How I Got Into Graduate School – Round 1, Part 1

I’ve been trying all day to think up a good and interesting story, but I couldn’t, so I’ll just tell you how I got into graduate school.

But first, how I didn’t get into graduate school.

When I got back from Israel in 2010, I started looking at options for graduate schools, since that was clearly the way to go. I found several programs that I liked, and applied to three of them for admission: University of Iowa, University of Colorado-Boulder, and Yale School of Drama. Yes, I know, Yale School of Drama. My advisors advised against it, but a guy can dream, can’t he? And what’s the worst that could happen? Oh yeah, a rejection letter. But if you’re willing to face that as an option, then hey, go for it, I guess. Which I did.

While working on and sending off the applications, I got an invite from UC-Boulder to come out for the weekend and attend a Prospective Grad Students’ Weekend there. They offered free food, activities, and the normal grad-school-visit stuff. The only big expenses would be flight/hotel, and when I presented my parents with this option, they said, “why not?” So off I was to Colorado for the weekend, a state I’d never been to before and haven’t been to since. It was early spring, so it was gorgeous up there in the mountains – I had a great time, made good friends with some of the professors and students, and generally enjoyed myself. I even pictured myself living in Colorado. Upon leaving, I was taking a walk with a professor when I asked her (kind of bluntly) if she thought I could get in, and she seemed pretty positive about it, so I left Boulder with a good taste in my mouth.

Then the rejection letter came a few weeks later. For some reason, it wasn’t that upsetting – at least I had a great time there, and I had bigger fish to fry. Speaking of…

One day in March, THE EMAIL CAME. It was THE YALE EMAIL. To summarize, it basically summoned me up to New Haven for a day for a round of interviews. My dad said “whoopee!” and off to New Haven we went. I was so nervous about it I actually called up a professor of mine a few days before to ask some preliminary questions, and even practiced some jokes and read-up on early American theatre, for some odd reason. Of course, the day we were supposed to go, an electrical storm knocked out Philadelphia and our train got canceled, so instead, we took a later train. We still got there, but with barely a moment to breathe before I had to head out to get interviewed by SEVEN PEOPLE. At the SAME TIME. And of course, me being a clumsy idiot, about a block before the building, I slipped and fell on the ice, resulting in a bloodied right hand. What hurt even more was I was talking to my friend DeDe at the time, planning to meet up later for dinner, and then WHOMP.

Fortunately, the building had a first-aid kit, so with minor bandaging, I entered the interview room and got pelted with questions. I had them laughing a few times, and I thought that I did an OK job. While I was in the room, Dad found out that out of about 50 applicants, they’d only summoned the top 15 to New Haven for a mere 5 spots, so that made him (and me) feel pretty special. Later that night, we met up with DeDe, Yaakov, and their adorable baby (who is a big brother as of last week – congrats guys!) during which DeDe had an awesome spit take with her hot chocolate where she almost died. Then, Dad and I saw The Piano Lesson at the University Theatre, then I went out with DeDe once again for a trivia night, which we won (because my team ALWAYS wins), and then went home the next day. Still no word from Iowa.

The next email I got from Yale was…a rejection letter. Boo. But hey, at least I can tell my grandchildren that I almost got into Yale.

Never mind that not one but TWO of my cousins applied, got in, and actually went to Yale…but that’s beside the point.

And then, there was Iowa. I know they only had 2 spots available in their program, and I hadn’t heard, so I called to see what was up. They apologized for waiting so long to get back to me, but then I got the shocking news that they had made two offers…but that I was still in the running.



Apparently, they’d had a lot of applicants and a really tough time making decisions, and I made it through the final round of cuts to be put on the waiting list, and in fact, was the top alternate on the wait list, and they’d already sent rejections to everyone else but me. I don’t know how true this was or if they were just saying this to make me feel better, but we did speak about it by phone and email, so I’m pretty sure it was sincere. They told me to wait just one more week, because if one of the two offers declined, the spot would be mine, and they said that that situation has occurred before.

So I waited a week…

And it didn’t happen. REJECTION. They did, however, tell me to reapply and that I’d probably get in, but due to funding, they weren’t sure if they were going to accept a new class until Fall 2013, if I was willing to wait. DOUBLE REJECTION.

And that’s how I didn’t get into graduate school.

But wait…what? The title of this post is how I GOT into graduate school, not how I DIDN’T GET into graduate school!

That’s a story for another time, possibly tomorrow, or possibly in a few days. But it has a (sort of?) happy ending, so don’t despair, Pooh Bear. I just made that up, and I’m totally using it in conversation tomorrow.

Will the Brady Bunch get out of that old west prison? Will Rachel marry Joey instead of Ross? Will we ever find out who shot J. R.?