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  1. 88 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!
  2. 42 points
  3. 32 points
    Hi all. Tired of waiting for graduate committees’ decisions I estimated decision timelines myself based on gradcafe data. For each university and program in albums below you will find three graphs: Decision timeline as a cumulative sum of decisions (accept, reject, interview, waitlist) as a function of time between Jan 1 and May 1 for the last five years combined. Boxplots of GRE Q and GRE V for people who reported both scores. Histogram of GPAs (from 2.5 to 4.0 with 0.1 step). Here is the list of programs I analyzed (some important notes below): Computer science PhD https://imgur.com/a/cXaEs Computer Science MS https://imgur.com/a/u3joC Electrical Engineering PhD https://imgur.com/a/ra3Eh Electrical Engineering MS https://imgur.com/a/KUGrD Economics PhD https://imgur.com/a/NzlYm Economics MS https://imgur.com/a/JfgSk Statistics PhD https://imgur.com/a/mB5UC Statistics MS https://imgur.com/a/tXowL Mathematics (applied and pure) PhDhttps://imgur.com/a/d0821 Chemistry PhD https://imgur.com/a/U5x91 Physics (applied and pure) PhD https://imgur.com/a/35tTy Chemical Engineering PhD https://imgur.com/a/Tng2r Literature PhD https://imgur.com/a/LDKpT Anthropology PhD https://imgur.com/a/d5ub4 Bioengineering PhD https://imgur.com/a/RpTSD Philosophy PhD https://imgur.com/a/ihoGS Biology PhD https://imgur.com/a/FWhoD How to use the graphs? I used this data to decrease my own misery. Now that I know decision timelines of universities and programs I applied to, I can refresh gradcafe less and concentrate on more useful stuff more. Also, it is interesting to explore differences between different universities/programs. For example, some universities do gradual accepts rejects/accepts and others do it in waves. Some programs start early (chemistry) and some — later (CS). Keep in mind, that there may be errors in my analysis so use this data at your own risk. How reliable are timelines? I personally trust them (but I am biased). In general, it depends on curve shapes and available data. If there are more than 100 observations overall — I would consider that data to be pretty reliable. If there are characteristic ‘steps’ — it is a good sign because may indicate internal deadlines for waves of accepts/rejects. But the number of admissions/rejections records in the data is definitely inflated by question records (i.e. ‘to poster below: what program?”). I filtered some, but definitely not all of them. Also, bear in mind that department policies can change. How reliable are GRE/GPA? Somewhat reliable. There is noise, mistakes (i.e. switched Q/V) and self-report bias. For example, salty people with good scores may more likely report rejections and lucky people with low GPAs may less likely report accepts. But for some universities which publish admission statistics (for example, Duke), calculated GRE/GPA medians are pretty close to reported averages (I didn’t calculate means, sorry). Also, we can’t affect GPA/GRE right now, so it is mostly for entertainment. How did you do it? Scraped and parsed all gradcafe results. Selected all records from Jan 1 2013 to May 1 2017 and combined data for all years together, so all data is based on five year period. For each university and program in question I built a cumulative sum of decisions as a function of days since beginning of the year. For analysis of GRE I only chose records which included both Q and V scores. For analysis of GPA I used only 4-point scale grades and didn’t convert other scales to it (i.e. 10-point). Selection of universities/programs was done by regular expressions so there can be some noise added by incorrect parsing. For example, “University of Washington” may both mean Seattle and St. Louis. I tried to avoid it the best I could but there can be mistakes nonetheless. How did you choose universities/programs? Voluntarily, so there are a lot of omissions. Sorry, if your university/program is not there. Also, bear in mind that programs may overlap (for example ‘Computer Science’ and ‘Electrical Engineering’). Finally, I excluded uni/program from analysis if there were less than 30 observations. Will you share your code/data? I am thinking about it, but undecided yet. Hope it helps and good luck with the admissions!
  4. 32 points
