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  1. 69 points
    First, my credentials. Well. I can spell my own name, though I don't usually know exactly how old I am. I'm within a year or two, but I'm usually wrong until I've done some subtraction. I teach composition and like to write calculus equations on the board when I take classes in poetry writing. But, here's my real credentials: consider what is written herein in conjunction with what the various instructions on SOPs that you've read have said, with the requirements the program you are applying to has put forth, and with your own experience as a writer. Do you think I know what I'm talking about? Should you pay any attention to it? Is any of it useful? Second, I'm not going to give you a formula for what the standard SOP is like, or a list of things the various thousands of admissions committees will be looking for. There are plenty of prescriptions on the internet, many of them written by professors who have presumably gotten sick of badly written SOPs. Third, I'm not promising that SOP writing be easier after this. It'll be harder, actually. I'm not promising that you'll get in to any place you desire, or that there is any one best thing to put in the SOP to get noticed. That would be totally impossible. Each discipline has its own needs and values, as does each university, each department, and each faculty member on the admissions committee (adcomm). There is no one size and it doesn't fit most, let alone all. There are conventions (use Standard English, for one), but other than include your research interests, I won't advocate that any one thing is strictly necessary. I leave that up to the more knowledgeable. The advice: First thing is to deeply understand that you should write an SOP for each program. Most people take this to mean write one master SOP and then tweak as necessary to make the one SOP applicable to each university (U of A becomes U of B, Professor X becomes Professor Y). You can do that. You can be very successful doing that. You most likely, really shouldn't do it. The next thing to understand is the SOP's purpose. Why do the adcomms want to see SOPs? Shouldn't transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a writing sample do it? After all, transcripts and samples show the actual scholarship and the letters verify it. The SOP isn't for showing scholarship off, or to act like a resume, or anything. So why do the adcomms want an SOP? Why are the SOPs one of those make-it-or-fail things? What is the SOP's purpose? In job hunting terms, the SOP is like a cover letter. The cover letter is to make clear connections between the resume and the job ad. For you, its primary purpose is to make the adcomm offer you admission with full funding. For the adcomm, its primary purpose is to help them see how you would fit into their program (make connections between their program and you). By fit, I mean do they have faculty (or enough faculty) in your area of research interest that can advise, mentor, supervise, and/or committee you through the program to get your degree? Do you have the kind of understanding of the discipline, your research interests, and their program that would make you successful? Do they have something to teach you? Offer you? What can you offer them? They want to brag on you as much as you want to brag about them. If they offer you admission, will you be a good scholar? A good student? Here is the most basic question the SOP should answer: What is it about you that makes you a better prospect than everyone else who's applying? Understanding the SOP's purpose, in practical terms, means that you will know what to put into it and what to leave out of it. And how to phrase it. So, with the purpose in mind, there comes the question: what should you put into it and leave out of it? What format should you use? (MLA? APA? Is footnoting okay?! What about citation?!) Should I stick in a personal story that everyone seems to recommend, except for the half that don't? My research interests? The story about why I got on F in that one, very important class? I'm not going to answer those questions because I can't. Every discipline and department is different. I will give you an answer you won't like: research. Find out the requirements each program you're interested in has for the SOP, think of the SOP's purpose: and now research. Research is one of the basic keys to writing an SOP. It's no different than the writing sample you'll be including in your application packet. For each program you apply to, do some research. How much research you need to do depends on a lot of things, the least of which is your personality. More research does not automatically mean a better SOP. Less research doesn't automatically mean a better one, either. What makes the right amount of research? The ability to craft an SOP that is specific for the program that you're getting into. Here's some ideas (not an exhaustive, inclusive list of what to do) on what to research: The program itself. Look at the recent graduates and, if possible, read their theses and/or dissertations, at least in part. The acknowledgements can give you an idea about the program's culture. The introduction can give you an idea about what kind of scholarship the program produces and expects. It will also, and this is very important, give you an idea as to how the program uses language. If you speak to them in their own language, that helps your case. You've likely done this, if not, seriously, you should have done this. Look at the program's website and read it all. What kind of classes are offered for both undergrad and grad. Who are the faculty, the tenured, the assistant, the visiting, the emeritus, and the graduate students. What kind of ties to the community (both academic and their local town) do they like to talk about? Do they talk about how their graduate students are working with community partners? Do they host conferences? What happened at the last one? This gives you a taste of the program's culture. The faculty. All of them that might be on the adcomm and the ones that are relevant or somewhat relevant to your interests. Crack open JSTOR etc. and search for recent faculty publications. If you're basing your interest on a faculty member on the interests they've got listed on the site and a reference to them in an article from a decade ago, or worse, only their reputation, you don't have a strong basis to establish clear reasons why they have anything to offer you. Read their recent publications, see who they name drop in terms of theory, other faculty, and so on. Make a list of what each faculty member can offer you in terms of research, not just the ones that are directly related to it. If you're into studying apples, but Dr. V works with oranges, think about how Dr. V's work might help you out. Take notes when you research. Each program has a bunch of people, and you're likely applying to multiple programs. It's easier to refer to notes than to go back and look it up all over again. What's happening in the field with your current research interests, if necessary. This is so you can situate your research interests in the discipline, and then situation your research interests in the program. You can just tell them what you're research interests are and leave the situating to them, but you can lose that chance to sell yourself as the best amongst the rest. Research you. Yup. You. Scribble out some lists or paragraphs or whatever that inventories you. Who are your influences? Who are the theorists you keep coming back to? Who are the theorists you loathe, mock, and/or ridicule? What are your research interests in general and specifically and anywhere in between? Some SOPs will need to be more general, some will need to be more specific. Length restrictions, what you found out about the program, the faculty, the state of the discipline, and so on, can alter this for you. What kind of scholar are you? Student? What's the difference? How do you manage your time? Stress? Health? Do you expect to bring your dog? Do you have health issues? Do you have any academic things that are a negative? If you do, how negative are they? It's easy to see that as an either it's entirely bad, or it's somewhere in the huge good category, but some things are negatives that need to be addressed for certain programs, while other negatives can be ignored, or you should discuss with the one relevant letter writer so they can address it. While Sam ultimately received a C in the Research Methods course, the grade doesn't reflect the actual scholarship as Sam fell ill during the mid-term and consequently failed it; my course policies do not permit re-taking the test. What are the good things about you? Not just the grades, awards, publications, and presentations, but also the character traits. What are you weaknesses? Don't do the job interview baloney, my greatest weakness is my perfectionism. Of course, the important, probably ought to be on the SOP questions: why grad school? What will you do with the degree you want? Why are into the research you're into? Why that particular school? Why are you worth admission and funding? Research the assistanceships. Some SOPs will want you to write a bit about teaching or research with assistanceships in mind. So, do a bit of research on what these entail in the programs you're looking at. What do they do and how do they get it? Have you done assistanceships in the past? If so, what were they like? Do you have a teaching philosophy? If not, make