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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/25/2017 in all areas

  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. 11 points

    How I got into Grad School (low GPA and GRE)

    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. 10 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. 9 points

    Fall 2017 applicants

    Some advice for your summers: Take at least 2-3 weeks (I would suggest the entire month of August) where you do no academic work whatsoever. No writing, no journals, no books. Travel, catch up on that novel you've been wanting to read, or binge on some Netflix. I know you're excited to get started and organized and are ready to go into it at a million miles an hour, but this is a marathon, and this summer is the last chance you'll have for that kind of vacation - forever, maybe. Enjoy it, and show up relaxed.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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!
  9. 7 points
    I knew I wanted to go into this field or I would not have applied/accepted admission to graduate school. Pretty simple, right? But once I got there and had a full week of orientations, reading clinic handbooks, and having to write treatment plans for my clients, I started to feel unsure. At the time, I read a lot of other forum posts, mainly SLP reddit, to see if I was the only one who felt this way. I was not, which helped a little bit, but not too much. The feeling I had was referred to as the "Imposter Syndrome." I know many programs are operated differently, but in my program, you are given multiple clients as soon as the clinic opens (the beginning of the semester). So here I was, a brand new graduate student, providing therapy to clients within the first two weeks of school. Trying to write the perfect plans without bombarding my clinical supervisor was tough. The whole process leading up to meeting a client for the first time was tough. I am not going to sugarcoat it, it was hard. But the second I finished my first session with my first client, all the unsure feelings I had disappeared. I never experienced something more rewarding. Fast forward a month and a half later and every week I look forward to seeing my 4 clients. Although it means more paper work, I am looking forward to picking up more clients through this semester and in the spring. The paper work is still stressful and tedious, but I'm getting used to it and it is getting easier. Before you get into the swing of things, you will most likely think it is impossible to balance clients, classes, classwork, clinic work, and your mental health. Completely understandable, but the point I am trying to get across is that it is possible. You will succeed, and often times, you may even exceed your own expectations. Don't give up within the first couple weeks. Grad school is most likely going to be the hardest part of the process of becoming a successful SLP. I hope I was able to help or relate to at least one person. Have a great day
  10. 7 points

    Genetic Counseling Fall 2017 Applicants

    There is definitely still hope for people on waitlists! I got off two waitlists already and have to deny 3 offers today so shift WILL happen. Good luck!!!!!
  11. 6 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 6 points

    Fulbright 2017-2018

  14. 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.
  15. 6 points
    The tweet was sent! Watch your mailbox in the following week!
  16. 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!
  17. 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.
  18. 5 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?
  19. 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.
  20. 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
  21. 5 points

    Genetic Counseling Fall 2018 Applicants

    Hey all! I got in to UCI this cycle by the skin of my teeth and am feeling some mad survivor guilt. I paid like $70 for the magoosh gre study program and knocked the gre out of the park - 170v, 163q - so I'd totally recommend that if you can afford it and are concerned about the gre. I got started on my essays really early because I'm kind of a slow writer and I wanted time lots and lots of editing. I'm happy to edit your personal statements if you pm me! The 2017 applicants channeled their nervous energy into generating a lot of data. Here is a great deal of it - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScblLkOC10eqmrQDn_PLVrutN5sllsTnQ4A6Xoq8OnMJfq7uQ/viewanalytics This is survey results about how 2017 applicants ranked different schools - it includes fairly extensive qualitative pros and cons of each program. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1o1QTZb-PHuih117SY9LW7rPF0-Qm_WGjUvfc7pj0NVM/edit?usp=sharing This is survey results about how many schools applicants applied to versus how many schools invited them to interviews. I made it mainly to get data for this one: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bvloEuIlsL5AohmhoBjuF_3UV_ADCF3lz8yVtkLjY9o/edit?usp=drivesdk This spreadsheet gathered data about how many positions each program had and approximately how many applicants each program interviewed in the 2017 cycle. In addition, I used the data from the survey to make some guesses about admission. If you have any questions please feel free to pm me! I'm eager to help.
  22. 5 points

    Genetic Counseling Fall 2017 Applicants

    I got in to UCI off of the waitlist! Thank you so much everyone who declined your offers quickly and made the waitlists move. I am so so thrilled I almost cried on the phone with the director. By the way, she said that they haven't filled out their class yet, so there is still significant shuffling to be done. Don't despair I'd you're waitlist locked, it can happen! I'm emailing Brandeis and BU to remove me from their waitlists right now. Where my fellow Anteaters at?
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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!
  26. 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! 😊
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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
  31. 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.
  32. 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!
  33. 4 points

