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  1. 6 points
    This is a person who already asked you something ethically dubious....is that the first person you want to put your trust in right now? I can see scenarios where this would make sense—they hinge on him not knowing this norm and now being sorry—but also, you know, are there any other warm bodies in your general vicinity you could collaborate with?
  2. 5 points
    Sigaba

    How strong is my application really?

    FWIW, a number of graduate students who have gone through the process, some multiple times, have provided guidance in this thread and others that differ from the information quoted below. The writing sample. There are a variety of opinions on using one's best work versus using one that best reflects one's likely research interests as a graduate student.There are posts on this BB in which graduate students find that writing samples proved less critical to the decision than other factors, not the least because some members of admissions committees don't have time to read the samples carefully. If you only have yourself and one adviser to scrub your sample, you may be in for some tough sledding. Advisers are busy and after a while, it's ever harder to find glitches in one's own work. The statement of purpose. A cover letter and a SOP are entirely different documents. A number of established members have provided guidance about displays of passion in SOPs. Not a few recommend professionalism as a superior trait for SOPs. YMMV. Letters of recommendation "aren't as important as the latter two". If you don't think LORs are as important as other components of your application, you're imposing on yourself a considerable disadvantage. You need to establish genuine relationships with professional academic historians or advanced graduate students in your department who respect your work and believe that you will be able to contribute to the profession. You will be competing for admission against undergraduates and graduates who have taken multiple courses with POIs. The best "benefit" of being a graduate student in history is that you will have the opportunity to be trained to be a professional academic historian. If you're doing it for a "free ride," you may get eaten alive by true believers in your cohort. LANGUAGE SKILLS If you're not an Americanist, how far along are you in your mastery of multiple languages? Are you on track to pass language exams so you can do archival research abroad for your dissertation? Or will you need to bust hump to catch up your first two years in a program? Test scores, GPA. Some programs have minimum thresholds for GRE scores and GPA. If you're applying to such a program, what is more important, your writing sample or keeping your grades up? If your practice test scores put you on a bubble, what's your priority going to be? Academic pedigree Bottom line, bias exists in the House of Klio. If you majored in history and your high school is Happyland Preparatory Academy, and your UGI is Happyland University, your pedigree gives you a competitive advantage when applying to Happyland College of the Canyon. If you have this ace to play, play it with a little swagger, an appropriate amount of humility, and without shame. (What ever you do, don't go Kanye. It's a small world.) All components of your applications are important. The challenge aspiring graduate students in history face is deciding which components are most important for a particular application, how to change what can be changed the most in a limited amount of time and being at peace with the choices they make.
  3. 4 points
    I am a Speech Language Pathology graduate student in her last semester at Florida International University. I have created a podcast called Life Over Speech, which is tailored to undergraduate and graduate students in this field. Graduate school isn’t the easiest thing I’ve had to do and, in retrospect, I wish I had an idea of what I was getting myself into; someone to share their experiences with me. It would have been awesome to hear stories and tips to make the experience smoother and more enjoyable. With Life Over Speech, that’s exactly what I’m trying to do; to have open and honest conversations about what being in this field is truly like, and to help others who are or will be in my shoes at some point, while providing some encouragement. Two friends and I share our experiences about life as students and SLPA’s, and share our tips about everything from self-care to applying to graduate school. Episodes are released on a weekly basis and so far there are five available for listening on all major podcast platforms. Just search "Life Over Speech" in your podcast app or click on the link below to tune in. Enjoy! https://anchor.fm/life-over-speech
  4. 4 points
    I decided to apply to a Ph.D. for Fall 2019! I'm scared but excited at the same time.
  5. 4 points
    Yanaka

    How Important are Conferences?

    Sure. But you might need to play the game to some extent if you want to make progress in academia. I don't think (graduate) conferences are the worst part of professionalization in our domain...
  6. 4 points
    psstein

    How many is too many?

