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minnares

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  1. Upvote
    minnares got a reaction from elx in SOP mistakes: what to avoid   
    Wow, thank you, fuzzy, intextrovert, and Jae B. Excellent advice and input all around. I will do it differently this time. Writing a new one from scratch.

    And intextrovert, I've had several people tell me this after reading my SoP, a professor I know at UCLA (in Psych, but on an adcomm), a recent PhD friend of mine, and two professors who know me. Of course, I didn't think to have any of these folks read for me in advance . Smart, right? Learning the hard way. Also, Duke has an excellent page on what they expect in the SoP, it specifically lists striking a balance between arrogance and accomplishment. Actually, the Duke page is the best one I've seen, though the DGS at University of Wisconsin also sent me a very informative .pdf that mentioned arrogance as a killer. And then there's a incredibly interesting link on this website to a Kiss of Death article about statements of purpose that also lists arrogance or sounding arrogant.

    Mini arrogant rant (be forewarned): It's so frustrating to me this notion of expecting folks (and I mean just about anyone who can hope to get into the schools on these boards) who are, in broad comparison, well-accomplished, awards or no, to act as though those accomplishments are "less than" or not worth caring about or omit mention of them in an attempt to get into a program. I would think that adcomms would care if someone's writing consistently won awards, every time they wrote a research paper. I would think that would give them a track record of success in writing that indicates a possibility of continuing in that vein in graduate school, especially if the awards were out of a broad sampling of thousands of other writers. Otherwise, why wouldn't we all shoot for good grades alone? Why put out the extra effort if not to distinguish ourselves? If all the TA/RAships, publications, awards, etc., don't matter, then why submit a CV at all or seek out those opportunities? I suppose Jae B's suggestions do cast this in a different light for me, and I'll be giving this further thought. I gave up a lot of time with my family (and I mean time away from my kids' band concerts, games, etc.) in order to go after those "extras," so finding out that they don't really matter makes me .End rant.

    Le sigh. Again, thank you, each of you for giving such sound advice. I'll do my best to put it into practice, and I love Jae B.'s suggestions about showing how these experiences have motivated me to each "next step." All great input. I'm grateful!

    ~ m
  2. Upvote
    minnares got a reaction from featherrocketship in Purdue and Indiana   
    Thanks callmelilyb. I saw The Positives thread where many others had posted this sort of list and just assumed it was what is done here. Apparently not. Certainly not an affirmation "grab," but a miscalculation of how this online community flows. Ultimately, people here do not know me at all and can say anything they like. It won't diminish what I accomplished or that I did so while working full time with three kids. No worries. I'm Teflon, and in my experience, the haters have a hard go of it when reality strikes in graduate school and everyone is amazing. There's always a bigger fish. If I needed external affirmation from randoms that I don't even know, I wouldn't get it here. I understand that folks are coping with fragile egos and the terror of not getting into their dream program, and I found this website late in the game. So it's easy to fall on the new comer like a pack of ravenous dogs, rather than looking inwardly and determining where all that anger comes from.

    Best,

    ~ m
  3. Downvote
    minnares got a reaction from obrera in Purdue and Indiana   
    Hi All,

    I applied to Bloomington. In Fall 2009, I visited Bloomington and Purdue to interview with some professors, meet grad students, check out the campuses. I ruled out Purdue at that time. They were very rigid about working in an interdisciplinary manner. When I asked the professor I met with if I could work in both the lit. and creative writing departments because I am an essayist and a published poet, her response was, "Just don't tell them you work with us." And she wasn't kidding. They're an ag and engineering school, so they struck me as being very single minded in their approach.

    Bloomington on the other hand was wonderful. I spent about an hour with Susan Gubar (of Madwoman in the Attic fame) and John Lincoln Schilb (winner of the 2008 MLA Shaughnessy Award), both very kind, very thoughtful, very engaging folks. Dr. Gubar also set up a meet and greet for me with a professor in religious studies. My interest is critical theory with subfoci in gender/feminist criticism and religious studies. The whole tenor of the meeting was the polar opposite of Purdue. I'm hoping I get accepted, but I suppose that goes without saying.

