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Everything posted by fuzzylogician

  1. I would advise against doing an unfunded PhD. And I would advise against assuming that anything is going to change. If they're not offering funding now, when they're trying to recruit you, what's going to change after you commit? The most likely scenario is you spend a lot of money on that first semester, don't get funding, and then have to choose to take the loss, or take on a whole lot more debt to try and justify that expense you're already made. If you are in a field where students are normally funded, take the lack of funding as a rejection.
  2. The best approach is not to lie. If they ask about it, tell them and explain what happened just like you did here. It was freshman year, it's over, and you learned your lesson. It shouldn't stop you from getting admitted to graduate programs. If they don't ask, they don't ask. I wouldn't volunteer details of any kind that aren't necessary, certainly not negative ones. As for how much detail -- not more than a couple of sentences. Basically a version of what you said here. No excuses, just straight up facts, taking responsibility and making it clear that it's firmly in the past.
  3. Well then it really sounds like you need to go to that meeting and hear what they have to say about why you're not being renewed. It's not a normal development, so you need to find out what went wrong. Once you have more information, then you can decide what to do next.
  4. Is there any written documentation of the two-year promise? Or any evidence to show that not renewing you would be an exception to an unwritten rule that is accepted wisdom in your program?
  5. You didn't describe anything that sounds like an obvious red flag. But some thoughts that are more like musings that you might answer in your application and should not by themselves lead to a rejection; but they might help you get started debriefing this season: - three B.S. degrees? That's two too many. Why are you doing so many undergraduate degrees, instead of focusing on something? - you have a lot of presentations and publications in very low impact venues. I would stop doing that; some are okay, but too many and one worries about your choices and the impact of your work. It starts to look like padding, and you don't need that. Better concentrate on one really good outcome rather than multiple mediocre ones. - I assume the publications and presentations speak to research experience, but you didn't discuss that. If you ended up discussing your publications and where you presented instead of discussing the work itself and what you learned from it, that's another potential problem. You want to discuss the motivation for the work and what it taught you; the deliverables (presentations and such) could be mentioned as an afterthought or left on your CV. What counts is being able to explain what you did and why it matters. - Similarly, is there cohesion to these past experiences? Do you know what you want to study in the future? In other words, it could very well be a 'fit' issue, from what I can tell. I would take a serious look at that. In short: there could possibly be a concern about cohesion, a vision for your future, and making good choices in your research, as well as fit, as you have already been told. Are these things that your application addresses? (Disclaimer: this is just a guess, based on what you've written here; I could be way off base.)
  6. I'm actually one of the lucky ones. I'm already on an H1B so while not being able to travel while the extension petition is being process really(!) sucks, it's still much better than if this was a new petition and I were applying while not already working in the States. That would have basically meant I would have no chance of working a job in the States next year, because there would be no way I could get the visa in time to start teaching in the fall semester.* I'm sure that there are people in that situation, and that would be SO much worse. * And given the job application cycle in my field, that would be true every year that PP is not available!
  7. It means exactly what he said. I don't know what you think he will gain from not telling you the truth. He could tell you he doesn't have an update yet or just ignore your email, but since you got a reply and an update, take it as it is. He think he'll have funding but he's not sure yet. He can't make you any promises until he has the funding. You don't know that the funding you saw is the one he's counting on for you, so I'd stop it with the conspiracy theories. You could reply to say thank you and does he have an idea of when he'll have more information. Otherwise, unfortunately you'll just have to wait.
  8. I'll only address this one -- if you can get a green card, and you want to live and work in the States as an adult, do it now. With the current administration, you just don't know what will happen next with immigration. Even if you qualify now, you can't be sure that that will still be true in a year or three. So, do it now, while you can. I would personally tend to think that there is no advantage to being an international student. There are usually fewer funding sources and spots for international students than for domestic students. But regardless, I'd do it just to be sure that you have it because, again, these days things are just so unpredictable.
  9. ^ Yep. In some places, now is exactly the time to start looking, and by May many of the good places might be already taken for the fall. The bigger the city and the less dependent it is on the universities nearby, the greater the chance that you'll find apartments year-round with leases beginning at any time. But that's not guaranteed, so you need to ask around to learn what the housing market is like both in terms of timing and availability where you're moving to.
