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About oranges

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  • Application Season
    2016 Fall

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  1. Mean? No, that's just straight talk, which I think is far more productive and helpful for the OP in the long run rather than meaningless platitudes like "you can do it!" "next year you'll get in!"
  2. I really applaud your determination to get into a PhD program But I think you may be overlooking some serious weaknesses in your application profile. You say, "Look at me. I am your ideal candidate," but if you've been rejected 27 times over the course of 10 years, I think there's more to this. For example, your grad GPA is 3.77. That's a poor GPA for graduate school, akin to to 2.8-3.3 GPA range as an undergrad. Especially since getting an MA is supposed to be used as a leverage to "prove" to PhD admission committees that you can handle PhD level coursework at the bare minimum, this GPA alone is a damaging signal. There's a lot more you raise that a lot of questions. Like are you really sure your LOR wrote you "GLOWING" letters? That your personal statement was "perfectly crafted"? Or maybe your aggressive reaching out to professors actually backfired on you? It's absolutely true that there is a lot of arbitrariness in graduate school applications. Specific programs reject wonderful applications for completely random reasons beyond their control. But there is also a lot of overlap. There are students, for example, who get offers from all the schools they apply to. To get rejected 27 times over 10 years does suggest that something is "very, very wrong." But it's probably not the admissions committee.
  3. This isn't necessarily true. Yes, you should seriously consider going to Pton since it's one of the best programs out there. All things being equal, Pton > Columbia/NYU. But it's also worth noting that NYU is on a steep rise in their ranking and quality of program - they've poached a lot of faculty, they have top-notch faculty, and they place students very well on the job market. Princeton, on the other hand, has been bleeding faculty like crazy, a lot of their faculty are nearing retirement, and the faculty:student ratio is among the worst among the top ranked programs. As a result, to say Princeton is #1 and NYU is #16 (or whatever it currently is on the rankings) is just not true. It's likely that in the rankings that are coming out soon, Princeton will decline a few spots and NYU will rise several spots. So it's not out of the question to choose a school like NYU over Princeton.
  4. You should not explain your undergraduate GPA situation, especially if your reasoning, as you stated, is "just having too much fun." Definitely, definitely do not mention those words. And given that it's been a decade since your undergrad years, I don't think a full-fledged "explanation" is necessary. That doesn't mean you can't "acknowledge" your low undergrad GPA somewhere in your SOP. I'm sure it can be done very briefly, in passing, in some sentence or another where you're going over your your academic history.
  5. Your application sounds solid - though I am not familiar with the U.K system/grading system. You also don't specify whether your LORs are from sociology professors (which are definitely preferred by ACs, all things being equal). The main suggestion I would make is to be careful not to overplay your media and journalism experiences. While it's certainly not a "negative" per se, top sociology programs tend to want to invest their time training future academic sociologists. If you signal, inadvertently, that you have eyes on other things, like journalism, or a career as a writer, or becoming a public sociologist, then that may count against you. Of course, you should take this advice with a grain of salt. Not all sociology programs take this position, and individual professors within a program can and will have very different stances. (I'm sure some will look upon your experiences as a very big positive.) Likewise, I'm not suggesting to completely avoid mentioning your media/journalism interests - just be careful not to make it a centerpiece of, say, your Statement of Purpose.
  6. oranges


    You should finish your Masters in Australia, first. Not only will a completed Masters (with a solid thesis) strengthen your application, applying to transfer with an incomplete Masters will definitely weaken your application. (It suggests you can't go through with something you set out to commit. You definitely do not want to give off that impression to admission committees.) If you still want to know about Masters funding in the United States, it's typically not great. Chicago and Columbia, for example, have well-know cash-cow Masters programs in sociology. (However, they offer you the pedigree and (potential) training that will make you competitive enough to launch into a top 10 PhD program in the United States. This is of course contingent on your actual performance.) PhD funding, on the other hand, tends to be much more solid. In fact, if you can't get into a PhD program that offers full funding + stipend, you really should not go. It's really not worth spending 5-7 years raking up debt to then maybe (and this is a big "maybe") get a job that pays, if lucky, $60,000 as an Assistant Professor.
  7. Modified response: Typically you'll start hearing back at the end of January and get responses throughout February, sometimes as late as March.
  8. As a general rule of thumb: A very low GRE score (think sub 50-60 percentiles) will make a tangible negative difference in your chances of admission. A very high GRE score (think near-perfect GRE scores) will make a tangible positive difference in your chances of admission. Of course, the exact dynamics depend on which program you're applying to. Top 10 programs, for example, tend to accept applicants that have 90+ percentile on their verbal and 75+ percentile on their quant. If you score around those lines, your GRE will neither make nor break you. If you're applying to lower ranked programs, those the same scores will be more impressive, while you can get away with lower scores without it substantially hurting your application chances.
  9. February/March 2016, depending on the school.
  10. Short answer: No, you won't be getting into those programs. Longer answer: You don't list any more details about your profile, and given the arbitrariness of admission committees, it's impossible to give a definitive no. But a generic "very strong" profile is not enough to overcome GRE scores like that, especially for top programs like Princeton or NYU. Maybe UT or Yale, which are marginally less competitive, but even that would be a stretch. You're honestly just wasting your money. Of course, by a "very strong" application, you could be talking about at least one solo publication, stellar recommendations, or at least something that makes you really stand out as an applicant. If that's the case, you aren't necessarily doomed (unless the programs have a strict GRE cutoff). Otherwise, you should be more realistic and aim lower. Or work on strengthening your application for next year's cycle.
  11. You should be able to abridge the thesis within WS limit. Answering no to the fellowships/financial support may (positively) affect your admission chances. But it has a minimal impact at best, not to mention it's not worth it, financially speaking.
  12. If you're done with every other part of your application, I don't see why not. (Unless money is an issue.) But, if you there's still room to polish your writing sample and/or your Statement of Purpose, you would be better off investing energy into that. Unless, of course, you're a quant researcher. In which case you should stand to gain more from raising that GRE score.
  13. Honestly, that would be a bad idea. You've presumably spent 1-2 years working on the masters thesis. And yet, if it isn't presentable enough as a writing sample (in abridged form or full), then that may be considered pretty damnning. By the way, what was your undergrad GPA?
  14. Yes. GRE will still matter. However, if you have an excellent masters thesis (which presumably will be your writing sample), then ACs may overlook a relatively low GRE.
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