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Showing content with the highest reputation since 08/24/2017 in all areas

  1. 8 points
    Hey there! I just started classes this week and I can definitely say I've reframed my whole way of thinking. The whole being older thing seems to matter not one bit and I'm taking my boyfriend and daughter to a departmental BBQ this weekend. My cohort is very nice and supportive and we are all commuter students, so it seems that social outings will be well planned but worthwhile. Everyone knows I'm a parent and even though I'm the only one among the group it seems like it's no big deal. I'm very happy with the group I have. Given that we're all commuters I'm actually considering holding some sort of social event at my apartment now to get us all together. Long story short I worried quite a bit more than I should have :-)
  2. 8 points
    You and I were born in the same year, and I also have a child. Based on my own experience, I would tell you that you may be able to get by without friends, but you'll make life harder for yourself if you don't have allies among the other students. These are the people who will share their successful fellowship applications with you, pass along their lecture notes when you're sick, cover for you when you have a conflict, etc. Please do your best to be openminded and humble -- just because someone is a decade younger than you doesn't mean you two won't connect, or that he or she does not have a lot to teach you. I wish you luck!
  3. 7 points

    Fall 2018 Applicants

    ALCON-- September has been turbulent and is racing to a close. October will have surprises of its own. Do what you can to stay focused on the tasks at hand. Keep working to finalize your list of schools. At least institution on your list should be a dream school. Focus on areas of overlapping interest among faculty members. Focus less on POIs--professors move on, retire, decide not to take additional students, end up being disinterested in graduate students, or just end up not liking you. Trust but verify information that you receive from the schools to which you're applying. Keep developing relationships with confirmed and potential LoR writers. Go to office hours if possible. Have intelligent, informed conversations about the craft, your interests, and your goals Make sure the conversation demonstrates that you're genuinely interested in the person to whom you're talking. If you're not, she will absolutely know. Keep your letter writers informed of your deadlines WITHOUT being a nag. Some (many) professors will wait until the last minute to submit your letter. Figure out a way to touch base without being a nuisance. Keep banging away at your SOP. Fine tune versions for specific programs. Edit for clarity and concision. Stay within proscribed page/word limits. Demonstrate that you'd be a good fit in the program. (If you focus too much on how the program fits your needs...yikes.) Express an appropriate level of interest in potential research projects. If you're an undergraduate and you indicate that you know exactly what you want to do a a professor, you're putting the horse in front of the cart. If you're currently a graduate student, you should have a clear idea of your fields, preferred methods, and (somewhat) likely area of focus for a dissertation. Unless you're an Americanist, you should be working on your language skills. Keep working on your writing sample. Stay within the page limits. Make sure that it demonstrates your ability to connect your research interest(s) with the existing historiography. Stay focused on your current classes. If you're currently in a graduate program and working as a TA, remember that undergraduates are counting on you to do a good job. If you're working in the private sector and haven't told your bosses that you're applying to graduate school, start developing your exit plan now. There are many threads on this BB in which different perspectives and tactics are discussed that may be helpful. To the extent possible, put aside the concerns of the external world. Yes, things are going badly in the world, but when has it ever been otherwise? Keep in mind that you're competing against applicants who are so focused on their goals that they have zero idea what's happening outside their fields of vision. have never heard of this BB because they can go to a professor or a graduate student and ask questions directly, and will get into their top choices. It's your mission to kick ass and take names this application season and then in the following years (in a professional not bitter in the least kind of way, of course).
  4. 6 points

    Fall 2018 Applicants

    Hi, @VAZ De-emphasizing one's interest in a particular POI in your SOP does not rule out building a relationship with said SOP. Keep in mind always that a department is a black box to outsiders. You may like Professor Xavier. He may think you're the next Jean Grey and want you to be admitted. But Professors Eisenhardt and Richards may have other ideas They may hold a bit of a grudge over something, and have more pull. "We have plenty of X types already, let's be fair and balance things out a bit. Starting now," they say as putting your application in the stack of "no." Your guy may not be up to the trask. He may not be interested in standing sentinel over your application. He might think his colleagues too green with envy as he considers a standing invitation of an endowed chair at the Imperium University. And it is exceedingly unlikely that he'd have told you. It's not like he can read your mind and know how trustworthy you are. In these kinds of scenarios, if your SOP is mostly about working with Xavier, you're exposing yourself to avoidable political risk. If you phrase your SOP in a way that simultaneously highlights what Xavier, Eisenhardt, and Richards have in common, then you're talking more about the craft and about fit than about departmental politics and personality clashes. (Did I stretch things too far in the examples above? Would I have been better served just mentioning the fallout between Genovese and Gutman?) Here's the part you and others may not like. A growing dynamic in the House of Klio is that more and more established professionals don't like teaching. Anyone. Should this dynamic alone deter anyone from applying to a program? Glah. I don't know. Most of what you're going to learn you're going to teach yourself anyways. You're not really going to get a sense of a professor's view of teaching and mentoring until you're actually in a program. And X factors like life changes and interpersonal chemistry can tip the balance one way or another. If you pick your programs carefully, present yourself as a great fit, and acquit yourself well enough when you get there, there will be other professors who will want to work with you. IRT the liking/not liking a professor and vice versa. I'm a big believer in chemistry. Yet which would you rather have--an advisor who snarls "That's Professor Logan to you, bub," doesn't like your jokes but finds ways to help you maximize your potential or a professor who says "Hey, call me Wade. Let's go to dinner," and let's you do what ever you want and doesn't motivate you to expend maximum effort? (That's the last one. For this post anyways.) (You're right, it's not either/or, but the two spectra overlap best for an individual is hard to know until one gets there. And eventually, you're going to want someone in your corner who is going to tell you to STFU from time to time and save you from yourself.)
  5. 6 points
    Forget "completely original thoughts." If your research concept doesn't overlap to some degree or another with other scholars in your area, you're either thinking too narrowly, or you're not in the area you think you are. I've been writing the first chapter of my dissertation the last few months, and one of the most important things I've had to learn is that an intellectual discipline is a conversation. You are entering into it to contribute, not to eviscerate your competition. Read widely in your area, follow back footnotes, don't get defensive when you come across something that either seems to "steal" your idea, or contradict it. Instead think about your place in the conversation. Do not feel the need to recapitulate the secondary literature of your area in your writing sample - in fact, avoid this, using only what you need. If you were already completely versed in your area, you wouldn't need to get a PhD. My partner has recently been reading the book They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing and says it's been very helpful in this regard. I plan to take a look when she's done. Looking back, my writing sample wasn't even remotely original, but it showed that I had potential. If you were capable of busting the lid off of your discipline already - again - you wouldn't need to get a PhD. I recently got some advice about dissertation writing, "Do not think of it as the last great thing you will write, think of it as the first good thing you will write." If that applies to dissertations, then put the writing sample in perspective. Your originality is far less important than your potential.
  6. 6 points