    Oklash, I empathize so much with you. Please don't give up on yourself. Please don't even consider the thought of hurting yourself or worse. You deserve life! You deserve happiness. You can and will find your path. But I know that sounds so much easier than it is actually done. But please, listen to me: I have been where you are. A few years ago, I applied to graduate school and got rejected at 6/8 programs. This crushed me. None of my top schools seemed even remotely interested. I was rejected swiftly. One acceptance was to my safety school. One acceptance was to a good program, but no funding. I was living at home. I didn't have a source of income. I was in a very bad relationship, which was ending. I didn't think the amount of loans I would have to take out to go to school and minimally survive was a good choice. I just couldn't bear the thought, and I said no. This devastated me. I felt like such a fuck up. I spent hours and hundreds of dollars to apply to these schools. It felt like such a waste. My parents were pressuring me to move on. They didn't exactly see what this meant to me. I dreamed of going into academia. I really wanted to teach. And I felt like it would never happen for me. I felt like a crucial part of my identity was lost. They told me to get a job somewhere and move on. The only job I could find was at K-Mart. Meanwhile, my professors and advisors told me, "There's always next year. This happens. Just try again." Try again? As if this is easy? As if this is affordable? It's neither. This process can be soul-crushingly difficult. It depressed me. I spent months deeply, clinically depressed. Not many people understood what I was going through or had the bandwidth to relate to me and talk to me. I felt so alone. But, I chose to just adapt and to go on a totally different path. It was not easy. I changed career tracks. I didn't like it. I still don't. I struggled to find work outside of retail, but eventually did. It was meager, however. Finally, I met my then boyfriend (now husband). I began to learn that life is not linear. Life often does not make sense. The path is arduous and twisted and broken and frightening, but sometimes, there is method to its absolute madness. I would have never met my husband had this all worked out the way I had hoped. I also realized that your career does not have to be the only way you find fulfillment in life. There are ways to engage in your love and research interests outside of academia. Focus on finding those things. Focus on filling your life with people who you connect to and can confide in. You need support during this process. You need friends and love. And sometimes, that is the greatest fulfillment in life. Like you, I have a BA in English and philosophy. I felt really unemployable where I was living in the Midwest. But when I moved to a metro area, I suddenly found I was very employable, just not in anything I deeply care about, which has been okay temporarily. I have worked in an off-shoot of my field, and I have spent time building my resume with professional experience. I have saved up money to apply again to graduate school and fund some of my education, should I get in. I spent years preparing to try again. And, in that time, I focused mostly on healing myself--repairing the broken confidence, proving my commitment to myself, and polishing the skills I need. My time away from school and this process has honestly been so well spent, and I have hope it is paying off. My advice for your situation is to consider doing those things: take a year or two or three to build your resume; consider moving to a metropolitan area where there are more jobs, if you can afford it; stay committed to your field through independent study, research, and attempts at publication; research different programs, maybe try a completely different batch of schools; seek out professionals in your field to provide you constructive criticism on your applications; find friends and a support circle; find other hobbies and things that make you feel good; focus on your mental health by seeking medical attention, talking to a therapist or loved one, taking a break from this process, taking a vacation (or stay-cation), taking up a new hobby, trying new exercise, etc.; and finally give yourself a break. Listen to all of us in your shoes. We are all struggling. You are NOT alone! You are NOT a failure. You should not blame yourself so much or feel so worthless. It's just NOT fair to yourself. Give yourself some credit for all of the hard work and effort you have put in. Give yourself credit for taking a risk and trying again. Look at how far you've already come. You are GREAT. Please don't forget that! <3
  5. 28 points
    PSA: As acceptances start to roll in, this is just a friendly reminder to everyone from someone with lots of contract experience, NEVER ACCEPT A POSITION UNTIL YOU HAVE YOUR FUNDING PACKAGE IN WRITING (unless, of course, you are not expecting funding). Even if it is your top choice and you've been dying to go for the last 20 years... I cannot stress enough; get that s**t in writing.
  6. 28 points