    My stats: 4.0 cumulative, 700V/abysmal math, 710 subject, multiple TA positions, multiple poetry publications, three articles under review for publication, and I won every writing award at my undergraduate university. I've also already presented at a conference, where my paper was selected as Best Critical Paper out of two dozen universities presenting. I'm fluent in French and speak passable Hellenic. Yet, I am still unsure that I'll be accepted anywhere. Looking at the acceptances coming in on this website is terrifying.

    minnares
  4. Upvote
    minnares reacted to divinemg in U of Wisconsin Madison   
    FYI to all considering UW-Madison as an option for graduate study in English:

    I just posted a message regarding the political situation in Wisconsin and how this will affect grad students/workers. You can check it out at the link below and do not hesitate to ask me any questions. I am currently attending UW-M and *very* involved in the push against Governor Walker's proposed budget bill. I can hopefully answer most of your questions, if you have any.


  5. Upvote
    minnares reacted to lily_ in SOP mistakes: what to avoid   
    If you are first author on a publication that's placed in something important (a scholarly journal, the New York Times, etc) and what you wrote about relates to the project you're proposing in your SOP, then I would definitely say something like, "The research I performed on my publication in Aren't Primates Interesting on the slow loris inspired me to raise this question that I could pursue under the direction of Dr. X and thus makes me an ideal candidate for this program" (ok, not EXACTLY like that, but you know what I'm saying!).

    I'm going to have to agree that the adcomms, especially in this application season where the number of applicants are high, are probably going to look at the basics first, and then your awards second. It sucks, you did hard work and was recognized for it, but a lot of this is simply a numbers game. If your application makes it to a "short list" that's when I think they will be say, "Minnares not only exceeds the qualifications for this department, but on her CV it says that she's won all sorts of awards for being fabulously talented! That certainly puts her above poor sap #45 who only have grades and test scores to go off of."

    The process sucks, it's not fair, and all of that. I think that at some point your extras do matter, but think of them like the icing on the top of the cake that is your application.



  6. Upvote
    minnares reacted to minnares in SOP mistakes: what to avoid   
    Wow, thank you, fuzzy, intextrovert, and Jae B. Excellent advice and input all around. I will do it differently this time. Writing a new one from scratch.

    And intextrovert, I've had several people tell me this after reading my SoP, a professor I know at UCLA (in Psych, but on an adcomm), a recent PhD friend of mine, and two professors who know me. Of course, I didn't think to have any of these folks read for me in advance . Smart, right? Learning the hard way. Also, Duke has an excellent page on what they expect in the SoP, it specifically lists striking a balance between arrogance and accomplishment. Actually, the Duke page is the best one I've seen, though the DGS at University of Wisconsin also sent me a very informative .pdf that mentioned arrogance as a killer. And then there's a incredibly interesting link on this website to a Kiss of Death article about statements of purpose that also lists arrogance or sounding arrogant.

    Mini arrogant rant (be forewarned): It's so frustrating to me this notion of expecting folks (and I mean just about anyone who can hope to get into the schools on these boards) who are, in broad comparison, well-accomplished, awards or no, to act as though those accomplishments are "less than" or not worth caring about or omit mention of them in an attempt to get into a program. I would think that adcomms would care if someone's writing consistently won awards, every time they wrote a research paper. I would think that would give them a track record of success in writing that indicates a possibility of continuing in that vein in graduate school, especially if the awards were out of a broad sampling of thousands of other writers. Otherwise, why wouldn't we all shoot for good grades alone? Why put out the extra effort if not to distinguish ourselves? If all the TA/RAships, publications, awards, etc., don't matter, then why submit a CV at all or seek out those opportunities? I suppose Jae B's suggestions do cast this in a different light for me, and I'll be giving this further thought. I gave up a lot of time with my family (and I mean time away from my kids' band concerts, games, etc.) in order to go after those "extras," so finding out that they don't really matter makes me .End rant.

