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  1. 8 points
    Grow a thick skin. --Your supervisors will critique you in every way possible, suck it up. It's a learning experience...even if they hurt your feelings, their opinions do not define who you are. Your laptop is your lifeline. Connect your school email to every technology you own especially your phone. Phonetics and speech-language development is worth knowing. Get used to not being "perfect" in graduate school. You won't get kicked out for getting a B 😃 Graduate school is not hard, it's just time consuming. Prepping for an articulation session takes longer than two hours (until you know your kiddo quite well and/or perfected a few habits). Your classmates/professors/staff members are your colleagues. You do not have to like them but be respectful. Do not burn bridges. Treat this experience like a job because it is. Do not gossip. Research is so important in graduate school. Learn how to read articles. Be flexible. Everything you planned for in your session will most likely by altered by that little 5-year-old in front of you. Another clinician is currently using an item you needed? Find a different toy/activity that can still elicit what you want. Your client is having a bad day? you might end up tossing your lessons away and doing whatever to get them back on track. You will find yourself doing the most silliest things ever just for that speech production. Even after a month of therapy, you'll still be nervous to see your clients and have NO clue what you are doing. LOL. That two minutes you have until your session starts is still a lot of time. You'll adjust to working under pressure. You're a natural, trust me. You know more than you think you do. GOOD LUCK!
  2. 6 points
    We had our meeting this morning and it was a series of tongue-tied awkwardness. I went in determined to do this as dignified as I could, chair fumbled all the way, and finally I just laughed and called a halt to the meeting. And said--how about we just agree I was never there and you didn't see anything? He started to laugh after that. So tension was broken. And the funniest part was when he walked me out, there was a some leftovers from the lab meeting next door on the table. And on the table was hummus, dip and pita. He just looked at me and said very seriously "I didn't see anything.". So as far as we are concerned, nothing happened. All is good! 😄
  3. 6 points
    ianmleavitt

    PHD Applicants: Fall 2019

    For a December 1st application deadline, I began contacting POIs in mid-September (mid-October is probably the latest you'll want to send them out). For those that I didn't hear back from after a little while, I sent a follow-up email about 2/3 weeks later. Avoiding the end of summer/beginning of the fall semester is recommended, as your email may very well fall into a void. My goal for sending the emails was to see if the POIs were indeed open to accepting new PhD students for the upcoming cycle, as well as to get more information from them in terms of the program. Some simply responded to me with an affirmative that they were accepting students - I kept those schools on my list. Others, I was able to arrange a phone call with - these are highly valuable! Those who said that they were not looking for new students recommended some other professors for me. Perhaps I was lucky, but I heard back from everybody that I had contacted. Remember, you don't want to just reach out haphazardly to them...you want your research goals to line up at least moderately with their research interests and the program. At the time I was ready to send my emails, I had identified 9 programs that I felt as if I could fit in well with AND had a good mentor match, and had ranked them into three tiers. When I sent my emails, I reached out to my POIs in my top 2 tiers - the bottom tier were programs with later application deadlines, so there was no need to rush. Initially, contact your top choice POI at your programs of interest...see if you can arrange a more in-depth discussion to determine if you do indeed match well with their research interests (and personality). If Dr. X isn't accepting new students for the upcoming cycle, reach out to your next choice - I would personally hesitate to have more than one ongoing discussion with any given professor at a school at one time. Maybe it's just being cautious, but it could reflect poorly on you if you're just throwing your hat in as many rings as possible. In the email, keep it brief (something that I obviously struggled with, given the length of this response). I discussed who I was (pertinent academic/professional/research background), research topics of interest to me, some of their current/previous research, (ask a question about this...show interest!!) and then asked if they had an opening for a doctoral student. My emails were ~250 words, and even that was on the long side. And yes, I included my CV - whether they opened it or not is still a mystery to me, but it can't hurt.
  4. 5 points
    E-P

    Embarrassing incident at prof's house

    I agree with everyone else. There's a big difference between a wardrobe malfunction and "Through no fault of my own, I was injured." It's definitely up to you to set the tone. If I had to guess, he was in fight or flight mode, and probably didn't spend very much time looking at your naked-bits. If it had been me with a male student, I'd've grabbed a towel and covered you for modesty until help arrived. And then denied that I had even glanced at anything. If you want to defuse the situation immediately (assuming the professor has a sense of humor), buy a non-slip shower mat, put a bow on it, and present it to him during your meeting. Maybe bring some hummus to snack on. In my experience, when something embarrassing happens, you can either ignore it, and let shame overwhelm you, or you can totally and 100% own it. I find the latter is better for mental-health.
  5. 4 points
    Sandmaster

    How much to reveal

    Different field here, but I would not mention it anywhere in your application materials. It may come across in a way you do not intend.
  6. 4 points
    I'm sorry if this comes across as harsh, but if you're not familiar with the people and programs at the forefront of your field do you really think you're ready to apply to those top programs?
  7. 3 points
    Warelin

    Do you feel lonely as a PhD student?

