Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Are grad schools typically on time with acceptance or rejection notification?

notrichenoughnotrichenough Registered User Posts: 8,793 Senior Member
DD has applied to grad school at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

She submitted her application months ago (December I think). First they told her they would have decisions by March 1, that came and went and she heard nothing. After emailing them multiple times they told her she was deferred to a second round of admissions and would hear by May 1.

Well, May 1 has come and gone and she heard nothing. After contacting them several times, they finally told her they "would know her application status today", but who knows if they will follow through.

Is this normal behavior for a grad school?

She feels like they are stringing her along for some reason (maybe waiting to see how many Canadians get into the program?) and can't get an answer out of them, and is aggravated to the point where she isn't sure she even wants to go there any more.

Comments or advice?

Replies to: Are grad schools typically on time with acceptance or rejection notification?

  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,572 Senior Member
    What is typical is immaterial. What matters is whether or not this slow process is indicative of something else going on there. Does she know anyone at Simon Fraser who can tell her if this is normal for them?
  • PCHopePCHope Registered User Posts: 494 Member
    Grad admission is largely faculty driven. If an applicant is not particularly “desirable” for the program or faculty member(s) in related subfideld(s), but is generally good enough, they will be put on the back burner. It is frustrating but ...
  • notrichenoughnotrichenough Registered User Posts: 8,793 Senior Member
    No, she doesn't know anyone there. Their web site gives no clues about the process (there was nothing on there about a "second round of admissions" for example), the contacts listed for the program she is trying to get into are terrible about getting back when you contact them.

    The whole thing is a bit off-putting, I think she was expecting a little more responsiveness, certainly her undergraduate experience had schools all being a bit more attentive. None of us have any experience with grad school, though, so we aren't sure if this is normal, or if SFU is dropping the ball. It's frustrating DD, and she vents to me. :-/
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,747 Senior Member
    One of my lot went through this process last year. The responses times were all over the map, with a spread of nearly 6 months between the first and last responses. The experience was the same with her pals applying to programs in other subjects. Even the same university varied hugely in responses across departments (with 3-4 month spread between the first department in a given university to respond and the last)

    As @PCHope pointed out, grad school decisions are much less structured and more faculty driven than undergrad. The numbers are smaller and the fit matters more. They are also way less punctual than they expect their students to be!

    My guess is that, as @PCHope said, she 'qualified' but was not in the top tier. April is a big visit month, and they are probably waiting to see who commits and who doesn't- an informal waiting list. The process is famously opaque.
  • MandalorianMandalorian Registered User Posts: 1,754 Senior Member
    Call the department directly, skip e-mail.
  • xraymancsxraymancs Forum Champion Graduate School Posts: 4,582 Forum Champion
    Is this a PhD program or a MS program. if the former, then this university likely has a policy of not making admissions unless they can offer financial support. This means that your DD is not in the pool that is rejected immediately but not at the top of the list for financial aid. Given the usual time frames for offers in early March and a second round in late April (at least in the US), it is probable that she was not selected in the second round. Did she apply elsewhere?
  • notrichenoughnotrichenough Registered User Posts: 8,793 Senior Member
    It's an MS program.

    This school has a very specific program that is not offered by many schools, so she only applied to one.

    They finally waitlisted her.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,747 Senior Member
    Thanks for the update, @notrichenough. I'm sorry that the outcome wasn't more positive, but wishing her the best for clearing the waitlist.

    (also, apologies: @xraymancs asked the question I should have asked- was assuming that you meant PhD)
  • notrichenoughnotrichenough Registered User Posts: 8,793 Senior Member
    Part of the drama is that she had to make a decision about committing to an apartment here for another year, and the delays were driving her nuts.

    Not sure if she would take a spot off the waitlist at this point, but who knows.

    Thanks for all your collective wisdom!
This discussion has been closed.