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  1. 3 points
    TMP

    Comp prep question

    At this point, entering into my 8th (and final!) year, my comps feel like another lifetime. I do agree with both @Sigaba and @AP. DO go to the job talks in your department even if no other graduate student does. Even if it's not in your field. Do it. You're going because you need to see how job candidates draw out big themes in his or her work to connect to the audience and how the audience-- faculty members in DIFFERENT fields-- find ways to connect. I recall one job talk by a 18th century French cultural historian and a 20th century Chinese cultural historian raised his interest and question to her project. "I'm a Chinese historian BUT I LOVE your work on cultural networks of presses in France! Here's my question...." Not only this but you will be SO far ahead of the game from your peers. Do ask what the committee member's expectation is. Every person is going to be different. Either I was awful at phrasing my questions of "what are we really going to talk about?" as @Sigaba warned of, or my committee was reluctant to be specific, either way, I actually failed my oral exam for that reason (among a few other critical areas). Once I picked up the pieces (with the help of my saint adviser), we were able to outline clear expectations in writing. Only with this list was I able to determine when I was truly ready to re-take my oral exam. Truthfully, try to have at least one committee member who is very down-to-earth (but intense), patient, and "harmless" (like a whale shark among the white sharks). The person will make a huge, huge difference to your sanity. I had a senior, top-of-the-field professor who had nothing to lose in her ranking by throwing soft balls in my way while everyone else (including my adviser) wanted to engage deeper, provoking, out-of-the-left field questions. I could not wait for her turn during the orals. It's okay to be traumatized, even if you have (mostly) nice group of professors who mean well. Until that point, you will never have experienced that kind of stress. (Ask me again the spring when I finish my dissertation and whether that was more stressful...)
  2. 3 points
    Warelin

    2020 Applicants

    I'd like to add on to this. I was accepted at schools where I mentioned certain faculty by name. I was also accepted at schools where I did not mention any faculty by names. In one of the schools I was accepted to, I only mentioned one faculty. They're currently at a different school. So I don't think there is a correct or wrong way of writing your SOP when it comes to the inclusion or exclusion of names.
  3. 2 points
    I have a different take. I approached the statement with most of my paragraphs focusing on my interests and project proposal (which as far as I can tell is really just a test to see if you can articulate a project since no one expects you will focus on it). I dedicated half a paragraph to fit for each program. Admission committees will know if you match what they're looking for, and I don't think it's wrong to spend most of your statement focusing on yourself instead of arguing about fit. That's not to say that a greater emphasis on fit is a bad thing; I just don't think it's necessary.
  4. 2 points
    That's fine, the most important thing is to get letters from people with quantitative PhDs who know you well. Usually someone you did research with is more able to give valuable feedback. Your grades can speak for themselves.
  5. 2 points
    Sigaba

    Struggling with Cohort

    If you're as experienced as you say, then you are well aware of how unprofessional it is to form diagnostic interpretations in non clinical situations of individuals who are not your patients. Moreover, given the persistent use of psychology to oppress women, your thumbnail sketch of women you don't like is dehumanizng. I get it. Members of your cohort hurt you badly by excluding you from their activities. But how does lashing out at them anonymously really get you where you want to go or closer to the people who would want to spend time with you?
  6. 2 points
    AP

    Struggling with Cohort

    I'm sorry you are feeling isolated and alone. I was older than my cohort, so I was "organically" left out. That pushed me to make friends in upper years and other departments. I worked on campus a couple of hours a week and took some regular workshops (on teaching, GIS, etc etc). Encountering people outside my department (and seeing some regular faces over and over again) helped me create friendships that I wouldn't have if I remained in my department. Is there a possibility for you to do something like this? Two other things that worked for me were church groups and meet ups (www.meetup.com). I was a bridesmaid to a friend I meet in a white water meet up! But if you are worried about your cohort, maybe you need to accept the fact that they are just your colleagues, and that's ok.
  7. 2 points
    AP