    Lyonessrampant's Dissertation Defense

    @lyonessrampant @TakeruK Eagerly awaiting non-anonymous job market realities posts from both of you
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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!
  37. 4 points
    TL;DR: do not give up hope if you have seemingly impossible odds like I did with an undergrad GPA of a 2.8, it may take some time, but you'll make it if you stick to it (details how are below) My history in super brief parts: biochemistry major at a decent (science-focused) state school with a 2.8 cumulative GPA, straight C's in all maths and physics classes (withdrew once from calc 2, got C second time), even lower science GPA, roughly 55th percentile GRE scores (81st in essay part) after taking them twice, >1 year of undergrad research (no poster/publications), a bunch of related temporary internships, and a summer lab TA position. Defeated by all my senior year rejections, I networked for a job and got a lab tech position in a relevant field. Then I worked for a year after college. No publications, still. Got my first PhD interview at Lehigh (second time I applied) and I completely bomb it (literally didn't talk about my research once) and they told me not to apply again, and that moment was when I really considered hanging my hat and resigning to a life of subservient lab rat roles for the rest of my life. Then out of desperation I applied to a couple reasonable masters programs and one reach school (masters at Hopkins). Letter of rec writers were my lab tech supervisor, undergrad PI, and senior seminar course professor that knew my analytical/critical thinking skills well. Spurred by the (above) existential fear, I sought out to maximize my odds as much as I could by whatever legal means necessary. That meant going to the department at Hopkins and pitching my story and "voluntarily interviewing myself" to show them that I'm worth their time. And to this day I felt like that pitch was what got me into this program with such abysmally low credentials. [Insert here: long excerpt about attending childhood dream school and being in disbelief for two whole years] I busted my ass and got a 3.45 masters GPA, and by the time I was applying for PhD programs during my masters, I was already incorporated in a lab doing research for a couple months and my PI had me set up for a middle author paper (my first paper) before my PhD applications were sent. Applied to a couple state schools (two acceptance out of like 5), one ivy league (rejected), two Hopkins programs. Everyone in my department at Hopkins knew I was BEYOND determined to get into the PhD program, even with seemingly impossible odds. I networked within my department like my life depended on it (it felt like it did). Then I got that hallowed interview invitation from Hopkins. So of course I took advantage of all my colleagues and got interview help and tips from them. Interview went fine and I got to pitch my research stuff properly in a relatively laid-back environment (I was interviewing with people who I see every day). Then a week or two later, I get an email from the chair of my department asking to see me in-person to share good news, so of course the most logical thing I did was panic and jump to the irrational conclusion that he was gonna serve me my second rejection letter in-person, but of course he just wanted to tell me that I was accepted into the Hopkins biochemistry PhD program. If I could've signed the papers immediately then and there, I would have. Non-academic/work details that may have factored into my crazy acceptance: club sports team captain for 2+ years in undergrad, director of graduate consulting club for a few months, masters student representative (which may have been crucial because I got to attend all the faculty meetings and they got to know me as a person), and captain of club sports team in grad school. I grew from an entitled underperforming undergrad from a regular state school to a determined and confident go-getter (after my failed Lehigh interview), and I won't lie, a confident, determined, and outgoing personality will only get you good points in any graduate-level interview. One of the Hopkins faculty that I interviewed even remarked that he wished more interviewees were as cognizant as I was about communicating properly and professionally in an interview setting. This is largely out of most applicants' control but: the application year can be a huge factor that determines whether a program lets in as few as 2 or as many as 9 incoming PhD students. I think my success is just a culmination of various parts that seem inconsequential on their own, but together can actually make a difference. If your undergrad GPA is too late to be saved (like mine was), then you have to compensate by bolstering every other aspect of your application, which in my case, can sometimes also include your personality/the way you carry yourself. Maybe that means spending extra money and time doing a masters, maybe that means stepping outside your comfort zone and polishing your communication skills, whatever it is, it will require time and dedication but if you want it badly enough, you will find a way. My path is not for everyone, and your mileage will vary, but I just wanted to share my story with everyone in the hopes that those who are on the brink of losing hope will find the fire in themselves to find a way to make their goals happen.
  38. 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.
  39. 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!)
  40. 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.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 4 points

