Monday, March 7, 2011

More on Admissions Decisions--and What Departments Can Do to Help

An interesting comment about graduate admission committees. Found on Leiter.

Anthony Laden (Illinois/Chicago) writes:
As the chair of an Admissions committee, I would like to second (or third) Keith DeRose's suggestion that prospective graduate students  communicate their decisions as they make them to the relevant departments.  It does help everyone else out, especially one's fellow applicants.  But I think the problem with the current system may be as much the fault of departments as of students.  Departments can help improve matters by doing a timely job of communicating rejections to students.  As with hiring, I think we are all better and more timely in saying yes to people than saying no, and the result is that many students who have been rejected from programs to which they have applied do not know that in a timely manner, and so are hindered from making the very decisions we would like them to be making.  I have been wondering whether it might be a good idea to have a kind of centralized place in the profession (here, perhaps), where departments that have made their admissions decisions could post that they have done so.  That way, students who have not yet heard from certain schools could find out what that means.  (For what it's worth, UIC has made our decisions, and sent out both yes and no letters.)
I am opening comments here, per Professor Laden's suggestion.   Signed comments only, from faculty members involved with PhD admissions.  Thanks.

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