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About Pennywise

  • Rank
    Espresso Shot

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  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests
    Hiking, birdwatching, kayaking
  • Application Season
    2014 Fall
  • Program
    Criminology and Sociology

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  1. Are you guys aware of these Sociology message boards for current and recent PhDs on the job market? http://www.socjobrumors.com and this one: http://socjobs.proboards.com Many of the posters seem really bitter, but there's some valuable info. I think it's worth looking at how desperate people on the job market can be, when you're deciding whether getting a sociology PhD is really a smart time investment. There really are not very many jobs for all the smart, prolific sociology PhD students out there. Academia is changing as it becomes more corporatized (with low paid adjunc
  2. I got rejected by Brandeis last year, and the committee chair emailed me a followup personalized email that even though I was a very strong candidate bla bla bla, they were only accepting 2 or 3 people out of zillions of applicants. My point being -- if you are really committed to doing a PhD next year, maybe throw in another application or two with a 1/15 (or later) deadline, to a school with bigger cohorts?
  3. This is really interesting -- I would suggest current applicants consider leaving the "other schools" field blank. As Piglet wrote, better to get the interview and have to explain it, than to be disqualified before even getting an interview. (ETA: Unless this would be considered dishonest by schools, and then get you in trouble if they deemed you to be a liar -- that's a tough call). I wonder if this issue torpedoed my application last year to a medium ranked school I really thought I was going to get into. I would have seriously considered it for personal reasons, so that would be
  4. One more thought: It is worth thinking about the PhD quality of the overall university (note that this is different from the undergraduate quality). I know that criminology is much less elitist than other social sciences, but I think there are real, substantive differences between R1 and R3 universities, as far as the kinds of opportunities and education you'll get. R1 universities are places where the faculty are highly research-productive, whereas at R2s and R3s, the faculty are correspondingly less research-productive. Usually that correlates with the resources and size of the faculty, as w
  5. My take: Maryland is perennially at the top, followed by Albany, and the rest of the top 10 shift a bit here and there but are basically comparable. 11-20 shift a little bit more, but they're basically the second tier schools. The third tier schools are roughly below 20 on the latest US News, and their ranks have been joined by some new programs. I know there was some serious departmental drama/faculty loss at Arizona State, which probably would have led to it sinking if the rankings had been updated. In the third tier, the new program at UMass Lowell seems to be heavily recruiting
  6. That's great to know. A couple years ago the Penn State stipend was in the high teens, plus summer funding. $23k is actually really high considering how low the cost of living there is.
  7. One more really general tip to everybody: current PhD students might be more likely than professors to reply to you about their program, especially if you catch them at the right time (such as after finals but before Christmas). They could give you really useful info, such as about which professors in their department might be good matches with your research interests...
  8. Hm, I dunno, I think he/she could make an argument for applying to a PhD before finishing the Masters -- realizing he/she wanted to pursue XYZ topic as a scholar for the rest of his/her life, or something like that. There are a lot of unknown variables at play in why someone changes programs and countries. If it were someone in the middle of a masters at NYU applying to a PhD at Columbia, that might be harder to justify than relocating from Australia (although even then, a case could probably be made). I wouldn't go all out and apply to ten schools, but maybe a couple carefully selected top ch
  9. Yeah, I didn't mean to make you nervous, sorry. I don't think any professor would expect you to be an expert on their work, but being somewhat aware of their research interests might help start a conversation. This isn't their first time at the rodeo, and they probably expect applicants to not have much substantial expertise, but to have research interests and a little bit of experience. My interview experiences were slightly different than SocIsCool -- after a couple brief questions about my research interests and experiences, the profs tended to want to talk about their own upcoming wo
  10. I would just chime in to 100% encourage you to discuss how your personal expertise and rich qualitative experiences as a gangbanger inform your sociological interests and skills, helping you ask questions nobody else would think of and explore assumptions nobody else is even aware they're making. If you can translate those life experiences into scholarly expertise in a convincing, sophisticated way, then there are many programs that would LOVE to have someone with that kind of background. And would you really want to be in a program where they didn't appreciate how valuable your experiences ar
  11. Congrats! That's a great sign. I found the Skype interviews I did unnecessarily nerve-wracking. From my experience, they were trying to ascertain whether my research interests would be a good fit with their own, and what skills I could bring as their RA. I was so unfocused that I was trying to adapt my research interests to whoever I was talking with -- in hindsight, that was not an ideal gambit since it can lead to a program where you're not actually a good fit. But it is a good idea to try to really research their recent work (though it sounds like you already have). One other thought -
  12. Also, if you study a lot, take it in, say, January, and get that Q score up to the higher 150s or so, that would be something you could email to the admissions committee chair as an update to your application. I got into a top 15 soc program off the waitlist in part because I emailed the chair a new paper I had just submitted to a soc journal (which had been a weakness in my app). This whole process can get really messy for those of us who aren't obvious admissions or obvious rejections. Having said that, I hope you're one of the early admissions and that my advice is totally irreleva
  13. I would not worry about it for the first round of apps, but I personally would consider retaking it in the week after Christmas, and apply to a couple extra programs with deadlines in January or February. They're more flexible about documents than they say they will be. The thing about the quant section is that it's the easiest section to study for. Like did you go through the Kaplan books? If you already prepped a lot and just didn't do well, then maybe forget about it, since the rest of your app sounds so so strong. But if you didn't really prep, it might be worth going through a pre
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