Graduate School Admission : Applied-6, Rejected-6

Students who had applied for the Fall 2009 semester are starting to know about their admission status. In line with this, I encountered one interesting comment from our reader.

This comment seems to say that the reader had applied for 6 universities in the U.S. and unfortunately got rejection letters from all 6 universities!

After Admission Rejection

It’s common to get rejections from most U.S. schools you have sent the applications to. If proper, adequate homework was not done in selecting schools, this could certainly happen.

Another thing, the comment said – 3 were dream schools and 3 were average schools.

When applying for 6 universities for admission, you will need to understand your strengths and weaknesses and select schools that maximize the chances to get admission.

Almost 100% of the time, the chances of getting graduate school admission at U.S. universities above your league is low. So why do you want to waste money by applying to such improbable schools?

6 Universities

If you are applying for 6 universities, always follow this order:

  • 1 – Ambitious (Dream; Above Average; Above your league)
  • 3 – Schools that fit your profile
  • 2 – Safe (100% chance to get admission)

If you are not willing to waste $100 to $150, you can apply at 3 "Safe" and 3 "Average" universities for good measure.

Apply for More Schools?

You still have time to apply for Fall 2009 semester, there are schools that will accept applications until June 2009 for Fall 2009 classes. So try to submit your application to 2-3 universities.

Once you have prepared all the needed documents, it’s just a matter of time to find the schools that are still accepting applications for master’s degree or graduate school in general.


  1. Ankit on September 1, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    Hi, pls evaluate my profile and let me know to which univs i can apply for 2011 fall.



    B.Tech- 8.3; (Civil Engg.)

    2-International journal papers

    2-presentation (International Level)

    Done training of 15 days at ISRO.


    • sg on December 13, 2011 at 10:10 AM

      Where u joined finally ?I have same profile

  2. Satyabh on April 9, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    HI, i have got admit from :
    1. UT Arlington, MS in EE for fall-10(I-20 Amount- 25000$)
    2. Texas Tech, Ms in EE fall-10 (I-20 Amount-25689$)

    Waiting: 1. Latech, for MS in Molecular Science & Nanotechnology(MSNT), fall-10 (I-20 amount-18322$, plus chance of funding)

    Rejection: CNSE ALBANY(SUNY ALBANY) for MS in Nanoscale Engg,

    Can you suggest me which universities to join, considering research, course work, fee and Funding Chances after going thr.

    Also my VISA has been rejected twice last year for UTA due to Finance Problem.

    Thanx, do reply. Urgent, as i have to prepare for VISA in advance.

    My profile: GRE -1210(Q-790), TOEFL-106, AWA-3.0 B.E-67%, Work ex- Since October 2009.

    • REZA on December 4, 2012 at 11:19 PM

      Rejection from CNSE? why

  3. JATIN KAPOOR on November 3, 2009 at 8:33 AM

    my gre score is 1340(800 q+ 540 v)

    i want 2 do MS in CS

    i have a good sop,recos and have done good projects

    i have shortlisted the foll univs ,pls teel me which in these i have a chance for admission

    university of california -arlington

    university of texas -austin


    University of North Carolina: Chapel Hill

    V tech

    University of Michigan: Ann Arbor

    University of California: Los Angeles

  4. stefani on November 3, 2009 at 4:28 AM

    i am a student doing my 4th yr in biotech and will pass out by next july or august…i wanted to apply for spring 2011…just wanted to know with a 60% and a gre of 1300….wat kinda skools cud i get into?…coz all the counsellors keep hinting at how my academics percentage is low and so gud schools arent possible…dunno wat to think…are applying to skools like georgia tech na ll a few schools that i cud get into…i will work on my SOP and have a gud couple of decent projects…just so i have an idea of my range…thankz alott

  5. Kabigi on September 8, 2009 at 9:33 AM

    I have done TOEFL IBT-And I got 80 scores, but I don't really know which Universities which provide scholarships will accept and when is the deadline and and I don't know if they will demand GRE,could you tell me the Universities which may accept my TOEFL scores please

  6. ken on July 17, 2009 at 2:49 PM

    Admissions is one thing – obtaining admissions with funding is another.

