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PhD Applications Fall '17 Season

854 posts in this topic

I've started putting together app materials, so figured this is as good a time as any to get the new thread going. So, where are you applying and what for? Feel free to post your questions as well. 

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Trying to discern if I'll be applying this year.

My professors and advisor are telling me to go for it. The POIs I've contacted have been extremely enthusiastic about my interests and work published and presented thus far. That said, my research interests are niche enough and I really want to attend a large public university for teaching opportunities (I want to end up at a large teaching school) that I'll probably end up in a state school thus mediocre job opportunities even if I were to excel in my program.

Also, I'm being vetted for a pastor position at a well endowed church in Vermont, a couple in NY, and I made some "Eh, nothing to lose" inquiries to churches in Canada and was cleared and began interviews last week.

I love the idea of school and throwing myself in research for 6+ years and then combining it with teaching but ... I'm 31 years old and not getting younger. Most of these jobs are 40-50k with free housing which is about 95% too enticing to turn down. So, we'll see how things go with these churches over the next several weeks.

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On 7/25/2016 at 10:47 PM, xypathos said:

Trying to discern if I'll be applying this year.

My professors and advisor are telling me to go for it. The POIs I've contacted have been extremely enthusiastic about my interests and work published and presented thus far. That said, my research interests are niche enough and I really want to attend a large public university for teaching opportunities (I want to end up at a large teaching school) that I'll probably end up in a state school thus mediocre job opportunities even if I were to excel in my program.

Also, I'm being vetted for a pastor position at a well endowed church in Vermont, a couple in NY, and I made some "Eh, nothing to lose" inquiries to churches in Canada and was cleared and began interviews last week.

I love the idea of school and throwing myself in research for 6+ years and then combining it with teaching but ... I'm 31 years old and not getting younger. Most of these jobs are 40-50k with free housing which is about 95% too enticing to turn down. So, we'll see how things go with these churches over the next several weeks.

Push on those doors and see which open. Hope you are able to figure it out. I left a decent career at an electrical contracting firm to go back to school, and am also sensitive to my age vs. time to PhD. Keep us posted on what develops! 

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Got the GRE out of the way this week. Scored 168V and 149Q. Assuming the AW score is solid, should I be concerned about the low Quant score, or will that be ignored? I have time to re-take but I'd rather not put myself through that test again. 

Another question for other applicants or previous applicants: Donald Asher's book "Write your way into the grad school of your choice" indicates that it's a good idea to apply 1-2 months before the deadline. I found his logic pretty convincing, but that means submitting the earliest of my apps in mid-October, which does not leave much time to get letter writers arranged. While this won't be a problem for 2/3, due to a combination of courses offered last year and a faculty sabbatical, my third letter writer will need to be someone whom I am taking a class with for the first time this fall. Any advice on how to handle this given the time constraints?  

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26 minutes ago, menge said:

Got the GRE out of the way this week. Scored 168V and 149Q. Assuming the AW score is solid, should I be concerned about the low Quant score, or will that be ignored? I have time to re-take but I'd rather not put myself through that test again. 

My GRE was roughly the same and I ended up somewhere. If you get a 5 or higher on the AW then don't worry about it.

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On Friday, August 05, 2016 at 10:04 AM, menge said:

Got the GRE out of the way this week. Scored 168V and 149Q. Assuming the AW score is solid, should I be concerned about the low Quant score, or will that be ignored? I have time to re-take but I'd rather not put myself through that test again.

Another question for other applicants or previous applicants: Donald Asher's book "Write your way into the grad school of your choice" indicates that it's a good idea to apply 1-2 months before the deadline. I found his logic pretty convincing, but that means submitting the earliest of my apps in mid-October, which does not leave much time to get letter writers arranged. While this won't be a problem for 2/3, due to a combination of courses offered last year and a faculty sabbatical, my third letter writer will need to be someone whom I am taking a class with for the first time this fall. Any advice on how to handle this given the time constraints? 

The Quant score shouldn't matter for most religious studies/theology/biblical studies programs. I got a very low quant score and still got several interviews and wait listings.

For all the applications I've submitted, you can submit the whole application while your recommendation letters remain to be submitted by your recommenders. So all the app material you're responsible for would be sent in while the program is just waiting for your rec letters to be received.

