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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/14/2017 in all areas

  1. 12 points

    which major has the smartest students?

    This is so obtuse.
  2. 9 points

    Feeling Unwelcome

    I can give you some advice as to the matter of your threatened eviction. I was a social worker for 10 years and worked at my (then) county's legal aid office. What housing is threatening you with is both illegal and prejudicial. Your daughter's diagnosed, documented psychiatric conditions may qualify her for APD benefits, if she does not receive those already. Even if she does not qualify for APD benefits, you cannot evict someone as a result of behaviors that stem from a psychiatric illness. That is a violation of the Fair Housing Act, which you can read here: https://www.justice.gov/crt/fair-housing-act-1. You can afford to lawyer up; here's how: contact your local legal aid office. Their whole existence is based on the fact that people without a lot of financial means need legal services, too. Call them, complete the intake process, attend your appointment, and they will be able to help you with this. I have to echo Eigen's remarks: end-of-year or mid-program reviews aren't designed to make you feel good. They don't have to say anything positive about you at all, although many professors or advisors do. The criticism isn't personal and isn't a sign of your being "unwelcome;" it's standard criticism given by mentors whose job it is to prepare you for a career in academia. You certainly don't have to answer this question publicly, but it sounds to me like you are under an enormous amount of stress between being a graduate student and a working mother of multiple children, including one with severe psychiatric illness. So my (rhetorical) question is, how are you? Are you receiving any treatment or support for anxiety? Perhaps it would be good to access some support in that aspect. Please send me a PM if you need any help or have any questions about accessing legal services. I'm happy to do what I can for you.
  3. 8 points

    Fall 2017 applicants

    This might seem a bit off topic after...whatever the hell has been going on over here debate wise the past couple weeks lol... BUT, I was looking in my school's blackboard and came across this: Note how it says "to The End of Time." Made me laugh...
  4. 8 points
    I've been lurking on this board from time to time for a while (since I myself applied and got into grad school a few years ago -- every so often I pop in again to see who might be applying). To the original poster: As a current graduate student at a Top-5 program, I can advise you that the best way to get into an Ivy League school is to focus on research skills and experience. The best way that you can prove to the admissions committee that you would be a good bet as a PhD student is if you can show that you've "done history" effectively before. I came straight from undergrad, but my sense is that the farther out you are, the more research experience they are going to expect of you. As for myself, I had done some archival research for my undergraduate thesis. Less a "qualification" than a mere requirement is that you have all the languages you will need to pass the general exams and do the research for your dissertation. Some schools/professors will let you get away with still needing to work on one, but you should be very well-linguistically prepared. And my sense is that language skills can only hurt you, but that they're unlikely to help you very much. (I might be underselling the advantage of being multilingual just a little, I suppose.) But yes, good language training is a must. They are likely to cut you some slack on the verbal section of the GRE since you are a non native speaker, though you're TOEFL scores will have to be adequate. Writing sample, very important -- and should demonstrate that you have a solid training in historical research skills as well as analytical thinking. Choose wisely. Finally, the other extremely important criteria for an Ivy is to get strong letters of recommendation from well-known faculty. As for my own: I had a history superstar of sorts; my main advisor, who was not a superstar but did know the faculty at all the schools I was applying quite well; and a third rec that I doubt helped me as much. So from my experience, having 3 strong recs, only 2 of whom likely had leverage worked. I do think that the second letter I mentioned -- from the non-superstar but nevertheless well connected advisor -- was probably the most helpful. It's an unfair fact of these admissions that knowing someone helps enormously. But it's important to be aware that it's true and do your best to help it work to your own advantage. Also... I see that there has been some debate here as to the relative merits of an Ivy education. Maybe I would be expected (given my own good luck) to say this, but it's nevertheless true: going to the best school you can get into is extremely important. It is not the only factor. I have colleagues here with bad advisors who aren't happy, and would likely have been happier elsewhere. It happens anywhere, and you need to do whatever you can to make sure it doesn't happen to you. (Note, faculty who are currently up for tenure but who have not yet been observed as advisors with tenure are unpredictable.) But having a PhD from a Top-10 school is huge on the job market. The appalling fact is that these job search committees get thousands of applications, and they have to weed some out somehow. You hear of lesser known universities getting weeded out completely. Also, another anecdote: I went to a public school for undergrad. One of the top public schools, but nothing Ivy caliber. When I talked to one of my profs about grad school, he said to me, "We only hire professors from about seven different schools. Go to one of those seven if you want a chance." I suspect seven is a mild exaggeration, but it captures the picture right. It's true that Ivy League students don't always get the best teaching experience. They always say that about Princeton students in particular. But Princeton students do extraordinarily well on the job market. I am not entirely sure about the relative success of Ivy candidates compared to others at liberal arts college jobs, but the conventional wisdom where I go is that you want to avoid teaching at an LAC if you can because you will get a 4-4 teaching load and never have time to do the research to move elsewhere. Admittedly, there's a research-university bias to the logic here, and some might be happy at an LAC (although 4-4 sounds terrible to me, personally). But the big point I would make is that having a PhD from an Ivy has really helped colleagues of mine to weather the economic downturn on the job market. It's tough everywhere, but candidates from my school have done extraordinarily well. (Wherever you do end up choosing from, you should inspect the placement records quite carefully before making your decision.) It's not fair, but job prospects are undoubtedly better with an Ivy or similarly-prestigious PhD. It's important to be aware of these realities when applying to grad school and making selections. Don't go to a school where you would be miserable or with a terrible advisor, but go to the best-ranked school that is a good fit. Superstar faculty at lower-ranked schools can give you an edge, but there's a limit to how much of an edge. It might not be worth it if you have the chance to study with a rising star, or a solid department that covers your research interests, at a higher-ranked school. Also: regarding the OP's point that being a good Top-10 contender would make him a good candidate anywhere, that's absolutely true. There are exceptions (particularly if the applicant has not chosen logical programs), but most of the students who get into Ivy League schools get into all or most of the other schools they applied to. Again, anecdotal evidence, but I also know a lot of grad students. The admissions process is exceptionally tough, but the candidates who have struck the "winning formula" have a tendency to be successful across the board. Good luck!
  5. 7 points

    GRE "Splitters"

    I just want to point out that people who are annoyed or bothered by questions they think have been answered elsewhere or questions they consider "stupid" are under no obligation to answer. It's easy enough to just do that than throw time and energy into some passive aggressive (or aggressive aggressive) paragraphs attacking someone for asking a question just because they didn't see it anywhere at first or didn't want to spend and hour sifting through old threads. I agree that thick skin is necessary and there will always be those who will talk down to you or act pompous, but there's really no need to spread that around and just consider such behaviors "par for the course" in academia. I personally know multiple PhDs, other academics, and historians who are plenty down to earth and humble, and I hope to emulate them as I maneuver my way through my PhD and beyond. Well anyways, my point here is just that if you don't like the question, don't respond to it. Simple as that. Because now this straightforward thread for someone nervous and excited about the application process has been hijacked by people debating the value of the question and fighting over the nature of academia.
  6. 7 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!
  7. 7 points

    Grad. School Supplies?

