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  1. 42 points
  2. 34 points
    About your dog: I think that depends entirely on you and your program. I am in a social science program where the majority of my analysis and writing can be done from home, and I prefer to work from home or from a library (as opposed to my cube in the windowless cube farm). When I was taking classes I was generally there from 9-6 or so, but now that my coursework is finished I am rarely at the school itself. I go for meetings, seminars, interesting kinds of things and I do most of my work remotely. My time is verrry flexible, and if my building didn't prohibit it I would get a dog in a heartbeat. Another thing to keep in mind: a dog can be a great comfort when you're all stressed out over graduate school. Advice? Age: -Don't feel like you have nothing to offer just because you are younger. I was 22 when I started graduate school. You got accepted to the program for a reason, and chances are you are just as equipped as any older students are to successfully complete the program, just in a different way. -Your older classmates may be just as terrified as you. Talk to them. You have a lot in common. You are, after all, in the same place. -You will feel like an imposter, like you don't belong, or like you are constantly behind. Or all three. It's normal. It will pass. (Well, sort of.) People of all ages go through this. Adviser related: -If you are lucky enough to get both research interest fit and personality fit perfect, congratulations! But sometimes, personality fit is more important than research interest fit as long as the research isn't too different. A great adviser is interested in your career development, likes you as a person, advocates for you, and wants to hear your ideas. Even if his or her research is quite different from yours, they may give you the autonomy to work on your own projects and just supervise you. A bad personality fit will drive you nuts, even if you love his or her research. Consider that when evaluating your adviser fit. (This will vary by field: research fit may be less important in the humanities, more important in the natural and physical sciences. Social sciences are somewhere in-between.) -Don't be afraid to be straight up blunt with your adviser when it comes to asking about your progress. Ask if you are where you should be both academic program wise and getting-a-job-after-this-mess-wise. -Be proactive. Advisers love when you draw up an agenda for your one-on-one meetings, come with talking points and progress to share, have concrete questions to ask, and have overall shown that you have been thoughtful and taken control of your own program. Of course, this won't immediately come easily to you, but in time you will work up to it. Every semester I type up my semester goals, and at the beginning of the year I type up annual goals. I show them to my adviser and we talk about whether they are too ambitious, or whether I need to revise them, and how I can meet them. -Don't expect your adviser to actually know what courses you have to take to graduate. They will know about comprehensive exams and the dissertation, but a lot of professors don't really keep up with the course requirements, especially if their program is in flux. Get you a student handbook, and find out what you need to take. Map it out in a grid, and check off things when you finish them. Show this to your adviser every semester. You may have to explain how such and such class fills a requirement. -Nobody loves you as much as you, except your mother. Keep this in mind as you take in advice from all sources, including your adviser. Your adviser is there to guide you, but that doesn't mean you have to do everything he says. Studying: -You will have to read more than you ever did before, in less time than you ever have before, and you will be expected to retain more than you ever have before. The way that you studied in undergrad may need some tweaking. Be prepared for this. -Corollary: you may find that your methods change with age or interests or time. I preferred to study alone in college, but in grad school, I prefer to study in groups. It keeps me on task and the socialization keeps me motivated. You may find that you shift from being a more auditory learner to a visual learner or whatever. -You will feel behind at first. This is normal. -At some point you will realize that your professors don't actually expect you to read everything they assign you. This, of course, will vary by program, but there will be at least one class where the reading is actually impossible to do in one week. The point is to read enough that you know the major themes and can talk intelligently about them, and then pick some of the readings to really dig into and think more deeply about. -For most programs, don't worry so much about grades. If you stay on top of your work and do what you're supposed to, you will probably get an A. How much grades matter varies from program to program. In some programs, a B is a signal that you are not up to par, and more than a few Bs will warrant a discussion with your adviser or the DGS. My program isn't like that - A, B, it's all meaningless. My adviser doesn't even know what my grades are. But at almost all programs, a C means you need to retake the course, and two Cs means you have to convince the DGS not to kick you out. Extracurricular activity: What's that? No, seriously: -A lot of your time will be unstructured. You will have coursework, but most grad classes meet once a week for two hours and you may have three classes. You may have meetings with your adviser every so often and some seminars or things to catch (like we have grand rounds and colloquia that are required), but a lot of time will be unstructured. However, since you have so much more work than you had in undergrad, you actually will have less free time than you had in undergrad. This