    Le sigh. Again, thank you, each of you for giving such sound advice. I'll do my best to put it into practice, and I love Jae B.'s suggestions about showing how these experiences have motivated me to each "next step." All great input. I'm grateful!

    ~ m
  7. Downvote
    minnares got a reaction from intextrovert in SOP mistakes: what to avoid   
    Wow, thank you, fuzzy, intextrovert, and Jae B. Excellent advice and input all around. I will do it differently this time. Writing a new one from scratch.

    And intextrovert, I've had several people tell me this after reading my SoP, a professor I know at UCLA (in Psych, but on an adcomm), a recent PhD friend of mine, and two professors who know me. Of course, I didn't think to have any of these folks read for me in advance . Smart, right? Learning the hard way. Also, Duke has an excellent page on what they expect in the SoP, it specifically lists striking a balance between arrogance and accomplishment. Actually, the Duke page is the best one I've seen, though the DGS at University of Wisconsin also sent me a very informative .pdf that mentioned arrogance as a killer. And then there's a incredibly interesting link on this website to a Kiss of Death article about statements of purpose that also lists arrogance or sounding arrogant.

    Mini arrogant rant (be forewarned): It's so frustrating to me this notion of expecting folks (and I mean just about anyone who can hope to get into the schools on these boards) who are, in broad comparison, well-accomplished, awards or no, to act as though those accomplishments are "less than" or not worth caring about or omit mention of them in an attempt to get into a program. I would think that adcomms would care if someone's writing consistently won awards, every time they wrote a research paper. I would think that would give them a track record of success in writing that indicates a possibility of continuing in that vein in graduate school, especially if the awards were out of a broad sampling of thousands of other writers. Otherwise, why wouldn't we all shoot for good grades alone? Why put out the extra effort if not to distinguish ourselves? If all the TA/RAships, publications, awards, etc., don't matter, then why submit a CV at all or seek out those opportunities? I suppose Jae B's suggestions do cast this in a different light for me, and I'll be giving this further thought. I gave up a lot of time with my family (and I mean time away from my kids' band concerts, games, etc.) in order to go after those "extras," so finding out that they don't really matter makes me .End rant.

    Le sigh. Again, thank you, each of you for giving such sound advice. I'll do my best to put it into practice, and I love Jae B.'s suggestions about showing how these experiences have motivated me to each "next step." All great input. I'm grateful!

    ~ m
  8. Upvote
    minnares reacted to fuzzylogician in SOP mistakes: what to avoid   
    I don't know about arrogance, but it just takes up much needed space from your SOP and doesn't add any information that isn't already in your CV. The SOP should add new information or expound upon existing information, not restate what the adcom members already know about you. The "proper assertion of strengths" is the "show, don't tell" rule. Your passion, enthusiasm and knowledge about your field should shine through your words and actions, not be literally stated.
  9. Upvote
    minnares reacted to Jae B. in SOP mistakes: what to avoid   
    I agree with the advice others have given. Do not list your awards in terms of what you've earned from your previous work. That's what your CV is for.

    However, you can use your SoP to give your awards greater context; to frame them not as mere compliments to your work (again, they'll be the judge) but as extraordinary privileges you are grateful for.

    Instead of just listing awards as outcomes of your work, show productive benefits: that each award and opportunity has led you to greater personal achievement.

    For example, if certain scholarship programs (yes, that admire your work) have helped you on your way, humbly give them credit and explain how they have helped to elevate you to this moment, where you are applying to graduate school.

    Let the school know that your past privileges were beneficial investments in the future you foresee -- with the program you are applying to. Let them know they will become part of a greater narrative by accepting you. You have generated momentum -- and this school can keep you going!

    In this way, your awards can be an exciting and meaningful part of your application, not an example of arrogance.

    If you have contributed back to the organizations that have given you awards, try to mention your efforts. It is proof of your caring, understanding of your privilege, gratefulness and dedication.

    Without saying so explicitly, let the school know that, by accepting you, they are helping put you in an even better position to give back...and hint that you won't forget to give back to them someday, either! (Examples are volunteering, producing more fine work in the program's name, speaking on their behalf, or just by being a good "face" for the program.)

