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Everything posted by johndiligent

  1. Well, this is going nowhere good. Saying that early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism share a common ancestry and that looking at the origins of Christianity can instruct about the origins of Rabbinic Judaism is saying something quite a bit different than Rabbinic Judaism has a Christian context. They emerge from the same context and influence one another, but one does not emerge from the other. It's a significant difference in wording. For what it's worth, I ran your statement by my best friend, who is a Rabbinic Judaism scholar, and he was just as disturbed as I was.This isn't just me, and I think it's a bit offensive to say 'But Jews like this' when I was just speaking to you as a Jew. Also, my field is late Second Temple Judaism and Christian origins and nothing in your phrase about, as you put it, Jesus' "Judaism" and the "Jewishness" of the New Testament required quotation marks, except maybe around the "New". There's nothing particularly "new" about the New Testament. There's plenty that's Jewish about it, though. You're right. It is a minefield. Kaboom.
  2. This isn't meant to be antagonistic but, as a Jewish woman, my alarm bells ring out with the phrase "rabbinic literature in the context of early Christianity", just so you know. If you've phrased it that way in your SOP, I wouldn't. It sounds a bit too much like trying to understand Judaism through the framework of Christianity or, worse, Rabbinic Judaism as emergent from Christianity. I am sure this is not what you mean.
  3. Due respect, I don't think this is good advice. Calling attention to low GRE scores in the SOP will just detract from the strength of the SOP. The SOP shouldn't include negatives or excuses. If the OP had an excellent explanation for the low GRE scores (say, ze had been in a car accident on the way to the exam or something) then I still wouldn't include it in the SOP, I'd add a short addendum somewhere in the application. In this case, the excuse seems to be that the OP didn't know that there would be so much geometry on the test. Honestly, I think the explanation would just make the scores stand out more and make the matter worse. Really, most profs know the GRE is useless and will focus on the more important aspects of the application. Don't use those more important parts to remind them about the GRE.
  4. 1) With regard to your first question, Canadian PhD programmes tend to have more domestic students than U.S. students, but this is usually due to funding reasons, and not necessarily because they intrinsically prefer domestic students, though that ends up being the consequence. A lot of the government-based or gov-administrated funding in Canada is for Canadian students only, and further some university money ends up being dedicated exclusively to Canadian students. This makes it effectively easier to admit Canadians. That said, as a general rule, there are fewer Americans applying to Canadian schools than Canadians, so there is money available for international students. Further, grad schools are concerned with their 'reach', which is getting applications from diverse places across the country and outside of it, so the fact that you're not local can benefit you 2) In contrast to the above, Canadian universities prefer to hire Canadians, as a rule. There are exceptions, of course, and plenty of Americans do work at Canadian universities, but almost every university in Canada (with the exception of private universities) is required to give preference to Canadian applicants, as they will mark clearly on job postings. This will greatly hinder an American's ability to get the job, unless he/she is without doubt a better fit for the position than any of the Canadian applicants. That said, if you're doing your PhD in Canada, establish roots in Canada, and become a Canadian citizen or even permanent resident, then you'll have the same fighting chance as the rest.
  5. It's bad enough to warrant concern if you have at least a few of the following: - a poor to middling GPA - a poorly written SOP with no clear research goals - indifferent letters of recommendation - little to no research experience - a poor fit with your departments of interest - applications going out to a small number of highly competitive schools As it stands, if you don't have any of those, you're worrying about nothing. Your combined score will be over 1200 no matter what, so you'll miss most of the Throw Out Before Reading Cut-Offs.
  6. I'd wait it out a bit longer and if there's no response, send a similar, but shorter e-mail, without indicating that they didn't respond the first time. My theory is that your e-mail sounds like it may have been long, it is midterm season in some places, and responding to your e-mail may have slipped through the cracks. That said, best if you don't chastise or annoy them for it and just pretend that you've assumed they did not receive it. Also, given it was all three of them, perhaps you should look at what subject line you're using, your e-mail address, e-mail service, or the name that comes up when you e-mail, just in case it's some kind of a spam filter problem.
  7. You have a hilarious definition of flunking. You did OK if not stellar on the least important part of your application. If you're worried, work on your SOP.
  8. I suggest a longer T-shirt: Friends Don't Let Friends Develop Unreasonable Expectations About the Job Market, No Matter How Much Easier It Is to Pretend That You and Your Friend Are the Exceptions to the Rule and You'll Both Get Jobs Because You're Both Brilliant and The Unemployed People are Just People Who Aren't as Academically-Gifted As You Are. Instead Friends Acknowledge to Each Other the Exceptional Difficulty of Getting an Academic Job, Call Bullshit on Each Other When Appropriate, and Help Each Other to Professionalize Early and Often. Further, Friends Will Also Remind Each Other that While Getting a Funded PhD, You are Actually Getting Paid to Live Your Dream, If Only for a Short While, So While Academic Jobs May Be Few, It Was Still Worth It For the Opportunity You Did Get to Engage With Academic Discourse on a Daily Basis.That Said, Friends Certainly Don't Let Friends Get Unfunded PhD's. Nor Should Enemies For That Matter.
  9. Unfortunately, emmm is right. Schools want as many applicants as possible, because it increases their stats regarding selectivity. These are pretty much automated, targeted advertisements. Not to say that you shouldn't apply to those schools if you find them to be good fits. But as always with grad applications, the leg work to find that out is done by you, not the school.
  10. Same here. Still narrowing down the application list, trying to talk to everybody I need to talk to. Applications are going more slowly for me this go-round, with having to also write an MA thesis at the same time.
  11. I wouldn't recommend the Kaplan workbooks. YMMV, but the Kaplan Verbal workbook had me completely psyched out. I scored pitifully on all the Kaplan Verbal practice tests and eventually just gave up on using them. On the actual GRE, I got 750-800 range, so there was no real correlation. The Kaplan passages are very poorly written and the correct answers virtually demand that you overstate conclusions that don't follow from the text itself. The Math Workbook was similar enough to the sort of questions you get on the GRE, but if you don't have a background in math, like me, you'll find the explanations in the text fairly inadequate, so you'll constantly be going off to look things up elsewhere.
  12. johndiligent