    As a side note: If you decide to adopt a cat or dog, be prepared for a lot of apartment and house rentals to be unavailable as an option and be okay with that. I've seen way too many people adopt a puppy, then get bored 2 years later when the puppy is no longer new and abandon them at the pound when they get bored and want to live somewhere that doesn't accept pets. Roughly, 33-50 percent of housing will not accept pets. I've traveled with my dog for the past 6 years. We've moved into multiple apartments and houses across multiple states. I've never been interested in a place that wouldn't have both of us regardless of how nice the location or apartment or house was.
  8. 3 points
    Daisies18

    MPH Canada 2018

    Hi there, Queens sent out some offers to waitlisted applicants. I just got my offer. I hope you guys heard from them as well. All the best to those still waiting for an offer.
  9. 3 points
    Sometimes I wish it is possible to get someone to answer to any threads/questions we all pose. The frustration of waiting for an answer makes it hard!
  10. 3 points
    OHSP

    Fall 2019 Applicants

    I understand wanting to run things by people, but (speaking as someone whose partner is a practicing artist and a senior lecturer in art history, and as someone who has worked with a lot of art historians outside of my own PhD) art history and history have very little in common as disciplinary fields and I don't know how useful anyone here can really be. Your work sounds interesting and it sounds like you have a sense of who you might like to work with, so I would start emailing those people and getting a sense of whether you might be a good fit for their programs.
  11. 3 points
    I don't think you'll find the most helpful answers to this question on GradCafe. I would try the following: 1. Ask the South Asian history professors whom you know. Presumably they're already aware that you're applying because you have already asked them for advice. A quick "Hi, just wanted to double check my list, what schools would you say were the top in the field for my specific research interests? Oh, great, that's what I thought," would help. Even if you don't want to tell them your plans yet (although you should if you're applying this year), you could say you're just curious. Ideally you would be having conversations that were much more in depth at this point. 2. This is the blunt force method: go through the top 100 research universities and see where assistant professors and young associate professors in South Asian history got their degrees. Remember that placement is just as much about the advisor; if you're scratching your head as to why a school appears to be punching above its weight, figure out whether that school had a star academic whose name could get students through the door (eg, Ira Berlin at Maryland), or if they have a longstanding institutional investment in a particular sub-field that is widely recognized (eg, MSU for my field). 3. Figure out where the scholars who publish groundbreaking scholarship teach and got their degrees.
  12. 3 points
    Adelaide9216

