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ashiepoo72 last won the day on June 7

ashiepoo72 had the most liked content!

About ashiepoo72

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  1. ashiepoo72

    Fall 2019 Applicants

    I was more focused on if I received negative responses. I nixed several universities from my list because POIs told me they weren't accepting students for whatever reason (retirement, had too many students already, pessimism about their students' job prospects, etc). I nixed a POI (not the university itself) because I got a really bad vibe from them--and I don't care what anyone says, I listen to my gut about these things. I added a program I was hesitant about to my final list because of an enthusiastic response from a POI. I was rejected, but I do not regret applying, as I'm sure I'll see that person at conferences down the line. i think early conversations with POIs are a great way, perhaps the best way, to craft and cull your list of potential programs. You'll by default be more informed about how your work and experience "fit" each program and can marshal the evidence you gathered through contacting POIs in your SOP, making you a more appealing applicant. There are added bennies to doing this work; I cannot tell you how many times profs I spoke to suggested other POIs at their university and beyond, research directions I should explore, secondary literature I should read, resources I should look into, etc etc. So look at these interactions as helping you decide where to apply and as networking opportunities that can potentially inform your work, rather than as a gauge for whether you'll be accepted or not.
  2. ashiepoo72

    Whatcha reading?

    It's always a "grass is greener" situation, isn't it haha I bet your prospectus was lovely. Do you have a favorite book that you discussed in the state of the field section?
  3. ashiepoo72

    Whatcha reading?

    I've mostly been reading articles related to aspects of my dissertation. I'm one of those lucky (cursed?) people whose work lacks a robust historiographical tradition from which to pull, so I've had to cobble it together piecemeal and comparatively--articles have been the best way to start weaving the threads together. As for books, I recently started Sovereign Emergencies by Patrick William Kelly, which so far is quite compelling. I've also been going through John Prados' entire bibliography.
  4. ashiepoo72

    Fall 2019 Applicants

    Regarding how much to put into inquiry emails, this was my template, which I modified accordingly: subject: Inquiry from Prospective PhD Student Dear Professor Awesome, My name is Nerdy and I am completing an MA in US history at Happy University. I'm interested in the study of TIME PERIOD/THEMATIC FOCUS, with an emphasis on REGION blah blah one short punchy sentence on interests. I recently read [book/article] and your discussion/analysis of x and y informed my approach to/research on/conception of z. I would love to learn more about your current project on super dope topic, as I envision my research touching upon similar themes/ideas/subjects/methodologies. I wanted to inquire if you are accepting graduate students for the 2015 academic year and, if so, would you be able to answer some questions over email or phone? Thank you for your time. Best, Nerdy obviously the first paragraph changed a lot depending on who I emailed. I was told that because profs are busy and stereotypically bad at responding to emails it's best that the initial inquiry email is one they can read without scrolling. If a prof doesn't respond in like 2-3 weeks, its a good idea to resend your initial inquiry email with a friendly note saying you're aware they're super busy and are resending the email just in case the first one fell through the cracks. Honestly, I got way more responses this way, including from people who eventually accepted me.
  5. ashiepoo72

    Venting Thread- Vent about anything.

    Keep doing what you're doing! Put your best application out there and see what happens--someone has to get these awards, and it could be you. When I was researching programs, a wise grad student told me to apply wherever my heart desired and let the programs reject me, not to reject myself. I think that advice fits with funding opportunities as well. My motto is to apply to all the funding opportunities for which your work might qualify. Don't let anyone discourage you--it's one thing to accept that these opportunities are competitive, it's another to not strive for them regardless. Best of luck to you!
  6. ashiepoo72

    Fall 2019 Applicants

    I'm glad you said this. Totally made me lol. When I drafted an SOP for MA applications, my BA mentor told me to scrap it because I literally wrote: "I am applying to graduate school because I have loved history since I was a little girl." She gave me a harsh but valuable lesson on what adcomms want to see and what grad school is actually about, which proved invaluable when I applied to PhDs. If I've learned anything that I wish I knew from day one, it's that profs care about the mechanics involved in conceiving a dissertation proposal, even knowing the proposal in the SOP will more than likely change (do you understand historiography and relevant methodologies? are you asking interesting and historically-grounded questions? are you flexible enough to branch out but knowledgeable enough to conceive a viable proposal? have you thought deeply and thoroughly about fit and shown how your potential committee can support your proposal?) They also value intellectual curiosity. GREs and GPAs don't show these things.
  7. ashiepoo72


    I passed y'all! I'm convinced my success is at least in part due to good vibes from friends and family, so thank you thank you!
  8. ashiepoo72

    Does anyone know of any online, Italian-language archives?

