me, myself & andrei

03 Mar 2009 Pre-Admission


“‘Tagline: Separating the goods from the bads..”’


So now you have just sealed your envelope with your application documents, and you have meticulously chosen an express courier.

“‘Do you feel more relaxed?”’ A bit. Maybe a bit. As you already think about what is going to happen next, you can imagine that the waiting days will be the most stressful days of your life.

The reality is that it can be very stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.

For me it was. But just a bit, and that was because I have tried with all my energy to make my experience useful - so I have been writing these instructions and descriptions, and I’ve been moderating the comments.

Hopefully, by the time you are reading this, things have already a plan to change for the better so your situation will not only be less stressful but even less confusing.

But anyway, you have sent your documents, and you are probably checking the “‘courier’s tracking page”’ every 2 hours or so to see where your precious documents have arrived already. Upon arrival in Sweden, your papers will most probably be picked up by the Swedish Post Office or wait a few days for a bigger load, and only then get delivered to Strömsund.

This will take another 2-3 days, and most surely your [[wikipedia:DHL ’'’DHL’’’]] tracking page will only tell you that delivery details have been set up, and that you should expect no further information on the tracking page. If you have signed up for phone confirmation, then you will actually receive a confirmation by SMS when the [[wikipedia:Posten (Sweden) Swedish Post Office]] will actually make the delivery. I know this is weird, but this is what happened with DHL, by using their UNI Express service, specialized in university documents.

While I cannot guarantee the truth of the information, “‘other couriers”’ seem to handle this better:

*[[wikipedia:TNT_N.V.|’'’TNT’’’]] seems to update the tracking page upon final delivery, but again they forward your documents to the Swedish Post Office at their Orebro node. Also if you cannot see the recipient’s name, you can call them and they will tell you who signed for the delivery of your documents in Strömsund. -
-Real Tracking Excerpt bellow-
Pick up date 04 Feb 2008 Destination Stromsund
Delivery Date 09:00, 08 Feb 2008 Signatory Madeleine Ronnquist
Date Time Location Status
08 Feb 200809:00 Orebro Delivered
06 Feb 2008 07:38 Orebro Onforwarded For Delivery
06 Feb 2008 07:35 Orebro Import Received
06 Feb 2008 00:28 Liege Euro Hub Consignment Received At Transit Point …
*[[wikipedia:Fedex|’'’FedEx’’’]] has done it right all the way - on the tracking page it was possible to see the recipient’s name, location of the delivery (front desk/office/etc.) and the exact time.
*[[wikipedia:United Parcel Service|’'’UPS’’’]] also had good service - on the tracking page you could see all the final delivery steps -
-Real Tracking Excerpt bellow-
2/12/2008 DELIVERED SE
SE …

Whatever courier you use though, within 3 to 7 days after your documents have arrived, you should also get an E-mail confirmation from the National Admissions Office.


## Follow your Application

Inside your account, you have the ability to “‘track the status”’ of your application alternatives.

While, in theory this seems like a nice idea, it only makes things more prone to problems and much more stressful.

You must be wondering what SG and MR means for each of your alternatives, but let us leave that for now.

When the admission process will start per say (after the delivery deadline is over), the Office will scan each application package and upload them to a database.

You will be assigned an “‘Admission Officer”’ from the first university that you have chosen. This is why, if you have specific questions, you should send your enquiry to that university’s admission office. This Admission Officer will also need to go through your application and needs to put his accept on it, before it will reach all the universities you applied to.

When your documents will be uploaded your general status is supposed to change to “‘Under assessment”’ (at the top of the page, under the Messages box).

“‘Once they are also accepted by the Admission Officer”’, your status for each application alternative should change. The normal case scenario says that it will change from “‘Not processed”’ to “‘Application in process”’.

In the time to come, that status may change back and forth. We have seen cases of the status being changed to Unqualified or back to Not processed without a good reason for it - documents were simply being scanned or checked. If you feel that something is wrong, just go on and write an E-mail to your first university of choice, or contact the National Admissions Office.