    Comp prep question

    Just to be clear, ASK what those expectations are. Comps are (in theory) a learning opportunity so you are more than entitled to ask what the expectations are. This will help you discern how each faculty will evaluate your work.
  8. 2 points
    Couple things: 1) While higher ranked schools are indeed more competitive, the whole admissions process is, on some level, a bit of a crapshoot. Your application may not succeed based on things you could not possibly know--the professor you named in your personal statement might be taking a job elsewhere, or they might not want to take on more students. They may have just admitted a bunch of people with the same interests as you, and are looking to diversify. Or, and this is how so many people end up on waitlists, they just have to draw the line somewhere. That said, I would encourage you to apply to some programs outside the top 20. There are a lot of amazing programs that aren't highly ranked, and thus are hard to find. Spending a little time digging through recent articles in your field, and looking up their author's department, can be a useful way to broaden your scope. The rankings are somewhat useless as a measure of the department's quality, they really only indicate its "prestige." I can guarantee that there are excellent programs outside the top 20 that share your research interests. 2) I was shut out the first time I applied. I had applied exclusively to top 20 programs. The next year, I broadened my search and applied to a much greater variety--however, the only programs that accepted me were in the top 20. Make of that what you will, it's the mystery of the admissions process. However, you should in some small way prepare to be shut out. It's unfortunately a real possibility. Not only is it a huge pain logistically, but it can be very difficult emotionally as well, or at least it was for me. I wish I had made some small contingency plan, so that I wouldn't have immediately felt lost and directionless on top of the very unpleasant feeling of being shut out. If you really really really cannot be shut out (and there are certainly legitimate reasons why that could be the case!), I would encourage you to apply to some funded MA programs as well as broadening your scope for PhD programs. Unfortunately, the admissions process is not solely based on merit, and there are just things about it you won't be able to control. I really don't mean this to be overly pessimistic, and getting shut out is totally something you can learn from as well, as cheesy as that sounds. But especially if you only apply to very highly ranked programs, its something you should be a little prepared for.
  9. 2 points
    Sigaba

    Comp prep question

    Here are a few tactics that I didn't realize were fair game until very late in the process of preparing for my quals. Arrange check in meetings with members of your committee (in some programs, graduate students are allowed to flounder). Go into these meetings with the intent of listening much more than you talk. knowing how to talk about historiography, and knowing how to ask "is this going to be on the test" without actually asking "Is this going to be on the test?" Some professors will look at you like you're a wounded seal and they're white sharks. Others will offer remarks that can be easily missed because of the stress surrounding the exams These remarks can range from head scratchingly subtle to telling you the questions. Again, because of your stress level, this type of support may hit a wall, so listen carefully and reflect upon what you heard in the following days. Reach out to ABDs who rarely come to campus. The insights they share can be helpful especially since they've had time to recover from the ordeal of the exams. If you've taken classes or worked as a teaching assistant for a professor on your committee, review every exam question you've encounters. Look for themes and patterns. If a professor has put on file her midterm questions for undergraduate classes in a school library, spend time reading through those exams. Other tactics that may help. If you have the opportunity to attend job talks, go. Pay close attention to how faculty members in attendance turn up the heat on the candidate. The better the candidate does, the more fuel will be poured on the flames. If you find yourself taking more and more heat during your oral exam, it may very well be that you're doing GREAT and your examiners are raising the bar just to see how high you can jump. Start conditioning your mind and body for the experience of writing the exams as soon as possible. If you're an insomniac and night and day have switched places, start looking for ways to realign your body clock. Simulate taking an exam by sitting down and writing coherently for several hours. Figure out, practice, and tweak your pre exam ablutions and meals. Get your GI tract synchronized with the stress levels so you won't have any avoidable distractions/disturbances on the nights before and days of. Figure out what you're going to wear each day of the week of and get your outfit "just so". The last thing you need to deal with is laundry day. If you have the option to do so, consider the advantages of scheduling your exams so you can get through them as fast as possible. I had a classmate who wrote his four exams on consecutive days. I somewhat followed his lead and took them over a couple of weeks. For me, the advantage was that my windows for freaking the F out were much smaller. Make peace with the likelihood that you'll never be ready for your qualifying exams, and that you'll likely feel much less ready than you actually are. Please note that acceptance isn't the same as resignation. You will probably feel better about things if you prepare as hard as you can so that when you're waiting for the results after the oral phase that you've done the best that you can. Understand that in addition to being a form of professional development, quals are also a ritual. For some (many) academic historians, a part of the ritual is giving graduate students hard stares, smirks, and remarks about how much standards have slipped and how much harder things were back in the time when graduate students read by candlelight and had nothing for nourishment but their own tears. When you're taking your exams, expect no quarter. Qualifying exams are hard and stressful and ferocious.As a kid, I witnessed my mom try to run my dad over with a car. In college, I had a loaded gun pointed at my head. . Individually, those and other experiences were less stressful than qualifying exams. (Collectively, it's a close call.) Understand that the ordeal may get the better of you and that you may have one or more freak outs. Do what you can so that the freak outs aren't CLMs and/or occur while you're taking your quals. Understand that after you finish your exams that you are going to need time to heal. Do what you can to not schedule anything especially important or stressful in the weeks (if not months) after your exams. Keep your sense of humor at all times. The ability to laugh at your self throughout the process and after will help to counter the feelings of despair, failure, and contempt that may come. One last recommendation that dovetail's with @AP's guidance. Every work of history by a professional academic historian is going to fit into at least three historiographical contexts. The importance of those contexts is going to be in the eye of the committee member reading your exams. Some will be satisfied with the big themes. Others will want to make sure you understand the intermediate themes. And a few will want to make sure you know the details chapter and verse. It is incumbent upon a graduate student to figure out the expectations of the readers and then strive to meet and/or manage those expectations.
  10. 1 point
    aheather

