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Everything posted by TheGnome

  1. It happens. If you have other offers from roughly comparable or higher ranked schools, you should try it. Worst case scenario is that they will say no. There is no shame in accepting the offer if they say no, and no shame in rejecting it if they say yes. As long as you do what you do in good faith, you need to pursue what is best for you. Grad Directors know that, and since they also want to get the best students they can, they will help you if it is in their power. In a sense, negotiating is actually mutually beneficial. You just need to remember that it might just not be possible for th
  2. My vote would be yes, FWIW. A stats minor (and/or math courses) with good grades and a high GRE Q score should substantially improve your chances. If you pair them with a polished SoP (which signals that you have a good idea of what you are getting into) you would be competitive anywhere. These things probably matter more if you intend to pursue your PhD with a quantitative empirical bent, but they should help your chances whatever it is that you want to do.
  3. The only publications that really matter are the ones in peer-reviewed political science journals that people have heard about. It is extremely rare to see this in an applicant file (though you might try your chance with BFB to get an actually informed answer). I'd say even the majority of ABDs on the job market doesn't have that. If you are one of the few who has a *real* publication, that is great. If you don't, I wouldn't worry about it at all. Also good luck to this year's hopefuls. It will be over before you know it
  4. A good, polished SoP that shows a clear understanding of what you are getting into will go a long, long way to make up for the lack of polisci background. Obviously first you have to understand what you are getting into, before showing them that you do. Perusing the recent literature on your topic will help. By literature I mean actual polisci articles published in major peer-reviewed academic journals. An engineering degree (or two) can actually be an important asset. I would say, get the SOP done and don't worry about the rest. You will be a competitive applicant everywhere you apply.
  5. According to the USNews rankings: 4 of the top 10, 8 of the top 20, and 13 of the top 25 political science PhD programs are public schools. Public-private distinction is a false one for the quality of post-graduate education.
  6. I would say, take it easy. Everything you need to know will be explained to you once you start and you will do just fine. For every question you list up there, you can easily get answers here that would suggest entirely different experiences. Honestly I thought what my answers to those questions would be and what kind inferences you would draw from them, but I couldn't arrive at anything useful. If you are really really curious, I would e-mail the senior theory grad students at A&M. It is likely that even their experiences will differ completely based on to who or to what tasks they are as
  7. I would say: It is not inappropriate, but it is also not necessary at all. People who contacted faculty members and got good results tend to say that it helped, and those who contacted them and didn't get good results tend to say it doesn't help. I personally don't think it is something you should worry about. Unless you really do have a question, or have something meaningful to say, the e-mail exchanges (if you got a reply that is) do not amount to anything. a brief post by Penelope on this topic, a faculty member who writes in this forum.
  8. Declined offers from Indiana, Notre Dame, and Michigan State
  9. I would absolutely do that. Since you won't have much time to do your due diligence when you get out of the waitlist (fingers crossed), no reason why you shouldn't do it now. If you don't get out of the waitlist, fine, you can go with your current option. If you do, you will be able to make a more careful decision by visiting.
  10. I don't want to get into this argument. All the ethics talk is scary. However, I do want to emphasize for the future applicants reading these pages who are thinking of transferring (and who may be stressing out): It is OK. It is common. Faculty members at your institution and at the schools you will apply encounter this kind of stuff all the time. I am just a lowly grad student who is about to become -yet again- a lowly grad student, so my perspective is obviously limited. Still, if you have concerns and want to talk about it, feel free to PM me now or in the future. I would be happy to of
  11. I am transferring. I saw nothing but encouragement from my professors. They supported me and seemed to be happy that I am moving to a place that will be better for me and my research interests. YMMV, of course, but I don't think I am too far off from the mean to be an outlier. It is a delicate situation that should be handled with care, no doubt. However, it is far from being uncommon.
  12. I think this should be memorized by every prospective student. Thanks for the link! I went ahead and checked their data from ICPSR. I am sure it will be of interest to many people, since the graphs only contain so much information. Here is the link http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/studies/34697 I think in US people usually mean APSR, AJPS and JOP when they talk about top 3 in political science in general. I am certainly not the authority on this, and the journals you list are definitely great outlets, but I believe things get a bit more blurry after APSR, AJPS an
  13. 1) a)Think about what kind of jobs you would be aiming for. What kind of jobs would make you happy? I am sure CUNY PhDs get jobs, there are schools lower ranked than CUNY and their students get jobs as well. It is not a walk in the park though, not at all. More students fail to place than those who do. Job market is tough for everyone for all jobs, and it gets tougher as you move away from the top of the list. But people do find stuff. Go and check if those jobs are the kind of jobs that would be in line with your expectations, and decide based on that. b ) Transferring is tough.