    Fall 2018 Applicants

    I think there are two separate issues here. 1st, it may be the case that there are not many historians, at institutions where you would want to apply, who are taking students, who are also working on things like the war on drugs — I assume you mean in the 1980s, which is recent enough that historians may not have really turned their attention to it yet, hence why your searches come up empty. But this isn't really a problem. Applicants get hung up about needing an advisor who studies their exact project, but it's not as important as making sure that your broad, overarching interests align, so I would, as you already have, look for departments where there is an established contingent of people, not just one or two, thinking about criminal justice and race and social policy in the US. On this point, have you considered Rutgers? I'm a Europeanist but I know that race in the US is something we're very strong in. 2nd, and this is what @Sigaba is getting at if I understand correctly, is that searching for faculty is not the same thing as searching the literature. Just because there are not many historians at institutions where you want to apply does not mean that there is no work going on in the field, so if you make that statement in an application you'll raise eyebrows, because of course the war on drugs has been studied by people. Law professors and sociologists and anthropologists, yes, but that's all highly relevant for you, and probably what your own work will build on in the future. The value of searching the literature is two fold. First, you might actually find the names of more historians that you can work with. Faculty pages are notorious for not being updated to reflect what people actually do. Second, you'll see, across a variety of fields, who is studying what aspects of your topics, the contributions they have made, where there are still gaps, etc. You don't mention if you have institutional access anywhere, but you are in Des Moines — my hometown, actually! — and Drake has a good library and law library that you can use if you have an afternoon free. See what books are available on your subject there and leaf through them, looking at footnotes and introductions, what people have written about, what people are saying to each other. You may be able to get a guest or community pass that will let you use their computer systems, for the purpose of looking at articles. I don't think at this stage you need to have a huge understanding of the literature; I certainly didn't. But you should have an idea of what's come before you, even if it's not historians per se, and absolutely you ought to have an idea about what you want to say about your topic beyond the fact that you want to study it. Usually, reading the literature helps you clarify this point, because once you see what other people have done, you can articulate what it is you want to do differently. That is valuable not just for your SOP but for yourself as a scholar.
  7. 5 points

    How to get through grad school

    This strategy helped me survive a 20 hour a week GA ship; working 16 hours a week; full-time grad classes, and an additional part-time teaching job while I was a commuter from 90-120 minutes away from the school. So, not in SLP, this may help a bit. 1. Write out your self-care needs. It may feel weird to have this prioritized as number 1, but that’s the only way to stay healthy enough and focus long enough to make it through grad school. What are things you need to feel energized and healthy? Do you need interaction, sleep, working out, etc.? Make a plan that includes all the necessary items to keep you healthy. Mine included: No less than 6 hours of sleep for any more than 2 days a week. I just don't function well and would crash for about 12 hours the following day. Snacks. Lots of little snacks and nibbles throughout the day a 'home' to come back to. I was willing to travel 90-120 minutes one way if I came home to my cuddle-y cats and loving boyfriend These times were untouchable until right before finals. Then, I was sown together solely by caffeine and luckily had a boyfriend who shoved under my face to remind me I had to eat. He was also nice enough to wait to watch any of our shows until finals ended. 2. Worker smarter, not harder. Consider what you can bundle. When you can choose research articles, choose smarter. Have articles that really cross over into multiple subjects. Overlap projects, roles, whatever you can. My plan looked similar to this: My GA-ship and internships allowed me to research class articles and read during downtimes (such as if a client skipped out on me). That would give me maybe an additional 6 hours in a week I would take notes at work of experiences, anecdotes, stories that reflected course material and discuss those notes in class discussion time Most of my research papers had overlaying articles from other coursework. I wouldn’t copy the papers, but I would use one article to inform about 6 different papers, and back up those professional observations. I started taking public transit more so I could read, watch class videos and write papers during the trips. Writing client notes immediately after every session. I ended all sessions 10-15 minutes before the next one to carve out the notes quickly. They were more accurate and make me less overwhelmed at the end of the day. I still usually have 30 minutes after everything was done at the internships to go back and fill in any gaps, or add any observations I thought of as the day progressed. One I wish I had, but couldn’t make work: more study groups and group notes. I’ve heard of people taking notes via google docs (in a group document), and that sounds like a fantastic idea to me. 3. Have a plan realize you won't keep that plan, but it was a nice idea. No, this isn't hyperbole. I know a ton of people who said they had a 'schedule' but they never kept to it. It included blocks of time to study, work-out, you name it. The only benefit of writing out the plan was seeing if I legitimately had enough time in the day, or if I had to just to step 4. 4. Be realistic. If you legitimately cannot keep your schedule as it is, something’s got to give. That might mean dropping hours somewhere, dropping to part-time classes, etc. This is when you schedule with an academic advisor to discuss how and where you should refocus your energy. I hope this helped, at least some what!
  8. 5 points
    IME, time management in grad school is largely a process of triage. you can't do everything as thoroughly as you will want to do, or believe you should, so you have to prioritize the most important things and figure out where else you can save time. for example, your readings class may have 7 books a week. you don't say if the readings class is directly relevant to your exam field or not, but consider that in class you will not touch on every single article. consider that you will not touch on all the details in all the articles and books you're assigned. consider that you will not even have to speak about every single book in a class discussion. so, triage. can you figure out why your professor assigned these seven books? usually they're there to speak to a particular theme, or highlight a thread of historiography that's been impactful in the field. what books will be most relevant for your research personally, or what books do you see yourself being tested on? focus on those and read them the most carefully. if you sense a book could be on your exam list, write a summary of it so you can refer back to it later. give everything else a skim so that if you're asked about it, you can at least get at the main argument or topic in a sentence and you won't be caught off guard. your professors may have you write summaries, reading responses, or discussion questions, which sound like a lot of extra work, but are actually a really useful way to direct and focus your reading, so don't be afraid of those. writing a 3 page response about the week's readings forces you to look at the big picture and place books in conversations with each other — probably one of the most important skills you can develop — and you'll have something to refer back to later. that's the kind of mindset you need to be in: what is going to be useful going forward, what do I need to do week-to-week to tread water, and what is essentially not worth the time? it's so easy to get bogged down in tiny details, but you have to look at the big picture. on the whole, I live and die by my calendar and my kitchen timer. set clear limits on how long you're going to do a task or how long you're going to work. when you have a lot of readings and tasks, plan them out ahead of time, working backwards from when the things are due. for example, I had a class that met on Thursdays. the professor wanted us to write a 3 page response to the readings each week. that meant Wednesday nights I was writing the response. Tuesdays I read the articles. Monday I read the book. On the weekend I prepared for the classes that met on Tuesday, and so on. sometimes you'll find yourself with only a sliver of time to do something. the trick is to not panic. prioritize, triage, take deep breaths. everyone else is in the same boat as you. and it really does all get done.
  9. 4 points
    Someone is messing with your head, and if he's a permanent fixture in your life, you need to find a way to remove him. Not only was it an unhelpful and mean thing to say, it also doesn't sound like it's rooted in any fact. You have a good GPA and some prior research experience. You have two projects that two separate professors consider publishable and will presumably praise in their LORs. That should allow you to write a strong and targeted SOP. You should have a strong writing sample based on one of these papers. You should have strong LORs, from all I gather. If you write a focused SOP and choose your schools wisely based on fit (+ get a decent GRE score), I don't see any reason why you shouldn't aim high and be successful. Cut the hurtful person out of your life and look forward with confidence. No guarantees or promises, but no reason to be overly negative, either.
  10. 4 points

