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About nandoswitharando

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  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    Sociology PhD
  1. Borderline GRE AWA score?

    @soci0logy1992, thanks for the detailed response! My draft statement appears to meet the criteria you provided. I'll just have to keep tweaking it, and I need to work on those diversity statements (which stress me out, even though I am a minority multiple times over). Do you have any tips for writing the diversity statement – specifically, writing it in a way that doesn't sound "woe is me" or "confrontational" while still both addressing the very real obstacles that I (and people like me) have faced in academia and discussing how who I am impacts my research interests and potential future activities (in research and teaching)? EDIT: In writing the diversity statement, I'm worried that I may be rehashing parts of my statement of purpose... any tips on addressing that?
  2. Borderline GRE AWA score?

    I'm applying to top PhD programs in sociology (Columbia, Berkeley, UCLA, Irvine, UT Austin, etc.) I took the GRE last week and got a 165 V (95th percentile), 155 Q (59th percentile), and a 4.5 AWA (82nd percentile). I'm happy about my verbal, somewhat satisfied with my quant, and nervous about my AWA. Will the 4.5 AWA score cause adcoms* to look askance at my entire application? I'm a senior undergrad at a private, top-20 U.S. university, and I've been writing a qualitative honors thesis for the past year. I have a 3.811 cumulative GPA, with a 3.865 GPA in my last 60 credits. I've had the same research assistant job for over 2.5 years, and am that professor's only RA. An article I co-authored with faculty is under R&R with an education policy journal. I also speak four languages (English is not my first language, though I was born and raised in the States). My interests lie in K–12 education (especially secondary), immigration, and race/ethnicity. More detailed info about me is in this thread Will all of these other qualifications be enough to outweigh my mediocre/slightly above-average AWA score, or should I retake the whole test for an extra 0.5–1.0 increase? I'm a first-generation college student and a Black woman, so I'm aware that I will probably be subject to increased scrutiny. In terms of time and money, I can't afford to retake the test without applying for a small grant from my university/not eating healthy food for a while and shifting focus away from my coursework, thesis, job, etc. *Besides Austin, which I know doesn't consider AWA scores at all.
  3. Please grade my GRE Issue essay!

    @dmueller0711 Thank you so much for the detailed feedback! This was my first time writing a GRE essay. I didn't know you could make up statistics to back up claims – this information is incredibly useful (albeit questionable, given the reason for taking this test in the first place). I've read The Craft of Research before, but never thought about it in terms of the GRE, so I'll revisit it with the exam in mind.
  4. GRE Scores Overview

    UT Austin: 159V, 151Q (incoming students, not the entire pool of accepted students). Source here.
  5. Please grade my GRE Issue essay!

    Prompt: “Students should only take courses that have a direct bearing on their future careers.” Response: Students should mostly take courses that directly relate to their future careers, as that is the point of a major. However, while some courses may not have any direct bearing on one's future careers, there are certainly opportunities to study things that have indirect effects on one's profession, how one interacts with others, how one thinks critically, and so forth. Thus, students should be required to take a handful of courses with content that can be applied to multiple facets of their lives. For example, as artificial intelligence, electronic tracking and surveillance, online harassment, and targeted advertising are have become more common in the past few years, software developers must think critically about the effects – both positive and negative – that their products have on individuals and on society. However, computer science majors generally do not include ethics requirements. As a result, surreptitious surveillance and anonymous harassment (often on the basis of race, ethnicity, skin color, gender, sexuality, religion, and/or national origin) have run rampant on the Internet. If all computer science majors were required to take at least one ethics course, they would be at least somewhat primed to consider more deeply the connections between humans and technology; this would reduce the risk of causing significant harm to the users of their products. That being said, there is some merit in the opposing argument. As the cost of university attendance rises in the United States and in many other countries, students and their families are much more cost-conscious than they were in previous decades. The fewer seemingly extraneous courses a student takes, the less time it will take for them to graduate, allowing them to enter the labor market at a younger age. This is certainly a valid concern. To balance these two opposing interests, universities should require only a few core courses that will aid all students both at work and in everyday life: for example, an ethics course (which could be divided further into bioethics, ethics for computer scientists, ethics and public policy, et cetera), a survey course of world religions (so that students are more knowledgeable regarding and tolerant of cultural differences), or a course in basic statistics and data analysis (so that students can become more informed consumers, voters, and readers). Undergraduate students ought to be mostly enrolled in courses that are related to their majors and future careers, but there is some significant value in taking courses that teach content that can be applied to a wide range of issues and dilemmas, regardless of profession. By exposing students to ideas and topics that they would have otherwise not considered, universities will produce more mature, thoughtful, and well-informed citizens.
  6. From top int'l affairs BS to top soc PhD?

