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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/30/2017 in Posts

  1. 15 points
    Old Bill

    Lyonessrampant's Dissertation Defense

    Hey folks! I have it on good authority that long-time member @lyonessrampant will be defending her Ph.D. dissertation tomorrow. I might be wrong, but I believe that she is the only GCer who has gone through the entire process of grad school from start to finish, and remained active here on GC the whole time. Seriously, she started here in February of 2009. Some of you were likely in elementary school then! In that time, she has been one of the most helpful members here, being supportive of all, and being remarkably generous with her time (as evidenced by her oft-reposted campus visits post). If there were a "legacy" award for this forum, she would be its prime recipient! Because of the combination of her accomplishments and her illustrious tenure here on GC, I simply ask that you send good vibes her way for tomorrow's defense. She most certainly deserves it!
  2. 12 points
    Well, I promised myself if I ever got into grad school I would post on gradcafe to help others out there that are trying to as well. Hopefully this information inspires you to pursue your dream of becoming an SLP. Back story: When I was younger, I was diagnosed with a learning disability (auditory and visual processing). I always had to try harder in school than the average student. I went to community college after high school because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I always had a liking working with kids. In the back of my mind, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I hated subjects so I wasn't sure how that was going to work out lol. After researching Speech Pathology, I realized I wanted to be an SLP. I observed a few SLPs before I made the decision to transfer to a University and pursue a Bachelors degree in Speech Pathology. I was only accepted into one school in California because my cumulative GPA was a 2.6 (did I mention I HATE subject courses). After two grueling years pursuing a Bachelors degree in Speech, I managed to graduate with a 3.7 CDS GPA and 3.2 cumulative GPA. During the two year program, I had the WORST faculty. They were not supportive at all and had their favorites. It was terrible and I am so glad I am not going there for grad school. Ok, so this is how I got into grad school: I worked my ass off during my two year undergrad program by volunteering at a school (classroom and SLP), hospital (child life department), NSSLHA events, reading program, and an aphasia support group. I applied to three grad school programs my senior year, scored extremely low on the GRE and didn't get accepted. I even applied to my undergrad summer SLPA program and didn't get accepted. I knew I had to take a gap year and work in a related field. After I graduated, I worked as a behavioral therapist. It has almost been a year now since I started, and honestly, it was the best idea. It reassured me that I was meant to work with kids and become a therapist. I don't necessarily love ABA, since I have long in-home therapy sessions, but I believe this experience helped me get into grad school. I applied to 12 schools this time. I retook the GRE and scored a little higher, but still low. V:140, Q:145, A: 3.5. I researched literally every single program on ASHA edfind with low GPA and GRE scores. Also, I rewrote my letter of intent and had it proof read from sooo many people. I was determined to get in. I ended up being accepted into one school, waitlisted for 3 schools and rejected from the rest. The school that I was accepted to is literally my number 1 choice. I was in shock. I finally did it. So what I am trying to say here is that, YOU CAN DO IT. Don't give up. If you really want it, you will make it happen. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me! Grad cafe really helped me research my schools and kept me up to date on the grad school process. I am so thankful for all the support on here.
  3. 11 points
    Old Bill

    Tips for Applying to English Ph.D. Programs

    · A few weeks ago, I was asked to talk to first-year M.A. students about the Ph.D. application process. I prepared a list of what I figure to be key elements, and I figure it might be useful to many on GC who are preparing to go down this path as well. I'm quite certain that some of these points are purely subjective and open to discussion / debate, but having gone through the process a couple of times now, these items ring true based on my experiences and observations. ---------------- Others have surely told you about the state of the industry, so I’m just going to assume that you already know the “there are no jobs” spiel. · Others have also surely told you about how relatively difficult it is to get into a Ph.D. program—I have yet to hear of a program that admits over 10% of applicants. o Because of this, if you are committed to applying to Ph.D. programs, I strongly recommend considering applying to at least ten. Even though merit is a critical part of determining who gets in, there is a very real element of “luck of the draw” which pure numbers will help to mitigate. · With that in mind, NOW is a good time to get started on your program research · Your first consideration when entering the process should be to determine what era you would like to study, and ideally a general sense of methodologies you want to employ. These elements will be reflected in the two most important components of your application: the Statement of Purpose (or SoP), and your Writing Sample (WS). · Some basics: o The SoP and WS should ideally work together o When thinking about potential areas of study, avoid proposing transatlantic or transhistorical concepts: admissions committees are still very much set up by period, and your application should be easily sorted into a field group (i.e. you’re clearly a Romanticist, or you’re clearly a 20th century Americanist). o GRE scores, GPA, and other elements are important, but remember that the things you can control the most at this stage are the WS and SoP. o Given the importance of these two documents, you will want to get as many eyes on them as possible as soon as possible. § My SoP and WS were read and commented on by at least five professors and several fellow students, and ultimately went through at least six rounds of revision each—several of them top-to-bottom revisions. · There are multiple factors to consider when looking at programs. Some of the most important include: o Are there multiple professors actively working in your chosen field § I personally used a “rule of three”—if a program had three professors with significant research overlap with my interests, I would consider it. § By “active” I mean that you should be able to find publication credits from within the past five years—they need to be in touch with current scholarship. o What level of financial support do they offer—not just the annual funding, but whether they fund in summer, and how many years of funding are guaranteed o What courses have they offered in the past? What courses are they offering in the fall? o What is the teaching load like, and how do they prepare you for that load? o So-called rankings matter to a certain extent, but remember that those rankings are almost completely arbitrary. USNews rankings are helpful as a list of all programs offering Ph.D.s in English…and a very, very general sense of the strong programs vs. the less strong. But FIT with your interests trumps all. § (E.g. the Strode program at U of A is highly regarded, even though U of A itself is somewhat less so) o Location and cost of living. A 20k stipend will get you a lot further in Lincoln, Nebraska than in New York. And elements like small town vs. large city, cold vs. warm climate etc. are all perfectly valid factors when looking at programs. You’ll have to live in this place for 4-6 years, after all! · A few quick and random tips: o It can be helpful to contact professors ahead of time to determine research fit etc., but it can also be quite valuable to contact current grad students to get a sense of the program and the environment. o Remember that an important part of professionalization in a Ph.D. program is publication. More than anything, this means that before you go down the road toward application, give some serious thought to whether or not your writing and research inclinations have that kind of potential. And whether or not that’s something you really want to deal with at all. o Also remember that teaching is a huge part of your job, and always will be. If you don’t enjoy teaching (or the prospect of teaching), you’d better really love the other components of your position, because there’s not going to be any getting away from it for many, many years. o It might go without saying, but be very courteous in all of your communications with professors and other graduate students. And that courtesy should be sincere! o Consider the total cost of applications: application fees average about $75, sending GRE scores is $27 (more if you need the subject test), and if you have multiple transcripts, that can tack on another $10. In other words, each application will likely be upward of $100. Given that I recommend applying to at least ten programs, you’re looking at a commitment of over $1000. There ARE fee waivers you can find, however. o Forums like GradCafe are a good way to socialize with fellow applicants, and commiserate with people in the same situation. Just remember to take all advice you see on those forums with a grain of salt. o Finally, there are NO SAFETY SCHOOLS. Just to reiterate, rankings are arbitrary, and almost every program gets ten times as many applicants as they can admit (let alone fund). As a result, you want to look at the best overall fit for you.
  4. 9 points

    Lyonessrampant's Dissertation Defense

    I'd be happy to participate in a forum on the job market, though I think it would probably be more useful to split at least into STEM , social sciences, and humanities like suggested above. Thanks again, all! I'm happily Dr. Lyonessrampant now
  5. 7 points
    I really resent the implication by a lot of posters in this thread that "younger" grad students are some how less serious about their coursework and research, obsessed with "bar hopping" or clueless as to how the real world works. My department has a cohort of 10-15 each year, and I would say there is usually 1 recent grad, 2 thirty-somethings, while the rest are between 25-30. 25-27 is also really not that young, and it's a bit patronizing to act like people this age have little life experience and are obsessed with drinking. Lots of us in this age cohort are putting our lives on hold to get our PhDs, which is huge sacrifice and makes us highly motivated to get in, and out and move on with our lives. Just because I'm 27 and like to hang out with my cohort at a bar on Friday nights, doesn't mean I don't work my a** off seven days a week. That being said, in my department the social aspect is hugely important, and (with a few exceptions) people in coursework years who don't socialize within the department seem to really struggle. It's important to have people that you can vent to about professors and coursework, share bibliography, get advice on fellowships and generals, introductions to scholars, advice on ins and outs of certain archives, etc...... I guess my point is, if you don't cultivate some type of a support system *within* the department, the next 6+ years are going to be an uphill battle.
  6. 7 points

