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About foppery

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    English PhD

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  1. <br style="text-shadow: none;"><br style="text-shadow: none;">I second this. If there's one thing I learned during my application season, it's that if your application is good, no one will care whether you submit a PDF or a .doc (or any number of trivial things); and if you're not a good fit for the department, no amount of reformatting will alter your chances. STOP WORRYING. It's bad for the health. Some departments don't even care whether they get your GRE scores on time, let alone whether you convert all your documents into PDFs. <br style="text-shadow: none;">
  2. <br style="text-shadow: none;"><br style="text-shadow: none;">No, that sounds fine! My own approach to literature is much more historical than theoretical, so I didn't feel the need to mention any scholar in particular. But if you're planning to use specific theories in your future research, mentioning your favorite proponents of those theories seems like the way to go. <br style="text-shadow: none;">
  3. Since I'm not an -ist of any kind (I did go through an unfortunate deconstructionist phase in college, but the less said about that the better), I didn't mention a single critic in my SOP. I don't think you need to name-drop unless you feel a strong allegiance to a particular theoretical approach, or unless a specific critic has had a major influence on your work. Otherwise, save the name-dropping for your writing sample. <br style="text-shadow: none;">
  4. In my current cohort of 13, only three students have MAs. So, yes, I would agree that admission standards are higher for MAs - but I'd also say that if you have an MA *and* a clearly defined plan of study, your graduate degree won't hold you back. Essentially, my advice is that if you're already a solid candidate with a BA, you might as well apply to PhD programs; but if your undergraduate record isn't what it could be, or if you're not certain that graduate work is for you, you should apply to MA programs. (By the way, it's true that applying with only a BA allows you more freedom - I kno
  5. <br style="text-shadow: none;"><br style="text-shadow: none;">I can tell you, with no shame at all, that I got a 6 for two formulaic, uninspired essays that followed the format set out in my Princeton Review book. I don't even remember what my prompts were (though I do remember being so anxious that I nearly ran out of the testing center), but I am living, breathing evidence that ETS isn't looking for originality. Since Medievalmaniac and I got the same score for what seem to have been very different essay styles, I can only imagine that the scoring is very arbitrary, and based per
  6. I got in the first time around, and so did most people I know (not to sound bitchy; that was just my experience). <br style="text-shadow: none;"><br style="text-shadow: none;"><br style="text-shadow: none;">
  7. <br style="text-shadow: none;"> Yes, but a five-year stipend does allow you to wait out the recession (or at least part of it). <br style="text-shadow: none;"><br style="text-shadow: none;">
  8. The question is, how much time do you think you'll need to spend studying in order to get a score over 600? 580 is close enough to 600 that you probably won't need to study *too* hard, and luck is such a big component of the GRE that you might even score higher the second time around. (Frankly, you might score higher if you took it tomorrow, with no extra studying.) I took the November subject test and it got to my programs in time, so I don't think that will be too much of an issue. And if you report your scores in time, your schools probably won't care if the official scores take a while
  9. <br style="text-shadow: none;"><br style="text-shadow: none;">Ditto. As always, my advice is this: If a certain prof is capable of answering a question that *you* can't answer by looking around the website (e.g. "Are you still working on X, the topic of your latest book?"), go ahead and write. But don't bother if your email is going to be along the lines of "Hi, just wanted to let you know I'm applying, please accept me."<br style="text-shadow: none;">
  10. I'm certainly willing to take back my advice; I didn't mention specific professors, and I was successful in my applications, but I realize that many other people have applied to programs in a totally different way. What this *should* prove, above all, is that no one detail is going to make or break your application!<br style="text-shadow: none;">
  11. <br style="text-shadow: none;"><br style="text-shadow: none;">As I've noted before on this forum, my adviser told me not to mention specific professors in my SOP. I know other people here disagree with this advice, but I think it's sound: the professors decide whether *your* interests correspond with *theirs*, not vice versa. A statement like "Professor X works on subjectivity, which I discuss at length in my thesis" sounds a little presumptuous. No matter what work you've done on subjectivity, your potential professors have probably done more thinking and research (no offense inte
  12. Since the GRE subject tests are scored on a 200-990 scale, but a score of 990 (or, frankly, anything above 800) is unheard of, the percentage system is always a bit weird...<br style="text-shadow: none;">
  13. <br style="text-shadow: none;"><br style="text-shadow: none;">Dude, applying to 16 schools is crazy. I applied to 6. I second diehtc0ke: If your interests are so unfocused (as you mention in a later comment) that you have to apply to 16 programs, then you need to reconsider your interests. Applying to programs is incredibly expensive and time-consuming, and there's such a thing as having too many options. I'd recommend no more than 10, though I seem to be in the minority here...<br style="text-shadow: none;">
  14. First, I'd like to echo all those people who are reassuring you about your scores. Though the difference between the 98th and 99th percentiles is negligible, the difference between 710 and 800 *looks* huge, so I can see where your worries are coming from. But if I remember correctly, applications ask you to list your percentiles along with your scores. No need to panic! Second, four years of French and a year of Latin from high school? That's GREAT. No one cares where you picked up your languages, so long as you're proficient in them. And it's not like departments call and ask you to sight-
  15. Wow, you sound just like me in my freshman year! So I'm going to give you the same advice I would give younger me: STOP WORRYING. At this stage, you don't need to think about programs that will fit your specific interests, especially as those interests are bound to change. (I entered college assuming I wanted a PhD in early American history, and now I'm doing a PhD in 17th- and 18th-century British lit.) The only things you should be worrying about are maintaining a high GPA, making connections with professors, and participating in a few relevant extracurriculars (though grad schools care abou
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