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Showing content with the highest reputation on 03/19/2017 in all areas

  1. 391 points
    juilletmercredi

    Advice for a first year PhD student

    About your dog: I think that depends entirely on you and your program. I am in a social science program where the majority of my analysis and writing can be done from home, and I prefer to work from home or from a library (as opposed to my cube in the windowless cube farm). When I was taking classes I was generally there from 9-6 or so, but now that my coursework is finished I am rarely at the school itself. I go for meetings, seminars, interesting kinds of things and I do most of my work remotely. My time is verrry flexible, and if my building didn't prohibit it I would get a dog in a heartbeat. Another thing to keep in mind: a dog can be a great comfort when you're all stressed out over graduate school. Advice? Age: -Don't feel like you have nothing to offer just because you are younger. I was 22 when I started graduate school. You got accepted to the program for a reason, and chances are you are just as equipped as any older students are to successfully complete the program, just in a different way. -Your older classmates may be just as terrified as you. Talk to them. You have a lot in common. You are, after all, in the same place. -You will feel like an imposter, like you don't belong, or like you are constantly behind. Or all three. It's normal. It will pass. (Well, sort of.) People of all ages go through this. Adviser related: -If you are lucky enough to get both research interest fit and personality fit perfect, congratulations! But sometimes, personality fit is more important than research interest fit as long as the research isn't too different. A great adviser is interested in your career development, likes you as a person, advocates for you, and wants to hear your ideas. Even if his or her research is quite different from yours, they may give you the autonomy to work on your own projects and just supervise you. A bad personality fit will drive you nuts, even if you love his or her research. Consider that when evaluating your adviser fit. (This will vary by field: research fit may be less important in the humanities, more important in the natural and physical sciences. Social sciences are somewhere in-between.) -Don't be afraid to be straight up blunt with your adviser when it comes to asking about your progress. Ask if you are where you should be both academic program wise and getting-a-job-after-this-mess-wise. -Be proactive. Advisers love when you draw up an agenda for your one-on-one meetings, come with talking points and progress to share, have concrete questions to ask, and have overall shown that you have been thoughtful and taken control of your own program. Of course, this won't immediately come easily to you, but in time you will work up to it. Every semester I type up my semester goals, and at the beginning of the year I type up annual goals. I show them to my adviser and we talk about whether they are too ambitious, or whether I need to revise them, and how I can meet them. -Don't expect your adviser to actually know what courses you have to take to graduate. They will know about comprehensive exams and the dissertation, but a lot of professors don't really keep up with the course requirements, especially if their program is in flux. Get you a student handbook, and find out what you need to take. Map it out in a grid, and check off things when you finish them. Show this to your adviser every semester. You may have to explain how such and such class fills a requirement. -Nobody loves you as much as you, except your mother. Keep this in mind as you take in advice from all sources, including your adviser. Your adviser is there to guide you, but that doesn't mean you have to do everything he says. Studying: -You will have to read more than you ever did before, in less time than you ever have before, and you will be expected to retain more than you ever have before. The way that you studied in undergrad may need some tweaking. Be prepared for this. -Corollary: you may find that your methods change with age or interests or time. I preferred to study alone in college, but in grad school, I prefer to study in groups. It keeps me on task and the socialization keeps me motivated. You may find that you shift from being a more auditory learner to a visual learner or whatever. -You will feel behind at first. This is normal. -At some point you will realize that your professors don't actually expect you to read everything they assign you. This, of course, will vary by program, but there will be at least one class where the reading is actually impossible to do in one week. The point is to read enough that you know the major themes and can talk intelligently about them, and then pick some of the readings to really dig into and think more deeply about. -For most programs, don't worry so much about grades. If you stay on top of your work and do what you're supposed to, you will probably get an A. How much grades matter varies from program to program. In some programs, a B is a signal that you are not up to par, and more than a few Bs will warrant a discussion with your adviser or the DGS. My program isn't like that - A, B, it's all meaningless. My adviser doesn't even know what my grades are. But at almost all programs, a C means you need to retake the course, and two Cs means you have to convince the DGS not to kick you out. Extracurricular activity: What's that? No, seriously: -A lot of your time will be unstructured. You will have coursework, but most grad classes meet once a week for two hours and you may have three classes. You may have meetings with your adviser every so often and some seminars or things to catch (like we have grand rounds and colloquia that are required), but a lot of time will be unstructured. However, since you have so much more work than you had in undergrad, you actually will have less free time than you had in undergrad. This may initially cause you great anxiety. It did for me. Some people love unstructured time, though. (I don't.) -Because of this, you'll have to be planful about your non-grad school related stuff. -TAKE TIME OFF. DO it. It's important for your mental health. However you do it doesn't matter. Some people work it like a 9-5 job. Some people take a day off per week (me) and maybe a few hours spread across the week. Some people work half days 7 days a week. However you do it, there needs to be a time when you say "f this, I'm going to the movies." -Find your happy place, something that keeps you the you you were when you came in. I love working out. It gives me energy and I feel good. I stay healthy. I also love reading fiction, so sometimes I just curl up with a good book, work be damned. You have to give yourself permission to not think about work, at least for a couple of hours a week. You may also discover new hobbies! (I never worked out before I came to graduate school.) -Your work will creep into all aspects of your life, if you let it. This is why I hate unstructured time. You will feel guilty for not doing something, because in graduate school, there is ALWAYS something you can do. ALWAYS. But since there will always be more work, there's no harm in putting it aside for tomorrow, as long as you don't have a deadline. -You may need to reach outside of your cohort for a social life. None of my close friends are in my doctoral cohort. I've met master's students in my program, master's students in other programs, and I know a few non-graduate students I hang out with, too. Go to graduate student mixers. (If your university doesn't have any, organize some, if you like planning parties.) Join a student group that doesn't take up too much time. I had a doctoral acquaintance who kinda laughed at me because I joined some student groups other than the doctoral student one, and I was usually the only doctoral student in those groups, but I met some close friends (and future job contacts) and had a good time. -DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR WANTING A LIFE OUTSIDE OF GRADUATE SCHOOL. This is paramount. This is important. You are a well-rounded, complex, multifaceted human being. NEVER feel bad for this. Everybody wants some kind of life outside of work. Yes, you may loooove your field, but that doesn't mean you want to do it all day long. Some other doctoral students, and perhaps professors, may make you feel bad about this. Don't let them. Just smile and nod. Then disappear when you need to. Career: -This is job preparation. Remember that from Day One. Always be looking for ways to enhance your skills. Read job ads and find out what's hot in your field, what's necessary, what's in demand. For example, in my field statistics and methods are a hot commodity, and they're not a passing fad. I happen to really like statistics and methods, so I have pursued