    I created an account just to respond to this topic, after reading the first 15 pages and enjoying not only the thoughtful responses, but the evolution in recommendations alongside tech. I am chiming in with what works for me. I was a non-trad undergrad and begin graduate work in a Humanities program (literature concentration; apparently I want to be poor forever) this coming fall. The ink is barely dry on last semester's final papers, and I'm already nerding out hard about school supplies. When I was first giving college a try (mumble) years ago, I just used any old crap, as long as it was cheap. Now that I'm older, and have wasted about a Brazilian dollars replacing cheap junk, I believe in "Buy once, cry once." After much trial and error, this is what worked for me as an undergrad, and what didn't. Osprey Celeste Backpack -- Amazon reviews made me choose this over North Face. For one, it's lighter. For two, it was much cheaper. I paid about $60 for it. I got a year-old model on Amazon for extra savings. It's perfect in every way. Has a pocket for everything, carries a bunch of stuff (I think 29 L?) but is compact in size. Also came in Candy Orange. (Orange makes me happy. It's the little things.) Super durable, looks and behaves good as new after two semesters of hard use. Moleskine Cahier Journals -- Spirals are the worst. By the end of a semester they come apart on me. I get the new XXL size cahier, which is about notebook paper size, and after my brother's Barnes and Noble employee 30% discount and including tax, I pay a little over $5 a piece for them. One notebook holds an entire semester's worth of notes for 15 hours worth of classes, two semesters in a row. Plus my husband, who has some artistic ability, has fun decorating the plain kraft brown cover for me. I love how smooth and fine the paper is, and how narrow the lines. I also use a smaller Moleskine journal for notes on each major paper I'm writing. (Little bit of trivia: I had to call Moleskine customer service once, and inadvertently found out how they pronounce the name: mole-uh-SKEE-nuh. Who knew?!) Moleskine Planner -- I got the 18 month weekly academic planner. It's my bible. I have used it for two semesters, and will use it this summer and in the fall, at which point I will probably switch to a 12-month daily. It's been great, but I think having a full page for each day will be even better. I got the Peanuts edition because Snoopy makes me happy and, again, it's the little things. Stabilo colored pens -- My husband had a set of these that lasted 20 years. I found them in the garage, necromanced them, and used them for a semester, when they started to finally dry out, so I got another set. I use them to color code my planner. Each semester I assign a color to each course so when I write in my planner I know which class the item is for at a glance. I use that same color to head and date note pages in my Moleskine. There are enough colors that I don't have to reuse the same color two semesters in a row, so I don't get confused. They also come in a durable, attractive little striped plastic case. Stabilo Boss highlighters -- I wouldn't believe Amazon reviews that these last 10+ years if I hadn't experienced Stabilo pens. These highlighters are smooth, vibrant, and perfect. After a semester of heavy use, still going strong. Columbia Regretless rain jacket -- These are $100 or so retail but I found one for $20 on Amazon. It lives, rolled up, in the bottom of my backpack. Super light, so I forget it's there until I need it. This has saved me a million times over on my half-mile treks to/from the parking lot. Much better than an umbrella. It zips up all the way up to your nose and the hood tightens down with a drawstring and has a little visor over your face. I stay bone dry from the hips up in this thing. Skechers waterproof work boots -- These look like ugly-adorable hiking boots but are actually mens workboots. If it rains, even though these aren't my favorite shoes fashion-wise, I wear these and they never fail me. Teva sandals -- Or anything comfortable. Essential in Texas where it's hot 9 months out of the year. Contigo 20 oz. Autoseal tumbler -- I just lost this the other day after a year of hard use and almost cried. It has never ever leaked, it's easy to clean, and it keeps hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold for hours. You need a bottle brush to clean the inside thoroughly. Trader Joe Spiced Chai tea -- I gave up coffee in January b/c my OBGYN said it can mess with hormones. I didn't die. Instead I drink tea now and this is my fave. Other chai tastes like medicine. This is $2.50 a box for 20 tea bags. Add a dash of heavy cream, stays hot for hours in my Contigo. Brown Betty tea pot -- If you're a tea drinker, this original ceramic pot handmade in England is not expensive and makes the best pot of tea ever. Might still be available on Amazon. Google Drive -- I am ashamed to say I only discovered Google docs and Google Drive this semester and I don't know how I lived without them. My kindle Fire has trouble with it but I edit on my iPhone. I love being able to hop on a computer in the school library and pull up all my work without lugging a laptop around. Google Docs -- Why would I ever pay for MS Office again? Kindle books -- Have saved me a lot of money, plus you only have to remember one item. I think my kindle might be dying, though, so I may be going back to paper for a while. It can be a pain when page numbers don't sync up with the prof's edition, but I love being able to search the entire book rather than flip through page after page. Really helps when writing papers. Bic Atlantis pens -- Smooth, bold line without being too bulky. (The Bic Velocity was too thick and messy.) Inexpensive. I may switch to Pilot G2 though. Avery Six-Pocket Organizer -- This is basically 3 folders in one with six transparent pockets. I used to carry a big binder with a divider for each course but it was bulky. Now I carry this to keep syllabi for each class (all instantly visible in the transparent pockets) and stick handouts behind them. Very slim, light. My notes stay in my Moleskine. I often need to print out journal articles, so I keep a separate slim binder for each individual research paper, and only bring it with me when I need it. Lap desk - Really handy if you use a wireless mouse with your laptop. Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime -- Essential. Amazon Prime for Students -- A discount on Amazon Prime. Check it out. Evernote -- I've been paying the $6/month for premium but I may stop. For a semester I religiously scanned and uploaded every page of notes, but I didn't use the digital versions enough to make it worth it. This semester I stopped using it almost altogether, and didn't miss it. I use Google Docs way more now. External wireless mouse and keyboard -- Makes using a laptop more flexible and comfortable Bluetooth keyboard -- Works great with my kindle. Wouldn't use it for big jobs like writing papers, but for my Digital Humanities course where we needed to bring a machine, it was more convenient than lugging my craptop. Noise-cancelling earbuds - I found some good ones on Amazon for $9.99. Now I can go to the Pub on campus for lunch and barely register the terrible pop music. Friends -- I have two "school BFFs." We have basically nothing in common outside of school but we don't need it. We have our suffering to unite us. Find buddies and support each other. It helps. Things I plan to acquire: Lenovo Thinkpad - I need to replace my old craptop and my brother, who teaches computer programming, recommended this. A lot of his students use it. WD 1TB external hard drive -- I will probably use this when I start my TA-ship next year. For now Google Drive is fine. Dry erase board with markers -- My husband uses this at work and wants us to get one, put a week's worth of more detailed planning on it alongside our regular monthly calendar. Avery Multiuse Ultratabs -- I will probably get these for my Moleskine daily planner because it doesn't have tabs and I like to be able to see the months at a glance. Moleskine Chapters Journal -- I'm considering doing a bullet journal type thing so I can organize non-academic aspects of my life, which for a while have been woefully underrepresented. This has several sections and a table of contents page, so you can have sections for finances, household, fitness, medical, etc. Brother laser printer -- We have a Canon MG 5200 Inkjet with a scanner and copier that prints color. Ink is EXPENSIVE. I can get a monochrome Brother that duplex prints for $79 refurbished on Amazon, and I think it will save a lot of money. We'll keep the Canon for fancier jobs. Chacos sandals -- These are a sorority girl staple but they're popular for a reason. Waterproof, adjustable straps, last forever, lifetime guarantee with free repairs. Worth the hundred bucks, especially in this climate where it's hot but it flash-floods often. Believe it or not, I could add more, but this is long enough. I hope it helps someone. Kristen
  8. 7 points

    so about these top 10 schools...