  10. Well, unless my H1B extension petition can be submitted before the end of the week, Premium Processing is being suspended next week and that means I won't be able to travel out of the States at least until October, and most likely until December/January. I've already turned down one invitation to speak at a panel in Europe because I can't be sure I'll be able to travel then. I am not applying to any summer or fall conferences more generally, for the same reason.
  11. Well when I first moved what I did was find out the email address for the graduate students (programs will usually have a listserv kind of thing to make it easier to send announcements to the entire student body) and email them all with a quick introduction and my questions about housing. I'd already visited so I met some of them, but this was more efficient. I got very detailed replies from a couple of them and ended up deciding to be roommates with a current student who was looking for a new apartment, so that she looked for the place (since she was there) and I trusted her judgment. We had a long Skype conversation to make sure we were on the same page; we lived together for three years, so that worked out nicely. Another way to go is to reach out to a professor you've been in touch with and ask them to put you in touch with students. There are always some who are more active and would be willing to help, the trick is to identify them; professors will tend to know who those are, so if you ask to be put in touch with someone who could answer questions about housing for you, they should know who is likely to help. Otherwise, you could just open the People page for your program and cold-email a few people who seem like they might have similar interests to yours. They will either answer or know to tell you who could help. People are usually pretty friendly and willing to help when it comes to prospectives and new students; everyone remembers when they were in that situation themselves.
  12. Make friends with current students. You might be able to get someone to go look at apartments for you. You should never sign a lease for an apartment you haven't seen, but if you can't go yourself, at least have someone go there and take pictures for you. You'll owe them something nice, but it'll be worth it. This is something that you should be able to find someone to help you with! Also, check if there is any current student moving out of an apartment whose lease you could take over, or if any of them happen to know of an opening. That would be an excellent way to find a place that is more likely to be okay. (E.g. check if any graduating students are leaving an apartment that would be good for you.) Other than that, university listings are also a safer bet; craigslist is always a bet, but it's better if you actually have someone go to each place you're considering in person.
  13. Depends on the field, I don't think there is a general answer. I'd think of a conference as something that has a CFP where anyone can submit, and (if accepted) present their work. A symposium would be organized and speakers might only be by invitation. It'd be much smaller than a conference (though there are also small conferences). A symposium would always be organized around a theme; a conference might, but doesn't have to, and the theme would be broader. My field doesn't have anything like a "congress" so I'm guessing here, but it sounds like it could be the largest of the three.. so maybe like a large conference with a much broader appeal. But again, I actually don't know what you mean by that.
  14. Well some schools have an official "candidacy" status, usually for a PhD, attained once you've reached a certain milestone (defended your proposal, ABD, or similar), so you can say you're a PhD candidate. Other schools don't have that, so you'll be a PhD student throughout. Can't say I've heard of a similar distinction for a Masters, but it might be out there. I honestly don't think it matters one bit what you call yourself. But if your school doesn't have an official distinction, I'd just say Masters student.
  15. You should find out if this school will cover your tuition or not (and if not, how much it is). Usually a stipend just means that the money can go toward your living expenses -- rent, transportation, groceries, etc. That's why they don't specify anything else, it's up to you to decide how to use it. If this school is paying your tuition, that's probably the better offer. But you should keep in mind that it's unlikely that $4000 would be sufficient for a year anywhere in the States, so you might have to take out loans. You should also find out if either school is offering health insurance, which can get expensive too.
  16. That would not be advisable. Backing out of an acceptance could burn a bridge, since it'll lead to money being committed to you and could lead to other students being rejected off the waitlist because you've taken a spot. If you back out, that will cause an inconvenience. Not that there aren't legitimate reasons why that might happen, but it doesn't sound like you have one. Have you tried asking for an extension on the decision deadline?
  17. There's lots of advice already on this website, as well as elsewhere. One important piece of adult wisdom is knowing how to use it -- use the search function to find relevant information here and elsewhere, and come back with more detailed questions. That will increase the likelihood that you'll get replies. (= help us help you!) What you're asking now will require a whole lot of time to answer, and not everyone will want to spend that time on this question, given that we've already answered it multiple times in the past. Another piece of advice is to start creating a network. Reach out to current students at your program to find out information about where students live, how much rent costs, if anyone is looking for a roommate, when is the right time to search (the housing market might have a yearly cycle and you'll need to know when leases tend to begin to know when apartments go on the market). More experienced students will have all of this information at their fingertips and some will be willing to help, I'm sure.
