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punctilious

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About punctilious

  • Rank
    Decaf

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Alexandria, VA
  • Interests
    Contemporary American Literature
  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    PhD, English Literature

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88 profile views
  1. That sounds like it would be great! I'd love to join in if this gets started.
  2. My husband is the one applying to graduate school. Thankfully, in my situation, I have been approved to do my job from anywhere in the US. What kind of job is she in now? If she's working for a national company/organization, could she talk to them about working from their other offices? (In which case, you could try looking for schools near those office locations.) But from our research (we want to stick to northeast cities, if possible), there are still a lot of great programs if you are narrowing by location. The Boston area alone has so many schools within commuting distance--Brandeis, Boston College, Boston University, Brown, Harvard, Northeastern, Tufts. New York has Columbia, Fordham, NYU, CUNY. Chicago has UChicago, UIC, Northwestern. DC has GWU, UMD-College Park, and is close enough to Baltimore to consider Johns Hopkins. And so on. There are so many cities across the US that should have opportunities for her. Also don't cross off schools that are still within a reasonable commuting distance to cities. UConn is only 30 minutes from Hartford, right? It's certainly going to take a LOT of time and research, but I do feel like there are so many options outside of small college towns!
  3. No worries, the graduate atmosphere quote was the advice from one of his professors, but we aren't just taking her advice into consideration--we are also looking in-depth at POIs with strongly related research interests (based on the advice I've gathered on this forum and elsewhere online) and additional interesting POIs to ensure that his research interests would be fostered at the schools. I know it is probably odd to see a wife so involved in helping with grad school research/applications, but this is always how its worked throughout our relationship--even when he was applying to undergrad! Everything is truly a team effort over here.
  4. Oh for sure! Our research really is quite preliminary at this point--we only started really building out this spreadsheet less than two weeks ago. We wanted to determine if there was even one strong POI at a school before he does the more in-depth look at the departments so that we can write down additional POIs (I can spot the ideal POIs, but for the 2nd or 3rd or 4th, that's for him to determine). Looking for, at first, one ideal POI has allowed us to nix some schools that really didn't have what he was looking for in a POI at all. Since he has been studying for the GREs (just took them Saturday), working on his writing sample, and chatting with his professors about programs/apps, his focus has not been on this preliminary research/spreadsheet building. If he were doing all of that too, well, there probably wouldn't be anything yet since he's been so busy with everything else. So I'm doing what I can to help him out! I am happy to take the time to work on this preliminary research so that he can jump right in with some direction when he's less busy. Sorry if I have not been clear, we haven't been working on this for very long and definitely plan to do much more work over the summer and fall. He's meeting up with one of his old professors (who has similar research interests) this weekend to talk programs, as this prof went to one of the schools he's interested in and his second reader was the POI I noted. Hopefully he will have some good insight to share about which programs are strong in contemporary American lit!
  5. Thanks so much for your very detailed response! To be clear, we are constantly discussing and looking at the different programs together. It's definitely a super collaborative process, it's just that he isn't quite the spreadsheet-loving type that I am. Our initial list of schools has been almost entirely based on location, as we are New Englanders at heart, so the programs he has noted interest in are mainly because of their proximity to Boston. And now we've been jumping into the detailed research on the programs, and expanding our reach to consider DC area and Chicago area. While I am not good at actually explaining his specific research interests, I can tell pretty easily when a professor is up his alley (definitely not just based on the time period/region being post-45 American, but I look for key authors like Pynchon, Franzen, and DFW and look for professors exploring things like object sentience, defining post-postmodernism, or "the operations of sincerity and irony in contemporary American fiction," to quote him directly). Once I find a possible POI, I give him the rundown and read off their scholarly work, he tells me whether they are interesting to him, and I note down their research focus and include links to their most relevant books/articles on our spreadsheet, which he then reads. When I can't find anyone interesting, it's his job to go through the faculty pages to see if there's anyone relevant. We know each other incredibly well and are aware of our strengths and weaknesses, so it makes for a much easier process if we work together like this! I have to say, I am pretty proud of what we've found so far--eight stellar professors with really intriguing scholarship, and we've made much quicker progress because it's not just on him. It's a great idea for him to look at the other departments! I think he will definitely want to check out American Studies professors. Thanks again for your help!
  6. Would it be possible for me to join, too?
  7. Much appreciated! My thought is that it may be better to put that $200 towards two additional university applications. Thank you so much for your advice! We are a bit concerned that he may have too many Ivies on his list, but that partially is because we are trying to stick to Northeastern/New England area cities, ideally, where many of the Ivies are located. Based on all of the advice I'm seeing on here, we are thinking we'll bump it up to 10-12 schools instead of 6-8. It seems that it is pretty much a crapshoot, so the more places he applies, the better chance some magic might happen. Did you happen to apply to any Northeast-area schools? Any that you might recommend looking into? Though the authors he is interested in are more Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Jonathan Franzen, David Foster Wallace, Jennifer Egan, Rivka Galchen, George Saunders, etc.* (essentially Adam Kelly would be his dream adviser). *Please be aware that I know just about nothing about literature and couldn't explain his specific research interests, so my apologies if I am making this sound like his interests are too broad or something.
