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About kaiphi

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  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  • Program
    Comparative Literature

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  1. Hey all, in 2011 @fenderpete (wherever they may be) started an amazing thread for folks who may be a bit lost in regards to how they fare in competitive world of academia, so I thought it'd be nice to relaunch that thread for 2016 and beyond. CAVEAT: This post is rather specific to non-humanities majors, so if you're a seasoned academic in your field feel free to tweak any advice given here for those pursuing literature, philosophy, etc etc. There seem to be a lot of threads asking the same thing popping up lately and I figured it might make sense to make an overall guide thread and then those who feel their answers still haven’t been adequately answered can post below for an idea of what their chances are. Here is a brief rundown of factors affecting your likelihood of getting into top-tier and well respected programs. If you fall below par in any one of these factors you can bump it up by being stellar in one of the others. I'll add to this if others point out other things I've left out. School requirements: Your first stop should be the school admissions website – this will tell you what prerequisites you need, give you an idea of GRE and GPA requirements and what work experience is expected (if any) GPA: From what I’ve seen/read over the years any GPA over 3.4 and you should be competitive. That’s not to say if your GPA is lower than 3.4 you’ll have no chance, but if you have a GPA above 3.4 you should be in good shape. GRE score: GRE scores seem to be most important for schools with demanding quantitative programs and for securing the top financial aid. Most schools will state the average GRE scores for their incoming classes on their website – use these to see how competitive you are. By and large you should be competitive if you score over 650 on verbal and quantitative and over 4.0 on the AWA. For the top schools over 700 seems to be closer to the mark. Work experience: For most programs it will be expected that you have at least 1-2 years of relevant experience in your field. This can be lowered a little if you have other pseudo-relevant work experience (management in the for-profit sector etc.) but you should have shown some level of professional interest in the area you hope to study at grad school. Applicants coming straight out of undergrad may find it very hard to get into the programs aimed more at junior/mid-career professionals such as Johns Hopkins SAIS and Princeton’s WWS. Language skills: For a lot of programs being able to speak a second language is a must, while for others it is just a very good selling point. If you can show experience working in a foreign language this will show adaptability and will endear schools looking to enrol a diverse group of applicants. Quantitative requirements: A lot of schools will want you to show experience in micro/macroeconomics and some maths/statistics courses. You can fullfil these through undergrad classes or by taking courses at a community college/diploma program. Overseas experience (work, study and teaching): Work overseas and study abroad are also viewed extremely favourably by admissions committees and if you have taught English abroad, worked in the Peace Corps or otherwise gained experience living in a developing country this will really strengthen your application. It also shows you to be a go-getter, and that you can bring this outside experience to grad school study. Statement of Purpose: This is where it all comes together. This is your chance to impress the admission committee and show how your personal 'arc' has brought you to this point - being the perfect addition to their grad school. This more than any other part of your application will determine how admit committees view you as an applicant and it's also one of the only application variables that's completely under your control. Having a cohesive narrative that brings together life experience, past academic history and professional experience is a must. It also gives you a great chance to showcase your writing style - so make sure no grammar/spelling mistakes make it into your final revision. Great list of SOP pitfalls If your profile matches at least 3 or 4 of the criteria listed above then you are competitive to apply to an MPA/MPP/IR program. What is most important about any grad school application is showing fit – that is how your profile matches the speciality of that school and its program. If you can’t articulate compelling reasons why you are a good match for them and vice versa, question whether you should be applying to that program. A note on applying to top schools: It is worth noting that nobody here can tell you what your chances of getting into a top program (Harvard, Princeton, Georgetown etc.) because getting into a top program requires a certain amount of luck as well as a great profile. Some people get offers from Harvard with a 2.9 GPA, but also happen to have singlehandedly retaken an allied command post in the Korengal valley. It’s down to who reads your application and what they happen to be looking for with the current application cycle. Spend time improving the elements of your application that you can (GRE, work experience, languages) and don’t waste time freaking out about the things you can’t change (GPA). If you’ve read all of the above and really still can’t tell if your application is competitive, post your profile below.
  2. Brooklyn College