one. Have you done anything that can be discussed in terms of the assistanceship? I taught kung-fu to white belt children, so I have teaching experience. I was part of the state herpetological society and went out to help them with their field counts twice a year. I learned that licking petrie dishes is always a bad idea, no matter how much they resemble pistachio ice cream. Research SOPs. You're doing that, right? Go on to forums (like this one) and read the SOPs people have posted and then read the responses. Look particularly at SOPs in your discipline or related disciplines. Psychology might look at other social sciences. Physics might tell the joke about the Higgs Boson and Sunday mass. Bear in mind that the people responding to and/or criticizing the posted SOPs are likely not on an adcomm. Some have been or will be, but it's not likely they'll be on the adcomm you're hoping will like you best. However, you can start to get a sense of what SOPs are like. What format is it in? Does yours look like everyone else's? Do you have the exact same opening sentence as half of the people hoping to get into a program in your discipline? I've always wanted to be a librarian since those wonderful, summer days I spent in my (relative of choice)'s home library. So, to take stock. First, understand the purpose. Second, research. A lot. Let the purpose of the SOP guide your research efforts. Next, get the specific requirements for the SOP from each program. Make a list of similarities. If they all ask for a statement of your research interest, score! One sentence fits most! Most of them will be of different lengths and will have different ideas of what specific information they want. Most won't tell you enough, aside from length and one or two "should have" things. They mostly won't tell you if you should use APA or if you should footnote, or how to format it. Single space? Double space? They will tell you whether it should be on paper or what kind of file format to use. I have only one suggestion: consistency. Okay, two suggestions: unless otherwise specified, don't include anything other than the SOP. No bibliography or footnotes. If you quote or paraphrase someone, cite them in the text the way they do it in the average newspaper article. As Scooby says, "Ruh-roh!" Now, start writing. Create something of a master SOP, or a set of master sentences for the SOPs. Some things should be in every one of them, like what your research interests are. Because length requirements are different for each program, you should work out more than one sentence or set of sentences for each thing you plan to put into more than one SOP. Have a more detailed explanation of your research interests and a more concise one. Even though this might be central and, perhaps, most important to the SOP, you don't want most of a short SOP taken up by one thing. Make these sentences do extra duties. If they can explain not only why you're into what you're into, but also why it's significant to the discipline/program, and how the program factors into it, bonus! The more functions one sentence can serve, with clear, readable logic, the more room you have in the length requirements to bring in other things. Think of this master SOP as more of a set of sentences you can hang on the individual SOP's unique structure. A flesh and skeleton metaphor can work here. You can order all SOPs at this point, you'll probably want to put research interests in the middle or toward the end, rather than in the first sentence, but the key here is that the skeleton of the individual SOP and most of its flesh will come from the needs of the program you're writing it for, not from some predetermined formula. No generically applicable, master SOP that has a few tweaks here and there. Here's the thing. The SOP is one of the most important documents you'll write in your life. It's not something that should be done in a few hours, after looking at the program website and spending some time on the net searching for a how-to-write-an-SOP-guide. It takes work backed by research. The readers can tell quite easily how much research you've done on them by the way you structure and write your SOP. They can tell if you're sending out a generic SOP to several programs because it will be too general. You can't change faculty names in and out, along with a detail or two that makes it seem tailored to the program. The individual SOP should be tailored from the beginning. Some sentences won't change much, so you can pre-write them. But how they fit into each SOP, the reasoning you'll use to try to convince the adcomm that you're the best applicant, and the perspective you'll take all the way to the words you use should be done with the program in mind. It shouldn't be generic. Even if it doesn't seem noticeably generic to you, that doesn't mean that the adcomm won't notice it. They read many, many SOPs every year. People who read SOPs develop a sense about the generic, the cut and paste work. How to name drop gracefully, or bring up the theory and histories and whatnot you're working with when there's only a teeny amount of space for everything? That's a bit easier than it might seem. It's not in the explanation; it's in the usage. If you can use the relevant theories and people and methodologies correctly in a sentence, you don't have to show the adcomm that you know how to use them, or how they're related, by explaining it. Trust them to have enough education to make a few connections for themselves when it comes to the discipline. Example: Novels such as Twilight exemplify how Marxist alienation can be applied to childbirth. My research interest lies in the alienation of women from the product of delivery in Modernist American fiction, such as Faulkner's Sound and the Fury. (Huh, I wonder if that would really work?) Two sentences and I've referenced theory, period, history, relevance for today, and some methodology (it's literature, not science). Use it, don't explain it. If possible, have a professor you know read the SOP to your preferred school and give you some advice. They know more than most other groups of people. If not possible, your current university's writing center can help, or other people who are familiar with the field, or with writing. Your high school English teacher or your English major buddy can probably say something about your grammar, but might not be as helpful as expected. Example, in English, the convention is to speak of historical people in present tense. Shakespeare writes, "To be or not to be," because he thinks it is the question. History has kittens. Shakespeare has been dead for centuries, he can't write! Past tense! Shakespeare wrote, "To be or not to be," because thought it was the question. Someone in the field is preferable! Finally, a word about my real credentials. The adcomm is going to do to your application what you've just done with this post. They are going to judge your credentials (your ethos, trustworthiness, veracity, credibility, knowledge, and so on) based on the impressions they get of you from what you've written. So, be knowledgeable about you, your field, and the program, and use that knowledge well.
  2. 46 points
    Colorado State: "Apparently you don't even have to apply in order to be rejected from certain schools. What a cluster F it must be over there that they're emailing people who have simply requested information that they're 'rejected'."
  3. 37 points
    I've made this point in years past, but I saw someone express this kind of anxiety recently, so it bears repeating: it's perfectly natural and quite common to not feel happy or excited after you decide what school to choose. When I heard back from the program I'm attending, I knew I should feel ecstatic. It was my top choice, by a wide margin. I had worked to get into grad for ages. I also had the daily experience of reading people here who hadn't gotten in to the schools they wanted or anywhere, sometimes. I expected to feel fantastic. And then I just... didn't. I felt guilty for not feeling anything. Why didn't I feel happier? But when I shared that feeling here and with other people I knew, I found it was quite common. I think there's a variety of reasons for that. First, there's just the mental and emotional drain of the process. You spend all this time working, and then all this time stressing, whether it's about getting in or choosing your school, and then it just... stops. Which might make you feel really happy, or might just make you feel a little numb or exhausted. Second, no program can ever be as exciting as the promise and potential of any program. It felt good to know where I was going. But before you choose, there's limitless potential. You could end up anywhere, which is exciting and invigorating. No matter how happy you are with your choice, it can't contain all the potential of all the schools you applied to. Finally, I find that unless they get into all or almost all of the departments to which they apply, many people can feel somehow unsatisfied or rejected even if they get into their #1 choice or a school that they are very happy to attend. I know I've talked to different people who have said, "I would have chosen the program I'm in even if I got into those other schools... so why does the rejection hurt so bad? Why do I wish I had gotten in so much?" If you don't feel this way, all the better. But if you aren't feeling as good as you thought you would, don't sweat it, and don't feel guilty. It's natural and happens to a lot of people.
  4. 31 points

