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Everything posted by xolo

  1. xolo

    Spanish 2020

    This is totally subjective and personal, just try to visualize where you'd be happier and go there. I was 4 years in a California "small town" but super expensive at the same time. Also, I'm now in a "small town" in Mexico that, for me at least, is culturally very rich.
  2. xolo

    Spanish 2020

    There's a big factor that gets little attention (usually). Besides the academic alignment and all that stuff, a big question is how well the department runs and is it functional or dysfunctional. Professors' egos get in the way all the time, not to mention when you have people from all over the world working together it can be culturally stressful. The problem is trying to get a "read" on how you might be affected since it's pretty subjective and probably most departments are not perfect. (Oh, far from it). Then again, maybe you don't care. I decided to just not let it bother me bec
  3. xolo

    Spanish 2020

    Stupid schools, it's so arbitrary. Whatever you do, do NOT give up. It's just a matter of a little time. Do something that interests you and makes you a better candidate. I'm a lot older than all of you and I think I was accepted only because I applied that one year. Really. The stars aligned and they will for you too! I was rejected from UT-Austin (thank god!) and I remember an admin calling me to ask for an updated transcript. When I told her that was really the year I graduated with my BA, she said "Oh, ok, I will make a note for the admission committee that you are really that ol
  4. xolo

    Spanish 2020

    Who cares about the length of the interview, this is super positive. I never got any interviews from anybody. So how did it go?
  5. xolo

    Spanish 2020

    Well, of course you are right in those cases. I didn't know any internationally respected scholars when I applied (I do now since I'm at a UC campus). At my school, the membership of the admission committee seems to be a state secret, I certainly didn't have that info when I applied. I actually was pretty ignorant when I applied to nine programs. No, I was very ignorant. I managed to get accepted into several programs somehow. The MA that I would have paid for (riiiiight) and others, but I did someone get accepted into a nearby UC campus where I taught Spanish for four years and went ABD
  6. I'm not sure you can parse the difference so finely. I think it makes sense to say what your proposed research project entails, regardless of end goal. The SoP is a very brief statement, I'm not sure anyone will know that you are talking about 50 pages of thesis or 500. (I'm in a MA/PhD program, got my MA a couple of years ago, so my SoP was literally for the MA and PhD)
  7. xolo

    Spanish 2020

    I have no idea why that happened nor do I know you, but this sounds absolutely heinous. Friggin dysfunctional departments. There was one really nice guy in my department who failed his MA exam so left with nothing after a couple of years of his time. Just give him his MA and let him go, maybe he wants to teach Spanish at a high school or something. Friggin egotistical professors "setting an example". You should ask the faculty that you have rapport with to write letters, not that letters are that important, but it is a check-box that must be in place. Your written material is what matters
  8. xolo

    Spanish 2020

    You guys rock! I felt the same way a couple of years ago while working up to my MA. I don't study literature, I'm in a linguistics program and at the time I was writing about the fonetics of a Mexican tonal language. I thought I was going to fail! I never want to write about phonetics again. ever. I can remember how my MA chair "strongly encouraged" me to work harder. Now I'm here where that language is spoken but I'm working on cultural aspects. I'm good. Good luck to everyone.
  9. xolo

    Spanish 2020

    Hi SlyManuel. You're already done with your applications? Wow, that is efficient! I wasn't done nearly so quickly back at the end of 2014 when I submitted my 9 applications. But, extremely stressed is normal, most people feel that way, and that's exactly how I felt back then. I'm now in my fifth year of a PhD program and I went ABD in June 2019. I'm doing fieldwork now to "finish" my PhD (as if the dissertation isn't much of anything!) I wish everyone great success!
  10. I didn't have any interviews out of 9 applications (4 acceptances). But, the conversations I had with professors before being accepted were mostly in English. I find my department favors English in internal matters, but it does vary depending on who is talking and which is their strongest language. But, the Spanish classes themselves are 99% conducted in Spanish. Oops, I mean the undergraduate Spanish classes. For graduate classes, it really varies. Some of the professors are native in Portuguese. Good luck to everybody!
  11. I applied to 9 programs and no one interviewed me. I ended up going to a tier-1 public research university. The most important aspect of the application, at least for me anyway, was research fit with a professor who was on the admission committee. That was just dumb luck, I had no idea what I was doing. Other than that, the written material you submit, like SOP and writing samples, are also important. The GRE and GPA I don't think are that important, more like technicalities. The application deadline for the program I joined was in December and I was officially accepted in Februrary (If I reca
  12. I applied 4 years ago and got into my top choice. It was really just dumb luck as I didn't have any idea what I was doing. I didn't have any degree in my field. I got my MA Spanish in 2017 and now am trying to go ABD (All But Dissertation). I'm planning to be in Mexico all of next year and thankfully stop teaching undergrad Spanish classes (they take way too much of my time). Anyway, one thing I've learned and as many of you know, you need to create a relationship with a professor who shares your interests. That's the only reason I've made it this far since there is so much nonsense that
  13. I'm an engineer and am now in a PhD program in an unrelated field. It can be done. Is that "no second bachelors" across the board at all schools in California? I didn't know that. You could look at undergrad CS majors and see how your completed coursework compares. That maybe should be a topic in your SOP (if those exist for MSCS). Also, talk to professors at potential schools and ask them. It seems that not all universities have the same policies.
  14. xolo

