Can I Reapply to a Graduate Program After Being Rejected?

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Question: I was rejected from a grad school and now I'm confused. I have a pretty decent GPA and research experience, so I don't get it. I'm wondering about my future and am considering my options. Can I reapply to the same school?

Does this sound familiar? Did you receive a rejection letter in response to your graduate school application? Most applicants receive at least one rejection letter. You're not alone.

Of course, that doesn't make rejection any easier to take.

Why are Graduate School Applicants Rejected?

No one wants to receive a rejection letter. It's easy to spend a lot of time wondering what happened. Applicants are rejected by grad programs for a variety of reasons.  GRE scores that are below the cut-off is one reason. Many grad programs use GRE scores to weed out applicants easily without viewing their application. Likewise, a low GPA might be to blame. Poor recommendation letters can be devastating to a grad school application. Asking the wrong faculty to write on your behalf or not paying attention to signs of reluctance can lead to neutral (that is, poor) references. Remember, all reference letters describe applicants in glowingly positive terms. A neutral letter is therefore interpreted negatively. Reconsider your references. Poorly written admissions essays can also the culprit.

A large part of whether you get accepted to a program is fit - whether your interests and skills match the program's training and needs. But sometimes there isn't a good reason for rejection. Sometimes it's just about the numbers: too many students for too few slots.There are multiple variables at play and it's likely that you'll never know the specific reason(s) you were rejected.

You Can Apply to the Same Graduate Program After Being Rejected

  • Does it match your academic interests?
  • Does it offer preparation for the career you desire?
  • Do your credentials match the requirements?
  • Is there faculty with whom you would like to work?
  • Do those faculty have slots open in their labs? Are they accepting students?

If you decide to reapply, carefully analyze the application you submitted this year to determine whether it represented you well and whether it was the best application that you could assemble. Consider all of the parts listed above. Ask for feedback and advice from your professors - especially those who wrote your reference letters. Look for ways to improve your application.

Good luck!