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reasonablepie

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About reasonablepie

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    Political Science

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  1. Frank evaluation: you've got too many degrees. Both your law degree and professional masters lead to some obvious career choices, and yet you've chosen not to pursue those. You may have your reasons for that, I don't know, but you might have a hard time convincing schools you want a Political Theory PhD to actually do something with, rather than just because you enjoy getting degrees.
  2. First - having two years of private sector experience is not at all unusual. Most programs quite like it if people are a few years out of undergrad, and having spent those years in consulting is not at all a negative thing. At best it shows you've really thought through your options and know what you're doing in choosing academia, at worst it's just the opportunity cost of more research-related activities you could've been doing. I would say it should be in your SOP, but not as something to apologize for - instead, use it to explain how you came to the decision to go to grad school and try to
  3. Okay great, that's much clearer. Identifying schools is hard - don't feel like it's weird that you're feeling lost. In my opinion, just going through all the schools in roughly the ranking range you're interested in (using a few different rankings) and combing through their website to look at their faculty's interests (as well as the degree structure and funding information) is the only way to really get a good complete list. It's tedious and overwhelming, but you're doing well in that you're starting this process early so you should have plenty of time. Take on board any advice that fac
  4. I'd say the most useful thing you can do over the summer before grad school is get some rest and get ready on a practical level. If you have to move to a new city, all the organizing associated with that is going to take up a lot of your time. Even if you're not, it's worthwhile getting all your logistical stuff in order. You'll be much happier starting grad school if your apartment is all set up, you've got any tech/gear/etc you might want, any legal/official stuff is taken care off (especially for international students), so that you can just focus on the classes and getting comfortable in y
  5. You need to be a bit more clear with yourself and us about what it is you are looking for. If what you want to do is a PhD in Political Science with a focus on International Relations doing research on security issues, then the best route is probably to go through all the Political Science PhD programs around the ranking that you think you're competitive for and look through their faculty to see who you share interests with, as well as asking people in the discipline (including here) which PoliSci departments have a strong reputation on these topics. However, if you want to do a MA in Security
  6. Stipend figures are definitely not the amount you can expect to receive. There is both federal and state tax that generally has to be paid (details obviously differ per place), plus there might be an array of university fees that may or may not be covered by the tuition portion of your funding as well as potentially health insurance related costs if that's through the university. The best way to know what you can expect to end up receiving is asking a current student discretely during the visit day.
  7. This is something to ask the administrators about - they should be able to give you clear information about all years, and you should be very concerned if they cannot give you guarantees beyond year 2. A) This is not true, in many departments people choose to still take classes after year 2, for example to get more methods training, B ) even if you are not taking classes, you generally have to pay some tuition fee to be registered as a student, and this can be a non-trivial amount.
  8. Number one advice above all else: go visit if it's at all financially/practically feasible for you, and do not decide until at least a week after your last visit. The visits will give you a ton of insight into the intangibles and informal stuff that will be very hard to get in any other way. After getting those impressions, let them sink in for a while then decide. I do think the choice you describe is a very difficult one. Some of it depends on the specifics, which I understand if you don't want to share. For example, I'm personally of the opinion that a bit more money shouldn't be the d
  9. I don't want to be a spoil-sport, but I'd really caution you from using this forum to learn about your wait-list chances. All the stressing about whenever something comes on the result board is already not great (although totally understandable, I did the same thing), but at least those results are somewhat informative about when letters are being sent out. The number of factors that go into wait-list decisions compared to the amount of information this forum will give you essentially means that it is much more likely to give you miss-information than anything useful, while adding to your anxi
  10. I completely agree with what both wb3060 and cy92 said - might as well visit, unless you have a good reason not to. If there's even a small chance you'll choose the second school, it's worth putting in the effort considering how important this decision is. And even if that chance is effectively zero, the down the road what-ifs can be pretty terrible. Plus, a visit is a chance to both meet other students and other professors, which is never a bad thing. That said, if the financial costs are a real strain or you have time limitations or you just feel really sure, it's also fine not to go. I thin
  11. 1) Don't worry too much about making a good impression! It's about you and your decision now, and schools will be putting in a lot of effort to make a good impression on you. Come September, no one will remember much of what you said/did/wore at visit weekend, so just focus on getting the information you want. I was really stressed about this and turns out it didn't matter in the least. 2) Think carefully in advance about what really matters to you in your decision; this will determine what you need to ask. It could be you mainly care about how you get along with people on a personal leve
  12. Your question makes very little sense. In political science, there is generally no such thing as population data. Sure, you could have data for a certain time period for all the countries/other units you are interested in (although that's pretty rare!), but that doesn't mean that statistical inference no longer matters. You could make a statement such as "for X population in Y period, variable A was associated with this or that change in variable B", but that is a purely empirical statement, and those are rarely interesting. If you want to make any kind of substantive argument, you will need t
  13. As a general rule for all materials, if it's not required only add it if it significantly strengthens a weak area in your application. In your case, that means definitely do not send optional writing samples if it's just something you'll be throwing together at short notice. For those schools that require you send something, the goal of the writing sample isn't to see whether you can write decent English (the SOP and to some extent GRE cover that), but to see how well you can engage in academic writing and ideally research. So, send something at least academic and ideally something that shows
  14. This depends somewhat on how you want to profile yourself. If you have a weak record on quant skills, the second set is going to help you, and if your writing sample and such are strong the AWA score won't matter much. If you have really good quant skills elsewhere but are worried about your writing, the opposite applies. On balance, I'd say the second set is probably better, but it's not straightforward.
  15. You're in a pretty good position, especially because you're thinking about this plenty of time in advance. If you make sure you put in the time and effort to create the best application you can, you're certainly in the running for top-25 schools (always keep in mind there's a lot of luck/randomness involved in the admissions process too, so apply to a decent number of schools). For grad school, don't think in terms of ivies, that's not the relevant metric for top schools here. Look at a bunch of different rankings for some idea of what schools to look at, then look at placement records and tal
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