that as a concentration of mine. -Don't be afraid to take on volunteer work and part-time gigs that will give you skills that will be useful both inside academia and out, as long as it's not against your contract. Your adviser may be against it, but he doesn't have to know as long as it doesn't interfere with your work. -If you want to work outside of academia - if you are even *considering* the possibility - please please definitely do the above. Even if you aren't considering it, consider the possibility that you won't get a tenure-track job out the box and that you may need to support yourself doing something else for a while. You will have to prove to employers that you have developed usable, useful skills and this is one of the easiest ways to do it. But don't overdo it - get the degree done. -For more academic related ones - always look for opportunities to present and publish. Presentations look good on your CV. Publications look better. When you write seminar papers, wonder if you can publish them with some revision. Write your seminar papers on what you maybe think you may want to do your dissertation on. Even if you look at them three years later and think "these suck," you can at least glean some useful references and pieces from them. Discuss publication with your adviser early and often, and if you have the time and desire, seek out publication options with other professors and researchers. But if you commit to a project, COMMIT. You don't want to leave a bad impression. -If you can afford it, occasionally go to conferences even if you aren't presenting. You can network, and you can hear some interesting talks, and you may think about new directions for your own research. You can also meet people who may tell you about jobs, money, opportunities, etc. -Always try to get someone else to pay for conference travel before you come out of pocket. Including your adviser. Do not be shy about asking if he or she can pay. If he can't, he'll just say no. Usually the department has a travel fund for students, but often it's only if you are presenting. -If you are interested in academia, you should get some teaching experience. There are two traditional ways to do this: TAing a course, and teaching as a sole instructor. If you can help it, I wouldn't recommend doing a sole instructor position until you are finished with coursework. Teaching takes a LOT of time to do right. You should definitely TA at least one course, and probably a few different ones. But don't overdo it, if you can help it, because again, it takes a LOT of time. More than you expect at the outset. If you are in the humanities, I think sole instructor positions are very important for nabbing jobs so when you are in the exam/ABD phase, you may want to try at least one. If your own university has none, look at adjuncting for nearby colleges, including community colleges. (I would wager that the majority of natural science/physical science students, and most social science students, have never sole taught a class before they get an assistant professor job. At least, it's not that common n my field, which straddles the social and natural sciences.) -Always look for money. Money is awesome. If you can fund yourself you can do what you want, within reason. Your university will be thrilled, your adviser will be happy, and you can put it on your CV. It's win-win-win! Don't put yourself out of the running before anyone else has a chance to. Apply even if you think you won't get it or the odds are against you (they always are), as long as you are eligible. Apply often. Apply even if it's only $500. (That's conference travel!) Money begets money. The more awards you get, the more awards you will get. They will get bigger over time. If you are in the sciences and social sciences, you should get practice writing at least one grant. You don't have to write the whole thing, but at least get in on the process so that you can see how it's done. Grant-writing is very valuable both in and outside of graduate school. -Revise your CV every so often. Then look and decide what you want to add to it. Then go get that thing, so you can add it. -The career office at big universities is often not just for undergrads. I was surprised to learn that my career center offers help on CV organization and the academic job search, as well as alternative/non-academic career searches for doctoral students. In fact, there are two people whose sole purpose it is to help PhD students find nonacademic careers, and they both have PhDs. This will vary by university - some universities will have very little for grad students. Find out before you write the office off. -It's never too early to go to seminars/workshops like "the academic job search inside and out", "creating the perfect CV," "getting the job," etc. NEVER. Often the leader will share tips that are more aimed towards early graduate students, or tidbits that are kind of too late for more advanced students to take care of. This will also help you keep a pulse on what's hot in your field. It'll help you know what lines you need to add to your CV. And they're interesting. Other: -Decide ahead of time what you are NOT willing to sacrifice on the altar of academia. Then stick to it. I'm serious. If you decide that you do NOT want to sacrifice your relationship, don't. If it's your geographical mobility, don't. I mean, be realistic, and realize that there will always be trade-offs. But you have to think about what's important to you for your quality of life, and realize that there is always more to you than graduate school. -If you don't want to be a professor, do not feel guilty about this. At all. Zero. However, you will have to do things differently than most doctoral students. Your adviser will probably never have worked outside of the academy (although this may vary depending on the field) so he may or may not be able to help you. But you have a special mission to seek out the kinds of experiences that will help you find a non-academic job. Test the waters with your adviser before you tell him this. My adviser was quite amenable to it, but that's because I told him that my goal was to still do research and policy work in my field just not at a university, AND because it's quite common in my field for doctoral students to do non-academic work. If you're in a field where it's not common (or where your professors refuse to believe it's common, or it's not supposed to be common)…well, you may be a little more on your own. -Every so often, you will need to reflect on the reasons you came to graduate school. Sometimes, just sit and think quietly. Why are you doing this to yourself? Do you love your field? Do you need this degree to do what you want to do? Usually the answer is yes and yes, and usually you'll keep on trucking. But sometimes when the chips are down you will need to reevaluate why you put yourself through this in the first place. -To my great dismay, depression is quite common in doctoral students. Graduate work can be isolating and stressful. Luckily your health insurance usually includes counseling sessions. TAKE THEM if you need them. Do not be ashamed. You may be surprised with who else is getting them. (I found out that everyone in my cohort, including me, was getting mental health counseling at a certain point.) Exercise can help, as can taking that mental health day once a week and just chilling. Don't be surprised if you get the blues… -…but be self-aware and able to recognize when the depression is clouding your ability to function. Doctoral programs have a 50% attrition rate, and this is rarely because that 50% is less intelligent than, less motivated than, less driven than, or less ambitious than the other 50% that stays. Often they realize that they are ridiculously unhappy in the field, or that they don't need the degree anymore, or that they'd rather focus on other things in life, or their interests have changed. All of this is okay! -You will, at some point, be like "eff this, I'm leaving." I think almost every doctoral student has thought about dropping out and just kicking this all to the curb. You need to listen to yourself, and find out whether it is idle thought (nothing to worry about, very normal) or whether you are truly unhappy to the point that you need to leave. Counseling can help you figure this out. -Don't be afraid to take a semester or a year off if you need to. That's what leaves of absence are for. Lastly, and positively… …graduate school is great! Seriously, when else will you ever have the time to study what you want for hours on end, talk to just as interested others about it, and live in an intellectual community of scholars and intellectuals? And occasionally wake up at 11 am and go to the bank at 2 pm? Sometimes you will want to pull out all of your hair but most of the time, you will feel fulfilled and wonderfully encouraged and edified. So enjoy this time!
  2. 14 points
    NoirFemme

