A Convoluted Process

I am beginning to think the doctoral program application process is more convoluted than the program itself will ever be.

Nothing they are asking is difficult, just so unbelievably annoying.

Every little step requires numerous forms that to me seem superfluous. I am sure they have their reasons, but I am not understanding them.

For example, a couple of the schools want my references to fill out a form summarizing their letters of recommendation. This reminds me of when I have students come to my office and say “I just got an email from your office, what does it say?” Um… why didn’t you just read the email? Similarly, why don’t they just read the letter?

These same schools have cover forms they want attached to my transcripts. As you can imagine, these cover forms summarize what is in my transcript. Just open the transcript! I work at a college, and part of my job requires evaluating transcripts from other institutions. I have seen thousands of them, and can look at a transcript and figure out what is going on within seconds. I am sure the admissions people at these other schools are just as capable. The forms themselves aren’t so cumbersome except that having them requires me to physically go back to each of my academic institutions and hand them to the registrar to enclose with my transcript.

I remember when my friends were going through this process years back, flying all across the country to procure transcripts in this fashion. I would ask them why they couldn’t just order them online or over the phone. Now I see.

Thankfully no cross country treks will be needed. And not all institutions have these requirements.

One school wants my CV. Um, I don’t have one. And I don’t mean I don’t physically have one made, but rather, I don’t have one. At first I thought they wanted my resume, but then realized they want my resume *and* a CV. While I have a pretty decent resume, in lieu of a CV I can just hand them a post-it note.

I understand the reasoning behind cover letters/letters of intent. That makes perfect sense. But a cover letter *of* my letter of intent? This goes with the whole “summary of the letters of recommendation” business. Why do you need a cover letter of my letter of intent? Just the instructions for such a thing should signal its redundancy.

Throw in a few extensive exams, writing samples, and full biographical information since birth and the application process has now taken more time and energy than a full college course.

Can’t I just barter and offer them my first born instead?

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