    This speaks to your ability to take advantage of your opportunities, learn, work hard, improve, and, overall, to be honorable. Which is why you got the awards in the first place, right?

    Not only can this help you get accepted, it can also put you in a better financial aid situation. It says you are a worthwhile investment.

    It is always good to show that other people have believed in you, entrusted you with opportunities, and that you consider it your responsibility to continue to do them proud! You consider this program to be the next step that, in turn, helps you pay back all the previous steps.

    Then the school knows you aspire to excellence on behalf of people who invest in you.

    Who wouldn't want to be part of that?
  10. Upvote
    minnares reacted to Lantern in Article: Kisses of Death in the Application Process   
    I came across this article today and thought it may be of use.

    http://www.humboldt....viceArticle.pdf

    It is geared toward psychology students, but I think it is applicable to all. It may be too late for a lot of us, and maybe general for some of you, but I thought it couldn't hurt to post it.
  11. Upvote
    minnares reacted to intextrovert in SOP mistakes: what to avoid   
    Medievalmaniac, I really don't think that the SoP is the right place to explain your coursework, unless it has direct relevance to the narrative you're writing about your development. I just attached a sheet with all my applications called "Undergraduate Coursework in Literature" or "Relevant Coursework," and then divide it up into "English" and "French." Under each category, I had the course number, the actual full title, the prof, and my grade in it. That way they can cross-reference with my transcript if they want, but they have the important info that they'll really be mining my transcript for isolated for them already. And I didn't have to take up precious space in my SoP explaining them.

    As for what I did in my SoP that I think worked, I have some perspective on that, having been roundly rejected two years ago and pretty decent success this round (though UVa and U Washington, what is UP?! Still waiting on them). I really think the difference between my two SoPs is the big thing that made the difference, as my numbers and other qualifications (and even most of my writing sample, though I edited it) are the same. So here's what I think made the difference, in three alliterative categories:

    1. Focus. Like it or not, they want to be able to categorize you. You can have secondary interests, but they have to be clearly secondary and bear some relation to your main focus. Last time I tried to tell too many stories of my development, and there were too many directions I could go in. This was partially a reflection of where I was at the time, and honestly I think they were right to reject me straight out of undergrad - I needed some time to reflect, to think about what I actually wanted to do in the field. Now that I have, my SoP reflects that clearer sense of direction and purpose.

    2. Fit. Everyone tells you this, but it's true. I spent a lot more time really researching profs on the websites, then looking up and scanning through a few key articles, and skimming through the courses they taught. It really gives you a better idea of whether their interests and methodologies ACTUALLY fit yours, or whether it just looks like that on paper. I then tailored my fit paragraph to show how multiple faculty members could support my research interests (this may be English-specific, as in other non-humanitites disciplines you are applying to work with one advisor). Also, if the department has a pet methodology, it's helpful to know that - they'll look for students who fit that bill. Interdisciplinary programs that faculty are involved in and subfield/methodologically-specific colloquia, etc. are also things to look for.

    3. Future. This could vary, depending on how much of an academic past you have, but for me what helped was focusing discussing even my past towards showing how it formed a trajectory for the future. I've said in other places around here that the best advice I got for my SoP was that you should think about demonstrating that you are capable of conceiving of a larger project; whether or not you end up doing that project is irrelevant, as you probably won't and the adcomm is well aware of that - the point is that you are CAPABLE of conceiving of a future direction for yourself. I focused on telling a story (i.e. "I'm interested in the relationship to place in Modernist literature") and cutting all details of my past that didn't mesh with that. So by the end I was able to say look! What I discussed doing in paragraphs x (gloss of relevant coursework/advisors, focus), y (challenges and triumphs of writing my thesis and learning theory), and z (teaching, living different places) all feed into the project I'm proposing in this last paragraph (though the project was sufficiently broad so as not to pigeonhole me). I said that I wanted to go in certain different directions, but it was clear that it would be a continuation of my development, not starting anew. They want to see that you are capable of functioning independently as an academic (should be demonstrated by your past and by the fact that you can independently come up with good future directions), but that they have something to offer in terms of guiding you.

