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About fortsibut

  • Rank
    Double Shot

Profile Information

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

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1,220 profile views
  1. fortsibut

    What piece(s) of advice would you give to new TAs?

    If you're TA'ing a large survey class and have to monitor attendance, set up assigned seats based on where people sit the first day and stick to it (if your prof is cool with it). My first semester as a GA I had no idea what I was doing and the prof with whom I was working (who was awesome!) told me that I was free to do attendance however I wanted and told me about a couple of different ways that her TAs had done it in the past. Unfortunately chose poorly; I opted to send 2 sign in sheets around the auditorium-one on each side-which was distracting to the students (~150 or so) and made extra work for me because I had to consolidate the names onto my spreadsheet after class three times a week. It was only about halfway through the semester when I ran into a TA from another course who advised me to do assigned seating and just check the seats during class, at which point it was way too late to institute a policy like that. Don't make extra work for yourself!! Also if your prof gives you the chance to do a guest lecture, make time for it no matter how busy you are during the semester. I was pretty swamped between my own classes and TA'ing responsibilities the semester I TA'd a World History course and passed on the chance to do a lecture on late colonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa which would have been a lot of fun to do and great experience, and I really regret that. Finally, keep track of any earnest students who actually show up to your office hours or study sessions (should you offer any) and pass their names along to the prof with whom you're working when the end of the semester rolls around, if you get the sense that the prof has any interest in that information. I had 4-5 dedicated students who would come by and go over test results, ask questions about the readings, etc. a couple of times a month and they all got grade bumps during finals.
  2. fortsibut

    How extensive are TA/GA/RA background checks?

    I was a GA/TA in my MA program and they did run a background check on me before the paperwork was finalized, and I asked for a copy of the resulting documentation because I was curious. It indicated that they checked for a criminal record over the past seven years. I'm not sure how widespread that is, but I attended a state school in NY. Offhand I can't remember if they did a credit report or anything like that but IIRC it was just a criminal background check. I certainly didn't have to go through anything as intensive as meep did.
  3. fortsibut

    Favorite Rejection Quotes from the Results Page

    As someone who lives not far from Buffalo, this is true of this city at the very least.
  4. fortsibut

    I do not have a plan B

    Considering my plan B is staying at my dead end job for another year, I feel your pain! Still, I wouldn't overthink not having heard anything right away from the schools. Did the person's claimed acceptance line up with that program's usual acceptance window based on past years' results on the admissions search here? I wouldn't feel too worried unless you get to the point where the primary wave of acceptances for all of your schools has gone been over for a few weeks, and even then there are possibilities of late acceptances as @vaibhavpandey said. Remember that in the US, accepted students have until April 15th to make a final decision on all of their offers so if you're waitlisted (officially or unofficially) that's another point where you might get some good news if you're a borderline acceptance case. So keep your head up! You definitely seem to be a very qualified candidate from a numbers perspective. In terms of a plan B, it's always good to have one. Last year when I was unsuccessful in applying I spent time thinking about how I could best improve my application for the next year. I finished my master's thesis and my MA degree, presented my work at a conference, and spent a lot of time polishing my writing sample and statement of purpose. I also found the job that I have now which isn't glamorous or a long term solution, but pays the bills for the time being. If you're serious about going through another application cycle if you don't get in this time around, I would begin thinking about a plan B and how to make yourself a more attractive candidate for the next time around. Work on your writing sample, stay current with research in your field, try to find activities that boost your CV. If you can find a job related to your field for the next year, all the better! Basically expect the best, plan for the worst. Even if you get in this year, these activities will help keep you busy while you wait for the programs' responses. Good luck to you and everyone here; hopefully we'll all be headed to our dream schools this fall!
  5. fortsibut

    How did you find TheGradCafe?

    It's been a few years, but I think something on the site (forums or the results search) popped up with a Google search. At the time I wasn't ready to apply but knew I would in the future so I was more of a lurker than anything else. I've certainly learned a lot from some members on here, and became more neurotic from spamming the results search function during application season. 😃
  6. fortsibut

    What are your hobbies?

    Reading, hiking, playing some video games online with friends if the stars align and we can all make it on at the same time. I've been doing a lot of walking and cooking lately although that's more an effort to get in shape (although I do enjoy cooking) more than those activities are hobbies.
  7. fortsibut

    Did anyone tried to discourage you from pursuing a PhD?

    Not actively, although some of my family members feel that given the awful academic job market I should opt for law school instead of history programs. It doesn't bother me since it comes from a place of love and they support me, they're just worried that I'll burn 5+ years in a program only to really struggle to find employment.
  8. fortsibut

    Venting Thread- Vent about anything.

