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Warelin last won the day on June 5

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  1. I think it's also important to realize that your definition of "fit" is likely to differ from any college's definition of fit. Schools in the top 20 often have a bigger faculty which makes it easier to fit as if anyone can fit in. However, numbers alone does not mean that the school has strengths within that particular area or are even interested in growing that particular field. It's possible that the department as a whole is leaning towards building a different area of strength. I'd encourage you to think about not only the strengths of the schools but about the culture as a whole. Are most graduate students living with roommates? Is there public transportation available? How far do graduate students live from the university? Is the area rural or urban? If it's a college town, are you comfortable with the summers being silent? You're committing 5+ years to living wherever you wind up. Is the stipend enough to not have to take on additional loans? Are you comfortable with the teaching requirements? Are there external or internal opportunities for growth? Studies have shown that depression is a very common reason why people drop out of Ph.D. program. I think it's also important to mention that there are a number of very fine universities outside the top 20 that might have better placements than those in the USNew's top 20. I think it's also important to remember that the top 20 might have an easier time placing its graduates in R1 Universities, but that doesn't mean that it's impossible to teach at an R1 school if you don't graduate from a R1 school. I know of several people who have gotten tenure-track positions at "elite" schools including Columbia who did not graduate from a top 20 program, but rather a school ranked somewhere between 30-50. I also know that they took advantage of what the school offered and took any opportunities presented to them even if they didn't always succeed in winning every competition. Ultimately, I think schools (both admissions-wise and jobs-wise) are looking for applicants that fit their culture and fill in whatever area they're interested in. I think the USNews does a better job of measuring a college's 'prestige' for undergraduates because they consider a wide-range of factors. However, the criteria they use for programs at the graduate level are incredibly different. More information can be found here: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/articles/social-sciences-and-humanities-schools-methodology "The questionnaires asked respondents to rate the academic quality of the programs at other institutions on a 5-point scale: outstanding (5), strong (4), good (3), adequate (2) or marginal (1). Individuals who were unfamiliar with a particular school's programs were asked to select "don't know." Scores for each school were determined by computing a trimmed mean ā€“ eliminating the two highest and two lowest responses ā€“ of the ratings of all respondents who rated that school; average scores were then sorted in descending order. These are the number of schools with doctoral programs surveyed in fall 2016: economics (138); English (155); history (151); political science (120); psychology (255); and sociology (118). And these were the response rates: economics (23 percent), English (14 percent), history (15 percent), political science (24 percent), psychology (14 percent) and sociology (33 percent)." 14 percent of English programs determined the rankings of 155 programs. What do you think the odds are that all 14 programs are paying attention to every school? What do you think the odds are of the 14 percent paying attention to placement rates, student happiness and all opportunities being provided to students are at the 155 programs?
  2. I'd like to add on to this. I was accepted at schools where I mentioned certain faculty by name. I was also accepted at schools where I did not mention any faculty by names. In one of the schools I was accepted to, I only mentioned one faculty. They're currently at a different school. So I don't think there is a correct or wrong way of writing your SOP when it comes to the inclusion or exclusion of names.
  3. I'd apply to schools that you think are the best fit. General ranking does not mean that a school is a good match for you.
  4. I think this is tricky because departments can change a lot within a few short years. I'm a strong advocate of reviewing schools that you think might be a good match. Sometimes, there are trends that you can gather from the current students. Sometimes, it's stated right on their page. From Illinois' website: "Most of our Ph.D. students have received their M.A.'s at Illinois." The wording here implies that most of their students only had a BA prior to attending Illinois. However, this does not mean it's impossible to be accepted with a current MA. I had an MA when I applied to Illinois but I ended up choosing to go somewhere else that I felt was a stronger fit for my interests. From UIC's website: "No; the Department of English considers direct admission to the PhD program from an undergraduate track for those who are interested. Most of our admitted PhD candidates, however, hold an MA." I didn't apply to UIC but I think it's important to know that two universities within the same system can have very different stances on what they prefer in their students. I think it's also important to remember that even checking all the checkboxes does not guarantee admission. I think it's also important to think carefully about what information schools present. From UIC's English department FAQ: "Annually, there are an average of 300 applicants to the PhD program and 175 to the MA program. The acceptance rate is slightly above three percent." In this case, it's important to remember that UIC has 3 different tracks in English which attract very different candidates. In some schools, these programs might even be located in different departments. The concentrations are English Studies, Program for Writers (Creative Writing) and English Education.' By comparison, there are over 150 PHD programs, but far fewer Creative Writing programs. As such, a lot of Creative Writing programs receive more applications. I think USC mentions somewhere on their website that 2/3rds of their students in the English department are people in their Creative Writing Department. I think it's also important to think about how far funding can get you in a city. Nobody is going to be rich from grad school stipends. However, you are committing to spend 5-6 years in a program. It might be beneficial to see how far that stipend can get you in the city. Do most grad students live alone or is living with a roommate necessary to survive? How far do students live from the university? Is there public transportation or is a car necessary to live there? Is it pet-friendly if you have pet(s)? Some might argue that you should worry about this later, but I think this is important to making sure that you can have your best chances of having a productive time there. If anyone would like to talk, I am more than happy to share what I've gathered from my research via PM.
