This week I got a peek behind the curtain at the application review process and it's not pretty. As they say "a little like watching sausage being made".
At a social function I overheard some discussion about the PhD applications under review (in another department at another school on another planet with no specifics about any individuals, I swear).
Using a sample size of admittedly N=1, I was struck by the difference in the relative importance various members give to different parts
First off, congrats to everyone who has gotten an acceptance! Second, hugs and much tea and choice of wallowing food for those who have had nothing but rejections or have been rejected to their top choice.
I am sitting with two acceptances right now. And i'm ready to make a decision. I'm ready to start looking at housing for my new program and figuring out if I can get a job in that city. I don't have to officially decide until April 15th for a US program or actually, August, for my other p
Ah ye of little faith… I said this blog would be one of inconvenient truths.
You will come to trust the Fez, but ‘til then there is plenty of evidence to back this up...
Here’s link to a February 2007 Science article (Kuncel, N.R., Hezlett, S.A., Standardized Tests Predict Graduate Students' Success, Science, Vol 315 No. 5815, pp 1080-1081) that examines the GRE and GMAT:
“Four consistent findings emerged: (i) St
[initially I planned to only cover the story of my application in two parts. This plan fell through as soon as I started writing. Apologies for stringing out the conclusion, it's coming soon...]
May 2012. Basel, Switzerland. It was evening and most of the tears had dried. Simply the act of admitting that my current situation had to stop made me feel better. I resolved to take plenty of time in the upcoming long weekend to relax and stop thinking about grad school applications and my failed
Most people who think that the GRE is stupid and useless also have low GRE scores.
Like it or not you need good GRE (or GMAT)scores to get into a good program, because like it or not, people with good GRE scores tend (I say tend) to have natural academic abilities far beyond those of mortal men. The GRE is designed to be hard to do really well on (read 85%-90%+) without intuition, insight and reasoning skills - not just grade school math and vocabulary skills.
For the not-so-lucky end
My application for the University of Toronto is 100% completed. My letters of recommendation have been sent in by my recommenders, and all my documents have arrived at the university. I'll be spending the next week and my entire reading week break wondering if I got in, despite the fact that a response probably won't be in my inbox when I get back on the 23rd.
My City University application is going to take a little longer to complete. I gave my recommenders until April to finish the lette
I unintentionally found out how to get schools to respond to your application much sooner. I noted in most of my applications that I would be backpacking and only available by email, and possibly Skype (internet connection permitting), after February. To be fair, at the time I thought this was true. I just ended up pushing my trip back until later because I had some work commitments I didn't want to bail on. And it's not like you can go back and correct your application after you submit it.
The first part of my story begins with me dreamily wandering through the office on a beautiful Philadelphian spring day. It ends with me tearfully running across a small Swiss town exactly 2 years later.
I call it a saga for a reason.
Actually, the saga kicked off in Scotland, the country where I grew up and chose to study my undergraduate Chemistry degree. I chose the University of Edinburgh mostly for the strength of its degree program, but also because I was enchanted by the city of
Hey now! I'm a blogger.
My original thought about blogging was to cut through the B.S. I find in the forums and give a practical, unvarnished view of the way I think stuff really works.
Like - if you have to get a LOR from a guy who works on the loading dock with you - you're probably not going to impress the ad comm. And if you got 130Q on your GRE you aren't getting into Northwestern's Econ PhD program.
I am one of those math/econ types who didn't get enough touchy-
So, I think I've moved beyond the stomach-churning anxiety of January, and am now into the February waiting-it-out blues. I'm resigned to the fact that checking my inboxes (yes, plural - apparently from a perverse need to torture myself, I gave out two different email addresses - ugh) every five minutes isn't going to speed anything up. I mean, don't get me wrong, I still do that; it's just that now it's more of a tic rather than driven by hopeful optimism.
I've been invited to two intervi
I realize it's been some time since my last post, but there really wasn't anything exciting to write about until recently.
So now I'm in that never-ending waiting period. Every day I find myself staring at my phone, demanding the email notification light to start blinking. And then it does, and I think, "wow, it really worked!". Until I read the email, which has nothing to do with my applications, and 9 times out of 10 is something I couldn't care less about. So then I sit at my desk annoye
I would take some small comfort in that platitude were it not for the fact that my current misery feels more like my own personal Dantean jacuzzi while everyone else is off swimming in the bigger, more mature lake of liquid fire.
