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Everything posted by spaulding

  1. People do it all the time, and I understand your but it's a political decision. Chances are, your advisor either went to school with or taught someone in the top five program you're applying to (academia's a small world). So, whether they say it or not, emails and conversations will occur and feelings could be hurt. Safest bet....get the MA, do something with the Census for a couple of years, and rediscover your love for sociology and possibly apply elsewhere.
  2. Take it from a waitlisted pro.... If you havent heard back yet at all, that means you're waitlisted and they're waiting to see who accepts and who does not. No need to force their hand until you have an offer from a similarly ranked school. And then still. If you dont know where you're at on the list, you want to make a strong positive expression since people make decisions on and after April 15th. If possible, visit the school for a day. If not, make If you're waitlisted at a top ten school, ask if they carryover the waitlist to the next year. If you're waitlisted at a top 10 school, dont accept the offer from another lower ranked school. You know you nearly made it in. So, why not do something else for a year (a master's program, whatever) and reapply the following year. Reality folks: in a tight market, rankings matter. Students from top 20 schools as well as "good" schools such as CUNY, TAMU, Florida State, Maryland, Virginia, and Cornell will be looked at. So, if you're not there and you're seriously considering an academic job, it's better to wait. spaulding
  3. Bloomington is beautiful and if you go, you wont be disappointed at all. It can be dull......but there are soo many niche places in Bloomington, that you'll find something (good or bad) to get into. The faculty are helpful and the placement's great. All hail to old IU.
  4. Hi, I've been in soc for a while, so here's my spin...... Your background is fine, but instead of framing yourself as a sociologist of religion who has interests in the religious politics of Turkey, you may want to say I'm a political sociologist interested in the intersection of international politics and religion. Soc of religion folks mostly do work on western religions, so finding someone willing to work with you will be rough. Political sociology's broad enough so you should be fine. Based on your schools, people may question your commitment to being a top scholar since your choice of schools gives the impression you want to be in a certain area rather than in a discipline. To cover for that, you may want to focus your applications to a specific discipline or two.....and apply to the Cal schools in addition to other programs. spaulding
  5. Hi, Most people I've come across don't put much weight into the writing sample. Chances are, you'll change your ideas once you enter and (unless you've taken some grad courses during high school), what you're attempting to study would need to be refined. My advice is simple: send your writing statement to two copy editors, and be done with it. In my experience, students spend too much time on things that dont matter......(i.e., writing statements, statement of purposes, etc.). The committees tend to look at gre scores, letters, and grades (in that order). GRE scores are the best proof (in their minds) of your ability to succeed in a program, holding all else constant. Letters will likely confirm their original suspicions created from your statement and letters. Grades are grades. I wouldnt do horrible, but an A at Berkley isnt an A at your local community college (in their minds). A "Sociology of Culture" class taken with Ann Swidler is not the same as a "Sociology of Culture" class taken online. That's my two cents...... spaulding
  6. spaulding

    Emailing profs

    In the application process, I would not put myself out there and say I "want" to work with you (unless a good friend of the prof says to do this). Chances are, you dont know the prof. And for all you know, the prof could be a complete asshole, and since you want to work with them, your fate is in their hands. I would send a general email, introduce myself what I'm interested in studying, and go from there. If the person replies, that's good. If they dont, then I wouldnt worry about it.
  7. spaulding

    GRE studying

    You're right, you can take it once per month. My only hesitation is that some schools take the highest score, while others take the average.
  8. If this was a problem in your department before, then he'll likely be leery (unless he's an untouchable but still) especially since interactions in colleges are now the frontline news.
  9. I wouldnt talk to the dgs just yet. Academics gossip and depending on the politics in your department, that could hurt you. Casually see if other students were in your position (which I'm sure happens) and see how that turned out for them. There's a talker in almost every department and once you find out who that person is, get the info before you move.
  10. This happens a lot......and has probably happens/ed to other students in your dept. My advice is to slowly show that you're not interested without totally dumping the poor person. When this happened to a friend, she sent flowers to herself.....and did little things to let her boss know (who was a dean) she had someone. Nine times out of ten, he'll take the hint, realize how embarrassing the situation can be and move on. But, in this situation, not doing anything gives him the idea that its okay. Just my two cents......
  11. Tom Gieryn at Indiana does work in that area......
  12. spaulding

    GRE studying

    I would download a practice test from Kaplan and see where you score. If you're in the 1100's, take the test. If not, there's no sense in taking. Here's why: It's September, and if I remember correctly, you can only take the GRE (computer based) every 45 days. So, if you dont do well now, you're into November and have to drastically improve. Now, the alternative (waiting to take it) isnt attractive either, but this appears to be a better choice than the first...especially given that you didnt do well the first time and schools can still see that score. spaulding
  13. spaulding

    GRE score

    Though schools take the best of all scores, they still look at all scores. So, if you slip on one section, it may do more damage than help. Your scores seem fine. Any question about your writing ability can be answered by your letter writers, statement of purpose, and writing sample.
  14. spaulding

    GRE score

    I received the same advice as deckard..... In addition, most schools take the mean GRE scores. So, even if you retake the GRE and score perfect on the writing sample (6.0), you're score will still be in the early 5's. The writing section isnt a deal breaker, and any concerns about writing can be answered by the personal statement and writing sample. Reading books by faculty is good, but you dont want to run into the mistake of doing this too much. The classic first year student mistake is thinking you know a profs work when in fact, you dont understand the argument. I'd spend the rest of my time making contact with major faculty members, applying for fellowships, etc.
  15. spaulding