    Just to bang on a little bit more, here are two placement records (mid tier vs. top tier). Boston College's placement record: https://www.bc.edu/bc-web/schools/mcas/departments/history/graduate/phd-program/placement/recent-history-phd-graduates.html Princeton's: https://history.princeton.edu/academics/graduate/alumni/placement-upon-graduation Not even close to comparable, especially in a tough job market.
  7. 4 points
    ExponentialDecay

    Ending with Terminal MA

    Controversial opinion: I'm not sure that what OP is proposing is so reprehensible. Realistically, people need to attend the top programs in order to have a chance at a job, but even becoming competitive for admissions to top programs is logistically difficult and costly for anyone who's changing fields, who comes from a low-ranked undergrad, or who is simply ill-acquainted with how academia works. So what should those people do? Take out student loans for a useless MA in the humanities? Give up and get an office job? One is a stupid financial decision (and one consistently recommended against on this board) and the other is contributing to making academe a club for the wealthy. On the other hand, you have low-ranked programs that graduate their PhDs into no chance of a job, and know that this is the reality, where professors will outright tell you that, if you're getting a PhD here, you shouldn't be getting a PhD. Yeah, agreeing to attend a program for 5 years and quitting once you've found something better can be construed as a breach of trust - but taking 5+ years of people's lives (and exploiting their vastly underpaid TA labor so you don't have to create tenure lines to support your undergraduates) and then pushing them out to a world where they have a better chance of winning at slots than getting TT? When the contract is so broken on the one side, I don't know that people on the other side should be held to pristine standards. I understand that people feel very emotional about the kind of plan OP proposes, because academia is more than just a job, but it's much easier to reflexively shit on the little person than to recognize that they are operating within the confines of a broken system.
  8. 4 points
    About your dog: I think that depends entirely on you and your program. I am in a social science program where the majority of my analysis and writing can be done from home, and I prefer to work from home or from a library (as opposed to my cube in the windowless cube farm). When I was taking classes I was generally there from 9-6 or so, but now that my coursework is finished I am rarely at the school itself. I go for meetings, seminars, interesting kinds of things and I do most of my work remotely. My time is verrry flexible, and if my building didn't prohibit it I would get a dog in a heartbeat. Another thing to keep in mind: a dog can be a great comfort when you're all stressed out over graduate school. Advice? Age: -Don't feel like you have nothing to offer just because you are younger. I was 22 when I started graduate school. You got accepted to the program for a reason, and chances are you are just as equipped as any older students are to successfully complete the program, just in a different way. -Your older classmates may be just as terrified as you. Talk to them. You have a lot in common. You are, after all, in the same place. -You will feel like an imposter, like you don't belong, or like you are constantly behind. Or all three. It's normal. It will pass. (Well, sort of.) People of all ages go through this. Adviser related: -If you are lucky enough to get both research interest fit and personality fit perfect, congratulations! But sometimes, personality fit is more important than research interest fit as long as the research isn't too different. A great adviser is interested in your career development, likes you as a person, advocates for you, and wants to hear your ideas. Even if his or her research is quite different from yours, they may give you the autonomy to work on your own projects and just supervise you. A bad personality fit will drive you nuts, even if you love his or her research. Consider that when evaluating your adviser fit. (This will vary by field: research fit may be less important in the humanities, more important in the natural and physical sciences. Social sciences are somewhere in-between.) -Don't be afraid to be straight up blunt with your adviser when it comes to asking about your progress. Ask if you are where you should be both academic program wise and getting-a-job-after-this-mess-wise. -Be proactive. Advisers love when you draw up an agenda for your one-on-one meetings, come with talking points and progress to share, have concrete questions to ask, and have overall shown that you have been thoughtful and taken control of your own program. Of course, this won't immediately come easily to you, but in time you will work up to it. Every semester I type up my semester goals, and at the beginning