    @Concordia I sure hope I can get in someplace with this record. I've been reading Inside Graduate Admissions and don't know what to make of my situation – I'm getting a degree from one of the best international affairs programs in the U.S./world, so I may be considered "low risk," but as a Black woman from a working-class family and a first-generation college student I may also be considered "high risk." My GPA also worries me, as I'm afraid I may no longer have a 4.00 major GPA after this semester (I'm in between an A- and an A in one course). Everyone else seems far more qualified and accomplished than me, which is making me nervous.
  7. From top int'l affairs BS to top soc PhD?

    Apologies if this is too early/not in the appropriate place – I'm only used to lurking here. I'm applying to sociology PhD programs for entry in fall 2018 and would like to get an indication of my chances from a more detached source so I can figure out whether it's worth shelling out hundreds of dollars on applications, GRE fees, etc. My faculty mentors all believe in my ability to get into my target programs, but I'm afraid they're just being nice. Of course, I know it will be difficult to gauge my chances of admission without GRE scores. Here is my info: BS institution: small-ish top-20 R1 private U.S. university BS major: international affairs; may pick up a Chinese minor Interests: education (K–12, especially secondary), international migration, race/ethnicity GPA: 3.81 cumulative; 4.00 major (will probably drop to a 3.95+ after this semester) GRE: none yet; I will begin studying in earnest after my final exams are over in mid-May, and will sit for the exam in August/early September. From what I've already studied, I can tell that my quant score will be lower than my verbal. Research experience: 2+ years of working as an RA on a mixed methods study in immigrant education honors thesis – qualitative; started conducting fieldwork in fall 2016; while I'm not a soc major, I draw heavily from sociology of race/education/migration; for what it's worth, I was told by the honors committee in my program that my proposal was the best they had seen in several years Publications: Under review: 1 co-authored with faculty; mid-tier education policy journal Presentations: 1 co-authored paper with faculty, AERA 1 solo paper at my uni's undergrad conference Coursework: Three research methods courses (one quant, one qual, one mixed), a handful of econ courses (required for my major), lots of anthropology courses LORs: I'm confident that I can get extremely strong letters from at least three professors, all of whom I've known for years. However, my university isn't well-known for sociology (we don't even offer graduate degrees in soc), so my writers are all from other social science disciplines. Other info: first-generation college student; Black; proficient in three foreign languages, including Mandarin; studied in Taiwan on a scholarship; interned in the executive branch of the U.S. federal government in an office directly related to my area of study Schools of interest: Columbia, UCLA, Berkeley, Penn, possibly Harvard GSE and NYU Steinhardt. I feel that I'm mediocre at best and totally unsuitable at worst. While I think my research experience and faculty relationships will help (I've got experience conducting interviews, including with minors and in languages other than English; designing and translating questionnaires; and using Stata), I think my GPA will set me back relative to other applicants, and I'm nervous about the GRE. I should note that I/my family can't afford to pay for an MA to boost my chances. With that, do you think I'm qualified for and should apply to these programs? If not, do you have suggestions for other programs, or should I not apply at all?
  8. Critical Language Scholarship 2016

    I haven't heard back either–I got an email a couple of weeks ago asking if I wanted to remain on the waiting list (I was assigned to Tainan). I'm still on the waiting list, but I have a backup scholarship and program ready (in Taipei) in case I end up not winning, so I'll go abroad no matter what.
  9. Critical Language Scholarship 2016

    I'm a semi-finalist for Chinese–I heard back last night. One of my friends found out this morning that she is a semi-finalist for Urdu.