Basically a roundabout way of saying that while all the lit folks are huddled together experiencing the highs and lows of acceptances and rejections trickling in from the titans of graduate school, I'm feeling very much like that old man stranded on Calypso's islan
1. My blog and general online persona is named after a very famous Golf Course in Scotland. Almost.
2. I am Scottish. In my role as blogger, traveller and cultural ambassador you are welcome to ask me anything about Scotland. Absolutely anything you wish. From the authenticity of Groundskeeper Wullie's accent to the most appropriate insults for a Glaswegian priest, I'm able to help.
3. You know those people who were absolutely rubbish at high school Chemistry, couldn't understand any o
After a (relatively) long absence, I'm back!
This past week has marked the beginning of decision season for me. The week before that was frustrating and a bit depressing, which is one of many reasons I did not do my weekly update last weekend.
Several UC Berkeley History decisions were posted on this site around Friday, January 25th, and - knowing the general pattern of admissions/rejections for the school, via Gradcafe's results search page - I began to despair of my chances there.
I have gotten two acceptances so far - Indiana University's SLIS program and Aberystwyth University's MSEcon in Archives Administration. To those of you who are still waiting, I promise you, the email/letter/phone call you get with your first acceptance (or second) will make the work and the wait worth it.
While I've pretty much decided where I am going, I am waiting for those other decisions. I have to weigh costs of a one year program with a crappy exchange rate (seriously, dollar-pound c
Yesterday I emailed a large number of attachments to one of my recommenders so she could write me a letter, and I finished both my Letters of Intent. I picked up copies of my transcripts, and requested copies to be sent to the schools I applied to once I graduate. I only need to finish the online portions of my applications and hassle my recommenders to finish their letters then I'm done with the application process and fully begin my waiting game.
Of course, I have heard the recommenders t
Time for my weekly update!
It's been a bit of a wild one, since this week was my first one back in classes after the winter break. Despite the sleep deprivation that usually comes with trying to get back into the rhythm of classes, I got through the week with a minimum of stress.
I currently attend a commuter school and - because of Houston's traffic issues and my particular school's appalling parking situation - I have to get up at 5 to get to campus. The upside to this is that ther
In the desolate wasteland that rapidly revealed itself to me post-application season, I have found that there seem to be two me's. One is full of confidence, brimming with positivity, a proponent of positive visualisation* who can not only imagine himself tearing open the acceptance letter(s) but can even taste it. The other is wary and on edge yet staunchly assured that in a few months time, he will wake up to yet a few more rejection letters to add to the string of ones he received in previous
After a rather longer-than-intended delay, I have returned! The reason for said delay (and my suddent absence from GradCafe) has been an unexpected illness, which has kept me couch-ridden for the better part of a week.
As unpleasant as my listless, nauseated sojourn on the sofa has been, however, I have found one or two silver linings to the situation:
1) Classes at my MA program start next week, instead of THIS week. It would have been a terrible way to get the sem
So I've completed several of my applications (CSU: LA and CSU: Northridge), which were done and submitted over a month ago. It's been mighty stressful since the Gordian Knot that is the California state budget had yet, or actual is yet, to be settled.
Even though Prop 30 passed, effectively ensuring baseline budgetary support for all Californian higher education, school budgets are still in a chaotic mess. Both schools, I believe haven't even really set a deadline for applications for gradu
The hardest part (for me) is over, I hope. I've sent out my emails requesting letters of recommendation. I finally did the thing I had been putting off for MONTHS (literally). My statement of interest is started (and will now be finished within the week so I can provide it to professors), and I've also begun the portions of my online applications that I can actually do right now. I'll get my transcripts once my first semester grades are in (January 18th).
What brought this sudden rush of pe
I got my first acceptance in the mail today!
I was going through the mail today and there was a letter from Indiana University. It was an acceptance letter!
Words cannot express how happy I am that I got accepted. Not that I got accepted to Indiana, per se, but that I got accepted. Huzzah! I was so worried that nobody would accept me, especially after a fiasco with one of my recommenders.
For you non-History majors, I had the lovely experience of getting to read one of my letters
Hi everyone! Welcome to one future historian's quest for admissions, funding, and - eventually - a doctorate!
I heard this was a stress-relieving, cathartic-type thing to do...and since I'm feeling ever more stressed out the closer we get to hearing back from programs, I thought that now would be the perfect time to start this blog. I intend it to be a place for me to share my experiences and any advice that I think might be helpful for other folks going through the process (now or in the