    Rhodes 2020 Application Thread

    Hello! I didn't see one of these already, but please point me there if it already exists. Who all is applying to the Rhodes this year? And does anyone know at all when they usually tell folks if they've made it to the interview stage? Best, The Most Nervous Person In the Land
  11. 1 point
    Yup! It was just a glitch in the system. Everyone's applications are back up.
  12. 1 point
    I see exactly what you mean and have been prepared for rejections and looked for safety schools should my GPA greatly hinder my application but lately I've been emailing PIs at columbia, UC boulder and UCLA and almost all of them have quickly gotten back to me and said I look like a great candidate and want to interview/ meet with me despite seeing my GPA on my CV. I'm assuming that my current position at the NIH and my experience has made up for my GPA but I'm also not sure how much weight these emails should hold. Edit: I also would like to mention that the research I've done is very closely related to the POI's current research
  13. 1 point
    Nah, you solid.
  14. 1 point
    AP

    Touchy Subject in Personal Statement

    1) Do not by any means ask him to write a letter. He has no reason to explain anything to no one and you requesting that after rejecting his (very bad) terms will not help you. 2) do not waste your time with this experience. I am not sure why you think you need to talk to about this. You had a bad experience about funding that has nothing to do with your research or your potential. If you want to account for the time you “lost”, you can say something like “in the past application cycle I received offers from several programs. After much consideration, I committed to a programs whose funding did not follow through. This taught me that our academic endeavors sometimes depend on external factors. As far as I am concerned, I do follow through”. That’s it, own your decision and not shed any spotlight on anyone other than yourself. The SoP is about YOU.
  15. 1 point
    Did you call them?
  16. 1 point
    socialworkphd

    ONLINE MSW Programs

    Case Western, Simmons, and USC all use the contracted provider 2U. You can look at recent press about this private contractor. Although they provide support (tutoring, recruiting, advertising) they also add big fees to the online degree program and make it almost impossible for the schools to offer scholarships. They require large cohort sizes. I agree with others, look at your regional state schools. Sometimes adjoining states have "good neighbor" tuition discounts. Look at synchronous (live, during a specific time) vs asynchronous requirements. Although asynchronous sounds more flexible, most students I talk to value their live experiences highly. Online degrees are often MORE work than campus degrees- you can't sit passively in class- there's more written work/online presence. it is not a shortcut. Plan accordingly.
  17. 1 point
    uchenyy

    Quantitative Phd Programs

    I think UCSD's program is quant-heavy.
  18. 1 point
    With your article submission to a respectable journal (Statistics in Medicine), that excellent subject test score, and a strong GPA from a top university in Canada, I would definitely recommend applying to Stanford and some other top-tier schools. Competition is very stiff for international students, but I would rate your chances as above average. If your interests are mainly in causal inference, I would suggest trying UPenn Wharton and Harvard.
  19. 1 point
    Or look at a 2 year MA, or a Fullbright app. There's nothing particularly notable about taking more undergraduate courses, especially if you can be doing instead of just sitting in class. A couple semesters of, say, Arabic looks good, but a year in Marrakesh (or Seville) looks better, for example - and it would probably actually give you more useful skills. Going in straight from undergraduate is very rare these days, in any case.
  20. 1 point
    I think the answer to this is sort of a combination of both! I would suggest writing one specifically tailored to a certain school to start. Find a program, determine what you specifically find appealing about it, and several possible professors you want to work with. Then, I would write an SoP for that program, including your proposal of your research, your background/experiences in that field, how working with those specific POIs will assist you, and what you might offer/bring to the program and/or what your ultimate professional goals and interests are. Once you have a draft on paper, it's easier to determine how much of your material is school specific and how much of it can be reused. I would say, however, that you shouldn't only have one paragraph or portion that deals with program fit. Program fit should inform how you write your entire SoP, as it should affect how you frame your project/interests and which previous research is most relevant, besides just naming of POIs. It would be more likely for there to be a few sentences you could reuse than for there to be a full paragraph or section that you could just copy/paste over. Does that make sense?
  21. 1 point
    Sigaba

