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Old Bill

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Everything posted by Old Bill

  1. This is mostly correct, but I would add that it also depends on what field you're in. Some programs don't care much about what language you use to fulfill the requirement, so long as you can go ahead and fulfill it. But there are many subfields wherein certain languages are seen to have far more value. I'll be taking an intensive Latin course to fulfill my req, even though I'm an early modernist, and Latin will probably only have a moderate impact on what I study. I could brush up on my undergraduate Spanish to fulfill the req if I really wanted to, but my advisor is strongly suggesting I take
  2. You're going to have to be more specific. Way, way, WAY more specific.
  3. Sounds like you should get a second set of eyes on it. Once you read a document too many times, you lose all perspective and can't see the forest through the trees. Having others look over it, or just taking a few days away from it yourself, will ideally help you to regain perspective. Also, completely for what it's worth, pretty much everyone thinks their WS and/or SOP looks like a disaster at some point. Sometimes that's legitimate, but usually it's just our INTJ/INFJ/INwhatever selves making life difficult for us. P.S. Given the subject title, I'm highly disappointed that you didn't
  4. Actually, this sounds exactly like a SOP description to me...just in different words. When you really parse what they're asking for, it's the same as what pretty much every program is asking for: why are you interested in what you're interested in, what you plan to do in the future etc. I don't want to be too cavalier about it, since it's your top choice program, but my gut tells me that you'll be fine using your standard SOP format with a few minor tweaks as necessary. I suspect they make a distinction between what they're calling it and a "personal statement," because the latter can somet
  5. I started a topic about this situation back in my first application cycle (when I was still married). You might find some useful tidbits there. In general, it's a difficult subject, but not uncommon. It usually requires significant compromise on either your part or the SO's...and often both. In a very indirect way, my continuation down the academic path was a factor in my (very amicable) divorce. I don't say that to scare you -- just to emphasize that it's good that you're thinking of this now, because it is indeed a major consideration.
  6. It should be... The verbal is the only one that really matters (perhaps the AW to a lesser extent), and 163 is over 90th percentile, which some see as the benchmark. That being said, some of the schools you mentioned he'll be applying to might expect higher (whether they state it or not). A solid-but-not-exemplary GRE is likely not going to be a deal-breaker if everything else is strong, but higher is always better. I personally wouldn't retake the GRE with a 163, but if your hubby has the time and money, and thinks he has a solid shot at bumping it up, it can't hurt.
  7. Fellow OSUer and long-time GCer @Ramus and I had this exact same conversation over coffee yesterday: we're both extremely grateful to have gone through an M.A. program first. In his case, it was a choice between an M.A. at a strong program and a Ph.D. at a lesser (but still decent) program, and in my case it was my best and only option (heh), which initially felt like a consolation prize since I had only applied to Ph.D. programs, but proved to be an enormous boon. Simply put, the M.A. is a bridge: you get the grad school experience (rigorous courses, high workload, deeper scholarship etc.), w
  8. I'm loath to counter what a professor has said...especially when different perspectives in this process can be equally valid! But that being said, I've been told by professors that you apply for the people...and that advice has seemed to bear fruit for a lot of folks. But it's certainly a question worth pondering at length. I will just say that when it comes to writing the SOP, it's generally expected that you highlight two or three faculty members you'd like to work with. To do so, you really have to figure out why those people would want to work with you and vice versa. It's usually pretty o
  9. So, your husband's "stats" are great, of course, especially when you present them the way you do. Based on how it looks, he should be a strong candidate. The problem, however, is that, believe it or not, most applicants are going to have lists that look quite similar. It's very important to not think of this as a quantitative process -- in some respects it is (more on that later), but after going through two cycles myself, and being an active GCer for three, it has become abundantly clear that "fit" trumps all...and "fit" is both difficult to define, and works both ways. If your husband's spec
  10. Off-topic to this thread, but I loved Paternal Tyranny! I took a fantastic undergraduate course at William and Mary titled The Lives of Women in Renaissance Italy, and it featured Tarabotti, Franco, Strozzi etc. The professor was an adjunct, and she moved on after that semester, but let me know if you are still at all interested in further developing that topic, and I'll see if I can track down her information!
