*Just a note; I’m posting again today since the blog is so new, but from now on, I’m going to post regularly every week, Friday afternoons or Saturday mornings. I’ll post a new survey then too.
Getting into grad school is competitive. Here is a list of solid excuses;
- In a bad economy, more people want to go back to school.
- It’s a different time than a generation ago when even a BA was considered “optional” and could really put you above the pack.
- My dog ate my good application (note; you may need to actually own a dog to pull this one off)
- Creative Writing MFA programs are the definition of subjective when it comes to accepting applicants. Though you have to submit undergraduate transcripts, statements of purpose, GRE scores, it really all comes down to whether a mysterious panel of shadowy writing critics likes your twenty-something pages of sample writing.
- El Nino
I turned to each of these while applying to grad schools during my first go-around—GradAp 1.0. I casually rattled off these excuses to folks in an effort to justify my future rejections to them, and to a lesser extent, to cushion the blow of any such rejections for myself. They were my series of strategically placed safety nets, but safety nets that I never anticipated on needing. Because honestly, after putting in all of that work, all of that time and planning, does anyone actually believe that it will be all for naught? When applying does anyone actually think, “Wow, I’m sure glad I’m getting in all of this great application practice, gee golly! It’ll sure be real helpful for next time, gosh,”? Of course not! To paraphrase my Little League coach from fifth grade, “You play to win! Now run out to my car and find me my cigarettes!”
|You did not want to not find Coach Lundy's cigarettes|
I applied to nine schools—nine! I might have talked a humble game, but I always expected that I’d get into one of them. Actually, I thought I’d get into three. Three felt about right. Three was a nice, workable divisor of nine that would reward 33.3% of my hard work while giving me some options. Three was acceptable.
Zero was reality. By April I had been outright rejected by seven schools, and waitlisted by two, which would later kick me off of the waitlist lifeboat. Apparently the rightful passengers of the S.S. Grad School 2011 Fall Class were ready to embark and it would be just peachy if I’d be so kind as to let go and sink to the bottom of the ocean. Aha, not so fast Titanic fans, I said “lifeboat” not arbitrary floating door, or dresser—chifferobe maybe?—anyway, it is not a comparison to Leo’s big drowning scene, although I have to admit, I can emphasize.
|Seriously, is it like a kitchen table or part of the ship's dance floor? What the hell are they floating on!?|
When I was applying to college, I applied to five schools and got into four of them. The only school that I didn’t get into was due to the fact that my guidance counselor forgot to submit my high school transcript—you know, you duct tape just one teacher’s kid to a tree and you’re paying for it for the rest of your life. Despite my humble pie demeanor and all of my half-assed mental preparation, I was decidedly unprepared for such rejection. Maybe I should have been. Thank God for Little League and the opposite sex, to this day, still my best references for rejection.
Ultimately, these well-crafted excuses cut it just about as well as my applications did. They might pacify others, but I still feel the same with or without them. GradAp 2.0 has got a long way to go… dum, dum, dum!
Since I can't post a new survey until Saturday, feel free to post your own solid excuses for rejection that I can keep in my back pocket for next time, just in case.