of the year I type up annual goals. I show them to my adviser and we talk about whether they are too ambitious, or whether I need to revise them, and how I can meet them. -Don't expect your adviser to actually know what courses you have to take to graduate. They will know about comprehensive exams and the dissertation, but a lot of professors don't really keep up with the course requirements, especially if their program is in flux. Get you a student handbook, and find out what you need to take. Map it out in a grid, and check off things when you finish them. Show this to your adviser every semester. You may have to explain how such and such class fills a requirement. -Nobody loves you as much as you, except your mother. Keep this in mind as you take in advice from all sources, including your adviser. Your adviser is there to guide you, but that doesn't mean you have to do everything he says. Studying: -You will have to read more than you ever did before, in less time than you ever have before, and you will be expected to retain more than you ever have before. The way that you studied in undergrad may need some tweaking. Be prepared for this. -Corollary: you may find that your methods change with age or interests or time. I preferred to study alone in college, but in grad school, I prefer to study in groups. It keeps me on task and the socialization keeps me motivated. You may find that you shift from being a more auditory learner to a visual learner or whatever. -You will feel behind at first. This is normal. -At some point you will realize that your professors don't actually expect you to read everything they assign you. This, of course, will vary by program, but there will be at least one class where the reading is actually impossible to do in one week. The point is to read enough that you know the major themes and can talk intelligently about them, and then pick some of the readings to really dig into and think more deeply about. -For most programs, don't worry so much about grades. If you stay on top of your work and do what you're supposed to, you will probably get an A. How much grades matter varies from program to program. In some programs, a B is a signal that you are not up to par, and more than a few Bs will warrant a discussion with your adviser or the DGS. My program isn't like that - A, B, it's all meaningless. My adviser doesn't even know what my grades are. But at almost all programs, a C means you need to retake the course, and two Cs means you have to convince the DGS not to kick you out. Extracurricular activity: What's that? No, seriously: -A lot of your time will be unstructured. You will have coursework, but most grad classes meet once a week for two hours and you may have three classes. You may have meetings with your adviser every so often and some seminars or things to catch (like we have grand rounds and colloquia that are required), but a lot of time will be unstructured. However, since you have so much more work than you had in undergrad, you actually will have less free time than you had in undergrad. This may initially cause you great anxiety. It did for me. Some people love unstructured time, though. (I don't.) -Because of this, you'll have to be planful about your non-grad school related stuff. -TAKE TIME OFF. DO it. It's important for your mental health. However you do it doesn't matter. Some people work it like a 9-5 job. Some people take a day off per week (me) and maybe a few hours spread across the week. Some people work half days 7 days a week. However you do it, there needs to be a time when you say "f this, I'm going to the movies." -Find your happy place, something that keeps you the you you were when you came in. I love working out. It gives me energy and I feel good. I stay healthy. I also love reading fiction, so sometimes I just curl up with a good book, work be damned. You have to give yourself permission to not think about work, at least for a couple of hours a week. You may also discover new hobbies! (I never worked out before I came to graduate school.) -Your work will creep into all aspects of your life, if you let it. This is why I hate unstructured time. You will feel guilty for not doing something, because in graduate school, there is ALWAYS something you can do. ALWAYS. But since there will always be more work, there's no harm in putting it aside for tomorrow, as long as you don't have a deadline. -You may need to reach outside of your cohort for a social life. None of my close friends are in my doctoral cohort. I've met master's students in my program, master's students in other programs, and I know a few non-graduate students I hang out with, too. Go to graduate student mixers. (If your university doesn't have any, organize some, if you like planning parties.) Join a student group that doesn't take up too much time. I had a doctoral acquaintance who kinda laughed at me because I joined some student groups other than the doctoral student one, and I