    Fall 2017 applicants

    Seriously. This is going to be what future cycles take from the 2017 thread? Maybe some of the veterans need to chill if they can't interact with new people with some grace.
  3. 14 points
    koolherc

    The sub-3.0 GPAs ACCEPTANCE thread

    this thread is discriminatory against people with sub-2.0 gpas!!
  4. 10 points
    Kamari

    MFA 2017 All Art ADMISSIONS freak-out forum!!!!!!!!

    I WAS ADMITTED INTO THE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SOUND ARTS MFA!!!!!!!!! I couldn't breathe for a cool 6 seconds ya'll.
  5. 9 points
    CuppyCakerton

    What's your craziest backup plan?

    My best friend and I have a plan: If I don't get into any graduate programs we're both going to go in on opening a cat café. We've already started a rough business model. It makes exactly no money but we'd get to spend our time hanging out with cats.
  6. 8 points
    AfricanusCrowther

    Fall 2017 applicants

    I don't know if you actually did this or if this is a joke, but if you're for real, this is extremely childish. If you don't like someone's behavior on a web forum, you can complain to the moderators or simply stop reading.
  7. 8 points
    Callen

    What Schools Are You Waiting On!?

    I JUST GOT MY FIRST ACCEPTANCE FROM MILWAUKEE!!!
  8. 8 points
    Bando

    University of Chicago - MAPSS?

    I'm a MAPSS alum, and I just went through my admissions cycle for my PhD. More on that in a minute. The post above with the information from another MAPSS alum is pretty spot on. I'll add some random thoughts to it. Overall, if you have a funded PhD offer, I'd go for it. If you don't have another option, or you have unfunded offers staring you in the face versus a MAPSS funding offer (I had a quite generous MAPSS offer and nothing else, so I had to take it), it's worth looking into. Yes it's a cash cow, but it can also do wonders for you. -Yes, there tends to be cliques that form along disciplinary lines. It's just something that is bound to happen. You have your preceptor group, which will group you with other students who are doing roughly the same things, which then becomes this sort of recurring cast of characters that show up in all of your classes. My MAPSS cohort was unusually large, so we were simply everywhere. After a while, I began to wonder where all the actual PhD students were, because it seemed like all my classes were 75% MAPSS, 20% PhD, 5% random smattering of undergrads and other professional schools (law, business). My preceptor seemed to be steering a lot of people into the same classes, so we kind of formed this little cohort within ourselves, and ended up bouncing our work off of each other as the year went on. That helped. -MAPSS is tough, but keep in mind it's not strictly a 9-month program. Yes, you have 3 quarters to do your 9 courses, but you have a year after the end of your final course term to turn in your thesis and still have a faculty reader. You can take even more time after that (met a few people who were doing just that), but then you don't get a faculty reader. Personally, I came into MAPSS with a fully-formed project that got even better the more I got my ass kicked by my profs, and I turned it in at the exact minimum amount of time. I was lucky. The stats, if I recall correctly, are like 20-25% finish in the 9 months, another 50% finish by the end of summer term (essentially gives you about six extra weeks to write), and the vast majority of the remaining 25% are done within the year. Really, it's not that hard to do, they want you to write a journal article-length thesis. Do good work, but don't get overwhelmed with it. -Do know that MAPSS can be a difficult social experience. You're there for 9 months. It's intense, you're busy, and it's difficult to make close friendships when you're basically all scattered to the wind as soon as it's over anyway. By the time you really know people, you're done. -Now having been through the PhD application process with them, and talking to my classmates about their experiences, it seems on the whole people have been less than pleased with the actual involvement MAPSS has with your applications versus how they sold us on what that support would be. The only thing they will actually do is have whoever the point person is for your discipline write you one of your letters of recommendation. IF, that is, you apply to 8-10 schools, and they approve of where you're applying. You'll go to a meeting during spring quarter where Professor MacAloon will get up and give a really intimidating speech about the process, they give you this document on what to do, and send you on your way. It wasn't the clearest document, I found it incredibly frustrating at times, but I ended up doing most of what they said and got exactly one acceptance (so far, but it's looking like that's it), which happened to be my dream program. I'm lucky. I wouldn't be surprised if some of my classmates weren't. I talked to some folks who were applying at like 15 schools, others as low as 7. MAPSS' reputation speaks for itself, but it still only gets you so far. If you're not ready, they'll tell you. But the odds are, if you do everything, if you're competent and do good work, and you finish your MA by the time the application season rolls around, they'll support you, and the statistics show you'll probably get a funded offer somewhere (remember, MAPSS stats reflect funded offers only). -Do be prepared for the fact that MAPSS has a mixed reputation amongst the faculty. Most of the students are pretty cool about MAPSS folk, but the profs are another story. It took me 4-5 months to find a faculty advisor for my thesis, which was an incredibly frustrating and demeaning experience at times. I ended up finding someone who was absolutely wonderful and helped me immensely, but it was a happy accident to say the least. My preceptor was helpful, but not as much as was possible. I got bumped from a class because I was a MAPSS student, I tried fighting it, and was told basically that the prof was within her rights to do it. Some professors really like MAPSS kids, some of them absolutely do not. -Hyde Park is Hyde Park. Don't worry about living there, it's perfectly fine and has a lot of great restaurants and bookstores and such, but do take the time to figure out how to get out. And allow yourself to do it. Chicago is so incredible, with so much going on, that it's not worth sequestering yourself on the south side. Go and explore. CTA is your friend, as is the weekend UC shuttle bus that stops at the Roosevelt L stop until like 3AM. -I can say, finally, that my MAPSS experience ended up putting me in the position to be where I wanted to be, and I'm 100% glad I did it. But I was a bit of an odd case in that I had a project that was ready to go, and didn't have to worry about things like figuring out a topic and searching local archives to find a project, which is what a lot of people end up doing. I found the program to be incredibly frustrating at times, UC can be an extraordinarily cruel and cold place, but ultimately, it is what you make it. Don't allow yourself to get sucked up in the negativity that MAPSS engenders in some people, make sure you go to all the grad socials and preceptor group nights and milk every last free drink you can get out of it, don't spend too much time at the Reg (the library) if you don't have to, get in, get out, get your degree. Move on with your life. I'll also say that for a lot of people, they go into MAPSS thinking they 100% want to get a PhD, and by the end of fall quarter, that number has probably dropped in half. It's a great way of trying out graduate work without having a 5+ year program staring you in the face. If you find out you hate it, finish up, and go to the real world. If you can't wait for more once you're done, all the better. If I can be of any more help, feel free to ask. I'm a longtime lurker, didn't want to register, but I thought it might help if I did for this.
  9. 7 points
    KnightGeorge