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    the website states under different sections that tuition will be fully covered and that "Critical Language Enhancement Award recipients receive the same monthly maintenance stipends as for other Fulbright grants in the host country." That is all the info that was provided prior to a week ago and I took it to be true. Maybe I should have asked more questions, but still, it is frustrating and misleading... So, I just looked at the CLEA information and I do agree that it sends mixed messages. It does say that grantees "receive the same monthly maintenance stipends as for other Fulbright grants in the host country." It also says that funds are not available for transit, test fees, and a few other things. I agree that we should be able to trust Fulbright and, while I don't think they are being deceitful, I do think they need to be more transparent and note that while the amount awarded is technically the same, you aren't being paid a lump sum amount equal to your regular Fulbright amount (which honestly, makes sense consideirng they are paying tuition and for rent, so it should be less than the lump sum monthly amount). They should state you're being paid X amount minus expenses for A, B, C, totaling Y. Do I think they need to list that on the website? No. But I do think it should be included in grantee paperwork or in acceptance emails. As for what @hobakie said, I agree with some of it, but I do think the tone was way out of line. Fulbright is very clear that the stipend is modest and that, in some cases, it may not be enough to live off of. I'm thinking of those placed in München who can expect to spend almost their entire grant stipend on housing. You certainly should not be expecting to pay down credit card debt or student loans using your Fulbright stipend. We apply knowing the financial limitations of Fulbright and if someone didn't know this beforehand, then I'm led to believe they didn't do their due diligence before applying for the grant. You can find this information by contacting previous Fulbrighters and looking at Fulbright focused blogs. Additionally, I've seen a few people mention that Fulbright benefits those with wealthy parents or SOs or that Fulbright thinks its prestige and honor is a form of payment. I disagree with these statements. Of all the fellowships out there, Fulbright is the least restrictive on what they want IMO. They don't care that much about GPA, income level, etc. They want people who crave this opportunity and they especially want people who wouldn't be able to have this opportunity without a a funded grant. Sure, some people with have other financial resources if something happens (parents, SOs, etc.) but many of us will not. I know living off of $20,000 in the second most expensive city in the US that the financial struggle is real. I have student loans to pay. I have grocery bills, rent, and utilities to pay. I've learned to be frugal and yet still live life. Perhaps this is a skill set some of us will gain on Fulbright. That said, if someone wants to donate a billion dollars so we all can get paid more, not gonna complain Agree or disagree with me, but I do hope that future conversations can be less vicious and more helpful and productive.
  7. 7 points

    Fulbright 2017-2018

  8. 7 points
    @MBR given OP's goal is to stay in the States, this degree might as well be art history (which, insofar as "hard skills" go, is not that far removed from policy programs). It is difficult for someone who is not an immigrant to understand how many more problems and how many fewer safety nets F1 students have, to the extent that I think people who are not international students are being irresponsible when giving advice on this matter. The only scenario where OP should "just go" is if this decision wouldn't cause financial strain on his family (i.e. they are very wealthy). Otherwise, no, they shouldn't YOLO because someone who can get their loans forgiven and get a job at any gas station told them to just do it. OP, I came here on an F1 from a similarly socially suffocating country which has strained relations with the US, studied a similar major to yours, and I now work in policy. I also know a lot of people who are working or are trying to find work in the US, UK, or EU on a visa. I can only speak from experience, which is colored by my individual perceptions, dis/privileges, and abilities, but I hope it helps. The first thing to realize is that your job search will look nothing like citizens' or green card holders, as will your financial risks. So take any general statistic, from placement statistics to minimum GPA requirements, with a grain of salt - they are not representative of international students' experiences. When it comes to getting an H1B, you face two major hurdles. The first is finding an employer who is willing to sponsor you for an H1B following your 1-2 years of OPT (because any decent school will make it possible for you to use OCT for internships). These employers are mostly big companies with lots of money, lots of lawyers, and lots of experience with the H1B process (though small companies sponsoring because they really like you as an individual and want you specifically has happened once or twice among my acquaintances). They mostly want to hire people with technical skills or at least work experience. Economics is probably the least quantitative that you can afford to go if you want to be competitive, which is why I personally would think twice about an MPA; the mathier, the more opportunities you are eligible for (which is not the same as getting the job, of course). The second hurdle is getting the H1B, where, assuming your company wants to sponsor you (i.e. pay for all the paperwork and go through the long bureaucratic process), you are admitted into a true lottery. I know people who have had to go home after working in M&A at Goldman Sachs because they didn't win the lottery, and rebuild their career from scratch. This was before 2009, when Obama cut the H1B quota to a third. H1B is a bloodbath, no matter where you work or what qualifications you have. You have the same chance as anyone else in that barrel, and if you don't get it, some companies will transfer you to an office outside the US, and some will just let you go. People who are telling you to consider routes to UN-type jobs are absolutely correct (though a degree from SIPA is by no means a guarantee), because that makes you eligible for a G-type visa, which has many perks beyond the chief perk that it is not capped and makes you eligible for a green card after a certain number of years. With that in mind, let's discuss degrees. Policy degrees are pretty frou frou, and I disagree that the skills they impart are particularly hard (please, tell me what a ~~quantitative analyst you are when you don't even understand the functional form of the model you are estimating). The problem is that the master's offering in the US is pretty bare - there aren't (m)any quality academic masters in social sciences that are valued by employers, because the market is dominated by professional degrees and there is a tradition for talented undergrads to work in a research position out of undergrad for a couple years and then go straight into the PhD. Then there's the problem that everything is so damn expensive. This is a serious problem, because you can't (imo as a person with a very low risk appetite) justify taking out 6 figure debt unless you are absolutely certain you can pay it back, but you can't be absolutely certain due to the effectively random H1B lottery outcome, and I know of no country in the world besides America where you can pay off that kind of debt, no matter what job you get. In my country, if you emerge with 6 figure debt and no US job, your life is fiscally ruined. For that reason, I wouldn't consider an MBA in America unless an employer were covering it. As regards what you would learn in an MPA vs an MBA program, I think you have a slightly unrealistic idea of both as well as an unrealistic idea of the realities of the US academic/job environment. Firstly, whilst I'm sure you learned a lot in undergrad and that the curriculum at Cornell or wherever is fascinating, these are professional programs, the point of which is to get a job. The strength of the curriculum is negligible compared to how effective a program is at achieving the latter. These aren't programs you go into to ~~find yourself or learn about the field. A lot of your classmates will already know 90% of what you're being taught, in technical or content classes or even both, and will be using this time to build their professional networks and work on projects that they can show employers or PhD programs (so, not exactly student work). If you go in without at least knowing what policy field you want to pursue as well as something academic or practical about that field, you will be lost. Secondly, and this probably goes for everyone, but especially for international students who haven't studied/worked in an American environment, one of the things you need to achieve in these programs is learning how to exist in your professional cohort, which includes building a personal brand/niche/narrative. Don't believe anything to the contrary: the US work environment is incredibly insular, and if you do things not how people are used to them being done, people will think you're weird, which will negatively affect your career progression. Another factor is what my foreign family call Americans being duplicitous, which is their naive way of saying that how people express themselves in America and how people express themselves in my culture are different, so unless you've been immersed in this culture for a while, you won't know what your cohort thinks of you, which is bad bad bad in this relationship-based business. There is still a classist, xenophobic notion here for what constitutes educated, unfortunately. For instance, a precious few of my colleagues are sympathetic to people who don't speak/write good English. Few bother to investigate whether an ESL person can't construct an argument or just doesn't have enough facility with the language, and just assume it's the former. On that note, writing well is the #1 most important skill (right up there with presenting/interacting with people well), not Stata. You may think you write well, but policy writing in the US is its own register. This field has a culture, and you will lose out if you don't know what's up. Especially the big players that everyone here wants to work for are snake pits, where no one will give you more than one chance, no one expects less than perfection, and a few people will screw you over just because they can. Don't get me wrong: I have a fantastic work environment with people who are invested in my success, but among my entire acquaintance, I am the only one who is this lucky. As for what you should do, the main red flags to me are that you aren't 100% sure what you want to study, and that you graduated college last year. imo you need to be about 2 years further along in your career than you are, both so you can get better offers and so you know yourself better and have a better idea of how to make the best of this opportunity. This is a lot of money to spend on something you're not totally sold on, man. My first year out of college, I was similarly discombobulated and unhappy, but I'm glad I rode it out. I learned about how much I didn't know I don't know, and simultaneously I got a much better handle on where I want to take my life and career. GL.
  9. 7 points
    Vancouver: thin envelope arrived this afternoon. Time for an overhaul. (Thinking of all the learning since I applied last Fall - I'm going to put it to work!) A warm (well, rainy) thanks to all those who shared updates on this thread... it helps to better understand how this process works. I appreciate that it often takes more than one try. And, a hearty Congratulations to those with a thick envelope! Well Done!! For the other 1,183 of us: no shame. It was a bubble of time imagining the possibilities... and I wish you all the best in what unfolds next!! Take care.
  10. 7 points
    Right now, I am trying hard to focus on all of the reasons that it will be okay if I fail in this competition. I'm in Georgia (direct applicant), so it might be a few days before I know the results. Maybe this will be helpful for other people? 1. There are plenty of chances yet. 2. Every year that you fail is a chance to gain more and more items to put on your CV. 3. Success in this competition is not a measure of your worth. 4. Just being in grad school is akin to winning lots of competitions! 5. The harder you work to prove yourself, the better you become as a scholar. If anybody else wants to chime in, feel welcome. Congrats to all who were successful!
  11. 6 points

