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Is there a specific order interview invites are sent out?

beachbum75

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I know interview invitations are sent out somewhat based on when you submit your application (i.e. June vs. August) but are they preferentially sent to top contenders? For example, for a group of applicants that were in the first "batch" of applications received would the interview invitations be sent at the same time to all applicants that are being considered, or is it more staggered by how much the school wants the applicant?
 

LizzyM

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What would you do? Everyone knows that some of the "top contenders" have more interviews than they know what to do with and they start to be more picky after they get an offer which can happen as early as Ocober 15th. So, schools have an incentive to woo the "top contenders" as early as possible in the process.

Also, as I mentioned recently, and for better or for worse, some schools will stagger the invitations so that the dates are chosen and locked in and not subject to cancellations and requests to move things around which can happen if the dates provided are 12 weeks in the future vs 3 weeks.

Also, let's say that we are going to read 4,000 applications over the cycle and half of those come in the first week. Of the 200 I'm going to read, will you dump 100 of them on me during week 1? It is likely to take me 8 weeks to work through that bolus and it makes more sense to send them in packets of 25-30 with two week deadlines than to make a huge indiscriminant dump. And if you are going to send smaller packets, you, the administrative boss, can prioritize the "top contenders" so that they are first on the block to get interview invites.

See how it works?
 
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beachbum75

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That is what I assumed, as it would make sense to invite the applicants you want the most first. Does that mean there is a higher chance of acceptance if you have an earlier interview because it's likely the school really wants you to attend?
 
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LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
15+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
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  1. Academic Administration
That is what I assumed, as it would make sense to invite the applicants you want the most first. Does that mean there is a higher chance of acceptance if you have an earlier interview because it's likely the school really wants you to attend?

It could be that the "stronger" applicants are interviewed first and are more likely to be offered admission but we always based ourselves in terms of how many offers to make and when to make them.

In hte past, I've described this as a wide staircase. You are placed on a staircase based on a reading of your application. Other applicants may be on the same stair and those on the highest steps get let in the door for interview. Once interviewed, you are assigned a stair again. Some applicants don't change their position on the stairs after interview, some applicants move up a few steps and some move down (in some cases way down). When it comes time to make admission offers, the adcom starts from the top and works down.
 
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gonnif

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That is what I assumed, as it would make sense to invite the applicants you want the most first. Does that mean there is a higher chance of acceptance if you have an earlier interview because it's likely the school really wants you to attend?
It is not the earlier interview; it is the interview invite and even that is a very crude, rough measure. Schools will first screen/quick eval to scan/classify/assign to full eval. At some schools with either present criteria, formal policy, or just an admission team with experience, some II may go out to outstanding applicants then. Depending on the school there will be some classification/scoring at this point which may be used a "priority score" for evaluation (higher score higher up you are in eval queue). However, the vast majority will get assigned to a full evaluation where you application is read by evaluators. This could be one person, several people, in full or only parts, who then score/classify your application in some manner. Either individually or as a "team" (none voting) recommend for interview or just forward with score. it then may go to adcom subcommittee or full committee (with voting) for II.

And this process is dynamic as applications come in as it can take 4-16 weeks (1-4 months) to evaluate and review all applications. At best a school can do several hundred applications a week at full speed and that doesnt happen until at least mid-August or early September. As applications are evaluated their "priority" will have them move up or down in the queue. So if you get evaluated early at an arbitrary score of 80 but someone gets evaluated later at 95, they will jump ahead.

Since with all this applicants always ask when can I expect to hear back after I am complete? The answer is assume that you may never hear back. The only thing a school has to decide and communicate is acceptance. Notice I didnt say acceptance/rejection. You all start as "not accepted." Schools may evaluate and put your application into Hold, where it will stay and that will be the last communication you have. You may never get any formal rejection letter
 
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