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Eigen

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  1. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from Bayesian1701 in Rejected for no good reason- how to appeal?   
    Minimum qualifications aren't what get you accepted to a graduate program, they're what get you considered for a graduate program. 
     
    It's not a straight up process wherein if you meet the stated requirements, you are automatically accepted. Your application, as a whole, is weighted against the other applicants, as a whole. 
     
    You say you know other people who were accepted with less work experience, but maybe their work experience was more closely related to what they want to study, or perhaps they had another part of their application that was more interesting or valid to the admissions committee. 
  2. Like
    Eigen got a reaction from tonydoesmovie in What is a good GPA for a graduate student?   
    Again, you're responding to someone from almost 5 years ago who is no longer around to answer questions. 
  3. Like
    Eigen reacted to fuzzylogician in Following Up On Interview   
    It's Tuesday morning. You've already emailed twice despite the out of office notice. For now, you wait. You didn't mention when the actual interview would be, but unless there is some urgency to do it right now, check back in in about a week, if necessary. 
  4. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from devpolicy in Most of you won't get tenure-track jobs   
    You'd have to be at a really poorly paid HS position, or be looking at exceptionally high paying lecturer positions. 
    There's a reason getting a TT position is akin to winning the lottery in many fields. 
    In many fields, you're also now competing against people going on the market as tenured hired from schools floundering or closing, as well as decreasing numbers f available positions for increasing numbers of graduates. 
    These stats shouldn't make you decide your career path in and of themselves, but it's worth going into it knowing the facts and with open eyes. That's how we, as a profession, avoid growing numbers of adjunct disaster stories. 
  5. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from AnUglyBoringNerd in RANT: In terms of applications, what we wish schools did better.   
    Part of the issue is that most schools expect that students should only be applying to 3-5 places, where they fit best. 
    The advice I give my students is to not apply to more than 6, and only that many if there are compelling reasons. 
    The arms race of the sheer number of schools students are applying to doesn't help anyone- it means fewer truly tailored applications, more people that get into a school they aren't a good fit for, and more work + cost for everyone. 
    Part of the reason behind application fees is that it helps to prevent students applying with a shotgun approach, and promotes carefully selected options. 
    I also don't know anyone that has really benefited from applying to a ton of schools over finding a handful you're a good fit for. 
    "Reach" schools and "Safety" schools are OK in undergrad admissions, but they're generally a crappy idea in graduate school applications. The criteria that matters the most is fit, and you can't have "reach" fit and "safety" fit. Apply to where you feel like you will mesh with the department and be happy. Don't apply to schools just to get in, don't apply to places just because they're prestigious.
  6. Like
    Eigen got a reaction from hectorlopez3100 in Yale v. Princeton physical chemistry.   
    My experience has been that the overall culture and atmosphere at larger universities is relatively unimportant. You will encounter it a lot less than you will the culture of your research group. There's also going to be enough chemistry grad students that you'll likely be able to find a group you get along with. 
    Ideally, you shouldn't go anywhere (imo) that you don't have at least 3 faculty members that you feel are good potential mentors. You can't get a perfect feel for someone until you're in their group, but through talking to them and their students/post-docs during a visit, you can get a pretty good idea of what they're like. Having 3 people & groups that seem reasonable after meeting with them means that 2 of those groups can not work out and you'll still be OK. 
    Also, the question's you're asking here are things you should be asking the graduate students on your visits. You get a lot more (and better) information talking to people face to face than you do online, and it's a lot easier to pick up on subtle cues that way. 
    Back when I was applying to grad school, it was pretty clear after visits where I felt like I'd fit best, and where I felt like it would be a stretch. That's the whole point of visits. 
    Take notes while you're there, and then at the end sit back and visualize where you felt most at home, and where you felt most excited about working with a group of people. Hopefully those are the same place.
  7. Like
    Eigen got a reaction from PhD_hopeful_ in Yale v. Princeton physical chemistry.   
    You shouldn't be comparing Yale vs Princeton, you should be comparing specific faculty and research groups that you want to work in (and have openings for you). You also have other schools with strong programs on your list. 
    Past a certain point, prestige of the school and department means a lot less than how well connected your specific mentor there is, and how good of a mentor they will be to you. 
  8. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from kitcassidance in Basic Packing List   
    I've cut my list down a lot my last year for travel. 
    Laptop/iPad takes care of digital needs. iPad has both work study snd pleasure reading  
    If I'm going to be giving a talk, I have two small bags that go in my briefcase- one with adapters, a spare USB drive and my laser pointer, the other with chalk and dry erase markers. 
    I also do the "go bag" for toiletries, and refill when I get home rather than when I need to leave.
    For clothes, I do two jackets and jeans, with some wrinkle free oxfords and a tie  versatile, comfortable, and can wear for several extra days  if I need to without it looking bad. After 38 hours of  combined flight delays one tripl this rocketed up my list of importance!
    I do digital for all my travel documents, personally, as its one less thing to have to bring and keep track of.
    The other thing I've found really nice to have is a good spill-and-leak proof coffe cup. I fill it up as soon as I'm through security and keep it with me all trip. I can also fill it up throughout the day wherever I am.
     