    Why Grad School is Fucking Awesome

    There are plenty of days when I am filled with self-doubt or there is a crushing amount of work to do, but graduate school is awesome and the good days way outnumber the bad. So my list in no particular order: 1. I get to travel to interesting places either for research or for presenting research. 2. I got to move to a cool part of the country for my PhD, and I have access to amazing places for outdoor recreation and sightseeing. 3. I have more free time than that article suggests I should have. I can do things on the weekends and go on vacation during school breaks. I even have time during the week to ride my bike or go for a quick hike if I want to. 4. I'm not locked into a 9 to 5 schedule. My schedule varies each day of the week, and I like it that way. 5. I get to go to talks or have guest lectures from amazing researchers in my field. 6. My school is huge, and therefore I can take classes in an extremely wide variety of specialized topics (sorry to those at small schools, but you no doubt have other benefits that I don't). 7. I get to teach. Not a plus for everyone, but I personally find teaching to be extremely rewarding. 8. I'm exposed to a lot of cool research in a lot of different disciplines either through interacting with classmates, fellow TA's, or checking out events on campus (this isn't necessarily limited to the grad student experience). 9. My research will increase human knowledge of environmental processes and my particular project will actually influence some environmental policy in the region. 10. I'm building up practical skills in communication, leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, etc. which are widely applicable beyond academia. I'll also add that drinking is nowhere on my radar (and hasn't been since I was 21 or 22), but even if it was, grad school would not stop me from enjoying a beer/glass of wine/cocktail/whatever at the end of the day.
  44. 4 points
    If they HAVE to still send us our letters by archaic means, I think I'd prefer it if they don't tweet about it first. We're sort of waiting for TWO things to happen.
  45. 4 points
    Mugi Mila

    Fall 2017 Applicants

    I have not been able to post for awhile, but I wanted to say that I got accepted into my dream school! I cried after reading the message. Apparently, I was waitlisted (no one told me), and so when I emailed to verify my status, (I was ready to be rejected and thinking of interning or volunteering or taking a class in the summer) it said that I was waitlisted, but there is a spot for me! I never thought I would get in. Can't wait for fall now! To anyone who is struggling with the decision of either going for a master or thinking the program is too competitive, APPLY! You never know the ending result, be it bad or good, APPLY! I did! XD
  46. 4 points
    Yep, so as noted above, schools vary with regard to whether they accept ASL as a foreign language. Partly this is to do with simple misconceptions, and occasionally it has to do with technicalities, like at some point in the sequence of Language classes, schools might have a writing component that ASL simply can't satisfy because it's not a written language. Some institutions find a way around that and others think it's a sticking point.. so you'll need to figure out what your institution is like, and keep in mind that you might need to fight to have ASL recognized as a second language. For the record, ASL is a different language from English, and if you speak it (and English), then you are bi-lingual. I (and other linguists) think it absolutely should count, but that doesn't mean it's not sometimes a fight to get it recognized.
  47. 4 points
    hahahah so sick of reading about their storytellers!!
  48. 4 points

    If I knew then what I know now

    People on this site really like talking and looking at rank, but I think it's important to look at individual research that PIs are conducting. There isn't any point going to a school if there aren't professors doing work that you're interested in doing. Also, when you're looking at schools online, you should think about the offers that you could possibly get in terms of funding. Some schools are waaaay more generous than others.
  49. 4 points

