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Considering a PhD in German. Need Advice!


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#21 coffeeplease

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:10 AM

Wow, I even mentioned Peter Burgard in my SOP....so either I will be freaking out because I didn't get an interview, or freaking out because I did get an interview. :wacko: Fun process. Sigh.

Also, vertige, welcome to life as an English teacher in Germany. It's.... well, it depends where you're teaching and what ages. Are you freelancing? I walked into my first day with an eighth grade group this year and an one of the kids, knowing he was going to be taught by an American, looked absolutely shocked and said, "I thought you would be fat!"
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#22 vertige

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 08:13 PM

Ohmahgahohmahgah I got an e-mail from Harvard. They're looking over apps soon. Ohmahgah.


They threw away my GRE scores, so I had to send new ones. Frack. Anyone else get an e-mail?

Unjustifiably fuh-reaking out lol :D

Edited by vertige, 09 January 2012 - 08:40 PM.

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Final Decision: Ph.D. in Germanic Languages & Literatures, Harvard University


"To dwell is to garden" - Martin Heidegger


“Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.” - Walter Benjamin

#23 coffeeplease

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 06:02 AM

Nope. Gonna try not to read to much into it.... :unsure:
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#24 vertige

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 09:53 AM

Probably just means you were smart and got all your app materials in, unlike me ;)
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Final Decision: Ph.D. in Germanic Languages & Literatures, Harvard University


"To dwell is to garden" - Martin Heidegger


“Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.” - Walter Benjamin

#25 quiltedgiraffe

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:51 PM

Is there a way to check and see if Harvard has received all your supporting materials? NYU has a link where you can log in and see, but I'm not sure if Harvard does. Now I'm worried! I guess I could call the admissions office, though I'm sure they're still crazed over there.
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#26 vertige

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 12:43 AM

they have a GSAS admissions hotline, they deal specifically with materials questions (though it's manned by undergrads who seem to answer a lot of questions a priori rather than really fully checking things...) the number is 617 496 6100...wow I just did that from memory. How is that seared into my brain already? Gaw I need this to be over ...
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Final Decision: Ph.D. in Germanic Languages & Literatures, Harvard University


"To dwell is to garden" - Martin Heidegger


“Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.” - Walter Benjamin

#27 vertige

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 12:34 AM

Yale just e-mailed me, they said my app is complete and is being reviewed. Anyone else get this?
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Final Decision: Ph.D. in Germanic Languages & Literatures, Harvard University


"To dwell is to garden" - Martin Heidegger


“Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.” - Walter Benjamin

#28 vertige

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 12:34 AM

PS am I cursing myself by openly sharing every little tidbit of my interactions with programs? Sorry I'm just so freaking nervous and pessimistic, my internal filter seems to be broken haha.
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Final Decision: Ph.D. in Germanic Languages & Literatures, Harvard University


"To dwell is to garden" - Martin Heidegger


“Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.” - Walter Benjamin

#29 coffeeplease

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 10:46 AM

They emailed me too. I *knew* it would be nothing, but that didn't stop me from hoping it was something more substantial. ARRRRGG!

I also had a dream where a POI sent me a very condescending email basically ripping my SOP to shreds. Knowing me and how I handle waiting out stuff like this, it won't be the last of such dreams.... :angry:
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#30 ontolome

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 09:26 PM

freaking out here too :) does anybody have any idea what the rate of acceptance is for any of these programs?
somewhere on the Yale website I found "3 enrolled" out of "22 applicants".... i am hoping that's the worst.
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German Literature PhD applications for Fall of 2012

Accepted: Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, U Chicago
Rejected:

Still can't quite believe it.
::spontaneously combusts::

#31 vertige

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 12:04 AM

Well welcome to the thread Ontolome, pull up a chair.

I think it depends on the year. I think 25-30 is the high water mark, and this year and last, things have been receding slightly (probably a bit to do with the economy). I wanted to extrapolate a bit as far as total number applying, so I asked my mentor from Penn who is the Comp. Lit. Chair, and he said applications there are down 10% (which means 90 down from 100 applicants for like 4-5 offers - fellowship support remains the same). This ebb and flow, it seems, is somewhat constant among the humanities...?

Take from that what ye will.

coffeeplease: I just started teaching at Wall Street English in Stuttgart, kind of hilarious. I shadowed a super spritely South African woman today wearing neon pink, who kept misusing a particular construct ("I prefer reading than writing" in lieu of "I like reading better than writing" or "I prefer reading to writing".) She said it was British English, and I just nodded and smiled. Thank God these kids don't have to take the TOEIC...

Anyway, anyone else have tidbits about German admissions this year or from years past?

Edited by vertige, 13 January 2012 - 12:07 AM.

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Final Decision: Ph.D. in Germanic Languages & Literatures, Harvard University


"To dwell is to garden" - Martin Heidegger


“Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.” - Walter Benjamin

#32 coffeeplease

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 05:07 PM

I found these helpful statistics from Northwestern's website (pdf warning!). I thought I had seen some statistics from Princeton that looked similar to Yale's but now I can't find them anywhere, so maybe I'm imaging things. I wouldn't be surprised, actually.

Also, as I started typing this, I got an email from Harvard saying that they will be notifying us re: interviews on the 23rd and 24th.

@vertige: I had to read what you wrote twice ("I prefer" etc) -- teaching English has made my English worse. I just had a discussion with a teacher at my school about how we'd started adopting students' constructions for expediency's sake -- like saying "write a test" instead of "take a test," etc. Also, they insist that all the kids learn British English, so some of those idioms have crept into my usage ("different to," "at the weekend" -- the other day I seriously had to think about what preposition we use in the U.S.).