    Fall 2018 Applicants

    There's also the possibility that some people are less responsive in general, or else that it's an implied disinterest in working with you. I never got a response from a place that I thought would be one of my top choices. Because of that I decided to save my money and not apply at all. I recently had a chance to meet him. He was less than kind and I was happy to realize I'd dodged a bullet by not forcing the issue when I was applying. (He didn't remember me or my email, and I didn't remind him). Of course I'm not saying that this is always the case, it's true sometimes you just catch someone at a busy time and they accidentally overlook your email. Just something to keep in mind. Someone's responsiveness to an interested applicant's email might give a tiny bit of insight into their responsiveness as an advisor.
  11. 4 points

    Starting PhD...in 30s?

    You might want to educate yourself about respecting women, yes. Why is it surprising that women want to be treated as human beings that have value beyond their reproductive organs?
  12. 4 points
  13. 4 points

    Schools and Controversies

    Don't do that. If you've taken the time to look up the grievances against Manning, then you've seen that she uses feminine pronouns. But, I understand your point and I tend to think in the same way. It makes a difference if it's an institutional issue or if it's a smaller division of the university.
  14. 4 points

    HGSE 2018

    Hello, everyone! I am a devout gradcafe lurker, who has finally decided to apply to HGSE! I have attended two HGSE Diversity Recruitment evengs, and have talked to dozens of HGSE alumni, and I would like to share with you some of the info that I have collected over the years: - H is not "a perfect place but it is a special place" - Mohan Boodram, Assoc.Dean of Enrollment & Student Services - "H doesn't have outliners here. H has a home for everyone" - M. Boodram - Goal of HGSE Admissions office: fit is paramount. We want to make sure that you are at the right place - "Warmth of the community and authenticity of the people" -- Julia Deland -"Power of peer learning experience" -- Julia Deland - HGSE professors are easily accessible to students even before you enroll into their class. They want to make sure that their classes fit your interests -You can cross register at MIT & Tufts - Statement of purpose is VERY different from personal essay. Statement of Purpose is about your professional achievements & what you have done with your life & why you want to go to HGSE, and NOT about intimate/personal story - Go through 460 pages of HGSE course offerings to decide on which to take. It will blow your mind. - Your A.W. score is very important as most of the HGSE courses are writing intensive. - Get in touch with a student ambassador from your program. They give info on things that can't be found anywhere online. - Explore what you can do during J-Term (if you are planning on taking it). - Explore things that are unique to HGSE (J term, class with Sesame Street producers, class with Project Zero creators, for example). - Start your essay ASAP because most of the programs require lengthy, detailed answers. Essay for PSP, for example, is up to 1500 words. - Attend webinars. You get answers to questions you haven't even thought about it. - Sign up for HGSE Twitter and Facebook accounts to be updated on what the school is doing. - Message the alumni of the program you are applying to. They are super helpful. - There is actually no cut off GRE score or GPA.
  15. 4 points
    In addition to all the good advice above, know that this is your first semester! Professors in general are very understanding of new students' struggles to find their footing. They will cut you a lot of slack. Do not, do not try to achieve perfection. Try and relax if the other students "seem" to be more well-prepared, especially if they are further alone. Try to listen more than talking. Let your positive attitude drive you. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. Professors are most interested in seeing improvement over time. If this is your first time TAing, do not try to do too much. Know that there will be plenty of opportunities to get good at it but it's not the most important thing on your list (but grading and turning back assignments ASAP is). This semester will be all about getting your feet wet, nothing more, nothing less. First year isn't *that* much harder than any other years but it feels the hardest only because everything is new, from your books to the administration to the department culture to figuring out the health insurance. By your second year, you will have a different set of challenges but you will have the routine stuff down pat.
  16. 4 points
    Also, make sure you are admitted to a new program before withdrawing from the first. If necessary, you could probably negotiate a leave of absence that will keep your options open.
  17. 4 points
    @gsc comments on reading for argument and enabling one's readings to be in conversation with each other resonate with my experiences and the guidance I received from professors. I am not sure I agree with the tactical guidance that gsc provides. I understand that the intent is to help establish boundaries. But a tactical doctrine (how one does things day to day) should ultimately support the strategic objective (what one is trying to achieve by pursuing a Ph.D. in history--to create new knowledge that advances our understanding of the past). I think what I'm trying to say is that there's a lot to be learned through serendipity--the book a shelf down from the book you want from the library, the article referenced in a footnote that leads you off the beaten path--can put you in a position where you need to make a snap judgement to put aside the egg timer and spend the next few days trying something different. Please do leave yourself open to those opportunities!
  18. 3 points

    Fall 2018 Applicants

    I haven't had the time to support everyone on here as much as I would have liked (this will likely be the worst semester of my academic career). I wanted to wish everyone the best of luck and not to stress the details too much. You can only prep your application so much, and it is likely that events and considerations outside of your potential will largely play into your acceptances or denials. Try to roll with the punches.
  19. 3 points

    What could I do with my program?

    Although you're disappointed with the response you received, in the long run you may be better off where you are without the credit transfer. Based upon my own experience--I "transferred" from one program to another--it's my guess that your department at A wants to make sure that you're taught to their standards rather than the school where you earned your MA. I recommend that you stay where you are and use the opportunity to deepen your knowledge and to avoid "double dipping" on the work you did at your previous school. Insofar as communicating your sense of disappointment with the timeliness of the decision, I recommend that you think carefully before saying anything. In a perfect world, you should have gotten the information sooner. In the Ivory Tower, your discontent could get you read as someone looking to game the rules.
  20. 3 points

    Starting PhD...in 30s?