“‘Contacting the National Admissions Office”’ can be problematic. Messaging them through the online contact form them could end up with just a template answer, or if you [ phone] them you could be put in a long queue, which is not so nice when you make an international call.

Don’t forget that there’s also [[wikipedia:VoIP VoIP]] technology like Skype, and if you have a good Internet connection you can easily stay in a 30 minutes phone queue without worrying about the call costs.

Be aware of the opening hours and of the timezone as well. Usually the Office is opened Monday to Friday, from 9 AM to 4 PM (16:00). [ Sweden has GMT+1 and follows Daylight Saving Time].

“‘You may also notice that you have received messages”’. Due to system malfunctions, these messages might not be real messages, but just status changes. Therefore, if you notice a dot (bullet point) under an application alternative, and there is no text, most probably there was a change, either as a status change or just behind the scenes (internal action). So don’t worry about the fact that you cannot see the message itself.


## SG and MR

Right, so lets deal with these two unknown variables.

SG stands for Selection Group

This means (common logic) that you have been allocated a specific group, inside which you are “fighting” for your place. “‘Your direct contestants are part of the same group.”’


The “‘Selection Group is often a Swedish abbreviation”’, so no wonder you cannot figure out what they mean. Also on the English version you do not get the description of the Selection Group. In order to get the Swedish description you need to switch to the Swedish version of your Application page. In order to do so just go to the browser’s address bar and add “&=sv” and hit Enter. At the bottom of the Swedish version, you will find descriptions for all your Selection Groups in Swedish.

Be aware that the SG may appear at the bottom, although there is no SG near the programmes you applied for. Another glitch in the system I say, because in order for the SG to appear there as well, the system waits so that you also have a merit rating inside that selection group.

MR stands for Merit Rating

Regarding Master Applicants, common logic and experience says that the number shown under “‘Merit Rating is the equivalent of the number of ECTS credits”’ (European Credit Transfer System) that are relevant to your chosen course/programme.

It is known that the MR is influenced by what the priority that programme has. In less words, from two people with the same qualification, the one who has chosen the programme as a higher priority will be “rewarded” for that with a higher MR.

Some applicants will have quite a high rating, 700+, 900+ or even 9900+. Look at this like a subdivision of the Selection Group. It is “‘a marker”’, since this is simply “‘INTERNAL evaluation”’. That doesn’t mean that they are more qualified than somebody else with MR 180, with a different Selection Group. A high rating may also mean [[#Pre-offer Letters direct admission]].


Bottom line is that even if you know exactly what your SG and MR means, you cannot have any perspective regarding your acceptance probability.

“‘Firstly”’, you do not know how the others are doing (their MR for instance). So you cannot compare yourself with others.

“‘Secondly,”’ both the SG and MR are university based. Therefore you cannot have a good reference to compare with. Remember! SG and MR are just for internal evaluation.

That is why the best thing to do after you send all your documents, and before the processing deadline passes, is to just enjoy life. Don’t worry about what SG and MR you have.

  • EMAIL EXCERPT - April 22, 2008 -

At “Your pages” on, information is shown about your application status. There have been questions about the meaning of some of this information. Please disregard this for the time being, since not all of it is relevant for the outcome of the selection. The final decision is communicated in the Notification of Admission. Until then, KTH will not be able to change the assessments or answer any question about the status of individual applications. Sincerely, KTH Admissions Office


## Back to “ Process”

Some of you may be experiencing a weird phenomenon.

You were given a Selection Group and a Merit Rating for some of your application alternatives, but some day you discover that they now have no SG&MR and they switched back to “Application in Process”.

After some nice panic attacks, and after some official email replies from one university, the conclusion was that no matter what you see on your application page, universities in general keep track of their SG&MR on their own. An official reply from the National Admissions Office has yet to come (20080419).

It is yet not clear to me if the centralized system is split in 2: one internal system (what they are working with), and one external/online system (what we see in our accounts) OR one big centralized system (both used by the universities, and by us when viewing applications) and a secondary/safety backup system implemented by each university.