  18. I give the fellowship/grant name, a short description, and a dollar amount for large amounts (over $5000). I try to make sure that the name + details aren't more than 2 lines per entry. I separate internal from external grants -- both so there is no deception and it's easy to separate the more competitive from the less competitive awards, and also because with time I expect not to list as many (or any) of them, at some point.
  19. That's a first...
  20. Maybe, unclear. But your behavior today isn't helping anything. Friends, no need to create new reports. We are aware of this situation and are taking care of it. Congratulations to those who got accepted and good luck to those still waiting.
  21. Here's the thing. I don't know how we're supposed to verify whether or not this poster is telling lies when we're talking about acceptance notifications; we don't know if they are all sent at the same time and the fact that someone -- or even everyone -- here hasn't received any emails tells us nothing about the veracity of this claim. If you can show us actual proof that that's happening, as opposed to reporting accusations that aren't backed up by any evidence we can check, then we can talk again. (Tagging @rising_star, @Eigen, and @TakeruK here, for good measure; I'm about to go off the grid for a bit and I don't want this discussion to get lost.)
  22. Just popping back in to ask everyone to calm down, relax, and ignore anyone who is posting things you disagree with or find offensive. If you're not familiar with it, this board has a quite useful "Ignore User" function, so you don't even have to see content from someone, if you'd rather not. Please do that instead of generating multiple reports and starting fights on the board. I'd hate to have to lock this thread, too.
  23. Alright, so for a smaller specialist audience, one thing you might consider is rotating presentations by group members (when there is something to present, and you should know that people will often not volunteer but will agree to present if you ask them, so as the organizer this will be an ongoing task for you), presentations by invited speakers if you happen to get someone passing through town, and otherwise you might pick a topic and either read papers on that topic, or in one group I'm in we choose a book we want to read per semester and go through the chapters 1-2 at a time any week that we don't have a presentation. Also, cookies. It's inexpensive and it'll go well with coffee. If you bring a box and pass it around once or twice during the talk, I'm sure people will take some. When you have your organizational meeting, you want to explain the goals of the group -- likely to provide a venue for people to stay in touch with developments in their field, and a low-stress option for presenting new and ongoing work. Discuss a theme, ask for volunteer presenters, but to set the tone, you might want to get a few of your colleagues to give presentations like you'd want the group to have (and maybe you give one), so people see what you are envisioning. Also, so they have time to start thinking about what they'd like to present. Another option is to meet every other week, so it's easier to find presenters and it's not as time consuming.
  24. There will often be more things going on than time you want to spend at these events. It's okay -- even encouraged -- to triage and only do some things. You shouldn't feel bad about it! Time management is an important skill to learn. You pick the events that help you most, and skip some of the others; you might choose the ones that could help your research or that are most related to it (that's the most obvious), but that's not the only consideration. Think about big vs small event: the small ones might get into more interesting and in-depth discussions, and might be a good way to meet and interact with people in your subfield. Bigger events will give you more of an opportunity to be visible and network, but might be less relevant to your interests*. Also consider the speaker and your progress in your program; earlier on, general purpose talks by invited specialists might be a good way to get exposed to new subfields, even if you don't think they interest you -- you never know. Later on, more specialized talks might make more sense, but I still think it's important to stay connected with what's going on in other subfields, to learn about new methodologies, etc, even if they're not relevant to my own work in any way. For things you miss, I often find that writing the speaker a personalized email to apologize for having had to skip their talk is a good way to stay visible (to them) and not feel as bad about not going to something I would have wanted to (and might have been expected to) go to. (Also to some extent, the buddy system mentioned above, but I think you can only rely on others so much). * the myth of only attending talks in one's area! sigh. I think it creates narrow-minded scientists and should be abolished from people's minds. After all, you want to be able to converse with colleagues in other subfields and have a general sense of what's going on there. I'm not saying you should know the most cutting edge new developments, but attending a colloquium talk by a famous invited speaker once every few weeks won't kill you!
  25. There is no set formula for generating "hotness". What will work will depend on the circumstances -- your participants, your goals, your physical settings (room, time of day, etc). Different formats will work for different people and different goals, so it might help to know more about who you are aiming for and how many people you expect to get. A good format for a group of 10-15 specialists is very different than what would work for 50 non-specialists. So, give us more information, and we might be able to give you better advice. But .. free food. That always helps.