may initially cause you great anxiety. It did for me. Some people love unstructured time, though. (I don't.) -Because of this, you'll have to be planful about your non-grad school related stuff. -TAKE TIME OFF. DO it. It's important for your mental health. However you do it doesn't matter. Some people work it like a 9-5 job. Some people take a day off per week (me) and maybe a few hours spread across the week. Some people work half days 7 days a week. However you do it, there needs to be a time when you say "f this, I'm going to the movies." -Find your happy place, something that keeps you the you you were when you came in. I love working out. It gives me energy and I feel good. I stay healthy. I also love reading fiction, so sometimes I just curl up with a good book, work be damned. You have to give yourself permission to not think about work, at least for a couple of hours a week. You may also discover new hobbies! (I never worked out before I came to graduate school.) -Your work will creep into all aspects of your life, if you let it. This is why I hate unstructured time. You will feel guilty for not doing something, because in graduate school, there is ALWAYS something you can do. ALWAYS. But since there will always be more work, there's no harm in putting it aside for tomorrow, as long as you don't have a deadline. -You may need to reach outside of your cohort for a social life. None of my close friends are in my doctoral cohort. I've met master's students in my program, master's students in other programs, and I know a few non-graduate students I hang out with, too. Go to graduate student mixers. (If your university doesn't have any, organize some, if you like planning parties.) Join a student group that doesn't take up too much time. I had a doctoral acquaintance who kinda laughed at me because I joined some student groups other than the doctoral student one, and I was usually the only doctoral student in those groups, but I met some close friends (and future job contacts) and had a good time. -DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR WANTING A LIFE OUTSIDE OF GRADUATE SCHOOL. This is paramount. This is important. You are a well-rounded, complex, multifaceted human being. NEVER feel bad for this. Everybody wants some kind of life outside of work. Yes, you may loooove your field, but that doesn't mean you want to do it all day long. Some other doctoral students, and perhaps professors, may make you feel bad about this. Don't let them. Just smile and nod. Then disappear when you need to. Career: -This is job preparation. Remember that from Day One. Always be looking for ways to enhance your skills. Read job ads and find out what's hot in your field, what's necessary, what's in demand. For example, in my field statistics and methods are a hot commodity, and they're not a passing fad. I happen to really like statistics and methods, so I have pursued that as a concentration of mine. -Don't be afraid to take on volunteer work and part-time gigs that will give you skills that will be useful both inside academia and out, as long as it's not against your contract. Your adviser may be against it, but he doesn't have to know as long as it doesn't interfere with your work. -If you want to work outside of academia - if you are even *considering* the possibility - please please definitely do the above. Even if you aren't considering it, consider the possibility that you won't get a tenure-track job out the box and that you may need to support yourself doing something else for a while. You will have to prove to employers that you have developed usable, useful skills and this is one of the easiest ways to do it. But don't overdo it - get the degree done. -For more academic related ones - always look for opportunities to present and publish. Presentations look good on your CV. Publications look better. When you write seminar papers, wonder if you can publish them with some revision. Write your seminar papers on what you maybe think you may want to do your dissertation on. Even if you look at them three years later and think "these suck," you can at least glean some useful references and pieces from them. Discuss publication with your adviser early and often, and if you have the time and desire, seek out publication options with other professors and researchers. But if you commit to a project, COMMIT. You don't want to leave a bad impression. -If you can afford it, occasionally go to conferences even if you aren't presenting. You can network, and you can hear some interesting talks, and you may think about new directions for your own research. You can also meet people who may tell you about jobs, money, opportunities, etc. -Always try to get someone else to pay for conference travel before you come out of pocket. Including your adviser. Do not be shy about asking if he or she can pay. If he can't, he'll just say no. Usually the department has a travel fund for students, but often it's only if you are presenting. -If you are interested in academia, you should get some teaching experience. There are two traditional ways to do this: TAing a course, and teaching as a sole instructor. If you can help it, I wouldn't recommend doing a sole instructor position until you are finished with coursework. Teaching takes a LOT of time to do right. You should definitely TA at least one course, and probably a few different ones. But don't overdo it, if you can help it, because again, it takes a LOT of time. More than you expect at the outset. If you are in the humanities, I think sole instructor positions are very important for nabbing jobs so when you are in the exam/ABD phase, you may want to try at least one. If your own university has none, look at adjuncting for nearby colleges, including community colleges. (I would wager that the majority of natural science/physical science students, and most social science students, have never sole taught