    GRE score

    Applying to graduate school is a crap-shoot. Sometimes, people who should get in, dont get into top places. Other times, the reverse is true. A discipline that's bases itself on methods, norms, and values is horribly disorganized and petty when it comes to applications (i have friends in several programs and you wouldnt believe the stuff that goes on and why who gets what). I say that to say apply broadly (within reason) and dont be surprised........ Just remember the following.... 1.) Most people will say look at the median GPA and GRE scores of previous classes and place yourself accordingly. I agree with that (to a point), but that's merely a baseline, meaning if a program has 2 weks to go over 200 apps, you want to make sure your app survives the first cut. 2.) The job market (from what I've been told), awarding of grants, publishing, and even entrance into graduate school is (largely) about networks. If you look at the top 10 schools, you may notice that some (though certainly not all) faculty derive from the same places/regions. Faculty in the Ivy's likely received their phd from the Ivys (or Chicago), Big 10 received their phd's in the big 10, so on and so forth. As much as we study stratification, we often replicate it. So, look at where your recommenders went to school, where their students went, and who they're respected by, and figure out where to apply. 3.) A graduate degree may help, and may not. People tend to value undergraduate degrees more than graduate. Here's why....in graduate school, the grade range is from 3.0 to 4.0. In undergraduate, the range is much different. But, if you have a graduate degree and show that you can be ready on day one (be able to run regressions, know the literature, etc.) then that could put you in a better position. 4.) Recommendations matter and people will throw you under the bus. Only ask faculty for letters if you earned an A or A- from their class (a- is stretching it) and those you trust. If you find yourself asking "I wonder if they would write me a good letter", dont ask. There's a reason why you're questioning if they would write you a good letter. 5.) If you have teachers who don't think the best of you, clear it up before you apply. Your transcript lets everyone know who knows you, though people will never admit it, people make phone calls and emails and everybody has friends. 6.) Apply in clusters. If you have top scores and a solid backup plan, apply within the top 30 only. And And apply wisely. send out 10-15 apps....and wait for what's coming. Hope that helps, Spaulding
  16. Get A's from in the three courses you take and attempt to take them with well known professors, especially those who may be visiting your country. Score high on the GRE..........VERY VERY high and if there is any way you can increase your undergraduate gpa do it, but GRE is the most important. Did you contact the faculty member I suggested?
  17. I have an MPP in a top school school and am working towards a phd in sociology..... Sounds like you should look at either joint programs with a school of policy (princeton and michigan come to mind) and/or apply to schools with a strong public policy programs and/or scholars who work with gov agencies.
  18. Either way it goes, if you and your father share the same last name, and have worked together, people will put two and two together. Simply mention him as you would any other faculty member who influenced you to enroll in graduate school...... rj
  19. Waitlisted have the option of enrolling in this program if they dont get admission into Chicago's other programs. Where do you see yourself looking for jobs? Research One? Teaching? Ivy? Major state school? No school? I ask that because once you decide what type of school you want to land at (if you havent decided), then you can plan how you'll get there. If you want a joint phd in sociology and law, then there are only a handful of universities you can apply to. If you want to go to a teaching university, then you can go almost anywhere. If you want to teach at a Big Ten university, then you need to set your sights higher beginning........now. That's not to knock other schools, but the competition is stiff...... People tend to tier up over time. So the university their doctoral degree is better than where they received their master's, which is better than undergraduate.
  20. Apply early and apply to 10+ schools. If you have a masters in policy, at best, you'll work for state or federal government (which isnt bad), but you'll likely start out making (at best) 45,000 (and that's a stretch). So when you apply, you have to think how will I be able to pay off my bills......... Rankings are great, but (especially if you want to work for state gov.) I'd apply to top programs but also programs in major cities and/or state capitals. Connections matter in this field, and being in a big city can be almost if not better than being in a top program. spaulding
  21. It depends.... If the school offers a joint degree and you're interested in both degrees, do it. But if they dont, you might not want to, as it signals to potential programs you're not sure what program you want to enter into and/or you're using the other program as a backup plan.
  22. I've been in your position......and have friends that work/will work for the gov. I applied to the same school my girlfriend went to, and unfortunately, I didnt get the funding needed to move. We're still friends, but in retrospect, I dont regret the move. Similar to you and your partner, my x and I were on and off again, and closeness could not change the fact that we were growing apart. Graduate training plus life changed our courses....... Young graduate students must realize the networks are small, reputation is all you have, and perception is reality. Transferring schools signals that you might not be serious about the graduate degree, and once people have that view of you, it tints their evaluation of you......which, as you can imagine shapes your interactions. My best advice is to finish the coursework in your department (likely two years). After you finish coursework, say something like "I need a break" and if you still enjoy this person, go with them. Sit out for two years, gain work experience, and reapply to phd programs once you figure things out. And for the love all humanity, DO NOT share any of this with anyone in your school. Academics are gossips..... :0) spaulding
  23. I always have "discipline persons" write letters for the discipline. Having an econ professor wont hurt, but its best to have more sociologists speaking to sociologists about your ability to become a sociologists than "outsiders." Have you looked at U Penn's joint program with demography? spaulding
  24. Glad I can help. Most people you talk to will ask three questions: 1.) what was your major, 2.) have you taken the GRE, and 3.) what schools are you applying to. If you answer no to number two, then the conversation will be a short one, but if you score well on the GRE, then you'll get a different reaction. So, in short, prepare for the GRE, pre-test or test high, and then use your connections to open doors. And, while a top 25 social sciency master's program will help, but beware of the cash-cow master's programs. As a matter of fact, run from them! Let me know if I can help anymore. spaulding P.S. The Quantitative Master's would be a great pick, but the majority of its applicants come from the social sciences (http://qmss.columbia.edu/content/academ ... applicants). So, you may want to call them.
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