    You might want to start with digitized Italian newspapers, which you may have access to through your university library. If not, check libraries/universities near you. Government documents are trickier, as even in the US they're often not digitized. Your best bet is to talk to a research librarian at your campus and see if they can help you out with those. Maybe there're sources at an archive in the US that can be sent to you via interlibrary loan. You'll have to augment the dearth of accessible sources with secondary works, most likely.
  9. ashiepoo72

    Do I honestly have a chance at a career?

    1. You need to go to a program with good placement records, as everyone has stated. I would be suspicious of any program that doesn't have their placements on the website (and not vague, "we've placed grads at X University, College of Y and Z State." You want placements broken down by year, name and program, and if the program does not have it readily available online, email the grad coordinator and ask for their recent placements). Look at scholars you admire, people whose careers you'd love to emulate, and see where they got their PhDs (I'd focus on assistant profs first to see where they start out, then mid-career scholars to see if, when and where they move and if you could envision yourself working at a university like that). I believe that placement records, faculty publications and hiring, and funding are more important than rankings (US News is a good starting point but it's not that useful, and the NRC is woefully out of date). 2. A 3.2 GPA won't necessarily lock you out of a good program if you have a strong writing sample with original research that shows your knowledge of the historiography and ability to make a historical argument, a clear and well-written statement of purpose that shows you understand fit, methodology and how to conceive a dissertation proposal (even if it will likely change in grad school) and a good GRE score. Do you have 3 profs who will write you strong letters of rec? If and when you apply, I would include MA programs as well. If you don't get into a competitive PhD program, an MA will make a low undergrad GPA less of a hindrance when you reapply. Languages are a good (necessary) addition to an application. 3. Yes. You have no job security or benefits, adjuncts often have to cobble together a full-time workload at multiple schools, you won't have time or resources to do research and publish and therefore you will have a much harder time getting out of adjunct hell. It's not worth it if you can avoid it. I had an adjunct prof who chose to do it because her partner had a good job in an area where she wasn't offered a TT job, but by and large I'd say avoid it like the plague. 4. Public history has more job options, but I don't know exactly what the job prospects are. I can't imagine they'd be worse than academic history, and I would bet money they're better. 5. Minor in history if you can. Whether you do or don't, you can make the case in your statement of purpose that you want to do some sort of history that involves quantitative methods or the history of math/science. You just need to show how the skills in your major will inform your work as a historian.
  10. ashiepoo72


    I'm taking comps on Monday and had to post here...I can't believe that 4 years ago I was researching grad programs while trawling through GradCafe, and now I'm about to be ABD *fingers crossed* Thanks for all the support! This is the best community ever.
  11. Hi all, I'm applying for the Mellon Fellowship for research in original sources. The application isn't due until December, but I'm obsessive about funding so I wanted to start a thread for those out there who are also obsessive. If anyone who has received the Mellon before wants to drop some knowledge on this thread, it would be greatly appreciate as well! I'm applying for the Fulbright and looking at the SSRC-IDRF, too, so I'm down if anyone wants to compare notes on navigating between these three fellowships.
  12. ashiepoo72

    What's a good GRE score?

