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fortsibut

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About fortsibut

  • Rank
    Mocha

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  • Location
    Western NY
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program
    African History

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  1. Not sure that I agree with this, unless we're talking about program with rolling acceptances and limited spots. My impression was that (at least in the history programs to which I applied, so this may be program or discipline-specific) adcoms sat down at one time and went over all applications at that point. I'm not even sure committee members have access to (or interest in/time to go through) applications before that point. The point you and the poster above you made about not procrastinating and waiting until the last minute and polishing your application materials as much as possible is well-taken, though. In terms of my contribution to this thread, I'm not sure what all I could've done differently. I do know that I should've reached out to POIs; might've mentioned this in a different thread a week or two back, but I found out after rejections rolled out that my POI at my top school was retiring. Why didn't I email her this year so that I would have known that and picked a different POI at that school and thus had a better shot at acceptance? I didn't know which advice to listen to since I've heard "make sure you contact POIs before applying and introduce yourself/see if they're taking students" and "for the love of God don't bother them and risk alienating them." Well lesson learned, and next year I'm reaching out to absolutely everyone; if they're annoyed by a polite introductory email then they'd be a shitty person to work with anyway. I very much agree with @GradAppl5's point about not applying to schools you'd have trouble making yourself attend were you accepted. I had one school that I didn't apply to this year (for a variety of reasons), and one of the primary reasons for my hesitance was that even though there were some good POI matches there I couldn't get excited about the school or location. Maybe that's kind of a dumb reason to pass on applying (and to be fair, I've never been to the city where the school is located), but I feel like if you're going to spend 5+ years at a location for a PhD the location is kind of important. There were a couple of applications that I kind of half-assed, which is particularly stupid since they could have been good fits and I certainly didn't get application fee waivers for them. The early-mid December deadlines were tough for me because it was a hectic time (as opposed to Jan 1st/15th which was much calmer), but I should've had all my ducks in a row at that point by working during the summer/fall to polish everything. Application season comes but once a year and there's no excuse for my lack of preparedness. I won't make that mistake again. Several people in the history forum also pointed out that I probably didn't cast my net widely enough this past year and looked for too perfect a fit, and that's a really good point. I still don't feel like I 100% grasp what makes a "good enough" fit with a POI in history I guess. I'm not sure what to do about the GRE. I killed it on verbal (167) but didn't do well on quant (150) or aw (4.5). I put literally zero prep time into aw (the first time I had seen the format at all was when I took the test) and that was dumb. Some people say GRE scores don't matter in the humanities (particularly quant), but that's something I'm really starting to question. I don't think I'll take it again since I'm going to study for and take the LSAT this summer and I have a lot of editing work to do on my writing sample since I'm trying to get it published, but it's been on my mind. I don't know what else to do to strengthen the written elements of my application for next year, honestly. Publication is a long shot and I don't really have anything lined up to show programs that I'm more awesome this year than last, other than possibly adjuncting a course in the fall which most top-tier schools aren't going to care about. I really have no idea what to do to stand out more this time around. tl:dr: this coming year I'll prepare early, pick my target schools more carefully, and reach out to POIs. EDIT: Gratz on the acceptance, @Ternwild! Hadn't been on the site for a few days (week?) so I just noticed.
  2. Got into Syracuse's museum studies MA with 30% funding but without a GA'ship I can't justify attending. If I'm gonna sink $30k into a second MA it's gonna be HiLi, which I'm still waiting to hear from.
  3. Excitement: My backup plans include two MA programs, one cool and one way cooler. Worries: I won't receive enough funding to justify attending.
  4. Since I already have a MA in history with good recs from that school (HiLi is an interdisciplinary MA so I think that'll really add another dimension to my skill set and applications) I'm going to apply to a few schools this fall regardless of whether or not I attend HiLi and use my old recommenders rather than ask someone I've only know for a month or so (which would be a bad idea, as @telkanuru pointed out). I know that my fall transcript would be done in time to include with the applications so that along with me including the program in my SoP and my goals for doing so will be a solid addition to my applications. Worst case, I don't get in, waste a few hundred bucks on app fees, and reapply with a much stronger app the next time around. It doesn't make sense for me to sit out a cycle entirely just because I haven't finished the program yet (especially since it appears that I didn't miss by much at Cornell) but that's probably situation dependent. If you have a few target schools and a solid application already, I'd think it'd be worth a shot with your fall grades from the program you attend and your past info, but that's really up to you! I just hate to waste a year if I don't have to, personally.