    The Positivity Thread

    You guys won't believe me I took part in a parliamentary simulation this week and I got to sit on the Prime Minister of my province's seat for it. wow.
  13. 3 points
    Even then, there's been a longstanding interest in, say, lepers at least since Formation of a Persecuting Society. And so I don't think it's so much a misstep as it is the need to understand better how our field structures knowledge. That is, you have your very specific area of interest, but what is the next category up to which your very specific area is a member? And the one above that, until you get to "medieval history" and then "history"? This is a very important process, as it will greatly aid you in crafting the right "level" of question in your statement of purpose, in writing your prospectus and dissertation, and will serve as a touchstone at those points in your graduate career where you feel lost. For example, I am very specifically interested in the interactions between Cistercian monks and the incipient kingdoms of western Europe in the 12-13th c. For my project, I work within the frameworks provided by postcolonial studies, frontiers studies, religious studies, political history, and the digital humanities.* The next step from there is to say that this means that I'm interested in socio-political intersections, particularly focused on religious institutions, in the high middle ages. It's this latter criterium that I used to seek out professors with whom I would want to work, and who would be interested in working with me. This gave me a list of about 20 people who did work which interested me, from which I used the various programs' placement rates etc., to whittle down to 6. Happy hunting! * DH is much to young to provide a framework. I'm making it up as I go along.
  14. 3 points
    I just posted a blog on ten things you need for graduate school. Things I wish I knew, You'll probably cry and its fine, its nothing to be ashamed of, you need to find at least one good friend, and when I mean good friend, like someone you can trust. It will make the difference, that you should put some efforts into building relationships with both your classmates and your supervisors. I wish I knew that, it was going to feel bad to not know anything but that feeling of being uncomfortable was just temporary. I wish that I followed my gut more, and wasn't so worried about what I was doing wrong or right and really just tried to connect with my clients that first semester. I wish I knew that there are SO MANY resources online. I underutilized my resources. I wish I had started working out my first semester and not just completely abandon my life! Also, that making lists and using priority lists for that matter was going to save me, you can't get everything done, its almost impossible.
  15. 3 points
    Dear new PhD applicants in Political Science, I am writing this post to provide you with a centralized source of information to help you make decisions about where to apply. I decided to provide you with this source because this information was not available to me in any sort of organized fashion, meaning that I had to find and organize it myself. I wish a resource such as this had been available to me when I began applying. This does not mean that you will not need to do research on the programs to which you consider applying. There is some information that I simply cannot provide you with, such as up to date data on placement rates or how well your research interests match with the departments you are considering. These are among the most important factors you will consider. While I will walk you through how one can go about making these calculations, the main point of this post is to provide you with a starting point- useful data to help you begin to make decisions about where you will apply. Useful Links Rankings The first thing I should say about rankings are that they are only a short cut. There is a lot more noise than one would like. I encourage everyone to ensure that the department in question is placing people rather than assume it blindly because of the rankings (more on that later). There are three main rankings political scientists look at: The NRC https://www.chronicle.com/article/NRC-Rankings-Overview-/124714 Methodology: the NRC rankings use several different methodologies based on multiple objective criteria to determine their five different sets of rankings. The S-Rankings use some 20 different factors that scholars say are important such as faculty research productivity, student completion rates and funding. The Research Rankings are based on measures of the departments research productivity. The Student Rankings are based on measures of student outcomes and quality of life while in the department. The Diversity Rankings are based on measures of diversity. The R-Rankings are a regression model trying to determine the departments that look most like the departments the Scholars Model likes. Pros: A lot of objective data went into these rankings. The multi-dimensionality of the rankings allow you to weigh the different dimensions as you see fit. EG if you care more about research productivity than student outcomes, you can look at the Research Rankings and weigh them in your decision of where to apply to. The S-Rankings most closely resemble the 5-year placement rates I saw when deciding where to apply of any ranking is (including US News and Oprisko) Cons Equivocal: there is a lot of noise, and they show it to you. Programs don't have ranks, but rather rank ranges and there are five different sets of rankings. Infrequent: this set of rankings came out in 2010, the last NRC rankings before that came out in 1998. While I do not think that these rankings are so excited old that they are not useful, a lot can change in eight years. 2) US News Rankings https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-humanities-schools/political-science-rankings Methodology: US News simply surveys scholars on the department reputation, asking them to rank them on a 1 to 5 scale, and ranks departments based on the results Pros: The most widely used rankings The only rankings that take reputation into account Cons: Reputation is the only factor taken into account, so it could be said that the rankings are completely subjective 3) Oprisko https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2303567 Methodology: Oprisko looks at outcomes- R1 placements. He counts the number of PhDs from a given institution currently working at a PhD granting institution in Political Science. He comes up with two rankings from that- the raw total number of placements and the number of placement divided by faculty members (placement efficiency) Pros Makes student outcomes front and center Cons: Only uses R1 placements The main rankings does not control for program size. The placement efficiency rankings, however, do. Stipend Information http://www.phdstipends.com This website provides a searchable database of funding offers from various departments. Just search the name of a University and “Political Science” and something should come up. Some of this data may be outdated, so pay attention to