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Showing content with the highest reputation on 08/10/2017 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    The professor seems pretty clear that you should improve your Arabic before applying to the program. The "I and my colleagues have decided..." suggests this may be a policy now, perhaps a new one, explaining why there are currently students in the program with less Arabic than you. You got a very clear explanation of why this is now the policy, given the current state of the job market. Frankly, I would take this advice seriously because once you start the program, as she says, it'll be hard to get your language to where it needs to be. If that means that by that very decision you're going to make it very hard for yourself to get a job after you graduate, it seems wise to take the extra year or two to beef up your language skills and allow yourself a more successful career down the line. One or two years aren't going to make that much of a difference from the other end of a long successful career, but if not investing them properly can mean not getting started even, well, I think it's clear what you need to do. The only thing she says that you should pay attention to is the question of career goals; if you aren't interested in an academic career in the first place, things might be different.
  2. 2 points
    I was strategic in a slightly different way, but I think that my topic helped a lot with where I wound up being accepted. Rather than focusing on what others might do, I tried to pick a topic that aligned as many of my strengths as possible. I think that kinda helped make it unique naturally, if that makes sense. I've worked the most with Hegel and was most comfortable with his Phenomenology, so I wrote my sample on that (like @isostheneia!). But I also know ancient Greek and had taken courses in ancient philosophy and the philosophy of tragedy, so I wrote on Hegel's Antigone, where I could use some of my own translations and bring in ancient ideas as well as working with some contemporary secondary literature on Hegel's work. All the schools that accepted me had professors working in both ancient Greek and modern German philosophy and a smaller subset of them were really excited by the work in tragedy. So, I think the best bet is to write about something that you're confident that you can produce your best work in. Especially if it can pull together multiple strengths in a natural way, even better!
  3. 2 points
    A statistics PhD is for those who want to make original contributions to the field of statistics, such as developing new estimators and such. You will probably have a hard time convincing such programs that your research interests are a good fit. You might want to consider a PhD in economics, political science, or sociology depending on your research interests. Economics will certainly have the best chance at a good job and the best quantitative training, although it will have the most competitive admissions. Michigan has a joint PhD in social work and economics, but they are the only ones. I applied straight out of undergraduate and was not admitted to any joint MSW/PhD programs, although I attended a well-ranked master's program with a good amount of funding based on my research interests. What I realized was that there are vast epistemological differences across fields. Frankly, my experience was that certain fields like statistics and economics are based on quality of outcomes, while the individuals in those fields are more likely to have biases against traditionally disadvantaged groups. Fields like social work, education, and theology are basically about paying your dues, not making novel contributions. I don't think it's unfair to characterize my experience in my master's program as a bunch of busy work that constitutes a hazing process to make you feel like you got your money's worth and are part of the discipline. For the most part, it was going through the motions. There was very little opportunity to take advanced classes from other fields (apparently I was basically the first person to petition out of basic stats + basic research methods, and that was a real struggle by itself), and there was no time to devote to rigorous quantitative classes anyway. The classes we did take did not allow sufficient opportunity to integrate research. Outside of the top group of social work PhDs, it starts to look a lot like lower ranked programs in education and nursing that have begun to offer what can honestly be characterized as fake PhDs: programs that take your money in exchange for an inflated credential, while not actually teaching you to do research (which is the whole point of a PhD). This field, like education, basically requires a master's degree (read: debt) and having existed long enough in a related role to have paid your debts, regardless of whether you've learned anything. That means research ability is very unlikely to get you into an MSW/PhD program unless you have a master's (which, again, the master's in social work is not research focused). I was very clear when I came in that I was interested in policy and research. The faculty had not interest in what I was doing (many not being social workers and having been denied tenure from higher status fields, and others not having published in awhile). I ended up having to find a mentor outside of the program and was actually awarded an extraordinarily large research grant. This made some of the faculty in my program very jealous and upset. I left the program with several good publications - far exceeding the median number of peer-reviewed publications (roughly zero) of those who had finished their PhDs at this top-ranked programs. I realized that if I wanted to be the kind of scholar that I wanted to be, I would need to attend a PhD program in a different field. The opportunity cost of the PhD is very high, however, and there are increasingly fewer tenure-track positions. If you choose to pursue academia, remember that you don't need a PhD in social work (an MSW + a PhD in a field with better methodological training is probably preferable), and you don't need to be in a social work department to research social welfare or counseling. I finished the program and took a more quantitative public sector job with good work-life balance where I feel like I really get to have an impact on an everyday basis. Fairly soon my salary will exceed the average for associate professors at 4-year schools, and I plan to continue to publish without going back for the PhD. Really think about what your goals are and what you want to out of your career. (Disclaimer, of course, that I can't speak for other's experiences at my program or to what other programs are like.)
  4. 2 points
    I'd like to chip in with some extra advice. All sorts of teaching can be educational for TAs. In the worst case scenario, where the professor is actually a messy, unfair, dull cartoon, you can see situations that you would handle differently: the what-not-to-do situations. If this professor is in fact a bad professor (in what ever sense this could be), then you can think of ways in which you would do things differently. Here are a bunch of possible questions you can observe: Are they disorganized? (How would you organize your classes?) Are they unfair? How? (How would you handle the issues more fairly?) Are they boring/disengaging? (How would you engage students?) Do they have a bad presence in the class? (low voice, monotone, hiding behind desk, etc) You can imagine others. Also, the bright side of being a bad professor's TA is that you can meet with them periodically, ask questions about the reasons for ways they handle things, and even make suggestions. (Of course, this depends a lot on other factors. I TAed for my advisor so I was a little confident in making suggestions).
  5. 1 point