    Choices and Decisions

    Great news! Baylor contacted me and I am in off the waitlist! Huzzah!
  10. 7 points
    LadyPole

    Fall 2017 applicants

    @Sigaba You're making a lot of assumptions about me and my background that are incorrect. I'm not interested in entering an argument with you. If you don't want to take my word as to my intentions and meaning, don't. But I'm done here.
  11. 6 points
    mada34

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    Brazil notifications are out! Any other ETA finalists out there?
  12. 6 points
    zeev

    Fall 2017 applicants

    I am planning to start my PhD in the fall. This deeply depressing (mis)ordering of priorities, which seems to be all-to-common amongst grad students, is what makes me the most worried about doing a PhD. What you are suggesting is that we sacrifice (or, at best, delay) the most fundamental and intimate aspects of our lives - financial security and having a family - for our work. If you went to a job interview, and the interviewer offered you the job, a job which you would no doubt enjoy, but told you that the pay was so terrible that you would go into debt if you took it, and you would be unable to have a family for many years, would you take that job? No, you would laugh yourself right out of the door. Why is graduate school any different? The second sentence in this quote offers a clue. You imply that the only alternative to grad school is to work as a "manager at the local grocery store five nights a week". As @telkanuru wrote: @DCguy, I think you already know this. I'm pretty sure you know that grad school and working at a grocery store are not the only two options in life, especially for someone who is smart enough to get into grad school. Instead, what you are implying is that grad school is the only worthwhile path in life. And that is why you are suggesting that we sacrifice, again, the most fundamental aspects of our personal happiness and wellbeing in order to do it. So, why am I worried if I don't share your opinion, or your priorities? I am worried because grad school is a process of socialization. I am worried because if the rest of my cohort shares your priorities, I will be constantly looked down upon for going home to spend time with my wife and family, instead of burning the candle at both ends during another late night at the library. Perhaps that isn't you. Or perhaps you weren't planning to have a family that soon anyway, so delaying it is fine. But mostly, I am worried that you are contributing to this socializing process right here on gradcafe, before us new students even get to our programs, and reinforcing this toxic culture of sacrifice for the next generation. Every aspiring and current grad student should print out this quote and stick it on the wall above his or her desk. I too am absolutely shocked that such a statement is at all controversial. Thank you to @telkanuru, @Sigaba, @Calgacus and @TMP, who show us that there is a better way.
  13. 6 points
    Nubbin

    Finding a husband in graduate school.

    Have read the original post and responses pretty thoroughly (had insomnia last night). While I was suspicious that Pinkster12 was a troll, I'm pretty confident that's the case, given her most recent posts here. They've taken ridiculous to a new level - - worried about the current online potential husband not having teeth, worried that she would be inappropriately jealous if faced with counseling a pregnant teen, worried she couldn't provide understanding or support to a married woman who might be depressed. We're being phished folks! As a matter of fact, her grammar and syntax changed in her last few posts from her previous style. I suspect there are two people playing us in this absurd thing, and they just ractcheted it up a notch.
  14. 6 points
    ogopo

    The ethnic group trap

    I definitely think it hinders people when they stick with their own kind and don't try to get to know new people or cultures. And I also understand that when moving to a new place, especially when the culture and language are different, that it helps to have people that understand you and help you to maintain a feeling of comfort. But I think it is unfair to think that only international students do this. A lot of people live like this, except that it might not be as noticeable because they do not speak a different language or look different. Some people stick with the same friends they've had since highschool. Some people stick to their own social class. Some people stick with only people that share their beliefs. I could go on. My point is that generally people stick to like-minded people. And then there are people who try to break these barriers, either by leaving their comfort zone to experience new things or by inviting those people who are in groups to try new things. I think that it is easy to look at international students and say that they "stick to people of their own ethnicity" but not really work to include them. It's hard to come to a place with a new culture, and all too often I see that "locals" do not make an effort to include the new people. Let's build bridges instead of reinforcing walls.
  15. 5 points
    nevermind