the year it was posted. Some schools may not have any data posted on this site. Funding offers may vary. Better information may be available on the departments webpage. Nonetheless this is a very useful resource for information about funding. When will I hear back? https://forum.thegradcafe.com/topic/100449-decision-timelines-for-particular-universities-and-programs-derived-from-the-gradcafe-data-gregpa-distributions/?tab=comments#comment-1058542321 This link shows the timeline in which decisions have been made in the past. You could also search the gradcafe results forum to get a sense for when results will come through. What should my Statement of Purpose look like? http://grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/apply/statement-purpose/ Here is some useful advice for drafting a statement of purpose. Tailor it to your specific program. Mention Professors you'd like to work with and programs/institutes that might interest you. Also edit it as much as you possibly can. I made about ten drafts before finally sending it off. GRE/GPA Info Here is the GRE and GPA information on every school I could find. This data either is posted on the departments website or was about six months ago when I searched for it. Use this data to strategize where to apply. If you have a 155/155, it may not be wise to only apply to Stanford, Duke, Cal, UCSD and WashU, as a safety. However, do not let minor discrepancies discourage you from applying from your dream program. These stats are a small part of a number of factors that will determine your success in the application process. Use them to give you a rough idea of how you may fare, not as an absolute predictor of your success. Stanford 163 q/166 v/3.8 GPA Recommended (Rec) Duke 163 q/163 v/3.8 GPA Average (AVG) UC Berkeley 161 q/158 v Rec Northwestern 148 q/160 v Rec Kansas 148 v/156 q/ 3.5 GPA Avg UCSD 163 q/166 v/3.9 GPA Avg Chicago 162 q/166 v/3.8 GPA Avg Columbia 158 q/161 v/ 3.8 GPA Avg Penn 161 q/165 v Avg WashU-STL 161 q/159 v/3.9 GPA Avg Colorado State 154 q/154 v/ 3.5 GPA Rec UNLV 148 q/160 v/3.5 GPA Rec Emory 160 q/160 v/ B+ (or Better) GPA Avg Princeton 160 q/160 v/3.8 GPA Rec Notre Dame 158 q/ 165 v Avg Colorado 154 q/160 v Avg Oregon 300 total GRE/3.0 GPA Rec UC Riverside 307 total GRE/3.0 GPA Minimum Washington 314 total GRE/3.4 GPA Rec Oklahoma 154 q/153 v Avg. Iowa 158 q/156 v/3.3 GPA Rec Hawaii- No GRE required Baylor 163 q/163 v Avg Virginia 155 q/153 v Rec USC 158 q/ 162 v Avg NYU 165 q/162v/ 3.5 GPA Rec Stony Brook 163 q/157 v Rec Maximum Master's/Transfer Credit Accepted (in classes) This is the maximum amount of Master's/Transfer credit programs will award. Please note that it is often up to the department's discretion to award or not award people credit for some or all of these courses. These decisions are also often not made until well after you have entered the program. Princeton- Dept Discretion Columbia- Dept Discretion UCLA- 6 Classes Cornell- 3 Classes Northwestern- 6 Classes Texas- None Emory- Start at Advanced Standing Penn- 4 Classes Virginia- Advanced Standing Vanderbilt- Advanced Standing Washington- 2 Classes Ohio State-10 Classes UNC- 6 Classes Wisconsin- None Duke- Dept. Discretion Pitt- 8 Classes Missouri- 8 Classes Notre Dame- 8 Classes UChicago- Dept Discretion NYU- 8 Classes UC Irvine- 6 Classes USC- 8 Classes Colorado- 3 Classes How to Figure Out Fit This is where things get somewhat subjective. Professors often move around, retire, ect, so it is not wise to attend a university where you believe that you could only work with one professor. Whether you want to apply to a program with one person who really fits your interest and one other who is less of a good fit, but not as well, is a decision you have to make. Most suggest that there should be at least two who you can work with, I applied only to programs where there was no less than three who shared my interests. Go to department websites. Look at the faculty in your subfield. Look at their CVs, search them on Google Scholar. I'd suggest keeping track of them in a notebook and giving points based on how you feel about their work in relation to your own. By the end of this process, you will have a sense of departments that are good for your interests and those that are not. Placement This is a tricky thing to measure, but you should absolutely take placement into account before you apply. Some departments have very good data on placements (Michigan, WashU, Notre Dame, UNC to name a few), but you have to dig for it. What will shock some is how little the percentage of graduates placed varies from school to school based on it's rank, particularly if you take attrition into account. Based on their own data, at Michigan (USN #4), a starting PhD student has about a 40 percent chance of finishing the program and finding a Tenure Track job within five years of degree completion. At WashU (#19), a starting PhD student has about a 40 percent chance of finishing their degree and finding a Tenure Track job within five years thereafter. What about Notre Dame (#37)? A starting PhD student has about a 40 percent chance of finishing their degree and finding a Tenure Track job within five years of completion. This is not to say that placement does not vary, just that rank is not as big of a factor in whether or not you will get a job as some say. APSA’s studies of placement backs me up on this one: http://www.apsanet.org/RESOURCES/Data-on-the-Profession Some years the schools in the NRC’s 20-40 and 40-60 range actually have better initial placement rates than those in the 1-20 range. Where rank makes a difference, this study as well as the Oprisko data shows, is the types of institutions one gets placed at. If you absolutely need to get a job at an R1 PhD granting institution or this whole endeavor is not worth it for you, you might be best sticking to top 20 programs (but still do your homework on their placement). Otherwise, if you are fine ending up at an R3, non selective liberal arts college or a directional school, you have a lot more options. So how do you determine a schools placement if this data is not readily available to you? Look on the department’s placement page. You can divide the number of total placements (TT, TT+nonTT, R1 jobs, jobs you would want to take, however you want to break it down) over a set period of time (5-7 years is advisable) and either divide it by the total number of grad students currently in the program (data which you can also usually find on the departments website) or by the planned incoming cohort multiplied by the number of years you are counting placements for (again, 5-7 is advisable). Just make sure you keep your process consistent. There will be some inevitable noise, but this should do enough to let you know what programs look good and which you should stay away from. You may find that some 'top’ programs do a bad job of placing people, whereas some 'midteirs’ do an excellent job. If you focus on R1 placements, you will likely find that the rankings are excellent predictors. Conclusion So that just about wraps it up. I hope this advice has been useful. Best of luck to all of you.
  16. 3 points
    telkanuru

