gradswag

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About gradswag

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  • Location
    University Park, PA
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    Already Attending
  • Program
    Penn State CAS, PhD

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  1. 2018 Applications Thread

    Hi everyone, I am hoping I will see some of you at the NCA grad fair on Thursday! If you are interested in, or have thought about applying to the Penn State Comm Arts and Sciences department, you should stop by our booth. It will be a good place to meet faculty members and current students, as well as have any of your questions answered before applying. Regardless of whether you are attending NCA, if you would like to get to know about our department a little bit better, beyond the scope of our website and Facebook pages, we will be giving you an inside view into our department during NCA on our instagram (@CASatPSU). Best of luck in your application process, I know it is a stressful time. Enjoy NCA as best you can for those of you who will be attending!
  2. Help ranking programs by competitiveness

    It depends on a few factors and it varies from year to year, which is why I would recommend reaching out to faculty of interest to see if they would be taking new students. I know that Rutgers will fund one student per subfield per year in their comm department. That is not super common, and their department is a special case. Most often schools look for research fit, so do you do what people in the department do. So to answer your question, no they will not necessarily fill slots dedicated to certain specialties. Faculty tend to stick to their research area, so it is competitive in a subfield when only a few (prolific) people are researching in that area in a department and most applicants apply to work with those few professors. In any given year, they might be looking for a certain type of student who fills a need for them (last year they admitted x # of students in interpersonal, so this year they want to admit a few more health comm students, for example). The only way to really know if they are admitting students in that specialty is to reach out and talk to a faculty member/DGS in a department to see. The competition comes into play when you want to work with a person that every other applicant wants to work with, and that is usually subfield specific.
  3. Help ranking programs by competitiveness

    I am really unfamiliar with the area of political comm in general, so I don't want to give you bad information about the rankings for that specialty. In looking at your list more generally, you would be applying to many of the powerhouse programs in the field (UPenn, UW-Madision, Ohio State, Penn State) that are more competitive across specialties. I think that U-Penn and Cornell get a lot of applications because they are ivy league, and Michigan because it might as well be (though I am less familiar with their comm program). The other schools I don't know too much about, so I don't want to speculate on their competitiveness or ranking. So, with my disclaimer that I don't know all that much about political comm/deliberative democracy, I think your list is generally leaning towards the competitive end of the spectrum. I would say that you should reach out to faculty members you would like to work with/whose work you are familiar with, or the director of graduate studies in their department and ask them about their program. I am not sure how much you have delved into the comm field, but our flagship organization is NCA, and they have a doctoral program guide that you can find here. They breakdown programs by specialty, which might help you develop a more comprehensive, well-rounded list. Hopefully someone can hop on here and give you more directed advice to poli comm.
  4. Help ranking programs by competitiveness

    I am not sure if I can give you help without a little more information about your interests (communication is a very broad field, and these programs have vastly different strengths). What are you planning on studying (health, media, interpersonal, rhetoric, journalism etc)? Do you think you are a more qualitative/quantitative scholar? Do you have research experience? Additionally, some of these schools have two comm departments. Like Penn State, for example. We have the school of communication which is primarily media studies, and comm arts and sciences which houses rhetoric, health comm, interpersonal, and social influence folks. These schools rank differently/are more competitive depending on what you are planning on studying.
  5. how much does program prestige matter?

    I apologize. Delusional denotatively means of having mistaken judgement, that was not intentionally an ableist statement.
  6. how much does program prestige matter?