    Hope that helps!
  12. Upvote
    minnares reacted to lily_ in SOP mistakes: what to avoid   
    I just had a professor who sits on admissions committees look over my SOP.

    My introduction was talking about how I liked to go to museums as a child and was fascinated by the ancient world. He said that starting out like this is a huge mistake. Obviously if you are applying to study archaeology at the graduate level, it's pretty much assumed that you're fascinated by the ancient world and probably enjoy museums. But so do lots of people. What makes you unique. Attempt to illustrate your passion for the field without really telling some kind of silly story about your childhood. This is also an approach that many people take, and if you really want a strong SOP you'll find a better, more mature, and more creative way to say it.

    The next point is, whether or not to talk about the negatives on your application. I wrote mine this year mentioning them extremely briefly and moving on. My thought behind this was to simply focus heavily on all the points that make me a competitive applicant. However, some graduate programs explicitly say that your SOP is the place on your application to mention your negatives and why the committee should overlook them. Obviously, this should not be the focus of your SOP. What the committees are looking for here is growth and improvement above all. Do not make excuses for poor grades, weak GRE scores, or a spotty work record. Do, however, point out how you have grown, how the committee can see improvement, and then highlight the things that make you a fabulous candidate.

    The last thing I will mention is also very important, particularly for PhDs. Make sure that you know who you are applying to study under, and what your project is. Demonstrate that you would fit into the department like a glove and that you read Dr. Octopus' latest article on the newest theory, etc. etc. etc. Also, have a concise project in mind. Remember, you're not married to this idea, but you need to show the committee that you can ask the right kind of questions concerning your proposed research and that the project is something that the faculty could help you on based off of their interests and previous work. Do not make this project a carbon-copy of something they have previously accomplished, but a project that complements the research they have already performed. It is also highly advisable, since your job as a PhD student is essentially to perform lots of independent research, to demonstrate that you are capable of performing independent research. Although you want to show that you are a good fit for the program, you do not want to appear as though your adviser will have to hold your hand for the next five years.

    Hope that helps! I'm no expert, but these are simply my thoughts on the process.

  13. Upvote
    minnares got a reaction from Sparky in Purdue and Indiana   
    Hi All,

    I applied to Bloomington. In Fall 2009, I visited Bloomington and Purdue to interview with some professors, meet grad students, check out the campuses. I ruled out Purdue at that time. They were very rigid about working in an interdisciplinary manner. When I asked the professor I met with if I could work in both the lit. and creative writing departments because I am an essayist and a published poet, her response was, "Just don't tell them you work with us." And she wasn't kidding. They're an ag and engineering school, so they struck me as being very single minded in their approach.

    Bloomington on the other hand was wonderful. I spent about an hour with Susan Gubar (of Madwoman in the Attic fame) and John Lincoln Schilb (winner of the 2008 MLA Shaughnessy Award), both very kind, very thoughtful, very engaging folks. Dr. Gubar also set up a meet and greet for me with a professor in religious studies. My interest is critical theory with subfoci in gender/feminist criticism and religious studies. The whole tenor of the meeting was the polar opposite of Purdue. I'm hoping I get accepted, but I suppose that goes without saying.

    My stats: 4.0 cumulative, 700V/abysmal math, 710 subject, multiple TA positions, multiple poetry publications, three articles under review for publication, and I won every writing award at my undergraduate university. I've also already presented at a conference, where my paper was selected as Best Critical Paper out of two dozen universities presenting. I'm fluent in French and speak passable Hellenic. Yet, I am still unsure that I'll be accepted anywhere. Looking at the acceptances coming in on this website is terrifying.

    minnares
  14. Upvote
    minnares got a reaction from anxiousapplicant in Extremely Low GRE Score!!!   
    Hi Slee,