  5. It's funny, that's one of the appealing things about the program for me! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
  6. That's my concern too; 20% is nice and all, but damn. If they make me a decent offer though, I'm definitely going. It fits in perfectly with my research interests and I need to improve my French anyway. I can pass for French when I speak but my written grammar is atrocious! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
  7. I'm submitting my application this weekend! You're going to 'Nova though, right? How long ago did you submit your application to HiLi?
  8. I'm sorry. =( You're not out of it yet; there's always Northwestern! I know the feeling, though. It's pretty brutal reporting back that you struck out for the cycle, especially if you have LoR writers who you knew put a lot of time and effort into the recommendations.
  9. I've only been through two cycles, but after the first I sent a polite "thank you" email to my profs, let them know that I hadn't gotten in but was planning to try again the next year, mentioned what I was doing to strengthen my future applications, and said that I'd welcome any feedback/suggestions that they had and hoped they'd be willing to serve as references during the next cycle. All three were wonderful about it, although YMMV since two are professors I had for undergrad and grad courses who were also my MA thesis advisers and one is someone with whom I consulted extensively during my MA thesis who subsequently hired me to teach a course in his department we have pretty close professional relationships so it wasn't awkward for me. The only time I felt weird reaching out was when I added a program at the last minute (a few weeks' notice, but in academia that's quick!) and had to ask them for references pretty quickly. They were all cool about it but it's definitely something I'll avoid doing again since I know they have a lot going on and I really hate inconveniencing people who are nice enough to do me favors.
  10. Sounds like you have some good options! From your sig it looks like youโ€™ve already applied to Oxford; do you have an app to Cambridge in progress? HiLi is Columbia, yes! It looks like an awesome interdisciplinary program and I love Paris so a year studying there would be a dream, but it all comes down to finances. I know the conventional wisdom of โ€œnever pay for a graduate degree,โ€ but Iโ€™m willing to take on some debt for a great fit that would position me well for next application cycle. Weโ€™ll see how it pans out!
  11. I definitely screwed up this cycle by focusing too specifically on finding programs with "perfect" (or near-perfect) fit geographically, topically, and period-wise and probably dismissed a number of programs out of hand that could have been a really good match for my research interests. I really appreciate your (and @AfricanusCrowther)'s suggestions for the next cycle. I think I doubted my ability to pitch myself in a way that showed enough flexibility to schools where the fit wasn't completely ideal. I feel much better about that prospect for the next go round.
  12. For sure! I was planning to reapply one final time anyway, but knowing that I was pretty close just makes me that much more determined. I'm applying to two one-year MA programs right now that would provide me with some more breadth (particularly HiLi, although I'd really have to get a pretty sizeable tuition break there to make it affordable) and I'll work on getting part of my MA thesis published in the meantime. What MA programs are you looking at for this coming year?
  13. Thanks so much! I'm sorry that you've had the same bad luck this application cycle that I have so far, but I hope you get into a great MA program this year and I'll look forward to having a familiar...avatar? to commiserate with next cycle. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ @Ternwild: things might be a little bit different in STEM than it is in the humanities, I feel like (and could be wrong) that you have more non-academic options with a STEM PhD than you would in history. I'm also a little wary of going to a program that would grant me a degree but not have the prestige to get me a job. I looked at Howard University, for example, which at one point I considered to be a pretty good fit but I wasn't sure what doors would be open to me ~six years down the road when I finished. It's definitely something for me to think about over the course of the next year, though, and I appreciate your suggestion.
  14. Thank you! Yep, that looks like the same one I got last year for sure. What's your field of study, out of curiosity? EDIT: just saw that you posted it earlier, oops! Gratz on the UGA acceptance! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
  15. Really sorry to hear that. =( I was actually telling some friends this weekend that there was a cool Africanist on this site and that I hoped you got in if I didn't. Hoping things work out for you at Northwestern!! I also struck out at Cornell, but the interesting thing was that I got a very different email this year than I did last year. Last year's email (or as I referred to it to some friends, the "Bye, Felicia" email) was short, terse, and ended with "We appreciate your interest in History at Cornell and wish you success in continuing your studies at another university." This year's email (which seemed to mirror one that was sent out to select students last year based on a comment on the results page) told me that my application was "among the best that (they) received" and that "it remained in consideration up through the final stage of the review process." Anyone else rejected by Cornell able to confirm that there were multiple letters? (It's also possible that we all made it to the final cut but no further.) It'd be a real encouragement to me in the year ahead to know that I was at least making real progress and that this wasn't just a new letter they sent to everyone.
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