    2019 Acceptances

    GOT INTO THE VILLANOVA MA! Funding pending, but I am OVER THE MOON!
  5. 28 points
    YOU GUYS!!! I've just been accepted to UNC-Chapel Hill!
  6. 27 points
    I got into Brandeis. Having so many good feelings.
  7. 26 points

    Acceptance Freakout Thread

    You guys!! I just got in to Penn State!!! 6 years of full funding!! AAAAAHHHHH!!!
  8. 25 points
    I'm a good wife and mother. My qualities as a wife: I am a whole person without him. I love him and I have trouble sleeping without him there (seriously, it's a pain), but I do not need him to be happy and fulfilled. I am also smart, funny, loyal, cute, cook and back, and have a great rack. I am also mean, sadistic, spiteful, and love to wallow in a good bout of schadenfreude. I don't do laundry and I have been known to throw all of the dishes out rather than wash them. There is nothing worse than being in a relationship with someone who cannot be whole by themselves. There's a difference between being lonely and being so desperate for a relationship that the other person has to be the source of a person's self-worth, sense of value, and reason for living. (Before you protest, Pinkseter/Corrupted Innocence, print off your statements on this thread and show them to your therapist.) Lonely people are not so desperate for a relationship that they'll do anything to be in one (your words, not mine); lonely people want a relationship, but they don't need one. Desperate people want a relationship and they really, really don't need one because a relationship based on emotional dependency is toxic. My qualities as a mother: He made to legal adulthood in good health, no trouble with the law, with prospects for the future, and isn't (currently) a burden on society. He can balance his checkbook and find the DMV by himself. He also drives like a little old lady and can do his own laundry. He has no idea where the barber is, though. Can't win 'em all. I popped that slime-coated ur-human out by myself. He was a bit early, but the placenta was tres cool looking. It was like a purplish, deflated basketball with veins. I could totally see the horror movie thing going on, just give it eyes and teeth. Vagina Dentata for realsies! But. He wasn't mine, completely and totally mine. He was his own person. Sure, I taught him that there's no such thing as bad sci-fi, but he won't watch Star Trek TOS; he prefers Godzilla (good gravy, where did I go wrong?!) and he doesn't know who Surak is. I kid you not. He's got my eyes, my intelligence, and my ADHD, but he did not find Fight Club amusing and he hates math (yeah, I'd think he was switched at birth, too, but he was the only boy on the ward). I love him dearly and he loves me dearly, but he's still not mine. He's living in another state, now, and it hurts, but it's right for him. Kids grow up. Husbands have their own lives to lead, their own work, their own friends, and their hobbies. What do desperate people do when their spouse wants to go watch the game with friends (try to tag along or, worse, provide a curfew)? Pinkster/Corrupted Innocence (this new name is very Twilight Fan Girl), you might have great qualities that make you great (as Loric put it) husband-bait. But you have one singular quality that makes you husband-bane: desperation. You've consistently shown desperation and you've said you're desperate. Not using hyperbole to talk about being lonely and looking to change that situation, but actually desperate. If anything, your use of the word desperate is an understatement. You are not speaking of your future man in terms of a real relationship. You're speaking of your future man in terms of an Edward and Bella and Jacob relationship. Which you probably think is romantic and wonderful and cried at the end. Edward and Bella have a horrific relationship of manipulation, co-dependency, and a mutual inability to be healthy. Jacob is even worse. Men are not stupid people and the kind of man you want for a husband (a good man who is caring, loving, and will provide for the family) is the kind of man that runs screaming, the other way, when a desperate woman starts making cow eyes at him. Seriously. Print off this thread and your other I-want-a-relationship threads and take it to your therapist. Or send him/her a link.
  9. 25 points
    I fail to see the problem.
  10. 23 points

    2019 Decisions Thread

    Dallas bound y’all!
  11. 23 points
    Minimum qualifications aren't what get you accepted to a graduate program, they're what get you considered for a graduate program. It's not a straight up process wherein if you meet the stated requirements, you are automatically accepted. Your application, as a whole, is weighted against the other applicants, as a whole. You say you know other people who were accepted with less work experience, but maybe their work experience was more closely related to what they want to study, or perhaps they had another part of their application that was more interesting or valid to the admissions committee.
  12. 23 points

    Stalker/Harressment in my Lab

    My PI is seriously amazing! I brought a condensed version of our coorespondance with all of the worst moments and he was very troubled and took this very seriously. He said that on the scale of benign annoying crush to full blown assult that this is much closer to the assult side that he is playing on the borderline of expulsion. He said that putting that aside, he is unsure of whether he will be able continue working with the harrasser since he does not want anyone with that sort of character in his lab and making other students nervous. That really made me feel great. Especially since the harrasser if by far, the smartest, most knowledgeable guy in the lab and I know he is a huge asset to my PI. Also, he is a PhD student while I am an MS student so part of me worried that if my PI had to choose, the choice would be obvious. He said that legally he must involve his supervisor which he thinks needs to be done anyway to make sure this situation is handled properly. Since my PI will be out of town for the next couple weeks, he asked that I work from home during that time and that I forward him any correspondance that I get from the guy. He even told me that he didn't sleep at all last night out of worry about this situation and that he has been wondering why I seemed more reserved than usual over the past few weeks. I feel so supported by people on here, my family, my department and especially my PI. I know that alot of women feel alone in these situations and I feel so lucky that I have had the exact opposite experience, with everyone in my life jumping my side to protect me.
  13. 23 points
    You should keep your comments to yourself. It's as simple as not clicking "post". Also, your "truth" is not truth. It is your opinion, because you don't know what the competition was for their programs, or if there were any extenuating circumstances. This is a thread to support each other through the process. If you can't do that, then don't post here.
  14. 22 points
    1000Plateaus, I am very sorry that you are in this painful situation. It is very difficult to hear unfavorable assessment of your abilities and to realize the implications of having a unfavorable review from your supervisor and second reader. What follows may be hard to read and I apologize in advance, but after you calm down a bit you may want to seriously consider your professors' opinions of your potential to succeed in graduate school. From all I can gather from this post and your previous one, there was never any serious blowout between you and your supervisor -- the main problem seems to be your ability to do up-to-par work at a reasonable pace. (Yes, I understand that some of the blame for that is on your supervisor for letting you take on what turned out to be an over-ambitious project but no, I don't think there is any reason to think your supervisor was maliciously setting you up to fail). You took three years to do a two-year degree and you had to basically write your whole thesis from scratch after the first submission was rejected. You may have finally brought it to a satisfactory level for a masters and you were therefore allowed to defend, but that does not entail that you can or should continue on to a PhD program. It appears that both of the people who know your work best think that you should not, and they will not write you strong letters of recommendation. I think you should respect this choice, or (as you are contemplating doing) work very hard to change their mind and persuade them that you deserve their support. As it stands, if they do not believe that you can make it in a PhD program, you cannot ask them in good conscious to write such a letter. They will have to lie, or the letter will not be good; from their perspective, it's their name on the line: they are vouching for you and your success, but they don't believe in it. Beyond that, if they are in fact correct, they are doing you a favor in telling you their honest opinion from the start. Certainly, the delivery was lacking and hurtful in your case and I am sorry that you had to go through that. But not everyone who wants a PhD can be successful at a PhD program. It's better to know that now than to waste several years before either dropping out or finishing the degree but failing to get a job. I honestly don't know if this is true for you, but sometimes you simply have to tell students the hard truth instead of letting them just struggle along and waste important years of their lives on an impossible mission. As I said, I don't know if what your advisor said was a fair assessment of your work at all. Either way, it's important to view it as an assessment of your ability to do the training for a certain job, not as an assessment of your personality or person. There are extremely bright and successful people who would struggle in a PhD program because the requirements are set up in a such a way that it does not play to their strengths. That doesn't make them any less accomplished, you just need a very specific kind of personality, abilities and strengths to make it through, and only a (small) portion of it has to do with your intellectual abilities. Maybe that's something to consider. If, on the other hand, the assessments of your professors are simply wrong, I wish you all the best in your battle to attend graduate school. I think your approach is the healthiest one: do your best to prove that you are able and willing, and earn the letter and the trust.
  15. 22 points

    Acceptance Freakout Thread

    I'm in at Yale. History of Art + Film Studies. This past hour has been the strangest, most discombobulating experience of my life so far. After years of browsing this forum, sharing the joys, frustrations, and heartbreaks...it's over. All those rejections, and then I get an acceptance from one of my dream choices. Thank you all.
  16. 21 points

    So You've Been Waitlisted, Now What?