    New Haven is pretty much New York. I mean, Connecticut really isn't a state so much as it is something one has to endure as one travels between NYC and Boston.
  9. 6 points

    GRE "Splitters"

    Statements of this sort crop up too frequently on the forum. If a certain milieu has a bad rep -- here, it's the idea that academics are dismissive and prone to quick, unfair judgment -- there's no obligation to confirm the stereotype. Instead, we can emulate the kind of academic (one would hope) we all encountered at one point or another in our careers: the experienced big-shot who took the time to listen to our sloppy, naive questions and gently but firmly point us in the right direction. It's like saying: - Art gallery receptionists have the reputation for being snooty. - I have a job at as at receptionist at an at art gallery. - I shall habituate art newbies to the ways of the art world by being snooty. It is possible to strongly disagree, to critique -- even to criticize -- with indulgence (even if just in the manner of formulation). Finally, it seems to bear stating again that stellar GRE grades neither ensure you a job (which I don't think anyone on here has ever defended), nor do they have zero effect. As historians we know there's never one cause. GRE scores are less important than other factors, but they are not unimportant.
  10. 6 points

    When and how to contact POIs

    It can be really hard to sort through those posts because there are SO many responses in a thread. I think it's nice to have a thread about this all together for future applicants. Anyways, when I reached out to POIs, I erred on the side of professionalism. That means says "dear" at the start, as awkward as that feels. Here's a sort of template to go by: "Dear So and So, I am a (enter here: graduate of, undergrad/graduate student at, etc.) studying (enter major/specialization) and I am considering applying to doctoral programs this fall. My interest(s) is(are) XYZ, and after much research, I am interested in working with you if you are able to accept new graduate students in the fall of 2018. My research... (talk about your research interests, past research, research style, etc.) I have read (enter name of book/article/publication by POI) and it sparked my interest in blah blah blah. I found your argument about X especially intriguing. I am interested in a similar topic, and believe my research could benefit from your guidance. *enter anything else you want to say or any questions you have. it is good to ask at least one question, like 'how many graduate students do you usually advise at time?' or 'how many dissertations have you overseen?' or anything specific about his or her advising style* Thank you for for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely yours (or all the best, or something similar), (your full name)" Hope that helps! I wrote like that to all POIs and got a response from every single one, from state schools to Harvard.
  11. 6 points
    The important thing to remember when writing your SOP is that schools do not care about your personal life. The SOP should be about your research experience and why you are ready for grad school. If you have something special to say (you built a school in Iraq (people actually do this kind of stuff), you are a minority, etc.) mention it in your last paragraph. Looking back on my personal statement, I followed a nice formula. My first paragraph was full of strong words, "I am a good fit for [name program] because I am this, this, and this." I then listed all of my research experiences briefly. My next paragraphs were outlines of the research I did, with more attention paid to the projects in which I played a bigger role. Here, it is important not to list the skills you learned, rather what you gained as a scientist. Anyone can pipette or run a PCR. Top grad schools (any grad schools) want to see that you know how to think like a scientist. They want evidence that you can ask important questions and test those questions. After discussing my research, I wrote one, three sentence paragraph specific to that school. I wrote what I like about the program, I mentioned a couple of specific faculty, then I said something like, "I am certain I will succeed in this environment." I topped it of with a nice paragraph with some sort of deep insight. I mentioned that every grad school committee member will look for something specific in an application and that I just hope anyone who reads my SOP will see that I am this, this, and this. I finally sprinkled in some special stuff about my childhood or whatever here. I spent a long time perfecting this SOP for my top choice school. Then, when applying to other schools, I changed the beginning paragraph to say the specific school name, and I changed the one specific paragraph. Everything else stayed the same. If you use this method, you will save a lot of time by not having to write eight individual SOPs. Use that time to read each SOP several times to avoid accidentally saying the wrong school name. Also, this method only works if your first SOP is really good. I made my SOP to the standard of my top choice school, then I assumed it would have to be good enough for everywhere else. Finally, never write more than two pages, and do not ignore specific instructions in the application. I used this method for most of the schools to which I applied, but one school specifically asked for other things in the SOP, so I had to write a completely different one. Good luck! PM me if you want feedback on your SOP.
  12. 6 points

    Low quant GRE: successes and failures

    :raises hand meekly: I had to literally reteach myself everything. Everything. I work in research. I get paid to calculate Cohen's d, eta squared, and Bayesian probabilities by hand. I use R and SPSS to do everything else from CFAs and binary logistic regressions to ANOVAs. I haven't had a math class with exception to stat since... 2008. I don't know wtf the square root of -54 divided by 72 to the 5th exponet plus Z cubed is. Sorry everybody.
  13. 6 points

    English Lit PhD

    No. If you have one Ivy League school in mind, your odds of getting in, even if this was the case, are still quite low. That's the reality of the numbers. Other people are strong writers, too. You need to have doubt, because without it you will not strategize appropriately, which I would argue is one of (if not the) most important aspect of applying (picking where to apply and how to represent yourself to those schools). The best thing you can do it focus on fit. This means abandoning the idea of looking specifically at Ivy Leagues exclusively--there are plenty of other fantastic programs, and they might be better fits for you. I think you will figure a lot of this out while you get your MA. Good luck.
  14. 5 points

    2018 Applicants

    Happy news here today folks! Woke up to an acceptance e-mail from one of my schools! I'm shocked they got back to me so quickly, my second letter of recommendation just got sent yesterday, but I must have been "under review" until it came in. It's my #2 program so I'm really stoked!!! I'm not sure if I should e-mail the adviser and let her know I'm waiting on the others or not, she sent me an e-mail about scheduling everything and acceptance (but nothing about funding... so I also want to ask about that.)
  15. 5 points

