Blogger Prof-like Substance writes about what he calls "the admissions dance" wherein graduate students are accepted to, and placed within, a group in his department. At his university, the faculty employs a "mixture of our own recruiting," and interviews a subset of program applicants as well. He writes that he prefers this system over other departments' use of rotation programs — in which admitted students rotate among labs "to figure out where they want to do their degree" — though both rely on intricate, time-sensitive communication between the institution and the potential student. When he evaluates candidates, he says, he takes into account the likelihood that the student — if accepted — would actually attend. "This is critical because once you extend a letter of acceptance through the grad school, the ball is in the student's court," he writes. He says that while it would be ideal that the accepted student decide to join the lab straightaway and decline all others they've applied to, generally candidates take their time in making a final decision. In the meantime, he's "left stringing the other [potential] students along, not wanting to tell them that they are not my first choice while hoping not to lose them right away to other labs," he writes, adding that "if my first choice declines I need to have a pool to go back to, which is why timing is critical and why the pool can quickly dry up if the accepted student delays too long."
Navigating 'The Admissions Dance' From the Faculty Perspective
Apr 09, 2010