  9. Like
    Eigen reacted to ExponentialDecay in Undergraduate events/student groups   
    A lot of young people of either gender who prefer to date older say that it's because they're too mature, certainly (as I'm sure you're aware). But I don't think there is any reason to assume that the young counterpart's motivations must map one-to-one to their older partner's. In fact, I'd argue there's reason to assume the opposite - since it's an unequal relationship with a significant power imbalance. 


    In other words, you're saying that it's easier to mold a younger woman into your ideal partner? To, I don't know, subtly manipulate her into satisfying your needs, without much regard for her own? And I get it, the best part is that you have plausible deniability: nominally she is of age, so you're not committing assault in the legal sense, and practically it's not like you're forcing her, you're only guiding her (of course, she's too young to know what she wants or who she is - but maybe, spherically in a vacuum, she would've chosen the path you suggested to her anyway - it's not like we can compare against a counterfactual!). And of course sometimes these relationships work out, but that's no reason to ignore the fact that they exist in a highly imbalanced power dynamic that tilts in the older person's favor.


    Certainly, there are pros and cons to everything, but that's not really what I'm talking about. You're trying to portray your preference as ethically neutral, when in fact it's quite problematic. We can't help what we like, sure, but it does help to critically examine why you prefer what you prefer - none of us exist in a vacuum, and our seemingly natural desires may well be influenced by the social and cultural norms around us. 


    I'm sorry, I'm not clear on how this makes you a priori not creepy. For myself, yeah, the idea of a 30 year old graduate student dating a teenage girl who is presumably an undergrad at his institution does gross me out (and is counter most institutions' bylaws these days - are you at Cornell?). For myself, I've certainly dated a lot of graduate students in my undergrad days, as well as faculty, and I don't think it's strictly verboten or crucify anyone who does that, but I also don't think it's a behavior that deserves the kind of spirited defense you're giving it. It's a questionable practice, and I think people should regard it as such, above all people who engage in it. In my experience, men who actively seek out younger women - especially men who seek out much younger women in subordinate positions, such as yourself - are strictly to be avoided.
     
  10. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from TwirlingBlades in Professor blackmailing he will not let me graduate - how to deal with this?   
    You don't mention your discipline, so this may be off base. 
     
    But in the sciences, you are largely being paid to forward the goals of the PI and the lab, and being asked to help with another students project is absolutely par for the course. 
     
    It would not at all be considered blackmail to get the sort of email you cite in any lab I'm familiar with, it would be considered a reprimand to a graduate student who's not living up to the expectations of the PI and department. 
     
    The latter part, the request that you spend at least a few hours in lab every afternoon is also worrying to me, as most PIs would expect (in a discipline with labs) that you're in at least a normal 40 hours a week, either working on your projects or helping with general lab upkeep and maintenance/training junior graduate students/helping with other projects. 
     
