Welcome to the GradCafe

Hello!  Welcome to The GradCafe Forums.You're welcome to look around the forums and view posts.  However, like most online communities you must register before you can create your own posts.  This is a simple, free process that requires minimal information. Benefits of membership:

  • Participate in discussions
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Search forums
  • Removes some advertisements (including this one!)


Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation on 11/15/2014 in all areas

  1. 103 points

    SOP mistakes: what to avoid

    Medievalmaniac, I really don't think that the SoP is the right place to explain your coursework, unless it has direct relevance to the narrative you're writing about your development. I just attached a sheet with all my applications called "Undergraduate Coursework in Literature" or "Relevant Coursework," and then divide it up into "English" and "French." Under each category, I had the course number, the actual full title, the prof, and my grade in it. That way they can cross-reference with my transcript if they want, but they have the important info that they'll really be mining my transcript for isolated for them already. And I didn't have to take up precious space in my SoP explaining them. As for what I did in my SoP that I think worked, I have some perspective on that, having been roundly rejected two years ago and pretty decent success this round (though UVa and U Washington, what is UP?! Still waiting on them). I really think the difference between my two SoPs is the big thing that made the difference, as my numbers and other qualifications (and even most of my writing sample, though I edited it) are the same. So here's what I think made the difference, in three alliterative categories: 1. Focus. Like it or not, they want to be able to categorize you. You can have secondary interests, but they have to be clearly secondary and bear some relation to your main focus. Last time I tried to tell too many stories of my development, and there were too many directions I could go in. This was partially a reflection of where I was at the time, and honestly I think they were right to reject me straight out of undergrad - I needed some time to reflect, to think about what I actually wanted to do in the field. Now that I have, my SoP reflects that clearer sense of direction and purpose. 2. Fit. Everyone tells you this, but it's true. I spent a lot more time really researching profs on the websites, then looking up and scanning through a few key articles, and skimming through the courses they taught. It really gives you a better idea of whether their interests and methodologies ACTUALLY fit yours, or whether it just looks like that on paper. I then tailored my fit paragraph to show how multiple faculty members could support my research interests (this may be English-specific, as in other non-humanitites disciplines you are applying to work with one advisor). Also, if the department has a pet methodology, it's helpful to know that - they'll look for students who fit that bill. Interdisciplinary programs that faculty are involved in and subfield/methodologically-specific colloquia, etc. are also things to look for. 3. Future. This could vary, depending on how much of an academic past you have, but for me what helped was focusing discussing even my past towards showing how it formed a trajectory for the future. I've said in other places around here that the best advice I got for my SoP was that you should think about demonstrating that you are capable of conceiving of a larger project; whether or not you end up doing that project is irrelevant, as you probably won't and the adcomm is well aware of that - the point is that you are CAPABLE of conceiving of a future direction for yourself. I focused on telling a story (i.e. "I'm interested in the relationship to place in Modernist literature") and cutting all details of my past that didn't mesh with that. So by the end I was able to say look! What I discussed doing in paragraphs x (gloss of relevant coursework/advisors, focus), y (challenges and triumphs of writing my thesis and learning theory), and z (teaching, living different places) all feed into the project I'm proposing in this last paragraph (though the project was sufficiently broad so as not to pigeonhole me). I said that I wanted to go in certain different directions, but it was clear that it would be a continuation of my development, not starting anew. They want to see that you are capable of functioning independently as an academic (should be demonstrated by your past and by the fact that you can independently come up with good future directions), but that they have something to offer in terms of guiding you. Hope that helps!
  2. 14 points
    Jae B.