    2018 Acceptances

  7. 27 points

    You are GREAT!

    In a few weeks, you'll find out where you're accepted, rejected or waitlisted. By now, I'm sure you're experiencing all sorts of highs and lows. This is a very stressful process. Sometimes, all you want is some news because you're starting to feel down about the process. Big News? You're alive. -There are currently seven billion people alive today and the Population Reference Bureau estimates that about 107 billion people have ever lived. -Having just a few coins makes you richer than most people on Earth. -You are unique and nobody in the entire world is like you are -The opportunity to attend school is something many people don’t have. (Which makes having a college degree even greater!) -Most people lack a bed of their own to sleep in -Many people on earth lack access to clean water. -Cell phones make talking to loved ones easy. -You have friends that will always have your back. (And if you don't, message me. Let's talk. And if you do, let's talk anyways) -You can enjoy pizza. Or Ice Cream. -There are people in your life who love you more than you could ever know -The Internet, n'uff said? But in all seriousness, try not to compare yourself to others. We have a tendency to look at how great the lives of other people are going without realizing the stresses they're hiding. No matter where you get in or don't get in, please be proud of yourselves. You've worked incredibly hard to get to where you are. An acceptance doesn't determine who you are and a rejection doesn't make you lesser than. It just means not this year. You might realize that your passions change over the course of a year. And you might discover those new interests are really interesting when you do reapply. You might discover some universities that previously rejected you might accept you the following year and viceversa. Lastly, a word on rankings: USNews rankings for English are determined by 14 percent of respondents who were department heads or director of graduate studies. As such, it's hard to take rankings those seriously when a lot of the rankings are based on "name brand". Most departments are only paying attention to a few select schools and placements may vary considerably across specific interests. Follow your heart when making a decision. Happiness is the number one thing that will make you succeed in a program and that happiness will translate to the quality of work you produce. Good luck all. You're going to do great!
  8. 26 points
    I got an acceptance today and cried. I'm going to grad school, y'all ? Sharing this process with all of you has definitely helped make this crazy application process a lot more bearable. Wishing acceptances on everyone!
  9. 26 points
    Crow T. Robot

    2018 Acceptances

    I GOT INTO BROWN!!!!!! I am speechless. Massive congrats to everyone who's gotten good news over the past few days while I wasn't checking this thread as closely. Y'all rock.
  10. 25 points
    Friendly reminder that if you’re an applicant, even if it’s your second year of applying, you have absolutely no right to tell someone that a piece of their application must be weak if they aren’t getting offers. That’s not how the clinical psych world works. There are more competitive applicants than there are spots, so a lot of it is luck. Social capital also comes into play, so check your privilege. End rant.
  11. 25 points

    Interview Advice

    So, here's my advice from my experience 2 years ago when I was in your shoes and applying to Clinical Psych Ph.D. programs. I applied to 10 sites, got 6 interviews, and got into my top choice. This advice isn't a "hard-and-fast" guide for everyone, even in clinical, but I think these tips are helpful (even if they've been stated before). For phone interviews: Honestly, I dressed pretty casually for these because I personally wanted to feel comfortable. Some will say dress for success. You do you, honestly. Be in an area, like a bedroom, where there is minimal background noise. I also advice to use a good pair of headphones with a mic, if possible. Have a note pad and pen to take notes from the conversation. At the top of the note pad, write down before the interview at least 2-3 questions that you have, as well as anything else you think is relevant. Speak calmly, and take a breath before you answer the phone. Skype interviews: Wear at least business casual. I actually usually wore a suit (I am a male, so that's a wide difference honestly). Again, I'd advise to skype in your room or somewhere that is quiet. If your room doesn't work, I advise finding a quiet place at work or a library in a private room. Again, wearing headphones can help with quality of your speech/hearing your interviewer. Same rules of notepad and pen apply as before. Look at the camera lens, not at yourself or the PI on the screen. Looking at the camera feels weird, but it means you are making eye contact. In-person interviews The agendas for campus interviews vary WIDELY. Some places will be a short day of interviews with a handful of people; other sites will have 2-3 day extravaganzas with parties, interviews, campus tours, etc. Plan your wardrobe accordingly. Unless stated otherwise, you should be in business formal for all of the interviews, and business casual for all of the dinners/parties. At the parties/socials, DO NOT (and I mean this) get drunk or out of control. That's pretty much an immediate ax from the committee. Generally speaking, just have a few drinks if you'd like (or don't... nobody cares), and socialize with current students, other applicants, PIs, etc. BE NICE!!! It often helps, especially with other applicants, to talk about pleasantries and stuff going on, as well as shared interests OUTSIDE of psychology. Nobody wants to get into a metaphorical d*ck waving contest with you, and the grad students interviewing you, especially, will not look favorably on that. This goes with the above, but if you are staying with a host or really whenever you are interacting with grad students, you should be on your best behavior. You should be polite and respectful of your host student's home, and it is often nice to bring a small gift from where you are (less than $5) and a thank you card. While you should and can ask candid questions about life as a grad student, the culture of the city/university, faculty-student dynamics, etc., you should probably think at least a little bit before you ask questions or say things because they can, and do, get back to the PIs. For example, a student I hosted my first year as a PhD student who was interviewing for a lab that was not my own told me about how he had "6 interviews" and my school was his "4th choice." As it was pompous and completely unprompted from me, I relayed that information back to the PI because ultimately PIs want to make offers to students who actually want to come to this university. Same rules apply for skype/in-person interviews. Try to have 2-3 questions per person you are scheduled to interview with during your visit. These help if you get stuck on questions to ask. You can often ask the same question to multiple grad students if you are, for example, having conversations with every lab member. Bring a book or something fun, non-academic to do during down time. Depending on the agenda, you can often have hours of down time during the actual interview day, and if you are an introvert like me it can be relieving to just read a book or do something that does not involve talking to people. It is always good to bring deodorant, gum, and mouthwash in your purse or backpack/satchel to the interview day. If you are like me and sweat bullets when you are anxious (e.g., in interviews), it can be helpful to have these handy. This list is by no means comprehensive, but just some thoughts that I have from my experience on both ends of the interview table. Feel free to comment and ask questions or PM if you have something specific you'd like to know about. Most importantly, YOU DESERVE THIS D*MN INTERVIEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The PI reached out to YOU, meaning that s/he thinks you'd be a good potential fit for your lab. Keep that in mind and just be yourself.
  12. 25 points