  14. I often get too excited about the stuff I am reading at the moment. Heart rate rises, I smile a lot, I want to talk about it with everyone (luckily, I have a very patient SO). Unfortunately, however, the more time it passes since I first read something, the less exciting it becomes for me. When I first read Imagined Communities it was the coolest thing. Now I don't feel the appeal whatsoever. No offense intended, of course - I am just revealing my absolute lack of wit and tact. Right now, I am reading Wagner's War and the State (tip o' the hat to coach), and I genuinely think this one is surel
  15. It is March already folks. Let's give some of the love back to GradCafe by posting on the Let's do it for our future friends and colleagues before the current group starts leaving this forum for good. I am sure most of you benefited from the earlier versions of that thread while preparing your application. I know I did. Let's go and fill those pages.
  16. PROFILE: Type of Undergrad Institution: Non-US, likely not very recognized. Major(s)/Minor(s): International Relations Undergrad GPA: 3.4 Type of Grad I: Top international affairs school (US), area studies MA Grad GPA: 3.6 Type of Grad II: Unranked political science PhD (US) Grad GPA: 4.0 GRE: 163V / 170Q / 5.0AW Any Special Courses: 1 micro, 1 qualitative methods, 3 statistics courses. Also a couple of other PhD level substantive courses unrelated to my research interests Letters of Recommendation: All political scientists, but none of them are in my field. Also no big names. They know
  17. I think the open access one has limited data. If you are affiliated with a university / living close to a university or a good public library, you can benefit from their institutional subscription to the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Database (the one in this link - http://www.proquest.com/en-US/catalogs/databases/detail/pqdt.shtml). You can just go to your library website and access the database through there.
  18. Hey congrats on Yale steedyue! Sorry I just caught up with the news. You had your significant other there right? What a brilliant turn of events! I am happy for you guys. I am sure you will be the beacon of hope for every couple out there struggling to make it work in this process. May you guys be the proof that sometimes things do work out, and it is indeed worth a try
  19. Department placement figures are obviously very very important and useful, but they are still a proxy to get at the job market success of an X person with similar attributes to future you. That is what we all want to learn, right? This is why we often want to learn about the subfield placements as well as the overall placement records. We naturally think that -say- the IR placement record would be more relevant for us if our subfield is IR. One way to diminish some of this uncertainty is to check the placement records of your POIs or people with whom you think you are likely to work. Such
  20. I claimed one earlier and I am neither an American nor an Americanist (IR subfield). I am currently living in the US though. Since the DGS seems to be calling people, it is quite plausible that those living abroad may get the news through different means. Hang in there Miroslav.
  21. So between the Yale and the Harvard ones this may not sound very exciting but I just got into Indiana University. With this, I only have one school left that I am waiting to hear the official news from - though I know that it will be a rejection. So my cycle is basically over. Thanks GradCafe folks for making this process a lot more bearable. This is, of course, not a farewell. I will be around.
  22. I changed my research interests completely. Though as I said earlier, my previous cycle was two years ago, not last year. Also, it was not a strategic decision, I am just interested in a different set of questions now. So naturally my SOP was completely different from the previous one. Come to think of it, not sure if it can be a strategic decision - unless your previous topic was really (but really) a fringe topic that you know nobody in the discipline cares about.
  23. This funding story about GRE and international status seems to be more related to certain state schools (e.g. Berkeley, OSU, UVA, UCSD). I don't think any of the schools the OP lists should have any problem funding any student (Georgetown being the exception). CamCanadian, we have been told repeatedly that the kind of things you mentioned (work experience etc) only rarely play an important role in the admissions process. Publications, on the other hand, can go a long way to cover the weaknesses IF by publication you mean academic peer-reviewed journals that people in the admissions committ
  24. Deferring may not be possible at all, and if it is, the caveats mentioned above sounds reasonable. You may well not get into any of the top schools the next time around too. Also contact with professors will not bring you the desired results. Another thing to think about is that you are still you whichever program you attend. I won't say "go ahead and work hard, you can do it," I don't know you. Maybe you can, maybe not, you will be the judge of that. If you can, the info is that good TT placements is not a rarity at Top 20 - 25 programs, those who work hard get them. If you can't, being
  25. I hear the song of the fat lady now. Says no Stanford for you. Not very pleasant. I think this pretty much ends my cycle. I am waiting to hear from 3 more places - though none of them would really change much in terms of how I weigh my options. I will post my profile on the profiles/results thread once I get the official word from the remaining schools, and I strongly suggest everyone to do the same.
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