    SOP mistakes: what to avoid

    I agree with the advice others have given. Do not list your awards in terms of what you've earned from your previous work. That's what your CV is for. However, you can use your SoP to give your awards greater context; to frame them not as mere compliments to your work (again, they'll be the judge) but as extraordinary privileges you are grateful for. Instead of just listing awards as outcomes of your work, show productive benefits: that each award and opportunity has led you to greater personal achievement. For example, if certain scholarship programs (yes, that admire your work) have helped you on your way, humbly give them credit and explain how they have helped to elevate you to this moment, where you are applying to graduate school. Let the school know that your past privileges were beneficial investments in the future you foresee -- with the program you are applying to. Let them know they will become part of a greater narrative by accepting you. You have generated momentum -- and this school can keep you going! In this way, your awards can be an exciting and meaningful part of your application, not an example of arrogance. If you have contributed back to the organizations that have given you awards, try to mention your efforts. It is proof of your caring, understanding of your privilege, gratefulness and dedication. Without saying so explicitly, let the school know that, by accepting you, they are helping put you in an even better position to give back...and hint that you won't forget to give back to them someday, either! (Examples are volunteering, producing more fine work in the program's name, speaking on their behalf, or just by being a good "face" for the program.) This speaks to your ability to take advantage of your opportunities, learn, work hard, improve, and, overall, to be honorable. Which is why you got the awards in the first place, right? Not only can this help you get accepted, it can also put you in a better financial aid situation. It says you are a worthwhile investment. It is always good to show that other people have believed in you, entrusted you with opportunities, and that you consider it your responsibility to continue to do them proud! You consider this program to be the next step that, in turn, helps you pay back all the previous steps. Then the school knows you aspire to excellence on behalf of people who invest in you. Who wouldn't want to be part of that?
  3. 8 points

    popular things you hate

  4. 7 points
    Apologize, move on. Not the first time they've seen this happen, I'm sure. Take this as a lesson in not using form letters, see if apologizing salvages the relationship, and go from there.
  5. 7 points

    popular things you hate

    The Kardashians
  6. 6 points

    Firsthand reviews of Graduate Programs

    I know a lot of you are looking out west for grad school, but if you want a program that does not look at ONLY your GPA and GRE scores, than I would HIGHLY recommend Grand Valley State University. Besides evaluating applicants on more than just #'s, the program itself is like a family atmosphere. Most of the time when you hear that you think the students are all close, but here, the students AND staff are all close! The staff is friendly and the program focuses more on application than just test scores. The clinical experiences are all out in the community at head start programs, veterans homes, hospitals, rehab centers and Long term care facilities so you are actually at a place of business and not just at a school clinic being watched over by your professors. You actually get out and make connections WHILE doing your clinical hours so that when you graduate you definitely will be able to get a CFY at one of the locations you did your clinical placement at. Oh, and the program is only 15 months! The last 3 months you could take your long term internship anywhere in the U.S. Also you take the PRAXIS exam after a year in the program and get that done with. As far as research, they do not have much going in that regard. The end of the program exam or thesis is not either of those things. It is a graduate portfolio of all of your work you did during the program which you get to keep and use in your job interviews to show all of the competencies you have met to your future employers. Highly recommend GVSU!
  7. 5 points
    I imagine my jobs as being something of a career profession. 1. Sequence dinosaur DNA from a number of charismatic species 2. Genetically engineer and resurrect said dinosaurs 3. Build dinosaur safari theme park on remote island off Central America, insert dinosaurs--They do move in herds! 4. Survive and escape dinosaur safari theme park, leave the clean up for a small Central American country (repeat steps 1-4 at Site B )
  8. 5 points

    If I knew then what I know now...

    Just in case you forget... http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/alot-is-better-than-you-at-everything.html
  9. 4 points

    Fall 2015 Applicants

    I don't agree. 5 pages of bibliography (single spaced) seems like quite a lot for a 2 page (single spaced) document. If you are citing with particular regularity, and if you did indeed cite for each professor you'd like to work with (about 4 per program, 1-2 citations each), I imagine it would break up the text structurally/visually and potentially make it look like you were compensating for not reading their work by using information available on Google Scholar. I mean, I'm not in a PhD program, but I do edit academic writing for a living and have published some of my own, and I know that the SOP shouldn't look like a lit review. It seems to me there is a difference between "fully cited" and citing too much. I think you can talk about, say, the methodological power of ethnography and not cite Malinowski, just as I think you can talk about discipline without citing Foucault. Perhaps I misinterpreted your use of "fully cited," but I know it is easy to get carried away with citations in a literal sense (being too thorough) and symbolic (check out all the stuff I know).
  10. 4 points

    popular things you hate

    Yay, casual racism! Keeping it classy around here. :-/
  11. 3 points
  12. 2 points

    Writing Samples 2015

    I emailed the director of Graduate Studies at Emory U, and he said, "All we need is a title." So, that's something I encourage you to ask each department if it's important to you.
  13. 2 points
    OCD or Perfection?