    I'd like to echo the comments of several posters above who have pointed out what a fantastic outlook you have and also how well you demonstrate your writing ability here. My oldest son, who is 17, was diagnosed with ADHD, PDD-NOS (which is on the autism spectrum), and a language processing disorder at the age of 8. So I've been following this thread and reading the many of the comments with a combination of and . I've watched my son struggle to achieve average grades all his life. What will happen is he turns in all of his homework and papers and receives full marks, which is fantastic, but then the tests are weighted more heavily and he'll get Cs, Ds, and Fs. So his overall GPA is dragged down. In many US states, as you might know, alternately abled students can have an IEP (individual education plan), which is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). One of the accomodations allowed under the IEP is additional time for tests. Many here might recall the little addendum read by instructors at the end of a syllabus in every class we took in college about students who need additional assistance. This coverage carries over into university, as well. Needing extra time on tests is not a crutch, nor is it an excuse. Having a brain that is, as you've aptly put it, wired differently isn't something that one can just think themselves out of. That's a very antiquated attitude and just as dangerous as presuming to diagnose a stranger without the medical experience to back it up. My son has been able to accomplish amazing things outside of the classroom (he's an Eagle Scout, to name one thing), but in the classroom he's always behind. Just tonight, however, he was asking for help on Hamlet (or thought he needed help). Most of the time he just has to run his thinking by someone. Hamlet's complex and he totally understood what he'd read, though it takes him hours to work through a passage. After reading each of your thoughtful (and very kind) posts, I have nothing but respect for you. Having witnessed how hard the "normal" (and I use the term with ) world can treat someone unlike themselves, how brutally unkind and insensitive "regular folks" can be toward someone who is just trying to learn and get by, you deserve only to be praised for your assiduous attitude and your willingness to continue trying. I applaud you for yourself and in part because I'd like to see my son have role models to look up to who have "done it" despite the added challenges. Good on you!

    ~m
  15. Upvote
    minnares got a reaction from Enzian in Top Tier Schools   
    I sent a PM to several posters on these boards who have been accepted to 4 or more schools this season and asked if I could see their SoP. Some said yes (lovely of them). Some said they'd prefer not (understood). Some didn't deign to reply. Can't hurt to ask. The three who agreed to share scrubbed them for identifying information and asked that I not share with anyone, which again was more than fine. I just wanted to get an idea of what was expected and what was successful.

    ~ m
  16. Downvote
    minnares reacted to M.J.P. in Indiana U-Bloomington   
    I was really hoping to visit their campus, but the Recruitment Day is the day after the Recruitment Day at Rutgers. Unless I can teleport between the two, I don't think I'll be able to make it. But I hope to hear all about it when people get back!
  17. Upvote
    minnares reacted to modernity in If it's looking like this year is not your year...   
    I just wanted to share with the forum, particularly because I have seen quite a few posts where people seem to be down on their chances/themselves. Last year I was rejected across the board. (My stats are pretty average so it wasn't entirely a surprise.) While it was incredibly depressing, I decided it was still a dream I really wanted to pursue. So I retook GREs (after actually studying), got new recommendations, and got some relevant work experience. I also reevaluated the schools and programs I was applying to for a better fit, and spent many many hours on my SOP. I finally got good news this week. I am in at two schools so far - and one has even offered me a TAship. So, while I know its crushing that things didn't go well this application round - do NOT let it ruin things for you!! Keep your head up - you are intelligent, there are things you can change about application to make it better, and the graduate admissions process is part luck anyway. Please do not let it discourage you.
  18. Upvote
    minnares reacted to Branwen daughter of Llyr in What math class to take that also acts as a good GRE review?   
    You said this, not me.



    When I had a tutor, I got A's. As I said in my post before. However, you CANNOT expect a 16 year old, unless they LOVE mathematics (a rare thing indeed) to search out a tutor if they are NOT failing, by merely getting C's. And yes. It is THE SCHOOL'S responsibility to teach - not the student's responsibility to find a tutor. If a teacher CANNOT teach math properly so that at least 80% of his class understands what they're studying, it is a FAILURE OF THE SYSTEM.