    Fall 2017 applicants

    Now I see the condescension of the other poster was referring to. I didn't say that marketability was the ONLY factor to consider writing a dissertation on, but it is one of many factors that need to be considered. You don't want to propose an outmoded topic just like you don't want to propose a faddish topic just to cash in on the "trend". People should be working with their advisors on this (and I said "or other people in your university or departments who know you" precisely because I acknowledge that not everybody has a great relationship with their advisor).
  16. 5 points
    Old Bill

    Buyer's Pre-Remorse

    I'm not quite in the same position, so take my words with a grain of salt, but... I really think you have to make your own decision here, and not worry too much about other perspectives. You should consider all perspectives, of course, but this is almost literally the one time that you will be able to make a major decision about the future shape of your academic life. Once you finally commit to a program, you'll be back in the grind for the next several years, fulfilling requirements and going through the motions of getting your degree. Those motions are usually somewhat enjoyable, of course, but they're also burdensome. I've heard some recent stories from other GCers who have received some rather bad (in my personal opinion) advice from their advisors, pulling them one way or another for unknown reasons. I'm almost positive that that advice is never intended in a negative way, but in this particular instance, you have to put yourself first -- make your own criteria of things that matter to you, and run with it. It is you, after all, who has to go through the program for 4-6 years, not your professors, mentors, or advisors. It's natural and often necessary to want to please people...especially those whose opinions you respect. But the best way to please them in the long run is to decide on the program that works best for you, and excel to the best of your ability. You're not doing anyone a favor by committing to a program that doesn't sit as well with you, and being less than happy for the duration. Just my two cents, but I've certainly come across this sentiment among a few people recently, and I feel quite strongly that you have to largely put aside other opinions at this point. Go with that rare blend of heart, mind, and gut -- one can steer you wrong, but rarely all three!
  17. 5 points
    I'm a "bad profile" applicant on paper. My GRE is okay (great V, ho-hum Q, decent AW), GPA is only a 3.2, academically suspended (flunked out) from undergrad twice, my only research experience was a tiny, unpublishable project. But when you read my statement of purpose you'll see that I have a 4.0 in all major coursework and a 3.8 over the past three years, my GPA is just shit because of my problems 10 years ago. My academic suspensions are a decade old. That "tiny research project" was my project (I did the IRB, wrote all grant proposals, collected all data, completed all statistical analyses, designed my poster, and presented it at a professional conference poster session). My spring breaks were spent shadowing professionals and doing community service. One summer was spent studying abroad in an area specific to my top-choice grad school's aims. I wasn't employed in the field because I was helping design lessons and editing the textbooks my undergrad used. Of the schools I applied to I was rejected from the least prestigious and accepted to all three of the more prestigious programs. When you boil everything down to a few numbers and when "research" can mean you did what I did or that you were the 14th author on a paper because a professor thought you should put your name on something you really can't compare yourself to what you see on gradcafe, especially when you also toss in the concept of program fit.
  18. 4 points
    piers_plowman

    Buyer's Pre-Remorse

    For all of you who are juggling multiple offers, how is your deliberation affecting you emotionally? Maybe I'm not the only one who thought getting some offers would end the stress and usher in a golden age of confidence and excitement, only to find that a decision now seems impossible without disappointing one or more people and sacrificing some truly great options. My advisors are split, with very strong opinions as to where I should go - they're people I want to associate with for the rest of my career as colleagues, conference friends, etc, so I greatly fear that this decision will alienate and disappoint at least one of them. Then, I worry that no matter where I pick, there won't be any excitement, just guilt and "what if's". So, the questions then: how are you all coping with the stress of decision making? Are there things about it that are surprising you? Is anyone else experiencing intense anxiety about disappointing a mentor? After all, they wrote us letters; don't we "owe" them a say in our decision? I can't say this feels worse than waiting for decisions, but it certainly is a new kind of hell. Anyone feel the strong urge to just wildly accept an offer and end it all, like those people who have the sudden urge to drive off the road?
  19. 4 points
    moh230

    NEW Canadian universities M.S.W thread (2017)

    .......
  20. 4 points
    Plantguypete

    NSF GRFP 2016-2017

    Those are all very good questions! I am a senior undergraduate that was just awarded the NSF GRFP, I will try to answer them to the best of my knowledge. 1.) So, the reviewers have access to everything you submitted in the application (even demographical information - Affirmative Action). Anyways, they will look at the proposal, personal statement, research background, GPA, and your completed courses! The GPA is important, but not as important as the other sections (I was awarded with a 3.2 GPA, but they raved about my research experience). The NSF wants to confirm whether applicants are competent scientists and will award funding to those who are able to convince them. so as far as order of importance, it is my opinion that the order is: Proposal/research experience (research experience is talked about in both proposal and personal statement usually), then personal statement (primarily background and broader impacts), then GPA and Completed Courses. The reviewers will leave feedback (I got paragraphs!). They split the grading over 3 columns: the first talks about your competence, research experience, and the project; the second column talks about broader impacts (I included a broader impacts in both the personal statement and research proposal, each addressing the broader impacts of my extracurriculars and the broader impacts of my research, respectively); the third column is basically "final comments" where they discuss your background and more or less the final verdict of whether to fund or not. 2.) Rewards are not prioritized based on where the student is at in their career. This year there were roughly 750 undergraduates funded, 1250 graduates funded. There were 13,000 applications (fewer than previous years, but likely because there are no more second chances unless you don't get funded from an undergraduate application first shot). They are all reviewed at the same time (within the submission deadline until they make decisions). I do not believe it goes undergrads then grad students or vice versa. I think it is more or less randomized and applicants are reviewed by people who are in the same general field (mine was life sciences - Evolutionary Biology). With all that being said, there does seem to be affirmative action going on (which is wonderful! This is coming from a white male too! Screw Trump! haha). This year there was a much higher proportion of females and underrepresented ethnicities than many previous application seasons. One other thing I think happens is that the NSF does not like to read about curing diseases or human health. That is what the NIH is for. In fact, it seems as those the preliminary reviewers will kick back the application before actually fully reviewing proposal. In other words, you will find out a couple weeks after submission that the reviewers will not be reviewing the application. 3.) It is my understanding that both undergrads and grad students are held to the same standard. If it was different, one would expect there to be an even amount of both undergrads and grad students awarded (to even the playing field if you will). The only difference that I could imagine is that a 2nd year would already be settled into a lab and have a project in mind. I think it would actually be harder for an undergraduate to get the award because an undergraduate carried more risk. The reviewers do not know whether or not an undergraduate has been accepted somewhere at the point of application and awarding. An undergraduate would have to really convince the reviewers that he or she is a competent scientist (NSF could potentially waste 34K+12K every year for 3 years). Whereas a graduate student has the ability to know exactly what he or she will be doing and is able to express some expertise in their proposal. My proposal was based on what my undergraduate research was on and what would happen if I continued that research. I really hope this helped! I am happy to send you my materials if it helps you at all!
  21. 4 points
    Dilemma1