    Fall 2018 Applicants

    I'm at Rutgers, and I find my experience to be very similar to what @TMP describes. Our teaching loads are very low, as are our cohort sizes; everything on @telkanuru's (extremely accurate) list of "what makes a good program" is available to me here. It really is program by program. It's true that in academia you ignore prestige at your peril. But it is equally perilous to tunnel your vision such that you focus only on names, brands, and proximity to the Ivies. Day in and day out, what will make or break your graduate experience is not whether other people think your program is fancy and prestigious, or whether you think your program is fancy and prestigious. It's whether or not you're at a place where you feel you're doing your best work (and where doing your best work will result in an outcome you want post-PhD). That's what keeps you coming into the grad office each day and that's how you finish the program. It's possible to do your best work in the Ivies. It is also possible to do your best work outside of them. You truly cannot know the answer unless you apply widely and see where you get in. So much of the information that will ultimately influence your decision — teaching/fellowship ratio, placement, cohort size, summer funding, personality of your advisor — you won't get until you hear back from schools anyways. Since you haven't, the prestige discussion is a bit of a red herring, and it's too easy to get wrapped up in it when it's still pretty hypothetical. Apply to places where 1) you would be willing to go if you got in, 2) where there is five years of some kind of funding for all students, and 3) the work that the faculty does excites you and is a good fit for you. Consider things like ranking and prestige, but within reason; don't discount a public university just for the sake of it being public, or apply to a university that is obviously not a good fit just because it's an Ivy. Then, when you have applied and heard back and you have concrete numbers and figures to look at, you can go back and think about things like placement, summer funding, cohort size, teaching load, etc.
  16. 5 points


    My quantitative scores were terrible, I got into one ivy and four other good schools--at one school visit a younger assistant professor was like "hah your quantitative scores were pretty bad but not as bad as mine", so that's how much they mattered (Telkanuru is right about the funding thing for some state schools though)
  17. 5 points

    High Functioning Sociopath

    What even is this thread? OP are you looking for advice? A second opinion on your diagnosis (I don't believe that's allowed on the forums or ethical)? Trying to figure out the end game of the post.
  18. 5 points

    Hindsight (is) 20(/)17

    Don't use your safe writing sample. Use a paper that really creates an interesting argument and pushes what is normative. For example, I was really worried about submitting a rather experimental paper to programs. I had two choices: one was a decent paper on PoCo theory and aesthetic form. It was just a normal, well-written paper; the second paper threw all caution to the wind. It was on so many things, but I organized it pretty well. It was on theory, art, form, aesthetics, the diaspora etc etc. My heart and soul rejoices every time I read it, but it was less traditional in form. Due to my irrational fear of sharing the second paper, I submitted paper A to half of the schools I applied to and paper B to the other half. Fun fact: every school that received paper B accepted me, and 2 others waitlisted me. Moral of the story, submit one paper that you are confident in to all of your programs. Be confident in your work and in you application materials. You've worked hard to get where you are, and you owe it to yourself to believe in your work. Also, don't go into debt applying to programs. It's not worth it.
  19. 5 points
    I have a professional degree & master's and have a different set of advice--if you have free time and want to spend that time getting ready for graduate school, and you are a quick learner/strong reader, and are going to a program that offers classical and contemporary sociology survey courses, consider spending your time working on skills rather than content/knowledge. For example, you could purchase a grammar workbook and brush up on your writing skills. Or learn to code in a data scientist-oriented language (e.g., R or Python). Or, if you are proficient in a foreign language that could be helpful to your studies, brush up on those skills. But if you are not the fastest study, it makes sense to do foundational reading. Stats is my weakest subject, so I plan to do some very basic review so I am ready to go in the fall.
  20. 5 points

    Fall 2017 applicants

    This thread is developing slowly relative to previous years. If you're an aspiring graduate student who is submitting applications for fall 2017 and you have questions or need support or want to share information, you should consider increasing your operational tempo immediately. (Well, maybe right after the Texas/Oklahoma game.) If you're going to use this BB as a resource, I recommend that you skim the Fall 20xx threads from the last few seasons and use the search button until your mouse starts to malfunction. Yes, this BB's search functionality has had caps put on it by the Powers That Be. Yet such limitations should not slow down aspiring graduate students in history. Pay specific attention to posts by TMP and telkanuru. You may not agree with everything they have posted but no contributors in the history forum have worked harder to earn their success that those two. They are true believers. They are the kinds of graduate students that you should hope to have as classmates, especially if you find yourself disagreeing with their POVs. When you assess posts in this forum, turn the dial on your critical thinking skills all the way up. Often, the guidance you receive from experienced graduate students will be different from the guidance you receive from aspiring and new graduate students. Often, the guidance from the former will not be what you expect nor phrased as tactfully as you would prefer. You need to decide for yourself, on a case by case basis, when you're being told what you would like to hear versus what you need to hear. Under no circumstances should you let the upcoming election, or any other event short of a general war, be a distraction. Yes, the election matters and every vote counts. However, you are competing for a limited number of openings against committed applicants who have been preparing for graduate school since they were in middle school, who have impeccable academic pedigrees from prep school on, who are being mentored, and who have BTDTs writing LORs on their behalf. If you are here, you likely to do not have such competitive advantages. You do have this BB and a handful of experienced hands who will offer various levels of support in their posts.
  21. 4 points
    Looks like they're sick of receiving personal statements that mostly talk about how their grandmother inspired them to go to grad school and how hard it was to get Bs while partying every night, so they're trying to hand-hold you through what an SOP is supposed to be.
  22. 4 points


    Your stats are enough to avoid having your application binned immediately at any institution. But if I were you, I would disabuse myself of the notion that a PhD app is like a BA or MA one. Stats have very little relevance beyond a hurdle you have to clear, and the rankings of programs are mostly bullshit.
  23. 4 points
    You seem to be doing a lot of things out of a sense of obligation to some shadowy unnamed force. I don't think that working at a place for less than 2 years reflects badly on you (unless it's a pattern, and at a later point in your career), I don't think that having worked at 3 places means you need to get a master's, and I can't even fathom why you'd think that working at 4 places versus 3 will reflect badly on you. You should critically analyze the source from which you are getting this bs.
  24. 4 points

    Annoying things early grad students do?