    HGSE 2017

    @HisGrace I am a current HGSE student, I work at HKS, and my spouse works at MIT. Your question is difficult to answer because it is getting at values deep within Harvard's history and culture. Everything I say is based on my experience and should be read as hasty generalizations. Basically, each school at Harvard looks upon the others with both a tinge of disdain and a tinge of respect. The B School is often hated on for being separate. They are on the other side of the Charles River and have a proclivity to not share resources like other schools do (e.g. they have the nicest gym on-campus but only HBS affiliates can use it). The only B School students I've met have been in HGSE classes or HKS classes, so they are interested in the public good. These students have been incredibly well-rounded and not just looking to make a buck. My impression is that the typical B School student may have been Greek during their undergraduate days The College is often hated on because typical students may be teenagers with superiority complexes. I have met about 30 and this seems true for about 1/3. For example, a student from suburban Chicago told me "no one from Whitney Young HS gets into Harvard." WYHS is one of the top high schools in Chicago where Michelle Obama went— and she ended up at Princeton and HLS. On the other hand, a College student has become a lifelong friend of mine. To be blunt, the Law School is hated on for being perceived as being full of assholes. I have heard several stories of Law students sabotaging each other (e.g. Tearing up a colleague's exam when he went to the bathroom). Most of the Law students I've met have been very laid back and have not exhibited assoholic behaviors. Numerous times, I have heard that Ed. School students are perceived as very friendly and very liberal. Our library is known for being a very social place with great food. Critiques of the Ed. School are that it is mostly white women and that it has one of the smallest endowments of the Harvard Schools. The only unanimous opinion is that all Harvard schools look upon the Extension School with disdain. At the core, every school wants other schools to do well. We are one university and our performances and reputations all reflect upon each other. I want HBS to continue being the school that produces the most millionaires and billionaires in the world. I want HKS to keep pumping out elected officials. I want the next Secretary of Education to be a HGSE alumnus. Ultimately, Harvard students want others to be the best because we want to be the best school in the world. This shared desire for greatness supersedes any tinge of disdain. And again, these provocative, hasty generalizations are not representative of all Harvard students' views and experiences.
  12. 6 points

    Anyone Can Be a Data Scientist

    Why not? Turns out that anyone can be the President, so what's a data scientist in comparison?
  13. 6 points

    Lyonessrampant's Dissertation Defense

    In some ways, much more stressful and brutal than I thought it would be, and I thought I was prepared! The numbers of postdoc openings vs. applicants for this year was like any other, knowing the ratio feels a lot different than living and competing in it! But in other ways, I found community in ways I didn't expect. My subfield is small, so I have met almost everyone else graduating in my subfield at conferences or during visits. We all apply to positions that are generally in astronomy though, not just my subfield, so at least sometimes a "no" to me meant a "yes" to someone else in our subfield (i.e. a friend), so that was nice. It was really nice to have friends at all institutions to share the stress of the job market with me. I can write more details later including what seemed to work well and what didn't etc. but the next few weeks is busy with submitting dissertation (tomorrow!), defending and moving for the new job Remind me in mid-June if you want to hear more.
  14. 6 points
    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!
  15. 5 points

    Lyonessrampant's Dissertation Defense

    Just wanted to say how inspiring all of you are to me as I face my oral qualifying exam next week ... I'm only halfway through this process and you folks are finishing, but you really make me feel confident in keeping with it to the end! You folks were old hands when I got here three years ago, and I've been so happy for all of your advice throughout this time. I hope all the good karma you have earned through your kindness on grad cafe is reciprocated on the job market!
  16. 5 points
    1. The idea that you can get into a PhD program simply because you did an MA at Cornell is misguided. 2. The idea that you should do a PhD as some kind of last resort is incredibly misguided. A PhD is a multi-year commitment that's hard to get through even if you come in with all the passion in the world. 3. The idea that you would then get a job at a North American University with your PhD that you aren't really passionate about and in a field you didn't actually want to be at is just plain offensive. The academic job market is ridiculously competitive. Those "lesser tier" jobs you're describing will still be highly competitive. The idea that you can go into academia as some kind of backup is just so incredibly misguided. More likely, you'll be miserable and depressed doing something you don't want to do, leading to poor performance, and therefore to failure to get a job (or graduate). Sorry to be harsh, but you have no experience and no actual academic interests. You'll be competing against people who actually want to be where they are. It's tough enough even when you have everything going for you, and almost impossible otherwise. If this is your backup strategy, I highly recommend that you go back to the drawing board.
  17. 5 points

    Lyonessrampant's Dissertation Defense

    I went on it this year. It's brutal, but we all know that. Hoping next year will be better with degree in hand, but even if I end up going alt-ac or non-ac, I've had a great experience during my Ph.D. I learned a new language, spent about a year in Italy and England, got funded to do research I love and am passionate about, and had amazing health insurance, so for me, I have zero regrets even if I don't get a TT-job.
  18. 5 points

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    GUYS GUYS GUYS: Brazil just released news that they have additional funding for 76 more grants (ETA) and are holding a special competition for them. If you did not get them this cycle, you can apply again!!! Read more here: http://us.fulbrightonline.org/component/news/?view=news&news_type_id=4
  19. 4 points

    How to Deal Problem Students as a TA

    The one trick I've learned (mostly through analyzing why I respect some professors despite being subject to their scathing criticism) is to be honest and confident and deal with the behavior like a boss, but to never judge or make assumptions about the student's personality, motivation, or abilities. Instructors who get the best results: Might tell the student that his/her behavior comes off as [insert negative thing here], but will never say that the student is A or B or that they think the student is A or B. Might say why they took points off and where the problems are in a certain paper or assignment, but will never generalize the performance on that single assignment to make negative assumptions about the student's performance overall or question the student's effort or abilities. Keep personal feelings out of it. Treat each situation as something separate - once a conversation is over, let it be over. Don't let your attitude cloud your other interactions with said student or with other students. If they don't bring up the topic of a past unpleasant interaction with you, you don't bring it up first. You smile and treat it as if nothing happened after the fact. Also, it's okay to clue in the instructor of record if it gets too absurd. As a TA, one of the worst interactions I've had with a student involved that student being aggravated by a not-so-great grade on her essay and was trying to get points that I couldn't give her. She yelled at me during office hours, refusing to believe that her answers weren't correct and telling me that she didn't think I understood how much money and effort she put into her education, that I didn't care because I wasn't paying nearly as much as her, and that I wasn't qualified to teach and probably didn't even read the textbook. I ignored any attacks on me. I told her first of all that I didn't question her ability or effort - there were specific things we were looking for and she didn't have it; it didn't mean she was a bad student or that I graded on a whim. I also explained the answers to the questions and the reasons her answers didn't express them adequately. I then told her that she was welcome to go to the instructor for a second opinion (which she was going to do anyway). After she left, I followed up with an email recapping what I'd said, BCC'ing the instructor, and I met with the instructor later that day to talk more about the incident. When the student sent in the essay for that second opinion, the instructor and I went through it together, and the fact that the instructor was on my side about the grading helped the student come to terms with her grade, and she ended up apologizing for her attitude. Honestly, I have to really thank this student. She gave me a killer answer to a really common and hard-to-answer interview question!
  20. 4 points