    It's sad funny just how many of these your post hits.
  21. 3 points

    Need help making sense of correspondence

    Everyone so far has been dancing around the ideological question here, too. With the rise of subaltern studies, post-colonial studies, etc., in history of the past six hundred years or so, it is no longer considered complete to study only the conquerers, only the imperialists, only the invaders, and to speak and work with only their language(s). There are, of course, exceptions: when the less powerful groups' language(s) are dead, especially if they don't have much of a textual tradition; if the less powerful groups' members have all become fluent in the hegemonic language (think many indigenous groups in the US, if you want to study their history e.g. 1945 to present); and sometimes if you're dealing with an extensively multi-lingual group. Some suffrance is also granted to accessibility—because fewer universities offer Nahuatl than Mandarin, more Nahua-specialist graduate students enter with poor Nahuatl than China-specialists with poor Mandarin. None of those apply to your field. Take this: That's not a defense—rather, it throws up an extravaganza of red flags about your research project itself. Thirty years ago, when your professors were getting their PhDs, maybe just studying French colonial officials' reports was considered enough to get the full story. I don't doubt that the language expectations were less intense! Academics' standards for "the full story" have, however, improved. I'm not saying you can't do a cutting-edge, rigorous, award-winning research project on North Africa whose body of primary evidence is written 90% in French. (Although it sounds like access to recent Arabic historiography is still an issue.) When—not really "if"—your research takes you to Arabic-language sources, however, you must be able to handle discovering complexity in them. To respond to your most recent post, like, okay, I think we can be flexible about "excellent" word choice, if that's what's throwing you. Maybe you don't need "excellent" Arabic. Maybe "really good" is sufficient. At this point in academia, though, it seems clear that most places, "just okay" is no longer enough. Maybe it was five years ago, when the older graduate students were applying! It does sound like there's been a broader expectations shift, however. Like @telkanuru said, you may find an exception and find admission to a PhD program in MENA history. You are still likely to have difficulties later, though, whether in completing the dissertation (quickly?) or in competing for jobs—and it's one of those situations that it sounds like the department you originally emailed is responding to. This would make a master's a wise plan, or one of those all-Arabic all-the-time summer courses; if my friends who take Arabic have given me much indication, at all but the most intensive places, two years of Arabic is about equivalent to one, or not quite one, year of French. I'm guesstimating, but it sounded like four years (or equivalent) was about where people got good enough to start a PhD. It may not sound right, but it's quite true that the PhD doesn't leave enough time for language study to count on your abilities improving dramatically.
  22. 3 points
    Thank you both for your thoughtful advice. I really appreciated your fresh perspective. No one else is spoken to presented suggestions quite so well. If anyone is curious about how it turned out, I am pleased to share. I did ask my advisor about the situation, and she too voiced a concern that the coordinating professor for the teaching position might be offended if I asked to quit in the Spring for a research position. My advisor especially noted that as a coauthor I needed to be extra careful in handling this. However, she instructed me to speak with the coordinating professor immediately and be upfront in assuring said professor that if it inconvenienced or upset her that I would absolutely turn down the research position with no questions asked. I was extremely nervous walking into that conversation, but turned out my worries were not warranted. The coordinating professor did find the request odd and told me that typically this is a year commitment and she would hold me to it. However, the circumstances just so happen to be that the 5 positions teaching positions that we currently have for the fall are not all needed for the Spring. In fact, the department only need 4. Despite only needing 4, the department was trying to make 5 positions for the Spring just to ensure no one loses funding. Therefore, the coordinating professor was happy to release from the teaching position into the research position. It actually worked better for everyone involved. I am aware that I lucked out in this case this situation could have gone badly. However, I also wish I'd been more secure and less worried about having the conversation with her. The coordinating professor and I are very close, and I honestly don't think she would have held it over my head for simply asking had it not been possible.
  23. 3 points
    @serenade Congratulations on earning an opportunity to pass your qualifying exams! You have shown a tremendous amount of courage by having these conversations with your professors. As for your questions. Only retake those parts of the exam that you absolutely have to and not one question more. Getting ready for your oral exam is plenty to do. I don't know that anyone should study 100% of the time for anything under any circumstances -- that level is not sustainable. I recommend breaking up your studying into realistic chunks of time and maybe doing some job hunting. Think carefully about pushing the exam to January. Do you want to go through the holiday season in this state of liminality? Don't worry about what your committee members are not doing, focus on what they ARE doing. They are going to let you take all or part of the exam over. Yes, meeting with them before you retake the exam would be preferable, but as that's not an option, it's time to come up with a plan B. May I recommend: Review all of their written and verbal feedback on your qualifying exams as well for other papers and tests they've evaluated. Write down the questions you were asked during your initial oral exam with notes on how you answered and how, in retrospect, you would have liked to have answered. Track down ABDs who have had any of your committee members on their committees and pick their brains. Develop a list of potential questions that they may ask you on the oral exams. Figure out if there are other professors who can/may/want to talk to you about preparing for your oral exam. Start a thread in the history forum of this BB. In the OP, provide a link to this thread. Perhaps stalwarts including @kotov @maelia8 @telkanuru and @TMP will provide support on line or off line. Find three (or more) people with whom you can sand box the oral exam -- as in do a couple of test runs. A comment. Your committee members' decision not to talk to you about the exam may be part of the ritual of qualifying exams. IME, professors gave varying levels of grief to graduate students who were taking quals. What ever their motivation, I recommend taking it in stride and driving on.
  24. 3 points
    This PPT presentation might be helpful: https://grad.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/career-resources/DiversityStatement_Presentation.pdf Rather than "specific forms of diversity that academia wants," it might be more useful to think of the reality of diversity within universities and how you will attend to challenges that diversity inevitably raises. Even if you do not have a demonstrated commitment to underprivileged communities, you will be (and likely have been) teaching, collaborating, and interacting with groups and individuals who come from enormously different backgrounds. Universities essentially want to ensure that you will not be a liability as a co-worker and educator, and that you have at least put some thought into pondering the very real challenges of teaching and researching across diversity. They want to make sure that you are aware that you will be teaching students and working with individuals who come from different backgrounds, and that a one-size-fits-all model is not always the most effective. The diversity statement is also a way to show that you are capable of considering alternative perspectives and can show some level of sensitivity, tact, and empathy. What has equipped you to effectively communicate with individuals who are different than you, and what are some strategies to build connections across difference? How would you pedagogically approach a classroom with students who come from different linguistic, national, class, and racial backgrounds, and what steps might you take to ensure that everyone benefits from the diversity of experiences in the room? What is your approach to mentoring students who might not be as familiar with North American academic norms (e.g. first generation students, international students, etc)? These are questions that I think everyone applying to academic jobs should at least consider.
  25. 3 points
    In your conversation with Professor Three, I recommend that you do the following. Take personal responsibility for not knowing what was expected of you. I am suggesting that you say something that includes the words "I failed to understand..." in a way that indicates you've reflected long and hard about the role you played in things going sideways. I am not suggesting that you grovel. I recommend that you be ready to answer the question "Why didn't you know that you were expected to provide synthesis and analysis?" Make an affirmative argument why you should be allowed to take your exams again. You are a historian who has contributions to make to the profession. You have been trained to prepare for and to pass qualifying exams--and you will prove it when given the opportunity to do so. Treat Professor Three's approval independently from the other two committee members. (Do not use the approval of One and Two as a reason.) Briefly outline your plan for preparing for taking your quals (have additional detail ready upon request, but don't over do it). Be ready for Professor Three to ask you a quals-type question during the conversation. Prepare for this possibility by re-reading your written responses and by thinking through the questions that gave you the greatest difficulty during the oral exam. When your conversation with Professor Three ends, look him right in the eye and thank him for his time. When you get the okay to retake your quals, make sure you know exactly what you need to do to dot the i's and cross the t's--paperwork, scheduling, and everything else that comes to mind. You don't need to do it all right after you get the okay, but you should do it soon. If possible, see if you can get one or two people to sandbox the conversation with Three. Treat the exercise like the real thing. @serenade, do all you can to put all of your other concerns out of your mind until you have this conversation with Professor Three. Visualize yourself having a positive experience with him. You will be poised, you will be knowledgeable, you will be professional. You are going to show Three that you just had an off moment. Imagine the conversation going well and getting the answer you want.
  26. 3 points

