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guinevere29 last won the day on August 20 2013

guinevere29 had the most liked content!

About guinevere29

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    English PhD

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  1. I do know multiple people who have chosen this route (an unfunded MA from a high-ranking school) and successfully gotten into top-tier PhD programs. However, I think this route may be better suited for someone who really thinks they need a boost in their applications due to a low undergrad GPA, didn't have strong recommendations from undergrad professors, or more research opportunities. This doesn't sound like your situation. After getting into both the University of Chicago's MAPH program and Univeristy of Toronto's Medieval Studies MA, I seriously looked into the cost/rewards of going to a top school with no funding, but I was saved at the last minute by getting into a PhD program. If you have a job and a decent shot at getting in the second time around, I would definitely wait and try again for PhD programs.
  2. First off, I'll echo rachelann and queennight in saying that they are absolutely correct on how to do better on the Verbal. Plain and simple, memorize those words. My goal was to break into the 90th percentile and I didn't achieve that the first time, in my estimation, because I was taking a more hollistic approach to studying. Second time, I just took practice tests and memorized vocab and I got into the 90th percentile. Wyatt - I also got a 4.5 the first time I took the Analytical, mostly because I didn't believe that I needed to study examples of how to write an essay. I'd gotten a 12 out of 12 on the ACT writing the first time I took it, so I figured, why wouldn't I get a 6 on the GRE? Well, I ended up retaking it because I was embarrassed by that 4.5 and I ended up getting a 92nd percentile score on the Analytical the second time I took it just by studying how the section is scored and the example essays. I'd recommend taking it again if you can afford it, because I definitely think a 5.0 or a 5.5 is achievably on your second shot. As for the creativity advice given by queennight, I can't really speak to that because I don't think I was very creative on my GRE essays. My strategy was to hit all my points in the most logical format possible, but maybe that's why I didn't make it to a 6.0!
  3. I'm a first year graduate student at IU and I'm moving out of my 1 bedroom apartment next year. I don't think the landlord has found someone for next year yet...just throwing that out b/c I saw someone posted they were having trouble finding a place!
  4. Love the Groundhogs Day reference. I think part of what people are frustrated about here is that while there certainly are naive, rosy-eyed students appying to PhDs in the humanities who definitely should be warned, if they have spend any amount of time on the forums here, they should be well aware of that fact. On the otherhand, it has been really refreshing to hear people defending their choices to pursue PhDs in the humanities when there is so much negativity going around. Once you've considered all the risks and rewards and made the choice to get a PhD in the humanities aware of the dismal job market (as many of the people here clearly have), the lack of respect your decision seems to garner gets depressing. Sure, it's not for everyone but I've decided the PhD is for me. Cheers to supporting each other and keep each other positive.
  5. Hi coffeeandcomics! It looks like you are applying to the Literature program, so my response pertains directly to that. Things vary a bit by department. Right now the situation is that every incoming student should be fully funded with a first year fellowship and a 1-1 teaching load for the remaining years of the contract. I don't know if they updated their website since I applied, but if it's the same thing it's fairly confusing. Because IUB does not offer teaching assistantships to first-year students without MAs, in the past, some students have been offered admittance to the program without being fully funded their first year. So basically, you would have to pay for one year of tution with only partial funding, but then you are allowed to continue on the track of the PhD program with full funding and a TAship after that first year. It's a weird way of doing things - but it's not a reason to not apply because 1. if you do get a first-year fellowship, the deal is sweet and 2. as of this year, they are really cutting down on the size of the incoming class so they can offer them all fellowships. Also, the 1-1 teaching load is a really great offer. My cohort is the first to be offered this for the entire time we will be teaching. The stipend is not huge compared to some other schools, but another thing to take into consideration is that it is a lot cheaper to live in Bloomington than any big city or east/west coast town. My rent next year is only $450 for a room in a three-bedroom house in a cute neighborhood with free parking. I go to Chicago and Indianapolis relatively frequently, and I visited friends in St. Louis last weekend so it's not like I'm starved for big city life. I would say definitely apply if your interests fit with IUB! Like I said, their weird way of funding is not a reason to not apply - unless you really don't see yourself here - because there is the potential to recieve a good funding deal, and if you don't, you always have the option to turn it down or accept it if your only other option is pursuing an unfunded MA.
  6. Hmmm. That is a good question. I haven't heard whether comp. lit is doing anything official that day and I'm not on their email list. If I had to guess, comp. lit's campus visit day would be the same weekend if they have an official one. I would contact someone in your department and if they are not organizing something official, that would be a good weekend to visit either way.
  7. Yep! It's Friday, March 28th and coincides with IU Graduate Conference. PM me if you have any questions about IU, I'm a current student and I attended the campus visit day last year.