  8. Hi again everyone! So my husband got a 163V/151Q on the GRE yesterday. I told him that seemed A-okay and that he shouldn't bother retaking it but he wants me to ask you all. Is this score good enough to not bother retaking?
  9. I am by no means an expert in this subject, but my husband is the one applying to PhD programs. If we were in this situation, I'm pretty sure we would do what we are doing now: focus on a general geographic area. You could, for instance, look at Boston (and the surrounding area) and have these options: Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Brown University, Harvard University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, UMass Amherst, UNH, etc. This is just how I'd do it to ensure we could live together.
  10. This is really informative. I did not know that you should highlight faculty members you'd like to work with in the SOP. Is there a resource regarding SOPs with examples or something? I feel like this is the piece I know the least about. I think you have a great point about number of schools. I think we could stand to go up to 10-12 schools instead of 6-8. I of course really want him to get into a program, as he is a driven and brilliant person who should totally be in literary scholarship. So I want him to have the best chance he can! One other question--his writing sample is on a (late? I don't know the time frames well) modern American poet. Since his research interest is contemporary American fiction, I was somewhat concerned about his writing sample not having the same focus. Do you think this would be an issue at all?
  11. Thank you so much, everyone, for your helpful responses! @Old Bill, I really appreciate your detailed response. One note about fit is that one of his English professors actually gave him the following advice: "I am of the opinion that it's best to look at programs that have a decent-sized faculty and seem to have a pretty vibrant graduate culture. Some people will say that you should pick programs based on who's there--that is, choose programs with specific faculty with whom you want to work. That is not my approach for two reasons: (1) You might end up changing fields once you get to a program and (2) Sometimes, faculty turn out to be insane or their mentoring style may not work for you." She encouraged him to discuss this point with other professors, but this was one reason why we have been hesitating to focus on particular professors when assessing fit, instead looking at location, program quality, etc. However, my spreadsheet for him does include 1-2 POIs with their research interests. I also looked through dissertations (both of students at the different schools and for his professor that attended Brandeis and has similar research interests) that related to his research interests and confirmed whether the committee members were the professors I had noted. I imagine, of course, that no professors will align perfectly with his interests (and I couldn't explain his specific research interests in detail if I tried, I unfortunately am not on all of your genius levels!). I will work on this spreadsheet to see if I can bring it up to 3+ POIs. As for the school list, I read somewhere that one should apply to 6-8 schools. What would you say is a good number of programs to apply to, then? We are trying to keep in mind the cost of application fees, sending test scores, etc. He had also been thinking about NYU, Northeastern, Fordham, and perhaps other Rhode Island schools, but cut them to bring the list down. Of course, the SOP and WS are of major importance. He has a few professors who will be looking over these pieces for him, but he hasn't started the SOP yet. I haven't done a whole lot of research on where to begin with this one, but it will be next month's focus, I believe. Thank you again!
  12. Hi everyone! I'm going to be posting on behalf of my husband, as I am his organization-obsessed counterpart in life. After getting accepted into master's programs at Edinburgh, Trinity College Dublin, and Cambridge (but without any funding), we are jumping back into the application cycle to specifically look at PhD programs in the US instead. He is a postmodern/contemporary Americanist and graduated in 2016. His stats thus far (stole this formatting from another topic): Undergrad Institution: Medium-sized state research university, top 100 on US NewsMajor(s): English & HistoryGPA: 3.98Position in Class: #1Research Experience/Publications: Research Assistant for the Department of History (summer & fall semester) Publication in university's history journal Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Award for highest ranked graduating senior Award for outstanding senior in English Award for excellence in history Award for best senior history essay Phi Beta Kappa Society member English Departmental Honors Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society member Dean’s List (all semesters) Pertinent Activities/Jobs: Taught English during semester abroad Miscellaneous Accomplishments/Information: In the process of writing a book review for a prestigious literary journal that sent him a review copy of the book, and this will hopefully will be published in the fall (?!) One of his professors who wrote him a LOR is an accomplished poet and editor of a prestigious literary journal, if this matters Applying to: Harvard University Boston College Boston University Tufts University Brandeis University Yale University Brown University Columbia University He's taking the GRE this Saturday and is diligently working on his writing sample. He's planning to reach out to some of his professors who attended Tufts and Brandeis (these professors are in addition to those who have already written LORs for him). I'm so excited to help him through this process (as someone who never plans to get a PhD and knows next to nothing about literature, but thoroughly enjoys creating spreadsheets, researching schools & professors, etc.). Good luck to all of you! Oh, and if you have any idea of his chances at these schools or suggestions of other Northeast-area schools that would be good to take a look at, please let me know! This list is certainly not set in stone yet, we'd just really like to live in the Boston area or somewhat close for familial support.