Monday, January 11, 2010

I Don't Know How to Feel Right Now

I just got this email from HDS:

Thank you very much for your interest in Harvard Divinity School (HDS). Our records indicate that you have begun an application to HDS this year. I'm writing to inform you that the Admissions Committee has decided to extend our masters programs application deadline to February 1, 2010.

Over the course of the last few weeks the Office of Admissions has received feedback from a number of our prospective applicants. This feedback has focused primarily on this year's new admissions requirement that all masters programs candidates submit GRE scores. While we made the 2010 admissions requirements available on our website in late summer 2009, we understand that some applicants who have been considering HDS masters programs for a few years were surprised to learn of this requirement as they finalized their applications in the last few weeks. The Admissions Committee has reviewed this feedback in the context of the first year of implementing the GRE requirement, and has decided to offer applicants an extension on the deadline.

If you are scheduled to take the GRE by February 1, 2010, and are able to submit your online application and all other supporting documents by February 1, 2010, the admissions committee will review your application for fall 2010. Remember, HDS does not have a minimum GRE score requirement. Your GRE scores will be considered in the context of the entire application.

Please note that, because the financial aid application is intended to be submitted with the admissions application, the financial aid application deadline has also been extended to February 1, 2010. I hope that the admissions and financial aid deadline extensions will be helpful as you consider your options for graduate study. Thank you very much for your interest in HDS. We look forward to reviewing your application!

Best regards,
Director of Admissions

I really don't know how to feel right now.  When I received this, I was scrambling to finish my essay in order to have it done by the deadline at midnight tonight, and truly, I could use some more time.  From that angle, I am breathing a sigh of relief. 

On the other hand:
1.  This puts me in a bad position in regard to the GRE.  I didn't retake the GRE in part because I didn't feel there was enough time to take it again with any meaningful difference in the scores.  Now I feel like it will look very bad for me not to take it again, given my lower than desired scores.  On the other hand, I have three other applications that have continued to receive the least of my attention, and I really was counting on being able to turn my attention to them starting this week.  I can't really foresee going back and putting a bunch of time into the GRE again so I can retake by February 1st.

2.  I am also in a bad position, left wondering if I should take advantage of this time or submit and move on.  While I could use the time to finish my essay and further refine my statement of purpose, I don't know whether submitting earlier will put me in a greater position of advantage or whether it is more important to get this writing in better shape.  Of course, the decision is mixed in with the need to focus on my application to the other schools.

3.  Will they also now be notifying accepted students later than the usual mid-March date?  If so, and if I get accepted at YDS, I will be in an unfortunate position in comparing financial aid offers.

4.  Finally, while I appreciate that HDS is responsive to feedback, I really wish this had been announced far earlier.  As someone who was prepared to have everything in on time, and who has been very conscientous throughout this process, I admit that I feel resentful that others are being given an extension.  With all my hand-wringing over my GRE score, I comforted myself in part by saying, "Hey, some people decided not to apply altogether because they were going to have to quickly figure out how to fit the GRE in.  At least I took it." 

Ugh.  I wish I could just feel relief, but the truth is I am irritated.


  1. From my dad, whose comment for some reason didn't show up on my comment moderation page:

    "My comment was that I think you should take the extra time to work on the essay. I think all the applications will sit in a pile until the deadline and they will not care whether yours came in early. I do not think you should attempt the test again. I think it would be too much of a distraction and there is too little time to realistically expect different results. Moreover, their note indicates that the GRE is not a prime factor in admissions. To the extent it plays a role, I think the verbal section is what will count with this admissions committee. I also suspect that your competition will also be, shall we say, "challenged" in the non-verbal areas."

  2. HAHA. Colin thinks people who can talk --- and write --- suck at math. Why, I know perfectly well that two and two often make five. Wut's he talkin' about?

  3. Please write from your heart, about something that you know or you have created like Do not write something that is not what you want, but something you know that will make money.