    Hello! This is the Ghost of Waitlists Past! As someone who was waitlisted and ultimately admitted, I wanted to share a few reflections from my experience. Being waitlisted is the worst. Your application cycle has been dragged out even further. You feel a weird mix of joy and defeat. My inner saboteur kept telling me, "I was good, but not good enough." At the end of the day, you may not get admitted despite all this added anxiety. These steps, though, made me feel like I had done everything I could do. 1. If you want to be on the waitlist, re-affirm your interest. I do not just mean replying to the DGS's waitlist email saying, "Yes! Keep me on it!" (Though you should do that ASAP.) A week or two later, I also sent a formal letter to the DGS, i.e. 2 short paragraphs in an email with a Dear XXX and Sincerely XXX, re-affirming that the program was one of my top choices. Keep it concise and do not repeat anything from your SOP. This might only be one short paragraph. However, here are a few other things you might want to mention: 1a. If this program is your first choice, say it. When I submitted my PhD applications, I was fairly confident this program was my first choice, but after having a few more months to reflect, I was now certain. In my letter, I said that and stated that I could confirm my attendance if admitted before the April 15th national deadline. This is a big commitment, so only say this if you are going to commit to that. When April 15th barrels down on the adcom, they want to offer admission to students on the waitlist that will accept their offer. Some adcoms will have a ranked list of waitlisted students, and this gesture may not do much. However, if your program's adcom does not have a ranked list, this may help. 1b. Tell them about any admissions you have received. Some DGSs will ask for this, but either way, be sure to mention which programs admitted you! This makes you a more attractive candidate, and if those acceptances are from impressive programs, it could spur them to review your file to see what they might have missed. Plus, it also alerts them that you will need to know before April 15th since you have an offer on the table. 1c. Any updates to your CV since you applied? After submitting my application, I had a few CV additions. I had a paper accepted for a conference, I was awarded a competitive grant, and I had another line of employment to add. I included those in my letter since those, like admissions to other programs, could spur some review of my application. Even if you do not have updates like that, you can still tell them about other things. Still in school and finished your fall semester with a 4.0? Tell them. Was that conference paper or publication listed as "forthcoming" on your last CV now given/published? Tell them. Did you finish a project at your job that seems relevant to the program? Tell them. The point here is not to brag, but to affirm that you are a hardworking candidate that could bring something special to the cohort. 2. Ask the DGS what the waitlist procedure is. Some will tell you up front and in detail how they select students and how frequently they will update you about your progress. Some will be more opaque. Either way, you have the right to ask questions like, "How does the committee select students for admission from the waitlist?" and "Are waitlisted students able to visit the department, either at the open house or individually?" 3. After you send the letter of interest, keep in contact with the DGS, but do not overwhelm them. This is where it is hard to be prescriptive. You will have to judge what is too much or too little contact. My suggestion is to err on the side of too little contact since you do not want to overstep. I would especially refrain from asking for updates. Instead, restrict yourself to major CV additions, i.e. other admissions, publications, professional conference presentations, or awards. I received my waitlist notice in late February/early March, and after I sent my letter of interest, I sent a total of two other emails: the first informing the DGS about two awards I had won, and the second – two weeks before that big April 15th deadline – asking for an update/re-affirming my interest. 4. Update your LOR writers about your waitlist status. You should be keeping them in the loop about your application cycle anyway, but if not, tell them about your waitlist status. When I told them, one of my letter writers was very generous and offered to write to a faculty member on my behalf. Not everyone is going to have that reaction, nor should you ask it or even expect it. (I didn't!) However, informing them gives them the opportunity to take more action if they can. You can also ask them if there are any steps they think you should take. During the application cycle, I ran the suggestions in this list by my letter writers, and they approved of them, giving me more confidence to do them. 5. If you have been admitted to other programs, evaluate those offers. Go ahead and start narrowing down any admittances you have. For now, treat the waitlist as an admittance. As you evaluate your options, you might decide the waitlisted program is not your first choice. If, however, you feel like the waitlisted program is your first choice, then hold on to it and decide which of your current offers is your first choice. Once you have selected your top admitted program, decline your other offers. Then inform the DGS at the top admitted program that you have been waitlisted at another, especially if you plan to wait until the April 15th deadline. When contacting the DGS, I affirmed that I was impressed by their program and would be excited to attend, but that I was waitlisted for a program that was a better fit for me and intended to wait. The DGS appreciated my transparency and that she could prepare for potentially notifying people on their waitlist. Remember, you are not the only one on a waitlist! 6. Be patient. The hardest thing to do on this list! In order to offer admission to students on the waitlist, the program has to wait for enough admitted students to decline their offers. Programs often admit more students than they expect to take, so even if one or two students decline their offers, the program may already have a fully realized cohort. Programs usually see major movement in late March/early April when students admitted to multiple programs have attended their open houses and have reflected on their experiences. Then, the DGS will begin sending out other acceptances. You could receive an offer of admission before then! You could also receive your acceptance after April 15th. I did not receive my acceptance until the day before the April 15th deadline. In the moment, it was nerve-wracking. However, because I had not officially accepted another offer, things went more smoothly for me and the two DGSs. If push comes to shove on April 15th and you still have not heard from the waitlisted program, you have to make a choice. It is your choice, but if you are seeking advice, I would strongly recommend taking the admission you already have. You truly do not know if you will be admitted until you get an official letter. 7. In short, always be passionate, courteous, and brief. Each email you send matters and reflects what it would be like to work with you. Now that I am on the other side, I know at least one reason I was admitted was because I was determined and respectful. Proofread everything you send. Keep your emails short. Sound enthusiastic and professional. Good luck, my fellow waitlist survivors!
  17. 21 points
    I emailed my POI from the interview I had last week at UN-Lincoln. She responded and apologized for the delay and cited the polar vortex-- but she said I am IN!! This is my first acceptance and I am over the moon!
  18. 21 points
    Well, the first round of application deadlines has come and gone, and soon your applications will be in the hands of admissions committees at programs around the country. From the outside, the process likely seems pretty mysterious, so I thought I would give an overview of how I review PhD applications. DISCLAIMER #1: My approach does not necessarily reflect how other admissions committee members perform their reviews. DISCLAIMER #2: This description applies to PhD applications, where the goal is to identify and rank the most promising applicants; the process is different for Masters admissions, where the goal is to figure out whether applicants meet a given standard. - The process begins when we receive a list of applicants whose applications are ready to be reviewed (i.e., they are sufficiently "complete"). For each applicant, we typically have access to individual documents (transcript, letters, research statement, etc.) along with a combined PDF file that has all the relevant information. - First, I get a feel for what type of applicant this is. There are five common types: domestic students coming from undergrad, domestic students attending Masters programs, international students attending US undergrads, international students attending US masters programs, and international students attending undergrad in their home country. I'll also note the institution(s) attend(ed). This sets the expectation for what I will be looking for in the application. - Next, I'm likely to notice standardized test scores. Both are going to help me start forming my impression of your application. Basically, I'm looking for anything concerning (e.g., a low GRE quant score) or particularly impressive (a high verbal and/or analytical writing score); if they're in the "solid" range, I don't pay much attention to specific numbers or percentiles. - One of the things I pay closest attention to is the transcript. I'll start by doing a quick scan to get a rough sense of overall performance; then I'll look more carefully at the courses. I'll start by looking at how many math courses were taken, and how well the applicant did in them. If there are some lower grades on the transcript, I'm interested to see whether they're mostly in "heavier" courses (such as organic chemistry) or "lighter" ones. In evaluating the transcript, I very much keep in mind the institution attended; if I've never heard of a school (and I've heard of a lot of schools, through my experience in admissions), anything less than a near-perfect GPA is likely going to be an issue, and conversely, if an institution is known for grade deflation, a lower GPA might not be fatal. - At this point, if there is anything unusual in the transcript or the rest of the application that seems to beg for an explanation, I'll take a look at the personal statement. Otherwise, I'm unlikely to give it much more than a quick glance. - Last come the letters of recommendation. The vast, vast majority of them are quite positive, so I am looking both for subtleties in tone ("this student was great!" vs. "this student was A-MA-ZING!") and for specific distinguishing details ("this student received the highest grade in my class, by a mile" or "within 3 months of starting to work with me, this student was operating at the level of a PhD student") that add information beyond what I already got from the transcript and test scores. I pay some attention to the academic rank and seniority of the letter writer (the statement "this is the best student I've ever worked with" means more coming from a senior full professor than a second-year assistant prof), but don't recognize most of the names so am not often "impressed" by the stature of letter writers. - Now, it comes time to score the application. At our institution, we use a categorical scoring system with options ranging from "I strongly object to admitting this applicant" to "I strongly support admitting this applicant". In assigning the score, I keep in mind the total number of people we are likely to admit (which is determined by projected available funding, and discussed before admissions decisions are made), and I try to give "supportive" scores to about this number of applicants. I keep a mental note of applicants that I'd like to discuss with the full admissions committee, particularly if I suspect my score is likely to be substantially higher than my colleagues'. - The last step involves the admissions committee discussing scores and ranking applicants. Our initial ranking is based on the average score assigned by committee members, and from this we can usually identify some "obvious" admits and rejects. Then, we discuss the remaining applicants and determine our final ordering.
  19. 21 points

