It's been over two months since I sent off my last Ph.D. program application. Somewhere in all the vast information I scoured during the application process, I saw that a few schools promised to inform applicants of an admissions decision by no later than March 15th. Tomorrow is March 15th, and of the five schools to which I've applied, two have yet to respond to my application.
As you may be able to guess from the fact that I have not posted about the three responses that I have received, nobody has admitted me thus far. I received an email from Indiana University-Bloomington a while back letting me know that I didn't make it, that the applicant pool was unusually strong this year and they couldn't admit as many people as they would like to have done. Nevertheless, they wish me the best in my future endeavors. (This is basically the exact same message I remember receiving from those schools that rejected me back when I was applying to master's programs. It's probably true every time they say it, but I can't help feeling that it smacks of insincerity when the message never changes.) Then, this Monday (Tuesday?) I received an email from Cornell University. Again, though they appreciate the time I put into my application, they were not able to admit me at this time. And on Wednesday, it having been a few days since I'd checked our postal mailbox, I got a letter from the University of Notre Dame. They trust I'll make it into a program of my choice -- just not theirs. They also wish me the best.
In some regards, it can be relieving to hear back from schools, even when they're rejecting you. At least it puts an end to the waiting and wondering, as far as those particular programs are concerned. Sadly, I don't feel all that relieved to hear back from these three schools because they are the schools I didn't really expect to get into. The other two are the ones that have me biting my nails. (As a reminder, I also applied to University of California-Riverside, which is basically my dream program of the moment, and Florida State University, which would theoretically be the "easiest" program to get into of those to which I applied.) I've been hoping that this week I would find out one way or the other, but as today drew to a close, I realized that the March 15th decision day (D-day!) I've had in my head for two months now may not apply to these two remaining programs. So I looked up their respective websites and quickly perused all of the available online information. Neither school promises to let the applicants know by March 15th. At least not that I can see.
Apparently all the emotional energy I've invested into making it until March 15th isn't going to be enough. For all I know, it'll take another few weeks before I'll hear anything. I hope not. But as they say, hope is for horses. (Is that what they say? Well, close enough.) Granted, I'm writing this on March 14th, but I guess I'm not all that convinced that I'll be hearing back from someone on a Saturday. They all have better things to do, I'm sure. And, truth be told, I've largely (though not entirely) written off the idea of getting in somewhere. In my head, I'll be staying in Atlanta, hoping to a get a visiting instructorship at my current school, and then repeating this mess again for next year--hopefully with greater success, which I guess would be any success, really. As I may have mentioned before, my applications were not of the caliber I had originally intended them to be, mainly because I spent the bulk of last semester on my back due to my crushed heel bone. So I really do think I'll be a much better applicant next time around. Heck, maybe I'd even get into Cornell or Notre Dame. But really, I can't help hoping there won't be a next time as far as Ph.D. applications go. I do hope to get in somewhere. We'll see...