was usually the only doctoral student in those groups, but I met some close friends (and future job contacts) and had a good time. -DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR WANTING A LIFE OUTSIDE OF GRADUATE SCHOOL. This is paramount. This is important. You are a well-rounded, complex, multifaceted human being. NEVER feel bad for this. Everybody wants some kind of life outside of work. Yes, you may loooove your field, but that doesn't mean you want to do it all day long. Some other doctoral students, and perhaps professors, may make you feel bad about this. Don't let them. Just smile and nod. Then disappear when you need to. Career: -This is job preparation. Remember that from Day One. Always be looking for ways to enhance your skills. Read job ads and find out what's hot in your field, what's necessary, what's in demand. For example, in my field statistics and methods are a hot commodity, and they're not a passing fad. I happen to really like statistics and methods, so I have pursued that as a concentration of mine. -Don't be afraid to take on volunteer work and part-time gigs that will give you skills that will be useful both inside academia and out, as long as it's not against your contract. Your adviser may be against it, but he doesn't have to know as long as it doesn't interfere with your work. -If you want to work outside of academia - if you are even *considering* the possibility - please please definitely do the above. Even if you aren't considering it, consider the possibility that you won't get a tenure-track job out the box and that you may need to support yourself doing something else for a while. You will have to prove to employers that you have developed usable, useful skills and this is one of the easiest ways to do it. But don't overdo it - get the degree done. -For more academic related ones - always look for opportunities to present and publish. Presentations look good on your CV. Publications look better. When you write seminar papers, wonder if you can publish them with some revision. Write your seminar papers on what you maybe think you may want to do your dissertation on. Even if you look at them three years later and think "these suck," you can at least glean some useful references and pieces from them. Discuss publication with your adviser early and often, and if you have the time and desire, seek out publication options with other professors and researchers. But if you commit to a project, COMMIT. You don't want to leave a bad impression. -If you can afford it, occasionally go to conferences even if you aren't presenting. You can network, and you can hear some interesting talks, and you may think about new directions for your own research. You can also meet people who may tell you about jobs, money, opportunities, etc. -Always try to get someone else to pay for conference travel before you come out of pocket. Including your adviser. Do not be shy about asking if he or she can pay. If he can't, he'll just say no. Usually the department has a travel fund for students, but often it's only if you are presenting. -If you are interested in academia, you should get some teaching experience. There are two traditional ways to do this: TAing a course, and teaching as a sole instructor. If you can help it, I wouldn't recommend doing a sole instructor position until you are finished with coursework. Teaching takes a LOT of time to do right. You should definitely TA at least one course, and probably a few different ones. But don't overdo it, if you can help it, because again, it takes a LOT of time. More than you expect at the outset. If you are in the humanities, I think sole instructor positions are very important for nabbing jobs so when you are in the exam/ABD phase, you may want to try at least one. If your own university has none, look at adjuncting for nearby colleges, including community colleges. (I would wager that the majority of natural science/physical science students, and most social science students, have never sole taught a class before they get an assistant professor job. At least, it's not that common n my field, which straddles the social and natural sciences.) -Always look for money. Money is awesome. If you can fund yourself you can do what you want, within reason. Your university will be thrilled, your adviser will be happy, and you can put it on your CV. It's win-win-win! Don't put yourself out of the running before anyone else has a chance to. Apply even if you think you won't get it or the odds are against you (they always are), as long as you are eligible. Apply often. Apply even if it's only $500. (That's conference travel!) Money begets money. The more awards you get, the more awards you will get. They will get bigger over time. If you are in the sciences and social sciences, you should get practice writing at least one grant. You don't have to write the whole thing, but at least get in on the process so that you can see how it's done. Grant-writing is