    Is it perhaps possible that there's a rift in understanding between you and your professor about exactly what is expected of a PhD student?
  11. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from lambda in Should international students change their names in class?   
    I have a beginning of the semester survey where I ask students to tell me about themselves, and one of the questions I ask is what they'd like me to call them. Sometimes it's a case like this, sometimes it's a "Thomas" who'd much prefer to be called Tom. 
    Along with asking preferred pronouns, it's a space for students to tell me what they would prefer, and then I go by that. 
  12. Like
    Eigen got a reaction from sc9an in Rescheduled Campus Visit Invitation, Conditional on Whether the Program is My Top Choice   
    Most of them do. But they also realize, as I hope most of us would, that grad school applications are a market that benefits the school, not the applicant. There are for more qualified applicants than there are spots. 
    So from that perspective, a school with a late date is only going to change things to accommodate a student if they have a higher than average chance of that student wanting to attend. 
    If that's not the case, it doesn't hurt the school to not have you come out.  
    I understand the frustration from an applicants side, but you have to look at it from the perspective of the school as well. 
    Grad school interviews, like much of life after grad school is about making choices in an uneven schedule. Grad schools at least coordinate acceptance dates, and that's the last time that will ever happen. When you accept an interview invite, you know it's cutting off other potential invites. When you decide not to back out of an interview for another one, you're indirectly saying the first school is a higher priority, even if it's for a combination of reasons.
    On the broader job market, you either go to an interview when invited, or you don't interview for the position. You take an offer or turn an offer down when it's given, and rarely have multiple offers to compare because of differing schedules.
  13. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from Chai_latte in Requiring so many!   
    FWIW, I'm at a SLAC, and I write a lot more recommendations than that- but well over half of our students go on to graduate programs, most at top 10 programs. Strong letters are one of the reasons they're able to do that. 
    I'll have had our average major that I'm writing for in 3-4 classes, another 2-3 labs, they may have done a summer of research with me (or more), I've traveled with them to conferences, I've seen them work on committees and in student organizations, and many of them have TA'd a class or lab for me. It means I can write a strong 2 page letter covering how they work in multiple situations, and can tell colleagues at an R1 exactly why they should choose them as a student. 
  14. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from RunnerGrad in Should international students change their names in class?   
    I have a beginning of the semester survey where I ask students to tell me about themselves, and one of the questions I ask is what they'd like me to call them. Sometimes it's a case like this, sometimes it's a "Thomas" who'd much prefer to be called Tom. 
    Along with asking preferred pronouns, it's a space for students to tell me what they would prefer, and then I go by that. 
  15. Like
    Eigen got a reaction from Clinapp2017 in Rescheduled Campus Visit Invitation, Conditional on Whether the Program is My Top Choice   
    I really appreciate the field specific perspectives too- that's different than how the clinical program did it at my grad school, so it's always helpful to file away more information!
    FWIW, I've been in similar situations on the job market where I've had to eat the cost of interviews when something better comes along. It sucks, but you have to keep your eye on the end goal. @Clinapp2017, it sounds like your parents are certainly more *cough* ethical *cough* hiring managers than a lot I've run across. 
    I do think it's important for applicants to realize the dual goals of an applicant vs an institution, and where they mesh vs where they might clash- it helps keep in mind how you can phrase things and make decision that make the outcome you want more likely. I also think it can be a really hard shock depending on what else you've applied for- undergrad admissions are very different than grad admissions which are very different from job searches post-graduate. The level of structure and the relative power/interests of the two players vary a lot as you move through the process. 
  16. Like
    Eigen got a reaction from sc9an in Rescheduled Campus Visit Invitation, Conditional on Whether the Program is My Top Choice   
    Why is it shitty? Asking for an alternate visit date implies to the school that you're not the first choice, and are choosing another schools visit over them. 
    It's only fair for the school to wonder if it's worth scheduling and paying for an entire alternate visit just to suit you when you're far more likely to go elsewhere. 
  17. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from TakeruK in Rescheduled Campus Visit Invitation, Conditional on Whether the Program is My Top Choice   
    Most of them do. But they also realize, as I hope most of us would, that grad school applications are a market that benefits the school, not the applicant. There are for more qualified applicants than there are spots. 
    So from that perspective, a school with a late date is only going to change things to accommodate a student if they have a higher than average chance of that student wanting to attend. 
    If that's not the case, it doesn't hurt the school to not have you come out.  
    I understand the frustration from an applicants side, but you have to look at it from the perspective of the school as well. 
    Grad school interviews, like much of life after grad school is about making choices in an uneven schedule. Grad schools at least coordinate acceptance dates, and that's the last time that will ever happen. When you accept an interview invite, you know it's cutting off other potential invites. When you decide not to back out of an interview for another one, you're indirectly saying the first school is a higher priority, even if it's for a combination of reasons.
    On the broader job market, you either go to an interview when invited, or you don't interview for the position. You take an offer or turn an offer down when it's given, and rarely have multiple offers to compare because of differing schedules.
  18. Like
    Eigen got a reaction from jmillar in Do some schools weigh interviews more than others?   
    A campus interview is a balance between the school courting you, and you courting the school- that's why there's a balance. 
    The scale ranges entirely from schools that only do visits post-admittance (i.e., no weight on the interview), to some that weight it significantly.