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@Rabbit Run @Abdelazar thanks for the votes of confidence on the GRE.

On 8/8/2016 at 9:57 AM, Abdelazar said:

For all the applications I've submitted, you can submit the whole application while your recommendation letters remain to be submitted by your recommenders. So all the app material you're responsible for would be sent in while the program is just waiting for your rec letters to be received.

I suppose it really depends on if adcoms start reviewing apps before all materials are in or not.

Asher indicates it is advantageous to submit early with the idea that while admissions may not be "rolling" adcoms will still start to review apps as they come in so that they can at least have a smaller pile come deadline day. His logic is that you want a fresh adcom to review your materials, not one who has already reviewed 50+ apps. Worst case, I get everything in early as you suggested and figure out that last letter as an opportunity presents itself. 

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On 8/5/2016 at 1:32 PM, Rabbit Run said:

My GRE was roughly the same and I ended up somewhere. If you get a 5 or higher on the AW then don't worry about it.

So... got the AW score today and its a disappointing 4.5. I really felt I did well on the essays, but apparently my graders didn't agree.

4.5 = 82nd percentile according to ETS. So, to retake or not to retake? I'd really have preferred a 5/6 to be confident about not retaking, but how much does that .5 really matter?

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I'm in the same boat as you, menge. I got shortlisted at Johns Hopkins last year in a PhD for Hebrew Bible (but not admitted) and admitted into a funded MA at Cornell (of which, there were only two of seven) with a 4.5 AW. At very least, 4.5 won't get you cut off at some decent schools, but it all really depends on where you're applying. There was someone mentioned on here with great scores who applied to a certain Ivy League's PhD program, but their app didn't get looked at because their GRE was not in the 99th percentile. 

Edited by Almaqah Thwn

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On August 12, 2016 at 2:48 PM, menge said:

So... got the AW score today and its a disappointing 4.5. I really felt I did well on the essays, but apparently my graders didn't agree.

4.5 = 82nd percentile according to ETS. So, to retake or not to retake? I'd really have preferred a 5/6 to be confident about not retaking, but how much does that .5 really matter?

Retaking is something to think about. It sucks, but if you laser focus on your weak points you might be able to get even higher scores on the other portions too.

The first time I took the test I had a 4.5, along with verbal and math scores that were a few points less than that yours are now. Worried by threats of AW 5 cutoffs, I retook the test and prepared by focusing just on writing and some verbal stuff I knew I could be better at. Ended up raising my writing up to a 5, and my verbal/math up 5 and 3 points respectively (to where you are basically).

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For what it's worth, I had a 163V and a 156Q with a 4.5AW. I retook it and improved my writing to a 6.0. My other scores didn't improve, so I applied with 163V, 156Q, and a 6.0 (all my schools took composite scores), and I got into 4/5 programs. I'm convinced that my improved writing made a huge difference. I would definitely retake the test and focus on improving your writing. 

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Very helpful input, thanks to everyone!

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I'm stressing about my own application process. I'm currently applying to Duke (ThD), SMU, UVA, Emory, and ND. My GPA is 3.83, and my GRE scores are V-163, Q-146, and W-5.0.  Duke is my top choice, and I am debating about re-taking the GRE just to see if I can get my scores a bit higher. Would it be worth it? 

Edited by SG_SC

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On September 7, 2016 at 9:27 PM, SG_SC said:

I'm stressing about my own application process. I'm currently applying to Duke (ThD), SMU, UVA, Emory, and ND. My GPA is 3.83, and my GRE scores are V-163, Q-146, and W-5.0.  Duke is my top choice, and I am debating about re-taking the GRE just to see if I can get my scores a bit higher. Would it be worth it? 

I think these are good scores; you should survive any cutoffs.

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On 9/7/2016 at 9:27 PM, SG_SC said:

I'm stressing about my own application process. I'm currently applying to Duke (ThD), SMU, UVA, Emory, and ND. My GPA is 3.83, and my GRE scores are V-163, Q-146, and W-5.0.  Duke is my top choice, and I am debating about re-taking the GRE just to see if I can get my scores a bit higher. Would it be worth it? 