    Fall 2018 Applicants

    It's early September and the application process clock has started! Good luck to everyone who is applying this cycle!
  27. 3 points

    How many schools should I apply to?

    And know that the world will not end if things don't work out the way you'd like them to. There's always next year!
  28. 3 points

    How many schools should I apply to?

    My response is always the same: as many as you can afford money-wise and application-materials-wise.
  29. 3 points

    Fall 2018 Applicants

    Check out Duke. Your interests sound very similar to my own, except that I also look at social movements in an international/transnational context. In addition to faculty that fit your interests, Duke also has a Center for Documentary Studies, which has become a hub for research on and with SNCC activists.
  30. 3 points
    Pardon me if this overlaps/repeats what someone else has said (shamefully I didn't read all the comments, so sorry). But if you are having problems coming up with an "original idea" (and let's just sidestep the debate about whether it is important that your idea is new, I'll just say that if your idea adds nothing new it's not adding to the conversation), I would suggest thinking about research more in formulaic terms. First: you do need to do at least some reading. No one should expect you to read up on everything, but you should be reading up on 1. the major works in your field (sadly, the cannon) 2. the well-known works in your subtopic 3. the articles/critics/contributors that you either admire or completely disagree with (I often find these to be very specific articles from major journals in my field, imagine these to be the most recently published out of the 3 types listed here). This seems like a lot, but really imagine it 3-5 books and 6-10 articles. You shouldn't have to read all of it, skim the articles, get the main ideas, and pull out the applicable quotes. Read the books and then maybe read some articles/commentary about the books. There's your lit review. What I like to do with the lit review is instead of just summarizing the texts (boring and not always useful), is to draw out a bit of a diagram (it can be a list, a map, or just some notes, whatever works for you), about how the texts relate to each other. After doing this I look for the physical gaps. The recent articles will be the best indication of what has/hasn't been written about these texts, since they were recently published. Most (good) journals aren't going to publish articles talking about outdated/irrelevant topics. Most (good) scholars also won't be revisiting these topics unless there is still more to be said. The gaps that you find among the texts are your research topics. Once you have your idea, I find it best to chat with a couple of people in the field (if you have some professors who are open listeners). If you're idea is not new, they will probably tell you. I find that when I talk to my chair about my ideas she often throws a few more ideas for readings/tosses me a book off her shelf for me to read on the topic as well. Once you have your topic, have done some reading, and are ready to start writing I find that following a formula of sorts can be helpful as a jumping off point: What is your topic? This is the subtopic you picked. What has been said about the topic so far? This is the review you did (don't always feel obligated to do the summary/traditional lit review thing, feel free to just mention a few of the authors and give a very short mention of their contributions. I've seen published authors do their lit review in a mere 3 sentences and it's brilliantly simple to mimic). What is missing? This is your gap that you just found. Why is it important (the exigency). Why does the gap matter (this may be the hardest part to explain, but your topic must have some sort of relevance to the field- does it answer some questions? Is it applicable to understanding other texts? Does it somehow apply to the classroom or academy at large?) Then dive into your conversation. I apologize also if this is all very obvious stuff, but for some of my graduate coursework this is how we were taught to get started on research and I found it very helpful. In general I mostly just find it very useful to read though recent articles in journals (which it seems like you do as well) I would want to be published in. What are they writing about? How are they writing, and what "big moves" are they making in the text? Also if this is relevant, I'm in Rhet/Comp, but I framed this as English/Comp in general.
  31. 3 points
    Few burdens are heavier than the expectations of professors. I recommend that you start finding ways to manage your expectations--you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself. What you're doing should be challenging, and it should also be fun. At least some of the time.
  32. 3 points
    You're making it out to be worse than it is. Don't get inside your own head. First, the students who are 10 years younger than you aren't fresh out of college, I imagine. I've personally found the age disconnect drops off rapidly at around 25 or so. Second, there's no rule that says you have to have anything other than a professional relationship with your cohort. It's a big world! Do you run or exercise? Make friends there! If you don't have a hobby, now's a great time to join a club and learn one. Maybe there are other older graduate students in other departments - go to events and colloquia and find out. All that said, you are going to have to sacrifice a bit. Yes, you have a house and a kid, but if there's a regularly scheduled bar hour after seminar, for example, make that someone else's problem every once in a while.
  33. 3 points
    Report: Today The Day They Find Out You’re A Fraud Sources are confirming that everyone—absolutely everyone—will finally figure out today that your entire life is a desperately fraudulent joke, and that you yourself are nothing more than a charlatan and a hack. WASHINGTON—While experts agree you’ve been remarkably successful so far at keeping up the ruse that you’re a capable, worthwhile individual, a new report out this week indicates that today is the day they finally figure out you’re a complete and utter fraud. The report, compiled by the Pew Research Center, states that sometime within the next 24 hours, people will find out that you have no idea what you’re doing, that you’ve been faking it for years, and that, through continuous lying and shameless posturing, you’ve actually managed to dupe virtually everyone around you into thinking you’re something other than a weak and ineffectual person. They’ve had their suspicions all along, sources said, but today their suspicions will be confirmed. “Though you’ve somehow gotten this far in life without anyone discovering you’re not what you pretend to be, it’s all about to come crashing down, and not a minute too soon, to be frank,” reads the report, which goes on to note that you don’t deserve anything you have—not your job, not your relationship, not even your parents’ love—and you know it. “You’re incompetent, you’re petty, you’re vain, you’re barely keeping it together beneath that confident exterior you project, and your little charade is just about over.” “They’re all on to you,” the report continues. “You do understand that, don’t you?” Your boss and coworkers will realize today that you are completely unqualified for your current occupation, experts confirmed. Already, they are reportedly starting to sense that you’ve just been skating by—pretending to know what you’re talking about, as if you actually possess any kind of real or meaningful skills—and that you’re far more of a liability to the company than you’ve ever been an asset. Several experts also noted that any potential employer in your future will immediately recognize that your entire career has been a sham, that you more or less bluffed your way through school, and that you’re unfit for any task beyond menial labor. According to the report, the people you are closest to, from friends to family to your romantic partner, will find out today that you’ve merely been impersonating someone who deserves to be in their lives—piecing together just enough lies about yourself to trick them into thinking you’re a genuine, understanding person. In addition to everyone you’ve ever met knowing you’re a huge imposter, even strangers on the street will know, the report stated, in most cases simply by looking at you. “People will soon surmise that you’re just a feeble, self-obsessed loser, scraping by from day to day and hoping not to get found out, and you know what? They’re right,” reads another section of the report. “The pathetic deceit that lies at the very core of your being, that defines you, that is you won’t be a secret much longer, because the rest of the world is going to figure out what your parents have known all along: You’re a big fucking joke.” “On some level, deep down, you knew this day had to come,” the report concludes. “And now it has.” At press time, sources confirmed that here we go: You can see it in their eyes. They know. They all know. Every last one of them absolutely knows. And you deserve every bit of scorn and rejection that is coming your way. http://www.theonion.com/article/report-today-the-day-they-find-out-youre-a-fraud-35133
  34. 2 points