    research scams

    Ok so just as I was about to call the organization to report that a scammer was posing as one of their recruiters, I find out that it was my brother playing a practical joke on me by creating a fake email address. So the good news is my research topic has not been compromised, but...I told him he is dead to me.
  21. 4 points
    Where did I say anything about "going out to bars"? Oh, that's right. I didn't. My concern is more that someone who is singlemindedly focused on coursework and research misses out on some of the key learning that's necessary to succeed in academia. As much as I loathe drama and politics, academia is full of them and being able to navigate these successfully is crucial when you're junior faculty. Even outside of academia, every workplace has its drama and it pays to pay attention, even if only so you can avoid getting caught up in it. You don't have to take my advice but, maybe someone else on this thread will find it of value. @SarahBethSortino, I did plenty of socializing (both with my cohort and with others) in grad school that didn't involve going to the bars. We would go out for coffee, have work sessions in local coffee shops, work out together at the gym, watched sports together (live or on tv) etc. A lot of what I did with people was driven by our shared interests. I know that others would go biking, hiking, or rock climbing together, for example. Looking back at my PhD, I had two good friends in my cohort (one MA/PhD student and one PhD student) plus two good friends (one each from the two cohorts ahead of mine*). As others have said, those are the people who have reviewed my grant, fellowship, and job application materials (yes, even when we were applying for the same thing!), given me feedback on drafts of journal articles, etc. In my case, we all have similar-ish research interests, which makes some of those things easier. I've never actually published with any of them, though I also wouldn't rule it out as something that might happen in the future. Those in the cohorts ahead of me were useful for thinking about exams, committees, coursework strategies, navigating weird institutional policies, etc. Here's what I've noticed about those who were from the city where I did my PhD and had a network outside of campus. They didn't make close friends with anyone but then would all of a sudden become very friendly when they needed something. This meant that they were a lot nicer to others when they wanted a copy of your successful fellowship application, for you to share a syllabus and set of assignments you developed, or wanted your feedback on their fellowship/grant materials. I... dislike when people do that. It's one thing to share with your friends and another to share with someone who is basically a stranger that you've seen in the hall sometimes. So, regardless of whether you make lifelong friendships, I'd encourage everyone to cultivate collegial relationships with others in the program so you gain these informal benefits. *BTW, when I say "cohort", I'm referring to when we started our degrees. For any number of reasons, several of us finished around the same time, despite not starting in the same year.
  22. 4 points
    Duns Eith

    Go big or go home?

