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Showing content with the highest reputation since 10/18/2009 in Blog Comments

  1. I call BS. Major BS. Do you have citations for any of these claims, such as how the GREs show that individuals are "naturally gifted" or willing to "work hard enough"? Or that "most people who think that the GRE is stupid and useless also have low GRE scores"? Have you ever heard of test anxiety? How about subject-specific intelligence? Or perhaps just thinking outside the box? This is the truth: the GREs are great at measuring one thing - how well you do on the GREs. The end.
    28 points
  2. While I agree to some extent with the above, I'm going to propose an alternate explanation. I really don't think the "Do you think I can get in x place with y profile?" is really a literal question. And so I think a big portion of the point is just missed. Going through the application process is terrifying, we are putting money and our lives in the air with a huge degree of uncertainty. We also know that MOST people who apply don't get in. We don't know if in less than a year we are going to be moving and leaving friends and family to pursue our dreams or if we will be desperately seeking som
    14 points
  3. What an unfortunate typo.
    13 points
  4. I could say this is idiotic, but only because it is so brash and narrow-sighted. I actually agree with your point when it comes to mathematically-oriented degrees such as engineering, math, and hard sciences. The quantitative portion should NOT be difficult (nor require much study) for the majority of people looking for graduate degrees in the more "empirical" disciplines. To risk using anecdotal evidence here, I have been out of my MA for three years, haven't taken a math class since 2006, and didn't study for the quantitative portion (because I am applying to English PhD programs). I sc
    13 points
  5. I got a 170V and 163Q. Is that high enough to hold the opinion that the GRE is bullshit? The verbal section tests whether or not you're a native english speaker. The quant section tests whether you've spent the money and time required to practice a very specific skill set for solving high school level math problems quickly. This test asks whether you're an American with money. And as you can see by my scores, I totally am. I got in to my program. It's all thanks to the ingenuity, hard work and dedication... of my grandparents who immigrated here and managed to accrue some financial s
    11 points
  6. These are great tips! I second everything about preparation, proper attire, and what the visit is normally like. Other general interview tips: - Reread all of your submitted materials - SOP, writing samples, anything else. Know what's in them. - Try and keep each answer you give down to 2-3 minutes, and set them up so as to invite your interviewer to ask follow-up questions. This is a great way to steer the conversation toward areas where you feel more confident. - It's ok to fumble and to be nervous. Thinking about answers to some common questions will help keep you going when you get
    10 points
  7. fuzzylogician

    SOP Jenga

    I once complained to one of my dissertation committee members that I was getting conflicting advice about how to structure my research statement for job applications. He told me that getting conflicting advice, especially on matters of style and structure, is very good news because it means that I am doing a good job and we're now down to personal tastes, which can vary from person to person. He said I should worry when everyone thinks I did something wrong and suggest that I fix it in one way or another. I think it was very good advice--it helped me accept that this kind of proposal is never
    9 points
  8. iExcelAtMicrosoftPuns

    Dark Times

    You have family. You have people who love you. You have your own brilliant mind. When you consider these - yes, things will be fine. Why are you allowing yourself to be tortured by something that hasn't happened? Plan on being accepted. Sure, have a back-up plan. But don't torture yourself assuming you'll get shut out. If it happens? Come to us. Let us tell you how silly it was for those universities to shut you out. Let us tell you that we genuinely care. That we still think you're brilliant.
    9 points
  9. "Most people who think that the GRE is stupid and useless also have low GRE scores." I have high GRE scores. I think that the GRE is stupid and useless.
    8 points
  10. ProfLorax

    Writing Awards Bust

    The first rejection/failure stings. No matter how rationally you can understand how this award doesn't demonstrate your abilities as a writer, the first one always hurts. I remember in my MA program; we had a peer reviewed and edited student journal, and each year, my essay was in the top quarter of ranked essays... but it always missed the cut to be published. The first time, this broke my heart. The second time, I laughed. That's the good news: I now just shrug. One of the hardest parts of our career is how abundant rejection is. Your abstract will be rejected from conferences, you will
    8 points
  11. Hi @ResilientDreams, First, I really admire the advice that you give on GradCafe, and you seem to have a great application. However, there is something about the message that I am getting from the blog post that is not sitting well with me, and I want to push back against. The idea that I am getting from this is that "my" achievements will be contextualized. In saying this, there is an implicit suggest that the person who has 10+ years of work experience doesn't deserve the same benefit-of-the-doubt perhaps in regards to GPA or whatever. It matters because it is an unhealthy way of
    7 points
  12. caryh