    What could I do with my program?

    If you choose to reapply, I would definitely think strategically and tread carefully. It will likely be difficult for you to gain admission to "a better program" without a letter of recommendation from your current school attesting that you are not leaving due to your inability to flourish in doctoral-level work. Staying in your current program may become more difficult -- as you very well might strain relationships -- if they hear that you are trying to leave. I wouldn't take the decision to reapply so lightly.
  35. 2 points

    GRE question

    I wouldn't take the GRE again; a few points on the Q is unlikely to make a big difference in your results.
  36. 2 points

    Finding Graduate Placements

    Going to UCLA to do a PhD in Chinese History is definitely not going to be the thing that prevents you from getting a job. (Also, FYI, funding at UCLA is a lot better than it was even 10 years ago, so you'll be much better supported than a fair number of the PhD students who finished in the past decade, which is a big help, though as the example of the CalTech asst prof shows, the claim about no students of your prospective advisor getting jobs in the past 10 years is not true. BTW, said CalTech asst prof did really well in the job market, even aside from the job she ended up taking).
  37. 2 points

    Need help making sense of correspondence

    The difficulty, then, is when does your Arabic need to be really good by? I don't doubt your estimate of how fast you'll reach that level. Instead, the difficulty I foresee is that if your Arabic becomes really good by comps, it's awfully challenging to catch up to someone who's been able to spend all of those summers doing research in Arabic. I don't want to tell you "go away and spend three more years learning Arabic before you'll be competitive for programs in this field." My suspicion is that "three" is not the correct number in that sentence. However, I do think your Arabic is going to knock you out of the running in at least a good chunk of any PhD programs to which you might apply this cycle. If you really want to go to a program this year so you're going to apply anyway, that is your prerogative.
  38. 2 points
    @serenade Writing dissertation proposals is different for everyone, unfortunately. I came in with a MA and that dissertation topic (coming out from my MA thesis) and knew pretty much what I wanted to write. For me, as a born-researcher, working on my dissertation proposal was far much more fun and easier than prepping for the comps. I barely stressed out. I will say that prepping for the comps definitely changed the way I wanted to entered in various conversations. If this is your first go at writing a proposal and haven't thought much about your dissertation since you started it will be challenging. My guess is that if you are able to demonstrate in clear ways your work contributes to the extant scholarship, particularly if the sources are relatively new or a different methodology that hadn't really be considered, you will likely be fine. Having prepped for the comps should have given you a clear sense of what is considered a clear, nuanced approach to the historical problem at hand, not a simplified one as undergraduate papers tend to do. The information coming out of your adviser's meeting sounds terrific. Yes, 2-3 times should be just fine. Remember, none of these professors expected to have to make time for your this semester so you will have to work with what they have on their plate. My professors certainly didn't and prioritized our meetings only when they knew for sure they had the energy and time for the discussions. You will soon find the last meeting for each to be like, "why are we here again? We've talked about everything, as it seems." The professors will use these meetings to measure your level of improvement, particularly if you are the type who feels more comfortable one-on-one than in a group (as I was). My adviser also said the same about not using writtens during the next round of oral; you will just have to be ready for whatever. That said, demonstrate your increased comfort level, ability to teach a survey course, and understanding of history and historiography during your meetings this semester and the committee will likely put more weight on your improvement as much as what actually happens on that day. As for questions, you might actually want to look back at old AP European history exam questions and see how you can answer them with a mix of historical facts and scholarly arguments. I remember how embarrassed I was when my adviser, also embarrassed, told me that a number of questions I was asked were based on undergraduate survey course final exams.... #facepalm
  39. 2 points
    Current student at one of the schools you listed. Your GRE scores are fine, and wouldn't be something I would worry about (mine was aa 4.5 in writing as well and both my V and Q were lower than yours––much lower). Other than that, your undergraduate trajectory actually reflects my own. Same GPA, same RA experience, I didn't co--author though but I was credited in a study I worked on. I speak three languages and english also wasn't my first language either (I was born and raised here too!) Anyway, I think that you shouldn't worry about the GRE stuff, like at all. Like, I mean, stop thinking about it completely. Start focusing on your statement of purpose, your personal statement (for Berkeley, and Columbia now accepts little "diversity" snippets), your writing sample and your CV! The one piece of advice I would give you (actually one isn't enough LOL) is write a statement of purpose that let's your voice shine; so we get to know you. I tried to hide