Before you ask "WHAT ARE MY CHANCES???"...

35 posts in this topic

Posted

Like! or in Google+ lingo... +1!

Thanks strangefox... verbalized my thoughts superbly :)

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Posted

+1, Strangefox.

Any chance mods can pin this post?

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Posted

+1'd!

Pinning this topic would stop a great deal of extraneous threads (hopefully).

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Posted

Second of all, even with the best stats, numerous publications, brilliant letters of reference, etc. you may not be accepted to a school if you have not chosen a program wisely. Because the most important thing in this game is fit. If a program thinks they are a bad fit for you, they will not admit you, however wonderful your application is. So you should apply only to schools that fit well your research interests and experience. How can you find schools with a good fit? First, of course, you schould know what your research interests are. If you know that, visit as many websites of programs in your field as you can find - and read about them, very carefully. Where can you find a list of programs? Well, browse the internet. When I was applying last year, I came across a biiiiiig list of programs in my field (it was not a ranking, just a list) and I spent a lot of time just going through all these program's websites. If you don't find such a list, just find some rankings. Not in order to find out what programs are the best in your field (many people don't believe in rankings anyway) but just to see what programs are out there. So, you read about the programs on their websites. From the way these programs are described you should get an idea if you would be interested in studying there or not. When I was choosing programs to apply to, I first used the list that I had found to make a shorter list of programs with a very general fit. Then, as I knew that I would not be able to attent a program without funding, I looked through this new shorter list looking for programs that were offering funding.

I just want to second this part. What I did was found one of the big socities that does conference specifically for the field that I want to go into, and they had a list with links to all the schools that had programs in that field. It was a great starting point. I'm sure that there are plenty of resources out there for people.

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Posted

I was one of those people who made what are my chances posts because I wanted other people's opinions. It definitely alleviates some angst that people may have about the application process. It's obvious that the users on gradcafe do not have the final say on your chances, but it is therapeutic to feedback from others especially if you don't have someone at your home institution to help guide you or even if you are a first in your family to make it this far. Everyone does not come from the same background or have access to the same resources. I like receiving feedback from people who have been in my position before and so far I have received great advice that I would not have gotten had I not published my post. Perhaps the moderators could make a section in the Application that is strictly for "Chances" inquiries.

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Posted

The other thing I will add is that if you want to ask about your chances, you need a lot more background on yourself- so many people post a GPA and GRE score, and then want advice- those really are the least important parts of your application.

Talk some about your research- how well you feel you fit into the groups where you're applying- your publication record and the potential for good letters of recommendation.

I will also add that listing schools probably isn't the best way to go about it- very few of us know much about departments at a lot of the schools out there- I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on my area, but there are around 200 PhD granting institutions, and a lot more that grant terminal masters degrees. It's better to ask for general advice on how you fit into the applicant pool, or even relative rankings.

Elaborating on my earlier point and what Strangefox posted, when I talk to my boss about his impressions of applications (he's on the admissions committee) research experience, a good idea for what you want to study, having that area fit with someone in the department, and enthusiasm are all what they want to see. If you're picking someone that is going to work for you for the next 5-7 years, you want someone that promises to be a hard worker, and enjoyable to work with. Show enthusiasm for your area and research and it will do well for you.

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Posted

I was one of those people who made what are my chances posts because I wanted other people's opinions. It definitely alleviates some angst that people may have about the application process. It's obvious that the users on gradcafe do not have the final say on your chances, but it is therapeutic to feedback from others especially if you don't have someone at your home institution to help guide you or even if you are a first in your family to make it this far. Everyone does not come from the same background or have access to the same resources. I like receiving feedback from people who have been in my position before and so far I have received great advice that I would not have gotten had I not published my post. Perhaps the moderators could make a section in the Application that is strictly for "Chances" inquiries.

I don't think anything is directed at you, rather the people who create an account to post "I have a 3.5, a 1200 GRE. Recommend me schools and tell me if I'll get in." I went back and re-read your post and it's significantly different, with many useful and relevant details, and a tone that's actually receptive to input. You didn't expect others to do all the work for you, and magically assess if you'll get accepted.

In regards to the posts that Strangefox is referring to: there's no contribution from the topic-starters afterward, there's no sign of prior research into programs and POIs - there's generally no appreciation, either.

We're all nervous about our chances - my first post was about my GRE score. But if you keep your concerns and questions focused and legitimate, there's no reason this community won't be happy to help. Nothing is absolute. This process isn't as predictable as we'd like, and consequently nobody can provide a perfect answer. This isn't a law school admissions forum, where we could utilize a formula with reasonable accuracy. There are way too many variables, and would-be "Chances" posters would be wise to absorb Strangefox's advice.

