Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Rejection Letters

I finally got my last rejection letter tonight (obviously I already had a job, so it doesn't matter much), but it makes for an interesting record. Of ten applications total, I got eight rejection letters and two job offers. But one school I never heard from again. (Yes, if you're counting, one school actually sent two rejection letters. As near as I can tell, they had a more detailed letter they sent out to the short-listed candidates (which I got), and a very generic letter they sent to everyone else. However, they apparently forgot to remove the short-listed candidates from the longer list, so I got both letters. All things considered, I may have dodged a bullet on this one.)

Now the one school I never heard from is interesting, since they actually interviewed me. And then... well, cue the crickets chirping. That was last year, and they ultimately hired someone (they have a new staff member this year), but I never heard anything back from them. I was leaning towards not taking the job if I got it actually; the school was in a sort of dire situation financially and academically. I don't honestly think they were going to even have a math major in another ten years. So no great loss, but still, a post-card would have been nice. Particularly to one of the three people who got an on-campus interview. So really, again, maybe I'm dodging bullets here.

All of this takes me back to applying for grad schools, where I also got a fair number of rejection letters. (Darn my college math department's near zero grade inflation since the 1960s.) I still remember one rejection letter in particular, although I can't remember exactly what it said. Northwestern University had the nicest rejection letter I'd ever seen. It actually succeeded in making me believe that they were genuinely sorry they couldn't accept my application, as if they felt it was the school's loss. Someone there wrote a beautiful rejection letter, and it helped some during a somewhat depressing time. Cheers to them.

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