    My retail job has been rough lately (so many rude customers, what is wrong with these people?) and I had a minor injury recently as well that's lingering and annoying. 3-4 weeks 'til two of my schools send out acceptances and 6 weeks for the other two. It's going to be a long wait, but not as bad as it's going to be if I don't get in anywhere and have to stay at this job for another year while I go through another application cycle. =(
  9. fortsibut

    Fall 2019 Applicants

    I'm not saying that your socioeconomic status has no bearing on your opportunities in your early life and opportunities for undergraduate admission, but as I said I'm talking about *equally-qualified candidates* (e.g. students from similarly ranked schools with similar GPAs/test scores) applying to graduate programs and awards. If you have any evidence indicating that there are lingering effects from students' pre-undergrad years that link directly to a higher failure rate in graduate program and/or awards won I'd be interested in seeing it. I was only speculating about the direct admission process and the information requested by/provided to the program. I'll concede the point that if you have to work your way through school while dealing with a full time job and family your path will be harder and your grades may suffer, although there was a student in my graduating undergrad class and primary major that did that and ranked right up with me so it's certainly possible to overcome a lot if you have the work ethic. What types of cues are you talking about, specifically? This is interesting. ----- Sorry, I guess this is getting a bit off topic so I'll stop derailing at this point. 😃
  10. fortsibut

    Fall 2019 Applicants

    Sure, but none of my applications asked for any information about my finances whatsoever, and I think most schools try to avoid any socioeconomic bias by refraining from asking for that information. As I said earlier, your additional finances simply demonstrates to the program that you have achieved something by winning it (and as telkanuru mentioned, indicates that you have potential grantwriting abilities from the start) and lets them know that you have additional resources to put towards your studies. Regardless of your socioeconomic background you had the same chance of winning the award that you did as a billionaire or a broke college student. Two things that do really suck financially and serve as a major economic restrictions, however, are application fees, test taking fees, and the cost of sending the test scores to your chosen schools. All in all it worked out to be over $100 apiece at most of my schools, in addition to the cost of taking the GRE itself. I'm fortunate enough to have parents who were willing to let me move back in with them between my MA and PhD so I could work and save money and thus the costs were an annoyance more than anything else, but not everyone is in that position. If you're forced to live paycheck to paycheck and have to take a test and apply to, say, 8 schools, that ~$1,000 will likely make for some seriously lean months leading up to the submission of your applications. I'd be interested to know the experiences of everyone else who qualified for financial hardship application fee waivers. Of the four schools to which I applied, only Cornell offered one (Columbia did offer one, but only if you were currently attending an educational institution whose office could provide you with the appropriate paperwork).
  11. fortsibut

    The Graduate Institute Geneva (IHEID) 2019

    I was looking for a thread like this last year when I was hunting for information about people applying. I almost applied this year for the international history PhD but haven't had time to get everything together for it, and I'll definitely be applying next year if I don't get in anywhere this application cycle; absolutely love Geneva as a city and the opportunities GIG offers. If any of you get in, I'd love to hear from you about your experiences at the school even if it's in different programs. Good luck to all of you who are applying!
  12. fortsibut

    Fall 2019 Applicants

    Not sure what that acronym means, but I’ll take your advice to heart regardless. 😃
  13. fortsibut

    Fall 2019 Applicants

    Double post but new topic. Had a funny freak out moment yesterday when I got an email from Michigan State telling me to check a message in the portal. Thoughts running through my mind: "It's way too early to realistically get a response." "Wow, they rejected me FAST!" "Maybe someone wants an interview?" "But why wouldn't they email me directly?" "OH CRAP DID I FORGET TO SEND IN SOMETHING??" Actual message: "Hey in case you didn't fill out this survey we sent a link to a few weeks back (I did) you should fill out this survey." That was when I learned that Michigan State University is full of trolls.
  14. fortsibut

    Fall 2019 Applicants

    This is sort of a response to both you and nerd. When I referenced the money I probably should have been more specific. What I was trying to say was that if I were a POI (which I'm certainly not) and I had the choice between two otherwise equally-qualified applicants I'd definitely pick the one with the award that cyborg describes for two reasons. First, it's (according to your own description) a fairly prestigious award which sets you apart, and secondly it gives you additional funds to spend on your doctoral research. That extra cash can allow for a lot of extra travel and research which can in turn give you more opportunities to put out an exceptional final product, which your advisor's name would be attached to. I would think that those two reasons could make a POI choose you over someone else. Now obviously I'm not advocating for the wealthy to buy their way into prestigious graduate programs (*cough* Trump's dad and Trump's Wharton acceptance) nor am I saying that I think this *should* be an issue that tips the scales, but I'd be shocked if it's a throwaway question on Cornell's application form. We can argue about whether finances SHOULD be an issue, but I'm highly skeptical that they're not considered in the process. On an unrelated note, your field of study sounds really interesting, cyborg!
  15. fortsibut

    Fall 2019 Applicants

    Can't say for certain because I have no firsthand knowledge of the inner workings of admissions committees, but several of my PhD applications specifically asked if I had funding I was bringing with me (Fulbrights, etc.). I assume that this wouldn't be a huge point in your favor, but it would almost certainly be a major tiebreaker for you were you and another applicant similarly qualified. In any case, welcome to the forums and good luck in this process! If you feel comfortable sharing, what is your area of specialization, and where are you applying?

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