too much of myself in my statement. Be honest about what draws you to your fields of interest and how sociology can help you build a set of questions around it (and how, not just why, you're the person that will make a significant contribution to those fields; whether it's because of your personal experiences or because of the research questions you've already begun asking in your thesis, or because in the process of reviewing a piece of literature a series of questions emerged and so as a result you've begun learning about a particular set of computational tools you'd like to pursue under Professor X to help you answer those questions etc.) Undergraduate applicants also have a habit of summarizing their coursework––don't do that. Rather, focus on how a set of sociological fields have guided you to your study on X and actually talk about that study (what did you do; how did you do it; what were your findings; how does your thesis reflect a change in what others have thought about/said about what you've studied, etc.). You can also point to how your RA helped guide you through your questions or methods, etc. From there, point to what you'll be pursuing in graduate school (following the method of how you explained your work thus far). The trick here is to think about how your past work left you with new, unanswered questions or methodology you'd like to pursue. Maybe you were looking at white and black students but didn't look at asian students and now want to do a comparative to see if this would produce a change to your observations and/or theory. When you're done you move into why this program; mainly who you want to work with, etc. BUT don't forget about geography––actually, that's really important. Why NYC? Why the Bay Area? To answer that talk about how your research makes sense in the context of the social world the university is in/around. That's fine if you want to conduct fieldwork abroad or thousands of miles outside of campus; you'll most likely be supported at any of these programs. That said, you'll still have years of coursework before you do that and so these programs wanna make sure you'll make the most of your time in the area you're in (for instance, if you're studying the relationship between economic relations and knowledge production through the social life of tech startups, the Bay Area or New York might make the most sense for you... but don't just assume they know this. Tell 'em.) What else... oh, reach out to one or two professors you align with and one or two graduate students (ideally 3rd or 4th+ years). More than half of the people I met during admissions day had made contact with either a professor or a graduate student (or both). Try aiming for tenured junior faculty opposed to senior faculty (although the latter can't hurt either). I'll leave you with this. I didn't get in my first or go my second time. But that's okay too, actually. I'm still the youngest in my cohort and, frankly, it was the right move. You'd be surprised how much your interests change once you actually leave academia. All of a sudden, you realize, you have many more interesting questions you'd like to ask and it's those questions that will make you stand out if the first time doesn't work out. Good luck and lemme know if you have any questions!
  40. 2 points
    You should do what you feel is best and based on advice from your respective fields. I'll just offer some of my thoughts too. What is missing, to me, from this plan is the part where you discuss your past experience and how it will lead you to succeed in this graduate program. I'd say this would fall under the "fit" category of the FFF model, and a common SOP structure is Fit (your experience), Focus, Fit (their facilities & people), Future. Another common one is Focus, Fit (experience to show why you're a good fit for the focus, then blend to fit in terms of facilities and people) then Future. There's no single magic formula, just illustrating a point. In addition, from the way you framed this SOP, your essay right now sounds like it will be very one-sided. In other words, it sounds like you are offering tons of reasons why you want to be at their program and why it will benefit you, but you should also ensure that you write this SOP to show how you would be a good addition to their department (Note: emphasis on "show"). Now, since you have not started writing yet, you probably would have planned to say this anyways, but sometimes initial mindset can subtly change the way you phrase things. In your outline here, you've only emphasize why you would benefit from the grad program and but that is only one side of the "fit" aspect. The other side is also important: you want to demonstrate that you will succeed in their program and be a PhD student they would be proud to graduate (for adcom members not related to your work) and/or would want to work with (for the members who are related to your application). One last note: like @GreenEyedTrombonist, I had a Masters going into PhD applications, so I spent a fair bit of time/space in my SOP about my past. Probably more than most guidelines, I'd say 2/3 of my SOP was about my history (however, in the spirit of the "fit" criteria). I see that lots of SOP guides now suggest 20% to 40% past and more on the future. I think these are probably better guidelines, but I maintain that there is no magic formula and SOPs are meant to be a little free form. If you can make a compelling argument, then focus on that first instead of trying to twist your essay into a predetermined/generic structure.
  41. 2 points

    Fall 2018 I/O Psy

    Calgary is a strong program. Their business school also has several I/Os, and they work closely with psych folks.
  42. 2 points