    Most people who are NOT IN THE SCIENCES / HIGHER MATHEMATICS do NOT NEED TO USE ALGEBRA / GEOMETRY / TRIG. They need ARITHMETIC. Big difference.


    Yes, I do understand, since I AM a technorat. I was a network admin and am currently a technical writer. I never needed to use advanced mathematics for either. And I never said that math wasn't important. I DID say, that most people DON'T THINK THEY NEED ADVANCED MATHEMATICS. They may be proved wrong later in life, but as long as the educational system doesn't emphasize it, they definitely won't know it when they're in high school. Even most colleges require one math class for gen ed requirements, and usually you can substitute logic instead. I'm not saying that's the way it SHOULD be, I'm saying that's the way it IS.



    I don't live in the unique academia bubble. I've been out of school and working in the real world for 9 years. And you need algebra for your finances?? You need ARITHMETIC for your finances. Not algebra, or trig, or calculus. No hidden "x" in your budget, no square equations, and gee, you don't even need to know the geometric formula for the area of a circle.


    I didn't blow it off. I said I wasn't great at math in high school, got a tutor, and got better at math. However, I have never needed to use it since, despite being in Hi-Tech. I am not an engineer, nor a programmer, and I never particularly wanted to be. Even when I thought about pursuing an MBA, it was on the marketing side, and I know how to build a budget (NO, I wasn't taught that in high school. I was taught that by my mother).

    You asked about the system? That's what I answered. The basic fact is, most kids DON'T get "into" math and sciences due to BAD TEACHING. When I had good teachers, I learned. When I didn't, I didn't learn. simple as that - and considering I'm not the only person who didn't do well in math in their school years, and didn't particularly care - that says something about the system, doesn't it?
  19. Upvote
    minnares reacted to Branwen daughter of Llyr in What math class to take that also acts as a good GRE review?   
    Unfortunately, most math teachers suck. I'm not terrific in math (or at least I wasn't in high school) due to one reason - no one ever explained it to me properly. I'm one of those people who has to UNDERSTAND something very well in order to succeed at it - so if I don't get the underlying logic, I don't do well, no matter how much I try to memorize the rules. When I had a private tutor who explained things to me, I got A's. People, after all, are individuals, and every single brain has slightly different ways of processing learning and information. I was actually really decent at Algebra and Calculus, until I got a different teacher in High school - and I can tell you this - the system is NOT equipped to teach math in various methods so the entire class can "get it."

    Since it's a basic fact of life that most "pedestrians" will never use calculus or algebra again (let alone geometry and trig) unless they pursue a sciences degree, while ALL people in a literate world should know how to read and write, the focus is definitely not on math. At least 5 of my students (whom I taught English, not Math) kept saying about their math classes that they'll never use it - after all - they don't need an equation to count the change they get in the supermarket. However, they were VERY willing to work on their English skills (ESL that is), since it's such an important part of being in a global community and for future work plans.

    Perhaps if class sizes are reduced, and teachers with more patience and a deeper understanding of math theory start teaching high school, scores will improve. There is very little to get excited about in memorizing "math rules" - but if you teach the underlying exciting stuff as well, you might get some more students really hooked on math and sciences.
  20. Upvote
    minnares got a reaction from Nighthob in Indiana U-Bloomington   
    I feel compelled to say what a downright nice person Bev Hankins is. Anyone that's had dealings with her will probably echo this. Of all of the grad dept. assistants I've had contact with, Bev is consistently the nicest, not to mention she'll actually give information, which is nigh unto a miracle.

    Thanks for this info, VT. Definite results is a good thing. I am so ready to be done with this process.

    ~ m
  21. Upvote
    minnares reacted to minnares in The Upsides of Not Getting In   
    Trust me when I say I totally get the feeling of having a dream dying. I've been rejected from 3 of my 6 and am anticipating two of those last 3 will be solid rejects as well, which leaves 1 school. If I don't go this year, I have to wait at least 5 years to reapply because of my family situation. This is quite literally my Perfect Storm year, now or possibly never type of deal. However... life is long. That's not just a throw away, pat concept. I've heard of people getting their doctorate late in life. Heck, I'm 37 already. While I don't know your personal situation at all, I hope you'll reapply next year or whenever you're able. The only way a dream can die is if you choose to give up on it. There's almost always another way or opportunity to get where you want to be. I still believe this. (Let the Pollyanna comments commence!).

