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About hh0505

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  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  1. Those are some great programs. If you don't mind, could you share where you've decided on (PM perhaps?)?
  2. So true. I was amazed at how much cognitive dissonance the whole process brought up, and they way I dealt with it. I think it'd be a fun little research topic to write a short paper about (j/k)!
  3. Like you said, the issue for me is that I don't know what to believe because I was told one thing during the "honeymoon" (recruiting) phase (a culture more like the second situation you mentioned), but then heard another thing after accepting the offer (a very much rigid situation like the first, except with even more of an hours requirement--assuming one were to spend 10 hours a day at the lab, that would require M-F plus either a full day on the weekend or half days in the lab on both Sat/Sun). The inconsistency is what really worries me. I'm no stranger to managing my time efficiently and working in a disciplined manner--I worked in private industry for a number of years and I'm far removed from more free-wheeling student days. The expectation is also a bit worrisome because I don't think the PI is expecting or taking into account exaggeration and inefficiencies in the 60 hours a week every week expectation. I guess since I'm already locked in, I should stop worrying and just show up and work the way I was planning on working, while taking care of myself both socially and physically to make sure I am in the best possible situation to succeed, and let my results speak for themselves. If there's a problem with that, that's outside of my control. Thanks @eternallyephemeral and @dormcat for your helpful comments.
  4. Thanks @joshw4288. I'm going to be in a non-clinical experimental field like yourself, doing the standard designing experiments, gathering data, fitting data to models, writing papers, etc. Terms of my fellowship don't allow me to teach while I'm on it, so that's not something I'll be doing (although I can apply for an exception if I want to get teaching experience for no pay, I think... I have to read through the terms again). I realize that my working hours and productivity will vary and will also depend on what I want out of my degree. My concern here is my PIs expectation of 60 hour weeks. I do not know whether and how my PI will (if they do) monitor this, but I'm more worried because it was put in very rigid terms and is an external constraint on me. I would have been fine with it or pursued a different path if the PIs had expressed this commitment requirement ahead of time. The sudden change of tone is a part of what bothers me. I am completely willing to work long hours, but I'm much more productive when I'm not being micromanaged. I am starting to get the feeling that the PIs and the grad students I interacted with told me what they thought I wanted to hear, though the work hour conversations were initiated by other interviewees or by the PIs and grad / former grad students themselves. I've worked 60-80, even 100 hour weeks in industry before, so I know what it's like (and how it tends to ruin health and productivity if it's long-term / sustained... like you said sleep deprived, no-exercise zombie smashing computer keys).
  5. I realize this is by now a very old thread, but wanted to resurrect it because the topic is quite on point to the one I am considering right now. The PIs at the lab I will be joining in the Fall stressed to me during visitation day and throughout the recruitment process (correspondence, phone & Skype conversations) that they did not expect any of their graduate students to work more than a M-F 8/9 AM to 5/6 PM schedule consistently (of course, we all acknowledged that 60-80 hour weeks are simply a reality when it comes to acclimating, crunch times, etc), that none did so, and that all were able to successfully complete all milestones ahead of time, publish a lot, and go on to TT faculty jobs at R1 institutions (some straight out, others after 1-4 years as post-docs). The public record showed the latter to be true, while the former was vouched for by the graduate students I stayed or met with, as well as former graduate students I was able to get in touch with. After accepting that offer, I received a congratulatory message from the lab PIs saying they very much look forward to working with me soon and are very excited. However, the message took on a different tone with respect to the time commitment they expected. Contrary to what was the "recruiting pitch," I was told to, in essence, steel my resolve for consistent 60 hour weeks, in addition to an expectation that I would be in the lab (or at least physically in the department or on campus) during business hours, even if I did not have anything to physically do at the lab because I might need to be on hand to help out a PI or other lab member with a task or question. I don't want to call this an "about-face" because I know that people exaggerate the positives and minimize the negatives, prefer to leave messy details out, and feel pressure to paint things in the most positive light possible during recruitment. But frankly, I am worried about the stark difference in the tone and content of the messages (and expectations) before and after the recruiting process. Because I have the support of a fellowship, I will not have additional TA duties for at least a couple years. So the expectation of consistent 60 hour weeks is purely research and a bare minimum spent on coursework. I consulted with both my undergrad and Master's advisers, and they both told me that they themselves have never set such high hours expectations, nor were they expected to do so themselves by their advisers. Both graduated from top 5 schools and went straight to TT faculty jobs at R1 institutions. Both are worried about how my health and productivity will hold up were I to honor this commitment to the letter. And both of them said that in their honest opinion, they might still advise me to go ahead with this were I attending a top 5 institution, but I will be attending a program that fluctuates in the 15-25 rank zone. My Master's adviser went so far as to ask me if I could somehow back out of the offer because he views the expectations (and the change in tone) to be "unacceptable" for a program of that rank, which he insists will require an additional 1-4, and possibly up to 6 years of post-doc work at a higher ranked institution to be competitive for a R1 TT faculty job.