    Maybe it's just that different words mean different things to different people, but I don't think debate is generally the right action to be taking either. I agree with what @MarineBluePsy says about debate vs. arguing in terms of respect. But I think there are additional terms to consider. For example, debate vs. dialogue (see: https://ginsberg.umich.edu/content/debate-vs-dialogue-vs-discussion). In brief, the main differences are: Debate is more "combative" and the goal is to show the other party that your point of view is correct. You listen to the other party to seek flaws in their argument in order to strengthen your own. Dialogue is "collaborative" and the goal is to work together with the other party (or parties) to come to an agreement. You listen to the other party to seek common ground and to learn from their different perspective. Both of these forms of communication are important in scholarly interactions with our colleagues but they have their own time and place. I think a lot of awkwardness and bad interactions happen because one or more parties mistakenly take the "debate" route when it's not the right time to do that. In my opinion, the majority of interactions in a collegial environment (i.e. everyday conversations with your colleagues, classroom interactions, seminar interactions etc.) should not be debate but instead be "dialogue". I think that in order for a "debate" interaction to be useful to both parties, both sides need to agree that this is what is needed. For example, if there is a disagreement within the research group on how to interpret X, it would make sense to agree to hash it out and figure out which interpretation is correct. In doing this, both sides agree to a "debate" in order to seek the truth. Generally, I think it's better to approach interactions as "dialogue" by default and only engage in "debate" when both parties agree there is a need for "debate".
  25. 4 points
    You know what else the taxpayers are funding? The military (nearly 50% of every tax dollar, btw). The interest on federal debt. Courthouses and the salaries of everyone that works in them. The infamous parks and rec. Road maintenance. Green energy subsidies. Farming subsidies, for that matter. Development aid to poorer countries. Politicians' airfare to international congresses. Etc etc etc. Which of those have anything to do with first amendment rights? Is good asphalt a right? Are solar panels a right? Is taking photos with African orphans to pad your Facebook page a right? The government doesn't just spend money on rights. If it did, it would be a lot smaller, and the smooth trajectory of your civilian life which you now take for granted would be a lot less smooth. The government also doesn't spend money on things you think it should spend money on. What you pay in taxes is money you give away to be spent at the discretion of the wider community, and sometimes it is spent in ways you don't agree with. Too bad, so sad. OP, your line of argument is so incredibly stupid, and judging by how passive aggressive and rude you're being to the other commenters, I no longer believe that you're arguing for the sake of argument, playing devil's advocate, or even trolling. I think that your failure at getting accepted into whatever grad school inspired this rant is due to the fact that you spend too little time studying and too much time ranting on internet forums, rather than to some imagined miscarriage of justice.
  26. 4 points
    On a slightly different note: Before my first semester started, I gave myself some time to get my living space well in order. Especially since I had moved across the country to start my program, I had a lot of work to do in terms of acquiring furniture, organizing all my belongings, etc. It was totally time well spent. My living space isn't large, but it's well-organized, functional, and beautiful; it's an optimal environment for getting work done and for relaxing at the end of the day. If you have the time and even a little money to invest in organizing/decorating your living space before school starts in the fall, I strongly encourage you to go for it. I asked one of the ABD's in my department what she did to survive her first year. She said "I bought a good, comfortable reading chair and a very large bottle of vodka, and made good use of both."
  27. 3 points
    I'm in anthropology, not sociology, but the five profiles (students between second and sixth years, but nobody on the market) I just checked in my department each have less than 20 words in them. For example, Berkeley is a little more terse than my department, but look here: http://anthropology.berkeley.edu/graduate/current-graduate-students. My department breaks those down into separate webpages, but nobody has full sentences about their research. They just list themes and areas of interest, at the "Cultural anthropology. China. Rural. Kinship." level of abstraction. My page doesn't even appear in the first page of google search results for my name, either; I can only find it efficiently by going to the actual department's webpage. What are the profiles of other students in your prospective department like, especially of the students in their coursework years? Is the norm to be way more detailed and emphatic than in anthropology? I ask because I don't understand the source of your resistance to having a webpage at all. I don't want to push you into doing something you don't want to—and I don't read your posts as suggesting there's a safety issue—but it sounds like your resistance is coming from a misunderstanding of something about academia. Specifically, you don't need to be committed to your dissertation project yet: people expect (and even value) evolution. As far as specifics go, I think it would be pretty normal to have the entire contents of your page be your name and the words "Sociology of gender," since it's sounded elsewhere like you're committed to that interest. If your department runs towards wordy profiles and you want to emulate their style while leaving room for change, you could just drop the word "currently" a lot: "I am currently working on sociology of gender. At the moment I am exploring issues of gender and race. My interests right now also include immigration and sexuality." It sounds like that might be too much for you right now, so maybe you can save that strategy for later. Personally, I would advise you to list between one and three interests or fields, like "sociology of gender," in your profile, but I don't feel strongly about it. If it feels right to you not to list any interests just yet, I think you should feel completely free to create a profile with your name and nothing else. If there's no safety issue, take confidence in yourself! List yourself publicly as a student in your department; you are smart and you deserve to own it. I think not having a profile at all might feed your impostor syndrome too much, but I think it should be normal to have a blank-except-for-your-name profile for the first couple years and fill it in later. (I am not "diagnosing" "impostor syndrome" from your posts, but rather working under the assumption that this is a condition shared by literally every graduate student.) These things aren't about your final identity as a scholar, after all. It's about what you're doing now. One way somebody might use a profile that says "Name. Sociology of gender," for example, is a visiting graduate student who's living in town this semester to be with their partner emails you and asks about whether the sociology department is having any talks on gender right now. That's a good person to know! Your interests as they mature three years from now don't help that person this semester: they'll be gone by then. Even if your interests have completely changed three years from now, you might have an interesting conversation this year, and interesting conversations are worth something. Perhaps something might help is to use the word "mature" or "progress" more often. You not being sure of your exact project just yet is a sign of your intellectual openness or your curiosity; it's a virtue. If you want to change your research after your first year, it's not true that "it won't look good at all." If your project or interests change, that's not a sign of your inability to stick with it, or something. It's not only normal, it's a sign that you're learning, that your work is maturing, that you're making intellectual progress. Of course this isn't a magic bullet, but it sounds like you have a lot of negative self-talk going on in your head about your work right now. It might help you to have a positive (and, let me emphasize, true) way of thinking about these things on hand, too.
  28. 3 points

    Life Reeked with Joy

    I can't stop laughing http://archive.wilsonquarterly.com/essays/history-past-life-reeked-joy totally worth a look, fellow historians!
  29. 3 points

    Fall 2018 Applicants

    In my experience, the advisors who push you intellectually are those whose students aren't cookie cutters of themselves. It follows that tailoring your application to fit the exact interests of the advisors you're considering might not be the best idea if your goal is to break new ground in the field. If you applied with any of the topics you listed above, a social/cultural historian of France who studies the period you're interested in (give or take a few decades) will be able to advise you. No one expects that the project you propose in your application will end up being your dissertation topic (though that does happen sometimes). One of the highest compliments I heard a graduate student give about my advisor is that she explicitly seeks out students whose interests "ven diagram" with her own. When I spoke with her, she echoed the sentiment: "I want my students to teach me something. It's boring otherwise." A very high bar to clear, indeed! But personally I'd rather try to get up to that bar than spend my graduate career as a disciple.
  30. 3 points

    Condensing WS vs Giving page numbers to read

    Condense it. I rewrote my 150-page thesis into 25. The point is not the effort, it's the evidence that shows you can do historical analysis and present it in a convincing, relatively professional manner (intro/analysis/conclusion clearly stated, well-articulated paragraphs, well presented source(s) and their analysis, etc). Here less is more. If they say 35 pages, do not submit 50. Just don't.
  31. 3 points

    Starting PhD...in 30s?