    I chose the wrong grad school. Help.

    I recommend that you try two exercises. The first centers around a "rational" re-appraisal of the two schools. On a piece of paper (analog or digital) develop a list of criteria that fall into three categories: town, gown, and classroom. Next to the list, make five columns. Label the first two A and B. Leave aside the last three columns. Go down the column for A and assign a numerical value for each criterion. When you perform this scoring, it's important that you evaluate A on its own merits and flaws. Do not compare it to B. When your'e finished with A and B, use the third column to assign a base score that reflects a ranking of the criteria. Use the fourth column to do the math for A and the fifth column to do the math for B. If the two schools have drastically different scores, you have a good answer on which school is better for you. If the score is close, take a look at some of your scores for B. Can you find information that may help you to adjust the score? The second exercise is to reach out to your current school's student health services and see if you can arrange a limited number of low or no cost (to you) sessions with a fully trained psychologist. Start off by talking about your fears and your concerns about your choice and then let the conversation go where it needs. It is my hunch based upon your post that your ambivalence over B has less to do with the apparent advantages of A and more to do with something else. (Or you could just go to the city of A now--or in the winter--and walk around. IME, cold temperatures can help one gain new perspectives on an environment.) In the event you do decide that you want to make a change, consider the advantages of getting a master's degree at your current school. Also, try not to worry about how those around you may or may not feel about your choice. You need to live your life the way you need to life. The people who truly care about you will either understand your choice right away or figure it out later.
  22. 1 point
    Marcus_Aurelius

    Topics and SoPs

    I was advised to use language in the SoP like "I want to explore x further" and "I could envision pursuing a long-term research project on y" rather than saying I knew I wanted to work on anything in particular. To my knowledge, American programs don't want you to come in with a dissertation idea worked out. As others have noted, your interests might change in ways big or small. And to address your point about professors, just expressing interest about their work or their niche should be sufficient. (But note that opinions do differ re: emailing faculty members before being accepted; I'm not sure what the consensus is, but seems like it doesn't help one's chances much in most cases unless one has really important stuff to say. But I invite others to correct me if I'm mistaken.)
  23. 1 point
    No, I personally would say that schools and applicants do not have the same idea of "fit." Applicants are picking based on more than academic interests, including where they want to live, the type of people they want to socialize with, the type of environment they want to work in, the type of career they want to have afterwards, how much the program can pay them... For the committees, it's purely academic, but also random as hell. Decisions aren't made on who is the "smartest" or "best," but rather who's on the committee that year, who took too many students last year, who hasn't taken students in awhile... The applicants aren't aware of these arbitrary factors, so all applicants can do is present the most accurate depiction of who they are as a student and hope that there's a need in the program for a student like them.
  24. 1 point
    Oh okay. Just good to see there's a couple of these groups out there 😃 Yeah, I found 'How to Write a Lot' good for getting me to write more- although I still find it difficult to stick to a schedule due to my erratic sleep. Perhaps I already learnt principles of habit change from 'Atomic Habits' (great book btw) so it wasn't too new to me. But I'm really liking 'Write it up' and its focus on writing high-quality articles.
  25. 1 point
    Hey @Soongil_Lee! Welcome aboard. Good luck in South Korea! That's very exciting.
  26. 1 point
    Sigaba