    Profile Evaluation-Low GRE AWA

    It's not great but fine, 160/168 is a great score and that's all that really matters. Many profs don't even look at AWA.
  6. 1 point

    Need help making sense of correspondence

    FWIW, I agree with F_L and take it a bit further. You're likely being told that you specifically will not be offered admission without improving your Arabic. IRT the portion of your OP that I've quoted, I very strongly advise you to avoid the path of finding the weirdness when you're given a point blank answer. Here's why. The students you describe may be the reason for the POI's response or they may be exceptions to the rule or they may be the beneficiaries of the benefit of the doubt. Without specific knowledge about their circumstances, dwelling on the inconsistency isn't the best use of your time and you can develop a reputation for being a barracks lawyer. In the strongest possible terms, I recommend not pursuing this course of action. I recommend that you thank her for her thoughtful reply and that you're going to take her guidance to heart (if you intend to do so). If you're still going to apply, simply thank her for her reply.
  7. 1 point

    Need help making sense of correspondence

    If you respect this professor, take her advice to heart. I have been told similar things about my Hebrew. i was super frustrated because I didn't need Hebrew for my dissertation. Some of the professors, however, felt it was necessary for our field. They had suggested doing a MA program to keep improving my languages, whether in the US or Israel. I thought for a bit and decided to get a MA in the US. Strangely, for complicated reasons, I ended up with Yiddish. I did keep in touch with such professors. Some were please d that I took Yiddish anyway; others grunted. The most disgruntled ones rejected me while others accepted/wait-listed me. Ultimately, I learned that improving my languages at all and picking up more coursework made me better prepared for the PhD. After i got into PhD programs, I learned that the Hebrew-focused professors were of "old-school" types who had studied Hebrew as boys and took their own education and gender for granted. #genderignorance Despite all this drama, they have come to respect me and my work as I progressed in my PhD program. While Hebrew and Yiddish aren't in huge demand as Arabic, keep in mind that our generation has taken serious interest in Arabic since 9/11. Arabic classes have always been full, or close to it. You will be competing against people who have been studying Arabic forever. I'll throw in another option: Go for Middlebury! Their Kathryn Davis fellowships cover everything. You just need to pay for your transportation to the Mills camps in San Francisco Bay Area and you're set to learn Arabic 24/7 for 8 weeks. I did it for Hebrew twice and it was always fantastic, if not very personally challenging. You'll also be around graduate students who are trying to improve their Arabic. It's a wonderful community.
  8. 1 point