    2017-2018 Application Cycle

    I got into Maryland Holy shit I thought I was going to strike out. I'm so freaking happy right now. I actually don't have to go back to Japan now to do PhD work.
  13. 25 points

    2018 Acceptances

    GUYS. Just got a call from USC. My first acceptance. Glad I let it go to voicemail because I would have cried :')
  14. 24 points
    Very happy to report that I signed my soul over to Stanford last week! Now to learn how to surf...
  15. 23 points
    This is my third round of applications so I understand how easy it is to get down on yourself when those invites/acceptances aren't rolling in. For me, it is a constant process of reminding myself how competitive these programs are and reminding myself to be proud of my accomplishments up to this point. Even just following through to submit 18 applications is a HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT! I barely survived doing 10 this year... Your value is NOT dependent on your acceptance into a program or your recognition by a school. Every single one of us applying to these programs shows a tremendous amount of commitment and dedication to bettering the quality of life in our society and that is something to be proud of in itself. Each time you go through these application cycles you become smarter, stronger, and a better person by learning patience, how to manage anxiety, and how to process rejection. Most of all, I just remind myself that rejection is a universal experience, one that is felt by EVERYONE at some point in their life. Knowing there are others out there, in the exact same position, experiencing the same wave of emotions as I, gives me confidence that we will all come out on the other side as better people. Be your own #1 cheerleader and remember to also build yourself up and not just your applications. Confidence will naturally follow, even in the face of self-doubt and rejection. ❤️
  16. 23 points
    Okay, I'll voice the possibly less popular opinion. Your responsibility is to yourself. You don't have to stay with him and you are not responsible for getting him better or for educating him. You need to take care of yourself. If you do decide you want to try and stay, I think it's of utmost importance to get support from others. Can you involve his family? friends? do you have a support system around you to take care of you, if you need it? If he wasn't always like this, something must have triggered this, and maybe you can help him through it. Whatever it is, though, you shouldn't do it alone, and you shouldn't let him take it out on you. This sounds like a situation that requires professional help. I know that posting here was probably already hard enough, so maybe the next step is for you to find counseling on your own, maybe through your school, before you think about talking to him. Figure out your resources and support network, then come up with a plan to confront him. I hope that there is no fear of physical violence, but if there is, let me repeat again: your responsibility is to yourself first. Make sure that you are safe, and take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. If that means you need to leave him, I think that's totally understandable and no one from the outside can judge. And if you choose to stay and try and fix it, again I hope that no one will judge and that you can find the help you need.
  17. 23 points
    Colorado State: "Apparently you don't even have to apply in order to be rejected from certain schools. What a cluster F it must be over there that they're emailing people who have simply requested information that they're 'rejected'."
  18. 22 points

    2019 Acceptances

    It's about that time I suppose! I was notified via email from the chair of graduate studies of my acceptance to U of Illinois- Urbana Champaign PhD program...."champaign" befits this evening's festivities for me! Good luck to everyone...it's getting real!
  19. 22 points
    boutta make a burner email account to anonymously ask all my programs where they're at in the review process
  20. 21 points
    I emailed my POI from the interview I had last week at UN-Lincoln. She responded and apologized for the delay and cited the polar vortex-- but she said I am IN!! This is my first acceptance and I am over the moon!
  21. 21 points