    Comp prep question

    I did not understand that I could have done a lot more asking than I did.🙁 So please learn from my misunderstanding. Go to your committee members and ask as many well phrased questions as you need. (The secondary emphasis here is on well phrased.) Go and ask especially if you're the "I'm supposed to figure this stuff out on my own" type. If a member of your committee, especially the chair, is disinterested, or, worse, uninterested (I am not bitter, not even a little), in your preparation and won't lean in, have a sit down conversation with yourself to develop your options. The options range from rearranging your committee, to firing your committee chair, to figuring out ways to mitigate your chair's indifference. (If your fields are anywhere near American diplomatic, naval, and military history, drop me a PM.)
  27. 1 point
    I think the first thing you need to do is to choose between clinical and social. They're very different disciplines, and your chances will shift depending on which you choose as well as which programs within each discipline you choose.
  28. 1 point
    ArcaMajora

    2020 Applicants

    Admittedly, this is a gray area and I've had conflicting advice from my letter writers in this regard. One saw mentioning the specific names of faculty as being a touch too presumptuous, while another letter writer encouraged me to contact faculty while applying and mention them in my SoP. I did not contact faculty but I did mention faculty by name when I wrote my statement. When I sent these drafts to all my letter writers, I wasn't pinged for mentioning faculty by name (which I did for all applications). Ultimately, the decision to do this depends on the approach you take for your SoP and how well your rhetoric lines up with either mentioning faculty by name or not. In most SoP's I've seen for PhD programs, I've seen faculty being explicitly named (the Berkeley History PhD example that I modeled my SoP after does so to my knowledge). There are best practices for this, of course. (ie. if you mention faculty by name, try not to over-mention them, and speak about them in a way that allows for their strengths to intersect with your interests while not resorting to appealing to overt flattery). It also largely depends too depending on how many faculty you've found, how you yourself define fit, and how that faculty member can configure in the calculus that defines your fit with the program. For example, for SUNY Buffalo, that was the one case where I did both (mention specific faculty that I was most compatible with but also described their general strength with poetics). I identified at least five or six faculty there I could work due to their poetics program, but for pragmatic purposes I mentioned the two names I felt I was compatible with while remarking on the bigger picture research of the poetics program. I am really happy that what I wrote helped Good luck with your SoP and the rest of your application materials! As I've said in the past, I'm always happy to talk via DM to answer any questions anyone has about the process. Graduate school has diminished my spare time recently but I can make time for quiet moments work.
  29. 1 point
    Bird Vision

    Struggling with Cohort

    I think you should take a step back and examine why you feel this way about the individuals in your cohort, rather than speak poorly of them and pass judgement.
  30. 1 point
    No, it's not. A couple of things that can affect it: first, location! I used to teach in a department in a desirable east coast city with lots of other universities. My department was very low ranked. We got way, way more applications than we do in my current department (in a less desirable area and much better ranked, but not super elite). Second, coverage/breadth vs. specialization. Some programs are very very strong in a few things, but don't have a lot of breadth. I strongly suspect (though neither of the places I've worked are like this, so I'm not sure) that they get fewer applications than similarly ranked programs that have a lot of coverage of different areas--especially when they are strong in areas that fewer people tend to specialize in as undergraduates. But, I don't think that's necessarily what explains getting rejected from lower ranked depts and accepted by higher ranked depts; they are concerned about fit, diversity of areas of interest, etc. And also, the most important element of your application--the writing sample--is something about which subjective assessments by admissions committees are going to disagree quite a bit in most cases.
  31. 1 point
    maxhgns

    Topics and SoPs

    Chime. There's nothing wrong with having two areas of interest, especially when they're pretty closely aligned, as these are. You can emphasize bioethics for programs especially strong in bioethics, and applied ethics at applied ethics programs, but there's no need to narrow it further. Instead, I think you'd be better off having a think about what each program can offer you beyond these areas of specialization, so that you can make a strong case for your fit into that program.
  32. 1 point
    Olórin

    Topics and SoPs

    Advice is: don't feel like you have to narrow down too soon. So you have two interest areas. Two is good, and three is sometimes recommended in SoP's by some people. By the time a dissertation starts you might not be interested in any of them. Also, if you show up with a dissertation ready to go, some faculty will perceive you as declaring that you do not intend to explore and evolve throughout the program.
  33. 1 point
    merry night wanderer

    2020 Applicants

    @DanArndtWrites I'm in the same boat. Based on the advice I've received, if you did well in the graduate lit classes, it's a great asset - it shows you can do graduate work, but also doesn't put you in the "already has a Master's" admissions category.
  34. 1 point
    TMP

    My interests have multiplied -- help?

    Studying for PhD comprehensive exams is the trick
  35. 1 point
    historygeek

    My interests have multiplied -- help?