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    Yep! I'm waiting to hear back about Leicester. What are you hoping to study at the University of Exeter?
  22. 4 points
    After receiving my admittance to one of my top choices, I probably slept infinitely better than I ever had in the past four to five months... I can breathe again...
  23. 4 points
    Dilemma1

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    That would be fun! After the results for this year come out we'll have to do that
  24. 4 points
    RoadtoPhD

    C&CJ Decisions 2017

    Hi guys! Congrats to all of you who have made decisions on great programs. I'm officially going to attend Northeastern in the fall. It was a little bit of a tough choice between there and Cincinnati but I feel like I picked the best fit for me! Good luck to everyone making their decisions
  25. 4 points
    nervous_nellie

    RA position question

    I was in a similar position when I first graduate from college (almost 3 years ago). I was debating between accepting a job offer as an RA or going to get my master's in general psychology. I was told by multiple people that obtaining the master's wasn't worth the debt that you leave with. It was more beneficial to work for 2ish years and then apply for doctoral programs. I ended up taking the position and working as an RA for the past 2 1/2 years and just finished applying/interview for clinical phd programs. I was more successful and a strong applicant than I would have been with a just my bachelor's degree. I was able to work and get real-world experience for the future.
  26. 3 points
    Lsmith0017

    Georgetown MSFS 2017

    From the admitted students page: We look forward to welcoming you at the MSFS Open House on Thursday, April 6, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Please RSVP no later than Thursday, March 30 http://msfs.georgetown.edu/admitted With those dates I don't think we'll be waiting much longer.
  27. 3 points
    Plantguypete

    NSF GRFP 2016-2017

    So, this is what I have heard through the grapevine.... As an NSF GRFP awardee, you are highly desired. Email the PhD programs you were rejected from, better yet, call them. Tell them you were awarded the NSF GRFP. I am willing to bet they will happily bend the rules and let you in. Not only does the NSF save them money, but it also makes the program more distinguished. You have absolutely nothing to lose! You might even be able to contact programs you are interested in but did not apply for.
  28. 3 points
    SarahBethSortino

    Fall 2017 applicants

    HI! I believe you might referring to my train wreck of a side thread. I've been intermittently looking at the threads since then. I initially came here for advise, and seeing the grandstanding, pontificating, and out and out disrespect that has been hurled at some people here has made me almost completely disengage. And that's terrible too, because I've had much to say about what I have seen over the last few pages and I'm honestly too afraid of the vitriol that I might get for it. Some posters have challenged others to print out their posts and tape them to the door of their advisors' office to see what they would think of their students' online personas. I would say this: would anyone here who seems to take pleasure in tearing other people down say those things to the faces of people who will potentially be their colleagues someday?
  29. 3 points
    erasingdinosaurs

    Spanish Fall 2017

    Well, I was pretty set on choosing between MA programs but I just an acceptance from UVA!
  30. 3 points
    Just got admitted to my top choice!!!
  31. 3 points
    eigenname

    Waitlist Thread

    Officially waitlisted at Irvine's LPS program - ~60 students applied, ~1/3 were offered admissions, exactly 21 students on an unordered waitlist. A 'small subset of applicants' from the waitlist might be offered admissions depending on how the offer holders turn out. May the quantum chances favor me...
  32. 3 points
    twinguy7

    Complaining

    Just from my experience and the school I went to, It seems most schools are busy with their current students and teaching classes, etc. Most schools go over applications during their spring break which is why notices vary by school. Spring break is the only time they have free to take the needed time to look over applicants, etc. And just think, if your teaching, grading papers, answering students emails, etc. throughout the school year and have a week off for spring break..... would you wanna take a day or 2 of that break to look over applicant files, etc? Well they do! These professors are very busy. And after they decide on who to send offers to and waitlist offer to, they have to send that information to the department secretary who does all the mailing and emailing most of the time. Its definitely a crazy process. And I agree, having gone through it in the past, its just anxiety setting in. I wanted to know and I wanted to know now! Thats the society we live in today, information at our finger tips but when it comes to grad school responses it doesn't work that way. Hope you all are keeping busy, but I know its more like checking emails, grad cafe and the mailbox as often as possible!
  33. 3 points
    Received a rejection from UofT. C. University of London has offered me a place. I am glad UofT let me know of my rejection early enough for me to start planning my new life in London. All the best gang. May each of your dreams come true.
  34. 2 points
    fuzzylogician

    Fall 2017 applicants

    In fact, both @TakeruK and I are moderators but not admins, and therefore can't deactivate accounts. You need to reach out to @bgk or @rising_star.
  35. 2 points
    treaclemineroad

