I was recently emailed that I am a finalist for a fellowship for a prospective grad school I've applied to (this is for math PhD), and that I need to email back to confirm that [school] is a top choice of programs for me. I have not received an admittance letter.

Does this usually imply that I'll be admitted? I've tried asking the grad coordinator, but she was pretty vague and said something along the lines of "After assistantships/fellowship decisions are made, the admissions chair will begin the admissions process."

  • You have been told you are a finalist, not admitted. They want a reply that you are still interested, once they have that reply from you, they will then decide which of tge finalists yhey wish to choise. There may be two, three, five or even only one, but that is part of their process...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 21:35
  • @SolarMike Thanks for the input! Yes, I agree with what you are saying. But I am not asking about my status with the fellowship. I am asking about the status of my admission to the program. Or maybe I misread your comment...
    – Freddie
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 21:42
  • Are you using “fellowship” and “program” interchangeably...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 21:44
  • 1
    @SolarMike No I am not. The fellowship is like a grant and is university-wide, although each department gets to choose a handful of "good" applicants for nomination (only one applicant of each department may get it). But this doesn't necessarily have anything to do with admittance to the program. My question is to graduate admissions committee members who may have experience with these kinds of things. In particular, I am asking if the fact that I was considered for this fellowship necessarily imply my acceptance to the program.
    – Freddie
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 21:49
  • To me the phrase "will begin the admissions process" sounds like beginning the process of deciding who will be admitted. Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 22:08

1 Answer 1


I am the Graduate Coordinator for a mathematics PhD program. But even I don't know the answer to your question (except possibly if I'm the one who contacted you...but I don't think I sent out any emails quite like that). So I don't think that random internet strangers can give you a definitive answer.

It's clear that you haven't been admitted yet, or the Graduate Coordinator would have told you so. As for "usually imply" -- I am not willing to go so far. What I can say is that being informed that you are a finalist for the fellowship certainly increases the chances you'll get admitted. But for instance this fellowship may allow the department to admit a student that they would not otherwise be able to admit. In that situation you would still think that they would admit someone that they put up for a prestigious fellowship ahead of most other students, but there could be exceptions.

As my favorite Harvard Square chess hustler used to say, "Sometimes you never know."

  • Ah I figured that was the case, but at least I asked. Thanks for the input Pete.
    – Freddie
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 21:43

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