    HGSE Fall 2015

    Good morning HGSE hopefuls. Last year, when I was going through this extremely stressful process, a couple of current HGSE students stepped into our year's thread and gave some valuable information. As such, I want to pay it forward and offer some suggestions: 1. Connect with a current student who is an ambassador. You can do this here: http://www.gse.harvard.edu/admissions/student-and-alumni-ambassadors 2. In connecting with students or admissions department, try your best not to ask questions the answers to which are already listed on websites. 3. At the same time, questions about which program to apply to vs. others, and other such things are fair game and very helpful to you. 4. Attend any virtual/in person things you can; they help with anxiety and you get lots of answers to questions you didn't know you had. http://www.gse.harvard.edu/admissions/events 5. Start writing your personal statement three months ago. At this point, that should nearly be the only thing you are working on. Try to address not only what you already know but the burning questions you are bringing with you that will add to the learning of the entire school. In writing your personal statement, focus on these three questions: why you why now why HGSE 6. The GRE is truly one part of the application; a smaller, less significant part. Remember that HGSE is a big part of the dialogue around standardized testing, what it captures, and what it misses. They take that into consideration and when they use the word holistic, they really mean it. 7. There are two HGSE scholarships available; the urban scholars award and the leadership in education award. Whether you think you'll qualify for them or not---APPLY! You may be amazed! 8. This is no hard science but if you have extensive (5+ years) experience, it would be advisable to get two professional and one academic LOR. LORs should always be from people who know YOU very well; not from people the world knows. A generic letter from Bill Gates is a lot less impressive than from your bicycle mechanic who can speak honestly to you. This is Harvard; no shortage of impressive people here. 9. Finally, it is exciting and humbling when we hear from you; do not be shy to reach out, this is a great community.
  14. 2 points

    Being gay a minority ?

    I should clarify that I in no way meant to diminish the LGBTQ experience of discrimination either inside or outside of academia. My original response was simply a paraphrase of my mentor's answer to my own question about whether being an LGBTQ applicant myself would be counted towards minority fellowships and funding; her answer, as I said above, was no. (I'm an English major, so the situation may be different elsewhere.) She did mention, as Between Fields also kindly pointed out (thank you!) that it would be worth mentioning if coming out or being a sexual minority had had a profound impact on my experience as a student - but because in my case it didn't, I decided not to discuss my sexuality in my application. I'm sorry if I offended anybody! I only meant to share the feedback I received from a professional.
  15. 2 points
    I just looked up GRIP and oh wow, I wish that existed when I was a GRF! I did a non-academic corporate internship in the summer after my third year of grad school. I think after coursework is complete is the best time to do an internship, particularly a research one. You have more skills and will be more useful to the scientists you'll be working with, and you'll be making the transition into comprehensive and dissertation work - the research you do at the summer program might enhance or contribute to that research. It also depends on the length. A 3-month short-term project, usually done over the summer, doesn't have to be done after finishing current projects - they're usually an opportunity to collaborate with different researchers on different projects, and perhaps write some papers with other authors and get enriching experience. A 12-month overseas project is usually done in support of the dissertation, though. Perhaps there's a researcher abroad who has the perfect dissertation project for you and you get the GROW to go work with them on that. I don't think you should just take 12 months off from your program to do unrelated research, unless, of course, you are fine with the idea of delaying your graduation to do that.
  16. 2 points

    Some Advice on Writing an SOP

    There's a logical issue in your assertion. You're suggesting that what we read as Shakespeare "is a complete fabrication" (which is an absurd statement in itself, as 1.) there's evidence to suggest that the first folio is a compilation of cue scripts, actor's scripts/notes, and perhaps Shakespeare's own notes - and even if it were just a cue script and much of it were (is) fabricated, that does not make it a complete fabrication), which should then divorce it from performance (which is not what good Shakespearean scholarship does) and permit it to be evaluated on its own as a literary piece. What about later theatre? I don't think anyone would have much trouble placing Arthur Miller or Tennessee Williams within their respective literary epochs. I agree with you that written theatre needs to be evaluated within the context of the playwright's intention for it to be performed, but the idea that we can't consider theatre literature is a bit absurd, no?
  17. 2 points