FWIW, I've decided not to re-take (168v, 149q, 4.5aw) and spend my time and money on other areas of the application based on the advice of my adviser (UT PhD) and dept. chair (Princeton PhD). 

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I'm gonna apply to the University of Toronto for Comparative Literature and I'm almost freaking out. :wacko:

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Started the slog of filling out the online background forms (name, address, etc. ad nauseam) and came across 2 sections I wasn't necessarily expecting:

- submit a list of other schools applied to

- submit a video answering "why I want to attend University X"

How are others dealing with these? Or if you are a past applicant, any advice? 

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56 minutes ago, menge said:

Started the slog of filling out the online background forms (name, address, etc. ad nauseam) and came across 2 sections I wasn't necessarily expecting:

- submit a list of other schools applied to

- submit a video answering "why I want to attend University X"

How are others dealing with these? Or if you are a past applicant, any advice? 

List of other schools is fairly common: lets them collect data on what sorts of schools they compete with for students. Often its optional; I doubt it impacts anything.

As for the video: thats strange, you sure you're not applying for "The Amazing Race" ?

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On 9/10/2016 at 10:21 PM, menge said:

FWIW, I've decided not to re-take (168v, 149q, 4.5aw) and spend my time and money on other areas of the application based on the advice of my adviser (UT PhD) and dept. chair (Princeton PhD). 

Yea, you should be fine.  I scored 168/139/5.5 and got into several top tier programs, so the Quant shouldn't affect you (I quite literally just chose random answers on the quant), and what matters more is your writing sample than your ability to produce off the cuff an essay based on an essentially ridiculous prompt.

 

On 9/18/2016 at 10:28 PM, Rabbit Run said:

List of other schools is fairly common: lets them collect data on what sorts of schools they compete with for students. Often its optional; I doubt it impacts anything.

As for the video: thats strange, you sure you're not applying for "The Amazing Race" ?

I listed the schools, and during an interview at Emory they asked "You're applying to X, Y, Z top tier schools, why would you choose Emory over them when they are essentially ranked higher."  That threw me off a bit, but basically argued that what mattered to me was faculty and job placement, not the prestige of the university.

 

FWIW to you all, start churning out drafts of your statements of purpose and send them out for people to read, then refine, then send out, etc.  I was fortunate to have a solid support system of 6 PhD students and 3 profs editing and offering comments on my statements, and I think that made a tremendous difference.  First I sent it to close friends who were in the PhD then as each draft got better, I'd send them off to more prestigious people, so by the time I was sending a draft to professors, it was quite polished.

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I created another thread on this, but figured I'd insert it here as well since application season is upon us. UNC Chapel Hill just announced that they are accepting applications for doctoral students in Hebrew Bible. It's funded, they've got great faculty and you have access to Duke and NC State resources (and let's be real: as far as towns go, you could do a lot worse than Chapel Hill/Carrboro!). I've attached the announcement. Happy applying!

 

UNC_announcement.pdf

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Thought I would check in to see how everyone is making out with applications.

I'm on revision number 6 or so of the SOP after feedback from other students, faculty, etc. I hope to have this and the writing sample pretty much ready to send in the next couple of weeks with the goal of submitting applications in mid-November. I'm trying to build in extra time in case I get behind, which is increasingly likely the further along in the semester we get.

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Need to vent for a moment.

After countless hours spent on the statement of purpose, an application form I'm working on today doesn't have a place for uploading a statement of purpose. Instead, it requires 6 mini essays in those irritating little text boxes. All of which would be answered by a statement of purpose. At the least these questions could be made available on the website so that applicants can prepare for them.

 

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Just waiting on two of my profs to get in my LOR, and my apps will be set to process.

Have a m.div in systematic theology and did my undergraduate degree in history, 3.7 and 3.3 gpas respectively. Currently finishing a Th.M at Calvin Theological Seminary, and as of now I have a 3.9 gpa, although I still have to write a six credit thesis next semester.

Took the GRE twice and got 160/150/4.5 and 158/148/6. Not sure if the schools I am applying accept composite scores but at any rate I sent them both.

Applying to St. Louis University, Trinity Divinity School, and Baylor University.

This is my first go round with the app process: let's see if I can swing something.

 

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congrats @brentthewalrus. i submitted my first app this week, working on getting the rest out the door in the next two weeks. 

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