For who knows what reason, schools will reject you but the great thing is you only need to get into one!
I share the story of my grad school applications in this post.
|When you get rejected, there is always hot chocolate 💛 When will extra whipped cream come in handy?|
I applied to graduate school in the United States as an international student going to a domestic undergraduate school.
(I went to college at N.C. State University)
Domestic undergrad or not, I was still international and my applications always ended up in the "international pile."
How do I know? Because I was told so when I contacted school administrators including at my own undergrad where I also applied for grad school.
All my domestic applicant friends started hearing back from schools in early January.
By the end of January, most of my friends had multiple graduate school offers.
I didn't hear anything in early Jan. I didn't hear anything in mid-Jan. I didn't hear anything at the end of Jan.
I breathed very little that January.
I didn't even hear from N.C. State, my own undergrad!!
They told me that they don't get to the "international pile" until they had given out offers to the domestics and heard back from some of them.
I had applied to 11 schools.
I had spent well over a thousand dollars on grad school applications.
Application fees were sometimes higher for international students.
And of course, the GRE exams and sending GRE scores cost everyone unreasonable amounts of money.
Below are the schools I applied to and how much it cost in application fees:
⚫ Ohio State - $5 (I knoooow, so nice!)
⚫ Georgia Tech - $50
⚫ Duke University - $75
⚫ University of Chicago - $55
⚫ Boston University - $70
⚫ MIT - $75
⚫ Harvard - $105
⚫ University of Pennsylvania - $70
⚫ Yale - $75
⚫ Cornell - $95
In the month of February, I started hearing back.
They were all rejections.
U Chicago, my friends, was the first to reject me.
They made me log into a system to see this beautiful automated message of rejection while I was in between classes.
Didn't say anything about why. They never tell you why you didn't make the cut.
Some places just don't even get back to you.
I still haven't heard back from UPenn. Can I have my $70 back?
By the middle of February, I was feeling like I was in a long, never-ending nightmare of either not hearing back or getting rejected mercilessly.
When domestic students don't get into graduate school, they can get a job.
I couldn't even do that!
I was on a student visa. I HAD to get into grad school.
Except no one cared and everyone was rejecting me.
Then, one day during class, when I shouldn't have been on my phone checking my email, I got an email from Ohio State.
I ran out and into the nearest bathroom.
I needed to be alone at this moment.
The moment I was finally and for the first time, accepted into a graduate school.
The weeks of rejection prior to this moment had taught me to see the larger picture.
I will forever be grateful for the conversations and rants with my friends and family during those weeks.
Their support meant everything 💗
My DREAM had come true! My dream of pursuing research, in physics, as an international student in the United States of America.
Ohio State didn't invite me to their prospective grad student open house because, again, I was in the "international pile."
International students don't get flown in from their international locations.
But I was in America! And, had learned a thing or two about chasing the American dream.
I wrote to them inviting myself, and they agreed.
After that, I got into a couple other schools: Georgia Tech and NC State (finally!)
I visited Georgia Tech - a lovely visit except one professor made a sexist comment.
NC State is where I went for undergrad and the recommendation is usually to go someplace other than your undergrad.
Ohio State was my best offer and the best visit experience.
It was also the school with the biggest physics department and the most options for me.
So, that is where I decided to go.
The schools that rejected me also spared me the shenanigans associated with those schools.
For that, I am thankful.
I have heard that some grad programs are weed out programs.
They don't care whether you will succeed or not and they accept more students than they can handle on purpose.
Relatively, Ohio State seemed and did turn out to be great.
Got questions on grad school applications?
Share them below!
I'd love to hear any comments or questions so please make sure to post them here :) and I will get back to you!
You can also find more posts on grad school applications if you click on the "grad school applications" label on the right sidebar here -->
And remember, you need to get into only ONE school to go to grad school.
No school is perfect.
Opportunities are what you make of them.
So, leave those rejections in the past where they belong.
P.S. It seems I was asked to submit a separate research experience section at one of the schools and I submitted the below.
Again, post below if you have any questions regarding your research statement or SOP!