a class before they get an assistant professor job. At least, it's not that common n my field, which straddles the social and natural sciences.) -Always look for money. Money is awesome. If you can fund yourself you can do what you want, within reason. Your university will be thrilled, your adviser will be happy, and you can put it on your CV. It's win-win-win! Don't put yourself out of the running before anyone else has a chance to. Apply even if you think you won't get it or the odds are against you (they always are), as long as you are eligible. Apply often. Apply even if it's only $500. (That's conference travel!) Money begets money. The more awards you get, the more awards you will get. They will get bigger over time. If you are in the sciences and social sciences, you should get practice writing at least one grant. You don't have to write the whole thing, but at least get in on the process so that you can see how it's done. Grant-writing is very valuable both in and outside of graduate school. -Revise your CV every so often. Then look and decide what you want to add to it. Then go get that thing, so you can add it. -The career office at big universities is often not just for undergrads. I was surprised to learn that my career center offers help on CV organization and the academic job search, as well as alternative/non-academic career searches for doctoral students. In fact, there are two people whose sole purpose it is to help PhD students find nonacademic careers, and they both have PhDs. This will vary by university - some universities will have very little for grad students. Find out before you write the office off. -It's never too early to go to seminars/workshops like "the academic job search inside and out", "creating the perfect CV," "getting the job," etc. NEVER. Often the leader will share tips that are more aimed towards early graduate students, or tidbits that are kind of too late for more advanced students to take care of. This will also help you keep a pulse on what's hot in your field. It'll help you know what lines you need to add to your CV. And they're interesting. Other: -Decide ahead of time what you are NOT willing to sacrifice on the altar of academia. Then stick to it. I'm serious. If you decide that you do NOT want to sacrifice your relationship, don't. If it's your geographical mobility, don't. I mean, be realistic, and realize that there will always be trade-offs. But you have to think about what's important to you for your quality of life, and realize that there is always more to you than graduate school. -If you don't want to be a professor, do not feel guilty about this. At all. Zero. However, you will have to do things differently than most doctoral students. Your adviser will probably never have worked outside of the academy (although this may vary depending on the field) so he may or may not be able to help you. But you have a special mission to seek out the kinds of experiences that will help you find a non-academic job. Test the waters with your adviser before you tell him this. My adviser was quite amenable to it, but that's because I told him that my goal was to still do research and policy work in my field just not at a university, AND because it's quite common in my field for doctoral students to do non-academic work. If you're in a field where it's not common (or where your professors refuse to believe it's common, or it's not supposed to be common)…well, you may be a little more on your own. -Every so often, you will need to reflect on the reasons you came to graduate school. Sometimes, just sit and think quietly. Why are you doing this to yourself? Do you love your field? Do you need this degree to do what you want to do? Usually the answer is yes and yes, and usually you'll keep on trucking. But sometimes when the chips are down you will need to reevaluate why you put yourself through this in the first place. -To my great dismay, depression is quite common in doctoral students. Graduate work can be isolating and stressful. Luckily your health insurance usually includes counseling sessions. TAKE THEM if you need them. Do not be ashamed. You may be surprised with who else is getting them. (I found out that everyone in my cohort, including me, was getting mental health counseling at a certain point.) Exercise can help, as can taking that mental health day once a week and just chilling. Don't be surprised if you get the blues… -…but be self-aware and able to recognize when the depression is clouding your ability to function. Doctoral programs have a 50% attrition rate, and this is rarely because that 50% is less intelligent than, less motivated than, less driven than, or less ambitious than the other 50% that stays. Often they realize that they are ridiculously unhappy in the field, or that they don't need the degree anymore, or that they'd rather focus on other things in life, or their interests have changed. All of this is okay! -You will, at some point, be like "eff this, I'm leaving." I think almost every doctoral student has thought about dropping out and just kicking this all to the curb. You need to listen to yourself, and find out whether it is idle thought (nothing to worry about, very normal) or whether you are truly unhappy to the point that you need to leave. Counseling can help you figure this out. -Don't be afraid to take a semester or a year off if you need to. That's what leaves of absence are for. Lastly, and positively… …graduate school is great! Seriously, when else will you ever have the time to study what you want for hours on end, talk to just as interested others about it, and live in an intellectual community of scholars and intellectuals? And occasionally wake up at 11 am and go to the bank at 2 pm? Sometimes you will want to pull out all of your hair but most of the time, you will feel fulfilled and wonderfully encouraged and edified. So enjoy this time!
  3. 33 points