“‘The bottom line is that your situation per say is not back to “Application in process”, but only your account status.”’ It is simply another glitch in the system (we all got accustomed to that).

Relax, or just give VHS a ring to hear it on your own and relax!


## Pre-offer Letters

This is something you might have or you might hear soon about.

As the phrase goes, pre-offer letters imply that during the admission process some students might receive “‘letters of appreciation”’ from a head of department, or an application reviewer.

This will not be anything fancy, but it will state that they have gone through your application and were delighted by your qualities and profile, and that they hope you will stay with them.

The pre-offer can also be just getting into the DA Selection Group.

The system is domino-like (the first programme that accepts you will discard all the following) therefore even if you get accepted to all your alternatives, only the one with priority 1 will be available for you to accept or deny.

But even if online you will be admitted to one alternative and one only, if you got a pre-offer letter (or DA) then you can still choose to go elsewhere than there you got admitted online.

It might be hard to comprehend these pre-offer letters. But if you got a pre-offer from alternative 2, while you got admitted to alternative 1, and in the meantime you reckoned that alternative 2 is better than the first, you can contact the programme coordinator of alternative 2 and tell them that you are sticking with them. Your admission to alternative 1 will be deleted.


## Reserved Seats

There has been a lot of suppositions around this topic.

Let’s put it like this: Sweden may put under-developed countries at its heart. It is their way of saying “We are helping” and they do actually help, since some students finish their education in Sweden, and then go back to their country and implement it there. They are “exporting” knowledge.

There might also be special groups, like they have in the USA for athletes.

But beyond this, “‘the logic goes that there are no reserved seats per country or region”’ at universities or departments. You are not competing with your co-nationals, but with the whole other international students. Therefore it makes no sense to collect application statuses from your co-nationals and compare. Not to mention, as I have written earlier you do not know if the internal rating (MR) goes on a points-scale (more is better) or on a top-scale (less is better).

The only “exception” to this is that, because the admission is divided between International (those who need a visa) and EU/EEA the places are divided in two. The reason behind the split is that the international students need to get admitted earlier in order to start their application for a visa. So the seats are reserved half for International (both nonEU and EU) and half for EU (both EU and just Swedes).


## Results

The system runs in two phases, or rounds, in order to occupy as many places as possible.

In a simple phrase, the places rejected during the first round become available for the second round.

“‘Basic things to know”’. One alternative will be marked with “Admitted”, while the others bellow with “Deleted” and some above with “Res #”. You will also be able to see how many students have been accepted inside the same Selection Group given to you under ““‘Acc. in S.G.”’”. Be aware that the Selection Group spreads out over more than one programme, so there’s no connection between that and “the number of my future classmates”.

“‘If you have previously received an admission letter”’ by snail mail or email (or given the DA Selection Group, in the Application page which now became Notification page) from another department/university, although that alternative has been marked “Deleted” on , you are still able to opt in for that programe. “‘You should check with the respective university”’, but the following information was already confirmed by a couple already. You should give a negative answer/reply to the Notification, and notify the department where you’ve been accepted (yet marked “Deleted” on that you are going to choose them after all.

Why is that happening? Well, probably for lots of reasons.

“‘One”’ is that universities can spot special students with real potential and therefore are “fighting” hard for them. So they try to make the programme available for that student for as long as possible in order to attract him/her. “‘Another one”’ is that the centralized admission system has probably not been built for that, but just as a very-automatic highly-digitized and very-little-humanized management system. “‘The third reason”’, maybe the most important to the students, is that during the months of the admission procedures.. you have met people, you have made friends, you have shared experiences and thoughts.. You are now more eligible to make the right decision and prioritize better, and I bet you already did or at least wanted to change the priorities for the alternatives you have listed before the Online Application deadline ,) Be honest!

“‘If you are not in this complicated situation”’, and being able to prioritize some programmes once again, then the only thing you can do it’s just hit the Reply button on the Notification page and check or leave unchecked the “Yes-answer” box on the next page.