    ~ m
  22. Upvote
    minnares reacted to JerryLandis in does having a master's help?   
    I think you're missing a letter in there somewhere.
  23. Upvote
    minnares reacted to Medievalmaniac in does having a master's help?   
    You know what? I'll probably get banned for this - but frankly, right now I don't care, because you are not helping anyone on this forum and we've all had it. So I'm just going to say this once and very clearly:

    F-CK OFF, Mate.
  24. Upvote
    minnares reacted to urbanchic in does having a master's help?   
    I've noticed that this board is a bit Anti-Master's/Pro-PhD, so the answers you get in this thread are a bit biased.
    I'm all for getting a master's before a PhD if the person thinks it will help them be more prepared for the doctorate.

    1. It doesn't have to be expensive. Try a state school. Work up and save money. Many employers will pay for your degree. Some schools do fund Master's students. Look for one. If you have to get some loans, it's only for 2 years max (hopefully.) You can work and start paying them off before you start your PhD. Peace corps?

    2. Getting a job. Actually, having a Master's over a BA/BS can help you get a job...and get paid MORE. For the jobs I want, having a Master's would be a great asset and they even say graduate students get paid more. In fact, I applied to one job a few months ago that was open to both undergrads and grad students, but they turned me down because they told me they only want grad students now.

    3. Almost everyone has a bachelor's now. Having a grad degree will help. Saying a Master's will not help is like saying a PhD will not help. The article fails to mention how having a PhD does not automatically equal high pay or employment either.

    4. Experience. Getting a Master's and taking some time off will give you great experience and academic training to prepare for the PhD. It shows that you have the ability to complete graduate level work and conduct research. I'm sure you'll go into the application process with a lot more confidence too. Although I've applied to a few PhD programs, I feel more comfortable starting a Master's program this Fall. Getting my master's will help me clarify what I really want to study before I make a long-term commitment to start the PhD. I can also get plenty of work and life experience that will help make the PhD experience more meaningful. In fact, I even met with some schools and they questioned why I wanted to go straight to the PhD. They highly recommended I get a Master's first.

    5. A waste of time? How is getting an education (Master's) a waste of time? It's what you make it. I never understood this rush of wanting to hurry and get the PhD over with. Why not just enjoy life as it is? You'll still be 40 whether you get your PhD at 26 or 28. If you're in a hurry to get the PhD process over with, you make it seem like a horrible experience. Why try to get one in the first place?

    If you have thorough research experience, have successfully taken many graduate level courses as an undergrad, and know exactly what you want to research then going straight to PhD may be good for you. If you want more academic training and assurance that getting a PhD is for you, then getting a Master's may be the better option.

    Overall, I really don't understand the discouragement towards getting a Master's and don't think it's necessary to knock those that want to get a Master's before a PhD.

    Having a Master's does help.
    off soap box. lol
  25. Upvote
    minnares reacted to Medievalmaniac in Chapel Hill   
    Yes, but be certain your undergraduate GPA makes the cut.

    I appreciate all the well wishes, guys, I really do (keep 'em comin'! lol J/K). But, let's not lose focus. I mean, yes, we are here to get into the best possible grad school, and yes, I just took a pretty painful beating, and one apparently several of us are facing and didn't know about - but, I also respect their right to make that choice, and I think it was above and beyond for the DEGA to take the time to email me personally, multiple times, to help clarify their position while I unraveled the situation. I told her what I'm telling you - in the end, I'm going to do this, and if it's not at UNC then it's not at UNC. It isn't going to do any good to say "their loss" - they don't think so, right? lol

    It just wasn't meant to be. And while the reason may not seem fair, right, or even logical, it was their decision to make.

    My current decisions include which bottle of wine to open and what chocolates to eat first.
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