Welcome to the GradCafe

Hello!  Welcome to The GradCafe Forums.You're welcome to look around the forums and view posts.  However, like most online communities you must register before you can create your own posts.  This is a simple, free process that requires minimal information. Benefits of membership:

  • Participate in discussions
  • Subscribe to topics and forums to get automatic updates
  • Search forums
  • Removes some advertisements (including this one!)


  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About hantoo

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Location
    Washington, DC
  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  • Program
    Sociocultural Anthropology
  1. I agree with everything listed above. I'm not sure how it specifically works in your department, but at my school the online academic profiles can be updated pretty frequently. Also, the webmaster for the department site is another student, so when changes need to be made we can just contact that person. If your interests change, just change the profile!
  2. I agree with everything @Eigen said. I'm sorry to hear about the trouble in your cohort--although I've never gone through something quite this intense at the graduate level, something a bit similar did happen in my friend group during undergrad. We weren't able to resolve the drama between everyone, but I was able to stay friends with all of the people in that group because I chose not to take sides and chose not to get involved with the situation directly. I think it shows what a good and loyal friend you are that you care very much about trying to keep your friend group together. At the same time, no matter how much you care about your friends, it should not be your responsibility to rebuild the relationships that others (like "B and C") have made difficult and uncomfortable for the rest of the group. I think the best thing you can do is remain supportive, but remain neutral in whatever issues are going on. If these people are good friends, they will respect and understand your desire to remain close to all of them, even if they choose not to be friends with one another in the future.
  3. I wouldn't stress too much over your GRE scores. If you want to take it again, focus more heavily on the verbal section. That is the portion that people in the humanities care about the most. Your GRE scores are definitely not the first thing the adcom will look for in your application materials. Your SOP is by far the most important part, so I would instead focus on strengthening that as much as you can. Quality>quantity. A longer SOP doesn't mean a better SOP, and the same goes for the writing sample. I got into my top-choice program with a statement that was under 500 words. Be very specific about what you hope to focus on in your graduate research, why that research matters, and how your goals can best be achieved in the program to which you are applying. I don't think any part of your grad school applications will require you to share how long your previous papers have been. Most of the time there is a limit to how many pages you include in your writing sample as well, so I strongly doubt that any school will require some sort of 20 page example of your work. If you don't mind me asking, is your undergraduate major in history? I only ask because in any history/art history classes I took in undergrad we had to write some lengthy papers, most with something like a 10-15 page minimum, so it surprises me you haven't had the opportunity to write something longer. If you're still in school and taking history courses, could you maybe honors option a course or extend one of your projects so you can write something longer? Again, I don't think it will be important in your applications, but if you have the chance to gain some advanced writing experience to better prepare you for the more intensive writing you'll do in grad school, it might be useful!
  4. I'm going into my program without a Masters. I took one year after undergrad to do an internship and gain some more intensive research experience in my field. To be honest, applying to any grad programs during my Senior year of college would have been tough because I was working on so many other projects/a thesis/etc. at the time. I agree with some of the other posters that it sometimes depends on your field of study, but overall I think that if you have a pretty clear idea of what you want the focus of your graduate research to be, getting a Masters degree before pursuing a PhD maybe isn't as necessary.
  5. I totally agree with what the other posters said about familiarizing yourself with the literature and connecting ideas that interest you to form your own unique research. I would also suggest considering how your previous research and work experience might inform what you choose to study. For me (in cultural anthropology) I knew my geographic area of interest, and I knew that I wanted to combine the experience I gained from working abroad with indigenous groups/non-profits and studying some aspect of material culture production from a modern perspective, something I became interested in through my thesis research. I found two or three specific places in which I could apply these research ideas, and then read as much existing literature as I could. I stumbled across a few articles on a place/people that completely aligned with my interests. The anthropologist who wrote those articles is a professor at the school I ultimately applied to and will be attending this fall, and she will be my main adviser. IMO, the great thing about the social sciences is that there are always more ideas to be explored and new directions to take with research. If you take the time to read through the existing literature, find the ideas that most interest you, and determine how you could expand on those ideas and explore them in new ways, you may be able to develop multiple multiple research questions to pursue.
  6. @lms202 Wow thanks so much for the awesome info! I'll definitely explore some of these places when I move down!