    I did exactly this, started my PhD in my mid-30s as a single childless woman in a cohort where most other students are about a decade younger. What helped me the most was going in knowing that my cohort or even my department wouldn't meet all of my social needs. I do sometimes socialize with my cohort because they are nice people and can actually be fun, but after spending so many hours with them each week I really don't desire to hang with them all the time outside of that. I figured being at a large public university I'd be able to connect with grad students in other departments that might be older, so I gave that a whirl. Unfortunately most of the people I came across were still either much younger or just living a completely different life being married with kids. I then chose to take my social life completely off campus and am happy I did. I signed up for every things to do in this city list I could find, picked up all the free local papers, volunteered, and joined meetup groups to force myself to attend a few things each week whether I felt like it or not. I did things I knew I like, tried things I'd never heard of, and gave things I previously felt hohum about another shot. I wouldn't say I have close friends yet and that's ok. But I do have people that when I see them out I can hang with them and it isn't weird or we can and do text each other to exchange invites. The best part is most of the people I've met are not in school so I'm not constantly sucked into school stuff. After having been in the working world I definitely appreciate the variety in my social life and don't want to feel like I can't ever get a break from school. I also head out of town during school breaks to visit family and friends I haven't seen awhile because there is nothing like being surrounded by people who know you well. As for dating, this too I've taken completely off campus because I just don't want that kind of drama in what I consider my workplace. Depending on the type of person (LGBT, other race/ethnicity, specific religion, etc) you wish to date there may be limited choices based on the region of the world your program is in. Also if you wish to date someone your age or older they may have assumptions about grad students that make dating harder such as you must have bad finances, you'll struggle to get a job when you graduate, your degree will take 10 years, you lack direction or something is wrong with you if you're this old and doing this, you don't have time to date, etc. I personally just mention the general industry I'm in until it seems like I may want to get to know a guy better, then he can have more specific details. Otherwise its just like dating when you work full time. Sometimes its fun and other times it really sucks lol.
  32. 3 points

    2018 Applicants

    That's a great way to put it, @klader If you need a peer-ear to bounce ideas off, feel free to holler my way! Congrats, @Keri - that's fantastic news!
  33. 3 points
    I've never seen arbitration of busted friendships go well. Despite the best intentions of the person who is trying to engineer the reconciliation in other people - they usually get sucked into the conflict. I'd use the natural break to go out and find other friends. You don't need to form a new group of BFFs, just folk from your research group/department/campus who you get along well with and do some social stuff together (lunches, coffee etc). It'll make you feel less dependent on this group of individuals. When you all get back on campus start off with low-key social events (lunch on campus rather than a party in someone's apartment). In case something goes wrong it is easier for people to leave, and you won't be stuck for too long in an awkward situation.
  34. 3 points
    Actually, this sounds exactly like a SOP description to me...just in different words. When you really parse what they're asking for, it's the same as what pretty much every program is asking for: why are you interested in what you're interested in, what you plan to do in the future etc. I don't want to be too cavalier about it, since it's your top choice program, but my gut tells me that you'll be fine using your standard SOP format with a few minor tweaks as necessary. I suspect they make a distinction between what they're calling it and a "personal statement," because the latter can sometimes tend toward biographical life story etc. (such as in some programs that ask for both a "personal statement" and a "statement of purpose."). So they want an SOP, not a personal statement (ignoring for the moment the many programs that consider the two documents one and the same... )
  35. 3 points

    Programs strong in Marxist study?

    @Mason.Jennings Nancy Fraser is there, who alone makes it worth a while to study theory there in my opinion. They have historically been a critical theory program. Deva Woodly who does Theory + American is really strong up and coming young scholar, I heard her speak several times. Ross Poole teaches Marx there as well (as does Fraser, and a lot of other faculty members incorporate him into their syllabi and their work). Rafi Youatt does some interesting stuff on posthumanism. So people-wise, they are really good. But in the interest of full disclosure, New School is also known for having terrible funding packages. So honestly, unless you have really good savings and are willing to burn through them, I wouldn't recommend going there. CUNY Grad Center might be a better alternative, funding wise, as they have fellowships which are decent (for NY even Columbia's funding sucks, and funding for all PhD programs sucks in general, but that's another matter). CUNY Grad Center has some amazing people, also few top Marx & critical theory people. Corey Robin is arguably the best-known young Marxist in theory, currently writing a book on the political theory of capitalism. Susan Buck-Morss, one of the most famous Frankfurt School theory scholars (together with Benhabib) is also there, from Cornell where she raised an entire generation of critical theorists. Jack Jacobs teaches Marx regularly. Also some other folks, in theory and outside, who'd be very happy to accommodate your research interests. Some other big names that might not be as close to your research interest but are there: Uday Mehta, Carol Gould, and Alyson Cole. Btw, biggest New York city universities (plus Princeton and Rutgers in Jersey, and Stony Brook upstate) have this thing called Inter-University Doctoral Consortium, which is a great. It allows you to take classes at other schools. So going to CUNY Grad for example still doesn't preclude you from studying with Nancy Fraser. That being said, I do think it is important to put a big caveat in front of all this for prospective grads: tenure-track jobs are indeed disappearing and academia is a very precarious endeavor. I'm not one of those people who thinks TT jobs are the only reason you should pursue a PhD, but it is a reality that many people are. So be aware of that. However, when people tell you to "go study Marx elsewhere" and then mention disciplines like Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Comp Lit, or whatever - they aren't really solving anything because: 1) Tenure track jobs are perhaps even harder to come by in these disciplines. It is just the current state of academia, especially humanities (and humanities-like fields such as poli theory). 2) There are broadly two ways of studying & using Marxian theory in poli theory today: history of poli thought (exegesis) or contemporary theory (critical theory of some sort that builds on Marx, but others as well). If you choose the former, then getting a placement will be equally hard as if you were studying Hobbes, or Locke, or Mill, or whomever from the cannon. Also, you will have to connect it with recent literature, other thinkers, find an innovative reading/approach to it, and show its pertinence for current issues. This is no small task. If you choose the latter, there is a bunch of critical theorists (of all stripes and colors) in the US academia (top 10 and below) which you can study with. My overall point being - studying Marx in poli theory today is perfectly fine. The problem is not with Marx as a figure, the problem is in poli theory & similar fields, that are in precarious position with this neoliberalization of higher education. 3) This brings me to my last point here. The issue I have with people telling you not to study Marx "because you won't find a job" is that it most often serves as a tool to homogenize the discipline (or/and they simply don't know much about theory scholarship and scholars, as is the case in this thread, in my opinion). Not everyone wants to do liberal normative political theory that is 'the mainstream' (btw, there are people who approach Marxi and Marxist theory in a normative poli theory tradition as well, which only shows the wealth of approaches to Marx today). People have different aspirations and interests. And once you show people who say that that there are a lot of people working on these 'Other' topics as well, they quickly revert to: "well you won't find a job in theory anyway". So just be mindful that the entire discussion above about Marx (in this case) in political theory today is not really the problem of Marx per say, as you can study him with a lot of scholars in all sort of "top 10" or below programs, but with political theory itself (& academia overall today). If you're ok with that, and accept the risks, rock on buddy - join the struggle
  36. 3 points