very valuable both in and outside of graduate school. -Revise your CV every so often. Then look and decide what you want to add to it. Then go get that thing, so you can add it. -The career office at big universities is often not just for undergrads. I was surprised to learn that my career center offers help on CV organization and the academic job search, as well as alternative/non-academic career searches for doctoral students. In fact, there are two people whose sole purpose it is to help PhD students find nonacademic careers, and they both have PhDs. This will vary by university - some universities will have very little for grad students. Find out before you write the office off. -It's never too early to go to seminars/workshops like "the academic job search inside and out", "creating the perfect CV," "getting the job," etc. NEVER. Often the leader will share tips that are more aimed towards early graduate students, or tidbits that are kind of too late for more advanced students to take care of. This will also help you keep a pulse on what's hot in your field. It'll help you know what lines you need to add to your CV. And they're interesting. Other: -Decide ahead of time what you are NOT willing to sacrifice on the altar of academia. Then stick to it. I'm serious. If you decide that you do NOT want to sacrifice your relationship, don't. If it's your geographical mobility, don't. I mean, be realistic, and realize that there will always be trade-offs. But you have to think about what's important to you for your quality of life, and realize that there is always more to you than graduate school. -If you don't want to be a professor, do not feel guilty about this. At all. Zero. However, you will have to do things differently than most doctoral students. Your adviser will probably never have worked outside of the academy (although this may vary depending on the field) so he may or may not be able to help you. But you have a special mission to seek out the kinds of experiences that will help you find a non-academic job. Test the waters with your adviser before you tell him this. My adviser was quite amenable to it, but that's because I told him that my goal was to still do research and policy work in my field just not at a university, AND because it's quite common in my field for doctoral students to do non-academic work. If you're in a field where it's not common (or where your professors refuse to believe it's common, or it's not supposed to be common)…well, you may be a little more on your own. -Every so often, you will need to reflect on the reasons you came to graduate school. Sometimes, just sit and think quietly. Why are you doing this to yourself? Do you love your field? Do you need this degree to do what you want to do? Usually the answer is yes and yes, and usually you'll keep on trucking. But sometimes when the chips are down you will need to reevaluate why you put yourself through this in the first place. -To my great dismay, depression is quite common in doctoral students. Graduate work can be isolating and stressful. Luckily your health insurance usually includes counseling sessions. TAKE THEM if you need them. Do not be ashamed. You may be surprised with who else is getting them. (I found out that everyone in my cohort, including me, was getting mental health counseling at a certain point.) Exercise can help, as can taking that mental health day once a week and just chilling. Don't be surprised if you get the blues… -…but be self-aware and able to recognize when the depression is clouding your ability to function. Doctoral programs have a 50% attrition rate, and this is rarely because that 50% is less intelligent than, less motivated than, less driven than, or less ambitious than the other 50% that stays. Often they realize that they are ridiculously unhappy in the field, or that they don't need the degree anymore, or that they'd rather focus on other things in life, or their interests have changed. All of this is okay! -You will, at some point, be like "eff this, I'm leaving." I think almost every doctoral student has thought about dropping out and just kicking this all to the curb. You need to listen to yourself, and find out whether it is idle thought (nothing to worry about, very normal) or whether you are truly unhappy to the point that you need to leave. Counseling can help you figure this out. -Don't be afraid to take a semester or a year off if you need to. That's what leaves of absence are for. Lastly, and positively… …graduate school is great! Seriously, when else will you ever have the time to study what you want for hours on end, talk to just as interested others about it, and live in an intellectual community of scholars and intellectuals? And occasionally wake up at 11 am and go to the bank at 2 pm? Sometimes you will want to pull out all of your hair but most of the time, you will feel fulfilled and wonderfully encouraged and edified. So enjoy this time!
  9. 4 points
    lily_

