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dagnabbit

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dagnabbit last won the day on February 2 2017

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About dagnabbit

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    Double Shot

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  • Location
    Northeast
  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  • Program
    Political Science PhD

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  1. I think @sloth_girl is right. Do note also that GC prevents you from editing your posts after some relatively short period of time, so if you post a partial list now you'll have to post a whole new one in order to update.
  2. I'm going to disagree with @Neo_Institutionalist here. Publishing a nonfiction, original research-driven book is a great signal of your ability to complete an involved project and your ability to market your work (very important for academic publishing also). It would certainly be appropriate to use a chapter from this book as your writing sample. My opinion is that admissions committees don't place too much weight on the *quality* of research that one produces prior to starting their PhD. You are not expected to be a high-quality researcher yet; you haven't had the training! Rather, they look for signals that 1. you know what research is, and 2. that you possess qualities (intelligence, perseverance) that will help you to succeed in the program, publish your work, and get a job. For 1, most applicants submit RA experience, writing sample, and SOP. For 2, they submit their GPA/GRE scores and their letters of rec. Your book is evidence that you can do original research, and that you have the resolve necessary to undergo a book-length project. Conditional on the other aspects of your application, the book can only help you. Honest advice, though: please do not consider yourself a mini-celebrity. There are folks in my program with this attitude, and it hurts their relationships with faculty as well as their fellow graduate students. The truth is that you will be a first-year graduate student, with much promise, perhaps, but with just as much to learn as the rest of your cohort. Apologies if you were being facetious with the "mini-celebrity" comment - hard to tell on the internet. But I have met enough people who believe that they are superior to their colleagues on the basis of some pre-grad school achievement to tell you with some certainty that this is not a formula for academic success.
  3. In my experience, math camp serves two purposes that have nothing to do with math: 1. It allows incoming grads to transition back into "academic mode" - attending lectures, doing assignments, et cetera - before formal courses begin. This seemed to be especially useful for those in my cohort who had been out of school for a while. 2. It's a great bonding exercise. You spend a lot of time with your cohort, grab drinks/food after the lecture, and start to build friendships. I think this is really the most important part of the whole exercise, and thus I would strongly encourage all incoming grads to attend (even if your math + programming chops are already very strong).
  4. n of 1 here, but the interview that I had a couple years ago was somewhere in between casual and formal. Most questions were just further probings on my interests, works that had inspired my (proposed) research agenda, and so on. I'd recommend that you be as honest as possible when answering questions about your interests, and prepare a few good questions for the interviewer about the program. They certainly won't be testing your knowledge of their program, beyond maybe asking you if you're still interested in working with the faculty that you ID-ed in your SOP. Cheat sheet is probably unnecessary - focus on communicating your interest in the program and having a pleasant conversation.
  5. In my view, the phrase "political economy" is practically meaningless given its wide range of uses. Even its most general interpretation (work at the intersection of political science and economics) is fairly useless, as the two fields borrow so heavily from one another that the majority of political science research could reasonably be described as political economy. I would advise you to try to narrow it down in some way; IR and comparative politics both have their own political economy subfields (IPE and CPE) with stronger identities, for example. Or you could clarify that you're interested in the political economy of _____ (finance/development/etc).
  6. If it's within your means, I think you should definitely apply to any top program at which your interests could be accommodated; even if admission at said places is a long shot (my rejection e-mail from Michigan a couple of years ago informed me that they received ~500 applications), the benefits of attendance are worth rolling the dice. It is true that your GRE scores will count against you at the Stanfords and Princetons of the world, but that's just one piece of your file. If you feel that your quant score is not reflective of your quantitative abilities, consider asking one of your letter writers (who can vouch for your quant chops) to address this in their letter. I should have phrased my first post better - I didn't mean to suggest that you weren't competitive at certain programs, or that you planned to blanket the top 25. My intention was merely to argue that, once you get past the handful of programs that everyone agrees are the best, there is a lot of noise in the rankings. Therefore, I would caution against arbitrarily imposing a cutoff at rank 25 when there are a number of lower-ranked programs that could offer you the same (or better) job prospects as many programs within the top 25.