    Grad. School Supplies?

    After reading through all 23 pages, I think I've managed to compile the most salient (at least for me) and still relevant pieces of advice as far as grad school supplies Laptop - While most people have a laptop, it was recommended by several people that folks in a new laptop (unless yours is less than two years old) and make sure you get an extended warranty (one that will hopefully last the entirety of your program). Note: look into funding opportunities for laptops within your department. Some will finance a new laptop for incoming grad students! Desk - L-shaped came highly recommended, given the extra space. While i love my little desk, I may invest in a larger one by year 2. Chair (Desk) - Investing in a good chair was stressed many times. You will likely be spending many hours hunched over a desk. get one that will be comfortable for your back, but won't put you to sleep. Chair (Reading) - a separate reading chair was recommended for those hours upon hours where you'll be reading. a comfortable chair or couch was recommended. Printer - there was some debate regarding the pros/cons of a printer. In an increasingly digital age, I don't think a printer is completely necessary. ESPECIALLY because so many universities have printers available and printing costs included within stipends. But this will depend on the person Scanner OR File Cabinet - One person had recommended getting a file cabinet and regularly organizing it so as not to fall behind (if you are someone who likes having physical copies of everything, then go for this option). HOWEVER, someone then chimed in to say screw a file cabinet. just get a scanner. and i thought that was an excellent idea! just scan everything you need and chuck the physical copies (unless its like your birth certificate or something) Coffee - Coffee maker, coffee carafe (to keep it warm for those days of marathon working), french press. you get the idea. ALTERNATIVE: electric kettle for tea drinkers Large Water Bottle - lets be sustainable folks! Snacks - for those long days Wall Calendar Dry Erase Board Noise Cancelling Headphones External Hard Drive Dongles - actually didn't see folks write about this, so I'm adding it! Dongles/adapters are constantly changing based on your device. Get the one that is specific to your computer to HDMI and VGA, and you should be set for most campus systems! Paper shredder - unless your campus has a shredding removal service like my current one has. I'd say take advantage of that Travel - Luggage, toiletry bag, international travel adapter/converter, etc. You will presumably be traveling a bunch! Get the right travel accessories if you can Desk accessories - post its, highlighters, pens Notebooks - it seems like everyone has been unanimously pro-moleskine notebooks on here. mmmm I'm not! What *EYE* recommend is going to your local art supply store, and buying sketchbooks from there. They are usually so much cheaper. And most art stores have artist and student memberships available, so you can get major discounts. I just showed a sale and got all my notebooks and pens for less than $30. Just my opinion Software - Just some of the software that came highly recommended and that I felt like was still relevant today: Evernote. Zotero. Scrivener. CamScanner. Nuance. iStudiez Most of this is hella obvious. But some of these I hadn't even considered! And its nice to think about these things early so you have enough time to save up or search the internet for deals. I curated an Amazon wishlist based on the information i listed above. Let me know if you'd like me to post it here and make public! And remember: 90% (if not all) of this is OPTIONAL. Let's not make academia seem more inaccessible than it already is. You will excel regardless of whether or not you have these things. There's always borrowing. lending programs through your university. free services through your libraries. There are options! Hope this is helpful to those reading this post 8 years later! It was certainly helpful for me. Aside from curating a great list of things i want, it also helped distract me from decisions this week ://////
  4. 28 points