    MIT Decision

    Come on, people are asking about the probability of acceptance/rejection. And everyone here wants to sugarcoat it. I believe people deserve better than that. If people have been accepted and I haven't received word, then I need to be realistic and accept the fact that I most likely (almost certainly) haven't been accepted. I am new to Gradcafe this year and have tried to help people in an honest way, because last year I was rejected from every school that I applied to. I sat around saying, "I see people have been accepted, but I haven't heard anything. There is still hope." I would have appreciated some real honesty. Regarding brand name schools, here's the problem: People that have been accepted to the top two programs in their field don't need our help to make this decision. Nor can we help them with that decision. I find these posts insulting to everyone, especially the people who had hopes of such acceptances.
  18. 1 point

    2015 Applicants Assemble!

    So what I'm hearing is that we're all supposed to get drunk when we do logic homework?
  19. 1 point

    popular things you hate

    The Kardashians... I'm so tired of seeing Kim's picture everywhere these past few days...
  20. 1 point
    I know that SPSS works well on a Mac. I'm also very certain that R runs well on a Mac. I imagine that STATA and SAS do as well, but I've never used either of those programs. I think you should stick with Mac - no reason to switch teams now.
  21. 1 point

    Applying early . . .

    Thanks omg I went back to all the submitted apps and was able to update 4 out of 13 of them. Thank you so much!!!
  22. 1 point
    And please if you could tell me what is the difference between the interview you did and the "administrative interview" ?
  23. 1 point

    Fall 2015 Applicants

    I HAVE A GIF I NEED TO SHARE BUT I CAN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO IT Figured it out. I'm smart sometimes. Basically how I feel having filled out most of my applications and now must wait for an adcomm to like me:
  24. 1 point
    Between Fields

    how can i succeed. im 31

    chalkdust, you're revealing an awful lot about yourself on a public forum. That may not be wise. Quite frankly, any level of graduate work is incredibly demanding and stressful. It requires a huge amount of self-motivation and self-direction, going beyond the level of just wanting to learn more about a topic. You have to motivate yourself to jump through the hoops and engage with the research. Claiming the system is out to get you isn't helping anything, and there's nothing you can do except learn the system.
  25. 1 point

    In which order I should prepare for GRE?

    You should find a Magoosh study guide from their blog - it helps you ease into it, going in an order than makes sense while integrating their stuff with ETS stuff. By the way, great choices on your materials, in my opinion! Those materials are exactly what I used to study. Good luck!
  26. 1 point
    Could anyone explain this whole "fecal particles" situation in the first post? I keep my toothbrush and towel in the bathroom and have never (seemingly) had any issues.
  27. 1 point
    Crucial BBQ

    2015 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results

    In terms of the Big 10, I gotta go with the Gophers. I was partial to Nebraska back when I was living in Kansas...then I ended up in Minneapolis. What school do you follow in New York
  28. 1 point
    Old Bill

    Writing Samples 2015

    For what it's worth, I did (as an example): MY NAME CRITICAL WRITING SAMPLE AWESOME UNIVERSITY MONTH & YEAR Top left corner, of course. In my SOPs, I put "Graduate Admissions Committee" where the professor would normally go.
  29. 1 point

    Fall 2015 Applicants

    NOWAYNOHOW, did you vote my advice down because you don't agree? I'm certainly interested to hear other opinions.
  30. 1 point

    Question about SPSS

    this is the 3rd question about methods/statistics in psychology that we've got in this forum. i think we should open shop here as a free, hands-on statistical consulting...thingy.
  31. 1 point

    how can i succeed. im 31

    http://www.physics.fsu.edu You mean the dead chair of the physics department?
  32. 1 point

