The Unapologetic Mathematician

Mathematics for the interested outsider

Applicant-opaque departments

I’ve complained before about the opacity of the application procedure. I’ve gotten to the point now that I’m asking all outstanding schools what my status is. Following is a list — which I will keep updating — of departments that have closed their application procedures without bothering to inform applicants that they have been rejected. Petty? Maybe. But I’m the one who’s gotten screwed here, so the least they can do is be publicly known as not acting in good faith towards their applicants.

  • George Mason University
  • Kansas State University
  • Northwestern University
  • Purdue University
  • Stony Brook University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Regina
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Toronto

Note: I am giving departments the benefit of the doubt if they say they did send word. Still I am shocked — shocked — at how many letters the post office has lost.


April 25, 2007 - Posted by | rants


  1. The post office has never misplaced a single letter to me in my 30 years of life.

    Comment by andy | April 25, 2007 | Reply

  2. You haven’t seen ‘opaque’ till you’ve interviewed at a department and never heard back from them that you didn’t get the job. I still wonder what U. Regina would say if I told them that I’m assuming I got the job and I’ll be reporting for duty in September. (ref)

    Comment by Graham | April 25, 2007 | Reply

  3. Andy, the tally stands at five and counting. Surely they couldn’t be lying to me, could they?

    Graham, if you can verify that they have completely closed the cycle and not sent any word, I’ll add them to the list. One of the departments I wrote to responded that they are sending notice as soon as the last contracts are signed, so they aren’t on the list.

    Comment by John Armstrong | April 25, 2007 | Reply

  4. This was in 2004. The cycle is closed.

    Comment by Graham | April 25, 2007 | Reply

  5. I enjoy the site, so don’t take this the wrong way, but you did mis-spell department in the title. 😉

    Comment by Dan | April 25, 2007 | Reply

  6. Dan, you’re right. Thanks for catching that.

    Comment by John Armstrong | April 25, 2007 | Reply

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