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A Plan B I Can Finally Get Behind

NOWAYNOHOW

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I have been going crazy trying to settle on a plan B these past few weeks. I know that applying to 7 schools (a number I now think is too low) puts me at a greater risk for not gaining admission anywhere, and I need to be prepared in the case of a shutout. I'm not a kid who can just take a gap year, but I'm also not willing to go back to my old field. I think I may have found a solution.

There are 2 MPH programs that are local to me that can be finished in 1 year that have late deadlines. One application is due April 15th and the other is due in June. I feel like that gives me plenty of time to see what will happen with the PhD and then act accordingly. They aren't funded (well, one has some funding) but I have no loans thus far and feel like I could take the financial risk if need be.

I think an MPH can only bolster my chances if I have to reapply. My BA and MA degrees have emphasized theory and critical work, so I think an MPH would allow me to expand crucial practical and, obviously, medical knowledge. By filling in these gaps in my areas of interest, I would hopefully come out of an MPH program a stronger and more prepared applicant for the PhD.

I feel super relieved. Nothing is a sure thing, but having a backup I can get behind will hopefully help me sleep easier at night.

Do you have a plan B yet?



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I do not have a plan B. I spent most of my life writing research papers. I like research. I do not know what to do otherwise. Getting a job in a think-tank is probably as competitive as getting into graduate school. 

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I applied to six programs, all highly ranked, and I’m somewhat convinced that I won’t get into any.  It’s a terrible feeling. Does anyone know what are the acceptance stats for Anthro PhD applicants? That is, what is the likelihood of someone not getting into any program?

 

I currently have a research job so my plan B involves trying to build a career around it. Not ideal.  

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I am a 2015 applicant, but I plan to apply to at least 20 schools in three areas.  Sociology, Anthropology, and Education.  My current research hits in all three areas, so I think spreading out my help my cause.  But after that?  No fall back plan aside from continuing my current job. Also, I am not focusing on only top 10 schools.  I have already found schools on different tiers. I plan to focus on fit, and IF I get more than one offer I'll take the most highly ranked program. 

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I don't think seven is that crazy low.  I applied to 8 and have gotten 5 interviews.  I think it is wise to consider plan B just in case since it is competitive no matter what to get into a PhD program.  My question though is why you aren't already applying to the MPH programs?  If they are not at the same school as the PhD and even if they were it would be unlikely that the programs would know about that I would apply sooner rather than later.  Depending on what the field is you want to go into, it wouldn't be terrible to gain practical experience in a job.  

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I don't think seven is that crazy low.  I applied to 8 and have gotten 5 interviews.  I think it is wise to consider plan B just in case since it is competitive no matter what to get into a PhD program.  My question though is why you aren't already applying to the MPH programs?  If they are not at the same school as the PhD and even if they were it would be unlikely that the programs would know about that I would apply sooner rather than later.  Depending on what the field is you want to go into, it wouldn't be terrible to gain practical experience in a job.  

 

I have applied to study medical anthropology, so having an MPH (many people that study or 'do' medical anthropology also have practitioner credentials) can be part of building a stronger profile. I would rather go straight to the PhD because my goal is to stay within the academy, but as a plan B, I think an MPH is just right.

 

As for "practical experience," I have more than I need of that! 5+ years in a management position in an unrelated competitive industry and 2+ years in research in my current field.

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An MPH is my Plan B for my career. That is, with the state academia as it is, I can't imagine trying to get a job in the private sector with three degrees in anthropology, whether one is a PhD or not. So to diversify, I'll be getting an MPH as well, because that should make me more valuable if I end up applying to work with an NGO or the government.

But I have no Plan B for this process short of trying again next year.

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My plan B is taking the Foreign Service Officer Test (the first step in applying to work for the US State Department abroad). I've actually known several people with anthro background who've gone into foreign service posts and enjoyed it. I know it's pretty stiffly competitive though, so should come up with a Plan C too - haha!

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My plan B is to complete an internship in registration at a large museum nearby in the summer and then spend a few months traveling abroad in the fall. Then I can come back and look for museum jobs. I do not think I want to spend another year waiting for PhD programs if this year in unsuccessful. I am not getting any younger and I'd prefer to spend the next year working on a career rather than suffering through the application process again. Besides, not much will have changed in my application before the next round of applications would be due so it's either now or never. Either way, things will pan out. They always do.

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