    First Year Students Fall 2014 How's It Going

    Really feeling the end of the semester approaching and it's crazy! I cannot believe how quickly things are going. Let's hope everything that needs to get done gets magically handled somehow... Hope you're all well.
  33. 1 point
    The answer, as always: it depends. I spoke to one school the other day that said that GRE scores are quite important in terms of what the wider graduate admission committee wants before they send the application to the individual departments. Another school I spoke to said that the GRE scores go directly to the department only and, in his words, they couldn't give two hoots about GRE scores. So, your best bet is to call the graduate admissions department and ask them yourself.
  34. 1 point

    Fall 2015 Applicants

    Just wanted to wish everyone the best of luck in moving forward in their careers! Especially you, NoWayNoHow...I remember you from last season! This year is yours!
  35. 1 point
    Interviewed today by POI. Went quite well. Looking forward to administrative interview.
  36. 1 point
    Thanks guys! And yeah, everything happened very fast
  37. 1 point

    Another "Critique my SOP"

    Hello Alicia, here are some suggestions for your updated draft. I've underlined things I've added or changed, and struckthrough things I believe should be cut. My own comments are in [blue]. Some of the changes are grammatical in nature, and some are just stylistic suggestions, but most are areas where I think you could cut words or tighten up sentences and paragraphs to make them more impactful. Generally speaking, it's best to avoid adverbs as they don't add substance to the writing and instead just fluff it up.
  38. 1 point

    popular things you hate

    Bacon. Not for any religious purposes, just hate the smell and the texture.
  39. 1 point

    popular things you hate

  40. 0 points

    Fall 2015 Applicants

    Also, I was at a conference this week and saw a presentation by a graduate student at one of the top schools in my field that was just absolute crap, and that gives one a certain "Well, fuck, I guess the sort of people who get admitted there aren't necessarily superhuman gods of scholarly perfection after all, so I might as well!"
  41. 0 points

    Researches On Life Sciences

    Yeah! I know that
  42. 0 points

    Researches On Life Sciences

    Many thanks for your suggestion nice to know that, PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from midline.
  43. 0 points
    i think it's important to spend a little extra time discussing one lab experience and then briefly work the others in. i think they want to see some maturity in thought/closeness to a project but obviously you shouldn't just list stuff for the sake of it. i spent one paragraph in detail about the project i have been working on and how i got from a to b. then i just mentioned the other research in a more general sense and made some conclusions about what i've learned from those experiences/want from a phd program. hope this helps.
  44. 0 points

    DO NOT apply to Wisconsin Madison

    ??? 1) I said students who live outside the US so it could be Americans too... 2) If they serve international citizens second, they should write it on their website. 3) Berkeley and Davis are public schools as well. Berkeley rejected me but they were fair about it. They mentioned on their website that they can only take 1 international student per year to this program. They rejected me at the same time as everybody else. UC Davis told me from the beginning that they didn't have money to fly me in. Nothing wrong about that as long as they warn us first. 4) The problem with UWM is that they weren't honest at all.
  45. 0 points

    popular things you hate

    I don't trust anyone who says they don't like children wtf
  46. 0 points

    MIT Decision

    The irony here is killing me.
  47. -1 points
    My computer crashed last night so this could be tricky
  48. -2 points

    How big is your discipline's package?

    Mine's $80K per semester plus a large downtown apartment, an SUV, a Crayola variety box, and a silver-plated poodle. Do you think I'll survive on that?
  49. -2 points

    MIT Decision

    I am here to offer my honest opinion. I mean absolutely no offense. I'm helping my fellow swimmers in the shark tank. I say swim. You say tread water. To each their own.
  50. -3 points
    Stupid mistake. I'm in physical therapy major in my 3rd year in undergrad. Last spring I took a humanities class online and the teacher failed me for plagiarizing on an essay. I tried talking to him because I sent the wrong essay( same topic but info to gather info about topic) but he still failed me. I could have gotten a 3.5GPA but got 2.9. I made a dumb mistake and took the class over because I thought the F would go away if I got a better grade. My friend helped me write the 1st essay and she plagiarized apparently so he failed me again and is going to do an Academic dishonesty for my grade saying that I plagiarized twice for the same class: so an F and X(academic misconduct). So I get another F with an academic dishonesty. I know my GPA is going to drop but I'll try to bring it up too a 3.3 at least the next year as I get A's and B's. My main question is that can I get into Graduate school with this problem. I really want to go to PT school but this is going to effect it.