    That said, weight is probably the wrong word, as your interview performance isn't really weighted in with the rest of your application. Once you've made it to the interview, that's a separate criteria than your materials pre-interview. 
    It's more a function of how many students the invite relative to how many they accept in terms of how important the interview is as a screening tool. On one end, a school plans to admit everyone they invite unless someone does something that really screws it up. On the other end, some schools interview 2-3 times as many people as they plan on accepting. 
    I think with financial stressors, more schools fall on the former end than the latter- it's expensive to bring out a lot of people you're not planning on admitting.
  19. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from shmal96 in Do some schools weigh interviews more than others?   
    A campus interview is a balance between the school courting you, and you courting the school- that's why there's a balance. 
    The scale ranges entirely from schools that only do visits post-admittance (i.e., no weight on the interview), to some that weight it significantly.
    That said, weight is probably the wrong word, as your interview performance isn't really weighted in with the rest of your application. Once you've made it to the interview, that's a separate criteria than your materials pre-interview. 
    It's more a function of how many students the invite relative to how many they accept in terms of how important the interview is as a screening tool. On one end, a school plans to admit everyone they invite unless someone does something that really screws it up. On the other end, some schools interview 2-3 times as many people as they plan on accepting. 
    I think with financial stressors, more schools fall on the former end than the latter- it's expensive to bring out a lot of people you're not planning on admitting.
  20. Upvote
    Eigen reacted to rising_star in Requiring so many!   
    I've sent out a bunch of rec letters this year. What I enjoy about doing is highlighting things that the student themselves hasn't/can't in their SoP due to space limitations. So, I'll write in greater detail about a project they did or a time they handled a difficult situation well or something they did that pushed themselves outside their comfort zone and how they succeeded. Alternately, I'll explain someone's grades (e.g., why a student failed a course and what they learned from it, or how that failure changed their path) or personal life circumstances if necessary (e.g., taking an overload to graduate early for financial reasons, which of course inhabits one's extra and co-curricular opportunities). All of that is valuable for the admissions committee and not something the applicant is likely to share in their own materials or in a 15-30 min Skype interview where everyone is being asked the same questions.
    As someone who has been on the job market, I've done a number of Skype interviews. Trust me when I say that they don't always give you the chance to shine in the way you might want as an applicant, in part because there are 3-7 people asking questions, you can't know the questions in advance, and they want everyone to answer the same questions in the same order. And, having been on a search committee, I can say that doing 4 straight hours of 15 minute interviews is exhausting and all the candidates start to blur together, which you hate but also can't entirely avoid. There's no world in which I'd do Skype interviews with 50+ people unless it was specifically for a research project and there was no other way to collect those data.
  21. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from TakeruK in Site like GradCafe for postdocs?   
    I'll  note that at least New PI Slack is currently heavily biomedical, but is trying hard to grow. It's also easy to just sub-channel more specific fields within a larger Slack community. Not sure if the Future PI Slack is the same.
  22. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from TakeruK in Site like GradCafe for postdocs?   
    Bumping this back up for two resources I found some of you may (or may in the future) be interested in. 
    One of them is the New PI Slack (https://newpislack.wordpress.com/), which as the name suggests is a Slack group for new PIs. You have to have PI status (verified), and not yet be tenured. It's a fantastic resource that I've been getting a lot out of that has many similarities to the community here. 
    Built along similar lines is Future PI Slack (https://twitter.com/futurepi_slack?lang=en), which is a Slack support group for PostDocs on the academic track. Since I don't qualify, I'm not sure how they're set up- but my understanding is that it's similar to the New PI Slack, and I hope some of you find it useful. 
  23. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from E-P in How much would you charge?   
    The other good approach I see is a sliding scale based on event size that delineates profit vs. non-profit. 
    This lets you have base prices that scale for, say, the 4000 person gig and the 50 person gig. It also lets you charge a non-profit differently than, say, a company retreat. 
    I agree with TakeruK that I wouldn't advertise a price- I'd work out what you feel comfortable with and then have that on hand. 
    The other thing you need to decide is if you want to go flat or itemized- and how you want to deal with this for tax purposes. Do you want to set up a business and bring the income through that? Or deal with it as contract income? 
    These all have different outcomes in how you can deduct related expenses on your taxes.
  24. Like
    Eigen got a reaction from kitcassidance in Requiring so many!   
    LoRs are far from useless. In fact, they're one of two parts of the application that's worth anything- the letters and the personal statement/research statement. 
    The problem with Interfolio comes with not being able to easily customize letters. When I write letters for my students, I have one general letter that I then customize to each school and program. 
    Also, having used Interfolio from all 3 perspectives... There are some nice thighs about it, but a good application system from the school is just as easy if not more so. 
  25. Upvote
    Eigen got a reaction from Flyera in About interviews   
    It's more of a school by school thing. 
    Some do pre-acceptance interviews, some post-acceptance, and some do visit weekend where everyone comes at once. 
    Generally, I'd say chemistry interviews bias to more of a "last check" before they accept you. When I was in grad school, my department planned to accept everyone that interviewed unless something was glaringly wrong during the interview. Like the guy that spent the whole weekend dissing all of the faculty members research. 
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