    Pissed because of favoritism

    “The only time you look in your neighbor's bowl is to make sure that they have enough."
  17. 3 points
    danieleWrites

    Some Advice on Writing an SOP

    First, my credentials. Well. I can spell my own name, though I don't usually know exactly how old I am. I'm within a year or two, but I'm usually wrong until I've done some subtraction. I teach composition and like to write calculus equations on the board when I take classes in poetry writing. But, here's my real credentials: consider what is written herein in conjunction with what the various instructions on SOPs that you've read have said, with the requirements the program you are applying to has put forth, and with your own experience as a writer. Do you think I know what I'm talking about? Should you pay any attention to it? Is any of it useful? Second, I'm not going to give you a formula for what the standard SOP is like, or a list of things the various thousands of admissions committees will be looking for. There are plenty of prescriptions on the internet, many of them written by professors who have presumably gotten sick of badly written SOPs. Third, I'm not promising that SOP writing be easier after this. It'll be harder, actually. I'm not promising that you'll get in to any place you desire, or that there is any one best thing to put in the SOP to get noticed. That would be totally impossible. Each discipline has its own needs and values, as does each university, each department, and each faculty member on the admissions committee (adcomm). There is no one size and it doesn't fit most, let alone all. There are conventions (use Standard English, for one), but other than include your research interests, I won't advocate that any one thing is strictly necessary. I leave that up to the more knowledgeable. The advice: First thing is to deeply understand that you should write an SOP for each program. Most people take this to mean write one master SOP and then tweak as necessary to make the one SOP applicable to each university (U of A becomes U of B, Professor X becomes Professor Y). You can do that. You can be very successful doing that. You most likely, really shouldn't do it. The next thing to understand is the SOP's purpose. Why do the adcomms want to see SOPs? Shouldn't transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a writing sample do it? After all, transcripts and samples show the actual scholarship and the letters verify it. The SOP isn't for showing scholarship off, or to act like a resume, or anything. So why do the adcomms want an SOP? Why are the SOPs one of those make-it-or-fail things? What is the SOP's purpose? In job hunting terms, the SOP is like a cover letter. The cover letter is to make clear connections between the resume and the job ad. For you, its primary purpose is to make the adcomm offer you admission with full funding. For the adcomm, its primary purpose is to help them see how you would fit into their program (make connections between their program and you). By fit, I mean do they have faculty (or enough faculty) in your area of research interest that can advise, mentor, supervise, and/or committee you through the program to get your degree? Do you have the kind of understanding of the discipline, your research interests, and their program that would make you successful? Do they have something to teach you? Offer you? What can you offer them? They want to brag on you as much as you want to brag about them. If they offer you admission, will you be a good scholar? A good student? Here is the most basic question the SOP should answer: What is it about you that makes you a better prospect than everyone else who's applying? Understanding the SOP's purpose, in practical terms, means that you will know what to put into it and what to leave out of it. And how to phrase it. So, with the purpose in mind, there comes the question: what should you put into it and leave out of it? What format should you use? (MLA? APA? Is footnoting okay?! What about citation?!) Should I stick in a personal story that everyone seems to recommend, except for the half that don't? My research interests? The story about why I got on F in that one, very important class? I'm not going to answer those questions because I can't. Every discipline and department is different. I will give you an answer you won't like: research. Find out the requirements each program you're interested in has for the SOP, think of the SOP's purpose: and now research. Research is one of the basic keys to writing an SOP. It's no different than the writing sample you'll be including in your application packet. For each program you apply to, do some research. How much research you need to do depends on a lot of things, the least of which is your personality. More research does not automatically mean a better SOP. Less research doesn't automatically mean a better one, either. What makes the right amount of research? The ability to craft an SOP that is specific for the program that you're getting into. Here's some ideas (not an exhaustive, inclusive list of what to do) on what to research: The program itself. Look at the recent graduates and, if possible, read their theses and/or dissertations, at least in part. The acknowledgements can give you an idea about the program's culture. The introduction can give you an idea about what kind of scholarship the program produces and expects. It will also, and this is very important, give you an idea as to how the program uses language. If you speak to them in their own language, that helps your case. You've likely done this, if not, seriously, you should have done this. Look at the program's website and read it all. What kind of classes are offered for both undergrad and grad. Who are the faculty, the tenured, the assistant, the visiting, the emeritus, and the graduate students. What kind of ties to the community (both academic and their local town) do they like to talk about? Do they talk about how their graduate students are working with community partners? Do they host conferences? What happened at the last one? This gives you a taste of the program's culture. The faculty. All of them that might be on the adcomm and the ones that are relevant or somewhat relevant to your interests. Crack open JSTOR etc. and search for recent faculty publications. If you're basing your interest on a faculty member on the interests they've got listed on the site and a reference to them in an article from a decade ago, or worse, only their reputation, you don't have a strong basis to establish clear reasons why they have anything to offer you. Read their recent publications, see who they name drop in terms of theory, other faculty, and so on. Make a list of what each faculty member can offer you in terms of research, not just the ones that are directly related to it. If you're into studying apples, but Dr. V works with oranges, think about how Dr. V's work might help you out. Take notes when you research. Each program has a bunch of people, and you're likely applying to multiple programs. It's easier to refer to notes than to go back and look it up all over again. What's happening in the field with your current research interests, if necessary. This is so you can situate your research interests in the discipline, and then situation your research interests in the program. You can just tell them what you're research interests are and leave the situating to them, but you can lose that chance to sell yourself as the best amongst the rest. Research you. Yup. You. Scribble out some lists or paragraphs or whatever that inventories you. Who are your influences? Who are the theorists you keep coming back to? Who are the theorists you loathe, mock, and/or ridicule? What are your research interests in general and specifically and anywhere in between? Some SOPs will need to be more general, some will need to be more specific. Length restrictions, what you found out about the program, the faculty, the state of the discipline, and so on, can alter this for you. What kind of scholar are you? Student? What's the difference? How do you manage your time? Stress? Health? Do you expect to bring your dog? Do you have health issues? Do you have any academic things that are a negative? If you do, how negative are they? It's easy to see that as an either it's entirely bad, or it's somewhere in the huge good category, but some things are negatives that need to be addressed for certain programs, while