    Writing a new writing sample

    Everything written so far is fantastic advice - I just want drop a quick line in case my experiences can further help you, @lit_nerd. I'm assuming you're applying to both PhDs and MAs (if I'm wrong, I apologize) - as others here have noted, the PhDs are going to want to see a dialogue between the two, but (from my lived experience) MA programs are less concerned with seeing a nuanced and rich dialogue between a powerful SOP and WS than with seeing two (perhaps not totally connected) pieces of writing that are strong and interesting and demonstrative of your growth potential. Case in point, I submitted for my 1st round of apps a WS on Joyce and psychoanalysis (weird paper) and a SOP that was vague everywhere except in its dogged love for the unfashionable field of literary trauma studies (even weirder than the WS), and I was accepted to two MA programs. While my materials didn't speak to one another in any sort of direct way and weren't strong enough to get me into a PhD, they did get me a step closer. And there's nothing wrong with taking the MA as time to continue growing - I'm so, so, so glad I did, and I can recommend a fully-funded MA program to look at (if you're interested.) I believe, too, that someone here (I'm sorry I can't recall who said this) suggested that if you REALLY love this WS you're submitting, you shape you SOP around it. I think that is a idea well-worth considering. If you know you can write intelligently and easily on a certain topic, it's sort of pragmatic to "pick" that topic to spend 5-7 years working on. I am not suggesting, of course, that you pick a topic that's not actually what you love. I'm more trying to say that, as a PhD, you'll be able to work with all the professors in the department (probably), freely apply to whatever conferences catch your eye, and shape your studies in a way that works for you. Thus, provided you speak a little toward your multiple areas of interest, you can perhaps make the bridge between these two areas during your studies (as opposed to within your application materials) - however, I'm not a PhD, so others here will know more about exactly how much wiggle room you'll have upon arrival. Finally, I think somewhere on here the question of submitting multiple papers appeared - my only advice for that is, if you do it, alert your LWs and make sure they know what paper is going where. One of my previous LWs spoke about my WS in her recommendation and I'm guessing other profs do that, too. It'd be super awkward to have a LOR bragging about Paper A when you submitted Paper B (I'm sure you've already thought this out, but I had to say it.) Finally, finally - there is a safety to sticking with a paper that someone else has seen (perhaps multiple times) - you might have more room to get more nuance, simply because you've been able to step away and come back more than you would with a brand new sample.
  37. 3 points

    Spending most of the stipend on housing?

    Which is great but has exactly zero relevance to the OP's question. But good for you.
  38. 3 points

    Balancing grad school and hobbies

    Hey @Citizen of Night Vale, thought I would chime in here also since I'm in a similar situation (been working FT for a few years, dedicated runner). I'm not a grad student just yet (starting this fall) but I've been a distance runner since middle school and did my first marathon while in undergrad, working 25-30 hours a week, and writing an honors thesis. I found my mental health depended largely on my weekly mileage, but I also refused to sacrifice my academic goals in order to meet my running goals (and vice versa). Because I'm not yet a grad student, I don't really have any authority to speak on how to balance this hobby and grad school, but I know I plan to keep up my running mileage in grad school without a doubt. Tools I've found to be helpful: 1. Timing is everything: For me, this doesn't mean scheduling as much as being flexible with when to run. I would run at 5 a.m., I would run at 10 p.m. Obviously, those weren't my ideal times, but if it meant run then or don't run, I usually went for it. Running in the morning is obviously nicer because you get it out of the way, but I also found that it can be really tough when you were up late the night before writing a paper. And keep time in perspective: it takes me 6-8 minutes to do that extra mile. Am I really going to miss that 6-8 minutes of sleep that night? Probably not. Am I going to kick myself for missing my weekly mileage goal by one mile? Probably. 2. Run outside as often as possible. This can be tough depending on location (I was born and raised in the Midwest). But it really makes life SO much easier when you don't have to trek to a gym. It's one less barrier to completing your hobby and that goes a long way when you are prioritizing activities in your schedule. 3. Consider a group - Sounds like you are already doing this. I am not much of a group runner these days (I like having my alone time to think while running) but many find this provides extra motivation. As for multi-tasking, I've tried most everything while running. I've taken conference calls; I've responded to e-mails on the treadmill; I've gone through flashcards; I tried recording essays and going back to type them (really does not work for me at all). I've gotten away from this as I want running to be restorative for me, but I have found if I have just social calls (i.e., haven't talked to my parents in awhile, need to catch up with an old friend) I can take those while running. It's not ideal, but it can check multiple things off my to-do list. Anyway, this is probably a lot of info that is just common sense, but it has actually been helpful for me to reiterate for myself. At the end of the day, I've viewed grad school as a time to devote myself to work/research and excel academically, but I also know I won't cease to be me just because I've been accepted to a graduate program. Running has been a part of me for the better half my life and can say with confidence I will find a way to make it work. I am sure you will be able to as well. Good luck!
  39. 2 points

    2018 Applicants

    Thanks for setting everything up @klader! I PMed you my work / business e-mail. In other news: I spoke with the enrollment adviser at ASU last night and she told me that I'm in review, so be on the lookout and check my status everyday... should find out in a week or two... eep! She told me it's a competitive program with a class size of about 20 students but also said being in review this early may be a good sign. Let's hope so! I keep flip flopping on what program I want and am now thinking ASU and BGSU are my top 2. These next few weeks may be the death of me...
  40. 2 points

    Visiting Prospective Program's Campus

    In my experience, I only visited one school because I was already passing through town (no extra money spent there!). The discussion I had with the Director of Graduate Studies was very beneficial as he gave me information about applications and the program that were not posted anywhere online. Moreover, he walked me through what they really look for in applications from the essay all the way to GRE scores. The visit, however, did not mean I got in (I was waitlisted as there were only two spots available). The program I was accepted to was one in which I never set foot on campus (skype interview). In fact, I had never spoken with them before the offer of an interview. I would say if there is a school you are very interested in and are not able to meet up with professors at conferences and they do not have a lot published online about the program, feel free to visit but not if you are spending hundreds of dollars to do so. Also, if you are not comfortable with contacting professors until you have met them in person (just do it anyways), you could find a visit to be helpful. However, until you are accepted your goal is to make your application the best it can be. While a visit may help you tailor your application to a specific school, it is often better to save the time and money, email professors and current students, and take the saved time and make your paper and essays better (and current school work, as references are often make or break it).
  41. 2 points

    Economics and Political Science dual PhDs?

    I have personally never heard of such a program, and have no knowledge of anybody who has completed such a program. I can think of a few examples of scholars who have completed both a political science PhD and an economics PhD, though not at the same institution and not at the same time. If somebody has two PhDs, it is usually because their interests changed and they needed the second one to work in the desired field (though I have heard of math PhDs going on to do econ PhDs due to the terrible job market for mathematicians). It is not unheard of for political science doctoral students to acquire an economics MA, though I would not say that it's common. The real question is this: what is your desired career path? If you want to study IPE/CPE from the perspective of a political scientist/using political science research methods (and seek employment as an academic political scientist), you should aim for top political science PhD programs that are strong in these areas. If you want to study issues of political economy from the perspective of an economist/using economics research methods (and seek employment as an economist, academic or otherwise), you should target economics PhD programs that are strong in political economics. The top political economy programs (Stanford/Harvard) do place their PhDs into academic/non-academic positions in both fields, but their admission rates are extremely low - it would be unwise to place all of your eggs in that basket. It's also worth noting that the political economy programs (as well as most top econ programs) will expect you to have taken specific math courses as an undergrad, unlike most political science programs.
  42. 2 points

