The Literary Salon

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Location: Toronto, now Ottawa, Ont, Canada

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dat's Whack!

So I'm just about finished my applications, and I thought maybe, as a last choice, I should apply to one of the schools in my province. I'm already applying to Queen's and U Toronto, both excellent institutions, but I thought I'd apply to one more to hedge my bets. I settled on University of Western Ontario and University of Ottawa. I emailed a prof at the former with my customary introduction along the lines of "Hi, I'm Arby. Here are my interests, I would be interested in working with you...". Until now, I've received nothing but kind and positive replies.
Today, I receive an email from someone I'd never heard of: turns out he's the Grad English chair at Western. The prof I had written to forwarded her message to the chair. This makes sense because I had asked one or two things about cutoffs, etc, but the rest was addressed to the original professor. In the end, I got the impression from the chair that what I had done was somehow amiss and frowned upon! I won't quote the entire email, but here are the more mind boggling parts:

"While seeking to enlist a supervisor's interest in advance is permissible, it
would be advisable to do so on the basis of rather more concrete and clearly
articulated plans. And an expression of favourable interest from a possible
supervisor in no way puts an applicant on any "inside track" for entry to the
program. I hope that this information is helpful as you consider your options
and I thank you for your interest in our program. We shall review your
application in due course. In the meantime, please consider this correspondence
as closed."

A rather negative response for something so innocuous and, in fact, recommended! Does this make any sense? No wonder I'd heard weird things about Western. This left an unexpectedly bad taste in my mouth and I don't think I'll waste my time or money on them, especially when bigger and better schools have been more encouraging.

3 Comments:

Blogger Dr J said...

It's possible UWO's deadline for applications has already passed, and the Chair is thinking you were trying to grease a wheel. Even still, this is an incredibly rude email, and worthy of disdain. Treat it accordingly.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Pious Labours said...

Dr J, you're right on, except that their deadline is February 1 (I am positive). I always knew UWO was kinda weird, but this is just the nail in the coffin as far as I'm concerned. Honestly, who do they think they are? Top schools like U Penn don't do this. I guess I should thank the chair, because now they are getting nothing from me.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous zelda said...

i agree with jer. incredibly rude! you did nothing wrong in contacting supervisors and checking out their interests and availability. i'm glad you're not applying there now!

6:16 AM  

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