    It Happened

    I have to write something. I read this blog yesterday and was so inspired by your joy and excitement. I did not know I would "become" you the next day. This morning, like every other mornings in the past two months, I checked email before doing anything else after getting up....nothing there. I guess I would have to wait for another weekend which seems too long for me now. 10 minutes later, my phone beeped and I got an email to check website for admissions decision. I prayed like crazy and heart was beating. I got in. Thank you and good luck to everybody here!! The application
    6 points
  13. Aspiring Shrink

    Good Week Gone Bad

    Pea-Jay, That does sound like a bummer week, but you need to focus on individual victories, you got into NYU, that's huge. They generally have good funding, given the economic climate that may change but take one year at a time, after the first year I believe it's easier to get TA's and RA's. So even if your paying in full the first year chances are you'll have ore available to you the following year. Also work on your relationship, take your wife out and talk to her, so many relationships fizzle away due to miscommunication and lack of dialogue. You don't need to have all of the answe
    6 points
  14. Scored 90/73/93 percentiles. All I did to prep was take the practice exams. Didn't even bother to memorize any vocabulary (STEM background). Its useless. Had a classmate who only utilized standardized testing techniques they had learned for the SATs in high school. Didn't even bother doing any practice exams whatsoever. They got 99% Verbal with 90 and 90 on the other exams. The only thing the GRE shows is how well you can take the GRE. I'm glad that there's a movement to drop GRE scores from the application packet.
    5 points
  15. PhDerp

    Conflict

    Also, do you take notes at the meetings? Maybe you can write things down and spare a minute or two at the end for your advisor to look over them. Then she can clarify any misconceptions / ambiguities. I think communication is something you can practice and be strategic about. Good luck!
    5 points
  16. Pol

    My GRE Experience

    Will you marry me?
    5 points
  17. fuzzylogician

    All Topsy Turvy

    I think finances is a GREAT reason to make one choice over the other; it may not have been my only consideration (I ended up not choosing the highest offer), but I had made the decision long before starting on the application process that I would not even consider offers unless they came with sufficient funding to cover my expenses and allow me to live (reasonably) well. This is 5-6 years of your life we're talking about, and going into debt for a humanities degree just doesn't make sense when it's not clear that at the end of the day there will be a job waiting for you to cover the costs.
    5 points
  18. Hey cokoholik, I don't think his call means that you will only be considered for an MA now. If you're suitable for their PhD program, then they will accept you to their Phd program! And if they feel you'd be better starting off in the MA program, then they will accept you for the MA. I think he just wants to make sure you'd be willing to accept that offer. It's pretty late in the game so I have a feeling they won't be putting out a waitlist for their MA students. I used to be really against going to an MA program because I didn't like the idea of the financial instability that usually
    5 points
  19. Professors often encourage students to get as high of a GRE score because it can make up for weaknesses in an application. Additionally it is cautioned/advised that a really high quantitative score is required for graduate programs in many STEM disciplines. Many of my professors have expressed that as a strong engineering student, that the GRE quantitative section should be easy and should require ~1 month of preparation. This is a sentiment which is common among many in the STEM disciplines. Unfortunately, this has not been my experienced. I have never had a knack for standardized examin
    4 points
  20. Right, it's a non-brainer that the person with the higher GRE would get in, which is why we need to get rid of the GRE to remove the temptation to make a choice based upon GREs. It would force professors to have a much more holistic reason. I'll give a good example. I am learning Latin right now, but because I was applying to phd programs, I had to not study Latin for four months to prep for the GRE, which in turn tells the committees nothing about my success in their program. My proficiency in Latin would be a much more holistic reason to accept me than my unrelated GRE scores. At the very l
    4 points
  21. wuglife427