    I feel a little silly now- this is such a great description and I'm not sure how I didn't get their on my own. Thanks!
  36. 1 point
    Olórin

    What are my odds?

    We can't give you what you want. Anyone's odds could always be better. People with better odds sometimes don't get in. People with worse odds sometimes do get in. You're rolling the dice, and nothing about how you describe yourself suggests it will be a bad roll. It is, however, still a roll.
  37. 1 point
    I am planning to apply to Grad school this year and hoping to start Sep.2020. I graduated from uft 10 years ago and went to work in the financial industry. I was always passionate about public policy but never pursued it after my graduation as i was already working for a bank. Not sure how hard it will be to get into grad school after a 10 yr gap and also i am pretty sure i wont be able to produce an academic reference. I ordered my transcript this week so lets see what my last 2 years of GPA looks like and will take it from there.
  38. 1 point
    TMP

    My interests have multiplied -- help?

    You're only a month in already. It's normal to be so surprised by how many topics can be explored. That's the point of the coursework. But by the end of this semester or the beginning of next, you should identify several potential topics for your thesis. Read relevant literature for each and see what's most feasible for conducting original archival research.
  39. 1 point
    By tier, maybe. By ordinal rank, no. There's a lot of variation between programs, and I suspect selectivity is more closely correlated to program size and the university's overall reputation. Also note that it doesn't track selectivity at non-American programs very well at all. Oxford, for example, is relatively easy to get into (though not with funding, and there's a massive cull after the BPhil); McGill, however, has very small incoming classes and gets hundreds of applicants, even though it's in the fifties on the international ranking.
  40. 1 point
    I'm sure you'd get into a top 10 program if you applied to all of them. I'd also probably apply to a couple of the bigger state schools ranked 10-20 like NCSU, PSU as relatively safe options. You won't have to go lower than that. I wouldn't worry about the third letter. If you have two strong ones from people who know you well, a letter just saying you are good at math won't hurt you. If you're dead set on going to Stanford, you'll need to take the math GRE, but even schools like Chicago don't really require it, so I don't think there is any reason for you to delay applying unless you would like to take a year off for fun.
  41. 1 point
    Adelaide9216

    I failed my thesis.

    I actually thanked the examiner in my acknowledgements! My thesis is much stronger in terms of quality now and I am proud of my work.
  42. 1 point
    Adelaide9216

    I failed my thesis.

    I AM SO RELIEVED
  43. 1 point
    What can you do with a Masters in each of these programs? Which is the most marketable? Any other advice?
  44. 1 point
    Hey, if you were to CU Boulder for theory PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE decline asap if you are going elsewhere as I heard from my POI that I am first on the waitlist and this is my dream program. THANK YOU!!!
  45. 1 point
    anon1234567

    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!
  46. 1 point
    JKL

    Fall 2017 applicants

    Programs could at least refund your application fee when they reject you. What a sweet deal that is for them. I guess we were dumb enough to pay it though.
  47. 1 point
    The important thing to remember when writing your SOP is that schools do not care about your personal life. The SOP should be about your research experience and why you are ready for grad school. If you have something special to say (you built a school in Iraq (people actually do this kind of stuff), you are a minority, etc.) mention it in your last paragraph. Looking back on my personal statement, I followed a nice formula. My first paragraph was full of strong words, "I am a good fit for [name program] because I am this, this, and this." I then listed all of my research experiences briefly. My next paragraphs were outlines of the research I did, with more attention paid to the projects in which I played a bigger role. Here, it is important not to list the skills you learned, rather what you gained as a scientist. Anyone can pipette or run a PCR. Top grad schools (any grad schools) want to see that you know how to think like a scientist. They want evidence that you can ask important questions and test those questions. After discussing my research, I wrote one, three sentence paragraph specific to that school. I wrote what I like about the program, I mentioned a couple of specific faculty, then I said something like, "I am certain I will succeed in this environment." I topped it of with a nice paragraph with some sort of deep insight. I mentioned that every grad school committee member will look for something specific in an application and that I just hope anyone who reads my SOP will see that I am this, this, and this. I finally sprinkled in some special stuff about my childhood or whatever here. I spent a long time perfecting this SOP for my top choice school. Then, when applying to other schools, I changed the beginning paragraph to say the specific school name, and I changed the one specific paragraph. Everything else stayed the same. If you use this method, you will save a lot of time by not having to write eight individual SOPs. Use that time to read each SOP several times to avoid accidentally saying the wrong school name. Also, this method only works if your first SOP is really good. I made my SOP to the standard of my top choice school, then I assumed it would have to be good enough for everywhere else. Finally, never write more than two pages, and do not ignore specific instructions in the application. I used this method for most of the schools to which I applied, but one school specifically asked for other things in the SOP, so I had to write a completely different one. Good luck! PM me if you want feedback on your SOP.
  48. 1 point
    mrs_doubtfire