    Advice for a first year PhD student

    About your dog: I think that depends entirely on you and your program. I am in a social science program where the majority of my analysis and writing can be done from home, and I prefer to work from home or from a library (as opposed to my cube in the windowless cube farm). When I was taking classes I was generally there from 9-6 or so, but now that my coursework is finished I am rarely at the school itself. I go for meetings, seminars, interesting kinds of things and I do most of my work remotely. My time is verrry flexible, and if my building didn't prohibit it I would get a dog in a heartbeat. Another thing to keep in mind: a dog can be a great comfort when you're all stressed out over graduate school. Advice? Age: -Don't feel like you have nothing to offer just because you are younger. I was 22 when I started graduate school. You got accepted to the program for a reason, and chances are you are just as equipped as any older students are to successfully complete the program, just in a different way. -Your older classmates may be just as terrified as you. Talk to them. You have a lot in common. You are, after all, in the same place. -You will feel like an imposter, like you don't belong, or like you are constantly behind. Or all three. It's normal. It will pass. (Well, sort of.) People of all ages go through this. Adviser related: -If you are lucky enough to get both research interest fit and personality fit perfect, congratulations! But sometimes, personality fit is more important than research interest fit as long as the research isn't too different. A great adviser is interested in your career development, likes you as a person, advocates for you, and wants to hear your ideas. Even if his or her research is quite different from yours, they may give you the autonomy to work on your own projects and just supervise you. A bad personality fit will drive you nuts, even if you love his or her research. Consider that when evaluating your adviser fit. (This will vary by field: research fit may be less important in the humanities, more important in the natural and physical sciences. Social sciences are somewhere in-between.) -Don't be afraid to be straight up blunt with your adviser when it comes to asking about your progress. Ask if you are where you should be both academic program wise and getting-a-job-after-this-mess-wise. -Be proactive. Advisers love when you draw up an agenda for your one-on-one meetings, come with talking points and progress to share, have concrete questions to ask, and have overall shown that you have been thoughtful and taken control of your own program. Of course, this won't immediately come easily to you, but in time you will work up to it. Every semester I type up my semester goals, and at the beginning of the year I type up annual goals. I show them to my adviser and we talk about whether they are too ambitious, or whether I need to revise them, and how I can meet them. -Don't expect your adviser to actually know what courses you have to take to graduate. They will know about comprehensive exams and the dissertation, but a lot of professors don't really keep up with the course requirements, especially if their program is in flux. Get you a student handbook, and find out what you need to take. Map it out in a grid, and check off things when you finish them. Show this to your adviser every semester. You may have to explain how such and such class fills a requirement. -Nobody loves you as much as you, except your mother. Keep this in mind as you take in advice from all sources, including your adviser. Your adviser is there to guide you, but that doesn't mean you have to do everything he says. Studying: -You will have to read more than you ever did before, in less time than you ever have before, and you will be expected to retain more than you ever have before. The way that you studied in undergrad may need some tweaking. Be prepared for this. -Corollary: you may find that your methods change with age or interests or time. I preferred to study alone in college, but in grad school, I prefer to study in groups. It keeps me on task and the socialization keeps me motivated. You may find that you shift from being a more auditory learner to a visual learner or whatever. -You will feel behind at first. This is normal. -At some point you will realize that your professors don't actually expect you to read everything they assign you. This, of course, will vary by program, but there will be at least one class where the reading is actually impossible to do in one week. The point is to read enough that you know the major themes and can talk intelligently about them, and then pick some of the readings to really dig into and think more deeply about. -For most programs, don't worry so much about grades. If you stay on top of your work and do what you're supposed to, you will probably get an A. How much grades matter varies from program to program. In some programs, a B is a signal that you are not up to par, and more than a few Bs will warrant a discussion with your adviser or the DGS. My program isn't like that - A, B, it's all meaningless. My adviser doesn't even know what my grades are. But at almost all programs, a C means you need to retake the course, and two Cs means you have to convince the DGS not to kick you out. Extracurricular activity: What's that? No, seriously: -A lot of your time will be unstructured. You will have coursework, but most grad classes meet once a week for two hours and you may have three classes. You may have meetings with your adviser every so often and some seminars or things to catch (like we have grand rounds and colloquia that are required), but a lot of time will be unstructured. However, since you have so much more work than you had in undergrad, you actually will have less free time than you had in undergrad. This may initially cause you great anxiety. It did for me. Some people love unstructured time, though. (I don't.) -Because of this, you'll have to be planful about your non-grad school related stuff. -TAKE TIME OFF. DO it. It's important for your mental health. However you do it doesn't matter. Some people work it like a 9-5 job. Some people take a day off per week (me) and maybe a few hours spread across the week. Some people work half days 7 days a week. However you do it, there needs to be a time when you say "f this, I'm going to the movies." -Find your happy place, something that keeps you the you you were when you came in. I love working out. It gives me energy and I feel good. I stay healthy. I also love reading fiction, so sometimes I just curl up with a good book, work be damned. You have to give yourself permission to not think about work, at least for a couple of hours a week. You may also discover new hobbies! (I never worked out before I came to graduate school.) -Your work will creep into all aspects of your life, if you let it. This is why I hate unstructured time. You will feel guilty for not doing something, because in graduate school, there is ALWAYS something you can do. ALWAYS. But since there will always be more work, there's no harm in putting it aside for tomorrow, as long as you don't have a deadline. -You may need to reach outside of your cohort for a social life. None of my close friends are in my doctoral cohort. I've met master's students in my program, master's students in other programs, and I know a few non-graduate students I hang out with, too. Go to graduate student mixers. (If your university doesn't have any, organize some, if you like planning parties.) Join a student group that doesn't take up too much time. I had a doctoral acquaintance who kinda laughed at me because I joined some student groups other than the doctoral student one, and I was usually the only doctoral student in those groups, but I met some close friends (and future job contacts) and had a good time. -DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR WANTING A LIFE OUTSIDE OF GRADUATE SCHOOL. This is paramount. This is important. You are a well-rounded, complex, multifaceted human being. NEVER feel bad for this. Everybody wants some kind of life outside of work. Yes, you may loooove your field, but that doesn't mean you want to do it all day long. Some other doctoral students, and perhaps professors, may make you feel bad about this. Don't let them. Just smile and nod. Then disappear when you need to. Career: -This is job preparation. Remember that from Day One. Always be looking for ways to enhance your skills. Read job ads and find out what's hot in your field, what's necessary, what's in demand. For example, in my field statistics and methods are a hot commodity, and they're not a passing fad. I happen to really like statistics and methods, so I have pursued that as a concentration of mine. -Don't be afraid to take on volunteer