    There isn't any general rule, to be honest. I think a tippy top GRE score can be important at public universities for funding purposes (like you need 80th percentile or better on everything, including the quantitative section, for some university fellowships, and some departments struggle to fund students so these fellowships matter a great deal to them). I also think the GRE can "help" a weak undergrad GPA, but only if the rest of the application is strong. I had a mediocre undergrad GPA (like 3.44), but it was high in history (around 3.8), however I wanted to help my chances so I got an MA and had a verbal and written GRE score above 90th percentile (quant was in the 50s) so I felt like it balanced out--but from what I gather, the adcomms were way more interested in my statement and writing sample. Several profs, even outside of my field, specifically talked to me about those. This is anecdotal, but I know at least 3 people who got into top 5 programs with GRE verbal scores in the low 80 range. I will say, if you get verbal or written scores below 80 I would STRONGLY urge you to retake. And I would have retaken it if I hadn't gotten at least 90, just because I was very concerned about my weak undergrad GPA and didn't want anything else in my file that would discourage adcomms. To be repetitive, the written material is all more important imo. But once those applications are out of your hands, your power over the process is gone until you get acceptances. Might as well bolster your chances as much as possible while you can, especially because we can only guess at how important things like the GRE are and that importance varies from program to program.
  13. ashiepoo72

    Ending with Terminal MA

    I'm just going to reiterate here: if OP wants to switch, they will need recommendations from the program they intend to leave, and I doubt many professors at that program will write glowing recommendations. A lackluster or critical rec will torpedo an application--as @TMP said, academia is extremely small, professors know each other and will more than likely listen to their colleague's warnings and criticisms. If OP DOESN'T get recs from the program, it will be extremely suspicious to adcomms. Going into a PhD program that does not have a terminal MA with the intention of using it as a terminal MA is most definitely dishonest--unless OP is up front with their adviser, ensuring they're supportive, which is one way to guarantee there are no terrible recs dragging down a future application. It's hard for me to imagine an adviser being happy in this situation, but stranger things have happened. Side note: it's not just professors who view as dishonest those using a program as a launch pad to another program--during my application year, a person was accepted into one of the same places as me. This person was switching programs, which made a lot of the prospective and graduate students suspicious off the bat. Then we found out this person was attending a prospie weekend even though they already chose another program--this exacerbated the negative feelings, because we viewed this person as callously taking advantage of program funds while deliberately being a dishonest actor. The moral of the story is: profs and students, rightly or wrongly, do not like when department funds are used in what they view as a cavalier manner because these resources are precious few and could go to honest actors. It's one thing to enter a program, have your project radically transform to the point the program cannot support you, and applying to somewhere that can--this happens and is totally legitimate. It's another thing entirely to know from the start that you plan to apply elsewhere and you just want access to resources you do not have (that could go to someone who genuinely wants to be there). That's why you need to be as honest as possible about your intentions.
  14. ashiepoo72

    How strong is my application really?

    Sort of a tangent, but you may want to look at UC Davis. We have a robust Cross-Cultural Women's and gender History group (with a minor in CCWgH and a designated emphasis in Feminist Theory). Edward Dickinson may be of interest--he doesn't do work on Italy specifically, but on Europe, and his work has covered sexuality and sexual mores, social and cultural history, etc. Lisa Materson looks at gender and women in the US who participate in social/political movements for justice. I think you could do some interesting things with either Cecilia Tsu or Lorena Oropeza, even though they study Asian immigrants and Chicanos, respectively. I don't know how robust the field of transnational history of women in the US and Italy is, but you may have to get creative with your committee. It's always a good idea to look for one major adviser who fits you fairly well (doesn't have to be perfect, and indeed probably shouldn't be--you want someone who can challenge you, not your twin) and 1-2 other scholars who cross you temporally or are methodologically/comparatively/thematically interesting, then explain how this methodological/comparative/thematic approach will support your research. I do transnational history, and no one in my department looks at one of the countries that is central to my project, but I found people who could support me in other ways.
  15. ashiepoo72

    How did you choose your writing sample?

    I chose a paper that showed my ability to do original research in primary sources, one which engaged with the relevant historiography, made a new intervention (but a manageable one, considering MA students haven't really done enough work to make HUGE claims) and had undergone extensive edits by myself and my MA mentor. It also happened to be in my general area of interest, though I would've selected a different paper if I thought it more effective/better written. I think those are respectable criteria for choosing a writing sample. But I always viewed the statement of purpose as the most important piece of writing, so I spent months working on that. I suggest taking an already completed piece of writing for the sample and just polishing it to save time for other application materials.

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