  8. Well I'm on here, I guess I'll put my two-cents in on perspectives on success. I'll let everyone else be the judge of to what extent I was successful; I didn't get into any Ivy Leagues, but I also didn't really apply to any of them besides Stanford, and that was at the behest of my advisor. I got into one PhD program that is top-20 for Medieval Lit. The school itself fluxuates around 20-22 in the USNWR for overall English program ranking, but obviously it was more important that it be highly ranked for my field. I got into two top-tier masters programs that were unfunded, and one funded masters program that is from a small state school that doesn't even offer a PhD, but is well-known specifically for its medieval studies resources (that would be Kzoo for all you medievalists). Aspects of my application I wouldn't/couldn't change if I did it all over again: - a 3.97 undergraduate GPA from UIUC in English and minor in Spanish (if said it before on here recently). - 90th percentile GRE verbal and writing scores - an abmismal 57th percental subject test score (what a waste of time and money, am I right?) Things I think could have gotten me into more PhD programs: - Been less specific on my SOP. I didn't realize it at the time, but I think I pidgeoned-holed myself into Anglo-Saxonism when I was still interested in the medieval period more broadly. - Consulted more with my advisors about which schools I applied to. To be honest, I should have looked into this way more than I did. I only applied to 8 schools, and I wish I would have applied to more and picked them more carefully. - Spent even more time on my writing sample/conferences with peers. While a professor eventually came through and really helped me out on this one, I think I could have had a better writing sample if I had sought out more opportunities to revise. Hope this helps!
  9. While I'm not saying the coverletter isn't a factor in applications, I have trouble believing it played a crucial role in getting anyone in anywhere. I've always supplied cover letters for jobs, but the reality is that AdComms have a limited time to sort through hundreds of applicants, so I can't imagine they'd really want anything that they don't explicitly ask for. Worst case scenario, if you don't include something in your SOP that you do include in your cover letter, there's a chance that information will be discarded.
  10. Although when and how acceptances/rejections are sent out varies from school to school, if you are desparate to know, the Results Search on this website is pretty helpful. If multiple people are posting that they were accepts and 24 hours later you still haven't heard, there is a very good chance you are either rejected or wait-listed. If you are waitlisted, don't give up hope or jump to accept another offer just because you feel pressured to. I knew multiple people who got accepted at the beginning of April off the waitlist. I'm going to chime in here with one other piece of advice: once you see that schools have sent out their first round acceptances, it's ok to email the department and inquire about the status of your application. I didn't get some rejections until late March, but when I emailed the schools I was waiting on, they were all responsive and let me know directly whether or not my application was being considered. When I emailed U of Chicago like this, they sent me an email back saying well, we can't admit you to the PhD, but congrats! you have been admitted to our MA program. So, you never know. I don't think the departments will begrudge you for emailing them after they have sent out their acceptances.
  11. I also failed at excercising first semester...I may have gone on a short run once or twice...I watched a lot of Netflicks. But this semester I have actually be much better about it - I've been going to some group excercise classing at the gym which kills the getting involved and working out birds with one stone. In fact, in general I've been sticking to my resolutions a lot better in my second semester of grad school than I did in my first: 1. Make time for pleasure reading/creative writing. I'm in a Lit PhD program, so things can get pretty dry and theory-heavy. My goal is to write at least one page of creative writing a day (which more or less happens) and listen to fun books on audio while I am driving/cooking/cleaning etc. 2. Actually get started working on my end-of-term papers before spring break. This is one I've always had, but have never acheived. I actually spent time getting ahead on research this weekend though so maybe this is the year I overcome procrastination! 3. Get involved in the grad school community. 4. Eat healthy! (Been going well so far, except when I am tempted to eat at restaurants!) 5. Save money. This one has not been going well. I have electric heat and a poorly insulated apartment, and multiple months of sub-zero temperatures have resulted in a $210 electric bill for a one-bedroom. Ouch. I also spent money on fun activities with my SO when he came to visit and am now going on a roadtrip for Mardi Gras sooooo...this one needs work. Luckily my living situation next year should be a lot cheaper.
  12. If you are currently attending a university, I would definitely take advantage of its resources before pursuing expensive (and potentially fruitless) outside help. Even if one or two professors you ask for help don't come through or are too busy, keep trying. My undergraduate thesis advisor recently became the DGS of the college, and I was really looking to her for help, but I suspect she was too busy. I was wary to ask a professor that I just started taking a class with for help on my writing sample and personal statements, but when I did he really came through with giving me the advice I needed. I actually credit his help with me getting into a PhD program. Keep trying to get advice from professors, they are the ones who really know what is going on with admissions. I'll also second everyone who has mentioned exchanging materials with peers. Sometimes reading/critiquing other's writing will get you to notice the strengths and weaknesses of your own. Even if I were out of school for a while, I still don't think I would go to a professional service. I just can't imagine them being able to give any specific advice for English programs beyond the tone and quality of your writing. In this way, maybe an MA program is the way to go because this will allow you to network with different professors that will be invested in your work and your future.
  13. Thanks Algernon! I'm always happy to talk about UIUC. The English department is great.
  14. Congrats on getting accepted to UIUC! I love Professor Trilling. She was my honors thesis advisor for undergrad. If you guys have any question about UIUC or their campus let me know!
  15. They will be sending out acceptances in the next couple of weeks, Indiana is currently doing a bunch of new facutly hires and the department is really busy with that. But they just selected who will be the prospective student coordinator so they are getting ready to send them out soon. They are looking to have about 10 people in the incoming cohort, so I assume this application season was especially difficult but the good news is that everyone who is coming in this year should have a first year fellowship if you don't already have your MA. I'm currently at Indiana-Bloomington in the PhD program I love it here, feel free to PM me if any of you have questions about the program.
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