other negatives can be ignored, or you should discuss with the one relevant letter writer so they can address it. While Sam ultimately received a C in the Research Methods course, the grade doesn't reflect the actual scholarship as Sam fell ill during the mid-term and consequently failed it; my course policies do not permit re-taking the test. What are the good things about you? Not just the grades, awards, publications, and presentations, but also the character traits. What are you weaknesses? Don't do the job interview baloney, my greatest weakness is my perfectionism. Of course, the important, probably ought to be on the SOP questions: why grad school? What will you do with the degree you want? Why are into the research you're into? Why that particular school? Why are you worth admission and funding? Research the assistanceships. Some SOPs will want you to write a bit about teaching or research with assistanceships in mind. So, do a bit of research on what these entail in the programs you're looking at. What do they do and how do they get it? Have you done assistanceships in the past? If so, what were they like? Do you have a teaching philosophy? If not, make one. Have you done anything that can be discussed in terms of the assistanceship? I taught kung-fu to white belt children, so I have teaching experience. I was part of the state herpetological society and went out to help them with their field counts twice a year. I learned that licking petrie dishes is always a bad idea, no matter how much they resemble pistachio ice cream. Research SOPs. You're doing that, right? Go on to forums (like this one) and read the SOPs people have posted and then read the responses. Look particularly at SOPs in your discipline or related disciplines. Psychology might look at other social sciences. Physics might tell the joke about the Higgs Boson and Sunday mass. Bear in mind that the people responding to and/or criticizing the posted SOPs are likely not on an adcomm. Some have been or will be, but it's not likely they'll be on the adcomm you're hoping will like you best. However, you can start to get a sense of what SOPs are like. What format is it in? Does yours look like everyone else's? Do you have the exact same opening sentence as half of the people hoping to get into a program in your discipline? I've always wanted to be a librarian since those wonderful, summer days I spent in my (relative of choice)'s home library. So, to take stock. First, understand the purpose. Second, research. A lot. Let the purpose of the SOP guide your research efforts. Next, get the specific requirements for the SOP from each program. Make a list of similarities. If they all ask for a statement of your research interest, score! One sentence fits most! Most of them will be of different lengths and will have different ideas of what specific information they want. Most won't tell you enough, aside from length and one or two "should have" things. They mostly won't tell you if you should use APA or if you should footnote, or how to format it. Single space? Double space? They will tell you whether it should be on paper or what kind of file format to use. I have only one suggestion: consistency. Okay, two suggestions: unless otherwise specified, don't include anything other than the SOP. No bibliography or footnotes. If you quote or paraphrase someone, cite them in the text the way they do it in the average newspaper article. As Scooby says, "Ruh-roh!" Now, start writing. Create something of a master SOP, or a set of master sentences for the SOPs. Some things should be in every one of them, like what your research interests are. Because length requirements are different for each program, you should work out more than one sentence or set of sentences for each thing you plan to put into more than one SOP. Have a more detailed explanation of your research interests and a more concise one. Even though this might be central and, perhaps, most important to the SOP, you don't want most of a short SOP taken up by one thing. Make these sentences do extra duties. If they can explain not only why you're into what you're into, but also why it's significant to the discipline/program, and how the program factors into it, bonus! The more functions one sentence can serve, with clear, readable logic, the more room you have in the length requirements to bring in other things. Think of this master SOP as more of a set of sentences you can hang on the individual SOP's unique structure. A flesh and skeleton metaphor can work here. You can order all SOPs at this point, you'll probably want to put research interests in the middle or toward the end, rather than in the first sentence, but the key here is that the skeleton of the individual SOP and most of its flesh will come from the needs of the program you're writing it for, not from some predetermined formula. No generically applicable, master SOP that has a few tweaks here and there. Here's the thing. The SOP is one of the most important documents you'll write in your life. It's not something that should be done in a few hours, after looking at the program website and spending some time on the net searching for a how-to-write-an-SOP-guide. It takes work backed by research. The readers can tell quite easily how much research you've done on them by the way you structure and write your SOP. They can tell if you're sending out a generic SOP to several programs because it will be too general. You can't change faculty names in and out, along with a detail or two that makes it seem tailored to the program. The individual SOP should be tailored from the beginning. Some sentences won't change much, so you can pre-write them. But how they fit into each SOP, the reasoning you'll use to try to convince the adcomm that you're the best applicant, and the perspective you'll take all the way to the words you use should be done with the program in mind. It shouldn't be generic. Even if it doesn't seem noticeably generic to you, that doesn't mean that the adcomm won't notice it. They read many, many SOPs every year. People who read SOPs develop a sense about the generic, the cut and paste work. How to name drop gracefully, or bring up the theory and histories and whatnot you're working with when there's only a teeny amount of space for everything? That's a bit easier than it might seem. It's not in the explanation; it's in the usage. If you can use the relevant theories and people and methodologies correctly in a sentence, you don't have to show the adcomm that you know how to use them, or how they're related, by explaining it. Trust them to have enough education to make a few connections for themselves when it comes to the discipline. Example: Novels such as Twilight exemplify how Marxist alienation can be applied to childbirth. My research interest lies in the alienation of women from the product of delivery in Modernist American fiction, such as Faulkner's Sound and the Fury. (Huh, I wonder if that would really work?) Two sentences and I've referenced theory, period, history, relevance for today, and some methodology (it's literature, not science). Use it, don't explain it. If possible, have a professor you know read the SOP to your preferred school and give you some advice. They know more than most other groups of people. If not possible, your current university's writing center can help, or other people who are familiar with the field, or with writing. Your high school English teacher or your English major buddy can probably say something about your grammar, but might not be as helpful as expected. Example, in English, the convention is to speak of historical people in present tense. Shakespeare writes, "To be or not to be," because he thinks it is the question. History has kittens. Shakespeare has been dead for centuries, he can't write! Past tense! Shakespeare wrote, "To be or not to be," because thought it was the question. Someone in the field is preferable! Finally, a word about my real credentials. The adcomm is going to do to your application what you've just done with this post. They are going to judge your credentials (your ethos, trustworthiness, veracity, credibility, knowledge, and so on) based on the impressions they get of you from what you've written. So, be knowledgeable about you, your field, and the program, and use that knowledge well.
  18. 2 points
    Based on how many chemistry classes you've taken? You're definitely over thinking it.
  19. 2 points
    SLBlais