    Fall 2018 Applicants

    I can tell you, more or less, how admission works at Ivies. I am now at a top 10 ivy, and got accepted to one more. My supervisor volunteered to tell me how I got accepted. And I was also told by one POI how admission works to explain why I got rejected. At Harvard, Columbia, and Princeton, there are admin committees. Committees are assembled at random and are rotational. These committees are made up of professors culled from different subfields. These are the people, if you get accepted, will remember your application with striking accuracy, and they will make small talk with you during visiting days. I am almost certain the DGS is not on the admin committee. Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia get about 400-500 applications each, of those only about 50-75 (sometimes 100) are good ones. Those get ranked by GRE, GPA, etc (such as, grants, awards). Yes GRE verbal matters. It doesn't matter for all committee members, but good students do get rejected for a low verbal score. You don't need a perfect score, but a decent score. MA gpa trumps BA gpa. LORs are very important. And Languages! My cohort, Americanists included, commands at least two languages, at least! Most have three or four under their belt. You are expected to sit for your language exam in September. But it's the SOP that makes or breaks your app. If your SOP is compelling, and fits with the general theme of the history department, your package is sent to your future supervisor (whomever you named in your SOP), and other professors in your sub-interests. You need sub-interests, which signal you can work with a few professors, not just one, who may retire or die or you just don't jive with. Committees know this. Students who have very particular singular interests, and can only work with one single professor, and no one else, tend to get rejected. Even excellent students. Your (future) supervisor and other professors (in your secondary field/s of interest) review your app, and approve or reject it. If they approve it, it goes back to the admin committee to be discussed further. At this point, it is up to the whims (and I kid you not WHIMS) of the admin committee to narrow the list of candidates further. Your supervisor and professors in your sub-fields who read your SOP and file, can exert some pressure on the admin committee to get you in. But to an extent, and usually only faculty with endowed chairs. Again, to an extent. Once you make it to the top 40 or so candidates, and you get rejected or waitlisted, know it is not a reflection of your potential, but the people on the admin committee the year you applied. If they specialize in French or British history, and you have a sub-interest or have background in those regions, you may get accepted. If you have an LOR whom the head of the admin knows because both attend same conferences, and like each other, you may get accepted. Also know, committees know students change their interests once they get in. I did, dramatically, and I know other students who did as well. That is why admin committees do not strictly choose students by their professed interests, or the presence of a POI in the department. They choose students with accolades, proven ability to do historical research, and ask critical, and probing questions. Cohorts are themed. It is rather strange but I find that each cohort has students that somehow connect with each other, not directly, but generally. So say, most have an underlying interest in global studies, or transnational history. Someone on this forum mentioned that historians are now more transnational rather than strictly regional. That is true. I notice that it is becoming more and more passé to focus on a single region. It narrows down your job prospects. Committees also choose candidates with an eye to the future. How will those students fair on the job market 6-7 years down the line, with a singular interest? If you don't get an interview, don't sweat it. Most people are not interviewed, unless specifically indicated on the relevant school website that they will be solicited for an interview! If you get an interview, cool! If you want to get into a top-history program and you are not successful in this cycle, don't settle or despair, but apply again next year (of course, if it is within your financial means to do so). Committees change from year to year. Best of Luck!
  20. 21 points

    Acceptance Thread

    I just got accepted into University of Florida's MA program, fully funded by TAship. HOLY %$#&@#!#*#*@*#$ @*#*# @*# #*$&@*!@ *@$#&# *# @&@*# &@*#$&#@*@ &#*@#&@*@ #&@#* @*@#&#@*@.
  21. 20 points
    Holy shit guys! I just finished feeling sorry for myself because I haven't heard anything good all week. I just got accepted to PITT!!!!
  22. 19 points