    Hate to be a downer, but this is quite true. It might be wiser to cut losses. The general advice is "If you can do something else, do that." There are plenty of less competitive, yet high paying, jobs out there. If, say, you can work in IT, become a business consultant, or do data-analysis, you're gonna be in much better shape from a risk-cost-benefit analysis. For some people, they would not be wise to cut losses: they have been given every encouragement to pursue philosophy, they are doing excellent work (far better than peers), and they have no other skill-set that is marketable. Depends on what you're counting for "jobs." A university "research" job? Extremely rare and competitive. A university teaching job? Quite a few out there, perhaps fewer openings than there are top-10 graduates. A college job? There's a lot. By far, they are adjunct or visiting associate professor jobs, but they do indeed exist. It is hard to live off the last category, though, as you may need to work at 2-4 colleges, without benefits, and still have no job security. There is no such thing as a "safety school"... but realistically, the odds are better at lower ranked (or unranked) schools. If your goal is to get in somewhere, then definitely apply to those. But if you don't want to get in just anywhere, then you shouldn't apply to those lower schools. I know a lot of people who take that mentality. I think it's dumb, and only perpetuates the disparity. I mean, it makes sense from a vantage of "I simply can't be happy unless I get a tenure job at a university, so I gotta"; but even then, there are so many factors that go into employability, to the extent that being in a top-10 (or even top-20) cannot corner the market on all the factors. I care more that I get to do philosophy. I care more that I get to teach. In order to make up for the lack of prestige where I will be attending (and I guess I was going to take this route anyway), I am gearing everything I can toward making myself competitive as a teacher. Developing a growing list of courses of which I have been instructor of record (4 different courses now) -- syllabus, course schedule, exams, etc. Creating materials that can be reworked and repurposed across classes -- lecture notes, examples, handouts, etc. (literally, just focusing on presentation of material intensely) Creating a data-set of my evaluations -- scores on several metrics, written feedback Developing good relationships with the chair, administrative assistant, and DGS -- getting letter writers for my dossier Networking at conferences, sending my CV to local schools, etc. -- getting my name out there and always checking for availability even when no job offer is posted Other professional things that matter Conferencing papers, giving talks, etc. Getting feedback so I can get published in a journal All this can be done without a PhD, but with PhD in-hand, many of these things (if developed properly) can outshine someone at Princeton or Harvard. Depending on the school's needs, they may want someone who has demonstrated excellence in teaching time and time again, so as to reduce risk and raise confidence in long-term benefit to the university. Some top-rank schools don't even have their grad students teach during their entire program. This is indicative of a few things. When your professors were hired, there were fewer PhD programs and fewer grad students. This raises the probability that they were accepted at those fewer, longer established programs. Given that they were hired in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and early 2000's, such hires are a sort of snapshot of the way the university (used to) hire(s). This also indicates that prestige does matter. More often than not, the top schools crank out better qualified professors than "lower" schools. There are exceptions, but this can't be ignored. A lot of it is tied to the details of the hiring process... Human resource directors in general, and universities deans in particular, want to pay as little as they possibly can for the highest qualified, most stable candidate they can afford. For academia, it is a buyer's market: they can have their pick among 50 excellent applicants and turn down another hundred great applicants. But, again, they can choose a candidate who came from a great school but didn't have any teaching experience (or very little), or they can choose someone with a ton of experience but a lesser known but recognizable school (e.g., Purdue, Mizzou, etc.). Likely, they will choose the candidate who has both qualities. But sometimes that doesn't describe the best candidate. Sometimes, though, a chair will pass over a candidate who is likely to take a job elsewhere on short notice (not stick around) because they are "overqualified". (I wouldn't stress this too much though; it is the exception) Advice: Find the faculty you want to study under by looking at the specialty rankings for different fields. Look at their CV's. See what they have been writing on, and where they went to school. Put their name down as a person of interest. Then simply look at the placement record of the school with that faculty. That is, forget that the school has a PGR ranking. Compare the placement records along the lines of four categories: tenure-track (or tenure), post-doc or VAP, or adjunct (lecturer), and then left-academia or unknown status. Compare the stats for each of the programs you are taking seriously. I think PGR should only be a proxy for this very metric, and it isn't an excellent one. You can go to an unranked school with a better placement record than some mid-ranked schools. In other words, climb up the PGR ladder in the specialty areas, then after you've isolated enough programs to take seriously, kick away the PGR ladder and evaluate the schools yourself.
  23. 4 points
    @KslptobeYou sound so similar to me grade wise! It took me three separate application cycles to become accepted into grad school! It just shows we don't give up and work hard to get where we need to be I've done the same thing and have tried to write encouraging words to all us fellow applicants that have/have been discouraged by the application process! Congratulations!
  24. 4 points
    @Kslptobe congrats on all you have accomplished!! That's really great that you were able to succeed despite the lack of support from your undergrad professors. I love to read and talk to people who succeed despite the odds. Because I'm one of those people too! I have no learning disability but just have crazy test anxiety and landed some low gre scores as well (Q: 141, V: 152, AW: 3.5). I applied to 8 schools and after numerous rejections, finally got into one of my top choice schools. I'm so very glad to hear you got into your top choice school. I know you will succeed in your graduate studies! 😊
  25. 4 points
    @Revolutionary Policy is not a specialization. That's like saying you want to specialize in engineering. As regards interdisciplinarity, sure, most policy people have an interdisciplinary skillset - but that is not the same as having an interdisciplinary focus. Until you grow to the heights of Jim Kim or Noam Chomsky and can permit yourself to pontificate on whatever you damn well please, regardless of what they call you doctor for, you need to have a niche in order to get work. A narrow one. A niche in policy is something like innovation policy, or productivity analysis, or aquaculture in west africa. I know some people who went the MPA - PhD route to stay in the country (which is unfortunately a necessary reality when you graduate from a middling MPA program and have no work authorization), among a broader circle of people who do so with whatever degree. None of them are at good programs, and none of them are getting academic jobs. Barring a strong undergraduate record (at a known university) or extensive work experience, the MPA isn't really a good gateway to a PhD. It maybe qualifies you for average polisci programs, random interdisciplinary programs, and public policy PhDs (for which academic jobs statistically do not exist). If you go that route, you need to realize that all you're doing is buying yourself more time to find a job. I can put you out of your misery: this field does not exist. Name any policy area, and you can spit and hit 10 specialists that have 3 citizenships, 5 languages, and star-studded resumes. If you want to work in an in-demand field, you're barking up the wrong tree. Try IT or finance. Nobody works here for the easy career progression or the piles of money; we do it either because we love it, or because we fell into it. What you can do to become an in-demand person is to 1) have a niche you are expert in (because you love it, because you're good at it, because you fell into it and stuck with it); 2) have a skill you do really well (statistics, writing, negotiation, etc); 3) be easy to work with (attitude, attention to detail, organization, good under pressure). That said, I agree with the other dude. If this is an itch you need to scratch, go for it. I'm more or less convinced that your discontent can be explained by a combination of growing pains and a lack of experience with having real problems, and I personally give you low odds for success, but then I'd give anyone in your position, broadly, low odds for success and yet some people make it. Just do a conservative cost-benefit analysis before you go. I know nothing about Fulbright. Cap-exempt organizations are universities and NGOs associated with universities. As for your plan for getting a PhD and "settling" for an academic career, it makes you look completely clueless. The takeaway I want you to get from this post, if not this conversation overall, is that, if you are in the US on a visa, you ALWAYS have to plan for the possibility that you will be going home, because as long as you are on a visa, that possibility is always there. The second takeaway is that, so far, the ideas you have for keeping that eventuality at bay are either unrealistic or have very low odds of success.
  26. 4 points
    If you can make a genuine case for being an outcast whose religious or political views put him at risk of persecution, you can apply for asylum once you're in the US. Compared to the EU and Australia, the US asylum regime (narrowly defined) is better for people of your background and so far largely untouched by Trump and Bannon. (But you'll need to have better reasons for your asylum application than "no girls, no relationships, just a boring job" - that's half the world's guys in every country, the US included.) There are downsides to the US asylum regime because you won't have government-provided pro bono legal aid and won't have work authorization until a few weeks to months after your application is in, during which time the government offers you no support...you'd be lucky if you got NGO support for basic subsistence. But if you're at Cornell while you apply, you might convince CIPA to keep you as a student despite your change of status from F-1 or J-1. By the time you finish CIPA, you will have become a permanent resident. Jobs will have become easier then. But I digress. As someone who lives in an Islamic Republic next door to yours - and who lived in your country for over a decade - I would advise you not to overthink the difficulty of your situation. Correct me if I am wrong, but you seem like someone who doesn't have major financial problems, doesn't have 7 sisters to feed and marry off like some young men in Pakistan do, etc. The dust, broken roads and noisy mullahs are irritants but 180 million Pakistanis put up with them. I would imagine you could as well, at least for another year. You're in Lahore, not North Waziristan. Unless you have crippling dust allergies, you can live with it. The various degrees at the Kennedy School require up to 6 or 7 years of work experience. Your GPA can't be changed, but gaining more work experience will definitely help with HKS or any other school, especially if you can improve your scores by a few notches, which you can because you have a whole year ahead of you. Everyone does it with a 9-5 job or a full course-load. That's just the way it is. The biggest life advice someone gave me right out of undergrad was not to rush it. Take your time. Go out in the 'real world.' Spend some time in the sun to fully ripen. Then go back to school. One year out of undergrad, you strike me as someone who is still in his early 20s. If that's the case, I would take a year, maybe two. You're still early in your career. One to two years at a job is ideal at this stage. Change jobs. Gain multiple experiences because this will give you different policy vantage points. It will make you a better applicant and job candidate. I am sorry if this is a bit preachy, but I was in your shoes several years ago when, after six years in the US, I dreaded returning home for the exact reasons you outlined in your post. Five years into the dust and grime of my country and a few close security encounters later, I'm grateful I returned. I will be going back to the US for grad school this fall, and I am secure in the knowledge that I have real-world experience in a tough country -- knowledge that will enrich any conversation in a policy program (I got into CIPA as well, but I will be going to another grad school). I would imagine that the beer I'll drink and the girls I might fraternize with will be all the sweeter. And the air...ahhh, I can finally go out running again. --- ADDENDUM: The challenge of the position you're in is to see beyond your current situation, to incorporate contingencies into your planning. Here's one contingency: If you choose to go to CIPA, chances are that your view of Pakistan might actually change. Two years is a long time - you might miss Pakistan, might develop new perspectives. If you get a job right out of CIPA, that'd be great; if not, you can always return to Pakistan to much improved job prospects with an Ivy League degree in hand...and apply for an H1B the following year. I know more than a few foreigners - Pakistanis included - who returned home after a stint in the US. Many of them are happily working there.
  27. 4 points
    Revolutionary, I think you need to figure out what you prioritize, moving away from Pakistan no matter what you have to do or getting into policy even though it might take longer and mean you wont get a job abroad. As others have mentioned policy is not the type of career that will enable you to easily get job sponsorships abroad, especially not in the US at this point in time. IOs are really the best option for internationals because of how hard it is to get a visa, but again those jobs don't grow on trees and with only one year experiece you will be competing with all of your classmates and people from other top degrees who have more and better experience than you. Simply having a Cornell degree wont make you a shoe in. It's not even amongst the top top top policy degrees in the states... I think you might be overestimating it a bit cause it's an Ivy (not saying that it's bad, there are just bigger names out there for this). It seems like your heart is really set on Cornell and ultimately you're looking for people to justify your decision, as you hace noticed by now very few of us agree. However, there is no one path to success. Having 3-4 years of experience, great volunteering, 5 languages and whatever else people say you need to succeed won't guarantee you get a dream policy job in an amazing place and that you'll be happy. Although I agree that this degree right now is a big risk and seems financially irresponsible sometimes you gotta take the leap. If you do make the decision to go, make sure that you're going with your eyes wide open and that you are prepared for a scenario in which you don't get a visa in the US or elsewhere, don't get into a Phd of your choice (which i agree you should never do just for the heck of it) and will have to move back to Pakistan anyway.
  28. 4 points
    Just to chip in, I will say that it is great that you come here looking for advice. Take my advice as a grain of salt, considering that I haven't started my MPP yet (but I do have several year of work experience and I've spent well over a year researching this). First of all, 1 year may seem like a lot to wait if your situation is shitty right now, but in the long run it will be nothing if it ultimately helps you make a better choice. You do not want to take your graduate studies lightly. I know that Pakistan can be a suffocating place, but I think you can have it in you to just lay low for twelve more months. Regarding GRE, the quant section is actually the easiest to improve, specially if you have several weeks. Just do Magoosh for 30 minutes every day and correct your wrong answers and you will see your score get much higher. (In contrast the verbal section is greatly limited if your english is not up to par or if you weren't an avid reader before-hand). However, also keep in mind that GRE is a very small part of the application, and the one extra year of work (if relevant and you stand out) can do much more difference). Regarding MBAs, money and positions may not seem like a factor now, but in 2 years they will be, trust me on this. If you go to grad school your primary focus should be on what you want to project your career. That doesn't mean that MBA is the only correct answer here, but you should take into consideration what you want to do. For example, most big non-profits value MBAs more than MPPs. But an MPA may be more valuable for public sector work. Never forget the huge financial undertaking that this choice signifies! Personally, if I could start again and money wasn't an issue I would consider a joint MBA/MPP, but that's just me, given my own preferences and outlook. Are you competitive for other schools in one more year? Depends. The GRE is not as relevant as you think, as I said above. You say you are passionate, but can you tell a coherent story through your work experiences and volunteer work? Can you get relevant work experience in an extra year? Best of luck
  29. 4 points
    The big brown envelope showed up in Vancouver today. 17.15/20 after 2 years of not even making it out of my department.
  30. 4 points
    Coco Rosenberg

