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Everything posted by zapster

  1. Don't want to sound harsh, but.... Sorry, but this whole process is no different from the way everything else in life works ! If you are doing this for the money, you're in the wrong place If you are doing this for public affection, you're still in the wrong place ("nobody cares...") Dehumanizing !!! c'mon... If you're looking for advice - Try to step back and re-evaluate what you really want to do, and if it is the money or something else, reorient yourself in the right direction (there is no right or wrong - just what you want). If research is really what you want to do - for the love of
  2. First of all try to avoid thinking that your effort last term was wasted - even if your research topic is new, the experience itself, learning from the planning process, the process of generating ideas will all be extremely useful when you set out on your new research area. Most students at some point in time do face roadblocks in terms of research and have to find a new path - try to analyse your experience to assess what you can do better to ensure that this time round you are actually ahead of the curve. Sometimes, putting things in perspective can help motivate you - imagine if you had
  3. Starting the SOPs earlier is great for one more reason...writing my SOPs helped me in selecting and finalizing the programs I finally applied to - the process provides unbelievable clarity and helps self-assess goodness of fit with the program. I thought I had a final list of programs ready after months of research on schools, rankings, departments, POIs, publications etc. - but once I started writing my SOPs, I eliminated half my list and added as many new ones !
  4. If the admissions office confirmed, no reason to worry.
  5. Try to ask open ended questions, where the speaker can provide her opinions (rather than fact-based questions), this usually provides far more opportunities to continue the discussion. Sometimes asking for her opinion on your work (not specifically your research maybe but the broad line of research) rather than her work can make for interesting discussions - leading the speaker to ask you more about your work for example. If she is on the review committee of some journal, ask questions about the focus of the journal, or what she looks for in up and coming research etc. Getting into
  6. Caution: It does suck away a lot of your time on unproductive stuff as well...
  7. oops...yes, missed the fine large print there ! ...my response was specific to the SOP....if this is a personal statement in addtion to the SOP then you may have some more creative license...if you are concerned about being younger than other applicants, perhaps you can use this opportunity to showcase your intellectual and emotional maturity - possibly weaved into your experiences / anecdotes. Importantly, I would pay a lot of heed to the specific prompt provided - i.e. is this a diversity statement vs personal statement etc. and what the prompt wants you to cover.
  8. True Story...even if you skip all the rubbish(!) below, do see STEP 7. Step 1: Prepared a table including subjective ratings on a scale of 1 to 10 for POI personality(scale of Nice to Awful), POI pedigree, POI publications, POI research agenda (fit), departmental research agenda (fit), departmental ranking / reputation, school ranking / reputation, funding offer, placement record, profile of existing grad students, city/location (livability). Step 2: Built scenarios - experimenting with different weights for different criteria to test variability of results and discarded outlier choice
  9. Lots of SOP threads on the forum that are helpful. My two bits... What makes a good SOP can be very subjective - my personal preference is to be as direct as possible (i.e. avoid roundabout stories, quotes, etc.), highlight the positives and positives only, show don't tell (cliche alert!), talk about experiences - but link them to either why you want to pursue the degree or how they will help you during the degree and how they make you 'unique', demonstrate that you are aware of what the degree entails - ensure your language is technical enough to sound knowledgeable (i.e. you do not sound
  10. I would advise trying to get at least one (if not more) academic LORs - going in after a large academic break can seem daunting at first, but if you write to a large number of profs., there are profs. who are usually more than happy to assist. Of course, being away for so long means that the letters may not be as personal, but if you provide them enough fodder (especially any project/thesis/research done, apart from grades and transcripts etc.) you might be pleasantly surprised. Going in without any academic LORs is a bit risky. If you can link your work experiences into why you want to d
  11. Agree...enough for a grad student bachelor lifestyle, but not enough to support a lifestyle that a nice paying corporate job will allow (but then, that is not why we are all here, is it ? !)
  12. This is a fairly decent package - the 14.6k + 15.1k is basically the fees paid on your behalf - check if there is any residual amount you need to pay (usually there is a very small residual amount), and also check whether you need to pay for medical insurance separately (approx. USD 2k per annum) or whether this is included in these fees. The stipend+salary is the pre-tax income YOU will receive, usually given for 9 months - in your case this amounts to approx. USD 2k per month for 9 months. Check if you can get additional support during the summer ? Did the prof. mention the universi
  13. Given your motivation - have you considered a research based masters degree instead ?
  14. I would advise waiting a bit more (at least untill two weeks post the initial notification), after which you could inquire whether "any additional information / documents are still required from your side for the assistantship application".
  15. Some schools actually mention in their appication instructions that they pick the "best scores" for each section and have the fields to enter more than one. Even if this is not the case, you can alsways incude both sets of scores as additional documentation / in your CV or resume etc. and send both sets of scores in the official report.
  16. Am neither strongly for nor against the GRE. But purely in response to Arianna...there are actually tests and means to measure such qualities...e.g. see link below on research on measures of motivation. I am sure similar work exists in areas of creativity. http://www.unh.edu/personalitylab/Reprints/RP2007-MayerFaberXu.pdf How effective these are, and the fact that these can measure such qualities only at a point in time makes them very subjective. And of course the GRE does not incorporate these. But then neither does GPA (explicitly at least - there is always an argument for impli
  17. It seems like you are at an advanced stage in their process...as long as you do not come across as completely crazy, you should be good ! More than technical knowledge, I think at this stage they are trying to assess your fit and interest in the program - so make sure you are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the research agenda at the department, and have plenty of questions about how the department functions, research methodologies, etc.
  18. Worst #2: "Of course you will get in - it's not like you're applying to an MBA program or something! Right ? " Worst #1: "Oh, you're going to be sooo rich !" ...........Have NO words for this one !!!!!
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