    SOP mistakes: what to avoid

    I just had a professor who sits on admissions committees look over my SOP. My introduction was talking about how I liked to go to museums as a child and was fascinated by the ancient world. He said that starting out like this is a huge mistake. Obviously if you are applying to study archaeology at the graduate level, it's pretty much assumed that you're fascinated by the ancient world and probably enjoy museums. But so do lots of people. What makes you unique. Attempt to illustrate your passion for the field without really telling some kind of silly story about your childhood. This is also an approach that many people take, and if you really want a strong SOP you'll find a better, more mature, and more creative way to say it. The next point is, whether or not to talk about the negatives on your application. I wrote mine this year mentioning them extremely briefly and moving on. My thought behind this was to simply focus heavily on all the points that make me a competitive applicant. However, some graduate programs explicitly say that your SOP is the place on your application to mention your negatives and why the committee should overlook them. Obviously, this should not be the focus of your SOP. What the committees are looking for here is growth and improvement above all. Do not make excuses for poor grades, weak GRE scores, or a spotty work record. Do, however, point out how you have grown, how the committee can see improvement, and then highlight the things that make you a fabulous candidate. The last thing I will mention is also very important, particularly for PhDs. Make sure that you know who you are applying to study under, and what your project is. Demonstrate that you would fit into the department like a glove and that you read Dr. Octopus' latest article on the newest theory, etc. etc. etc. Also, have a concise project in mind. Remember, you're not married to this idea, but you need to show the committee that you can ask the right kind of questions concerning your proposed research and that the project is something that the faculty could help you on based off of their interests and previous work. Do not make this project a carbon-copy of something they have previously accomplished, but a project that complements the research they have already performed. It is also highly advisable, since your job as a PhD student is essentially to perform lots of independent research, to demonstrate that you are capable of performing independent research. Although you want to show that you are a good fit for the program, you do not want to appear as though your adviser will have to hold your hand for the next five years. Hope that helps! I'm no expert, but these are simply my thoughts on the process.
  10. 3 points
    quineonthevine

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    This a thread for everybody applying this fall for admission in the fall of 2019. What are your areas of interest? Where are you planning to apply? What is your topic for your writing sample? What are your stats (if you feel comfortable sharing them)? Also, you should all join the Facebook group called "Philosophy Graduate Entrants 2019".
  11. 3 points
    ashiepoo72

    What's a good GRE score?

    There isn't any general rule, to be honest. I think a tippy top GRE score can be important at public universities for funding purposes (like you need 80th percentile or better on everything, including the quantitative section, for some university fellowships, and some departments struggle to fund students so these fellowships matter a great deal to them). I also think the GRE can "help" a weak undergrad GPA, but only if the rest of the application is strong. I had a mediocre undergrad GPA (like 3.44), but it was high in history (around 3.8), however I wanted to help my chances so I got an MA and had a verbal and written GRE score above 90th percentile (quant was in the 50s) so I felt like it balanced out--but from what I gather, the adcomms were way more interested in my statement and writing sample. Several profs, even outside of my field, specifically talked to me about those. This is anecdotal, but I know at least 3 people who got into top 5 programs with GRE verbal scores in the low 80 range. I will say, if you get verbal or written scores below 80 I would STRONGLY urge you to retake. And I would have retaken it if I hadn't gotten at least 90, just because I was very concerned about my weak undergrad GPA and didn't want anything else in my file that would discourage adcomms. To be repetitive, the written material is all more important imo. But once those applications are out of your hands, your power over the process is gone until you get acceptances. Might as well bolster your chances as much as possible while you can, especially because we can only guess at how important things like the GRE are and that importance varies from program to program.
  12. 3 points
    telkanuru

    What's a good GRE score?

    There may be a very small amount of merit in the idea that you can boost your app by increasing your GRE for applying to state schools, since the better (and competitive) stipend packages there are awarded more or less purely on quantifiables. But in terms of places you should be putting your effort, this is not one of them. I've said this elsewhere, but it's a hard lesson for undergrads to learn that not everything in life is fixable. Your ugrad GPA will forever be your ugrad GPA. It's a bit low, not catastrophically so (I'm at an Ivy with a 3.06 ugrad GPA), but it may close some doors for you. That's just life. But instead of trying to accumulate more quantifiables to somehow make up that ground (you can't) spend your time working on the actual skills you will need in life.
  13. 3 points
    AfricanusCrowther

    What's a good GRE score?