    Fall 2018 Applicants

    Chiming in here, @syza if you're interested in policy, you might look into STS programs. I have a lingering suspicion that they parallel your interests more than a typical history of science program may.
  9. 1 point
    While transferring out of a top-level program isn't common, I don't see any reason why top stat programs wouldn't give your application serious consideration. This is one of the rare circumstances that the statement of purpose is really important; you want to be very clear about why you are transferring (and it sounds like you have good reasons to write about). Also, I would strongly recommend that you get at least one letter writer from your current program, and ask them to mention that you are leaving while "in good standing"; i.e., you aren't abandoning ship because you failed a qualifying exam, were caught plagiarizing a paper, etc. Basically, you want your advisor to say that they're really disappointed to see you go because you had a lot of potential.
  10. 1 point
    Yes, my degree was an MSW. Higher education financing is complicated and based on my experience, people in this forum seem to make blanket assumptions (like public schools are always more expensive). Columbia and USC seem to bury everyone in debt, but some of the other schools do have more money than they might admit. I got about 2/3rds from the school, and then I covered the rest with my research grant from my second year. I would apply to a number of fields and programs and see what the outcomes are. Also consider that you may be able to ask for more money at private schools based on other offers. I didn't realize your interests were clinical - economics and political science certainly make no sense then. I don't have any knowledge to comment on clinical psych hiring. I would be surprised if the market were worse for them, although I'm sure admissions is much more competitive. There's another thread somewhere hard about "Insights from a professor" that may address many of your questions, and that faculty member suggests going somewhere that's affordable even if it's not brand name. One of the caveats though is that even though you might be able to get a PhD in social work without a master's in social work, it will make it very, very difficult to get a faculty position because you won't meet CSWE's requirement to teach the practices courses (which is a master's in social work and two years of post-MSW experience). I would consider applying to other relevant field's PhD and integrating the MSW into the degree during your studies on a part-time or extended basis. If you go for an MSW first, you may find the debt and pay elsewhere to keep you from continuing along your path and the MSW will probably not be relevant to a PhD.
  11. 1 point

    Advice for a first year PhD student

    Any words of wisdom on the first few weeks and generally the first semester of your first year in a PhD? I will be starting up in about two weeks, so I can feel the anticipation building. I am very excited but I also realize I am in for some surprises. What did everyone learn? Did anyone feel behind right away? If so, how did you manage (besides, of course, simply getting over it and powering through)?
  12. 1 point
    I also realized I didn't answer part of your question. MSW/PhD programs, for the most part, basically exist for a very small number of midcareer professionals in related fields with a master's in a related field.
  13. 1 point
    ^ That's a useful thing to do regardless of whether the professor is bad or not. Not everything they do (that work or that don't work) will work for you, so it's always a useful question to ask yourself: how would you teach this class? What would you keep/replace/adapt? This is the case both when you TA and when you take a class as a graduate student, if you eventually want to teach a version of that class yourself.
  14. 1 point
    Generally, I would strongly suggest ignoring RMP reviews for any kind of decision making on your part. Students will form their own opinions, and those are only sometimes related to actual facts. On a practical level, it depends on how much work you want to put in. If students dislike the prof, they may come to you more or they may give up. If you are encouraging and open, you might end up spending a lot of time fixing what the prof broke. They may love you, and you'll get excellent reviews. Or they may blame you for everything that's wrong and whatever you do won't be good enough. There are also questions of how supportive the prof will be with solutions, resolving disagreements, and such. So short answer is, if you want to keep a low profile, you can keep your role to a minimum and follow his lead in how you treat the students, or you could present yourself as the recourse for any confusion he introduces. Part of it you have to play by ear depending on the class you get and its nature, as well as your relationship with the prof. (You also didn't mention how large the class is, what works for a class of 15 may not work for 150, and vice versa.)
  15. 1 point
    That was very informative. Thanks @JoePianist. I'll be sure to private message you if I have any more questions or concerns!
  16. 1 point
    Honestly, you're probably better off getting a PhD in a different field and getting permission to earn the MSW as part of that PhD program.
  17. 1 point

    Fall 2018 I/O Psy

    I believe you are in a good shape. Your research experience seems to be focused and identified, hopefully you'd be able to align that with POI from schools you plan to apply at. I would only advise you to take the GRE sooner so you would have a chance to retake it before the application deadline. Best of luck!
  18. 1 point

    SLP licensure in other states

    Just wondering what the process is like to get licensed in a state that is different from the state you're attending graduate school in? Is this a difficult and pricey process? Also, can you do your CFY in a state that you did not attend grad school in?
  19. 1 point

    Research in first year of undergrad?