    PhD in the US

    In my department the record to PhD was 2.5 years, which is singularly exceptional. As has been mentioned, if you come in with a MA in your field, then maybe 5 years is typical to PhD, without the MA, then maybe 6 years. It takes 2-3 years to finish coursework. But keep in mind that only about half the incoming students finish. And there are some that take longer than 6 years. It just depends on you. I'm at a tier-1 state research university. I look at it this way (for me): years 1-2 MA work, years 3-4: finish coursework, write dissertation proposal (no minor task) and pass qualifying exam
  15. Just to try to help, many programs do not interview. So don't worry too much about that. I did not interview with any of the 9 programs I applied to. I do think there is a tendency to send out rejections at the end of the application cycle. Sometimes you even have to ask (otherwise they would never tell you). Hope that helps!
  16. It was impossible for me to stay off of thegradcafe! Good advice though, if you can do it. I'll just reiterate TeaOver and say it really depends. One professor sent me an email in late January with advance notice, which officially came through in February. On the other hand, a different school never notified me. I finally asked in April and after several emails the department chair sent me an blunt email saying I had been rejected. So it all depends. Try to keep in mind they are only human, they are really busy, and there is quite a bit of bureaucracy.
  17. The waiting part really got on my nerves. Fortunately, a professor gave me a heads-up in late January, which made everything easier.
  18. Just a thought to keep your options open. I didn't have any degree in Spanish and was accepted into a few MA programs and one MA/PhD program. I took the MA/PhD program and am really glad I did. I am super non-traditional and can't imagine going through an entire application cycle just two years out at the same time as finishing my MA (which was extremely stressful in itself and I certainly didn't have any time to prepare applications again). So most of the programs were funded but I'm glad I took the one that covers at least six years.
  19. I'm going to offer an alternative opinion. The LWs might be able to advise you, but what you really need to know is what the admission committee members think. If you can communicate with or at least professors in the department, that would be great. I'm of the view, since it is what I did and it worked (more like dumb luck in my case), is that the SOP, WS, and any other important documents, all support themselves with a common theme viewed from different perspectives. And, ideally, they should coincide with the interests of at least one professor in the department, that professor will be your
  20. I wouldn't worry too much. Most of my fellow grad students study literature so they are in the humanities and many of them are not native speakers of English. Their GRE scores can be pathetic and it doesn't seem to matter much. BTW, your scores are pretty impressive I would think, a combined 320, where the cutoffs I've seen have been around 300 if I recall correctly.
  21. I applied to (9) schools. All but one wanted (3) letters, I sent them each three letters (the same three). One school, where I was accepted as it turned out, wanted (3), but allowed (4) (it was specifically in their instructions). For that school I submitted (4). So yes, I believe following the rules in this case is better. It's hard to believe the sheer amount of material submitted all gets read, so why push it?
  22. I have no knowledge of your field, but I was successful in applying to PhD programs (4 out of 7). In my opinion, the Writing Sample ideally should be consistent with your Statement of Purpose and should align with the interests of a faculty member, especially one who is on the admissions committee. It's sort of a semi-random alignment of the stars type situation. I would say the Writing Sample should show that you have potential to do independent research. Your MA thesis should show basic independent research, and the dissertation should show in-depth independent research.
  23. Your different languages will help you, but if you are interested in Spanish you should be going for C2 certification. It is not that hard! The Cervantes Institute wants you to pass. Spanish Literature is, of course, the traditional route to a PhD in Spanish. You need to eloquently express a research interest that will grab an influential professor's attention. I worked on my writing samples and letter of intent for a year and ran out of time (I'm not that good of a creative writer).
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