    Fall 2018 Applicants

    @VAZ I would not stretch myself out so far like that. This is where you have to name other professors who you can feasibly work with. For example, the 16/17th century prof working in cross-cultural history will want to know, "which of our gender/women's history scholars would you like to work with?" You might want to identify another Western Europeanist working in 18/19th century to round out your potential committee. For, the Late Medieval/Early Modern intellectual historian, the person will similarly ask, do you have someone on our faculty working on gender whom you would like to work with? I don't do France but I do Britain. I might suggest co-advising with that French historian over there...." Professors also want to know who else you want to work with so that you know you're coming into a program with plenty of support. Another caveat to keep in mind: Exam reading lists. Your adviser will dictate most of the books. All of the books your adviser gives you (as well as other profs on your exam committee) are those they have read and think are important for you to be familiar with. They generally won't assign too many books they haven't read (but you want to read them). One of my colleagues refused to work with one French history professor because she had zero interest in colonialism and went with another who didn't care much for the French empire and she got away without having anything relating to the French empire on her reading list. I had an early modern intellectual historian (and I am a social/political historian) by default and I was stuck reading books he *thought* was important, which I didn't. So it was a real drag to get through those particular books. Looking back 2-3 years on, I would have definitely not bothered with a couple of those books but perhaps keep one or two.
  43. 2 points
    Has your friend scoured Worldcat or reached out to current graduate students to ask about what the prof is currently working on? It does, but maybe not in the way that your friend expected. The lack of recent publications could be a warning sign, or it might not be. It depends on the person and the kind of work s.he has been or is doing currently. Field also matters. Some fields just publish more than others. Anecdotes to illustrate: A tenured prof at an Ivy League school with an impressive publication record given his age – 2 monographs before 50, multiple articles in prestigious journals, a couple of edited volumes – but he's not around much for his graduate students, and his placement record is not what it "should be." Graduate students attribute that to the fact that he has taken on too many advisees given his professional responsibilities and personal research goals, and is therefore less available to them when they need someone to pick up the phone and call committees on their behalf. A tenured prof at another Ivy League school with a shorter publication record to above, slightly older (mid-50s), but who has an excellent placement record (the majority of her students have gone on to TT positions or prestigious post-docs followed by TT positions). She is known for being hands-on when it comes to career development. A much older, tenured prof at an Ivy League school who publishes like a house on fire and is somehow also highly engaged in his students' careers. The great majority of his students have gone on to illustrious careers – not just because of his name – but because he is a born pedagogue, and seems to take genuine pleasure in helping his graduate students professionally. A very recently tenured prof at a highly regarded school (not Ivy League, but in the top-15) with a shorter publication record than the three above, but a similar pace of publication. By the time he's their age – he's currently pushing 40 – he'll have a similar record. As a young prof, he's experienced the pain of the current job market and is highly aware of what his students need to do to get themselves into the best possible position by the time they graduate (doesn't mean, of course, that all of them will get jobs at the end of it). He's a 5-year plan kind of guy (in this case it seems to be a good thing). His first student just graduated and got a prestigious post-doc. Another young, recently tenured prof at another highly regarded, non-Ivy League school, has been flirting with the idea of moving to the Ivy League for a couple years now (he's been described as a "hot commodity" that many schools have been courting). Similar publication record to above. By all accounts, he's a great teacher – when he's around. A recent student of his got a prestigious post-doc, but his current students are worried about what the future will hold if he decides to leave the school and dedicate more of his already limited time to his research career. I could go on… In the end, the message is: consistent publication record does count for something – it's an important part of why the folks above teach at top programs – but what matters (even more) when it comes to choosing an advisor is their reputation as teachers and career advisors/advancers. That prof your friend is interested in might have a great placement record, despite a thinner publication record. As I considered different programs, I talked to lots of graduate students. They're the ones with the inside scoop. I also looked at the AHA's Directory of History Dissertations to get a sense of the placement record of advisors I was considering.
  44. 2 points

    "Find professors you want to study with"

    Each program will have bios of faculty on their sites. Depending on the university, some of the bios will have publications of the faculty listed, as well. One of my mentors in undergrad told me to look at the current grad students. If my level of accomplishments look similar to existing grad students and the program has professors in my area of focus, then it's probably a good fit and I stand a good chance of being admitted. That is exactly what I did last year.
  45. 2 points
    You really need a hook in the beginning of the SOP. They're reading so many of these things, so you want them to remember you. That was one of the many good pieces of advice that my mentor imparted upon me. Perhaps ask friends in graduate school to share their SOPs with you so you can get an idea of what you should be doing. While there's no set format for SOPs, if you look at enough of them, you'll begin to notice a pattern. Many people may be timid about sharing their work, though, if you don't know them, simply because they worked really hard on these things and don't want to risk having their ideas "borrowed."
  46. 2 points
    I'm starting my MDiv at YDS this fall, which probably requires a different approach. Even so, I wanted to point out one thing about YDS that I noticed at all the admissions events I attended, including the fall open house last November. They very strongly emphasized community in all of the presentations. As long as you're qualified to attend, they also really need to see that you will be a contributing member of the community. They want the YDS community to be something you're actively seeking (not just that you want to study with J. Baden). And they want to know how you anticipate that community contributing to your studies. It seems like your credentials are certainly enough to prevent you from being disqualified. As other commenters have said, you sound perfectly qualified based on what you said. I would urge you to use your personal statement and letters of recommendation to make it very clear how studying at YDS fits into your long term goals -- not just academically but also in terms of your development as an actor in the wider world. If you can, I highly recommend attending the fall open houses for both HDS and YDS. They put a ton of work into those events, and it's much more helpful than just a visit to the school to sit in on classes or visit a professor.
  47. 2 points

    GRE "Splitters"

    @lordtiandao I basically went into the GRE with a goal quant score beforehand, and promised myself that if I fell lower than another predetermined point that I'd retake it (in my case, my reach goal was to break 155, but my minimum was to break 150 or retake. I got 152, so I didn't retake it). As long as you pick a range that you are comfortable with and that is realistic for you based on practice exam scores and manage to hit it, then I wouldn't retake. It's not about the size of the gap between Q and V, it's about knowing your abilities and being able to accurately assess whether retaking the exam could conceivably result in a significantly higher score within the time that remains before you have to submit your application. If not, and you're not wildly off the acceptable range for your school, I wouldn't worry about it.
  48. 2 points

    GRE "Splitters"

    As others have mentioned (page 1 of this thread contains a lot of good info), quant is much less important for history programs than is verbal, especially at private schools. It comes down to whether you want to expend the time/money/effort to retake the exam given that your verbal score is within the range of acceptable for the schools you're considering. You might try perusing the gradcafe results page to see what scores applicants who were accepted to the programs that interest you earned. But srsly, the GRE is WWAAAYYYY down the list of priorities, as @hats recently pointed out. If not retaking it will give you a good chunk of time to work on your SOP or fine-tune your writing sample, don't retake it. Those bits are so much more important to admissions teams than is your quant score.
  49. 2 points

    2018 Applicants

    Thanks! @Keri - I appreciate it! I hope the group is feeling good, too! My SOP is not wildly out of control, though my WS is kind of like a shopping cart in desperate needs of 3 more wheels, so that's going to be the rest of July for me, lol.
  50. 2 points

    NYU Steinhardt online distance program

    Just accepted to the program!