    NSF GRFP 2017-18

    Trying to do anything for this fellowship (or honestly, any grant) without sounding cheesy is.... really difficult. Embrace the cheese!
  43. 2 points
    @Doll Tearsheet, I have to say I feel your pain. Throughout undergrad I did well in my English major but did not study with the intention of going for my PhD. In fact, I had very different goals throughout my four years in college, so I didn't seek out the classes or professors that would have pushed me to write more theoretically-inclined and research-heavy papers. When I went to apply for graduate school some years later, I realized that I had few papers that would really fit the bill of a good writing sample. I ended up revising part of my undergrad thesis, but I still didn't know how to turn this into a compelling writing sample (and I was rejected from most programs, both high ranked and more modest). Throughout the entire admissions cycle, I felt totally at sea and woefully underprepared to apply. I was also hanging out in an online community where people were much better prepared than I was and able to deploy the lingo. I was like, "I want to study the poetry of the Irish literary renaissance," and they were like, "I'm interested in how critical race theory intersects with biopower and is simultaneously transformed and displaced by eighteenth-century theories of communal midwifery." And I was like Unfortunately, we all come to this process with varying levels of preparation, and this process very much favors those who were focused enough in undergrad to seek out that preparation, and those who went to schools where that preparation was abundantly available. Part of me really resents the fact that programs expect a very high degree of professionalization from students who have never even set foot in a graduate seminar. But that's the way it is, and things keep getting all the more competitive. Gripes aside, there are a few things you can do, and I'm going to give you the advice I wish I had received. Pick a paper that you've already written--something self-contained. In other words, don't just excerpt your thesis (as I did) unless it's a selection of your thesis that can stand on its own. I would advise that you pick a paper you really enjoyed writing and that felt particularly inspired to you (I know you say you don't have original ideas, but you probably do). Focus on turning this paper into a research paper, not writing a research paper from scratch. Keep in mind that you're actually not supposed to incorporate THAT much outside research. In fact, it's much wiser to keep the focus on your own ideas. Out of a 20-page paper, really only 3 pages should be a lit review (a section that is focused explicitly on laying out past research) and the rest should be your own close reading and ideas with the occasional mention of outside critics or footnotes to tell us how your ideas are different. Having said that, I'm a little surprised at the advice your adviser is giving you, that you should "read all the important critical literature and also be very aware of how [you're] contributing/interacting with it." I disagree with this statement. I don't think you should focus on reading ALL the things. Doing so will distract you from your own thesis, and you'll then be tempted to integrate everything or abandon your original idea. You'll lose your own voice. Instead: Pick two or three articles/book chapters that are relevant to your specific ideas and then use THEIR bibliographies to find the most useful specific historical/critical/theoretical sources. And if a particular work or critic keeps coming up over and over again, it's safe to say that they're probably someone you should cite in your paper. Figure out your critical lens, and focus on a few of the most prominent scholars of that lens. Integrate them into your paper, but do so sparingly. You also say that you're struggling with how to structure this paper. Gregory Semeza's Graduate Study for the 21st Century actually has a chapter devoted to how to structure a seminar paper. It's here.
  44. 2 points
    @EmmaJava, I don't know if it's deliberate or not but you've definitely misinterpreted what I said. My point was that there are people who are professors and have terminal degrees that are not the PhD. You said above (more than once) that only those with a PhD are truly professors. Which means that basically no one in the fine arts or business areas meets your definition of a professor. What do you consider to be the hallmark of a professor? Because I think the definition in your head doesn't match the reality of contemporary academia. Sorry for derailing this thread, OP! (This is what happens when you realize that someone is saying things that are incorrect on the internet...) @Doll Tearsheet, your research skills and writing are like other skills in life: they improve the more you use them. To become a more confident and solid researcher and writer, read other well-written work. One strategy I used for a while was to read one journal article or book chapter related to my interests every single morning before even leaving the house. It helped me not only become more knowledgeable about my field but also let me see a variety of writing styles and get a sense of how I wanted to structure some of my own arguments and work. Have you thought about doing something like that? Another suggestion is to simultaneously read up on the research process so you become more confident with your research skills and gain new ones. Booth's The Craft of Research is a classic. There are probably others that are field-specific that you may want to consult but I'm not as familiar with those anymore.
  45. 2 points

    A question about competitiveness

    "5% vs. 10% can make all the difference though. For an applicant pool of 300 people, I could be among the 15 additional people that get admitted at 10%." You're missing my main point: good GRE and GPA scores only get you past the initial applicant pool. After that, your SOP especially will determine how well you fit with a particular department. The SOP has to be specific enough to determine if there is a professor(s) that can advise your prospective research. So if the admin committee doesn't think you're a good fit, you won't be included in the group of potential candidates. To go further, even if you were included in that smaller group, there may be an additional 30 or 40 other applicants who are equally good fits, then you no longer have an advantage. The admin committee then has to make the difficult final decisions on admittance. This happens often in top programs, where there are more strong and suitable candidates than available places. At times, it's a crap shoot. Yes, I know the difference between 5% and 10%, but getting into a PhD program, even into less than a top tier one, is more involved and complicated than simply looking strictly at probability in a vacuum. What I wrote is based on the knowledge and experience given to me by my M.A. advisor and several other professors in my department, so you can take it however you like. Regardless, if you're interested in applying for a History PhD, you should focus on a research question you would like to investigate in your SOP, and then check out the programs you're interested to see if there are faculty who can either direct you specifically or broadly in that sub-field. Good luck with your application process!
  46. 2 points
    @Bschaefer Awesome! My list is currently (still researching, not finalized for applying yet): 1. Columbia 2. UC Irvine 3. USC (California, not Carolina) 4. U of Penn 5. UC Davis 6. Rutgers 7. Cornell 8. George Washington 9. U Mass Amherst and then 7 comm programs: 1. Boston University 2. U of Oregon 3. Penn State 4. Temple 5. Washington State 6. UW Madison 7. NYU Right now I'm considering removing Boston because, when I emailed them about my research interests and goodness of fit, the reply was they wouldn't look at my research interests until after I'm admitted, but their application website clearly says I need to prove goodness of fit and faculty research connections in a personal statement so...
  47. 2 points
    At "that" level, you're judged for your thought and organization above all. Grammar, if it's an issue, can be easily corrected. No one cares if you make mistakes as long as they are easily correctable mistakes. If your English prevents you from performing to the best of your ability in terms of your analytical capacities (e.g. if they make your writing a mess and difficult to understand), then there may be a problem. But honestly, if they've accepted you, then likely you are capable of doing exactly what they expect. You may work more slowly, but chances are that you're harder on yourself than anyone else will be on you.
  48. 2 points

    How many schools should I apply to?

    You should really trim that down. Don't try to think of it as "safety" and "reach," because that's not how it works. And trust me, 9 apps for HoS was a lot. You're going to go nuts with 14 (plus it's expensive).
  49. 2 points

    Think the GRE is useless? Think again.

    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 security.
  50. 2 points
    Runaway-- I would add the following diagnostic questions: What type of work is the piece under discussion (Examples include: a narrative history of the conduct of operations during the American Civil War, a community study of Cincinnati from x to z;, a journalistic account of the Eisenhower presidency, a social history of Chicago, a cultural history of the movie industry during the 1970s, an international history of the Korean War, a psycho-biography of Richard Nixon, a political polemic disguised as a historical work.) For whom is it written? (Examples include: a popular narrative history aimed at educated laypersons, a reference work, an introductory work for undergraduates, a monograph written for graduate students and specialists,) What does the work seek to accomplish? (Does it refine existing arguments? Does it tentatively explore a new direction? Does it seek to reopen closed issues? Or does it seek to change radically the trajectory of scholarship?) What school of thought/project does the work represent? (A revisionist account of America's decision to use the atomic bomb on Japan, an analysis of slave culture informed by the works of Gramsci, a materialist examination of American foreign policy during the late nineteenth century) What is the precise nature of a work's primary sources? (Archival research can mean personal/private papers/letters, recently declassified government documents, tax records, court cases/transcripts, and oral histories. The more precisely you define the nature of the sources, the better you'll position yourself to make informed decisions down the line about other works covering the same topic.) How well are the primary sources used? A suggestion. Please do not let your sense of embarrassment ever deter you from asking questions, especially in class. Chances are, some of your classmates will have some of the same questions. Sometimes, the asking of an "embarrassing" question will help you to understand who among your peers you can trust and those you might be better off avoiding. And sometimes, the willingness to ask that question will earn you the respect of a professor. HTH.