  6. I think that's what's happening to me with one school. After interviewing in late January, I've been in contact with the POI over e-mail about the lab and possible research projects. Followed up and was told "your application is still under consideration" once at the end of February, and again a few days ago (both times saying "hope to know more in the coming week or two"). The late February response was understandable, but now there is literally a couple weeks left. I have an offer from somewhere else with a fellowship (no TA/RA duties and larger stipend) for the first year where if I accept by this coming week I can get the fellowship extended to cover my second year, so I'd rather not wait until 4/15 or close to it to make a decision. The problem is I'd be much happier location-wise at the school that's stringing me along.
  7. Congrats! Did you get funding? I heard some of the UCs (e.g., UCLA) normally don't accept int'l students because of funding. On an unrelated note, has anyone been accepted (or rejected or waitlisted) by University of Washington Seattle (Cognitive subfield)? It's the only program I haven't heard anything from. I tried e-mailing the grad coordinator and got an automated response. I've seen acceptances in the clinical and social subfields but don't think I've seen anything for Cognitive.
  8. Sadly, it seems to be the case not just for social sciences. Here's an interesting article from 2015, titled "Systematic inequality and hierarchy in faculty hiring networks," which examines faculty hiring in three very different disciplines--History, Business, and Computer Science: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/1/e1400005 Makes tenure track faculty hiring (and later research outcomes) seem like an incestuous affair that's still quite the "old boys' club" of the top 10, maybe 15 schools in each discipline. All things considered, if your complaints with regards to school #1 aren't deal-breakers, I would stick with the safety afforded by the institution's prestige and your potential adviser's experience and track record. I would be less hesitant to recommend school #2 if it weren't for the fact that your potential adviser there has never supervised a graduate student before... that's really the big unknown factor that makes me hesitate. It could be that the adviser at school #2 turns out to be brilliant and you would be that person's first advisee, placing you both on the fast track to academic stardom. If all else fails, go with your gut. Reduce any cognitive dissonance that might result from the decision and you'll be fine
  9. Why are you not excited to go back? Is it solely because you did your undergrad there and want a change of scenery, or was there something about your undergrad that you didn't enjoy and that is not something that can be changed? Also, how compatible do you think you would be with your potential adviser? Since your goal is staying in academia, does your adviser have a good record of placing advisees into tenure track positions? As for research, would it be possible to stay within the broad area of the adviser's research while branching out into something more "popular/relevant?" And what do you mean by low research budget? Is the adviser running low or currently without grant money? I'm assuming the department itself should have no problem with funding since it's top 5 world & psychology. If you look at influential psychologists in any subfield, but especially in social psychology, the majority of influential research and tenure track graduates come from the top 5-10 schools. The productivity of both faculty and students at these schools can often rival that of an entire department at a "lower ranked" school. Top 10 in psychology makes this difficult... even though there does appear to be a slight drop off in productivity and tenure track placement between the top 5 schools and then the following 5-10 schools, it's not enough of a difference to make it an easy or clear cut decision. Enjoying the recruitment visit is a plus, although I'm sometimes skeptical of how much predictive value a visit of 1-3 days is of long term (5-7 year) QoL (though clearly it's much better than not having enjoyed the visit). The major risk factor and the thing that stands out for me the most here is the first-time adviser. Advising a graduate student through to completion of a PhD, and not just completion but preparing that advisee for a tenure track faculty position can be quite challenging. If the research is cutting edge and high quality enough, it might not matter so much in terms of publications, presentations, and how you look on paper. Why is the research budget better with this adviser? Recent large grant? You also describe your stipend here as reasonable, and the stipend at school #1 as only just livable. Is it mostly a cost of living difference? I thought schools in the top 5 - top 10 range all provided adequate stipends. Is one of the schools in an ultra high COL area like Boston, NYC, or the SF Bay Area?