    Brush with Stardom

    My advisor sent an (unprompted) email to her friend/my POI at one of my top-choice schools, so I know how you feel! In order to keep myself from counting chickens, I'm just trying to frame it as, "Wow, I'm so grateful my professor was willing to reach out to someone for me. She must really think I can do this." So like, not necessarily letting myself believe I have a better shot at this particular university, but generally feeling more confident in my strength as an applicant. In any case, this is indeed exciting! Have a celebratory cookie or something
    4 points
  22. History is an interpretative and discursive (in the sense of discourse, not rambling) field. The first thing a professional historian has to learn how to do is "converse" with other works in his area of specialty. They have to learn how to critique and synthesize other historical narratives as well as incorporate them in his own. In the most of the classes I took at my masters program we would write a longer (12-16 page) historiographical essay that summarizes and critiques the major works(what kind of sources do they use, what kinds of frameworks do they use for interpreting those sources
    4 points
  23. 2 years sounds great and not at all hopeless. There is definitely time to turn things around, though you will have to approach this, I think, with a whole new attitude and really step up advocating for yourself. 1) It's a really good sign that your advisor recognizes that you need to specialize. I would request scheduling a meeting with her in the near future for a more serious sit-down (rather than just a drop-in) about your remaining time in the program, and future direction. Mention (tactfully) your frustrations, but also how you plan to remedy this. Bring up the need to specialize agai
    4 points
  24. One thing to keep in mind about this process is that as much as it might seem that you and your friends failed to receive offers due to overestimating your qualifications, a lot of it might simply have to do with chance - you might have been just as qualified as the people who were admitted, but due to factors outside of your control like which professors are taking on new grad candidates or going on sabbatical next year, you happened to be simply applying at the wrong place at the wrong time. I still do not think that a year or more of prep and multiple fellowships and publications are requi
    4 points
  25. You cannot measure motivation, dedication, and creativity- end of story.
    4 points
  26. I would endorse this call for more sources, if it is made in the right spirit: are there any studies that have demonstrated the effectiveness of the Revised GRE? However, if you want newer proof because you believe that evidence has a shelf-life, and thus anything over five years old can no longer be considered applicable, then I cannot support the motion; I think, even after thousands of years, the validity of Euclid's proof of Pythagorean theorem has not decreased in the slightest; and while it may be foolish to claim that TheFez has stumbled upon a truth we might consider "eternal," we
    4 points
  27. This is stupid, just like the GRE.
    4 points
  28. aberrant

    What If??

    I'd like to hear more about your perspective on this one.
    4 points
  29. Being realistic about the process can be depressing but also should make you realize that it's mostly not about you. I just got informed that it looks that most likely I'm out at my top choice of Stanford, after recieving an interview, for reasons having nothing to do with my merit. The proff just doesn't look like he'll be able to take a student this year even when he originally thought he might able to. There's so much stuff that goes on in this process that just reflects the crap shoot that it is. Some great candidates get overlooked, some bad candidates get lucky, and sometimes circums
    4 points
  30. naimulkhan

    Shattered Dream

    Hey hope for the best, you may still get in. But prepare for the worst also, and do not go to the other program with that attitude. Trust me, you don't know what might work out best for you. When I came to Canada as a Masters student, I had to go to my last choice, and I was miserable, but had no other option. And guess what? After 2 years and six publications in top conferences and journals, I could not be happier that I came here. I got a lot of research opportunities with several other professors than my supervisor, and because of my masters performance, I got into PhD from Fall 2010 under
    4 points
  31. Hello, I've never joined an online forum/community like this but I am looking for something, anything that will help me right now. This blog post stood out to me because I also struggle with feelings of inadequacy throughout my undergrad and graduate school experience. It always feels like my peers are one step ahead of me. I completed my masters degree and after working for a year started applying to doctorate programs. I am completely crushed to say I did not get accepted into any programs and feel lost for lack of a better word. Should I give up? Are my aspirations in research meaningless?
    3 points
  32. So I am naturally terrible at standardized tests. I had this same problem back when I was taking the SATS and it prevented me from getting into better undergraduate institutions. My GRE was 157V/152Q/3.5AW. HOWEVER, my undergraduate Institution requires Comprehensive Exams to graduate, and I passed those with Honors. Unfortunately, that was this past Fall and will not be shown on the transcripts I used to apply. The lesson is that GRE scores have no bearing on what you know about your science. Your GRE score only reflects how well you do on the GRE. That's it.
    3 points
  33. Hi! I just joined GradCafe and this was the message I needed to see. I'm finishing up my last year of my master's degree in English and have no publications yet. My GPA isn't that great and I'm taking my tests in the spring. I'm not applying to school till Fall 2020, but I'm so nervous. The worst thing they can tell us is no, right? And we can always keep trying. I'm glad that I'm not the only one that doesn't feel as confident in their current marketability to their programs.
    3 points
  34. Hi @sendmeadvice! Thanks for posting this, because I hadn't realized that my post may be taken in that way! My intention wasn't to minimize the accomplishments of people with more experience. It was meant to say that if you don't have that experience but have still given it your all, that shouldn't stop you from applying. We of course will be compared to people who are better and more accomplished than us, and learning to accept that is a part of life. I totally see your point about the contextualization, and I hadn't intended to imply that someone with years of experience will be he
    3 points
  35. People who think GRE scores are useless don't understand the point of standardized tests. People who think GRE scores are paramount don't understand the point of standardized tests.
    3 points
  36. politicalphilosophy