  5. I think it's important to realize that there are no safeties in English. There have been many applicants in the past who have been rejected from every school they applied to except Berkeley. There have been multiple people with perfect scores that have shut out from their season. There have also been people who have managed to get an acceptance at many schools they applied to despite not having great test scores. None of this was dependent on a school's ranking because ranking does not equal number of applicants nor does it signify strength in a specific area. The ranking of a school is really only important if your end goal is to maximize your chances of doing research at a R1 School. Most jobs are not at R1 schools. There are many jobs that would welcome the skills that can be obtained through an English PHD outside of academia, but a Ph.D. isn't required for the great majority of them.
  6. Do you know what your field of interest is? Do you know which schools you'd like to apply to? Do you have an understanding of the different strengths that some programs have? Are you prepared for a paycut? Do you understand how doctoral research differs from undergraduate research? What are you hoping to get out of a PHD program? Would you be okay if you can't achieve your goal post-PhD?
  7. I think it is important to remember that your definition of 'fit' is likely very different from a department's definition of fit. Professors do not want to produce mirror images of themselves. They're interested in finding new ways to examine various types of studies.
  8. It's preferred that you don't start a new thread on the same topic. If after your original post you feel your post would fit better elsewhere, feel free to message either myself or another moderator and we'll be happy to move it to another section for you! Alternatively (for faster service), report the topic, explain that you'd like to move it, and the next available moderator will take a look at it to see if it warrants moving. šŸ˜ƒ
  9. Small note here: English program rankings as rated by USNews do not apply to Rhetoric and Composition Rankings. Additionally, some programs are more rhetoric-heavy while others are more composition-heavy. Some might even lean towards being more digital humanities focused, but such programs can also be found in Literature programs. There are also some Rhet-Comp programs that are more literature-focused. In most cases, the funding would be the same for programs that offer both a Literature and a Rhetoric/Composition track. Responsibilities for obtaining the funding might be different for the two tracks though.
  10. Fun fact: Roger Baldwin, a co-founder of the ACLU, originally taught the first Sociology course that WashU had to offer. As for WashU's funding, it's likely that their funding will continue at their rates for a very long time. WashU is a top-tier college that has a history of increasing their stipends each year to adjust for cost of living increases. They also have one of the largest college endowments. I think placements are a bit harder to calculate because a lot of the market depends on who you know through conferences and other events, who your professors may know, your dissertation topic, whether it fits what other programs are looking for, your interviews, and so on. Due to it being a (now) new program, it might be worthwhile to ask potential WUSTL advisers where their (undergrad) students have gone for Graduate School. While your options post graduation will likely be different due to having a different set of options, it'll give you a sense on what schools/type of schools might be the most familiar with Washington University in St. Louis.
  11. Iā€™m glad it worked out for you. I think most schools are willing to work with you if there are barriers to completing certain parts of your application. Most are genuinely interested in their applicants. Best of luck with your applications! If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a PM.
  12. This might be a worthwhile conversation to bring up to schools you're interested in but that currently have the GRE as a requirement. I imagine that a few would waive the requirement if the GRE isn't available in your country.
  13. Iā€™d also consider expanding your search outside English. I think your interests could easily fit within either American Culture or Women, Gender and Sexuality programs. Iā€™m not saying that being placed in English is impossible though because it is but options might not be as plentiful as considering other fields. English has a tendency to be able to classify interests based on time periods. Young Adult Fiction is harder to classify because of this. Other fields may have a different way that they classify applicants.
  14. Washington University in St. Louis might be worth a look into: Research Interests: https://english.wustl.edu/browse Graduate Certificates: https://english.wustl.edu/phd-program#primary
  15. Are you referring to Android Package Kits? If so, it doesn't really fit into what we're looking for.
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