Post # 1
I applied to a graduate program a few months ago, and have been very anxious because I hadn’t heard anything back yet.
I am currently unemployed (searching desperately) so it was really difficult to even apply. The application fee was $65 and I had to have 2 transcripts sent from each college I have credits from, which amounted to $80 (4 schools at $10 each). The program I applied for did not require test scores (GRE or GMAT).
Yesterday I received a letter in the mail that said they have not received my transcripts AND since my undergrad GPA is low (below 3.5) they DO want me to submit test scores. I’ve been on the phone with many people since then trying to locate my transcripts. I had them sent months ago (early May), so they’ve had plenty of time to get there. No luck. Since they were from 4 different schools, I know ALL of them could NOT have gotten lost…but no one seems to have them.
As for the GRE – I have not studied for it at all and classes start August 19, so I have to get the scores in before then (with enough time to process my application). Plus that’s another $160 that I don’t have…and I may not even do well on the test since there’s virtually no time left to study.
Then, if I can’t get my test scores in enough time I won’t be eligible for fall admission, which means I’m out the $65 for the application fee.
I know a lot of this was complaining about money, but it makes me sick to think the fees I paid could be wasted and I won’t even be applied – when I could really use that money right now.
Post # 3
The GRE has a fee reduction program that you might want to look into (http://www.ets.org/gre/general/about/fees/reductions/). With respect to studying for the GRE, you should take a look at your local library; oftentimes they have copies of test books you can check out. If not, you can do self-studying online at http://www.number2.com/. Good luck!
Post # 4
@cares: Thank you for those resources! I appreciate it!
Post # 5
@cares: YOu are correct , for my graduate courses I had a fee waiver not sure if it covered a portion of the fee or not however it was due to financial hardship that I had to prove with paystubs etc.
I second your advice on library since they have GRE books that many community members never check out, I donated all my college course textbooks to them so that if any student ever applied to my same college they could get it for free. The books were over $500 .
Post # 6
I know they are rewriting the GRE, and I heard from someone if you take it in August before the revised one comes out, the price is half off?
Post # 7
If you’re able to go and ask to see your file. It’s happened to me and I’ve seen it happen to other people at different universities. They claim they are missing a transcript/reference letter/some paperwork. You send another, the same thing happens. You ask to see your file, there are both copies!
Post # 8
I used to work in an admissions office, so here is my advice based on how our office ran: If you request more transcripts, I would have them sent to your home address. Do not open them though! Then, if you can, hand deliver them to the admissions office, or mail them with delivery confirmation (yes, this is expensive, but less expensive than requesting new transcripts). As long as the envelopes are unopened, it should not matter who they are addressed to. Are there any other names your transcripts might have been filed under? It’s usually undergrad student workers who file the stuff as it comes in, so stuff gets mixed up, especially if you have a first name that sounds like a last name, a last name that sounds like a first name, or a hyphenated last name. When resending them (if you can’t hand deliver them), call and confirm the exact address they should be mailed to. A lot of times people would just address stuff to “College XYZ Admissions,” which would go to the undergrad admissions office, instead of “College XYZ Graduate School Admissions.” When people insisted they had sent stuff, we would usually send an email out to the other admissions offices on campus, and sometimes other people would have it. So make sure you send it to the right address!
If you are confident in your letters of recommendation and personal statement, you might be able to ask them to evaluate your application without GRE scores. This is taking a risk, however, because you need everything else to be perfect to outweigh no test scores and a low GPA. I have known some people who got in without taking a GRE even when it was requested, but they were people with years of professional experience in the field and stellar recommendations. Your GRE scores will be good for 5 years, and you don’t have to pay to send them if you put in the grad program’s code when you take them (make sure you have the correct code though…some schools have one code for the whole school, others have a specific code for each department. I would recommend contacting the dept to ask).
Finally, I don’t think it’s worth it to rush taking the GRE, because it is expensive. I would recommend asking the school if they can delay your application to admission for the spring semester (starting January 2012). Not every school offers admission on a semester to semester basis, but if they do, you are better off doing that than rushing to apply. They should be able to just change the semester on your application, and not charge you a new application fee. (again, this is my experience, but every school runs their admissions differently)
Post # 9
In all honesty, it sounds like you fumbled the process. As someone who has gone to grad school, and then sat on the other side of things helping with admissions of new students, it would appear to the committee that someone who submitted an incomplete file, had a low GPA, and had not taken the GRE wayyyyy late in the game either doesn’t care enough or is not organized enough to handle a graduate program.
Applying to a school is about putting you best, most responsible foot forward. If the $65 is such a big deal, why did you not have all your ducks in a row – early – then? Most grad schools that start programs in the fall in the USA have March deadlines and students are required to give notice as to whether they accept or not by the end of May. It is a pact amongst the school in the entire country to keep things like this from happening. The fact that it is almost August really makes me wonder what kind of program you are applying to, and whether it is reputable?
Post # 10
@crayfish: In the OP’s defense, it varies a lot between different types of graduate programs. Yes, PhD programs usually have early deadlines and binding decisions as of April. But I used to work in the admissions office of a top-10 Library Science masters program, and they accepted applications until the class was full. If the OP is applying to a terminal degree program, my understanding is that they tend to have more of a rolling admissions style, rather than the hard deadlines.
Post # 11
@crayfish: I can see how it would appear to the committe that I was disorganized.
The application deadline was July 1; I submitted mine the first week of June and sent transcripts in early May. I’ve called several times to check the status of my application and I’ve just been told to sign in and check online (which really told me nothing). Before applying I even asked about GRE scores…and what a “low” GPA would be. All I could find out was that that a low GPA is typically considered a 3.0 or below.
My undergrad GPA is a 3.4, so I might could get away with not taking it, but I’m on the extremely low end of the spectrum of course.
The school is definitely reputable, and pretty well known.
@Leprechaun: Thank you so much for the information. I think I will ask about delaying my application to the spring semester.