    2019 Applicants

    I would very much like to know where/if I am going to graduate school !!
  22. 21 points

    2019 Applicants

    Hi everyone! Long time lurker here! I posted the UIUC acceptance. Still in utter shock. I applied to many, many programs and I'm surprised that the first one I've heard back from is an acceptance.
  23. 21 points
    Well, the first round of application deadlines has come and gone, and soon your applications will be in the hands of admissions committees at programs around the country. From the outside, the process likely seems pretty mysterious, so I thought I would give an overview of how I review PhD applications. DISCLAIMER #1: My approach does not necessarily reflect how other admissions committee members perform their reviews. DISCLAIMER #2: This description applies to PhD applications, where the goal is to identify and rank the most promising applicants; the process is different for Masters admissions, where the goal is to figure out whether applicants meet a given standard. - The process begins when we receive a list of applicants whose applications are ready to be reviewed (i.e., they are sufficiently "complete"). For each applicant, we typically have access to individual documents (transcript, letters, research statement, etc.) along with a combined PDF file that has all the relevant information. - First, I get a feel for what type of applicant this is. There are five common types: domestic students coming from undergrad, domestic students attending Masters programs, international students attending US undergrads, international students attending US masters programs, and international students attending undergrad in their home country. I'll also note the institution(s) attend(ed). This sets the expectation for what I will be looking for in the application. - Next, I'm likely to notice standardized test scores. Both are going to help me start forming my impression of your application. Basically, I'm looking for anything concerning (e.g., a low GRE quant score) or particularly impressive (a high verbal and/or analytical writing score); if they're in the "solid" range, I don't pay much attention to specific numbers or percentiles. - One of the things I pay closest attention to is the transcript. I'll start by doing a quick scan to get a rough sense of overall performance; then I'll look more carefully at the courses. I'll start by looking at how many math courses were taken, and how well the applicant did in them. If there are some lower grades on the transcript, I'm interested to see whether they're mostly in "heavier" courses (such as organic chemistry) or "lighter" ones. In evaluating the transcript, I very much keep in mind the institution attended; if I've never heard of a school (and I've heard of a lot of schools, through my experience in admissions), anything less than a near-perfect GPA is likely going to be an issue, and conversely, if an institution is known for grade deflation, a lower GPA might not be fatal. - At this point, if there is anything unusual in the transcript or the rest of the application that seems to beg for an explanation, I'll take a look at the personal statement. Otherwise, I'm unlikely to give it much more than a quick glance. - Last come the letters of recommendation. The vast, vast majority of them are quite positive, so I am looking both for subtleties in tone ("this student was great!" vs. "this student was A-MA-ZING!") and for specific distinguishing details ("this student received the highest grade in my class, by a mile" or "within 3 months of starting to work with me, this student was operating at the level of a PhD student") that add information beyond what I already got from the transcript and test scores. I pay some attention to the academic rank and seniority of the letter writer (the statement "this is the best student I've ever worked with" means more coming from a senior full professor than a second-year assistant prof), but don't recognize most of the names so am not often "impressed" by the stature of letter writers. - Now, it comes time to score the application. At our institution, we use a categorical scoring system with options ranging from "I strongly object to admitting this applicant" to "I strongly support admitting this applicant". In assigning the score, I keep in mind the total number of people we are likely to admit (which is determined by projected available funding, and discussed before admissions decisions are made), and I try to give "supportive" scores to about this number of applicants. I keep a mental note of applicants that I'd like to discuss with the full admissions committee, particularly if I suspect my score is likely to be substantially higher than my colleagues'. - The last step involves the admissions committee discussing scores and ranking applicants. Our initial ranking is based on the average score assigned by committee members, and from this we can usually identify some "obvious" admits and rejects. Then, we discuss the remaining applicants and determine our final ordering.
  24. 20 points
    Hello! This is the Ghost of Waitlists Past! As someone who was waitlisted and ultimately admitted, I wanted to share a few reflections from my experience. Being waitlisted is the worst. Your application cycle has been dragged out even further. You feel a weird mix of joy and defeat. My inner saboteur kept telling me, "I was good, but not good enough." At the end of the day, you may not get admitted despite all this added anxiety. These steps, though, made me feel like I had done everything I could do. 1. If you want to be on the waitlist, re-affirm your interest. I do not just mean replying to the DGS's waitlist email saying, "Yes! Keep me on it!" (Though you should do that ASAP.) A week or two later, I also sent a formal letter to the DGS, i.e. 2 short paragraphs in an email with a Dear XXX and Sincerely XXX, re-affirming that the program was one of my top choices. Keep it concise and do not repeat anything from your SOP. This might only be one short paragraph. However, here are a few other things you might want to mention: 1a. If this program is your first choice, say it. When I submitted my PhD applications, I was fairly confident this program was my first choice, but after having a few more months to reflect, I was now certain. In my letter, I said that and stated that I could confirm my attendance if admitted before the April 15th national deadline. This is a big commitment, so only say this if you are going to commit to that. When April 15th barrels down on the adcom, they want to offer admission to students on the waitlist that will accept their offer. Some adcoms will have a ranked list of waitlisted students, and this gesture may not do much. However, if your program's adcom does not have a ranked list, this may help. 1b. Tell them about any admissions you have received. Some DGSs will ask for this, but either way, be sure to mention which programs admitted you! This makes you a more attractive candidate, and if those acceptances are from impressive programs, it could spur them to review your file to see what they might have missed. Plus, it also alerts them that you will need to know before April 15th since you have an offer on the table. 