Wednesday, January 31, 2007

my missing package...

... well, is still missing. One more days to the deadline. Will it or will it not make it to the graduate admission office?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

1st interviewed completed

Just completed a phone discussion with a Prof from UT @ Austin (B-1). The discussion was a friendly one, centered around our respective research interests. I can see some relevance and match between our interests. I was also briefed about the application, funding and assistantship process, as well as the research culture in the school.

Overall, it was a good discussion and ended quite positively. The information gathered in today's session would be brought up to the ad comm. I still have to wait a few weeks before I get to hear the final decision. But it is good to know that I'm at least on the shortlist.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

rejection letter

So I received my first rejection letter....

... for a post-graduate scholarship that I applied to.

I wasn't very hopeful to start with so this rejection doesn't hurt that much. Nevertheless, the extra money would have been handy.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

unfolding of my waiting season

To keep track of the events during this waiting season.

Jan 25 - Received an interview request from a UT @ Austin [B-1].
Jan 30 - Phone interview with UT @ Austin completed.
Feb 27 - Received an interview request from a Tier A school [A-1].
Feb 28 - Phone interview with A-1 completed.
Mar 2 - Dinged from Wharton (Operations & Information Management) [A-2]
Mar 9 - Face-to-face meeting with A-1.
Mar 14 - Offered received from A-1.
Mar 24 - Dinged from MIT (Information Technologies) [A-4]
Apr 12 - Dinged from NYU (Information Systems) [A-3]

1st interview invite

Just receive an email from a Prof at UT @ Austin (a Tier B school that I'm applying to). The Prof wishes to further discuss my application and interest. Cool...

Anyway, just to say something about my application for this school. I didn't make any contact with any prof from this school before/during my application. I didn't mention any prof's name in my SOP. I know no one or have no connection with anyone from this school. Yet I still get an interview.

So it challenges the conventional wisdom (which I used to have) that you must/should contact potential advisors or mention profs' names in SOP when applying. Should I get rejected, I believe it has nothing to do with what I didn't do in my application but more with how the school assesses my research potential.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

last application package - missing?

On Jan 10, I mailed out the application package containing my letter of recommendations, official transcripts, etc, to the last school that I'm applying to (U of Maryland). It should take around 12 days for the package to be delivered.

But 13 days have passed and I can't even find a record of my package in the postal service's online tracker. (For the other schools that I applied to earlier, the packages usually were delivered within 10 days.) So I'm a little concern now. What if the package is lost? The deadline is Feb 1. I don't think I would have sufficient time to get my recommenders to submit another recommendation or get another transcript for the school.

All I can do now is to pray....

"Pray continually" 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Beautiful Vietnam

I'm in Vietnam for a few days, hence would not be doing much posting for the time being. A good and well-deserved break after completing the last application.... helps to take my mind off the whole PhD thingy for a while (although I have just logged on to the various schools' systems to check the app status.. haha...)

Friday, January 12, 2007

application process - completed

Yes! I have sent out the very last application package (to a Tier B school). With this, I have completed my application process. A summary of what have been done, spent and achieved.

# of schools applied to: 7
First school applied on: Oct 4, 2006
Last school applied on: Jan 12, 2007

Financial damages

Amount spent: US$1,200+.
Inclusive of tests scores, application fees, postage charges, transcripts, and bank charges. Excluding prep materials (estimated to be around US$40), and value of time spent.

Statement of Purpose/Essays/Personal Statement
First SOP mastercopy draft: Jan 5, 2006
Last SOP mastercopy draft: Oct 14, 2006
Total duration: 9+ months

First customized essay draft: Aug 14, 2006
Last customized essay draft: Jan 12, 2007
Total duration: almost 5 months

Letters of Recommendation

First request made to recommender: July 28, 2006
First recommendation received: Aug 7, 2006
Last recommendation received: Nov 2, 2006

Faculty Contacts
# of faculty contacted: about 10
# of positive responses: 2
# of negative responses: 1
# of slient: about 7

Thursday, January 11, 2007

contacting profs again...

I started to contact more professors a few days ago. Yes, I know it is a bit late, but I thought what harm would it make? So I emailed to 3 professors, and I'm glad that one of them, Prof L, replied quite positively. We are now having a good discussion pertaining to the research that I'm keen to do.

The good thing is that I have not submitted the personal statement for the school where Prof L is in. Hence I have some time to factor in our discussion into the essay.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Conversation with Prof C

I reignited an email exchange that I have had with a prof (Prof C) from one of the school that I'm applying to. While I have sent my CV and research interest to Prof C earlier, I have not received any constructive feedback with regards to my application or interest. The email exchange has been courteous but lacks an in-depth discussion.

But the situtation changed after I emailed the Prof again yesterday. I decided to email Prof C again. I mentioned a specific paper that the Prof C has published and suggested how we could extend the approach. The next few emails that followed focus more on the suggestion. The tone was friendly and positive. Although Prof C still did not mention anything about my chances or application, nevertheless I'm much more encouraged.

Note to myself: This is the 50th post.

Friday, January 05, 2007

emailing professors

Today is the deadline one of the school. Next week there will be 2 other deadlines. I have already made the submissions for these schools so I'm quite cool. Anxiously waiting to hear something from the schools, but still quite cool.

I'm always amazed when I read of others' successes in contacting Profs in the schools that they are applying to. One chap posted "for some of the applications i made, i did write to professor in the department before applying - introducing myself and my interests and asking whether these match their research interests... i got some positive replies..." (italic added.)

Another emailed 13 Profs and received 10 replies. In another forum, someone posted "I am very surprised that a lot of people have not contacted the professors that they want to work with. All of the professors that I have talked with have said that they are shocked, every year, on the number of people who have applied to their department and have either not listed any potential faculty or have listed faculty but haven't contacted any of them."

For me, of the few contacts that I tried to made, I only received replies from ONE Prof. And over the last few months, our email exchange still has not touched on research fit or my chances, etc. So you can guess how I'm feeling after reading those postings above. Now with the deadlines passed or closing in, there isn't much that I can do beside waiting, hoping and praying.

4 more months to go...