  10. Like others have said, R and Matlab are the main ones. R is itself open source, and if you already have a strong background in stats it might be easier to learn. Matlab's open source equivalent is called Octave. As far as programming goes, it becomes easier to pick up languages once you have a solid background in one language. Learning the language itself is secondary IMO to becoming comfortable with data structure concepts and just learning / developing good programming fundamentals. In that regard I think Python is a pretty good language to start with.
  11. They sent out a wave of rejections on March 8 via e-mail saying a decision was posted to the web portal. I got one, and saw a couple more on the results page.
  12. How useful would the book be without access to SPSS? I see that there are open source alternatives to SPSS, like PSPP and JASP, which I guess I could try to use while following along with the book. Of the two offers/POIs I'm considering, both mostly use Matlab and R, and maybe Python, C/C++, and Java if appropriate (and the grad student already knows them or can learn them quickly because of prior programming experience). Also, does anyone know how different the latest edition is from the 3rd edition?
  13. I feel for you. At one school's invite day I met with 6 professors in the afternoon. Half of them grilled me about every perceived discrepancy or shortcoming they gleaned from my SOP and resume. Some went as far as to grill me about subject matter as if I were taking an oral exam. Thankfully the other half made it clear to me from the onset that they wanted to recruit me, and our interviews were a mix of enjoyable conversations about mutual interests (both research-wise and extracurricular) and pitches re: their labs and telling me about their most current research that wasn't publicly available. At another school I had 3 Skype interviews, with one being a pleasant conversation and recruitment pitch, one being a grilling (where the professor was on e-mail for at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the time), and the last being a Q&A session for me to ask questions (but where the professor seemed distracted and disinterested). My UCSC interview was very pleasant, and at the end of the interview I was given what I thought was a verbal / informal offer of admission. We even corresponded, after I sent a thank you e-mail, about possible future research. I was told I would receive a formal offer with funding information in the coming weeks. Then everything went silent, and I got the form rejection e-mail yesterday.
  14. I agree with you for the most part as well. The only gray area that @byn may have been in was posting what might have been (?) information that could vaguely, if stretched hard enough, may have identified a candidate, and this is what I assume led to the ultimate decision. But the way the discussion started, with ClinicalPsy/YES!!!'s denigrating one program that had declined to extend an interview to him/her by comparing its ranking (and making glib remarks about that program, which could be someone else's dream program) to those of institutions he/she supposedly got interviews/acceptances from, and then to go on bragging about perfect/near perfect academic record when confronted with the fact that his/her behavior was offensive and immature... It's not hard to see why multiple people downvoted ClinicalPsy/YES!!!'s posts, especially the more offensive or boastful/arrogant ones. I'm not sure why @byn alone was given an Abusive Content warning while ClinicalPsy/YES!!! wasn't. While I understand that confidentiality of personal information is of utmost importance in running a discussion forum, I've seen candidate's for jobs, grad school, fellowships, and faculty go up in flames after that candidate's Internet posting history came to light. Given this person may some day be practicing or even if not, doing research on mental illness, I'm of the opinion that the gray area was fair game if any faculty / adcomms happened to see the discussion here.
  15. I had to have my recommendation letters sent via postal mail. I've e-mailed the graduate coordinator once in December and a couple times now in January to check on the letters because they are still showing up as missing, and I haven't received any kind of response. I'm assuming my application didn't even make it through the first cut, or the high volume of applicants (especially considering their small entering class) essentially means that if your application isn't complete by the deadline and you run into problems with anything you're out of contention immediately? It's an Ivy on the East Coast so I knew it was going to be a long shot. Not sure how much numbers matter. My stats were 169/168/6.0, GPA 3.75, 4 publications (no first authors though).