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frundelson2

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frundelson2 last won the day on August 10 2013

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About frundelson2

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  1. The GRE is just one component, and ultimately, I think what it comes down to for admissions is how well you fit to each of those schools in terms of faculty there and their research interests and how you convey in your application why each school is the ideal fit. You could have a perfect GRE and a very good GPA but not be a good fit and you likely would receive a rejection. With that said, though, the GRE score plays a role. I have heard that each school has a certain number they want you to clear to get into consideration. You might want to contact each department individually and ask them about how they approach GRE scores. All things considered, I think you might want to get your verbal score up above 160 to have a really good shot at an elite university. My thinking there is why let an average GRE score harm you if you have a strong application otherwise. A very strong application could make up for a below-average GRE score, but with these elite schools, folks will be applying with high GPAs, strong letters of recommendation, and compelling research ideas. It's a sad reality but the schools will use the GRE scores to make cuts somewhere along the line, particularly when they are sorting through hundreds of applications. To give yourself the best shot, you'd want it a bit higher I think.
  2. I think it also depends on what you want to do with your degree. If you want to teach or research at a big name school, you need to get a degree from a big name school. If you are content with just teaching at a smaller school, the prestige of the school is less important. What becomes more important, as others have noted, is your advisor and the relative strengths of your particular department.
  3. Hi MaggieMay, I think it could go either way. On the one hand, I have heard that some POIs associate completing a degree more quickly as a sign of dedication and determination and as indication that you will be able to navigate through a PhD in a timely fashion. On the other hand, I have had a number of friends finish their master's degree part time, take a semester off, or take an extra semester to finish their thesis / research, and they haven't had any major difficulties in getting into a PhD program. The key there though for them was narrating in their personal statements why they took the extra time. If you can narrate your thought process and decision making process in your statement, I think you should be set. Personally, I would try to make a decision that would enable you to flourish as a student. If taking that extra semester ultimately will make you less stressed and more confident in your overall work, that might be the best choice for you. What about finances though? Can you afford the extra semester of tuition?
  4. Hey tellitslant, First, I think it is a great idea to take a year off. I think you will find an extra year will allow you to hone your research interests, to make your personal statement more precise, to really familiarize yourself with the programs that interest you the most, and to knock your GRE score out of the park (all things which you yourself noted). All of these things will make your application all the more sophisticated, so an extra year is really helpful in the big picture. Also, applying while you are in school is manageable but also very stressful. Being out of school makes the process a bit more manageable. With that said, I have also generally found that students who took time off before graduate school have more interesting and nuanced things to say in their work because they have some outside, real-word, and non-academic experience that bear on their interests and thinking. In your specific case, I feel like doing something like City Year could be great, because you will likely interact with a very diverse group of people who will enrich and challenge your thinking. I think it makes sense to be aware that some schools might want to see some real-word experience directly related to your desired program of study. Then again, something a bit unrelated could stand out to schools. This is something you might want to ask programs as you prepare to apply to them, so you can adjust your personal statement accordingly based on what they say. I am sure you can creatively think of how to connect your City Year to your study interests and that you can find outlets in your spare time to pursue activities that more directly tie in to your interests as well. For instance, if you are interested in the humanities, you could pick up a reading language in your spare time. Another key thing is how you yourself explain to schools why you decided to pursue City Year. Be prepared to explain in your personal statement and in your interviews how your City Year experience further prepared you to pursue your field of research and an advanced degree. So long as you narrate how City Year fits into your story and how it has readied you to pursue advanced studies, you should be all set. I hope some of these thoughts are helpful. There are so many different paths to a PhD. Don't feel obligated to follow one single path, but find the right fit for you. And just to note, I am speaking here mostly from my own personal experience. I took a year off and went abroad before I applied for my master's degree and then for my PhD. Living and working abroad was a great experience for me. It allowed me time and space to think carefully about what I wanted to study and gave me extra time to apply for my master's. In some ways, I wish I had taken a year off between my master's and PhD as well to navigate the application process. I have also had a number of good friends who have gone and done a year of service both domestically and internationally and used their time away from school to jump into a PhD. Good luck to you!
  5. I'm getting ready to adopt a German Shorthaired Pointed named Benny from the local rescue society!
  6. I second czesc's view. I find history appealing because it really draws from both camps and can utilize the best of both the social sciences and the humanities. With that said, I more consistently find history listed as a social science.