    2017 Canadian Application Thread!

    Hi guys, I just wanted to give a quick hello to all those SLP kids potentially coming to McGill starting in Fall 2017. I'm currently in my first year at McGill so if you have any questions, I'm up for it.
  36. 2 points
    Vulpix

    HGSE 2017

    I'm in IEP right now 1) Everyone in the cohort is very close. I think those who attended IPSIE, the summer program, are even more connected. There are a lot of people in it but it's a really cool bond. 2) There are a lot of internships, some of them are paid. You do NOT have to enroll in S997 (and most would not recommend doing so unless your internship is many hours a week and you just need to get credit for it). I would say at least half of people in IEP have, or had in the fall, an internship. Almost no one did S997. Some of these internships are "remote" for organizations located elsewhere, but many are in Boston, at Harvard, at MIT, etc. I've had about 4 internships this year! (2 in each semester of varying commitment times) It's been a very important part of my experience and has definitely boosted my resume and connected me with potential jobs. I'm currently hoping to get a job in my current internship, and I also know that even if I don't, the experience is helping me tremendously. 3) Basically all of my professors know my name, and going to office hours helps with that. Even stats that has 100+ people the professors are incredibly approachable and easy to talk to. In fact, I would email a question to my stats professor and he would respond at midnight on a Saturday . The classes do not feel very large and if you raise your hand to contribute something you will almost never be denied. Most of my classes are on average 40 people, some have been much smaller, some much bigger. It really depends what you take. 4) Almost none of us are going to get a job at the UN straight out of Harvard (and if we do, it's because we have significant work experience already, but the average age in the program is 26 with 4 years of experience, so no). I don't think 80% of HGSE grads have offers/jobs by May necessarily, but this also varies by program and also the fact that the education job market tends to open up for September jobs (if you're looking in schools, for example). It is March still, and most of my classmates are currently interviewing/applying for jobs (some are not applying at all yet and are waiting until May because they want to just focus on finishing school and then look afterwards). I am one of those people who really wants to have a job to start right away after graduation. None of us have gotten jobs yet because it's still a bit early but I think it'll start happening in the next month. I would say most people are looking to work for NGOs/non-profits that are not as huge as the UN, like a lot of DC-based or international NGOs. Some are going back (or first) into teaching. We are optimistic. I was just at an HGSE IEP alumni networking event and met with several graduates from 2016 and they all had jobs and said all of their friends had jobs. They were working at various international education NGOs, some of which you've probably heard of if you know the field well. I would say these are the American/European students, mostly. If I might generalize, students from Latin America/Africa/Asia tend to work more for their country's governments and own national initiatives rather than the American/European students who go into development work. The reasons are fairly obvious. Hope that was helpful Also, random: I helped two prospective IEPers that I met edit their SOP. One got admitted, the other didn't. In case you were wondering if anyone was getting rejected, the answer is yes.
  37. 2 points
    I_mix

    Adcoms, please spare me.

    Adcoms, please spare me.
  38. 2 points
    fritolay

    Fall 2017 Clinical Psychology Applicants

    @Round2letsgo yes!! i am absolutely feeling guilt as well. part of me is worried that everyone in the program i'm holding will hate me for not giving a final decision sooner (although i know/hope that isn't the case)
  39. 2 points
    BigTenPoliSci

    Some Words of Caution

    Obviously the "reading in the shower" line was a bit of gallow's humor among graduate students. It simply meant that we read a lot our first two years in the program. Comparing experiences between disciplines is a tricky business. Your experience in social psychology and public health (fields with programs often geared specifically towards training professionals and offering part-time options) might not be comparable to a top 20 political science program that is interested only in training academics. I find the demands of economics phd's to be really scary and I don't presume to tell them what time management in their programs will be like. Was my grad school experience a lot more demanding on my time than yours was? Of course I have no way of knowing for sure. I only know my experience and that of my cohort-mates. Maybe my program was harder. Maybe you manage your time better than I do. Maybe political science is a lot different than public health and social psychology.
  40. 2 points
    virionoftomorrow

    San Francisco Bay Area, CA

    Not a grad student but I work at UCSF right now, and most of the graduate students I know live in the sunset near the parnassus campus and take the shuttle to mission bay. The neighborhoods closest to the Mission Bay campus are either ridiculously expensive or not super pleasant/safe to live in. Especially above 19th theres a lot of shops and restaurants and such so its pretty easy to get by.
  41. 2 points
    mouthfulofstars

    Buyer's Pre-Remorse

    This thread is everything I've been thinking about lately. I've been quite unexpectedly lucky in my applications this year and now that I'm trying to make a decision, I'm feeling incredibly frustrated, anxious, and worried. A lot of the schools that accepted me are immediately out because the funding offers are far too low when you factor in university fees. I accrued a lot of debt in my undergrad years, so there's no way I'm going for more loans. I'd finally figured out that KSU was my top choice (good stipend plus an additional scholarship, low university fees, great professors who have shown a lot of interest me) and I actually placed a deposit on a graduate apartment, which is itself an incredibly good deal. Then, my funding offer from FSU came through and it's unexpectedly high. Even though I don't think it's as good of a fit, it's still a great offer and it's in-state, which means I would be only three hours from my family. I keep having this guilt over saying no to more money, to a good school that's higher ranked (although neither are 'top' rankings, so does it even matter?), and to a place that's so close to my mom. On the other hand, I went an expensive route for undergrad and I don't regret it for a second because I learned so much. Long story short: I am confused!
  42. 2 points
    yung_comparatist