    Fulbright 2017-2018

    Hi everyone! I just heard back yesterday that I have been moved from an Alternate and now have been offered an ETA position in Benin for this upcoming year! I am overwhelmed and very excited that more funding was made available! I would love to connect with anyone who has previously served in Benin, with Fulbright or any other organizations, or with those who will also be there this upcoming year! (Particularly because you all probably have a better idea of all the steps and everything at this point!) I'm very excited to meet everyone at Orientation as well!
  31. 4 points

    Lyonessrampant's Dissertation Defense

    @lyonessrampant @TakeruK Eagerly awaiting non-anonymous job market realities posts from both of you
  32. 4 points
    Thought I'd bring my gradcafe account temporarily out of retirement to contribute to the wealth of SSHRC knowledge this year. Got my results in the mail today on Vancouver Island, BC. I was waitlisted, which I had already found out from my department. I was on committee 5 (if that's where poli sci goes), and my score was 10.1/20, which, gathering from some of the other scores, is probably the lower borne of the waitlist (I think I've seen a 12.6 and a 12.9.) For those dedicated to the envelope theory, mine was a medium-sized brown envelope, which may add an interesting new level to the big envelope = SSHRC, small envelope = no SSHRC theory. Congratulations to all those successful so far, best of luck to those on the waitlist and waiting to hear, and to those unsuccessful, I'll see you at the pity party I'm throwing at my house this Friday. I'll be providing snacks, but please bring your favourite wine and the hottest list of tracks you like to cry to.
  33. 4 points

    Lyonessrampant's Dissertation Defense

    Thank you all so much! What a pleasant surprise it is to see this today. Old Bill, I happily pass the torch to you, as your support and encouragement of everyone over the last couple of years is evidence that you'll continue to contribute to this community. Best wishes to all.
  34. 4 points

    Graduation was meaningless?

    I'd like to thank everyone who replied to my post (in 2015). It's been over a year since I checked for responses because I didn't think that anyone would reply! I came back to check out of curiosity and couldn't help but cry my eyes out! I am going through a tough time right now: didn't get accepted into any SLP grad school and just re-evaluating my life. However, reading everyone's responses gave me encouragement and some hope to hang in there. I am going to take another year to try to transform myself before applying a second time around. I'm glad that we have such a supportive online community. I want to wish you all the best for your futures!
  35. 4 points
    Got a notification from our graduate secretary on Friday that my application was successful 🙂 I just now went through the 2016 thread (because I'm neurotic and won't believe it's real until I actual have the physical letter) and it looks like people started getting emails on a Friday, Ontario got physical letters on Monday or Tuesday, and west coast got physical letters Wednesday or Thursday. So hopefully everyone should know their results by the end of this coming week.
  36. 4 points

    Emerson vs. Redlands

    I'm sorry, I have been sort of avoiding this forum because of this decision! It has been a seriously emotional and teary rollercoaster (sort of ridiculous, I know—I am blessed to have options!) but I have come to a decision. I will be attending Emerson next year. My dad was hopeful I would move to Cali—we are Italian, and family is everything!—but he is supportive of my decision. I was talking to my mom and we were discussing how by Christmas I will be 1/4 of the way done if I go to Emerson, and I won't have even started the prerequisites yet at Redlands. There are other factors in the mix... my long-term partner is applying to med school, and if he cannot get into a school near me we will only be apart for one year if I go to Boston, versus two years if I go to Redlands. He is going to apply to soCal programs so we might have the option to be near my family. I know there is no guarantee he will get in, but Emerson just provides flexibility sooner. I'm also not sure if this is viable, but I could possibly stay at home for a few months after my program or do my CFY there. If my dad's health does go downhill, I will need to take a break regardless of whether I am in Cali or Boston—I will be there for my family. My sister and I also laid out all of my breaks. I am planning to purchase tickets to CA for every one of them (they are surprisingly affordable, minus over Thanksgiving), and I am going to try to be home every 2 months. It makes me feel better to know I will be home more often than I have been in my working life over the past 5 years. There was no wrong answer here, and I know I would be very happy at either program. I knew I would regret something if I went to either one, too. I guess the other piece is that in my gut, I really want the experience of Boston and to go to Emerson, and I honestly felt sort of sad when I was admitted to Redlands because I felt obligated to go. I have not heard anything really negative about either program, but I had to pick something! I am worried people will think I am a bad person for choosing the program away from family. I am teary writing this, because I worry so much about my dad, but I cannot plan for his death and I have no idea when it will happen. I am now focusing on trying to feel confident with my decision and moving forward with this adventure! Also, I just need to say, THANK YOU everyone for all of your help!!! (And thanks for the emotional dump here!)
  37. 4 points
    Yes....heard from the director of my department Friday night at about 6:30 pm. (In a message that somehow went to my junk mail and I only discovered by a fluke!) I am in my 2nd year of the PhD and was awarded the CGS for 3 years. Or so he "unofficially" said. I still don't believe it. Won't, until I see the actual letter. For what it is worth, last year I was waitlisted for the smaller, 2 year doctoral award. Note: this year's proposal was almost identical. The only real difference was that I had some first year PhD grades on the transcript. (I am a returning student who had been out of school for a while before my return as a PhD candidate, but my MA grades were all good, so you wouldn't think that would be super important.) Also, I had my supervisor and a current prof write recommendations, rather than my MA supervisor and my current supervisor. But again, I'm sure these letters were comparable. Meanwhile, I did nothing to the proposal itself except maybe change a comma. I had worked so hard on that #$(%* thing the first time round that neither I, nor my supervisor, could figure out a way to improve it. So in desperation, we just forwarded it again! If you weren't chosen this year, don't give up hope; it could still happen for you next year. Good luck to all who are still waiting to find out. It is a crazy system. I really feel there should be coordination and a streamlined process so people don't have to go nuts with all the waiting.
  38. 4 points

    PhD Fall 2018 Applicants

    *flips table* Are you serious?!! Bout dang time!! Medical schools have has that for years and my med friends do not understand why psychology still has individual apps.
  39. 4 points
    Just throwing this out there: "white" is a race too. And the South (or any geographical area in the US, period) is not solely defined--or shaped--by a black/white racial binary.
  40. 3 points

    Hunting for a Program, I'm STUCK. help please.

    Honestly, I think that you should start by seeking guidance from your former professors. GradCafe is very helpful regarding certain aspects of the application process (GRE studying tips, SOP advice, Interview advice, etc), but not so much when it comes to something as major as choosing a field of study. Sure, we can list all of the best places to study political psychology, but we can't really tell you whether you should be studying political psychology or not. You should contact a professor who knows you and knows your work and have a conversation with them regarding your research interests and how to best pursue them.
  41. 3 points

    Need Help Understanding

    I can say with absolute certainty that the MSW students in my area do not get enough training that is science based nor are they prepared for the myriad of consequential job responsibilities. Working with local state organizations (e.g., Child Welfare Services, Department of Human Service, etc.), I've seen many Social Workers make assessments, recommendations, or suggest interventions based on past/personal experiences. When asked how decisions were made and if they had a set of procedures (specific to situations or populations), I learned that decisions were commonly based on other cases or personal beliefs and no such procedure existed. Which worries me deeply - how do we know Social Workers are not influenced by biases in making their decisions? I've also witnessed Social Workers who categorize individuals into a immutable mold: "Oh, they've experienced sexual trauma? Well, then you can expect to see [X, Y, and Z] from them. They will not like [X, Y, and Z], so be sure not to do any of those things. Only [X, Y, and Z] will help in this situation." Perhaps, this is only my experience. To improve practice and service, attention needs to be focused on the ways that Social Workers form judgements and make decisions with an aim to have the most efficacious outcome. And, that's where research comes in, how do we train competent Social Workers - who are expected to make crucial assessments or provide counseling - when they simply do not know/implement the science? To be absolutely clear, I am not saying a MSW is lesser than a PhD. I am saying that a MSW should not be tasked with responsibilities nor make crucial, lasting decisions that are above their training level.
  42. 3 points

    research scams

    I think you will be fine, but it might be a good idea to talk to your advisor about this just to get more perspective. It is a little embarrassing, but trust me, many grad students (including me) have admitted more embarrassing mistakes before! Normally these scammers are in the business of stealing your money, not your research ideas. I am guessing that if you answered the next set of questions, they will probably ask for payment for the application or for the program itself. So I wouldn't worry too much. In the worst case scenario, they might use your text to either scam other people (list your abstract as a fake attendee to their future fake events) or sell it to unscrupulous people looking for academic text. But this is pretty unlikely as this implies they are able to distinguish good vs. bad academic text and if they could, it's unlikely they would be running this sort of scam. So I wouldn't really worry about it. Also a good idea to talk to your advisor in the future before submitting things like this. Even if it is a legitimate thing, I generally would want to discuss how much uncompleted work to reveal in an abstract with my advisor!
  43. 3 points

