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About History_Nerd

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  1. Ok - so the following is my personal opinion, but I know for a fact that this opinion is shared by a number of people on this board and it isn't just the nature of my discipline. That said, my opinion is partially based on my personal experience and I wish someone would have told me this before applying to graduate schools. Forget the idea of "safety schools", just toss it out of your brain. They don't exist. It's not like applying for undergraduate in that regard. My own personal experience of this is as follows. I applied to four American schools and three in Britain. I was rejected at the number (as best I remember it) 15, 5, and 4 school and was admitted to the number 2 school in the country for my discipline. I gave each of them similar personal statements, the same grades, the same GRE scores, the same CV . . . so why did I get into the number 2 school in the country and not the number 15? Because I was a better fit at the number 2 school than I was at the number 15. I would have been offered a better financial package at one of the other schools, but the number 2 school was my top choice. So the real questions you should ask yourself are - how well do I fit into this program and how can I convince these people that we are a good match for each other? Some programs will buy your argument, yes he/she is a good fit here, and then look at your academic qualifications to see if you meet the standards of what they are looking for. That said, I have far lower GRE scores than many of the people in my program, but I'm convinced they looked past that because they knew I would be a good fit here. It would be really difficult, if not impossible, for someone to look at your "stats" for a graduate program and tell you, you have a twenty or thirty percent chance of getting in or whatever . . . someone would have to have an intimate knowledge of your background as well as an intimate knowledge of those working at the program you are applying to. This time around, I would find ten schools or so that you feel fit you best. Don't pay attention to the rankings or how hard they are supposed to be to get into until later. From there, once you get accepted (hopefully!) to a few schools, then look at rankings, and think to yourself, "How will the reputation of this school either help me or slow me down?". That's my opinion. When people tell you that applying to grad school is a crap shoot, they aren't lying. The crap shoot part about it, though, isn't whether or not they will see you as good enough to get in and or get through, the crap shoot part of it is whether or not they will buy your argument that you are a good fit for the program.
  2. out of curiosity - how many programs did you apply to last year?
  3. I check things out here from time to time, I wonder if things will pick up again soon. This was a handy resource for me.
  4. History_Nerd


    How's everyone getting along in Berkeley? I love it here so far. I could use a few more trees, but other than that, this has been a blast.
  5. I wish I could offer you more - but I've heard of this happening before. If your advisor is well known, and he or she sees that there isn't a fit there - they may offer to contact faculty at others schools to help you transfer. Beyond that - I don't know what to tell you. Hopefully someone else knows more.
  6. Christina - If I were you, I would start by asking your professors who are in the know which programs might be a good fit. Maybe get a list of 30 schools or so. . . Also, don't be embarrased to look at rankings and add a few schools to the list and/or think about where you would like to live and add a couple of prospective schools to your list based on important things like sunshine and how happy you will be living somewhere. Once you get this big, massive list of schools, start looking at web pages. Look at what the faculty are interested, write down names of people you find interesting, look at program requirements, what special resources related to Jewish Studies do certain programs have. It doesn't cost anything to look at web pages, nor does it impact your reputation (like a unorganized phone call might . . .). After you get a better feel for the programs, you are likely to narrow down your list to something far more reasonable like 10 schools or so . . . At this point, it might be a good idea to consider drafting e-mails to various faculty members at these schools. "I was interested in your program for such and such reason" and "Your research seems particularly interesting to me because . . . " etc. etc. Keep in mind that this is somewhat like an application, be polite, be patient, be polished. Have some idea going into this what your goals are and what you are interested in and so forth. You should get a feel at this point that certain schools are going to be very interested in what you do and certain schools are going to pretty much ignore you. Take the 7 or so schools that respond to your e-mails and engage in a dialogue with you as schools that you should apply to. . . some of the people you exchange e-mails with might even invite you to call. This process has worked for me and a few friends of mine at grad school. Good luck.
  7. That's a good idea. A lot of profs just sit in their office hours doing their own research - and would be happy to talk with students if they would come to visit. Anyway, drop by a few times, make sure to tell them you are getting ready to apply to graduate programs and maybe let them know that you've worked closely with two other profs in the department and are seeking a third letter, etc. etc. Good luck!
  8. You should do whatever it takes to complete the requirements on this one and send three letters. Most schools see so many applications that they won't even take a second look at incomplete applications. You might be able to have a Dean or head of one of the departments you worked with as an undergraduate write you a letter. Whatever you do - make sure to give your third letter writer a copy of your resume or CV, especially if they don't know you very well.
  9. I'm changing over - so I'll be voting and getting a new drivers lic. in the new state.
  10. Wow - I had no idea. I thought we had an early start on August 23rd at Berkeley.
  11. I didn't use the calender myself, but it sounds like a great idea. I had one, giant sheet of paper that I wrote down every single deadline for the seven programs I was applying to - and the paper got so crusty and nasty that by the time I was finishing my last application, every time I would take the paper out of my bag - people in the computer lab would move away from me. Ewwww.
  12. So when are people starting/moving to their programs. I start on August 23rd and move in about a week before then.
  13. I have to confess, I've been watching a lot of the History Channel's "The Revolution".
  14. I would like to add that I didn't do well on the verbal or the quant. sections of the GRE. My scores were more closely aligned that 300/700, and I did very well on the writing section, but I would suggest that low GRE scores might raise a few red flags at some institutions and not others. I got lucky in a sense and was accepted at my top choice school, but was turned down at 3 of the 4 schools that I submitted GRE scores to. I'm guessing my low GRE scores didn't help. Imagine if you are on a committee picking incoming graduate students and everyone has at least a 3.7, has published articles, etc. etc. and one person has nearly perfect GRE scores and the other person has a section that stands out as being significantly low, who would you pick. I mean, geesh, you might have 300 applications to choose from for 30 spots, this CAN happen. Also, in my experience, most of the time, you are not going to get a straight answer from a school on GRE scores (or grades for that matter). Every school that asks for them in your application will probably consider them somewhat, but I've also talked to people that indicate that the GRE is an example of how you do on a test, on a particular day. Your grades as an undergrad, on the other hand, are an indicator of how you fare over the course of several years. I guess my advice would be that if you have your heart set on starting graduate school right away, and you have the time and the means to practice, study, and retake the GRE, why not retake it? But, if you are like me, and HATE taking tests like the GRE, and don't have the money to do it over and over again, why bother?
  15. It would be nice if we could get rid of that garbage. Is anyone reading any history for fun?
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