    First, your field might be very different, but in our field the rankings are pretty accurate. I would use the NCA site to determine which schools have programs with research interests that match your own. For me, I looked at all of the health comm/interpersonal programs. I looked at the faculty lists to see which schools had full professors whose names I recognized, a clear indicator of prestige. However, this is not an indicator of research output. You also would like to be in a place where the younger faculty (the assistant and associate professors, those who are seeking tenure or a full professorship) also have recognizable names, who are actively publishing, which gives you the opportunity to get involved. In our field, NYU is in a desirable location, they have a VERY niche program with very little in-field name recognition (in my opinion). UConn (for interpersonal/health) and Pitt (rhetoric) have exceptional programs. The school name is not so much what matters here, but the department/faculty prestige certainly does. This is incredibly untrue. Please do not listen to this! You are severely ill informed if you think that people graduating from better top tier schools are ill equipped, on the whole. Top tier schools have better funding, thus they attract top talent. They typically offer more research funding, and faculty who are top names, the most respected in their field, are the ones who are teaching your classes. You are learning from the best. I am not sure what you mean by "merely" holding a master's. A master's degree is not easy, and holding one does not make you "merely" anything in my opinion, you should value and respect that degree as a fellow academic. All of you should be looking at where students get placed after graduating. That will tell you whether a program is good or not. Ask for their recent graduate placements. Ask about what the school will do for you if the job market sucks (like do they offer a post doc position for a year or two after graduating). Ask about how long your funding lasts (is it a year to year thing, a 4 year commitment but no more, or 5+ years of funding). Ask about student research and look at the awards won by current students in the last year. This will tell you about the program prestige. Yes, these things do matter. Yes, you should certainly care about them. It depends on what subsection of the field you are in. The top 5% is different for media studies than it is for critical/cultural studies, for rhetoric, for health comm, for interpersonal. on my side of the field there are clusters of school rankings. Maybe the top schools are UCSB, Penn State, Iowa, Purdue, UIUC, Northwestern, UT-Austin. The tiers kind of muddle from there. The older rankings are not inaccurate, but faculty move around, so I would look at who is at each school right now to make your own prestige determination because it is so subfield specific. This is sort of true. It is not entirely your research interests that matter, but the research you have done that matters. If your research interests don't match your research output, that is potentially problematic. Your GPA literally does not matter at all in graduate school. Do not fail classes, but straight A's do not matter almost at all. Focus your energy on your research. Again, I cannot stress this enough, you want to go to a place where quality research happens, where the research is respected, so that you will be taught how to do things in a way that will be respected in the field. That typically happens at better ranked schools (which is why they are better ranked).
  7. 2017 Applications Thread

    I was going to mention that you should apply to UConn, you would be a perfect research fit for Amanda Denes. I am glad to see you already are applying there! Good luck!
  8. how much does program prestige matter?

    I would also like to chime in and say that unless you already have significant independent research experience coming out of undergrad, it will be extremely difficult to get straight into a PhD program without a masters (nearly unheard of). This is social science specific, it is fairly commonplace in the hard sciences, but almost every Comm PhD program will require holding a masters upon entrance to the program. Some people will stay at the same institution for both their MA and PhD, so that might be a more reasonable option for you if you are looking to stay in the same location for six years instead of moving after two. However, that individualized attention you are seeking might happen at a program with a terminal masters so I wouldn't rule that out entirely. I do believe there is merit to attending a top institution and being provided with the resources necessary to make the best opportunities happen for you during graduate school. In that sense, all programs are not equal. Additionally, your graduating institution does not inherently make fellowship/grant opportunities happen more easily. What it does mean is that you might be learning from the best of the best in your field, and you will learn the tricks of the trade to writing grant proposals and potentially meet "the right people" during networking events, conferences, etc. through your faculty mentors. USF is not a nothing school, it is not easy to get into. You would be best off applying to some top tier schools and some middle of the road schools, some terminal masters programs and some joint MA/PhD programs, because you never know where you will get into and campus visits will clarify things like department climate, resources, and student happiness. Make sure you talk to people from several programs, you might think a school is a good fit, but another program might actually be better. It is hard to get a good sense of what a program does from their website alone. Just because a school is top tier does not mean you will not be provided with individualized attention, many of these programs are pretty small and thus offer plenty of one-on-one attention from faculty members. You will figure it out, don't give into peer pressure (or faculty pressure) about what school to attend, things will become more obvious as the application process happens. Good luck!
  9. YAS!!!! I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!!
  10. I officially accepted my offer at Penn State
  11. Fall 2016 PhD Acceptance Thread

    DO NOT ERASE THESE INSTRUCTIONS1) Click quote on the most recent acceptance list.2) Delete the quote messages at both the top and the bottom.3) Find the school of interest on the list. If it is missing, add it in alphabetical order.4) Write your name next to the school you were admitted.5) Click submit.6) Once you make your final decision, change the font of your name to green beside the school of your choice.Arizona State University: GradswagMichigan State Univesrity: kaoticfenNorthwestern University: cikkatikkaskwarr Oregon State University: megha16Penn State University (CAS): Gradswag Penn State University (Mass Comm): Cat_RobuttRutgers University: Gradswag University of California-Davis: Buckeye16 University of Connecticut: Gradswag University of Iowa: Buckeye16University of Michigan: cikkatikkaskwarr, TWD2016 University of Missouri: ToastUniversity of Oklahoma: kaoticfen, gradswagUniversity of Oregon - Cat_RobuttUniversity of Pittsburgh - cikkatikkaskwarr University of South Florida: TWD2016University of Texas-Austin: Gradswag, cikkatikkaskwarr, Toast University of Utah: Toast University of Wisconsin-Madison (Communication Arts): Buckeye16
  12. I haven't! One more school to go visit and then I can make a final decision
  13. Has anyone else made their final decision yet?
  14. Did anyone else here apply to UConn and are planning on attending welcome weekend?