SuperFuckingRockStarHolyShit program, which was #1 on my list, rejected me. It is a top 5 program in the world, I can accept that decision as unhappy as I may be that it appears I didn't make it past round 2 cuts.
Today I got a rejection letter from WhoGivesAShitMarginalProgramInAwesomeClimate school. WTF? It is much less competitive than program #4, and is not even ranked on my list. It's well-known for other psych fields, but not so much for social. I chose to apply only because of the faculty members there.
None of this makes any sense. I could see if I had an application with some weaknesses, but other than my only slightly better than average GRE quant score, my application is fucking stellar. My personal statements are awesome. I did heavy research on every single faculty member I applied to work with, the department/program requirements and courses, etc.
Here's one thing I noticed that I hope someone, somewhere out there can enlighten me about - why do applications ask for the other schools you're applying to? Can that information be used against me? Allow me to use some examples to show you what I'm thinking:
#1 - A faculty member at school #2 really, really wants a particular applicant, but is nervous that the applicant will choose to go somewhere else instead. So they look at the application listing of the other schools the student is applying to, call faculty friends there, and try to persuade them to reject this applicant in order to increase the chances that this student will choose their program. Does this happen? I don't know.....can someone confirm or deny?
#2 - A program has one slot left to fill and two equally good applicants to fill that slot. They look at the other schools these students are applying to, call the other programs and ask whether those students will be accepted. They reject the student who is going to have more options, filling the slot with the student who is more likely to go there. Does this happen? I don't know......can someone confirm or deny?
Yes, I know it sounds incredibly arrogant of me to be coming up with conspiracy theories to explain my rejections. But after the recent post over at FemaleScienceProfessor about accepting desired students' spouses/partners in order to get the desired student, I feel like this stuff isn't that far of a stretch.
And really, the fact that I was asked to list all my applications for all of these programs has bugged the shit out of me since long before decisions started rolling in.
I mean, WTF else could they be using that information for?