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About mdivgirl

  • Rank
  • Birthday 10/30/1978

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Kaohsiung, Taiwan
  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  • Program
    History and/or religion
  1. I had two interviews (at the one school I applied to). The first was with the people in my area I would be working directly with and that was all a nice chat about my intended thesis. They ended up telling me that they didn't cover exactly the time I was going for but that no one else really did and it was a good topic so I would need to do more independent studies where they didn't offer classes but they were still really interested. I just went along with them and tried to sound like I had some idea of what I was talking about. In the second interview, I got questions about what historical methodology I was interested in (other than a person who I mentioned) and what broad areas I was interested in studying for my focus for the comp exams. The interviewers were nice, but really outside my specialty, so I did not do as well in that one. Also, if you know who is interviewing you, look up their work or any on-line videos of them giving lectures or interviews if available. I didn't have a chance to do that for everyone involved (because I was really trying to go deep in preparing to talk about my specific area), but it would have helped if I had. Be prepared to talk about the historiography (or lack thereof -- if there isn't much done from your angle, all the better) and your approach. My other tip -- my two interviews were back to back and the first definitely went better. I think it might help if you have more than one to realize that those in the second interview have not heard what you said in the first so it's OK to repeat yourself. At the same time, they might be asking really different questions so make sure you don't JUST repeat yourself. Be confident and hold your own. I have interviewed exactly once, so not sure I know much, but hope that helps.
  2. To be fair, she let me know when she agreed that she had a huge deadline of her own on December 1 and was only agreeing to do it because it was the 15th, and I know that is a pretty insane time of year anyway, so I was just grateful she agreed to do it because I have been out of school a while and there are only so many people who aren't retired and have a shot of remembering me. But last year, I had big problems with incomplete applications because of unsubmitted letters of recommendation. That former professor is now the president of a large seminary and I didn't want to disturb him, but it ended being a good thing I tracked him down because it turned out he thought they had been submitted months ago and there were problems with the submissions. It was after the deadline, but they let him just e-mail them anyway. I think by the time they hit department chair/school president, they must know the ropes and know what they can get away with. We're the newbies in panic mode.
  3. I think scoring lower as an older student might be more applicable to the skills that aren't actually that necessary for your degree. On the other hand, in your specialty area, I think age is actually an advantage, though I only have anecdotal evidence. My brother and I are both in our late 30's and both recently took the GRE. Both of us are applying to humanities programs but had a strong background in math/science, so we were both able to study GRE math enough to score in the 70%. On my part, at least, that took a lot of time commitment, since it had been more than a decade since my last math class. I think that score ended up being pretty irrelevant. I know from my POI that my verbal score was going to be crucial for proving that I was still able to handle the work this long out of school but he didn't even pay attention to me when I told him my math. On the other hand, we both managed high 90 percentile scores when it came to the Verbal section -- my brother scoring a perfect 170 and he was never a genius at standardized tests. That was the one that mattered for me, at least, and what got my POI really excited about my application because he knew he could sell it to the department. I am pretty sure that I could not have scored that well straight out of school despite being good at tests. I learned a few vocab words via some apps on my kids' iPad and did a few sample tests, but mostly it was just because I simply read better now than I did then and my brother probably does too, and we are both got at least as far as the interview stage in part because of that. So, while I think age was a disadvantage in the area that didn't really matter, it felt almost like an unfair advantage in the area that actually counted. But again, this is just my experience. It was just something I have been wondering about, too. But if you are working from a background in the UK, I can see why this would be a bigger problem. I rode the fence between the sciences and the humanities throughout college and the US system allowed me to do that. My husband is British, and he stopped taking maths a lot earlier in his schooling than I did.
  4. I asked my professor who wrote my recommendation letter if she thought the application deadline meant midnight, and she said she hoped so since that's when she was planning on submitting the letter. Sure enough, with less than an hour to the deadline I got the e-mail saying that she had turned it in -- and that was Central time so past midnight where she was in Boston. So apparently the life of a professor is just as crazy as that of a student. This is what we are signing up to! Or, at least, trying to.
  5. I love this. I am EST + 13. I have lost all distinction between day and night.
  6. Just if it helps -- I have heard from my potential advisor that Vanderbilt department of religion has an interview weekend (which will count towards the final decision) the first weekend of February and that invitations should be going out soon. I have unofficially been offered a Skype interview (because I am currently overseas) but have heard nothing officially from the school yet. I'm not sure if this counts as something to post on the results board yet, but figured there might be people trolling for any crumb of information, since it seems in this process January is a long, long month.
  7. I am applying to study church history with a focus on the early modern period in England. I applied to history programs last year, but found a potential advisor (/former professor of mine in another lifetime) right up my alley who supervises in the department of religion who was interested in my application and is both an excellent theological and historian, so I'm applying to the department of religion this year. (My application is much stronger for the department of religion anyway. I am hoping to be cross-disciplinary enough to be able to teach both if I end up at a smaller school.)
  8. Just an aside -- if you have a background in theology or biblical studies and can either test out of or waive certain requirements, you might be able to tailor your M.Div. degree more. At my school, we had to take NT/OT tests and if we scored high enough, we could replace those slots with electives. If you already had Greek or Hebrew, you could test out of those, too. In my case, I had taken a two semester 400 level church history class in undergrad so was able to waive the two semesters of basic church history and replace them with upper level classes. It's worth asking the schools.
  9. I was one of the best math students in my high school, but ended up going the humanities route in college. I took the GRE last fall and spent a LOT of time revising math (but I haven't taken a math class in at least 15 years) and managed to pull off a 70-something percentile. I scored 98-99% in writing and verbal reasoning. I am applying to Ph.D. programs in theology and/or history, and I have been in conversation with a professor I had in my M.Div. program who is now in the department of religion at Vanderbilt. He told me not to worry about the math. My impression is that it didn't even register with him. That was for a Ph.D., so I am going to guess that for an MA, if you get good Verbal scores, you should be fine. Still, even if you aren't going to spend a long time reviewing math, I would at least take a few practice exams and identify any major problems. Memorizing a few formulas or reminding yourself of a few rules of lines and angles may give you a big return for your investment. You could also call a few places and talk to someone in admissions.