if you device it during the waiting period, it will save you a lot of depressive days and a new goal to work towards.
  8. Prepare hoping for the eventual interviews. Getting an interview invitation is a heavy indicator that you have a good chance. So, do not screw it up. Take time to brush up topics related to your desired. Most people get only 2 to 3 interviews at most. So, make them count. 
Whatever you do the waiting period is hell for everyone. Take care of yourself. You need your health to ace your interviews and enjoy post acceptance !

Next in our agenda then is the Interview. So, in the next post we shall discuss in detail about the interviews of grad admission process. What are the things to keep in mind while preparing for the interview and during the interview itself.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. Bye for now, See you all in the next post !