    Preparing to start program

    To combine both sacklunch's and theophany's advice a little bit: How one responds to the first year of a PhD program is absolutely dependent upon both the program and your own constitution as an academic. sacklunch rightly points out that some people are totally fine to keep plugging along at the same pace and, importantly, that things change once you're in a PhD program. So, to echo theophany a bit, one shouldn't feel bad for not being the kind of person who can keep up that same pace--primarily because it really doesn't matter. I began my first year thinking I had to attend as many on campus talks/lectures as I could, join as many reading groups as I could, read as much secondary material, read everything in German, etc., etc. But I was also newly married--just 4 week--before moving 2,000 miles across the country to a brand new city, no family around, just me and my wife, to begin my program. So doing all of those things was not sustainable, and I realized that very quickly. But I also worried a lot about possibly sacrificing things that were going to be helpful to me (a worthy sacrifice, no doubt, but one not everyone in academia understands unfortunately.) Now at the end of my fifth year, I can say with great confidence that those things didn't matter in the long run. They didn't necessarily help me get the grades I got in my seminars (also mostly meaningless IMO) and have contributed only in the most indirect way to my dissertation. The papers I've given at AAR and other national conferences and opportunities I've had to publish are what have opened professional doors for me, and those opened without sustaining the insane schedule I made for myself in my first quarter. That's not to say the same schedule would be insane for everyone--some people would probably thrive with it. But what a feeling of freedom I had the day that I looked around at the work habits of everyone else and said "Nope, that's not how I do it, and I'm not going to feel bad about it." What Fear N' Trembling has suggested is great if you're in a M* program because you really are hustling to get noticed, get letters, etc. You can definitely relax a bit once you're in a PhD program because the important things are not the same as they were as a M* student.
  44. 3 points
    I think it's important to also consider the context/reason why these grad school websites suggest making an effort to make friends with your cohort. In my opinion, the reason is that you do not want to be isolated in your program. Grad school can be a tough time and having a strong social support network is important. So, building good friendships in grad school is one (maybe the most common) way of getting this support. However, for you, @SarahBethSortino, since it sounds like you are already going to be in a good place in your new city, with friendships already established, then this might not be as relevant to you. If you find your own support elsewhere, that's great. I would say that friendships in grad school can serve other roles too though. Briefly, here are some reasons to try to make friends with your cohort and/or other students in your program (in different years): 1. They can provide support specific to your department/school and look out for you. For example, when I was starting out, if I have a weird interaction with a prof, I can go to my older friends to see what it might mean. Or, now that I am almost done, I help my younger friends navigate things like picking a committee, preparing for quals, etc. My friends and I, of all years, also can share school-specific resources or help each other out because if one of us needs to know about X, another one might know someone who knows a lot about X. 2. If there's something difficult going on in your life at some point, your grad school friends can help you out. Maybe they can take notes for you in class. They can make sure you're not falling too far behind. They might be able to submit homework/paperwork on your behalf or do random things that you might not be able to be physically present for. And of course, they can still do all of the other stuff that friends do for each other, this is mostly a list of reasons why friends in your department can be helpful that non grad school friends might not be able to do. 3. Friends in grad school (whether it's your department or another school) can relate to your grad school experiences more directly and sometimes it's easier to talk to other students about difficult situations involving grad school. Friends outside of grad school are also great though, as they help put things in perspective. 4. Finally, if you want to continue in academia, your cohort and other grad students will eventually be your future colleagues. At least in my field, they will be the ones reviewing your papers, your grants, deciding who gets invited to conferences etc. They will also be your future collaborators, potentially. A lot of people think about networking only in the context of going to conferences and meeting people, but you can build some of the strongest networks within your own department because you have way more time/chances to create a strong relationship. And your colleagues are also going to go on and do great things and meet more people and they can be the link to someone you need later on in your academic life. This is more related to the second reason why I think these websites suggest you make friends to succeed in grad school (and beyond). That said, I also don't really think it's necessary to go bar hopping and to do all of the partying stuff in order to make friends in grad school. Sure, depending on your department's culture, it might be a really good way to do it, but it's not the only way to do it. Friendships take time to build and I actually spend most of the time building friendships during the work day and on campus. You don't have to be uncomfortable in a bar if you don't like it, and you'll find people that share your feeling too, in grad school. It's not like everyone thinks that going to bars is the only way to socialize. Some of my best friends in grad school don't drink at all, or very rarely. I do think that spending time with your friends outside of work, i.e. when you both choose to invest your personal time into the relationship, is an important part of creating stronger connections though. For me, I do go to an occasional party, play on intramural teams with my friends, participate or plan in fun outings once in awhile on the weekends (e.g. Disneyland one year). There's lots to do that doesn't revolve around drinking, bars, partying etc. I personally take the strategy of saying yes to everything at first, meeting everyone, and then being a little more selective and choosing to spend more of my personal time with people I click with better. And also as @AP pointed out, you don't necessarily have to make friends with only your cohort. You might click/have more chemistry with some of the older students, or the more mature younger students!
  45. 3 points