  11. I agree completely with @rising_star. Your experience sounds quite typical. One thing you have to keep in mind is that as an undergraduate, many of your classmates will be stopping at the B.A., many of them will just be taking literature / theory courses to fulfill requirements, many will be taking courses because they work with their schedule, and many will only be in college because they feel they have to be. In other words, there's always going to be a blend of interested and disinterested folks (and subcategories of both). Grad school is typically a bit better in this regard...though yo
  12. Ten is ridiculously low, and I'm guessing they expect to receive sections of longer papers...unless they're one of those programs that tacitly prefers applicants with B.A.s, in which case more applicants will have recent work of that shorter length. But if the program is otherwise a good fit for you, then sending a selection of a longer paper probably makes the most sense. "About 15 pages" probably means 14-16, but I would hesitate to go much longer. 12-16 is more practical, I think. This is why 17-18 pages (technically 18.5, though I use a slightly larger font than Times New Roman) seemed lik
  13. I'm not necessarily disagreeing with anyone's advice here, but I've had a few professors caution me that it's far safer to go under the page limit than over. In other words, you can submit a 20-page paper to a program asking for 20-25 pages, but NOT to a program that asks for 10-15 (there aren't many of those...but there are some). Some programs ask for 15-20. I opted to submit an 18-page paper to every program, just to strike the happy medium for all.
  14. Here's some encouragement: Last year, I was certain that my WS would be a seminar paper I wrote in the spring. All throughout late spring and summer, I compiled my program list with this paper (and specific academic focus) in mind. I wanted to have everything but my SOP finished by the time the fall semester started, because I knew I would be very busy with two courses, two GAships, and teaching a section of 101 for the first time. Early September rolled around, and I sent my supposed WS to my three LOR-writers. One of them liked it (the one I initially wrote it for in the first place), one
  15. I second this (or third it, or hundred it, or thousand it etc.). As I mentioned in the thread that ExD cited, the GRE scores are important (mainly the verbal on the GRE general), but you probably don't need to achieve much better than the 90th percentile to be competitive. I personally struggle with standardized tests like the GRE because I have a hard time filtering out possible answers from the purportedly "best" answers...but having a 90th percentile verbal didn't seem to hurt me in either round of applications. Speaking to the broader point of your thread, however, there really doesn't
  16. "Fit" is one of those difficult things to determine, yet is pretty much essential to the application process. You've got your era narrowed down, which is an important first step, and have an idea about specific subfields, which is important as well. One general bit of advice I have at this stage is to think about academic articles you have read that seem to mesh well with your interests, then find out where the authors of those articles are working...and if they're still doing the same type of work. If they are, then that's great...but you still need to look at what the rest of the scholars in
  17. It is very, very uncommon (almost unheard of) for an undergraduate to have a single notable publication on his/her C.V. It is also very uncommon (but slightly less so) for an undergraduate to have any kind of conference presentation on his/her C.V. There is certainly no expectation that you should have anything like this, despite the C.V. requirement...so don't worry about it one bit!
  18. Hello and welcome! This isn't a bad question -- not at all -- but it's also a nearly impossible one to answer definitively for a variety of reasons. I can imagine writing a 1000+ word response (because I have a lot of thoughts on this topic), but I'll try to keep it brief. First of all, you simply have to separate "odds of admission" and "employment further down the road" into two distinct categories. The academic landscape is constantly shifting, as is the job market. For the past few years, there has been a marked academic trend among applicants and in departments toward rhet-comp -- i
  19. I simply wouldn't do this. It's possible that some DH programs might be amenable to the idea, but from all we know about how admissions committees are structured, it seems that there's a bit of an assembly line element to the first round -- applications are usually sorted into packets (possibly virtual or physical) and distributed to members of field groups for review, then they reconvene for further vetting etc. When almost all programs stipulate on their application pages that they want documents of a certain length, that's what they're expecting, and what they're equipped to deal with. I'm
  20. · A few weeks ago, I was asked to talk to first-year M.A. students about the Ph.D. application process. I prepared a list of what I figure to be key elements, and I figure it might be useful to many on GC who are preparing to go down this path as well. I'm quite certain that some of these points are purely subjective and open to discussion / debate, but having gone through the process a couple of times now, these items ring true based on my experiences and observations. ---------------- Others have surely told you about the state of the industry, so I’m just going to assume that
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