    Ahhh, thank y'all so much! At first I was listing it as a safety school but it's all so perfect: Small college, long list of notable literary/academic alumni, bridge classes in theory and literature so I can further develop my research interests, perfect opportunity to boost my GPA and extend my academic body of work, plus it's in New York which was a very important next-step in my career path. (I also work as a writer and write for New York pubs regularly, so this would work wonderfully for my career path.) The campus is actually very close to my Brooklyn friends and fav bookstores, in fact! So now it's my goal program.
  3. Anybody applied to or encountered Brooklyn College's Master's program in English? I'm considering all the factors and realizing it might be the perfect place for me, but I'm not sure how competitive they are because I can't find anything about this particular program.
  4. Hi there, Thank you all! I've decided that gaining an MA as a stepping stone into academia as well as an opportunity to focus solely on scholarly work. That being said, does anyone know of a database for funded Master's programs? I don't want to go into deeper debt after undergrad. AOI: Black American Literature, Francophone Literature, Afro-Caribbean Literature (Négritude), Postcolonial Studies, Cosmopolitan Literature, Postmodernism (Minimalism, Magical Realism), Aesthetics, French Philosophy, Sartre, Stuart Hall, Camus, Foucault, Fanon, Thiong'o, C.L.R. James. (20th-Century, ad infinitum)
  5. Lately I've been hearing/reading a lot of discussion about whether one needs a Master's degree in order to pursue a full-fledged doctoral program. Eventually I'd like to earn my PhD in Comparative Literature, but the advice I've gotten from professors at my current uni and my dream uni has been conflicting. I'm very interested in Black American modernism and francophone Afro-Caribbean literature (alongside some cultural theory and political philosophy), but my university doesn't offer many courses in this vein seeing as our course catalog always has ~one type of class~ every semester. (One Shakespeare, one medieval, one black literature sometimes, one American literature, etc etc). So despite a couple of independent study opportunities I'm taking advantage of, I feel unprepared to even write a Statement of Purpose for summer research opportunities at this point. Plus, my GPA still isn't great. I have a year left and won't be applying until the year after, but my freshman and sophomore years really muddied things up. The director of graduate study at my dream PhD program advised that I get a Master's in my prospective field first, so I'll feel more prepared when the time comes to apply to their program. Another professor at my current uni said a Master's is a great stepping stone to see if I want to pursue the full program. However, another professor said it best to apply for a PhD straight away in order to qualify for the full funding, and I don't intend on going to grad school at all if it's going to put me deeper into debt. What are the pros and cons here? I'm leaning towards the Master's at the moment.
  6. Hey all, What're some good Master's programs in English/Comparative Literature that fund their students? I'm eyeballing NYU and Rutger's but their funding opportunities are Master's students are "eh". Trying to accrue as little debt after undergrad as possible.
  7. @Bumblebea I'm actually looking at their Comparative Literature MA/PhD program right now in order to tie American Modernism and the Caribbean diaspora/Cultural studies together somehow. Rhet/Comp and Lit Theory are just two other categories I'm eyeballing atm. I'm not applying for another year, but I'm working on my statement of purpose now in order to apply for a couple of research/scholarship programs. Also, I talked to my professor who specializes in American Modernism today, and he advised that I go ahead and apply to Columbia's PhD program among others straight out of undergrad. (Well, not straight out, but since I'm taking a gap year to work as a journalist, maybe I will go ahead and apply after, give it a go.) He also said that applying for an MA/PhD program may make me eligible for funding, so I'm going to look into schools with that as well. I have a friend who went to NYU's PhD and received funding, but ended up transferring to Hopkins after about a year. I also want to get a Fulbright at one point, and am trying to decide if I want to apply before or during grad school. Maybe before? I am studying French independently now, and it'd definitely help for my grad studies? This is all shaping up as I type lol
  8. Hey @Warelin, I understand all of this, and perhaps I should have specified what it is I'm looking for: Columbia is where I eventually want to get my PhD, but I want to earn my Master's at a different school to build my CV, specify my research interests, and generally get situated in the graduate school M.O. before embarking on it for life. Columbia was also not a particularly light or frivolous choice; there are many reasons why I've aimed for this school in particular. At the moment I'm trying to figure out which NYC school (that's not Columbia) would be best for me, and am unsure of how to figure that out because NYU, for example, doesn't offer much in the way of course catalogs and Brooklyn College doesn't seem as challenging as I'd like my education to be. (One of my criterion for choosing a program is based on how challenging it is; I've taken a couple of graduate courses in the past and they weren't very challenging to the point where I felt as though I were going through the motions at one point.) I'm looking for a school that challenges me, is based in NY (doesn't necessarily have to be NYC), offers Master's programs in English/Comparative Literature and is preferably funded to some extent, and I was unsure of how to seek this school out. That being said, thank you! I'm now checking faculty bios to see if they'll point me in the right direction.
  9. Hi all, I have been bouncing back and forth between what I want to do after graduation and recently settled on academia as a serious long-term career. My CV is great but my GPA is "eh" because my undergrad career has been spotty thanks to some mental health issues this past year (ironically related to my little crisis of "what the hell am I going to do with my life!!!") and I have to take a gap semester/year in order to pay off the rest of my tuition bill that was normally covered by a grant that I'm no longer a priority for since my parents now make too much money. In short, 2016 has been a rough ride. Anywho, I'm a bit glad to take this time away from school because I've been feeling very down and lost lately since last year I traveled at full speed academically/professionally trying to excel and get everything done in four years. It'll be a nice time to explore and travel and work a full-time job that I was offered at a local news station to pay for this tuition gap. And the dean is being very helpful in allowing me to get my transcripts so I can apply for a summer research program that'd (hopefully) send me to Columbia in 2017. But I do have some questions about where to go from here: First, if I'm taking a gap year, what should I do to remain on-track for my CV? Such as publishing something, going somewhere, doing something? Right now I'm considering taking private French lessons because I want to be able to read and write fluently in the language. I also want a sort of small back-up plan in case I don't get into the summer research program, which is likely thanks to this darn GPA. I'm currently writing a paper on American modernist literature that I'm going to submit to my school's undergraduate journal, but I also want to submit it elsewhere. Basically while I'm out I want to do things. Any suggestions? Also, I've decided where I want to earn my PhD (Columbia's my dream school, but I have a list of others as well) but I'm stuck on my Master's. Location is very important to me (for a lot of reasons) so I want to study in New York after undergrad, but I also don't know how to find The School I want to work in. My professors and academic friends said I could look at schools publishing exciting work in my field, but I also don't know how to seek that out. The only scholar I can think of right now that I want to study under is Toni Morrison, but Princeton only has a PhD program and I'm not prepared to apply for that. (I'm also not very keen on Princeton.) How did you all find your Master's programs?
  10. Fall 2017 MFA