## Admission Rounds

Let’s recap: “‘The system runs in two phases, or rounds, in order to occupy as many places as possible.”’

So any rejection will leave a place available for somebody else. That place will be available during a second Admission Round. And respectively, a second round of notifications will follow, along with applicants accepting or rejecting the admission.

After they decide, there won’t be any more changes/invitations/rounds.

“‘So if you have an alternative marked with “Res #””’ that means that you are on a waiting list (reserve), in case people with a higher position on the ranking list will reject their position at that specific department. If # accepted students in the first Admission Round will reject their position, then you will get a second Notification of Admission in about 3 weeks with that alternative now marked “Admitted”.

In order to get in you need to have the following bellow zero (negative number) “‘your_reserve_position - admitted_rejections - reserve_rejections”’. It’s just informative, since you won’t know how many among the admitted or among the reserves in front of you will reject the programme.

Your position in the ranking list of that programme is NOT equal to “Acc. in S.G.” + #. And above that, this year (2008) the reserves have been randomly picked/ordered ((this information is part of a conversation with a university reviewer)), thus unfortunately those in front of you on the waiting list are not necessarily more qualified. That would imply that they may desperately accept any offer they get.

So far, it’s not clear if you need to reply if all you’ve got is waiting lists - that is, only “Res #” and no “Admitted”, but my personal suggestion is to reply positively. The logic? Well, if you do not reply, then you may be considered as “not interested in the programme any longer”, so you will be ignored during the second Admission Round.

At this moment it is also not clear (=confirmed) what should be done in case you were admitted to one programme and you are on the waiting list for another that you would like more. You should check with universities, but the response so far was that you should accept in the first Admission Round the alternative where you got “Admitted”. You will still remain on the waiting lists for the other alternatives, for the second Admission Round.

If you get in, to one of those alternatives during the second round, then you can opt in for one of those. Unfortunately, I guess that will lead to positions being occupied just virtually - since there is no other admission round, and then the alternative you previously accepted will have no possibility to be fill in with the next on the waiting list, which all in all it’s not fair but it’s too complex to explain here (in short, those who get admitted in the first round, anywhere, get a favour of getting a chance at 2/3/.. places which won’t be possible for others to take). “‘Once again! Check with universities and proceed with cautious!”’

Keep in mind that only some of those admitted in the first round, and with a programme eligible for SI scholarships will be nominated for a one.

By the time the applicants will need to have their last word on this, it is highly improbably that they will know if they got a scholarship or not. Just to be clear, nominated applicants (not sure, but most probably) will not have any information whether they have or have not received a scholarship or not from the Swedish Institute before the replying deadline is reached.


## What-to-do Scenarios

On the top of your Notification page you may see “No reply from you is required!”. The “safest” way to deal with that is to assume that if you do not want to accept that programme, you do not need to reply and you will automatically be rejected when the deadline passes. Your place will be made available for other people during the second admission round.

There’s a second argument for that, beyond the logic and common-sense reasoning. If you were expected to reply only if you reject your admission, then the checkbox on the reply page would specifically say “NO-answer” and not “YES-answer”. This way VHS expects people to check YES or leave it blank (similar to no reply).

After you reply with a YES-answer checked, you will get emailed with something similar:

Reply to the notification of admission Internationella Masterprogram HT2008 (You may change your reply until the last day for replying, 2008-05-28)

Civic registration number xxxxxxxxxxxx

You have accepted the following courses and/or programmes:

  1. KTH-E0901 - Master (Two Years), Engineering and Management of Information Systems 120.0cr,
    Study programme, Kungl. Tekniska högskolan, Credit distribution 30.0, Admitted
Please keep in mind that this is still [[wikipedia:Reverse_engineering reverse engineering]] from the information gathered from prospective students in different situations, or from admission staff. Since this is the first year, the admission staff are not aware of all situations and their solutions either.

I have divided the scenarios under 3 categories:

#No selection has run yet


### What-to-do in case of Admitted

1A - Admitted

This scenario describes the situation when you have one programmed marked with “Admitted”, no matter its priority on your list. All the others, with higher or lower priority are marked “Deleted”.