    FWIW, I got well below 5 on my AW score (don’t ask) and I did just fine (trust me). I wouldn’t let low GRE scores alone discourage anyone from applying.
  14. 3 points
    psstein

    What's a good GRE score?

    Not really, that's not how it works. I had a 3.44 when applying. My DGS told me that my recommendations/SoP made me a really strong candidate, not my GRE score. The 90th percentile verbal score and 5-5.5 AW score are simply barriers. If you don't get over them, the application goes straight into the circular file. If you do, it just means your application survives the first barrier, where the majority are weeded out. I'm not totally sure if this is true, but I know Harvard gets 500+ apps a year. I imagine that 300 or so immediately go into the garbage for GRE scores/GPA.
  15. 3 points
    telkanuru

    What's a good GRE score?

    GRE scores don't make you competitive for history programs. Just a bar to hop over.
  16. 3 points
    TMP

    What's a good GRE score?

    90th percentile. You're fine. https://www.prepscholar.com/gre/blog/gre-score-percentiles/
  17. 3 points
    _deat

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    Hey all, I'll be reapplying to several PhD programs this coming fall. I graduated with an MA back in 2013 and have somehow been able to keep afloat as an adjunct full time. My interests are in continental philosophy at large with a particular focus on the philosophy of art, aesthetics, ethics, and phenomenology. I'm not too sure what my writing sample will be, but I'll be hopefully auditing a course this coming fall and hope to produce something that will be workable for the application. I have a fairly extensive list of programs that interest me, but some of the top schools include UC Berkley's program in rhetoric, Stony Brook, New School, Boston College amongst many others. While I'm not excited about the application process I am happy to be going through it with others-- here's to getting to know everyone better as we do this together!
  18. 3 points
    Like others said, schools are often very slow. This is money that you are owed, so I would not give up on it. It makes sense to be smart about how much you want to push them, but you should continue to check in every few weeks or so until this is resolved. Graduation also has very little to do with anything. Most schools have fiscal years that match their government (i.e. US schools Oct 1 - Sept 30, Canadian schools Apr 1 - Mar 31) and even if the deadline is passed, most schools have processes to finish up slow claims as long as it was started / committed prior to the budget closed. By the way, in grad school and other parts of academia, you will constantly have to maintain good positive relationships with others, especially those in power over you, while consistently holding firm to your own beliefs and what is rightfully yours. If you don't then you will be taken advantage of and trodden all over. So consider this a good first step.
  19. 3 points
    I recommend that you focus on resting up. Your posts radiate exhaustion. Follow @rising_star's guidance for at least the first six weeks of your summer. Don't do a damn thing related to graduate school. Not a damn thing. (No, not even that.) Then slowly build moment for a few weeks, and then plan for at least one long weekend during which you do again don't do a damn thing related to graduate school. Don't get me wrong. At least once during your first year, you'll curse r_s and me. Those a-holes done me wrong, you'll drawl. And that's okay, because without resting up now, the inevitably miserable first year will be even more taxing.
  20. 3 points
    First of all: Congratulations on taking the GRE and performing better than in practices. That is a win and every win along this journey should be celebrated. So here goes: Of course you can still apply, but you might want to adjust the types of schools you're looking at should you apply this round. I don't know to what extent AdComms will go into the nitty gritty of your transcript (probably only if you're a fringe candidate). Bad GREs or GPAs can typically be made up for by other qualities, but these are usually either the other of the two scores or research experience. You are telling us that you have a well written SOP, but it is probably the content explaining your interest in, and experience with, research that matters much more than the sophistication of your writing. The same goes for your LORs: These are supposed to speak about your research abilities. From what you've written on here, I can't tell why you want to go to grad school or why you would be good at it (I obviously haven't read your SOP either). To be perfectly honest: With mediocre grades and scores and little research experience, you are probably facing an uphill battle. Of course that does not mean that it is impossible to get into a (good) school (as a lot of anecdotal evidence on this board proves), but your odds might not be great. Although this does not sound great, I don't think it should be reason to despair. From what it sounds like to me you might want to consider getting some more research experience before you apply (even if that means waiting another year). That should increase your chances and further help you figure out why (and if) you want to go into academic research. You need something to pop out of your application, and having figured out that you want to do research during on of your undergrad classes does not cut it for most of the AdComms.
  21. 3 points
    Honestly, I would give yourself at least a month off and maybe even six weeks. You need time to recover and grad school will be intense regardless of whether you spend your summer prepping or not. FWIW, I didn't spend the summer before my MA or the one before I started my PhD doing much to "ease" into the program. I did my MA in an entirely different field than my undergrad and, on the advice of my MA advisor, all I did the summer before was read three books they recommended to me (one of which was a novel, btw). The rest of the time I focused on relaxing, my mental and physical health and well-being, and trying to transition from undergrad to grad school so I would be ready to go in August. It worked and I was incredibly successful as a MA student.* *I went from the humanities for my BA to the social sciences for my MA, if that helps for context.
  22. 3 points
    telkanuru