    Stalker/Harressment in my Lab

    Thanks so much for all of the support on here guys! It helps to get others perspective because when you are in the situation, it is really easy to feel like you are being too dramatic. After talking to my fiance and family some more about this, in addition to all of your comments, I decided to reach out to my PI. HR may have been a better choice but since I know him and trust him, I felt safest going to him. I emailed him, without details, just letting him know that I was dealing with a harressment issue in the lab and would like to set up a confidential meeting. He responded back very quickly that he was very glad that I contacted him and had no idea that anything was going on and that this would not be tolerated in the program and especially not in the lab. We have a meeting set up for tomorrow morning and he is encouraging me to loop in someone else in the deparment who knows alot about HR policies. Whew, I feel so much better, like a huge weight has been lifted off. Thanks so much and I will keep you guys updated!
  23. 19 points
    I received my first official rejection today. I also didn't receive an interview at my top choice and I've been unofficially rejected by the anthropology department at my current university. The caliber of these programs and my fit with their faculty make me think that I have good reason to believe I will be shut out this year. Before I was feeling sorry for myself. I was feeling helpless. I didn't know what to do. My backup plan (an MPH) was just deemed "useless" by an authority on public health and anthropology and I really do think it's going to take a lot of rebuilding from here. Regardless, I think I realized what went wrong. I think I'm ready for the challenge of starting again. Back in April, my adviser told me she thought my proposed research for the PhD had too narrow a focus and that I needed an international field site in order to be taken seriously by anthropology committees. Because she's a renowned scholar and we have a great relationship, I took her advice and together we crafted a strong research proposal with transnational implications. I hoped this would make me appeal to more faculty, as I was told it would. I felt that even though the topic was a clear departure from my research thus far, that my record of success in general would make up for the difference between what I do now and what I said I want to do. I realize now how silly it was to think that a good topic (a great topic!) would convince a committee to admit me despite showing a major departure from what I have worked on until now. I am sure that is my problem. I told the committees what I thought they wanted to hear, instead of telling them what I really wanted to do. The realization is pretty energizing. So what if I strike out across the board? I still will be graduating with an MA in May, and I should be proud of all the work I've done. My boss just told me I could extend my research position with her and that she'd take me on for the next year if need be, so I don't have to look for another job. I'm going to focus on publishing my thesis, which is on my original topic of interest, and I'm going to connect with the few scholars in the universe that also work on similar topics. I submitted a book review and a paper to two different graduate student journals. I'm going to apply for NSF funding. I'm not going to take these rejections lying down. What I am going to do is be true to myself. If I want to study what I've been studying all along, then that's what I'm going to do. It might make me less interesting to faculty with international interests, but the only thing that matters to me is being interesting to the people who will enthusiastically support my research. If it means that I need to apply to programs not just in anthropology, and risk getting an interdisciplinary degree, then that is what I will do. What I'm not going to do is give up.
  24. 18 points
    Grow a thick skin. --Your supervisors will critique you in every way possible, suck it up. It's a learning experience...even if they hurt your feelings, their opinions do not define who you are. Your laptop is your lifeline. Connect your school email to every technology you own especially your phone. Phonetics and speech-language development is worth knowing. Get used to not being "perfect" in graduate school. You won't get kicked out for getting a B ? Graduate school is not hard, it's just time consuming. Prepping for an articulation session takes longer than two hours (until you know your kiddo quite well and/or perfected a few habits). Your classmates/professors/staff members are your colleagues. You do not have to like them but be respectful. Do not burn bridges. Treat this experience like a job because it is. Do not gossip. Research is so important in graduate school. Learn how to read articles. Be flexible. Everything you planned for in your session will most likely by altered by that little 5-year-old in front of you. Another clinician is currently using an item you needed? Find a different toy/activity that can still elicit what you want. Your client is having a bad day? you might end up tossing your lessons away and doing whatever to get them back on track. You will find yourself doing the most silliest things ever just for that speech production. Even after a month of therapy, you'll still be nervous to see your clients and have NO clue what you are doing. LOL. That two minutes you have until your session starts is still a lot of time. You'll adjust to working under pressure. You're a natural, trust me. You know more than you think you do. GOOD LUCK!
  25. 18 points
    This is stream-of-consciousness. Forgive me for imperfections: I'm hearing a theme among some posts on this forum, and that theme is self-doubt. People get rejected to two or three places -- or even just UNC -- and they start to wonder whether they are cut out for philosophy, whether their applications contained some fatal flaw, whether their faculty recommenders can be trusted, whether they should have submitted a writing sample on a different topic, whether they took the right advice, whether they wasted lots of time and money chasing an impossible dream. Here are three things to remember right now: 1) Think about your competition. Your file doesn't need to be perfect to be admitted to a top institution; if it did, then nobody would be admitted. Your competitors' files also contain imperfections. Admission committees don't shed their humanity when looking at your file. They don't get caught up in small details; they look for interesting candidates who have great potential. 2) Don't overestimate your influence. This may be a comfort; it also may be terrifying. But we've all heard that philosophy admissions is to some degree a crapshoot. Admissions aren't random, but there is certainly a degree of randomness, if that's what you choose to call it. What I mean is this: There's only so much that you can do to influence your chance of being admitted. Not all aspects of your file are quantifiables. Some committee members will weigh factors more heavily than others. If you've ever graded papers, you know that grades are influenced by the mood of the grader, by the grader's priorities at that time. Some (perhaps much) of what happens is out of your control. You give it a pretty good shot (maybe your best shot), and then you accept that luck does play a role. 3) It's early. Look, there are many, many hundreds of people who applied to graduate programs in philosophy, and only like 30 people have been admitted anywhere at this point in the game. It's February 7. It will be at least March 10 before the INITIAL ROUND of acceptances are sent from all of the top schools. At this point in the game, many of us are experiencing self-doubt. But many of those experiencing self-doubt are also letting small and relatively unimportant worries get in the way of perspective. My aim above is to give some perspective. In the big picture, you are up against many others like you. In the big picture, you do your best and accept the realities of an imperfect admissions process. It's not always a reflection on you or your abilities that you get rejected. Many of us -- including many very qualified people -- have tried philosophy admissions twice or three times. And meantime, take a look at the calendar. I applied to roughly 25 programs in philosophy, and I've actually heard from just one of these. We have many more to go. I hope this is comforting. If not, maybe it will encourage healthy discussion anyway...
  26. 18 points
    Doge makes everything better.
  27. 18 points
    I respectfully disagree. I was waitlisted last year, and it almost physically HURT. I got on the waitlist of my (at the time, #1 program) on April 4th. Yes. I remember the day, and the sour weekend following that. I was happy thinking "Hey, they kind of liked me. Almost there!" Then by that Saturday, April 7th, my thought turned dark "Why?" "How long will I have to wait?" etc. I finally decided to email them on Monday April 9th. They (secretary/coordinator) CALLED me back saying that they definitely wanted me -- funding issues -- my POI was running a crowded lab but may try to take me on etc. Now starts the most painful rollercoaster ride of my life. April 10th, this time the department chair emails me a super sympathetic email. "I know how hard it it to wait, but good news is there is a high possibility that someone will come off the waitlist, and it has happened in recent years.." and a similar vein. It was also obviously not a form email (in different font/style from previous form emails he had sent before). April 11th. The secretary confirms with me that I am on the waitlist through email. I shoot back an email replying Yes, and asking "why" she lets slip that one/two of their accepted students show hesitancy, and that again this is a good sign for me. April 12th. Radio silence. I'm letting myself feel happy around this point. "Maybe.. there's a chance!" April 13th. The Department chair and secretary sent me emails saying that one spot was vacated and the waiting list's first person got accepted. At this point they inferred that I was the second position on the list -- well now the first. Then April 14th. Keep in mind, this was a SATURDAY. I received a call saying that "I regret to inform you.." My heart dropped, and I really couldn't hear what he had said and had to ask for him to repeat. He said that "We will be unable to offer you admission to our PhD program this year. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but this year had an extremely competitive applicant pool." I thanked him and sort of phoned it in that day. I was planning to set up lesson plans for my TAing gig, and run some analyses for my thesis project. I did not have the functioning capabilities to do that. Instead, I indulged in comfort foods. I recall calling my mother and sister crying, but I can't remember what I said. I was devastated. I had been rejected everywhere else, except for one school that was way down the list, and I was considering saying No to regardless of the results. This school had raised my hopes and then brought it crashing back down on reality. I would have been happier not being in almost daily communication with them (though granted, they initiated it on some days. But I got the ball rolling). I really am not the sort of person to just fall apart like that, but the emotional rollercoaster just made it happen. I really think now I would have been happier if I had been flat-out rejected. I WISH I had been rejected. Sorry for the long story. Just ignore it. This was a bit cathartic for me (it still kind of hurts). I just wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, let alone you congenial people of TGC. Good luck to anyone waitlisted out there, and I hope you don't go through the mental hell I went through in just a little over a week's time last year.
  28. 17 points
    Also granted this was for a Gender and Women's Studies program but still... Rejected for having conflicting values with Liberty University. Maybe it was my two abortions I discussed in my personal statement?
  29. 17 points