    Rejection thread

    I'll defend Ian. First, with respect to iamparem's prospects in philosophy, I think Ian's comment was warranted. When you're asking and giving advice on this kind of medium, it's a given that you don't have all of the relevant information. So you give your advice based on what you are given, which is the poster's own assessment of his or her situation. And judging by iamparem's own assessment of his or her situation (e.g. the fact that parem wrote a book, is currently attending an unfunded master's program, and is in her second or third round of applications), I think it's fair to conclude that he or she needs to sit down and really think about whether philosophy is a viable career. Now if you think the answer to this is yes, what would you recommend parem to do before he or she re-applies? Go for another unfunded master's? Get a master's in a field other than philosophy? Try to write another book? Take a year off and master philosophy's greatest hits? Each of these options costs significant time and money and none of them alone guarantees better admission results and so I hesitate to offer any of them as "advice" to someone who is desperate need of it. And because I don't consider empty bromides like "You'll get there eventually!" or "Just hang in there!" as advice, I'm disposed to say that parem should put philosophy on hold until he or she figures out how to seriously improve his or her application. I've met a few people who had to apply three or four times before they went on to gain admission to top-20 and top-10 programs. If you were to talk to these people, you'd notice how mature and honest they are about their applications. Most of them readily admit that their first and second rounds of applications were weak--that they had no idea what they were doing. But they didn't give up and eventually, were able to put together a strong application. So there's some precedent for killing the admissions process after a few shut-outs. But the applicants here usually go through some sort of change in perspective. Now to the tone of Parem's comments. I strongly agree with Ian that parem's comments are offensive and hateful. I understand that Parem is frustrated and anxious, but I don't see how these facts excuse the hostile tone of his comments. It's okay to vent your frustrations; it's not okay to leave inflammatory comments for people who disagree with what you say. So I think it's asking a lot of the community to (1) tolerate parem's comments by ignoring their offensive tone AND (2) to ask us to give parem helpful AND courteous advice in response to these kinds of comments. As a side note, I personally think parem's sour attitude makes him a less than ideal academic. I mean he's threatened to take action against letter writers who gave him anything less than stellar reviews. I don't know about you, but I think this kind of attitude shouldn't have a home in academia.
  49. 1 point
    ianfaircloud

    Rejection thread

    I'm holding back here, because this comment angers me. My suggestion that Iamparem get out of philosophy is not 'mean'. It's not 'kicking' anyone. It's completely honest, and it's based on my reading of more than a dozen, lengthy posts that Iamparem has brought to this forum in the last few days. Please read these posts. I think my conclusion is completely warranted, and someone needs to speak honestly about Iamparem's situation. Moreover, Iamparem has "tried everything," apparently. And if a person believes that she has tried everything, that person needs to hear a candid remark like the one I offered. At the very least, it's an invitation for that person to assess the situation and ask herself, "Have I *really* tried everything?" So Murial, your intentions are good. And I don't want to start an argument with you. But I really, strongly disagree with your assessment of my comment. Yes. Precisely. A few of you apparently just joined us in this thread, and I don't think you have the proper context to see why some of these replies are completely warranted. Many of Iamparem's comments are at least insensitive, and even offensive and hateful. Again, if you read the comments, you will see this.
  50. 1 point
    I think location "should" matter as much as you want it to matter. Don't let other people tell you how to prioritize your life. Many academics, especially those who are already in nice established positions, tend to recommend to students to put their studies/career first instead of worrying about location. But I don't think this would be very good advice for me. Personally, I have to live in a big enough city to support a diverse population, especially for the availability of ethnic grocery stores and not feeling like an outsider. I also dislike living in college towns. I learned a lot of what I liked from my experience living in a place I did not like for 2 years during my Masters. In making my PhD decision, I weighed all non-academic reasons (e.g. location) and academic reasons (e.g. research fit) equally. But that's just how my priorities go. I think too many students unnecessarily feel "guilty" for considering any reason other than academic ones and I think this should not happen!


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