    Freak Outs

    I now feel normal.
    3 points
  37. guttata

    Poster awards

    Get over it. It's a presentation competition. Being able to sell your science is a huge part of your job and funding your work. If you can't sell yourself now, good luck on the job market - most of your colleagues in a given dept won't be working on what you do and you need to convince the hiring committee that you do cool/important/relevant stuff. The reward for doing impressive science comes from citations and recognition within your field. The two (relevance and presentation) are not necessarily linked, but it sure helps if you can do both.
    3 points
  38. That's interesting to learn about how different programs/fields have different perspectives on a PhD! In the physical sciences, it's all about jobs, which is really all about research. Instead of learning work habits etc. in courses, we learn this through hands-on experience in our research work and mostly through guidance of our supervisors. In our field we don't really worry about "high quality dissertations", instead, we worry about publishing papers. Most dissertations in our field are just a compilation of 3-5 papers that we wrote during grad school. They are usually verbatim copied into
    3 points
  39. Oh my goodness I was so scared! Glad to hear everything's OK. That's very nice of you, letting your mom steal one of your fuzzies.
    3 points
  40. What are you going to do with the cats tho?
    3 points
  41. Yay! Sounds like a fantastic plan! I hope you're wrong that you're going to get shut out this year. It's still so early, and you haven't heard anything from a number of schools you applied to. Fit is weird and maybe things won't play out the way you think. Regardless, I'm glad to hear you're excited about something new and filled with ideas and momentum. It's inspiring. I think this ability to refocus and persevere through major obstacles will be a boon to you in your future PhD program. You'll need these skills in grad school, from what I hear, so it's great that you're developing them now fr
    3 points
  42. gellert

    Group Sulking

    I watch Netflix or play video games. And wallow. And eat cupcakes. I also like watching zombie films. I don't want to really consider too deeply why that makes me feel better.
    3 points
  43. Very helpful! I'm going on my first admitted student visit next weekend, and will definitely be following your advice...especially re: keeping my questions handy.
    3 points
  44. TakeruK

    Like Watching Sausage Being Made

    I agree that the whole admissions process is very unpredictable and there is no magic formula that will guarantee success (other than to be awesome at everything and apply to a lot of schools). I think that the mindset "well, the GRE isn't important, so I shouldn't worry about it" is foolish, but so is the thought that "If I do really really well on the GRE, perhaps the committee will overlook other aspects of my application!" is also incorrect. I've also heard similar stories to the one TheFez presented here both by other students as well as being a part of a discussion about applicants with
    3 points
  45. mingyue

    What If??

    it is really a nice post which calms me down somhow
    3 points
  46. 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.
    3 points
  47. University of Dela...where? Haha - be prepared to hear that joke a lot from your snobby neighbors in MD/VA/DC (that would be me!) So happy for you cokoholik! You really deserved this.
    3 points
  48. Yeah, the bad news probably is that you can expect a rejection from those schools you haven't heard from yet. But! There may be a silver lining... Do you have any debt from your undergrad (or does your husband?) Obviously, I have no idea what your financial situation is (credit cards, car payment, etc.) and I have no idea what your husband does or what your annual income is together. So this is a hypothetical assuming all the stars aligned, so to speak. If you could take out a small loan just to cover tuition at this MA program and get away with only 20-30k in debt, that probably wouldn't b
    3 points
  49. psych77

    The last to know.

    I feel the same way you do. I spent so much time working towards this point in my career and education that it didn't even occur to me that I wouldn't actually get in anywhere...I'm wondering now...what was the point of obsessing about my grades, spending all of my free time volunteering in labs...etc. I've had all rejections so far, and the rest of my schools (according to grad cafe) have already held interviews (without me), so it's not looking good. Guess I should've spent some of that lab time working on a plan B as well. Hang in there. You're not alone.
    3 points
  50. circuitries

    Shattered Dream

    This is not the mindset to have in grad school, nor is "no other options" a reason to go to grad school. There are a lot of options to a recently graduated student.
    3 points


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