    Tips on cutting some moving costs

    - Ship all your media (books, CDs, DVDs) via USPS. It is shipped at a much cheaper rate. I think you can send about 200lbs. for less than $100. - Ship your heaviest stuff in large flat rate boxes. I stuffed all my shoes in two boxes and it was $16ish a box. They would have taken up a lot of room in my car. - Price out freight for shipping furniture. You can get a mattress box from a store and ship it freight for cheaper than it would cost to get a uhaul rental sometimes. - If you know your parents will be sending you package, leave a bag of off-season clothing for them to use as packaging materials. - Sell everything you can and rebuy/CL when you get there. You'll be sad when you realize how much you spend in shipping vs. how much it really would have cost to just sell and rebuy. - Don't forget, the heavier your car, the more gas you go through. Hope some of these help!
  30. 17 points
    AHHHHHHH! Just got a phone call, I'm in at Stanford Dev Bio!!!!!!!!!!
  31. 17 points
    I read one the other day that simply read: "Wow!" My favorites are more of a type and not any one in particular. They fall under two categories: "I have the highest GPA and GRE scores of anyone in the history of the World. I published in every single research journal on the planet. I won ten Nobel Prizes last year...I was so positive I was going to be accepted that I moved to [location of school] before I even submitted my application. Graduate school admissions officers are a bunch of imbeciles who are too ignorant to exist". A bit of an exaggeration, sure, but these types of "quotes" are there. And, "No biggie. I knew I was not going to get accepted".
  32. 16 points

    2019 Acceptances

    I got into Columbia !
  33. 16 points

    Applications 2019

    Just got word that I got into Duke! It's my first choice, and I'm so incredibly excited!! So if you see that admit on the results page, it's mine. I'm a bit shy about sharing my focus/POI on here because anonymity etc, but if you've applied to Duke and you're curious, feel free to PM me!
  34. 16 points

    Fall 2018 Applicants

  35. 16 points
    Old Bill

    2017 Acceptances

    Where's the ambivalence and confusion? When you boil it all down, it's a case of them letting you know when they're ready to let you know. It really is as simple as that. Ph.D. programs are making around a $100,000 investment (on average) in their acceptances...and I'm not even considering waived tuition and travel stipends in that approximation. You can rest assured that they have to be well-considered decisions from an institutional standpoint, and that simply has to be their first consideration...especially in a day and age where funding for our very field is rapidly dwindling. If this were a situation where you have no idea if they will ever let you know about acceptance / waitlist / rejection, that would be one thing...but that's simply not the case. You know that they HAVE to inform you by April 15th (with a few minor exceptions), so that is the frame that you're yearning for, and it already exists. In other words, it really does come down to being patient and respecting the process. I'm not going to say any more on this topic, as I'm frankly a little annoyed that this isn't just common sense. I recognize that emotions are running high right now, but be that as it may, I don't like this implication that programs need to kowtow and be utterly transparent about every facet of their process to their applicants. It's way too much to expect, and simply doesn't factor in the sheer enormity of the job admissions personnel have to do.
  36. 16 points

    2016 Applicants

    It's not all about stats. They probably had more experience / better LOR's / statement of purpose. People who think they deserve acceptance to programs because of "better stats " ? Now that's what "bugs me" . Stats don't tell you how good you'll be in a certain career. Just sayin. ?
  37. 16 points

    The Graduate School Ponzi Scheme

    Wait a minute--are you saying there's some kind of job market crisis in the humanities?
  38. 16 points
    Got of GSU's waitlist! Fuck yeah!
  39. 16 points
    Officially going to be a grad student next year! Call from Michigan State this morning offering a position in the BMS program.
  40. 16 points
    I gave up explaining linguistics as well. Before: - Hey there, what are you applying for? - Linguistics, historical/comparative. - The same as your BA and MA? - Yeah. - So... is that a science or what? How many languages do you speak? You're going to be a translator, right? - :AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH: After: - Hey there, what are you applying for? - Languages. - Which one? - All of them. - Cool. It's easier.
  41. 15 points

    2019 Acceptances

    Accepted off the waitlist at UC Davis. First acceptance out of 5 applications.
  42. 15 points

    Turned Down Offers Thread

    Aw, thanks for asking! First: this is a professional decision, and you are not going to hurt anyone's feelings. Admissions committees will indeed be disappointed when we fail to recruit our top choices, but no one will be personally upset or offended. Don't feel awkward or hesitant about informing programs in a prompt and direct way. As others have suggested in the forums, institutions that maintain waitlists often depend on admitted students turning them down before the April 15 deadline in order to admit anyone from the waitlist. So if you know that you won't be attending, you are doing the program (and waitlisted students) a favor by informing them promptly. Second: you are not obligated to explain your reasons for your choice, especially if that hinges in part on private factors that you would rather not disclose (such as the decision to relocate a partner and/or family to a particular geographic area, for example). That said, if there was anything about the program that gave you pause--the stipend was lower, or the placement seemed weak, or the teaching responsibilities weren't what you hoped, or the graduate students you spoke to were unhappy--and you feel comfortable sharing that information with the DGS, or whoever has been communicating with you about your status: that information will be deeply appreciated by the program (at least if it's a program that knows what's good for it). We are constantly reviewing and refining our recruitment practices as well as our graduate program. If there are issues that are going to make us less appealing to students, we really want to know about that earlier rather than later! (Also: some programs I know of issue an anonymous survey to prospective students who turn them down, giving them an opportunity to express such feedback without having to worry that they are causing offense. But even if you don't get this formal opportunity, please know that your thoughts will be taken seriously and appreciated, so long as they are expressed cordially.) You can express your concerns collegially, along the lines of: "I'm writing, regretfully, to let you know that I won't be matriculating at X University. While I so appreciated the chance to speak with your wonderful faculty and students, the lower stipend combined with the higher cost of living in your city ultimately led me to another decision." And so on. Third: I think most programs have online portals where you can record your decision electronically, without requiring any explanation. But if you've corresponded at any length or spent a significant amount of time with specific faculty, you can't go wrong with a brief and professional email thanking them for their time and saying how much you look forward to seeing them and their work at conferences and in print. (In fact, you can't go wrong with a brief thank you to such faculty at the school you do choose to attend! Keep it short and sweet: thanks so much for your time, enjoyed talking to you, look forward to working with you in the coming years.)
  43. 15 points

    2019 Acceptances

    uh i had pretty much accepted that i'd be shut-out, but i'm admitted at UCSD too...
  44. 15 points
    *sips from delicious glass of white tears* "BS in Biochemistry at Temple U. 6 month undergraduate research in biophysics (wet lab), 6 months undergraduate research in Computational biophysics, and 2 years as a research technician in pathobiology at UPenn. 3 co-authors and currently submitting a first author paper. 4 LORs. Rejected via email. I'm a middleclass white male. I'm not saying I'm the best candidate, but if you arent a female or URM, you will most likely be rejected. On their program overview page it says over the past few years 61% were female and 31% URM. Good luck to all of you hard working white men out there!"
  45. 15 points
    Oh god, I have so many of these. Freshman undergrad telling his parents about his Sociology 101 class on parents day: "No, mom, it's racist to even call someone black or white. Race isn't real. So we shouldn't even be talking about race, because race is fake and it's racist to bring it up." Conversation between me, my freshman dorm roommate, and her boyfriend, on watching me pull out a jar of peanut butter (context: I'm vegan): Roommate's Boyfriend: "Ooooh! I knew you cheated on being vegan! You're eating peanut butter!" Me: "So? Peanut butter is vegan." Roommate's Boyfriend: "Not-uh! It's called peanut butter. It has butter in it. It's not vegan." Roommate: "Wait, butter isn't vegan?" Me: "No, butter is made from milk. But it's not in peanut butter. What did you think butter was made out of?" Roommate: "I don't know. A butter plant? I guess I never really thought about it before."
  46. 15 points