  7. Contingent on your letters of rec/SOP being in good shape, I think you should certainly have a shot at programs in the 15-25 range. However, I would suggest a slightly different approach: instead of applying to every program in the top 25, target the programs that are placing well in your subfield without placing a hard ceiling on ranking. In political behavior, for example, Stony Brook or UVA would probably be better choices than Northwestern or TAMU. I would also recommend checking out the results page on this forum - you can see some of the stats (gpa/gre) of past applicants to various programs that you're considering, and whether they were accepted or not. It is certainly a selected sample (accepted applicants much more likely to post results than rejected ones), but might be useful to see where you stand. Regarding GSB v. poli sci at Stanford, I'd say that both are pretty insanely competitive. Another thing to note is that GSB has a laundry list of math prereqs, because you'll be expected to take the micro and econometrics sequences.
  8. Are you ultimately interested in an academic career, or a professional one? If it's the former, I would definitely recommend against doing an MA in IR. If it's the latter, you should probably post on the government affairs subforum - most of us on this forum are applying for or pursuing PhDs in political science.
  9. Some thoughts: 1. I don't think the calculus grades are going to torpedo your applications. First, admissions committees understand that college-level math courses are substantially more difficult to ace than social science/humanities courses. Second, these courses are generally not required (de jure or de facto) for admission to political science PhD programs, and they are not required to understand and conduct quantitative research. Anecdote: a 3rd-year grad student at my (top 20, for what it's worth) program does sophisticated quantitative work, and recently mentioned to me that he never took a single math or stats course in undergrad. This is not uncommon, from my understanding. 2. In terms of how to best invest your time going forward, I would recommend against: Trying to publish current research projects. It's too time-consuming and the chances of publishing in a respectable venue as an undergrad are too low to make the risk worth the reward. Don't abandon your ideas, of course, but publishing is not the best goal at this stage In addition to the cost of tuition, the time that you would need to invest in taking math at a CC would be substantial. I don't think it will do much to increase your chances of admission, either. Instead: If it is within your means, take the GRE again with less pressure and more focus on the quant section (you already have a very decent score). If you can improve your quant score by a few points or more, it would signal that your academic history does not accurately reflect your abilities. Talk to your thesis advisor about your self-study of S&B and Siegel's course, and maybe ask if he/she could speak to your quantitative skills in his/her letter. You could mention this yourself, of course, but I think it will be a lot more credible coming from a respected name in your field. Best of luck!
  10. I would say that FSU is the clear choice, especially for IR.
  11. As others have said, it's hard to go wrong given your choices here. A couple things to consider: 1. You say that all of the financial packages are good, which is to be expected of top programs. However, the details beyond the stipend can be very important: are you guaranteed summer funding? How many years of fellowship? Easy access to conference $ and other internal research funding? These factors should not be your primary concern when deciding between programs, but they definitely matter. TA and RA work, while valuable experiences, can eat up a lot of time that could otherwise be spent on coursework and research. 2. Don't just look at department placement records, look at your potential advisor's placement record. There is a lot of variation in advising quality within departments, and some faculty members are known for being especially strong advocates for their students. David Lake is an example of one such person - many of UCSD's best placements are his students. Good luck!
  12. My guess is that they're trying to rank the prospective students on their waitlist, so that they can send admissions to the top x students based on how many open spots they have after hearing back from the initial admits. As @Stdrauss said, they also want to make sure that you would accept their offer if admitted - particularly if they are really shooting for a certain number of admits. If this is a program that you would absolutely attend if offered admission, I would strongly advise you to make this fact apparent during your visit.
  13. At public schools it's not unusual to have your stipend tied to TA/RA work, so I don't think that the issue is that you'll be TA-ing too much. However, it's a little concerning that they are only guaranteeing you partial employment past the first year - $13k in Santa Barbara (according to an online cost of living calculator) is equivalent to about 8K in somewhere like Columbus or Austin. That's almost certainly not going to be enough to live on without taking on some debt. I would recommend asking current grad students about how easy it is to find additional TA/RA work during the third quarter/summers, how many per cohort receive continuing fellowships, et cetera.
  14. I agree with @MrsPhD - I have only heard of a few cases in which a student was asked to leave a poli sci phd program because they failed comps. It seems that there are two more common types of attrition: 1. Those who leave within the first couple of years to pursue other opportunities / follow their partner / etc 2. Those who never manage to finish their dissertations. The first type is almost entirely idiosyncratic, and should not be of concern to you when choosing a program. The second type is usually not program dependent, but it could be indicative of issues w/r/t advising. If you haven't already, I would strongly recommend that you speak with some of your potential advisors' current students; this can help you identify warning signs about the faculty member (unresponsive/hard to work with/might be leaving/etc) and give you a sense of their respective advising philosophies.
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