work and part-time gigs that will give you skills that will be useful both inside academia and out, as long as it's not against your contract. Your adviser may be against it, but he doesn't have to know as long as it doesn't interfere with your work. -If you want to work outside of academia - if you are even *considering* the possibility - please please definitely do the above. Even if you aren't considering it, consider the possibility that you won't get a tenure-track job out the box and that you may need to support yourself doing something else for a while. You will have to prove to employers that you have developed usable, useful skills and this is one of the easiest ways to do it. But don't overdo it - get the degree done. -For more academic related ones - always look for opportunities to present and publish. Presentations look good on your CV. Publications look better. When you write seminar papers, wonder if you can publish them with some revision. Write your seminar papers on what you maybe think you may want to do your dissertation on. Even if you look at them three years later and think "these suck," you can at least glean some useful references and pieces from them. Discuss publication with your adviser early and often, and if you have the time and desire, seek out publication options with other professors and researchers. But if you commit to a project, COMMIT. You don't want to leave a bad impression. -If you can afford it, occasionally go to conferences even if you aren't presenting. You can network, and you can hear some interesting talks, and you may think about new directions for your own research. You can also meet people who may tell you about jobs, money, opportunities, etc. -Always try to get someone else to pay for conference travel before you come out of pocket. Including your adviser. Do not be shy about asking if he or she can pay. If he can't, he'll just say no. Usually the department has a travel fund for students, but often it's only if you are presenting. -If you are interested in academia, you should get some teaching experience. There are two traditional ways to do this: TAing a course, and teaching as a sole instructor. If you can help it, I wouldn't recommend doing a sole instructor position until you are finished with coursework. Teaching takes a LOT of time to do right. You should definitely TA at least one course, and probably a few different ones. But don't overdo it, if you can help it, because again, it takes a LOT of time. More than you expect at the outset. If you are in the humanities, I think sole instructor positions are very important for nabbing jobs so when you are in the exam/ABD phase, you may want to try at least one. If your own university has none, look at adjuncting for nearby colleges, including community colleges. (I would wager that the majority of natural science/physical science students, and most social science students, have never sole taught a class before they get an assistant professor job. At least, it's not that common n my field, which straddles the social and natural sciences.) -Always look for money. Money is awesome. If you can fund yourself you can do what you want, within reason. Your university will be thrilled, your adviser will be happy, and you can put it on your CV. It's win-win-win! Don't put yourself out of the running before anyone else has a chance to. Apply even if you think you won't get it or the odds are against you (they always are), as long as you are eligible. Apply often. Apply even if it's only $500. (That's conference travel!) Money begets money. The more awards you get, the more awards you will get. They will get bigger over time. If you are in the sciences and social sciences, you should get practice writing at least one grant. You don't have to write the whole thing, but at least get in on the process so that you can see how it's done. Grant-writing is very valuable both in and outside of graduate school. -Revise your CV every so often. Then look and decide what you want to add to it. Then go get that thing, so you can add it. -The career office at big universities is often not just for undergrads. I was surprised to learn that my career center offers help on CV organization and the academic job search, as well as alternative/non-academic career searches for doctoral students. In fact, there are two people whose sole purpose it is to help PhD students find nonacademic careers, and they both have PhDs. This will vary by university - some universities will have very little for grad students. Find out before you write the office off. -It's never too early to go to seminars/workshops like "the academic job search inside and out", "creating the perfect CV," "getting the job," etc. NEVER. Often the leader will share tips that are more aimed towards early graduate students, or tidbits that are kind of too late for more advanced students to take care of. This will also help you keep a pulse on what's hot in your field. It'll help you know what lines you need to add to your CV. And they're interesting. Other: -Decide ahead of time what you are NOT willing to sacrifice on the altar of academia. Then stick to it. I'm serious. If you decide that you do NOT want to sacrifice your relationship, don't. If it's your geographical mobility, don't. I mean, be realistic, and realize that there will always be trade-offs. But you have to think about what's important to you for your quality of life, and realize that there is always more to you than graduate school. -If you don't want to be a professor, do not feel guilty about this. At all. Zero. However, you will have to do things differently than most doctoral students. Your adviser will probably never have worked outside of the academy (although this may vary depending on the field) so he may or may not be able to help you. But you have a special mission to seek out the kinds of experiences that will help you find a non-academic job. Test the waters with your adviser before you tell him this. My adviser was quite amenable to it, but that's because I told him that my goal was to still do research and policy work in my field just not at a university, AND because it's quite common in my field for doctoral students to do non-academic work. If you're in a field where it's not common (or where your professors refuse to believe it's common, or it's not supposed to be common)…well, you may be a little more on your own. -Every so often, you will need to reflect on the reasons you came to graduate school. Sometimes, just sit and think quietly. Why are you doing this to yourself? Do you love your field? Do you need this degree to do what you want to do? Usually the answer is yes and yes, and usually you'll keep on trucking. But sometimes when the chips are down you will need to reevaluate why you put yourself through this in the first place. -To my great dismay, depression is quite common in doctoral students. Graduate work can be isolating and stressful. Luckily your health insurance usually includes counseling sessions. TAKE THEM if you need them. Do not be ashamed. You may be surprised with who else is getting them. (I found out that everyone in my cohort, including me, was getting mental health counseling at a certain point.) Exercise can help, as can taking that mental health day once a week and just chilling. Don't be surprised if you get the blues… -…but be self-aware and able to recognize when the depression is clouding your ability to function. Doctoral programs have a 50% attrition rate, and this is rarely because that 50% is less intelligent than, less motivated than, less driven than, or less ambitious than the other 50% that stays. Often they realize that they are ridiculously unhappy in the field, or that they don't need the degree anymore, or that they'd rather focus on other things in life, or their interests have changed. All of this is okay! -You will, at some point, be like "eff this, I'm leaving." I think almost every doctoral student has thought about dropping out and just kicking this all to the curb. You need to listen to yourself, and find out whether it is idle thought (nothing to worry about, very normal) or whether you are truly unhappy to the point that you need to leave. Counseling can help you figure this out. -Don't be afraid to take a semester or a year off if you need to. That's what leaves of absence are for. Lastly, and positively… …graduate school is great! Seriously, when else will you ever have the time to study what you want for hours on end, talk to just as interested others about it, and live in an intellectual community of scholars and intellectuals? And occasionally wake up at 11 am and go to the bank at 2 pm? Sometimes you will want to pull out all of your hair but most of the time, you will feel fulfilled and wonderfully encouraged and edified. So enjoy this time!
  50. 3 points

