The last time my phone battery drained this quickly was in the Spring of 2013 when I was waiting for the admissions decision from the undergraduate admissions department for NYU.
Since September, I have been compulsively refreshing the postgraduate admissions pages and waiting for the application portals to open. For some god forsaken reason, the date for when this will occur is not uniformly published among universities. While sometime in August, the University of Cambridge put me out of my misery and published release date (the fateful September 3) others did not, leaving me frustrated, impatient, and much too keen.
I scoured the internet for answers, taking to the student room, college confidential, and reddit, but I could not find any reliable information. Even when I did come across hard dates, most of them were in regards to undergraduate programs.
It puzzles me why universities will not simply publish the dates for when the application portals will open. Surely that would be most helpful to all parties involved. They most certainly know what that date is: I imagine it was decided upon months ago. What possible benefit could there be to keeping it a secret.
Is it a SEO ploy to get more traffic to their website? Is it simply a cruel joke to annoy overly eager applicants? Do they actually not know and are making things up as they go along? Who knows! I don’t…
Even the few universities who did happen to publish the open date did not manage to stay consistent with it. The University of St Andrews declared that applications would open on September 3, and you are right in thinking that the moment that date came around, I was on that page, personal statement already written, ready to start and submit my application.
To my shock and horror, the application portal was in fact not open. At first I thought there was an error with my computer. I did all the things my IT professional father taught me. I refreshed the page. I exited out of the browser and opened it again. I tried pulling the page up in a different browser. I cleared the cache on my computer. I turned the computer off and on again. Nothing worked, and I realized that, despite what the university had written on the website, the application was simply not open yet.
I felt cheated and lied to. How could they betray my trust? I had impatiently patiently waited for the application to open, counting down the seconds (literally, I created a countdown timer for it) to when the moment would arrive. Now the time was here, but I would reap no reward.
Eventually the portal did open… More than a week later… I was not impressed, but thankful that at least I could begin my applications.
As I am writing this post, I have currently started four of the nine application I plan to submit. So far, the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and the University of St Andrews have opened their applications, all of which had opened (or at least said they were supposed to open – I’m looking at you St Andrews) on September 3. The University of Edinburgh just recently opened their application (I am not sure of the exact date, but by October 3 they were open).
Hopefully the applications for the London School of Economics and Political Science and Sciences Po will open soon. London School of Economics and Political Science have declared that applications will open on October 8 and Sciences Po have given the auspicious date of “mid October.”
I will keep you, dear reader, posted on the status of these applications. At the very least, I hope that my obsessions over the release date (and my publication of them) will help one other impatient applicants in future application cycles.
The Travel Smith