  7. I'm one of those people that only uses Apple products when it comes to tech stuff, and last fall I got a Macbook Air--I used to have a Macbook Pro, which was fine, but I've found I really prefer the Air. First, it is WAY more lightweight--I took my computer with me everywhere during undergrad and will likely lug it around for all of grad school too, and when you're already carrying multiple books/notebooks/etc. in your bag, having a more lightweight device is definitely more convenient. When I bought it, the people in the store told me that if I was pretty much using it for writing/research type work, it would be perfect. They said if I was going to be doing heavy math work and downloading and using a lot of intense data/computation programs then they would suggest another Pro, but I'm in the social sciences and haven't really needed anything like that yet It has a USB port, there's also a port to hook up an HDMI chord. It has about a 12 hour battery life (though obviously you shouldn't try to work on it until it dies every time), it comes with the basic apps you'll probably need, like Photos, iMovie, Keynote, Pages, etc.---you can buy Word/Powerpoint/Excel to download to your computer, but once you start school you should be able to get that for free through the university. When you set up your computer, you can also connect your account to your phone (if you have an iPhone) so you receive text notifications, etc. on your computer. I have my Macbook synced with all of my other accounts too (Gmail, social media, etc.) and I get little pop-up reminders and notifications that I find really convenient, and it automatically updates my calendar app to include events I need to attend, birthdays, doctors appointments, etc. which I also really like. One thing it doesn't have is a disc drive, but personally I haven't ever desperately needed to have that in the time i've owned this computer. I bought a separate hard drive to back up all of my work, just in case something ever happens, which I do periodically every few months, but I would recommend pretty much everyone get something like that anyway regardless of the computer they use. I've had 0 problems with this computer, it works fast, and has everything I need. My roommate recently switched from a PC to a Macbook Air, and she says she wishes she had done it sooner!
  8. I just turned 23--I finished undergrad almost exactly 1 year ago and will start a PhD program this fall. Grad school rocks because you can start at pretty much any age, and personally I think it's never too late to pursue something you love. Awesome to see people of many ages continuing to learn
  9. I have some things I have to read this summer (but mostly just scholarly articles) because I'm working on a project with a former adviser, but I also plan to do a lot of fun reading, which I almost never get to do. I tend to try and read too many things at once, but right now I'm working on The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston, which is about the fairly recent discovery of an archaeological site in the rainforest of La Mosquitia, Honduras. It's kind of over the top but I love when anthropology findings are published in a way that is exciting and interesting for all audiences (not just people in academia). I'm also reading Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America's Culture by Chip Colwell--just a topic that's important and interesting to me. During my internship over the past year, my supervisor (a cultural and visual anthropologist) has let me borrow quite a few books that I skimmed through as quickly as I could in my free time--I really enjoyed reading one particular ethnography by Karen Nakamura called A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia and Mental Illness in Japan. It's written in a manner that seemed really unique compared to other ethnographies I've read, and Nakamura's personal connection to the topic of study gives it a really interesting feel. I'm also taking time to watch more documentaries/ethnographic films, because visual anthro is one of my central interests.
  10. George Washington U focuses on sociocultural anthro and "anthropology of public life." I think it's also worth it to consider what your specific interests are and look for cultural programs that fit with them--for example, there are some programs that heavily focus on specific areas of cultural anthro, like socioenvironmental anthropology, social movements, etc. There are also departments that might have a more specific geographic focus. A lot of programs do use the "four field approach," but I doubt that any required classes outside your subfield would take up more than a semester or two? The program I'm starting this Fall requires first year students to take one seminar in biological and archaeological anthro first semester, and one in cultural anthro and linguistics the second semester. The rest I'll be able to choose on my own, so realistically that's just one class during one semester where I'm taking anything besides cultural coursework. It varies for different programs, but I don't think any school will require you to take more than a year of those types of courses. I think you're going to have to do a solid amount of coursework in the beginning of any PhD program, so a class or two outside cultural anthro wouldn't be too bad, IMO.
  11. I've lived in 2 dorms, 2 apartments (will be 3 this fall) over the past ~4ish years, and have taken my plants with me everywhere. And they're still alive and well! But I stick to dry plants--I have a cactus garden, aloe plants, and succulents. I'd love to have more plants but I feel like they don't do well in certain living spaces, and since I tend to be in and out of my apartment, traveling, etc. fairly frequently, those types of plants can be watered just 1-2 times per week and be happy. And, IMO cactus gardens are the prettiest gardens
  12. My lease begins August 7th so that's the earliest date I can get there--I'm planning on starting the process ASAP when I get down there. I'll have a full week before I have any obligations for my program, so I'll likely spend that time going to the DMV, etc. to get things moving!