    Buyer's Pre-Remorse

    Hardcore lurker coming out of the woodwork here because of how intensely I feel this thread. @piers_plowman, the guilt, the anxiety, the FOMO when thinking about committing to one program over another; it's all there. And this is all just coming from me, internally—I actually haven't even told all of my recommenders the final list of places I've been accepted, so all the angst right now is only fueled by my own anxiety, and I'm sure it'll only get more intense when I finally tell them and learn their thoughts (I'm out of school, so I only communicate with them occasionally via email). Like you said, @SophieHatter, I feel bad even complaining about having to make a decision from multiple offers, and I swear, I am THE MOST GRATEFUL to have even gotten one, but my god I never thought it would be so difficult to decide. My difficulty comes from the fact that I'm mainly deciding between three related but quite different programs (English, Comp Lit, and an interdisciplinary humanities program), all of which have faculty and resources related to my fields, solid stipend offers, and generally just good reputations. Where they differ is the way that their programs are structured and the degree of freedom there is in the coursework to pursue one's own varying interests vs. follow a clear (but not constricting) path. I did my undergrad at a college with an open curriculum and zero required classes, which was fantastic for me and played a huge role in shaping my rather odd (but I think fascinating) interdisciplinary interests within literary studies, but I'm unsure if I want to continue with that for the next six years, or have maybe a tiny bit more guidance in my training. People always talk about how the most important thing is "fit," and that's really what I think this question comes down to, but my fear is that maybe I don't know myself well enough/can't trust what I think I know about myself well enough to make the best decision in that area. I think/hope talking to my recommenders will help with that, also maybe just sitting down and doing some hardcore, focused self-examination (lol, because who has time for that). In the meantime, I'll just keep adding info to my massive Google Sheet as a means of trying to compare them
  43. 2 points
    I got an email from uoft yesterday that I'm in! The offer email will be coming in the mail (hopefully soon)! I'm almost sure I will be accepting uoft but will wait on McM! .
  44. 2 points
    positivitize

    What to do and ask after acceptance

    This is also relevant to my interests.
  45. 2 points
    starzzz

    The sub-3.0 GPAs ACCEPTANCE thread

    Hello to all! Posting here to maybe give hope to someone in the education/ed policy/higher ed field looking at graduate programs. I was on academic probation/suspension 3 times before I graduated. I have gaps in my education since I took time to work when things weren't going well (best decision I've ever made tbh). I had to basically get all As once I returned to school in order to graduate, and I did, but my cumulative GPA is literally a 2.0. My in-major GPA is a 3.2, so good, but not stellar. I graduated in the summer, then rushed to apply to graduate school despite having tons of doubts with my 2.0 GPA. First step was taking the GRE. I'm not a great test taker, and I wasn't super motivated to study for the GRE. I'm also super super terrible at math. Sooo.. my GRE scores ranged from terrible (20 percentile Quant), to average (50something percentile Verbal), to above average (90+ percentile Writing). Stats wise, literally everything was against me. So I worked very hard (and fast) to make sure the rest of my application was strong. So far, I've been accepted to 3 out of the 4 schools I've applied to, including 2 Ivy Leagues. I've received significant funding at two schools, waiting on financial aid from one, and waiting for an admissions decision from one. I know I'm an exception, but I never expected to be. I'm not great at giving advice, but hopefully someone like me will read this and get that extra kick of motivation they need. My end goal (eventually) will be a PhD, so who knows how my past will come into play when the time comes. For now, I'm still playing the waiting game and will have a very tough decision to make next month!
  46. 2 points
    Sigaba

    Pre-Grad School Prep?

    MOO, a demonstration of diligence would include an incoming graduate students plan of action and a reading list organized around areas of interest with a request for feedback. "To hit the ground running towards my goal of X,, I plan to do A, B, and C. Here's a list of works that I intend to read. If you're so inclined, please let me know what you think." vs "What should I do to get ready for my first year?"
  47. 2 points
    gughok

    Waitlist Thread

    For what it's worth, a plurality of the people in my cohort at UCLA (i.e. us current first-years) were on invisible waitlists. Moreover, the state funding situation means the department can only afford one international student per year. I was #2 and waitlisted without notice until the first person they gave the offer to turned it down... the Tuesday before decisions were due. It might end up being a long wait for some of you but it does happen, and not infrequently.
  48. 1 point
    VitaSineLitterisMorsEst

    Vanderbilt Funding?

    So, maybe I am just being paranoid, but it looks to me based off past threads/results that people accepted to Vanderbilt with funding get some kind of a phone call before receiving their award letter. Which makes me think that I am one of the alternates for funding. Has anyone heard this?
  49. 1 point
    Can you get a electrician to disconnect/damage/disable the mic in a way that it is permanently unable to record sound? Or, can you tape up the camcorder's mic in case you ever forget to mute the mic?
  50. 1 point
    How to know which one is a better school? Ask about their employment reports. See if you can skype a current student. Google their curriculum and courses. From what I hear, Georgetown and Duke are almost always seen in a good light. However, the problem with Cornell CIPA is that it isn't a full-fledged department. It seems like an amalgamation of courses from other departments without any attempt to truly integrate the material, networks, or students. That should be something to keep in mind. Name recognition and ranking: don't bother with USNWR. It's basically useless for public policy. Unlike law and business rankings, public policy rankings don't reflect real employer reputations. There are 9 schools, in no particular order, that I've repeatedly heard of and have strong public policy reputations: Princeton*, Harvard, Columbia, Chicago, Duke*, Georgetown, CMU*, Berkeley*, Michigan*. Cornell isn't included for reasons noted in the first bullet point, among others. I've posted about ranking issues in greater detail here: Can't speak for Georgetown specifically. I'd imagine that it is a very significant advantage to have employers like the State Department just a 15 minute drive away. If you don't go to Georgetown, be sure to take advantage of networking events. I've done just fine without the DC advantage at CMU, but DC may be more important to certain individuals. Things I wish I knew: specific coursework can be *very* important for job prospects. Obviously, CMU isn't on your list, but just from personal experience: most of my interviewers have been impressed by my quantitative skills because CMU gave me the opportunity to explore quant fields like machine learning. I lucked out in choosing my school and instinctively focusing on the school's strengths in data analytics. If either Georgetown, Cornell, or Duke offers an array of coursework that can give you specific *skills* in the field you want to focus on (e.g. I've heard that Georgetown's language and security studies departments might be cool if you're interested), give that school extra consideration when picking between the three.