    Vanier 2018-2019

    Yes, I am applying. The way it worked last year was that I submitted my application via ResearchNet, the Graduate Chair nominated me, and then it went through an internal departmental project. After that, it went to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at the University and then they nominated for the national or rejected (I was rejected for this one, made it to the national competition for the Trudeau and then wait listed for the SSHRC). This year, I am focusing on the Vanier and SSHRC. While I loved the process of the Trudeau, it isn't for me (I have a child and can't do the amount of travel it requires.) I had multiple people go through my application but sometimes its just the committee too and what is "hot" as a research topic that year. But I have had a friend who won the Vanier helped me and offered to help me again. Also, check out ANY and ALL workshops that the faculty of graduate studies holds. I didn't last year and I think I suffered for it. This year, I am going to both the writing workshop and they have a Vanier writing bootcamp that I am going to attend. I have been told that these can be crucial to learning how to frame your topic for a vast audience. Good Luck!
  20. 2 points
    Hi, @Adelaide9216 I’m in the process of moving into and totally furnishing an apartment for the first time. Before I get into the details of my experience & advice, the most important thing I’ve learned is that this process is very personal and depends entirely on your particular financial, geographic, & time constraints. That being said, there are lots of ways to get it done well and crowdsourcing advice is a great idea. For context: after I had committed to a program (March) but prior to deciding how I wanted to live (studio/1B/2B with a roommate) and in what neighborhoods, I made a list of “essential,” “important,” and “luxury” items, including furniture. I then did three things simultaneously - learned about various neighborhoods and their rental patterns (i.e. when listings came up and how to find them), decided what way of living worked best for me and my stipend (I opted for living by myself in a 1B), and made notes on the places from which I could buy every single item on my list (even if I wasn’t sure that I’d end up purchasing all of it.) I held off on buying anything until I’d seen my place in person because I am doing a slow move-in. The details of that particular experience may not yield anything useful for you, but it has produced some more general advice that I’d give anyone who is doing this for the first time. First, figure out what furniture is essential to you and get a firm sense of how to get those things purchased and/or delivered to your new place by the time you're living there. For me, those things were my bed & bed frame, desk & chair, and bookshelves. Then, explore your important/luxury items since, hey, data is always good to have. I would suggest, however, holding off on actually buying those things until you get to your place. It’s nice to walk around the apartment, take a breath, measure stuff, and get a sense of the size and type of furniture that will work in your new space (unless you 100% totally love something and know it will fit, in which case I think it makes sense to get it delivered at the same time as your essentials.)* *This is assuming you're purchasing most or all of your stuff from the same place, like IKEA. Which brings me to another piece of advice - the more you can buy from the same place, the easier. Also, buying in town is usually a lot easier (in terms of delivery/self-transport) than having to move it from where you’re at now, so take a look at what options (big chains, resellers, etc.) are available to you in your new city, what their delivery policies are, and wait to buy and have furniture delivered/transported yourself until you're in your new place. So, to answer your Q directly - I'd do as much research and list-making as you'd like right now and hold off buying anything until you sign your lease and get the key unless it is a small piece of furniture that you won't be able to find again or a big piece that is flat-packed, *and* you can store it where you're living now and then transport it easily once it is time to move. I'd also get your essentials there as soon as possible after you've moved in and get other stuff in as needed, unless you're 100% "I want and need this here now." I’m happy to share my lists if they’d be helpful to you and I hope this aids your apartment prep!
  21. 2 points
    Hi, @Boyar678 Please consider the utility of using the search function to find answers to your questions before starting a new thread. The ability to generate answers to one's own questions is a core skill set in the historian's toolbox. You are competing against applicants who are taking every opportunity to develop their research skills and that effort is going to give them a competitive advantage. https://forum.thegradcafe.com/search/?q=russian&type=forums_topic&nodes=38 IRT flunking out of nursing school, the challenge you may face is that unless members of admissions committees know nurses personally, they may not appreciate how difficult nursing school can be. You may also need to find a way to explain better why you did not successfully address your short comings in nursing school before getting the D's. Finally, given the fact that you're working in a history department now, you would probably benefit more from developing a relationship with professors at your school, especially Malikov, and get answers to your questions from them.
  22. 2 points
    @PMJ I think it’s pretty normal for doctoral students to learn a new language while in the program. For me, I’m learning Quechua and Aymara since I work in Peru and not many High Schools and Uni’s offer those courses haha. So for the most part, I’ve done some stuff in country and also have found workbooks that I go through to help keep it up. Sure, it’s not going from Spanish to Japanese, but I think even if you could audit the first few class sections to get down the characters, sounds, and pronounciations - then it will be much more easy than attempting this on your own. My MA advisor starting taking spanish courses in her second year of PhD. Sure, her accent isn’t the best buuuuut she’s fluent and actively conducts research in Peru. I would even suggest trying to get the critical language scholarship and study abroad in Japan - that way you’ll be forced to speak it. Also Duo Lingo in pretty good! I actually just started with the Japanese course and it’s really simple and enjoyable.
  23. 2 points
    mcamp