    2019 Acceptances

    I got into UConn PhD (not on the board yet). I received the email about 6-7 hours ago. I don’t even know what I’m feeling. I’d completely accepted another shut-out and was talking myself into alternative plans that now it doesn’t seem real and I don’t think it has even hit me yet. For future reference, it is a 5 year offer to TA from Y1. Specific duties will be sent in the future. I’m an African-Americanist. If anyone wants info PM me. Also if anyone has info on UConn (like CoL, campus, etc.), please PM me, too. Thank you to everyone who was supportive through this process. Other than my wife you’re the first people I’ve told.
  5. 28 points
    PSA: As acceptances start to roll in, this is just a friendly reminder to everyone from someone with lots of contract experience, NEVER ACCEPT A POSITION UNTIL YOU HAVE YOUR FUNDING PACKAGE IN WRITING (unless, of course, you are not expecting funding). Even if it is your top choice and you've been dying to go for the last 20 years... I cannot stress enough; get that s**t in writing.
  6. 27 points

    You are GREAT!

    In a few weeks, you'll find out where you're accepted, rejected or waitlisted. By now, I'm sure you're experiencing all sorts of highs and lows. This is a very stressful process. Sometimes, all you want is some news because you're starting to feel down about the process. Big News? You're alive. -There are currently seven billion people alive today and the Population Reference Bureau estimates that about 107 billion people have ever lived. -Having just a few coins makes you richer than most people on Earth. -You are unique and nobody in the entire world is like you are -The opportunity to attend school is something many people don’t have. (Which makes having a college degree even greater!) -Most people lack a bed of their own to sleep in -Many people on earth lack access to clean water. -Cell phones make talking to loved ones easy. -You have friends that will always have your back. (And if you don't, message me. Let's talk. And if you do, let's talk anyways) -You can enjoy pizza. Or Ice Cream. -There are people in your life who love you more than you could ever know -The Internet, n'uff said? But in all seriousness, try not to compare yourself to others. We have a tendency to look at how great the lives of other people are going without realizing the stresses they're hiding. No matter where you get in or don't get in, please be proud of yourselves. You've worked incredibly hard to get to where you are. An acceptance doesn't determine who you are and a rejection doesn't make you lesser than. It just means not this year. You might realize that your passions change over the course of a year. And you might discover those new interests are really interesting when you do reapply. You might discover some universities that previously rejected you might accept you the following year and viceversa. Lastly, a word on rankings: USNews rankings for English are determined by 14 percent of respondents who were department heads or director of graduate studies. As such, it's hard to take rankings those seriously when a lot of the rankings are based on "name brand". Most departments are only paying attention to a few select schools and placements may vary considerably across specific interests. Follow your heart when making a decision. Happiness is the number one thing that will make you succeed in a program and that happiness will translate to the quality of work you produce. Good luck all. You're going to do great!
  7. 26 points
  8. 26 points
    I got an acceptance today and cried. I'm going to grad school, y'all ? Sharing this process with all of you has definitely helped make this crazy application process a lot more bearable. Wishing acceptances on everyone!
  9. 25 points
    Friendly reminder that if you’re an applicant, even if it’s your second year of applying, you have absolutely no right to tell someone that a piece of their application must be weak if they aren’t getting offers. That’s not how the clinical psych world works. There are more competitive applicants than there are spots, so a lot of it is luck. Social capital also comes into play, so check your privilege. End rant.
  10. 25 points

