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HELP,Please What does this Email mean?

  1. Mar 19, 2009 #1
    I applied for a REU program in our department one week ago, and I just received an email today. I think I was in when I read the first sentence, but as it turns out it is not.

    Dear XXX,

    We are very impressed with your application to join our REU team in
    theoretical astrophysics and general relativity, beginning this
    summer. Although we are still reviewing applications, we want you to
    know that you are on our short list of top candidates whom we are
    considering very seriously for a position.

    We plan to contact you soon after the Spring break, at which time we
    will be making final selections. In the meantime we wanted you to know
    that we think you have a very strong application. We look forward to
    getting back in touch with you after the break.

    All the best,

    So what should I do next? find the professors and talk to them?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2009 #2
    Through all those euphimisms one thing we might guess, which is quite common, is that you are on a waiting list. This means that some people have been offered a position but have not responded, and if enough of them do not accept their offer then you will be offered a position.
  4. Mar 19, 2009 #3

    Andy Resnick

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    I think it's permissible to contact a professor and ask for clarification.
  5. Mar 19, 2009 #4


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    Hi jin8! :smile:

    Keep applying for other programs, and if you get an acceptance that requires you to reply before the end of spring break, then talk to your professors.
  6. Mar 19, 2009 #5
    I got an email that said essentially the same thing. It said that I was one of a very few candidates selected by a particular REU mentor. I suggest you simply wait, unless you get an offer which has a time limit. What happened in my situation is the mentor ended up conducting phone interviews. That email says you are on a waiting list: you are not exactly accepted, but you aren't outright rejected either. It is a good sign, and you have a decent shot at getting the position.

    And you applied one week ago? That is a fairly late deadline.
  7. Mar 19, 2009 #6


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    I don't understand how that letter is confusing. Do you not know what a short list is?

    Essentially when you have a large pool of applicants, you narrow down your choice by a set of criteria - for example a GPA over a certain cutoff value, experience with a certain program, etc. Those who meet these criteria are on the "short list." The applications of those on the list are then assessed in more detail - for example, by interview.

    The letter doesn't require you to do anything. They just wanted to let you know that you're still in the running.
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