    I had asked my American supervisor about this after my interviews, because when I interviewed in the U.S., I noticed a lot of people seemed to have post-bac RA experience. His assessment of the situation was that a good number of schools didn't really offer any sort of substantive research experience outside of a thesis. Assuming the OP is in Toronto, at least 2 of the 3 universities there have strong research programs and one of those schools have a ridiculous research culture. With that said, Canadian grad schools don't necessarily need post-bac experience (though doing a thesis for one year won't necessarily cut it), and aside from lab manager positions, there aren't any common post-bac options in Canada (unless you just continue to volunteer for a year but at that point you won't necessarily be getting more hours/responsibility), and the vast majority of post-bac options in the United States are out of reach because of visa/immigration restrictions. I've seen Canadians do it, but they'd have to be better than any of the American applicants for PI's to even bother with the hassle. @lucien if you can juggle research experience early on, do it. The earlier you do it, the earlier you can start asking to be given more substantive tasks (i.e., beyond running participants) or at least be able to get positions at labs with more involved RA's. Also the benefit of doing it this early, all the big Canadian programs (and some American ones) only looks at your last two years so you learn to adjust doing school work with research responsibilities during years where your GPA will count little for your applications. That isn't to say you shouldn't aim high for grades in your early years because that affects your ability to get into some programs but it's to put into context if your grades aren't "as high" as another person who didn't volunteer.
  20. 1 point

    Research in first year of undergrad?

    American here. I know that in my Uni a lot of professors expected you to take their class before you could even volunteer in their lab much less work so generally most people didn't start in labs until the second half of their freshman year at the earliest. The only exceptions were those who had existing research relationships from high school. I'm also pro 'wait-till-second year-then-take-a-year-off-after-graduating-if-you-don't-have-enough-experience' rather than have to deal with the adjustment to undergrad on top of a lab as I feel like your first year can give you some of the easiest throwaway classes you'll have. Many American grad programs (at least the more research heavy ones that I applied to) are now expecting 1 or two years post-bac experience from applicants so another thing to consider rather than volunteering your first year. But you have a better idea of what you can handle so go with what you feel is right.
  21. 1 point

    Research in first year of undergrad?

    I know a few RA's at my undergrad institution (in Toronto, so maybe that's where you are) who got positions in their first year, with one of them being hired as a work-study student over upper year students. Of course, they had very good resumes coming in with a lot of extracurriculars in high school (or were more mature students) so the lab managers were more willing to give them a chance because the primary concern they had was whether a first-year student would be able to handle adjusting to a university workload while working/volunteering for the lab. If you don't have amazing extracurriculars but want to help out, I think another thing that would help is to read the publications of the professors you want to work with, and in your application, reference these publications in your reasons why you want to work with them specifically. Most profs have their publications posted on their websites as PDF's so it shouldn't be that bad, and if you limit yourself to reading things within the next 5 years it should be more accessible (older articles had this tendency to...use obfuscating language). You should look at the professor's websites and see their instructions for applying for RA's, and set your sight towards volunteering rather than getting a paid position in your first year, since the first-year work-study student I knew was just exceptional in their credentials. Your best bet for a position is a social psychology lab as a lot of the research involves human subjects; the work itself is simple, but requires a lot of people working on them simply to run participants. I would recommend applying this early as it puts you in a good position to get paid positions if they become available, or to be accepted for independent projects for credit (which are honestly GPA boosters for the most part as long as you do work).
  22. 1 point
    I submitted that post! I submitted my application on December 15th. I wasn't really expecting to hear anything until March, so getting my results on Feb. 6th came as a bit of a shock. When did you submit your application? Good luck! Did you apply anywhere else?
  23. 1 point
    I am third year now but was a first year when I read this post for the first time. I cannot begin to explain how helpful it was and how thankful I am to @juilletmercredi for having taken the time to write it. I feel compelled to repost it and encourage those of you who haven't read it, to do so. Save it in your laptops and go back to it every now and then.
  24. 1 point
    I also have to disagree with NicholasCage's comment. 90-95 percent of academic institutions in the United States are teaching-focused institutions; therefore, most of us will end up there. Your teaching skills are going to be an important part of the hiring process at those places. Plus, even research-intensive institutions would rather have a professor who can connect well with students AND is a great researcher than a professor who is a terrible teacher (unless that second research has mad money). My advice: 1. Don't spend an inordinate amount of hours preparing...well, anything for class. Learn to limit your prep time. Part of that is because the students are going to ignore a lot of it anyway, but most of it is because you need to learn balance early in your career. For example, I have a tendency to do line edits on students' papers, so I try to limit myself to editing only the first page to a page and a half and then add a comment like "You have errors like this throughout your paper; please proofread and fix." 2. Related to #1, learn to wing it. I create slides for my lectures but I no longer write extensive notes. I actually find I lecture better when I don't have notes, because then I'm more free-form. And I don't just mean talking extemporaneously - I mean switching gears when your students look bored or aren't getting it. As you get more experience this will become easier. 3. Create an organizational system for grading. Buy folders or binders or trays or whatever you want to organize 1) graded papers 2) to-be-graded papers for different classes. This way you won't have paper all over the apartment, which drove me absolutely nuts. You also will be better able to keep up with assignments, lowering the risk of losing one. If you have a choice, absolutely collect everything electronically through the course management system. Forget all that paper. 4. Totally agree with not assuming that upper-level students know how to write properly. If you are at an elite university, do not assume that your students are automatically good at whatever it is you're teaching them. I was kind of shocked my first semester TAing at the quality of work I got from students at my elite university - I went to a not-elite place and assumed that the students at the elite place would be simply amazing, since the students at my not-elite place were great. And they are amazing...in different ways...in the typical way that college students are amazing in their ingenuity and creativity (both for good and evil). But they're not substantially smarter or better than students from other, less elite institutions. They're just richer and better prepared (on average). A few years ago my younger sister asked me to help her with a paper that was very similar to a paper I was currently grading for a class very similar to the one she was taking at her regional public college, to which she commuted from home. My family is blue-collar; she went to a regular public high school and was a slightly above-average student. Her paper was better written than MOST of the students' papers in my class. 5. If you are TAing for a professor and it gets down to 2 weeks before the class starts and you haven't heard from them, contact them yourself. Most times you will get an apologetic "Oh yeah, I'm teaching a class!" If you get a brush-off equivalent to "Mmm, I'll think about it in two weeks," prepare for an interesting semester. I think the most important to remember is similar to what hashslinger said. Remember that we were the nerds in high school and college - we showed up shiny and excited to learn. Particularly if you are teaching an intro class, your students will not be as excited as you, and some of them will never get excited. They may be taking it because it's an easy GE requirement, or they need some extra credits, or they heard it was an easy A. Perhaps 10% of your class will decide to major in the field; maybe another 10-20% will not but will be genuinely interested. The rest will be some varying levels of "whatever." Visualize that 20-30% when you are preparing lectures, but realize that not even close to everyone is in that area and some people will be grubbing for grades. Oh, also, don't be afraid to indulge in geekery, as long as you don't go down the rabbit hole too deeply. One of the things that has reached my students is how geeked and enthusiastic I am about my interest area. Even when they think I'm silly and uncool, they still appreciate my passion, and in some of them it has led to really productive curiosity. ALSO. I lurk on the "In the Classroom" threads on Chronicle of Higher Education's forum. There are lots of experienced professors there and they have AWESOME advice (and really funny stories).
  25. 1 point