  7. I am likewise a Keurig user. It originally belonged to my sister, but she no longer used it, so I gladly inherited it from her. I find it to be pretty quick way to get coffee in the morning, and it cuts down on costs in the long run. Plus I like how easy it is to try out different flavors each morning. The only thing is that they are pretty expensive to buy new, but I just saw some back-to-school sales at Target and Meijer's that were decent deals.
  8. Getting an MA in Political Science wouldn't necessarily discredit you from teaching History at the undergraduate level, so long as you get a PhD in History. For instance, I have a friend who did a MA in Religious Studies before starting her PhD in History. She wants to teach history, so her PhD is in History. You ultimately want your PhD to be in the subject you want to teach, but a different MA is okay. Most PhD programs in History have you complete two years of coursework before comprehensive exams. Some will count the completion of courses and exams as an MA on the way towards your PhD, whereas some just count it as part of the PhD. So if you get an MA in Political Science and get a PhD in History, you would likely have two MAs by the time you are all finished.
  9. Hey child of 2, As someone still using a flip phone, I understand where you are coming from! I have been shopping around myself for a new phone with the same principles in mind. The cheapest smart phone plan I have come across is with Republic Wireless. It offers unlimited talk, text, and 3G data for $20 per month. I haven't found a similar deal with a major carrier. The catch is that the plan is compatible only with the Motorola DEFY smart phone, which costs $200 new. It's got all of your smart phone gadgets. Here is a link: http://www.republicwireless.com/what-it-costs Hope this helps!
  10. Thanks all for the input so far! ILL has been a big money saver for me. Also, I have scanned some books using those scanners, telkanuru, but sometimes I get a bit nervous about copyright infringement. But maybe I am just overly cautious? TMP - I am unfamiliar with writing off book purchases on my taxes. Can you fill me in or point me in a direction to find out more?
  11. Hey all, I am getting ready for my comps, and I have a question about how present and past History students have approached their reading lists, particularly whether they found it helpful to actually own copies of each book they were reading / using to prep for their exams. In the past, I have tried to not purchase books for my courses and have instead checked them out from the library, gotten them via ILL, or found free online versions. After I gutted each book I always wrote out a precise summary, outlined the main ideas, and jotted down any stand out points. I did this as a reference specifically for prepping for comps. More generally, I am bit against owning a ton of books, but I also starting to realize having these books in my own personal library could be helpful. How have you approached this? Would love to hear your thoughts.
  12. There are usually donation bins in the parking lots of major shopping centers, grocery chains, Wal-Mart, etc. Look for a BetterWorldBooks bin and you can count on your books going to a good cause. Take a look here to find the exact location near you: http://www.betterworldbooks.com/go/donate Otherwise you could see what they are worth with a BuyBack program like AbeBooks BuyBack. Simply enter in the ISBN's and they will give you a quote. They pay for shipping, and you just need to throw them in a box and send them off. Hope this helps!
  13. From what I have heard from younger professors, advanced students, and from my own experience writing my master's thesis a few years ago, the simple goal of 1 page a day is a great goal. That puts you at 30 pages a month. For a fantastic book resource on this, see Writing Your Dissertation Fifteen Minutes A Day: http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Your-Dissertation-Fifteen-Minutes/dp/080504891X
  14. Hi stresshair, Best of luck with your applications! It sounds like you have two excellent writers on your behalf so far. You are on the right track. I would definitely echo others here stating that it would likely not be in your best interest to go with the graduate student as a third writer. It sounds crazy but with applications, the rank / title of whoever is writing makes a big difference, even if they might know you slightly less. So getting a third tenured professor to write on your behalf would be the way to go. As Monocrhome Spring noted, I would ask this professor frankly whether he can write a strong letter for you. Usually professors will be up front about this. You can also give him a current copy of your C.V. / resume. Be sure to note your research and any particular accomplishments that make you stand out as a student. It is again odd but so much of the application process is presenting yourself in a certain way. Don't be shy about touting some of your strengths, albeit humbly. Finally, I don't think it would be inappropriate to ask someone outside of your subject but still within the sciences. In fact, this could be an asset in your overall application, as it shows you are not just a linear student but can succeed in multiple disciplines. Best of luck to you!
  15. Thanks for your thoughts JMU. I highlighted the above two points as passion / funding are something I have been personally thinking about. Is there a balance that needs to be struck between the two? For you personally how far does the passion extend if you didn't get a stipend? For me personally, I figured that it wouldn't be feasible to pursue a PhD without a stipend and to try and pursue my passion for education and teaching through a different venue. Do you have something similar in mind? Also it just seems grossly irresponsible of any program to admit students without guaranteed funding. I am curious to learn more about GAU unions as well. I have heard of such efforts among adjunct professors, but how does it extend to graduate students if they are still technically considered students and not full employees worthy of full benefits?
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