    How many is too many?

    This is... not correct. Remember, as always, that the goal isn't to get into graduate school. The goal is to get a job when you get out of graduate school. Only apply to top-tier programs with good hiring records (redundant).
  23. 3 points
    psstein

    How many is too many?

    Don't think of PhD apps like undergrad apps. There aren't "reach," "match," and "safety" schools. They simply don't exist: grad admissions are much more arbitrary and based upon factors far beyond your control. If you're going to apply to mid-tier programs, save yourself the time and apply to funded MAs. I'm persuaded you're a strong candidate for a top program. If you write well, you've got a good chance. I'm not being overly dramatic when I say the difference between Columbia and Boston College could be the difference between a tenured job and adjunct hell. If you want an academic career, you're better off confining yourself to the best programs in the field.
  24. 3 points
    hector549

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    I'm applying. Just finished the first year of my MA. Interests are mainly in German Idealism/phil of mind. Right now, I'm hoping to apply to a lotttt of programs. I have a working list, but need to start winnowing it down.
  25. 3 points
    Hey, @indecisivepoet - I'm not punctilious but I have some info/opinions that might help you. I found the NRC rankings more useful than USNews precisely because they don't have one definitive number (like USNews does with the rank number and its corresponding 1-5 score.) The more holistic score gives (I think) a better sense of how programs are perceived IRL. Granted, the NRC rankings are now, what - ten years old at least? Bear that in mind. Also, USNews is not "updated" for this fall (it's the 2017 rankings, I believe.) When I first started thinking about programs, I looked most closely at the S-Rank, Research, and R-Rank columns. What I found interesting is that there are programs that score well in Research but not so much in R-Rank. I paired that info with the dept's strengths (which I learned from the websites/etc.) Doing so made me realize that some programs are generating powerhouse scholarship BUT - for myriad reasons - maybe aren't viewed that way by other programs. Could be that faculty at school A don't really know anyone at school C, so they don't have a favorable (or unfavorable) perspective on scholarship (so, like, if a 19th century scholar is asked about a program that really doesn't do 19th century scholarship, they probably won't have a high score to give.) Could be a handful of other reasons. So, if you're going to go down the rankings rabbit hole, I think the NRC is better than USNews because you can use it to learn a bit more about strong programs that you might not have otherwise considered. Beyond that, both of them are pretty much useless. My advice would be to skim both lists to see if there are any programs you hadn't thought about looking at, but then turn your attention to what kinds of info the programs themselves are offering and what kind of work the faculty/and students are doing. Re: handbooks - @Warelin is spot on. The handbooks explain what milestones you need to meet by when. And it gives you a sense of what kind of support is offered by the program beyond "we will fund you."
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