    Interview Advice

    So, here's my advice from my experience 2 years ago when I was in your shoes and applying to Clinical Psych Ph.D. programs. I applied to 10 sites, got 6 interviews, and got into my top choice. This advice isn't a "hard-and-fast" guide for everyone, even in clinical, but I think these tips are helpful (even if they've been stated before). For phone interviews: Honestly, I dressed pretty casually for these because I personally wanted to feel comfortable. Some will say dress for success. You do you, honestly. Be in an area, like a bedroom, where there is minimal background noise. I also advice to use a good pair of headphones with a mic, if possible. Have a note pad and pen to take notes from the conversation. At the top of the note pad, write down before the interview at least 2-3 questions that you have, as well as anything else you think is relevant. Speak calmly, and take a breath before you answer the phone. Skype interviews: Wear at least business casual. I actually usually wore a suit (I am a male, so that's a wide difference honestly). Again, I'd advise to skype in your room or somewhere that is quiet. If your room doesn't work, I advise finding a quiet place at work or a library in a private room. Again, wearing headphones can help with quality of your speech/hearing your interviewer. Same rules of notepad and pen apply as before. Look at the camera lens, not at yourself or the PI on the screen. Looking at the camera feels weird, but it means you are making eye contact. In-person interviews The agendas for campus interviews vary WIDELY. Some places will be a short day of interviews with a handful of people; other sites will have 2-3 day extravaganzas with parties, interviews, campus tours, etc. Plan your wardrobe accordingly. Unless stated otherwise, you should be in business formal for all of the interviews, and business casual for all of the dinners/parties. At the parties/socials, DO NOT (and I mean this) get drunk or out of control. That's pretty much an immediate ax from the committee. Generally speaking, just have a few drinks if you'd like (or don't... nobody cares), and socialize with current students, other applicants, PIs, etc. BE NICE!!! It often helps, especially with other applicants, to talk about pleasantries and stuff going on, as well as shared interests OUTSIDE of psychology. Nobody wants to get into a metaphorical d*ck waving contest with you, and the grad students interviewing you, especially, will not look favorably on that. This goes with the above, but if you are staying with a host or really whenever you are interacting with grad students, you should be on your best behavior. You should be polite and respectful of your host student's home, and it is often nice to bring a small gift from where you are (less than $5) and a thank you card. While you should and can ask candid questions about life as a grad student, the culture of the city/university, faculty-student dynamics, etc., you should probably think at least a little bit before you ask questions or say things because they can, and do, get back to the PIs. For example, a student I hosted my first year as a PhD student who was interviewing for a lab that was not my own told me about how he had "6 interviews" and my school was his "4th choice." As it was pompous and completely unprompted from me, I relayed that information back to the PI because ultimately PIs want to make offers to students who actually want to come to this university. Same rules apply for skype/in-person interviews. Try to have 2-3 questions per person you are scheduled to interview with during your visit. These help if you get stuck on questions to ask. You can often ask the same question to multiple grad students if you are, for example, having conversations with every lab member. Bring a book or something fun, non-academic to do during down time. Depending on the agenda, you can often have hours of down time during the actual interview day, and if you are an introvert like me it can be relieving to just read a book or do something that does not involve talking to people. It is always good to bring deodorant, gum, and mouthwash in your purse or backpack/satchel to the interview day. If you are like me and sweat bullets when you are anxious (e.g., in interviews), it can be helpful to have these handy. This list is by no means comprehensive, but just some thoughts that I have from my experience on both ends of the interview table. Feel free to comment and ask questions or PM if you have something specific you'd like to know about. Most importantly, YOU DESERVE THIS D*MN INTERVIEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The PI reached out to YOU, meaning that s/he thinks you'd be a good potential fit for your lab. Keep that in mind and just be yourself.
  11. 23 points
    On behalf of everyone who applied this year I would just like to say, "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!" That is all.
  12. 23 points

    2019 Acceptances

    I'm sorry but FUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKK, you guys, I am invited to SMU's PhD visit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am sobbing and screaming and SO THRILLED! Happy birthday to me!!!!!!!
  13. 23 points
    This is my third round of applications so I understand how easy it is to get down on yourself when those invites/acceptances aren't rolling in. For me, it is a constant process of reminding myself how competitive these programs are and reminding myself to be proud of my accomplishments up to this point. Even just following through to submit 18 applications is a HUGE ACCOMPLISHMENT! I barely survived doing 10 this year... Your value is NOT dependent on your acceptance into a program or your recognition by a school. Every single one of us applying to these programs shows a tremendous amount of commitment and dedication to bettering the quality of life in our society and that is something to be proud of in itself. Each time you go through these application cycles you become smarter, stronger, and a better person by learning patience, how to manage anxiety, and how to process rejection. Most of all, I just remind myself that rejection is a universal experience, one that is felt by EVERYONE at some point in their life. Knowing there are others out there, in the exact same position, experiencing the same wave of emotions as I, gives me confidence that we will all come out on the other side as better people. Be your own #1 cheerleader and remember to also build yourself up and not just your applications. Confidence will naturally follow, even in the face of self-doubt and rejection. ❤️
  14. 22 points

