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tron

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  1. Thanks again for your responses. Having gone down the "maybe I should do a PhD route" before, albeit in a different discipline, I know what a huge commitment it is and have no plans to apply should I not be certain that it's really for me. At present I'm just dipping my toe in the water, trying to learn a bit more about what it's like, if it could get me where I might want to go, and what I'd need to do to become more qualified if I do decide to pursue it. A few questions for you, Dizzi -- why do you recommend "pure" policy programs over programs like urban ed, higher ed, etc? And is there any reason why econ of education or education & stats programs would be better than sociology of education? Again, everyone, thanks for our advice, and best of luck with all of your pursuits!
  2. Hmm, that's an interesting idea. I had been under the impression that, with a few exceptions, in the education field EdDs are mostly for practitioners (e.g. teachers and school administrators) while PhDs are for those looking to do research, be it at a university or in a non-academic research setting. Is this incorrect?
  3. Thanks for your response, DustSNK. I'm afraid I may not have been clear in my original post -- I don't have a background in teaching, and I don't intend to teach or to study developmental sciences. I'm more interested in preparing for a career in which I would evaluate the effectiveness of education policies using quantitative or qualitative methods, support education innovations/programs/research via a position at a foundation, advise government institutions on which policies to implement, or study the organizational features of schools and districts from a more academic perspective. I'm aware of the paucity of positions in academia, and also of the hiring preferences for people with traditional, disciplinary preparation. I'm also aware of the degree to which many graduate programs contribute much to the university (in terms of tuition fees or free labor) without generating a beneficial outcome in terms of the student's preparation for the work world. I also am not in a financial position that to attend a PhD program that leaves me unprepared for the job market or one that does not provide funding. These concerns are part of the reason why I'm at this forum (to see if given my interests and the realities of doctoral programs/academia, a PhD is for me). Hope this helps clarify -- and thanks much for your input!
  4. Hey there, I've been idly looking at a few PhD program websites, but can't seem to find information about how they determine who is a strong candidate for admission and who is not. I'm a few years away from applying, if I do, but am ready to start deciding if it's a realistic and worthwhile goal for me, so I can start to plan accordingly. I currently work in an administrative position at a research institute that does some work on education policy, and there's the possibility that my role might be enhanced in the near future to include more research-based responsibilities. My undergrad degree was in the humanities, but I'm completing an MPA part time with a focus on public policy and an elective cluster in education. I have relatively strong GRE scores (mid 700s for verbal, high 600s for math), but they're about to expire. I have a strong academic record from my top-tier undergrad institution and am starting out with good grades in my highly-ranked MPA program as well. Looking at the Ed PhD students and graduates I already know, I'm having trouble determining if this kind of background is enough, or how to enhance it if I do decide to pursue a PhD. A lot of folks have k-12 teaching and/or leadership experience, or if not, their research experience has been more substantial than mine. What steps would you recommend I take to enhance my profile? Additionally, I'm having trouble determining if a PhD is the right path for me even if I determine that I might be a decent candidate for admissions. While I certainly wouldn't turn down a job in a university/liberal arts college/community college, I know that such jobs are difficult to attain, and I'm also not crazy about the culture of academia. At present, I imagine my ideal job as an education program officer at a foundation, conducting research at a Think Tank, or perhaps pursuing a government role (e.g. at the US department of ed, or perhaps internationally for USAID, the world bank, or the UN). I'm not sure that a PhD is the ideal preparation for these kinds of jobs. Finally, and on a somewhat unrelated note, I'm not really sure which specialty in education I'd like to pursue. I have somewhat of an international background and like the idea of international education, but have been warned against it by some for its 'lack of focus.' Furthermore, while I love travelling and have language skills and cultural competency related to a specific region to which I would love to return, I'm aware of the difficulty of constant travel, especially as it manifests in one's personal life, and am not sure I want to make a life-long commitment to being a seed in the wind. Are there any programs that enable one to focus domestically and internationally? Even if I were to go the pure domestic route, I'd be unsure what kind of program to select. I'm unsure how to distinguish between programs in urban education, sociology of ed, and education leadership/policy. Do the way that these programs vary differ by school, or are the differences fairly consistent across schools? Which seems most suited to my background and career goals? I realize there are a lot of questions, and a lot of text, in this post -- thanks in advance to anyone who has gotten through it and taken the time to respond!
  5. Hi all, I am considering applying to NYU Wagner's PNP program. This will be the only school I apply to, and I'd like to start as soon as possible -- i.e. in Fall 2011. I know it's late in the game, and I could go into a whole host of explanations for why I wasn't sure I wanted to apply earlier, why I am sure I want to apply now, and why I'd like to get started ASAP, but all this info would take a while to explain AND is pretty irrelevant to my main questions... Which are: 1) How unlikely is it to gain admission to Wagner towards the end of the application cycle? Do applicants have a much stronger chance in the beginning of the cycle, or is a strong applicant a strong applicant no matter when he applies? 2) At what point does a Wagner student have to declare a concentration? I am torn between policy and management, and would ideally like to take some of the core classes before making my decision. Is this possible, or is it necessary for students to declare a concentration (and keep that concentration throughout the program) at the time of application? Thanks very much!
  6. tron

    discouragement

    thanks to everyone who empathized and/or offered advice. while i had little trouble articulating the initial seed of my research idea, the process of detailing it for the sop has been much more arduous than i envisioned, and i think the struggle came through more clearly in the sop than did the idea itself. my professors know what kinds of statements work, and they recognized that mine does not. i think what i've been working on recently is slightly less murky, but i've been so paralyzed by anxiety that i'm having trouble finishing it. doing additional reading in the field has become my primary method of procrastination (b/c i can convince myself i'm being productive) but somehow reading always leads me to a realization of a new pile of books that i absolutely have to read if i want to sound at all intelligent. sigh. in any case, i have thrown a few ma programs into the mix, and i will be keeping my fingers crossed but my expectations realistic (which is to say, low). again thanks to everyone for your comments. this is certainly a demoralizing process -- i hope we all emerge unscathed!
  7. tron

    discouragement

    the initial encouragement i received from my professors at my decision to apply to graduate school turned to discouragement when they read the first (and as of now, only) draft of my statement of purpose. i have been trying to do reconstructive surgery on the darned thing, but the more i try to rethink the more i realize just how inchoate my ideas are, and the more i read the more i realize how much i haven't read. my question is -- is this a unique dilemna, are these clear signs that i'm just not ready/should postpone or give up? or is the process of writing a statement discouraging by nature, are we supposed to be overwhelmed with how much there is out there that we're just not certain about/familiar with yet?
  8. yeah, i'm also applying for a less common field of history... but i don't think it'll be that much of an advantage due to financial constraints, u of texas, which has 11 fields, plans on admitting a mere 8 students this year. looks like an even less appealing ratio than one student per field, and i doubt that it's the only place like that
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