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Posted

I was one of those people who made what are my chances posts because I wanted other people's opinions. It definitely alleviates some angst that people may have about the application process. It's obvious that the users on gradcafe do not have the final say on your chances, but it is therapeutic to feedback from others especially if you don't have someone at your home institution to help guide you or even if you are a first in your family to make it this far. Everyone does not come from the same background or have access to the same resources. I like receiving feedback from people who have been in my position before and so far I have received great advice that I would not have gotten had I not published my post. Perhaps the moderators could make a section in the Application that is strictly for "Chances" inquiries.

Hi! I certainly did not mean to imply that a question about chances should not be asked at all :) If a poster uses many details describing their experience and academic interests, if it is obvious that a poster has researched programs and POIs (potential advisors), the question about chances is totally legitimate because others can actually answer it.

Good luck! :)

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Posted

Also, it makes a hell of a lot more sense to post a "what are my chances?" thread in the "officially grads" forum of newly accepted grad students. That way they can tell you their stats and then you can compare.

Asking what your chances are in the "applications" forum - among people in the very same boat as you wondering the exact same thing about their own stats - isn't going to help anybody since nobody has any real answers.

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Posted (edited)

Also, it makes a hell of a lot more sense to post a "what are my chances?" thread in the "officially grads" forum of newly accepted grad students. That way they can tell you their stats and then you can compare.

Asking what your chances are in the "applications" forum - among people in the very same boat as you wondering the exact same thing about their own stats - isn't going to help anybody since nobody has any real answers.

I completely disagree. "Officially Grads" is primarily for current graduate students to discuss, well, grad school. The "applications" forums is to discuss "applications". Posting "what are my chances" threads in the Officially Grads forum will do nothing other than annoy the native population, and clutter it with threads that clearly belong in the forums that are dedicated to their existence.

It's kind of like those special few that post 18 different "what are my chances" threads in all the different subforums to increase their chance of being seen- more people will see them, but it will also invariably frustrate more people, lead to more work for the mods, and probably in the end decrease useful feedback.

Edited by Eigen

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Posted

I just look at active topics anyways, so I don't even go on particular forums. There are newly accepted and current grad students in all of the forums anyways

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Posted

I completely disagree. "Officially Grads" is primarily for current graduate students to discuss, well, grad school. The "applications" forums is to discuss "applications". Posting "what are my chances" threads in the Officially Grads forum will do nothing other than annoy the native population, and clutter it with threads that clearly belong in the forums that are dedicated to their existence.

Yep. Exactly.

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Posted

I also doubt that the people in Offically Grads would necessarily know much better *just* because they themselves got into grad school. They were able to get into grad school because they applied to the right schools at the right time. They did their homework on where they would be a good fit, and basically everything else that Strangefox said in his original post. But they are not on any admissions committies, just like any of us current applicants. All they really would be basing their information on would be their own numbers, and those that they have heard about. I think that they just did what was in the end best for them, using many sources of information, including other people at this site.

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Posted

I completely disagree. "Officially Grads" is primarily for current graduate students to discuss, well, grad school. The "applications" forums is to discuss "applications". Posting "what are my chances" threads in the Officially Grads forum will do nothing other than annoy the native population, and clutter it with threads that clearly belong in the forums that are dedicated to their existence.

It's kind of like those special few that post 18 different "what are my chances" threads in all the different subforums to increase their chance of being seen- more people will see them, but it will also invariably frustrate more people, lead to more work for the mods, and probably in the end decrease useful feedback.

i've already asked for, and received great advice on the "officially grads" forum, and none of them cared that i was posting as someone who has yet to apply. in fact, they seemed like they were happy to share.

so go ahead and ask others who have just as little experience as you do about the process if it makes you feel better. i'd rather get advice from a collection of people who have fresh and first hand experience about what works and what doesnt than people who are merely hoping that "this" or "that" works.

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Posted

I also doubt that the people in Offically Grads would necessarily know much better *just* because they themselves got into grad school. They were able to get into grad school because they applied to the right schools at the right time. They did their homework on where they would be a good fit, and basically everything else that Strangefox said in his original post. But they are not on any admissions committies, just like any of us current applicants. All they really would be basing their information on would be their own numbers, and those that they have heard about. I think that they just did what was in the end best for them, using many sources of information, including other people at this site.

didn't think this one through, did ya?

finding out the stats of students accepted into the programs you are interested in is obviously more helpful in estimating your own chances compared to discussing imaginary cutoff stats with other current applicants - people who are potentially just as clueless as yourself. that's just a waste of time.

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Posted

i've already asked for, and received great advice on the "officially grads" forum, and none of them cared that i was posting as someone who has yet to apply. in fact, they seemed like they were happy to share.

so go ahead and ask others who have just as little experience as you do about the process if it makes you feel better. i'd rather get advice from a collection of people who have fresh and first hand experience about what works and what doesnt than people who are merely hoping that "this" or "that" works.

+1 to Strangefox's original post.

