Pick a name

While Christine is busy getting the on-campus interview program up and running (leaving little time to being consulted), I’ll step in to offer a tip for your communication with the office.  No matter what the linguistic origin of your name, you may refer to yourself in a way that is different from your legal name.  Robert might call himself Bob, or Xiaoyu might call herself Shelley.  Totally normal in everyday life!

But grad school applications are not exactly like everyday life, and I want to encourage you to refer to yourself in a consistent way, or at least help us to connect your application materials by informing us of the name(s) you’ve used.  Shelley might, for example, put Xiaoyu in parentheses, so that it’s clear both how she prefers to be called and also that she has a legal name that is different.  Just be sure that we’ll know who you are, and please don’t rely on our memories, which may or may not work on a given day.

On a related note, be sure that email correspondence actually notes both your first and last name.  Sometimes we try to file correspondence and discover that the writer hasn’t provided a last name.  This is even more true if your email address doesn’t include your full name.  (A special email address that includes your name could be a good addition to your application.  It helps us keep track of things if your email address is johnsmith1000@gmail.com, instead of, say, starcatcher@gmail.com.)

All of this is to say that you’re best served in the admissions process by professional-level correspondence.  And anything you can do to help us keep your materials organized will help you in the long run!

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