All that you can do is decide whether you want or don’t want to accept that position.

*if you want to accept that position, you click on the Reply button and check the YES-answer box and go forward. You may or may not get an email from that programme congratulating you for your choice

*if you do NOT want to accept that position, you click on the reply button and leave the YES-answer box unchecked and go forward. This will make your position available for the reserves competing during the second round

1DA - Admitted, with pre-offer/DA

This scenario describes the situation when you have one programme marked with “Admitted”, while the rest are marked “Deleted”, yet before the notification day you received either pre-offers (read Pre-offer Letters), either you have been given DA as a Selection Group (unfortunately you cannot see that now on your Notification page).

Pre-offer letters or DA means that they have accepted you within the programme, yet due to the way the centralized system is built you cannot see that on your Notification page. You can only see your highest-priority marked with “Admitted”.

“‘Options”’ (exceptions from 1A):
*contact the programme that sent you a pre-offer or awarded a DA, and tell them that you accept the position. They will then nullify your admission to the other programme(s).

1N - Not admitted

Sorry! :( Next time.

“‘No options”’!


### What-to-do in case of “Reserve”

2A - Admitted and reserve

This scenario describes the situation when you have one programme marked with “Admitted”, and one or more higher-priority programmes are marked with “Res #”.

This is by far the trickiest situation yet, as there is no clear answer on what is the protocol on this.

Linköping University replied to me by email on this matter and confirmed my previous analysis:

  • EMAIL EXCERPT - May 19, 2008 -

[…] If a student accepts a lower priority (say no 2) and later is admitted to a higher (prio 1) the second priority disappears and only the first remains. So yes he can reply YES for no 2 and still remain on the waiting list for no 1.

Even so, if we cool down and don’t fret or dispare, we can clear most of this out on our own.

One thing is that you shouldn’t daydream about programmes for which your position on the waiting list is higher than 20 on average (or about 50% of the exact number of students that programme allows). Maybe I should highlight that even if you are Reserve 50, in a programme with 30 students, you could still get in, but that is closer to playing the lottery than getting admitted.

Keep in mind that the waiting list has been built quite randomly - meaning Reserve 1 doens’t need to have a better MR than Reserve 2. Reasons for that are yet unknown, but the situation was confirmed by a university reviewer. That is why, people that are ahead of you on the waiting list might accept at the blink of an eye, since they might not even consider a rejection. So do not put much faith into “Well, maybe people that are ahead of me in the queue list will reject the seat when their status will change from reserve to admitted.”

You also need to consider that the only chance for you to get a scholarship is to stick with the programme that is marked “Admitted”, since if you are admitted in the second round, your application to the Swedish Institute is not taken into consideration.

My recommendation is to simply accept the first round admission, if you are not within the very first 5 reserves for another programme that you badly want with all your heart! Or at least wait until the latest days until the reply deadline. In the meantime, we noticed that some programmes, while they slowly receive rejections from admitted students, they already notify reserves that they have been admitted, and they do not wait for the second admission round.

Just to be clear, if you accept your first round admission, and then you get admitted to a higher priority, you should be able to deny the latter, if you want to keep your first round admission.

*if you are pleased with the programme where you got “Admitted”, even if is not the top-priority for you, you should accept it by clicking on Reply and checking the YES-answer box

*if you are placing your bet on RED (Res), you should wait until the latest days, with the hope that you will get contacted by a higher priority programme and be told that you have been moved from the waiting list into the admitted list. If not, just confidently reply with YES-answer to the first round admission and wait for the second admission round.

*if you do NOT want any of the positions after all, just be considerate and reply without checking any YES-answer box. This will make your position available for the reserves competing during the second round.

2N - Not admitted, yet reserve

This scenario describes the situation when you have NO programme marked with “Admitted”, yet one or more higher-priority programmes are marked with “Res #”.

So far, the assumption is that you are considered for all programmes where you are on the waiting list. Therefore you don’t need to do anything, and just wait for the second admission round.