I would urge the mods NOT to let 'Officially Grads' turn into 'What Are My Chances?' forum. It'll only drive the forum's current inhabitants away. It's the only place for us to discuss current grad students' issues, and there are plenty of other places for applicants to post their questions. Most of us surf the Applications forum and reply to threads when we have something useful to contribute. A lot of the time we don't, either because we don't know the field the OP is asking about, or the schools that are asked about, or there are not enough details in the post for us to give an informed opinion, etc. No need to 'bring those threads to our attention', which I assume would be the reason to post them in the Grads forum. We see them in their natural place too, and they annoy us (me, at least) much less when they are kept there.

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Posted (edited)

i've already asked for, and received great advice on the "officially grads" forum, and none of them cared that i was posting as someone who has yet to apply. in fact, they seemed like they were happy to share.

so go ahead and ask others who have just as little experience as you do about the process if it makes you feel better. i'd rather get advice from a collection of people who have fresh and first hand experience about what works and what doesnt than people who are merely hoping that "this" or "that" works.

You do realize that I'm a gradaute student and not an applicant, right? I'm saying that posts asking about your chances of admission in the "officially grads" forum tick me off, and make me less likely to give advice tha the post properly placed in the sub forum in which it actually belongs.

Fuzzylogician is quite right, too many of these posts in the one small corner of this huge site devoted to current grad students will slowly drive them away.

Asking for advice or asking what graduate life is like in the "officially grads" forum is completely different than the darned "what are my chances" threads.

I should also point out that since stats vary so wildly from year to year in what is considered average that you will probably so better talking to those applying with you than those of us that are several seasons away from the application process. What got me in when I applied 4 years ago will probably not be what gets you in this year.

Edited by Eigen

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Posted

didn't think this one through, did ya?

finding out the stats of students accepted into the programs you are interested in is obviously more helpful in estimating your own chances compared to discussing imaginary cutoff stats with other current applicants - people who are potentially just as clueless as yourself. that's just a waste of time.

There are plenty of places of finding the numbers of a department that dont involve asking the students here, like calling up and asking the departments themselves. Which apparently other students here have said that they have done. But what my main point was this, that when it comes down to it you might have good numbers to get in. What the difference between you and everyone else are your experiences which might be much harder to quantify or compare to other peoples experineces. What might be better to ask them is what it is like in their labs that they are in, what the environment is like. More along the lines of it it would be one you would want to be in. If they happen to be in a lab that you want to work in.

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Posted

And just to add to everything I have said above, I would like to quote a very wise comment by Red Bull from another "what are my chances" thread:

Let me answer with a hypothetical. I am the world's smartest woman and I can determine with 100% accuracy from the information that you provided that the chance of getting into the program of your choice is 68%. Now, armed with that information how is your behavior going to change? If you are a rational person this information should not change your behavior. You would still try the hardest you could to write the essays, pay the fees, and do all of the work it takes to get into any graduate program. Now, let's flip the problem. Let's say that I tell you your chance of getting into the program of your choice is 32%. Would that change your behavior? Would you give up or would you try harder? You still have a 32% chance of getting in and if you are truly dedicated then you should be willing to take those chances. Now, this is a choice you could make if you had the information, but you don't. I'm not the world's smartest woman (2nd smartest, lol :P) and I can't tell you. No one on this forum can tell you what your chances are, and nobody told us, either. You have to decide whether you want it bad enough, and if you do you can summon the strength and courage that it takes. You have the answer, not anybody on this forum. I hope this helps.

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Posted

I have to add that the application process is a crapshot even if you are the best candidate. Usually there a lot of idiosyncratic decisions are made even if you make it to the last cut. So even if you are Ivy league material and we could (??) judge it by your numbers in the last cut there is approximately double of the number of students that they are going to take. At that level the adcoms are trying to put together a class, with balance of students/ professors, personal matters, geography , balance with previous years' classes, funding opportunities etc.

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Posted

English are the only professors you cannot contact? I am curious where you got that info? I was planning to contact a few English profs from potential schools and never heard this "mysterious" rule, so thank you for head up :rolleyes:

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Posted

English are the only professors you cannot contact? I am curious where you got that info? I was planning to contact a few English profs from potential schools and never heard this "mysterious" rule, so thank you for head up :rolleyes:

I've got this info from The Grad Cafe :) Last year when I was applying I read lots of old threads here. There were threads about contacting professors and several people confirmed that you don't normally contact professors if your field is English. May be it works for some other humanities as well - but they talked only about English. You can search for these threads on this board and if you don't find them, I believe you can start another thread dedicated to this issue. May be some current English students will answer your questions better.

Good luck!

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Posted

Contacting professors/research interests/publications: do they apply to terminal Masters programs or just PhD programs?

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Posted

Contacting professors/research interests/publications: do they apply to terminal Masters programs or just PhD programs?

I think it is less common to contact professors if you are applying to a Masters program - but you can definitely try. It cannot hurt you and who knows - if your interests will match perfectly those of some faculty member, it can help a lot!

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