I know very few processes that have the same level of stress, anxiety and anticipation as the process of applying to an academic program. To individuals that desire to pursue education, an admissions decision is a big deal. The decision of an admissions committee (or a program coordinator) can alter the outcome of a person’s life. That one little decision makes all the difference. Neither decision is particularly bad, admitted or not admitted, it doesn’t seem to matter, but they have a profound impact on a person’s life. Being not admitted to a program that an individual is a good match for and being admitted to a program that an individual has no chance of success in are equally bad outcomes. It is possible for dreams to be crushed, but it is also possible for people to discover what their potential truly is and perhaps think outside of their comfort zone. To the applicant all that matters is acceptance. Everyone wants to be accepted, in some form or another.
I am presently more nervous than I have been since I began the application process. My application to Cognitive Science has been decided. All I know about it at the moment is that my application’s status is “DECISION MADE”. No further information is available. This is where the torture begins. I am informed by the graduate school that the decision letter will be release in the next 24 hours. The decision letter contains the actual answer to whether or not I am admitted. If I am accepted, it will also contain an offer of admission, which I must accept or decline (if I’m accepted, there is only one possible response to that question). There is just something extremely torturous about knowing that the decision has been made, but having absolutely no access to that information.