    Hey y'all, Wow, I forgot about this topic! Well, I'm a senior now and publishing more than ever. Finally started working on fiction and I even have a novel idea that I wanted to include in my Statement of Purpose I'm not completely tethered to the idea of doing an MFA program straight out of uni, so if I don't get into my target schools I'll be okay. But, it's finally application time and I feel ready(-ish) to take it on! Now I'm just apply to Hopkins, Columbia, and maybe Rutgers. I want to either stay in the Baltimore-DC area to save money or move to NYC, which is where I'm planning to move after graduation. I have other job/internship/fellowship prospects in the city which is why I'm aiming so high now.
  11. Literary Theory?

    Thank y'all so much! This is all still very new to me since I'm just now meeting with my advisors. How do you all find these documents or figure out where to go from an original idea? Right now I have a general idea of where to go for my thesis, but no idea how to focus in on it and where to find information relating to it.
  12. Literary Theory?

    But anyway, thanks @poliscar and @echo449 for the info. I guess I should talk to one of my advisors considering my research projects are all in different topics. This summer I just finished a criticism of an American modernist text, my thesis is on a medieval text, and this fall my independent study is just an intensive on structuralism and semiotics that'll end up in a paper on something—we're still figuring that out in the next couple of weeks. I also don't intend on applying for a couple years, so I guess I have some time to figure it out.
  13. Literary Theory?

    What a coincidence—so did I!
  14. Literary Theory?

    What a coincidence—so did I!
  15. I finally settled on a concentration lol unfortunately, my uni doesn't offer more than an introductory course to theory. Any lit theory applicants in this board? What'd you do to prep? I'm going to focus my senior thesis on a structuralist reading of a certain text.