  7. anandh on July 5, 2009 at 3:59 AM

    dear friends,

    i have completed my Master program in Biotechnology with a cgpa 4.88/6.00. GRE scoring 1220 (verbal 540; quants 680; 3.0/6.0). I would like to apply for my PhD program in life sciences for april/may/june intake. I have a year of experience in research. I am preparing for my TOEFL. I would like to know in which of the following universities I will be having a chance of joining…please suggest me

    1) new york university

    2) University of pittsburgh

    3) Iowa state university

    4) university of southern california

    5) Arizona state university

    6) ohio state university

    7) Brown university

    8) University of waterloo

    9) national university of singapore

    10) Mcgilla university canada

    11) simon fraser canada

    friends also tell me if my gre score is good or not… please

    • HSB on July 5, 2009 at 7:33 PM

      1220 is good score to apply for PhD and you have to keep in mind that applying for PhD is much different than applying for Masters program. Consider joining Premium Membership Club, where you will learn the right way to apply for Universities.

      • anandh on July 6, 2009 at 8:41 AM

        dear hsb,

        the deadline for registration is already over. and by now the classes for premium members would have started. what do i do?

    • db on August 4, 2009 at 6:50 PM

      your quant is low.

  8. Ganesh Prasad Neupan on May 22, 2009 at 9:10 PM

    I was wait listed from one university but they informed me that all positions were filled for fall 2009. I want to know about the timeline of filling PhD positions and about waitlisting. I had great hope that i would be contacted because some of them would choose better univ.

  9. k s modi on May 21, 2009 at 7:33 PM

    gre 1390 with 58% in BE this score is ok for vlsi (EE) in usc viterbi

    • HSB on May 22, 2009 at 4:07 AM

      1390 is very good score. Select schools carefully, you can get admission with some form of Aid.

      • db on August 4, 2009 at 6:49 PM

        gre is not everything, your BE score of 58% is low

  10. uday on May 8, 2009 at 3:45 AM

    Hey do u think that a person with 1350 GRE nd 59% b tech can get into stanford ?? plz reply

    • db on July 29, 2009 at 3:56 PM

      This is not Stanford's admissions website. Apply and you will know.

  11. Nipun on May 4, 2009 at 9:41 AM

    Hi everyone !

    I wanna share my sad story here too. I have got a decent profile (I still have the guts to say so !!) ad I had applied to 11 univs in USA for MS in Electrical Engineering. I have received rejects from 10 of them and I am devastated.

    I have GRE = 1430
    GPA = 64 %
    TOEFFL = 108
    1 international publication too
    Got recos from IITD prof, and HOD of my college ad 1 industrial.
    Mybe I went wrong in my SOP but still 10 rejects say a different story. I can't figure out what to do now.

    I applied to MIT, Stanford, UIUC, UMich, Purdue, Princeton, Georgia Tech, UW, Ohio, UCSD.

    • Amy on May 19, 2009 at 8:11 AM

      To Nipun Gupta,

      there's something in your profile that I don't quite get…

      GPA = 64 % ?

      TOEFFL = 108 ?

      you applied to MIT, Stanford, UIUC, UMich, Purdue, Princeton, Georgia Tech, UW, Ohio, UCSD ?

      Where did you do your undergrad at? Why did you need to take TOEFL?

      And is the GPA your overall undergrad GPA throughout 4 years? (my university requires a minimum GPA of 65% to graduate…)

      • Nipun on October 1, 2009 at 12:10 AM

        By GPA, I meant the %age. My university has a percentage system. And, now no worries !

        I am studying at Carnegie Mellon University.

        So, no need to be bogged down guys. Wake up and be a go getter.

        Be Awesome …


  12. Atam on April 23, 2009 at 9:12 PM

    arun really like to know what were the positive things in ur profile that made u through the ambi ones . hope to see u after the exams . gl hf .

