Friday, November 09, 2007

Slightly less active waiting

My application materials for the Master's program are now completely submitted. After applying online on October 4th, then sending in my essay on the 22nd, which was also the second day of the big fires and the beginning of a week when all the universities and some of the postal service were shut down for the duration, I found out in the last week of October that my home university had not yet sent the transcript of my BSc degree. Considering that the transcript serves as proof of possession of a bachelor's degree, and that the final application deadline was Nov 1st...I was a bit freaked out by this news. The transcript was "missing some information from the department", and the department had been contacted, but had not responded. For two weeks. There followed a few emails back and forth with the registrar's office in London (each with a one-day turnaround because of the time difference), some fingernail biting on my part, several slightly frantic calls to San Diego State to find out if they could at least LOOK at my application while waiting for the transcript to arrive, a short break to gnaw on the furniture in frustration and, finally, (after my mother offered to go to London and beat on the office doors herself) one phone call to my former department in London before it was fixed. Transcript mailed on November 1st, I am told the post mark is the important thing for the deadline, so I was under that wire by the smallest amount possible. I get the distinct impression the registrar's office never thought it important enough to phone for the missing information, just fired an email off into the ether. Once I called my department it was all fixed inside two days.

The day the transcript was mailed I found out that not all of my reference letters had arrived, but nobody could tell me which of the three was missing. The person in charge of those files was on holiday and "nobody else has access". Those tooth marks on the arm of the sofa? No, not Marble, too big, not fangy enough, those were made by an anxious female Homo sapiens sapiens wannabe graduate student. I was about to ask all three referees to re-send when I received a form letter telling me which reference was missing. I called my previous boss and she not only FedExed another copy of the reference, she faxed it and called the admissions office to tell them it was being re-sent. That type of overkill made me want to FedEx her cookies in return.

This morning my online application status page told me that my transcript arrived. Just when I was starting to think about lost-in-the-mail scenarios. The woman in charge of admissions returns next week, she of the magical one-woman access to the files. I don't know when I can reasonably expect to hear if I have been accepted or not, the session starts at the end of January next year, so it can't be that long before they send out acceptance letters...unless they like to keep things exciting and only notify students mere days before their graduate program begins. Which would fit with the way things have been going. So now I wait. At least now I am no longer waiting while expending my limited psychic powers willing strangers in offices in London to get off their arses and produce paperwork for me.

I hear massive cat battles going on in the living room, it must be dinner time for the felines. Tali has taken to chasing Marble about when he's hungry, she growls and makes a lot of noise when he does it, so it gets my attention. Little brat boy. He tried to run off with a half-knitted sock earlier this evening. He looked very cute hopping off the sofa with it in his mouth, needles and all, but I had to scold him, I don't want him thinking it's ok to nick my knitting.


Stace said...

Don't stress too much! My husband applied for a job in February 2006, and was advised in late September 2007 that he was to start early October! These things happen :)

Loth said...

Gah! How infuriating! I was about to say that at least now all you have to do is wait but that's probably the worst part, isn't it? I will keep my digits crossed for you.

K said...

Well... in my experience of applying for postgrad stuff, it is entirely possible they WILL wait to tell you whether you've got in until the last possible moment. At least you're prepared for that eventuality.

On the other hand, from my experience of processing applications, certainly Edinburgh University is not as rigid about application deadlines as it says it is: the course organisers just sound tough about them because they don't want forms to keep trickling in for weeks after the deadline has passed.

In actual fact they'll accept applications for quite a few days after, and they understand about referees that don't submit letters when they say they will (and so forth). I would imagine most universities are fairly human in that regard.

So I wouldn't worry too much.

It does make it so much more stressful trying to do this across continents, though. I sympathise!

Rosemary Grace said...

I have definitely got the impression that they are not as strict about that deadline as I thought, especially since the woman in charge of admissions to this program took a two week holiday starting on the deadline date!

Stace, that's an insane wait for a job! Had your husband totally forgotten he'd even applied?

Stace said...

Nah, there was a whole lot of additional interviews and tests in the meantime. But he'd more or less given up hope before they told him he'd got it!