  13. I'll be moving out of state this fall too, and I will not have a chance to go and check out the apartment I'll be living in. I chose to sign a lease at graduate student apartments close to campus. I know not every school has this option, but many do, so it might be worth looking into graduate housing, apartments, etc. at your university. I don't think I'll live there for more than a year because it is slightly more expensive than I wanted, but I need to establish residency in my new home state in the first year of my program so I can qualify for in-state tuition, which means I need to have my own name on a lease rather than renting or subletting an apartment or room in a house. Graduate living options seemed to make the most sense to me since I won't have a chance to really check anything else out before I move--it's also usually safe to assume that graduate/professional housing will be more quiet and less rowdy than an apartment complex with a lot of undergrads living there. Also, as a general rule, if you're looking at apartment options, typically the farther away from campus you are, the nicer/more quiet the apartment. Did you check out the City Guide thread on here yet? People tend to give really good advice about living options on there as well, so definitely take a look if you haven't yet.
  14. I'm about to sign a lease at The Continuum--it's graduate student apartments affiliated with UF. It's definitely a bit more expensive than what I wanted, but it's cheaper than the apartment I live in now (in the very expensive DC area) and I'll have a roommate. It looks like a really nice place and it's close to campus, there's guaranteed parking, amenities, etc. I won't be able to visit before I move down and won't be able to tour any other apartments, so a grad student living option seemed to make the most sense. Also, I need to establish residency in FL during my first year down there, so I needed to quickly find a place where I could have my name on the lease rather than renting, subletting, etc. After my first year I'll probably move somewhere cheaper. It might be worth looking into for anyone still searching for a place to live who might be in a similar situation. Also, I kind of like the idea of living with a lot of other grad students my first year--it could be a nice way to meet new people/students outside my program.
  15. I'm a sociocultural anthro student starting a PhD program this Fall so I think I can offer a little help here--there are A LOT of things I wish I had known going into the application process, and looking back there are things I wish I had done differently (I esp. wish I had found this site sooner because there's a lot of great advice here!) You have an interesting background, and in anthropology programs that can actually give you a big advantage, IMO. Although my undergraduate degree is in anthropology, a lot of my research experience has been interdisciplinary, and that is something that I strongly emphasized in my SOP, and my LOR's were written by an anthropologist/museum specialist, an art historian, and a historian, so my entire application made it clear that I had a diverse education/research experience that informed my current interests in anthro. Your experience as a TA, the experience you will ultimately have from working internationally, and I think some of the research interests you list, will make you a strong candidate. The first thing that strikes me when I read through your list of anthropological interests and your education background is your business experience. Business anthropology is a specialization that exists in cultural anthro. A year or two ago, my dad told me that there was a "business anthropologist" who came into his office one week to give a few seminars. I eventually got to meet her and hear more about her specialization in studying business/workplace culture. It turned out that she was a PhD candidate in UPenn's cultural anthro program (a top tier school), none of her undergrad experience had been in anthropology, and her dissertation focused on the development of collaborative work spaces and remote workforce management. So, your background in business and the interest you mentioned in multinational corporations in East Asia is actually a really strong place to start if this field sounds like something that would appeal to you. Anthropology graduate programs are extremely competitive, and they are probably most competitive when it comes to cultural anthropology. For this reason, you need to be very specific about your research interests. I would recommend reading some scholarly articles related to your interests--see who's writing them and if those people are faculty members at universities (if they are find out where they are), and see what kind of existing research is out there so you can shape your own research proposal. You need to determine: 1) What your research questions are/what exactly it is you want to study 2) Your area of geographic focus to study that topic 3) Why the school you chose to apply to would be the best place to pursue those interests. In terms of MA vs. PhD, I would encourage you to aim for the PhD if you are able to develop a specific research focus, but maybe also apply to ~2 MA programs if you feel that would be a good back up. In terms of the schools you want to apply to, what I said above about finding out what schools have anthropologists working in your research area is a good place to start. I did not do this for every school I applied to, and I wish I had. The biggest piece of advice I can give about choosing programs to apply to is to not be swayed to apply just because it is a top tier school. Pick a program that fits in well with your interests, where there are practicing anthropologists on the faculty, where you will have opportunities to TA/RA, and where you will be able to publish. Pick the schools where you think you will be able to accomplish the most and get the most out of your experience. Finally, with your GPA, etc.--I think your GRE is fine, and I think if you have a strong SOP and LORs, you will be fine. Feel free to message me if you have other questions!