    2019 Acceptances

    It's about that time I suppose! I was notified via email from the chair of graduate studies of my acceptance to U of Illinois- Urbana Champaign PhD program...."champaign" befits this evening's festivities for me! Good luck to everyone...it's getting real!
  15. 22 points
    boutta make a burner email account to anonymously ask all my programs where they're at in the review process
  16. 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!
  17. 21 points

    2019 Applicants

    I would very much like to know where/if I am going to graduate school !!
  18. 21 points

    2019 Applicants

    Hi everyone! Long time lurker here! I posted the UIUC acceptance. Still in utter shock. I applied to many, many programs and I'm surprised that the first one I've heard back from is an acceptance.
  19. 20 points
    Geez, this thread went from high anxiety generating to deeply toxic. Feels good that I avoided the forums this time around. My condolences to all the real humans that had to sit through the toxic troll fest. Good luck with the arduous path of an academic life for those who will be starting the PhD this year, and my best wishes to those who will try again with applications next year around. I applied to 12 programs last year, and got rejected from all. This time around I applied to 10, and got accepted to 2 programs ranked in the 10s and 2 programs ranked in the 30s. I am really excited about this, especially given that I got into one of my dream schools! Amazing things can happen...
  20. 20 points

    2019 Acceptances

    GOT ACCEPTED AT UPENN! I'm still in disbelief. Got a phone call from the DGS, so seems like UPenn isn't closed today after all?
  21. 20 points
    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!
  22. 20 points
    My dude with the 4 offers who posted in the results section (particularly for Duke).I had two and let go of one in a day. One of the programs I REALLY loved and still had to say no. Don’t be a dick. There are people waiting to hear back, potentially from the same places. Also if you’re trolling, stop being an a**hole. I hope you’re not trying to be a therapist cause the lack of empathy is frightening.
  23. 19 points