    Handling grad school with a disability

    This is my second time going to grad school (first time was in a different field). The first time around I chose to self-disclose my chronic illness to my advisor/professor because I thought it would be good for them to know "just in case." I thought it was smart to be as open as possible. Unfortunately there is a stigma associated with my condition and telling my advisor about my illness was the worst decision I made in grad school. They told me I may not be able to continue because my condition was a liability. I had to get documentation from my doctor, and I finished the program successfully but it was harder because I self-disclosed and the professors made me jump through extra hoops. This time around, I am going to go through the disability office and make sure I have protections in place before I share my disability with a professor again. If you go through the disability services office, they will give you a letter stating your accommodations, but the letter does not share your diagnoses. It is up to you how much information you want to give the professors in addition to the letters. Maybe I just had bad luck, but I thought I should share my experience. I'm not saying it's smart to "hide" your disability, but I think it's good to make sure you are registered with disability services (or whatever it may be called) BEFORE sharing anything. I know I will need accommodations during grad school this time because my medical problems are a little worse now than they were a few years ago. But I'm going to go the official route this time. I encourage you to do the same to have the protections in place before you share with your professors.
  46. 3 points
    Here's my early disclaimer so you don't miss it. Someone here is going to disagree with me. Maybe some other professor would disagree with me (but not most). Some applicants and grads will disagree with me due to their own cognitive dissonance and confirmatory bias. That's ok. If you've already decided and don't need the advice, then don't read it. 1. Go to the state school. Unless you've got some superstar professor at a fancy program who's agreed to publish with you and you want to be an academic, save the money. Go to the program that best fits your needs. This DOES NOT mean you need to go to Hunter to get a good macro experience. This means that if Hunter is closest to your grandma's and you'll save a bunch of money by going there and fulfill your mom's dreams of having a daughter at Hunter, then do it. If you want to go to DU's animal-assisted therapy certificate program because you want their unique training, pick that school. But generally, your state school is just fine. *It must be a CSWE accredited school. *If bias exists in the world related to where you got your degree, it will probably be around those with diplomas from small religious-based programs. Not that the ed is necessarily inferior, but some in the social work field will turn a nose to a small Catholic program, for instance, and assume you have not learned skills in working with diverse clients. There are two general categories of schools: teaching schools and research schools. Some fall in between the two. At teaching schools, teachers have heavier teaching loads, up to about 4 classes a term. The result is that these people are often better teachers. They've been doing it longer. They may be more likely to use clinical faculty (no PhD), and these faculty probably have more practice experience. If you want to be a clinician, this may actually be a better learning experience for you. Yes, better than Ivy League. At research schools professors have smaller loads because they are expected to do research. They may like doing research more than teaching. They may "buy out" of class time, which means adjuncts often fill the gap. They may have very little practice experience because they always wanted to be researchers. If it is a school with a PhD program, doctoral students may fill the gap when the profs get their buyout. These instructors may have less experience and make for a less pleasant learning experience. Class sizes are often bigger at research schools. My suggestion is to evaluate personally the fit between you and your school of interest using some of the following criteria: 1. What are the class sizes? (they may be different in clinical vs theory classes... 15 is perfect for clinical IMO) 2. What are the Grad Research Assistant opportunities? 3. How long do professors stay? (Are half the professors tenured?) 4. How many classes are professors teaching? 5. How many of the classes are taught by adjuncts and doctoral students? (Adjuncts are ok if they've been there a long time and are teaching in their specialty... for instance, if there's a great LCSW that teaches clinical skills every year for 10 years, great! If someone new teaches HBSE every year when a full time faculty refuses at last minute, no good.) 6. If you want to go on for a PhD, are there faculty there who work with MSW students on publishing and/or research? 7. Find some alumni of the program and call and ask them about it. Call a licensed clinical social worker, for instance, who has the school listed on their website as where they got their MSW. Most will be willing to tell you about their experiences. Let me tell you a few stories: a. When I was a new MSW graduate, I went to work in public child welfare. My starting pay (10 years ago) was a respectable $45k. I graduated from a mostly-unknown state school with a clinical focus. Another guy started at the child welfare agency at the same time as me. He was an ivy league grad. He got paid the same as me. I promoted faster than he did in the agency. They didn't care where our degrees came from. The only thing he ever said about his school was how much he was paying in loans. He'd go to a state school if he had it all to do again. After meeting many ivy-league folks and hearing about their experiences, I don't regret going to a state school. b. When I applied to the PhD program at a school that is often named here as a top tier, the things that helped my application were my decent writing skills, the one pub I did with a professor at my mediocre MSW program, and my ability to articulate my research goals. I learned very little about fancy research in my MSW program, but I did my research on how to apply for a doctoral program. My PhD program admitted 10 people a year- I only applied to one place and got in without a problem. c. When I went to school at the fancy schmancy PhD program (tuition free through the whole degree- any decent doctoral program will offer a waiver with a GRA), I taught in the MSW program. I wasn't a good teacher. It was my first time. I wasn't horrible, but not good. There were a lot of mediocre teachers in my "good" program, most of them tenure-track research faculty. There were a lot of students, fairly large classes (20-30) and a few great teachers. Overall, I believe the students in that program had a classroom experience pretty darn similar to my MSW experience. They liked living in a big city, but their learning outcomes were about the same and the classroom experience was some good/some bad. Because of CSWE accreditation, classes and the degree program must contain a certain amount of specific content, and the program learning outcomes will not vary widely between schools. d. When I went on the academic job market nobody cared where I got my MSW. Where I got my PhD made some difference. If you are going to get a PhD, you should get your PhD from the caliber of school where you hope to eventually teach (if teaching is your goal). Maybe I'll make a post some day about how to choose a PhD program. e. One of the schools on a"top-10" list is now a school that is making tons of money by admitting huge groups of students and using mostly adjuncts in the program. Many of you have applied there. Many of you will get in. You'll be paying off those loans for a long time, and if you love the program my guess is that it will mostly be because you expect to love it because you are paying so much for it. (No, I don't name names. Do your own diligence). DUCK, Duck, MICRO, MACRO, GOOSE If you want to do "macro work" then get work experience. Lots of it. That's how most people get macro jobs. I've never heard of anyone getting a "macro job" because they went to a program with a macro focus. Schools everywhere have macro-focused placements and macro courses. It's a CSWE requirement. Placement experience helps if macro work is your goal. If you want to do management or administration, you either need to move slowly up the ladder and get practice experience so you know how to lead, or work in a small/rural agency where there aren't enough MSW-level practitioners floating around and where you outrank most folks. If you want to do policy, then read a lot, volunteer a lot, and network a lot. This is best done in the place you hope to live. If you get really good at networking at Hunter, it probably won't do you much good when you go back to Seattle.You'd be better off going to a school in town where the professors are well-networked and can introduce you to people in the non-profit sector there. Sure, there are exceptions to every rule. I can't think of a MSW-level job where micro/macro and ivy league/state would make a considerable difference, unless: you are interviewing with an alumni who has warm nepotistic feelings, or you are doing a highly competitive national job search (most don't, but here your experience will also make a big difference). I have worked for the feds, hospitals, counties, in private practice, at universities, community college, for the state... nobody's ever cared me where I got my MSW. When I've worked with ivy-league grads, a few things can happen: (a) they can be seen as high maintenance, ( someone might assume they are smart because they got admitted to a good school, © they have higher debt. Research backs up the state school choice- a study of people who got Harvard MBA's vs those who were accepted to the program but didn't go found that the ultimate salaries of both groups were similar. So- maybe you've got mad skillz if you can get in to a fancy program, but in the long run you'll probably do just as well in your career no matter where you go. If you're smart enough to get in to a great school you are probably smart enough to navigate your way to a great job no matter where you got your degree. In fact, maybe you'll be the superstar at the state school and get sweet opportunities because you're so darn outgoing. Schools are often ranked based on their institutional research. That may mean that the medical school is hella productive, even though the social work program doesn't do much. It doesn't say much about the satisfaction of the social work graduates, so use measures that matter to you. The US News list uses a set of outcomes that are not so relevant to me. The "top sw schools" listed on the internet have no criteria by which they rank the schools, and are sometimes tied to advertising by those schools (but sometimes the schools have no idea how they landed on some random internet list- the websites often do not say, but are bringing people to their site for ad revenue. Buyer beware). I teach now in a good school. I am a tenure track professor, and I have grants and teach clinical courses. We have an admission rate lower than the numbers I hear thrown around about the top tier schools, although we aren't a "Research I" university- this tells me the competitiveness of some of these places may be overrated. I imagine that a school's admission rate has more to do with local need and demand than reputation. Paying it back I use the Income-based Repayment plan for my loans. I took loan money during the PhD program because my yearly income dropped significantly when I went from practice back to school. Although my tuition was paid (and I had a GRA salary), I needed money to make the mortgage payment and to support my family. Based on net income and ICR calculations, my student loans are actually quite small. There is a calculator at the ICR website, but it overestimates significantly in my experience. The only way to get an accurate number is to apply, send in all your paperwork, and let them calculate it for you. Since I work for a state school (non-profit), I am eligible for the 10-year non-profit loan forgiveness program. My payments go up each year as I make more money, but this loan forgiveness will still be significant for me. People are eligible for the 10-year forgiveness and ICR with MSW degrees, as long as your loans are consolidated through the federal Direct Loans program, you work for a non-profit, and make under a certain salary. (Government jobs, many hospitals, schools, and lots of other places are non-profits). The only other decent federal loan forgiveness program is National Health Service Corps. They operate in limited communities, mostly rural and hard to recruit. For the jobs you have to have your clinical license in all cases I think. Learn more here: http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/loanrepayment/ Some states have their own programs... for instance, California has a clinical social worker loan forgiveness program. Check out this list Smith put together: http://www.smith.edu...ms-by-state.pdf
  47. 3 points

    Why Grad School is Fucking Awesome

    I could appreciate this artistic vision if it weren't so cliche. It's like seeing The Kiss in every college dorm room at this point. Could we work towards developing a more novel and exciting perspective on the selfsame human condition of which we are all part?
  48. 3 points
    Crimson Wife

    Pregnant in Grad School??

    I can't tell whether you would be the one carrying your baby or your spouse. Pregnancy takes a physical toll on a woman and with my 2nd pregnancy I had a very rough time because I experienced horrible morning sickness from basically the time I found out I was pregnant until delivery. My OB wouldn't prescribe anti-nausea meds because I was "only" throwing up twice per day and never wound up hospitalized for dehydration. That said, if it's your spouse who will be carrying your baby, it probably isn't going to be any harder on you to be in grad school vs. employed FT after grad school. Our son was born during fall semester of my DH's last year in grad school. We timed it so that I had paid maternity leave and health insurance right up until spring semester started. The last semester we lived off of his signing bonus for his post-graduation job.
  49. 3 points

    TA grading turnaround time

    Just to add: like everything else, it's important to establish the boundaries you need to be successful. It was perfectly appropriate to say "I'm sorry, that won't work with my schedule. I won't be able to grade the papers before [original date]." And then stick to your guns. In the future, there will be a lot of little moments like this. Sometimes, it will be about grading. Other times, someone might drop in a request to help edit a volume or write an article. In all cases, graduate students need to learn to be really, really clear and direct in their responses. Failure to do so will simply result in madness.
  50. 3 points
    Yep, mail has officially arrived in Montreal. I watched my mailwoman climb the stairs and deposit the envelope. (Successful!) Bonne chance a tous!