I think if it was a standalone question then the answer would be an unequivocal "Yes". So I will present you my situation: while applying to graduate school I had mentioned that two of my papers are under submission at 2 different conferences (I had given the names of the conferences as well). One of them got accepted today and the other one was rejected a few days back.

Now the thing is, I feel that informing them about the acceptance might increase my chances considering this is my first paper and I'm an undergrad currently (is this a myth?). But the issue is, if I inform the committees about the accepted paper alone then I feel guilty about the fact that I'm deliberately concealing information about the rejected paper. And if I don't, I feel I might not be making any use of the fact that the paper got accepted somewhere.

Can someone tell me what could be done?

  • 5
    Good papers get rejected all of the time for a variety of reasons. It has happened to the folks who will be reviewing your application. Don't worry too much about informing them of the status of both submissions.
    – Ben Norris
    Commented Jan 12, 2014 at 12:27
  • 2
    I would say that, on my rating scale "submitted paper"=0 (anybody who can cover a few pages with TeX symbols and read the submission rules can submit a paper), "accepted paper"=+10, and "rejected paper" = minus some coefficient depending on the journal times the current reputation of the mathematician. Since the second factor for you is about 0 at the moment, in my eyes neither the rejection, nor the submissions count but the acceptance does. However, most likely I'm not in the admission committee considering your case, so take everything I said with a grain of salt.
    – fedja
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 12:31

1 Answer 1


Ben Norris' comment is right. I will elaborate a bit.

As an undergrad, having an accepted paper is much more significant than having a rejected paper (i.e., the net perception is very positive even if they learn about both). Furthermore, rejection is probably temporary (you'll probably resubmit after improving it and it may get accepted) whereas acceptance is permanent.

Tell them about the acceptance. If they ask directly, tell them about the rejection. But there is no reason to feel obligated to broadcast a paper's rejection. The people reviewing your application certainly don't list their paper rejections when they apply for a job or a grant!

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    Thank you for that. But as I said, I did mention the conference names. And even if I hadn't, wouldn't it be ethically wrong on my part to highlight only the accepted paper without giving any result for the other one? Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 16:00

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