    Getting off to a good start

    See, personally, I feel that working on one task (school) for more than a certain amount per week (usually around 50 hours or so, depending) has severely diminishing returns. Keeping other interests in life, relationships and leisure activities gives your brain time to work on different tasks, or have downtime, and you usually end up better for it- your research and studies as well, in my opinion. That's not to say that there aren't crunch times where you have to work more, but my anecdotal experience is that people working more than 50 or 60 hours a week are usually less efficient than those working less, and tend to spend more time on tasks that could be finished in less. Most European researchers, I've found, are very dedicated at working a short, highly productive week. They get in, take the job seriously, work 8 hours, and then clock out and do something else. It makes their working time more productive, and limits burnout. You may think that you're the kind of person that avoids burnout, but I have not yet met someone who isn't susceptible to it in some way- you may just be less productive, you may miss connections that you'd otherwise see in your work, or you may just not have as good of a perspective of how your work fits in the broader scheme of things. There are a lot of discussions on the inter webs about work-life balance, and I have yet to see any convincing data that focussing on your work to the exclusion of all else in your life is ever beneficial, and there are lots of suggestions that it's actually detrimental, both to the quality of your life and the quality of your work.
  47. 15 points

    pregnant and scared

    My thoughts exactly. Not to minimize your problems, but babies are so amazingly wonderful! As others have mentioned, I've heard dissertation phase is actually a relatively good time to have a baby, because you have the most flexibility in your schedule. Our department is more family-friendly, I think, as some of the students had kids before they joined the program. Another person in the program had a baby in what would have been her second year of classes; they arranged for her to do more in the summer, to make up for not getting a stipend one semester. Now she's back in classes, and besides all the normal mom craziness is back to the normal routine. So, even when it's at a less convenient time, it can be done. All this to say that your DEPARTMENT is the problem, not you or your baby. If they want to be sexists (I don't use that term lightly) and seek to further limit the opportunities of women to be in academia, you don't have to apologize to them. (I'm really ticked off on your behalf right now.) In addition to scoping out your school's policies (the graduate student center or student senate may point you to the right sources, if you don't know individuals), it's worth scoping out what benefits your boyfriend has for "paternity leave" -- some companies are actually pretty generous. If you come to your adviser with a plan in place -- how much time you'll need off, how your boyfriend is also making sacrificing, how you will arrange things after maternity leave, etc. -- then I think you will still appear like your professional self. Rumors do spread quickly though, so I think it's best to tell your adviser once you have a plan in place, before it spreads to everyone else in the department. Lastly, you need to buy this: .
  48. 15 points
    If you approach your life with a checklist in hand, it's not going to be very satisfying. So, I offer you a list of useful things I have learned from my own experiences dating a successful academic, seeking my own success, and abandoning my former inclinations to accomplish everything according to an arbitrary idea of a schedule. 1. You seem to be overly caught up in the details of right now. He's not an academic superstar pre-grad program, so he'll never be an academic superstar. You're hot shit in your program right now, so you'll always be hot shit. No one's fate is sealed until that dissertation boldly declares the truth to the world: either you're capable of brilliance, originality, creativity, insight, and clear thinking, in whatever combination, or you're not. 2. Your world will not fall apart if you miss the deadline for a few stops on your itinerary. It will never fit together. It will never be perfect. You have no idea what sorts of things may happen a few years down the road. You plan the best you can, and you try to make decisions that will make you happy. 3. When you were accepted a few years ago, the job market in academia was flush with opportunities for grad school applicants. That feast has withered into famine. Programs across the board are having problems supporting their current faculty, let alone taking on new grad students. So, your acceptance to more programs doesn't necessarily make you that much more of a superstar, it just makes you luckier to have applied for PhD programs at a time when the market was more promising. 4. I dated someone who went to schools recognized as the best in the country for high school, college, and his doctorate, which he completed straight through. He immediately became a tenure-track professor at a university with a fantastic reputation in an awesome city, working under a pioneer in his field. I'm sure he's brilliant in his field (it's a little esoteric), but he was not someone who most people would assume was brilliant upon meeting him. They only learned about it when he mentioned his background. He grasped things quickly and thoroughly, but he approached those things as if he were studying them - he was obviously a great student. But he had a difficult time making innovative leaps and intuitive connections. He wasn't interested in literature, he couldn't hold a conversation about music, and if he saw a great movie, you generally had to explain why it moved you and why it's considered so incredible. There wasn't a ton of passion in his pursuits. He couldn't translate the ideas of his field very well into language that wasn't within its jargon. His research, in his own words even, was solid, but it wasn't groundbreaking. After the breakup, friends shared what I had suspected: they found him dull. In short, being talented academically does not necessarily make you smart. (Now, no one twist that into a reverse syllogism - that doesn't mean that not being talented academically means you are smart. There are smart people in academia, there are morons in academia, there are smart people in the working world, there are morons in the working world.) He's incredibly successful in academia, which I have a huge amount of respect for. We both got our dream jobs early on, and we both do them very well. We both achieved big titles at young ages. His is in the ivory tower; mine isn't. Neither is better or worse. So, basically, what I'm saying is, outside academia, no one cares about the minute nuances of your status as a scholar. It's who you are, how global your intelligence is, whether you have a work ethic, whether you can hold your own in a provocative conversation - not how many papers you publish a year. It makes about as much sense as saying, "I qualified for the Boston Marathon, but my boyfriend only runs a 10-minute mile. How will he cope?" Just cheer each other on and enjoy the fact that you both like to run. (With me and my ex, it was more like, proverbially, he liked to swim and I liked to garden. Neither is better, they're just too different to compare.) 5. If you're worried that he's going to go to a program that isn't his first choice and that you'll feel guilty for any potential fallout (especially if you suspect you may want to break up with him), then make sure he's making his choices for himself, not because it's what he thinks you'll want. That way, clear conscience no matter what he does. 6. Don't be caught up in the rankings. I went to a large public research university, and I was always a little insecure about it. But my ex-bf who went to these fancy schools is the one who taught me that the people in his department, the best in the field, had equal respect for colleagues in the ivy league as professors at more ordinary schools. The reputation wasn't staked on a name, it was staked on the level of the work people there were doing. 7. The problem doesn't seem to be his; it seems to be yours. View it through the filter of your own feelings, not your conjectures about what he feels. It sounds like a cover. 8. The title of this post is telling. "Finding and keeping a male partner?" It sounds like you're still keeping an eye out for something better. If you are, break it off, because the longer you prolong it, the more painful it's going to be. 9. If it's a chore to see him, then you shouldn't be with him. It's not love if you have to convince yourself that it is. It should not feel like a burden to see someone you love. If it is, you're probably making excuses. 10. You have a whole life ahead of you. Don't feel stuck at this age. If you feel constricted, figure out a way to break out of it. You're not trapped. Opportunity doesn't have an expiration date, but rushing could lead to serious mistakes. 11. If the worst problem in your life right now is that people will resent you for how awesome you are, that's pretty badass.
  49. 14 points

    Defense in 6 hours

    Thanks y'all! Just an update - I passed
  50. 14 points

    Welcome to the 2013-2014 Cycle

    Just receive informal email from Professor Hyde. Yale accepted.

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