    Go big or go home?

    This is something I'm thinking about a lot. I think there is intrinsic value to graduate study in its own right, and that I could be happy in a teaching job if that is where I ultimately ended up. However, I feel like I'd be unhappy if, once I hit the job market, my (lack of) graduate pedigree prevented me from ever having any realistic chance at a research job no matter my merits. I'm mostly targeting MA programs this season given my weak transcript, but I will apply broadly to PhD programs too just in case I get lucky. Given the state of the job market, I personally would strongly consider turning down a lower ranked PhD offer for a top MA if I am (lucky enough to be) in a position to make that choice. I believe somebody on this forum from last application season was in such a situation and ultimately went with the MA due to job market concerns. This is broadly correct. With respect to the bolded part, I would just add that my (possibly false) impression is that the more desirable teaching jobs are often (but not always) taken by graduates from top-20 schools as well. What I mean by "desirable teaching jobs" are those that are at prestigious undergraduate universities and SLACs, those that are in more desirable locations, those with relatively larger departments, and those that have a lower teaching load. There's a difference between, on the one hand, working a 2/2 or 3/3 job at a well-known SLAC or undergrad university where you have significant time to mentor individual students, be involved in campus life, and even do a little research (though less than at a research job obviously), and on the other hand a 4/4 job at a third tier university branch campus or community college located in a less desirable location where you have little time to do anything but teach. Now, there's nothing wrong with the latter set of jobs that I described, the people who work there are doing very important work for philosophy and for society by exposing larger swaths of the population to philosophy. But I think most people would generally consider the former set of jobs to be more desirable.