A friend of mine summed things up nicely: "So you're not getting better at German so much as incompetent in two languages." :lol:
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#33 vertige

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 06:27 PM

I got the e-mail too, it definitely made my stomach drop! I'm pretty sure everyone gets the e-mail (though I was looking for some sort of language that might indicate that a first cut had already been made....doesn't seem to be the case, however). It's crazy how formal the process is and how straightforward they're being - there are so few humanities programs that actually interview candidates before making final decisions. From what I've seen in the past, it is possible to be admitted during the Skype interview, but they could also weigh a few candidates in a given day against each other and send the decision e-mails a bit later. Either way, I'm spending my next week watching lots of German film/tv and spending lots of time with a friend who speaks Hochdeutsch but no English, so that I'll be somewhat habituated if I get the e-mail for an interview! Best of luck to everyone obviously!

And holy god Coffeeplease, those numbers for NW are rather....encouraging ;)

I had another class today and it was pretty hilarious - we actually talked about "at the weekend" which I had never seen. It makes no sense! And it's definitely not on the TOEIC (though that's an American exam haha...). Either way I'm just excited to be focusing on conversation courses and not pure grammar as before. Teaching's fun :)

Edited by vertige, 13 January 2012 - 06:35 PM.

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Final Decision: Ph.D. in Germanic Languages & Literatures, Harvard University


"To dwell is to garden" - Martin Heidegger


“Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.” - Walter Benjamin

#34 coffeeplease

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 07:24 PM

For some reason I hadn't even considered the possibility that the interview might be in German. Better brush up....

Were you able to get your NW application in, btw?
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#35 vertige

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 07:47 PM

I thought I was getting part of my paycheck today, but I didn't so I might not be able to pay the fee - it's only $75, but I've been jobless for so long and I only just signed my teaching contract Wednesday, so it looks like I might miss the app deadline (Sunday night, right?). Thinking about pleading with the DGS there to see if they can do anything...

Edited by vertige, 13 January 2012 - 07:48 PM.

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Final Decision: Ph.D. in Germanic Languages & Literatures, Harvard University


"To dwell is to garden" - Martin Heidegger


“Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.” - Walter Benjamin

#36 quiltedgiraffe

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 08:21 PM

So basically, this means we will know by the 24th if we've been accepted or not. Ahhhhhhhh! Soooooo nerve-wracking.
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#37 coffeeplease

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 01:33 PM

So basically, this means we will know by the 24th if we've been accepted or not. Ahhhhhhhh! Soooooo nerve-wracking.


So close and yet still so far away. :wacko:
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#38 ontolome

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 07:37 PM

got those e-mails from yale and peter burgard at harvard too. i didn't consider them indicative of good or bad news...
what is a bit funny is that burgard is one of my recommenders (as well as another member of the same dept, judith ryan), since i did my undergrad work there. i can assure you that they are great people :) still, makes the harvard app somewhat awkward for me.

he gave me a bit of general advice as to which schools i should look into, and as an afterthought suggested i include a few "safeties" in my list as well. thanking him nicely, i began to panic inside, worrying that he didn't consider my app good enough for top schools. everything about this process really just f*cks with one's mind and ego-- perhaps one's judgment as well, considering that i sent him a picture of a lolcat to thank him for the recommendation :wacko:

funny that nobody else on this thread seems to have applied to U Chicago this year (?). yesterday i was overjoyed to receive an e-mail from a prof at chicago saying they were impressed with my app and that he wants to meet me in munich next week. so, after a few weeks of feeling horribly crummy, i am finally in a very, very good mood. not an official decision by any means, but i didn't expect to get any (positive) signals this soon.... perhaps i will not end up a homeless loser after all.

btw, i applied to u chicago, harvard, yale, columbia, and j hopkins.

good luck everyone!

Edited by ontolome, 15 January 2012 - 07:40 PM.

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German Literature PhD applications for Fall of 2012

Accepted: Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, U Chicago
Rejected:

Still can't quite believe it.
::spontaneously combusts::

#39 coffeeplease

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 08:01 PM

funny that nobody else on this thread seems to have applied to U Chicago this year (?). yesterday i was overjoyed to receive an e-mail from a prof at chicago saying they were impressed with my app and that he wants to meet me in munich next week. so, after a few weeks of feeling horribly crummy, i am finally in a very, very good mood. not an official decision by any means, but i didn't expect to get any (positive) signals this soon.... perhaps i will not end up a homeless loser after all.


Not 5 minutes ago I was thinking to myself that I SHOULD have applied to U Chicago... I even applied for a transfer there as an undergrad (denied, sadly).

Somehow it never came up in talking to my UG profs when discussing my interests, so I didn't think to add it to my list after deciding not to apply at the beginning of this whole mess.

Also, ontolme, what are your thoughts on Harvard's German department? Just curious since you have the insider info. ;)
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#40 ontolome

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 10:29 PM

harvard's german dept was a quiet, small, and cozy place. maybe that has to do with the fact that it is located on the 3rd floor of a building with lots of windows and tends to get warm... kind of like a nest. lol! the barker center (name of the building) is a really nice location, not like the horrifying dungeon-like sever. and the profs with whom i had the most/only contact, judith ryan and peter burgard, are very personable and enjoy the rapport they have with undergraduates. this can't be said of all profs at harvard :)
however i have no authority to speak of graduate life in the department. so that you will have to find out for yourselves (with luck)!
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German Literature PhD applications for Fall of 2012

Accepted: Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, U Chicago
Rejected:

Still can't quite believe it.
::spontaneously combusts::




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