    Sample Essays

    I have noticed a lot of people struggle with writing their personal statement / letter of intent. It is a weird piece of writing that most people have never done before. One thing I've heard multiple people say is, "I've never even read one before..." To help I'm putting together some example personal statements to share as a download on my blog. Is anyone willing to share theirs so I can include it in the download? It would really help because writing lots of examples myself is a slow process, haha. I am a little worried about people taking them and using them as their own (although I hope no one is stupid enough to do that). I think part of the answer to that worry is that just because a personal statement was part of one person's successful application doesn't mean it will work elsewhere. Each set of circumstances is unique. Anyway, I hope I can count on a few people to help out! Send me a private message and I'll share my email
  24. 2 points
    Your primary advisor should be a medieval historian, preferably at a school with a strong placement record. However, it is probably wise to look into departments/schools where there are also strong faculty in disability studies who can serve on your committee, even if they don't work on your period (or even if they are in literature rather than history). Working with people who don't share your thematic and theoretical interests is completely normal at the PhD level, particularly for non-Americanists (as there are rarely more than a couple people in a particular temporal/geographical field in any given school). Your goal should be to be at the strongest school possible (in terms of placement and resources) where you can get the training you need, both in medieval history and in disability studies, not to find an exact advisor match at an institution that will make it harder to get a job. A historian of medieval medicine could be a good advisor match for you - even if they are using a different approach, the combination of field+thematic interest fit is a real positive (and you might find thinking about disability from both a history of medicine and a cultural studies perspective productive - indeed, to do good work, you will need to be well versed in both approaches, even if you mostly end up using the latter).
  25. 2 points
    Ok, not little All too often people post here asking what their chances are at this and that school. I completetly understand their desire to know the answer. However, I also understand why some other people get somewhat annoyed by this question. Indeed, it is very hard to tell what somebody's chances are at certain schools, even if you know their stats and other details like a number of publications they have. That is why I decided to write this post. I will explain how, in my opinion, one can estimate one's chances and choose programs correctly. I hope that other people experienced in application process will correct me if I am wrong and add their advice. And may be, if moderators consider this post useful, they will be able to make it always stay on top of this board - if it is possible on this forum. First of all, if you want to know whether your stats (GRE, GPA, TOEFL score) are good enough for you to be accepted to certain schools - there is one easy way to find the answer. Most schools post stats of students they have accepted, like on this page here. So try to find this info on websites of schools you are planning to apply to and if you can't find it, ask graduate secretaries/coordanators if such a page exists and if not, where you can find those stats. Remember that if your stats are low but not abysmal, that does not mean that your chances are low. It does not (always) go like - lower the grades, lower the chances (unless they are above some bare minimum) and vice versa. Because... 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. As you can imagine, the list became even shorter after that Then I started to read about faculty in the programs from the last list, looking for professors who could potentially become my advisors. Then I contacted these professors, telling them about my research project, asking about their opinion. When some replied and I saw that they liked my ideas, I asked them if they would be taking graduate students next year. In the end I had only 5 programs left and I applied to all of them. About contacting professors. As far as I understand, you can do that in all fields, except - for some mysterious reason! - English. (Here I ask other experienced forumers to correct me if I am wrong.) BUT: If a professor is interested or even very very interested, that in no way guarantees that you will be accepted to this program because there are many other factors at play during the application process (most important of them being funding and faculty politics). But of course having a professor in a program who has expressed interest in working with you is a very good sign. It is definetely better than having no such professor. If you find a profesoor who is willing to take you as a graduate student but you are unsure about your stats, you can ask them about that. But of course don't ask it in the first letter to them!!! Only when you see that they are interested (and friendly). Finally, I want to say, that all I have told above is based on my experience and it helped me - I was accepted to a school with a great fit (which is supported by the fact that they decided to give me a nice fellowship). May be there are other ways to choose programs and estimate your chances with them. May be in other fields (I am in social sciences) rules are different. I hope that others will correct me or pitch in some ideas based on their own experience with application process. Good luck!
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