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How Your Application Is Reviewed

The process of reviewing applications varies significantly from university to university, and from program to program.

  • Some large programs will receive hundreds of applications, which might be reviewed initially by a committee that will “triage” the applications and make an initial cut. In smaller programs, all applications might be reviewed by all members of the admissions committee.
  • The admissions committee will include faculty and might also include staff and/or graduate students.
  • You as the applicant will likely not receive an update on the process. You might be notified if a part of your application is missing, but you can’t count on this. You’ll need to make sure that all parts have been submitted by the deadlines.
  • If you are offered admission, the financial package might come together or separately.

If you are offered admission, note that almost all universities follow the CGS (Council of Graduate Schools) resolution deadline of April 15. This means that you are under no obligation to respond to offers prior to April 15, and graduate programs should not pressure you to respond before April 15. However, they might request you to give a response earlier if you have already made your decision, so that they can make decisions and notify other applicants on their wait list. (Further information about this deadline is provided in the link.)

If you are notified of being placed on a wait list for a highly desired graduate program, it’ll be important to stay in communication with the graduate program and to be responsive to their communications. Most (but not all) programs will provide their final decision by the April 15 deadline. As grad programs might be making final decisions right up to and occasionally after April 15, stay in close communication with key contacts at the graduate programs.

If you have made your final decision whether to accept or decline an admissions offer well before April 15, please be considerate of those on the wait list by notifying the graduate program of your decision.