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bechkafish last won the day on April 17 2016

bechkafish had the most liked content!

About bechkafish

  • Rank
    Double Shot
  • Birthday October 14

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Boston, MA
  • Interests
    19th and 20th Century Continental Philosophy, Aesthetics, Ethics, Philosophy of War
  • Application Season
    2016 Fall
  • Program
    Philosophy, PhD

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  1. Hi @philosobabe, I applied to Columbia's PhD program, was rejected, and didn't think anything more about it until this morning -- when I got a response from their MA program, to which they must have referred my application. All of this is to say that it looks like Columbia must be sending out MA responses over the next few days, so keep your eyes peeled!
  2. (1) Did you submit the same writing sample with all your applications, or do you think it's generally bad advice to submit different writing samples? Yes and no, respectively. Remember that the point of a writing sample is to demonstrate your very best possible work... and your work will probably be better if you spend months really honing and polishing one truly strong piece of writing instead of five or six or eight different samples.(2) Do you have any strategies for helping earn strong GRE scores? Take a prep class, if possible. They can be expensive, but they also have nigh guaranteed results. That having been said, don't put too much stock in the GRE... Generally, it seems that as long as you hit 160-ish in Verbal and Quantitative, and work hard on your AW score, you're in good shape. The GRE just doesn't seem to carry much weight after the initial cut.(3) Is it bad that at least 3 students from my department are applying to the same school? Not necessarily. It's possible that some of the other applicants from your department will get offers from other programs and decline their offer to the common school, and that's assuming that a number of them even receive offers. Don't let other applicants' plans throw you for a loop. Keep your head down, focus on your own work, and make it the best it possibly can be.(4) Anyone have experience placing in a phd with a no-name undergrad but a known MA program? Yes! My undergrad as a state university in Pennsylvania - truly great faculty, but truly terrible track record and unknown to the point of being embarrassing. Luckily, after receiving my MA from a well-known if not incredibly ranked MA program, I placed in a PhD program this season and was waitlisted high at another. I'm not going to lie, a bad undergrad might make the struggle more uphill, but it doesn't make it impossible. Compensate as much as you can not only with the quality of work in your MA, but with external successes: apply for fellowships, present at conferences, try to publish even something small, etc..(5) How much detail did you go into regarding your research interests on your SOP? Is it good to be specific or vague? That is to say, for those of us who know our main area of interest, is it detrimental you think to be specific? My two cents on this (possibly not at all grounded in reality) is that it's better to be specific. The goal of the SOP, remember, is to show them that you're excited about your next couple of years of work. You want to show that you've thought about it deeply, and have a battle plan, so to speak. Your research interests here aren't set in stone, so it doesn't matter if those specifics don't quite match up with what you end up doing... What does matter is that your research interests have to be specific and engaging enough to make your application stand out among literally hundreds of other applicants. A vague SOP is not a memorable SOP.Big Takeaway: Apply to more schools than you think you need to. Apply to so many more. It's expensive and awful, but a lot of program have fee waivers if you can demonstrate financial hardship. Even the schools you think you're a sure-thing for can reject you; even your backup plan programs can get a lot of qualified applicants that season; have backup plans for your backup plans for your backup plans. Apply to as many schools as you can afford / bear.
  3. In at BU off the waitlist. Time to sleep for a million years and maybe not have nightmares for once.
  4. No clue whatsoever. But from what I'm gathering, BU digs into its wait list pretty substantially every year... There's still hope! If they ever email us back, that is.
  5. Dr. Roochnik at BU emailed me earlier in the afternoon to say that the department still hasn't hear back from everyone who received an offer, so they won't be able to assess the waitlisters until the weekend / Monday. Please oh please, if you're planning on declining, do it sooner rather than later so that the rest of us can cry / celebrate promptly?
  6. Hi all, I thought it would be fun - now that the application season is juuuust about over and we're all starting to breathe and maybe even relax / read again - to have a thread to post about what we've been reading. If nothing else, maybe we can give each other some exposure to new titles and authors that we otherwise might not have stumbled across! And while I have in mind primarily philosophy, I don't feel that this thread has to be limited to philosophy proper: if there's anything you're reading that has you excited or has gotten you thinking, across the disciplines and genres, feel free to share! I'm currently in the midst of two different books: A Philosophy of Walking by Frederic Gros. Not necessarily philosophy in the rigorous academic sense, but I find it wonderfully engrossing and engaging, particularly for the thinker who likes to wander. I'm about at the halfway point, and so far Gros has been spending a lot of time talking about the correlation between great thinkers / writers and the activity of walking: Rosseau in Saint-Germain, Nietzsche in Sorrento, Thoreau in the forests of New England, Rimbaud in the desert... If nothing else, this book will make you want to get up and get outside, which, let's face it, is something we pasty bookworms could probably use. Home: A Short History of an Idea by Witold Rybczynski. I love this book. Love, love, love. Rybczynski's project is to analyze the evolution of the home, or "private space", over the course of European and American history, from the Middle Ages to contemporary times. Fundamentally, he asks, At what point did building and arranging shelter evolve from a practice of physical utility to emotional utility? How new of an idea is "comfort"? (Spoiler: very new). And while this project doesn't necessarily relate to philosophy, I feel there's a lot of good fodder here for discussions of continental philosophy and the historical divides between public/private, community/individual, etc. What have you been reading?
  7. For what it's worth, I think if your heart is still in it, you should definitely consider reapplying. I know a truly staggering number of wonderful, intelligent, qualified applicants who were shut out their first time around, tweaked their application materials, and reapplied the following year to numerous funded offers. Remember that at the end of the day, this whole process is more about luck than qualifications... And your luck can change from season to season. And though obviously it isn't the whole story, your GPA and even the GRE scores look solid enough to warrant another go at it. Good luck!
  8. bechkafish


    Tossing my hat into the message-me-for-FB-details ring... Though I'd be up for carrier pigeons once we figure out how to put the infastructure in place...
  9. I defended and was approved on my masters thesis yesterday DO YOU GUYS KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS? I am a Master of Arts, holla. ...A Master of Arts without a PhD acceptance waiting in the wings, I make bad life choices. Here's hoping for good news from NSSR and BU in the next week!
  10. A lot of universities with graduate programs in comparative literature / classics / romance languages, etc., offer intensive summer courses designed to get you from a point of virtually no familiarity to a comfortable reading knowledge in about eight to ten weeks. They can be expensive, but if you're receiving financial aid through your home institution, you might be able to cover it. I took an eight-week intensive in German for Reading Knowledge at Harvard last summer and damn - I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who (a) really wants to learn a language, and (b) is willing to spend literally forty hours a week working on it.
  11. Waitlisted at The New School, which was the last place I was waiting to hear from. So, grand total for the season: 0 acceptances, 2 waitlists, 5 rejections. My self-esteem is pretty damn low right now, but hey, even if they don't come to fruition, the waitlists are making me feel a bit better.
  12. This is fabulous! I'm so happy for you. I've been hoping you'd hear some good news.
  13. There's that Columbia rejection...
  14. Q: Did BU pity-waitlist me? A: *denial la la la la who's BU what are you even talking about* I'm so ready for this season to be over.
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