    Getting off to a good start

    What I've noticed that tends to give a bad impression in past first year students in our program. Some of these, hopefully most of these, should be really obvious. Don't focus too much on classes, and not enough on everything else. Courses should be a minor part of what defines you as a graduate student/researcher. When your life revolves around courses, and you spend hours not in the lab because you're "studying" for courses we all know don't need that much study time, it makes you seem like you don't really get what grad school is about. While it's obvious, act like an adult. Be professional in your interactions with people, own mistakes you've made and move on without too many excuses. Don't be the guy that can't get over the fact that he now knows people who are married/have kids/are in their 30s. That said, treat your work like a job. You're getting paid to take school seriously and do research. If you show up at 10, go to a class, hit the gym for 2 hours and leave at 3, you likely won't make good impressions. That said, you don't need to make school and your work the entirety of your life. Along with that, lean how to be at least a little bit social. You don't want to be the new department party animal (well, you might, but that's on you), but you also don't want to be that first year who never does anything social with the department, and leaves all the department functions early/doesn't come. Don't be too cocky. Sure, you'll hear some of the 4/th/5th/6th year students talk critically about a seminar speaker in their area, or a faculty member deconstruct a colleagues research. That doesn't mean you should always do the same. Don't be the first year who talks about how some of the faculty are deadweight/have bad research/aren't as smart as they are.
  26. 1 point

    Think the GRE is useless? Think again.

    I studied for 2 weeks and scored over 90th percentile on verbal, I still think the GRE is stupid. I know plenty of people that are probably more intelligent than I, have better academic pedigrees and did not do as well. Doing well on a standardized test is only a measure of one thing, how good one is at taking standardized tests. The only good measure of academic ability in graduate school is to take graduate level classes and see how you do. In many universities this can be done while still in undergrad.