  13. Arun on April 23, 2009 at 7:52 PM


    I had a history of 9backlogs (counting the number of attempts made too) and so obviously enough my acads were one of the lowest in my class. I got thru cmu,gatech,jhu for cs. gre score aint all that gr8 either at 1310

    • HSB on April 24, 2009 at 6:04 AM

      I should have typed my full thoughts yesterday. While I was responding to your comment, I had this thought – Getting admit to Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech with 1300 is not considered ambitious, but applying to MIT, Stanford with 1300 is Ultra Ambitious and UT Austin, College Station, UCLA, UC Berkley is Ambitious. For 1300 GAtech, CMU, JHU are schools that suit your profile.

      If someone with GRE Score 900 applied to JHU, GATech will be considered as Ultra Ambitious for them, but definitely not in your case.

    • sharma on September 30, 2009 at 9:42 PM

      You have lots of backlogs man. It will hurt you.

  14. Arun on April 23, 2009 at 7:50 PM


    apply again.. I will put the info which will be helpful to you on a site by june and send the link to u.

  15. Arun on April 23, 2009 at 7:46 PM


    I was not confident of getting thru ambi ones, but wanted to go to a good school and that was the reason for applying to ten schools, else I can apply to just one school right??


    I am currently busy with my semester exams, so kindly excuse me.

    I will be putting up the info and details for 2010 aspirants in june and will post the link here.. Good luck!

  16. Anupam Chugh on April 23, 2009 at 1:31 PM

    Hi Arun, It was me who got rejection from two univ. and no response from other four. I am ambitious. I want to study in a dream university though my GRE score is not too good. I got 1300 in GRE and 109 in TOEFL. But my major drawback was communication. One university gave me offer for research even but I was waiting for other responses too. They asked me to let them know my plans. But busy in work n waiting for other univ., one mnth passed. They sent me letter of rejection.I didn't communicate with professors too not understanding the importance of that. So friends,learn from my case.Don't sit back after applying.If you have any suggestions for me, you are welcome. [email protected]

  17. Arun on April 23, 2009 at 11:34 AM

    I do not support this argument. This would be certainly discouraging to students who are ambitious. I applied to 10 schools for Fall 2009 and the stats are as follows:

    Ultra Ambi – 6 ( Admits from 3, rejects from 3)
    Ambi – 2 (Rejects from both)
    Avg – 1 (Got admit)
    Safe – 1 (Yet to receive decision)

    My 2 cents to students:

    Dream Big, Bigger, Biggest… Work like hell for your application process and it will certainly pay off in unimaginable ways!

    Good luck!

    • Atampreet on April 23, 2009 at 12:45 PM

      Gr8 reply arun sir ,

      I totally agree with you , that one should not limit his applications , you never know what fate has in store for you .

      I am an aspirant for fall 2010 batch .

      You said you got admits from three ultra ambi ones . I am really curious to know where they actually ambi ones or you are just being modest about your ambi profile ..

      So can you post a link to your profile (May be on Edulix if u hav one or ur homepage kinda ).and which are all the unis you applied and got through .. That ll certainly help sir ..

      Waiting for ur response . and btw congrats for your admits .

      Atam .

      Once again

    • HSB on April 23, 2009 at 5:44 PM

      Arun – can you define Ultra and Ambitious with you profile? If someone with GRE Score 900 applying to schools that require 1400 is Ultra Ambitious, provided other academic credentials are in below average.
      So, schools that you can consider as ambitious will not be the same as schools others students consider as ambitious.

    • Avinash on April 23, 2009 at 7:24 PM


      Buddy u have wasted nearly 50,000 bugs for applying to universities… I think u wont get into all the universities u have applied. If u're that confident u should have been gone with applying to ur ULTRA AMBI univ only, where u got HALF admits…


      Anyway congrats for 5 admits..

      • HSB on April 24, 2009 at 6:12 AM

        Avinash – You's be surprised to see how many schools students from China apply. Its more than 15. Its give and take. Spend more in college application, increase your chances of getting admission with aid. Then you will not spend for your education. But, students from India want to apply to 6 schools and get admission with Aid and end up paying out of state fee for 2 full years.

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