1c. Any updates to your CV since you applied? After submitting my application, I had a few CV additions. I had a paper accepted for a conference, I was awarded a competitive grant, and I had another line of employment to add. I included those in my letter since those, like admissions to other programs, could spur some review of my application. Even if you do not have updates like that, you can still tell them about other things. Still in school and finished your fall semester with a 4.0? Tell them. Was that conference paper or publication listed as "forthcoming" on your last CV now given/published? Tell them. Did you finish a project at your job that seems relevant to the program? Tell them. The point here is not to brag, but to affirm that you are a hardworking candidate that could bring something special to the cohort. 2. Ask the DGS what the waitlist procedure is. Some will tell you up front and in detail how they select students and how frequently they will update you about your progress. Some will be more opaque. Either way, you have the right to ask questions like, "How does the committee select students for admission from the waitlist?" and "Are waitlisted students able to visit the department, either at the open house or individually?" 3. After you send the letter of interest, keep in contact with the DGS, but do not overwhelm them. This is where it is hard to be prescriptive. You will have to judge what is too much or too little contact. My suggestion is to err on the side of too little contact since you do not want to overstep. I would especially refrain from asking for updates. Instead, restrict yourself to major CV additions, i.e. other admissions, publications, professional conference presentations, or awards. I received my waitlist notice in late February/early March, and after I sent my letter of interest, I sent a total of two other emails: the first informing the DGS about two awards I had won, and the second – two weeks before that big April 15th deadline – asking for an update/re-affirming my interest. 4. Update your LOR writers about your waitlist status. You should be keeping them in the loop about your application cycle anyway, but if not, tell them about your waitlist status. When I told them, one of my letter writers was very generous and offered to write to a faculty member on my behalf. Not everyone is going to have that reaction, nor should you ask it or even expect it. (I didn't!) However, informing them gives them the opportunity to take more action if they can. You can also ask them if there are any steps they think you should take. During the application cycle, I ran the suggestions in this list by my letter writers, and they approved of them, giving me more confidence to do them. 5. If you have been admitted to other programs, evaluate those offers. Go ahead and start narrowing down any admittances you have. For now, treat the waitlist as an admittance. As you evaluate your options, you might decide the waitlisted program is not your first choice. If, however, you feel like the waitlisted program is your first choice, then hold on to it and decide which of your current offers is your first choice. Once you have selected your top admitted program, decline your other offers. Then inform the DGS at the top admitted program that you have been waitlisted at another, especially if you plan to wait until the April 15th deadline. When contacting the DGS, I affirmed that I was impressed by their program and would be excited to attend, but that I was waitlisted for a program that was a better fit for me and intended to wait. The DGS appreciated my transparency and that she could prepare for potentially notifying people on their waitlist. Remember, you are not the only one on a waitlist! 6. Be patient. The hardest thing to do on this list! In order to offer admission to students on the waitlist, the program has to wait for enough admitted students to decline their offers. Programs often admit more students than they expect to take, so even if one or two students decline their offers, the program may already have a fully realized cohort. Programs usually see major movement in late March/early April when students admitted to multiple programs have attended their open houses and have reflected on their experiences. Then, the DGS will begin sending out other acceptances. You could receive an offer of admission before then! You could also receive your acceptance after April 15th. I did not receive my acceptance until the day before the April 15th deadline. In the moment, it was nerve-wracking. However, because I had not officially accepted another offer, things went more smoothly for me and the two DGSs. If push comes to shove on April 15th and you still have not heard from the waitlisted program, you have to make a choice. It is your choice, but if you are seeking advice, I would strongly recommend taking the admission you already have. You truly do not know if you will be admitted until you get an official letter. 7. In short, always be passionate, courteous, and brief. Each email you send matters and reflects what it would be like to work with you. Now that I am on the other side, I know at least one reason I was admitted was because I was determined and respectful. Proofread everything you send. Keep your emails short. Sound enthusiastic and professional. Good luck, my fellow waitlist survivors!
  25. 20 points