    2019 Applicants

    Memes are my only solace from this nightmare
  24. 19 points
    Hey, folks. I had a major meltdown this morning so my mom sat me down and gave me some insight into the admissions process now that I’ve turned my applications in. She’s a tenured English professor at a large public research university (with only MAs, no PhD program), and has served on an admissions committee a handful of times. She walked me through the review process at her institution and what she’s gathered from peers who also review doctoral applications at other schools. She shied away from giving me too much information before I sent in my apps because she’s way too ethical and has students applying to some of the same schools as me, but now that they’re in she unloaded a bunch of useful information (which, on second thought, might be more helpful for people applying next year than those who’ve already applied). Either way, I thought I’d share this information in case it gives others some insight into this nightmarish process, or at least assuages some of the dread that comes with waiting for decisions. As always, please take this with a mountain of salt, since its only one person’s experience and mostly hearsay since I didn’t take amazing notes when we were chatting (but I did read this post aloud to her and it has her stamp of approval). And of course, apologies if hearing about the process from a professor’s perspective after submitting applications might feel unhelpful/provoke further anxiety. It was comforting to me just to take the mystery out of it, but might not be to others. At her (small-ish) program, there are only 2 professors who read the entirety of the applications each year Admissions or the college of liberal arts have some basic guidelines, and the department administrator separates out the people who don’t meet these requirements before forwarding the applications to the faculty members The adcomm faculty members still review the applications of folks who don’t meet requirements like GPA minimums, however, especially if they have supplemental letters/explanations for poor performance or test scores (mom says she wouldn’t want to miss a ‘diamond in the rough,’ lol, but she’s been listening to a lot of Hamilton lately) The first thing she does when reviewing an application is independently read the SOP and writing sample There are some expectations for both pieces that determine whether or not the applicant is likely to be considered ‘graduate school ready,’ mostly the candidate’s reason for pursuing graduate study and their demonstrated interest in literary study She says a surprising number of people say things like “I want to go to graduate school because I love reading,” which to her doesn’t show that they understand the demands and expectations of grad school, and it comes across to her like they’re unsure of what to do after undergrad so they just want to bide time Even if the SOP and writing sample do not pass this initial litmus test, she and the other faculty member are expected to read the rest of the application, with the exception of applications that are to the wrong school or unreadable or clearly plagiarised etc. She and other faculty reviewers at her institution almost always place more weight on LORs than transcripts and test scores. I asked her to rank the pieces of the application from most to least important and she said the following: SOP, writing sample, LORs, transcript, test scores (pretty common knowledge already, but it was reassuring to hear that the pieces I have the most control over are the most important) The 2 profs then independently make shortlists of applicants they want to accept, with around 10-15 more people than the average cohort size They then discuss with the other reviewer, and most of the time end up with unanimous ‘rankings,’ but sometimes have to get outside readers (i.e. other faculty or trusted admin) to determine who to choose if two candidates are especially close The top however-many of the list are guaranteed funding or a GTA (since their school doesn’t fund all MA students) My mom’s colleagues at both private and public schools who do have PhD programs review applications in a similar way, she believes, and last she heard there are usually double the number of faculty on their adcomms (so, like 4 or more people looking at each application) depending on program size/number of applicants Her institution does not recalculate GPAs, and she says most faculty are (hopefully) human enough to not put too much weight on undergraduate ‘pedigree.’ She says she approaches applicants like she would her own students, i.e. she’s generally on their side, want them to be successful candidates, and gives people the benefit of doubt when it comes to things like grades and test scores if they have adequate explanations However, really poor writing is the only thing that will automatically remove an applicant from serious consideration when she’s on an adcomm, and of course negative LORs or other similar red flags (like mostly C’s and D’s in English courses, or no academic progression/clear patterns in performance) She also doesn’t view older applicants negatively at all, and the only time she will really question an exceptionally large gap between undergraduate and graduate (like, over 12-15 years) is if their writing isn’t demonstrably graduate-level (and even then she said she’ll consider the possibility they might just be out of practice compared to an applicant fresh out of college who probably have more resources/proofreaders at hand) She said that sometimes older applicants demonstrate a lot of maturity and seriousness because they’ve had enough time to consider their career paths— they’re often her most engaged and dedicated students If a candidate is still in undergraduate but shows they clearly understand what grad school is about, this also will not be held against them Diversity of experience counts a lot in her department She always tries to assess how a student might change the culture of the program ‘Fit’ to her is very much about determining who may contribute to the diversity of perspectives upon which the humanities classroom thrives Academic interests are important, especially if what they want to study isn’t offered in the department, but so is admitting students who can learn from one another, and from whom faculty can learn as well. This sounds cheesy, but she said its an important way to foster a well-balanced program The last thing she said to me is that graduate admissions varies immensely from year to year (which, sort of unhelpful but I guess a harsh reality) Usually its a different set of people reviewing each year at her school, and she’s seen her own top students shut out entirely one year and then accepted nearly everywhere the next Many of the most successful scholars she knows have had entirely unrelated careers before going for their doctorates, or they’ve faced the challenge of having to apply twice or even thrice before finding success It really is a crapshoot, but that also means applying again and again won’t reflect poorly on you for most adcomms because it really depends on who else is applying that year (And she also said some sappy mom-stuff about this torturous experience having nothing to do with my worth as a scholar or person, but that’s not coming from her as a professor so maybe not as helpful) If you’ve made it this far, I’m sorry this is so long, but my mom offered to answer any questions if anyone has any I didn’t think to ask. She didn’t know I have been on gradcafe for so long and is worried that I check it too often, but was also excited when I told her I was posting this stuff because she remembers her application days and how horrible it feels not to know. Anyway, thanks for reading, and I hope some of this was helpful to you!
  25. 18 points
    hehe it turns out the invite was for me people pay money for this kind of shock and excitement


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