    SOP for MA

    It doesn't have to be very precise (and let's face it - it'll change a lot between now and when you begin your program, and again between the start of your program and virtually every day afterward). You will, however, want to indicate that you have a basic idea what you'd like to hone in on and indicate through that discussion that you've read enough research from that area to have informed questions about it. It's wise to name the professors you'd be interested in working with (or professors whose work is relevant to yours in some way) because this will speak to the all-important issue of 'fit' for the program.
  13. When I applied for my MA, I tallied the cost of my applications and related expenses, and it wound up being over $800, for six schools. For the PhD applications this year, I'm budgeting about $1000 to apply to ten schools. Hopefully I won't go too much over that.
  14. Hey, LateAntique! Good to see a familiar face from my last application cycle around here!
  15. My suggestion would be not to skimp at all on excellent fall and winter clothing. It's tempting to try to avoid the expense, but spending money on an excellent winter coat with thermal, adjustable layers will make your experience so much more pleasant. I'm Canadian, I've lived in Canada all my life, and the winter cold is far from the misery you might expect, but it's still important to know how to dress for cold days: layer well.
  16. Forgive me. When you said, "I will almost certainly get a TT offer... Yes, I know this is arrogant and naive and probably wrong, but if I didn't believe it then I wouldn't be applying to grad school at all" I assumed you were serious. Internet forum comprehension, alas. Regardless, I hope what I posted will be useful for somebody, if not for you, since I certainly know many, many students who espouse the views I thought you held, and not as a joke.
  17. Is there some urgency about publishing it? I'd sooner wait five years to publish it properly than publish on a vanity press now - in fact, I see no point whatsoever in publishing with a vanity press, especially if you think it's good work. Why now and not later?
  18. While the 'wishful thinking' approach is undoubtedly common among graduate students, this strikes me as a very wrong-headed approach. Many grad students are like you: they hear about the extremely bad job market in a certain field but then dismiss it as nonsense because they know X person who wound up with an adjunct position, which means it can't be that bad, right? The problem is the reality. The last estimate in my field was that less than 20% of PhD's end up getting positions at a university - and that's positions at all, not just tenure-track positions, but even adjunct positions. That means that 4 out of 5 of the PhD's who finish the degree won't even be lucky enough to work as adjuncts. And I'm in a field where opportunities outside the academy don't really exist. When this is discussed among grad students in my field, they become dismissive, calling it pessimism, and talk about how professors will retire en masse and there will be more jobs opening up and so on and so forth. But the reason they say this is because they all assume that they will be the exception, not the rule; they expect to be in the 1 in 5, instead of in the 4. Which I suppose is a natural expectation if you've matured as most graduate students have: they've been the stars of their particular undergraduate programmes, understand themselves as the cream of the crop, and are used to excelling where others fail. But everyone else in the room has had the same experience and they all want to be the 1 in 5. The person who winds up with a tenure-track position isn't better than all the other hopefuls. There are hundreds of excellent candidates and a lot of it comes down to luck or largely uncontrollable factors. My point is not to dissuade you. But I think everybody who is in a field with bad job prospects should enter into it with eyes wide open, not shut tight for fear of being discouraged. Wishful thinking may strike you as a powerful motivator, but a more powerful motivator, I find, is the recognition that your odds of getting a position are terrible so you must do everything within your power to make yourself an attractive candidate. Never ever miss an opportunity to build your CV, enhance your professional credentials, excel in everything you do in graduate school. Further to that, those who are aware of the importance of early professionalization and the difficulties of the job market tend to get more respect from professors, while those who hope for the best with a cheery grin are often considered naive, arrogant or ignorant. Clearly, the bad prospects in my field did not prevent me from going to graduate school and I don't think that they should prevent anyone else. But I think applicants need to ask themselves not "Are 5-7 years of grad school worth becoming a professor?" but "Are 5-7 years of grad school worth a slim chance at becoming a professor?" If this is what you really want to do with your life, you'll still be willing to roll the dice and give it a shot.
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