    Fall 2018 Applicants

    I can tell you, more or less, how admission works at Ivies. I am now at a top 10 ivy, and got accepted to one more. My supervisor volunteered to tell me how I got accepted. And I was also told by one POI how admission works to explain why I got rejected. At Harvard, Columbia, and Princeton, there are admin committees. Committees are assembled at random and are rotational. These committees are made up of professors culled from different subfields. These are the people, if you get accepted, will remember your application with striking accuracy, and they will make small talk with you during visiting days. I am almost certain the DGS is not on the admin committee. Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia get about 400-500 applications each, of those only about 50-75 (sometimes 100) are good ones. Those get ranked by GRE, GPA, etc (such as, grants, awards). Yes GRE verbal matters. It doesn't matter for all committee members, but good students do get rejected for a low verbal score. You don't need a perfect score, but a decent score. MA gpa trumps BA gpa. LORs are very important. And Languages! My cohort, Americanists included, commands at least two languages, at least! Most have three or four under their belt. You are expected to sit for your language exam in September. But it's the SOP that makes or breaks your app. If your SOP is compelling, and fits with the general theme of the history department, your package is sent to your future supervisor (whomever you named in your SOP), and other professors in your sub-interests. You need sub-interests, which signal you can work with a few professors, not just one, who may retire or die or you just don't jive with. Committees know this. Students who have very particular singular interests, and can only work with one single professor, and no one else, tend to get rejected. Even excellent students. Your (future) supervisor and other professors (in your secondary field/s of interest) review your app, and approve or reject it. If they approve it, it goes back to the admin committee to be discussed further. At this point, it is up to the whims (and I kid you not WHIMS) of the admin committee to narrow the list of candidates further. Your supervisor and professors in your sub-fields who read your SOP and file, can exert some pressure on the admin committee to get you in. But to an extent, and usually only faculty with endowed chairs. Again, to an extent. Once you make it to the top 40 or so candidates, and you get rejected or waitlisted, know it is not a reflection of your potential, but the people on the admin committee the year you applied. If they specialize in French or British history, and you have a sub-interest or have background in those regions, you may get accepted. If you have an LOR whom the head of the admin knows because both attend same conferences, and like each other, you may get accepted. Also know, committees know students change their interests once they get in. I did, dramatically, and I know other students who did as well. That is why admin committees do not strictly choose students by their professed interests, or the presence of a POI in the department. They choose students with accolades, proven ability to do historical research, and ask critical, and probing questions. Cohorts are themed. It is rather strange but I find that each cohort has students that somehow connect with each other, not directly, but generally. So say, most have an underlying interest in global studies, or transnational history. Someone on this forum mentioned that historians are now more transnational rather than strictly regional. That is true. I notice that it is becoming more and more passé to focus on a single region. It narrows down your job prospects. Committees also choose candidates with an eye to the future. How will those students fair on the job market 6-7 years down the line, with a singular interest? If you don't get an interview, don't sweat it. Most people are not interviewed, unless specifically indicated on the relevant school website that they will be solicited for an interview! If you get an interview, cool! If you want to get into a top-history program and you are not successful in this cycle, don't settle or despair, but apply again next year (of course, if it is within your financial means to do so). Committees change from year to year. Best of Luck!


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