Although it is weird, some people where still on the waiting list, even after the second admission round. It is unknown how that should be interpreted, but I guess you still have a chance. You need to correlate that chance with the time frame you have for getting the visa, if you need one. So, if you need a visa, I guess you could still keep your hopes up until mid July (one month for visa + school starts on September 1).

*just wait for the second admission round, or maybe for a notification before that


### What-to-do if No selection

3A - Admitted, with “No selection has run yet”

This scenario describes the situation when you have one programme marked with “Admitted”, and one or more are marked with “No selection has run yet”.

This would imply that one of your programmes has a thorough admission process - portofolio analysis, interview, etc. That can take time, and thus your assessment couldn’t be fulfilled by the notification deadline.

Your assessment should follow shortly after, and results the same.

You should contact that programme, or maybe during the interview, you should tell them that you have been admitted by another programme, and you have a deadline to decide on your admission. They should already now (every university can see your application, and notification page), but it is good to highlight that. You will probably receive their answer in due-time and you can then make your decision.

You can find out when your assessment for that programme will end or kindly ask them to speed it up anyway.

“‘Options “‘(exceptions from 1A):
*if the results for this programme are due before’s deadline, you can wait and decide then. If you get admitted, proceed as if in S2

*if the results cannot be made public before’s deadline in any way, you should decide if the risk is worth it. Check programme descriptions, find your inner goals and decide solely on the fact if you want or don’t want the programme that is already marked “Admitted”. That is your top-priority question.

3N - Not admitted, with “No selection has run yet”

This scenario describes the situation when you have NO programme marked with “Admitted”, yet one or more are marked with “No selection has run yet”.

*just wait for a notification, to find out your results. Once you do, you will probably fit under Scenario 1A or 1N


## Important Dates

“‘Important dates during the application procedure for fall 2008 programmes. They might still be valid for the coming years, but you need to check.”’

Some universities do not differentiate between non-(EU/EEA) and (EU/EEA), or between need-visa and free-pass, but between international and Swedes.

“‘Note!”’ Round deadline refers to the moment when admitted students need to decide if they accept or not


{| class=”wikitable”
! width=”200” |
! width=”300” | “‘non-(EU/EEA)”’ ! width=”300” | “‘EU/EEA”’ |-
! “‘1st Round Notification”’ | Autumn 2008: April 29
“‘Autumn 2009: Mid-May”’ | Autumn 2008: July 10-15
“‘Autumn 2009: Mid-July”’ |-
! “‘1st Round Deadline”’ | Autumn 2008: ?
“‘Autumn 2009:”’ | Autumn 2008: July 28
“‘Autumn 2009: July 30”’ |-
! “‘2nd Round Notification”’ | Autumn 2008: ?
“‘Autumn 2009:”’ | Autumn 2008: August 6-8
“‘Autumn 2009: Early August”’ |}


{| class=”wikitable”
! width=”200” |
! width=”300” | “‘non-(EU/EEA)”’ ! width=”300” | “‘EU/EEA”’ |-
! “‘1st Round Notification”’ | Autumn 2008: Mid-April April 29 May 8
“‘Autumn 2009: May 7”’ | Autumn 2008: July 10-15
“‘Autumn 2009:”’ |-
! “‘1st Round Deadline”’ | Autumn 2008: May 28
“‘Autumn 2009:”’ | Autumn 2008: July 28
“‘Autumn 2009:”’ |-
! “‘2nd Round Notification”’ | Autumn 2008: May 29
“‘Autumn 2009:”’ | Autumn 2008: August 6-8
“‘Autumn 2009:”’ |}

SI Scholarships

{| class=”wikitable”
! width=”200” |
! width=”600” | “‘all applicants”’ |-
! “‘Notification of Nomination”’ | Autumn 2008: by Mid-May
“‘Autumn 2009:”’ |-
! “‘Notification of Results”’ | Autumn 2008: June 5 11 until September 1
“‘Autumn 2009:”’ |}


Please take some time to read [[ Admission what comes next]] once you have been admitted.
[[ Pre-Admission]]