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About Mike_Novick

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  • Birthday 09/08/1985

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  • Application Season
    2017 Fall
  • Program
    Political Science

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  1. Welcome to the 2016-17 cycle!

    Oxford's rejections are out.
  2. Next steps: MA in Politics, MPP - Any thoughts?

    Hello, @Bibica, thank you for providing me with your insights. I forgot you were also Brazilian! Congratulations for achieving such excellent results this cycle! Amazing! It must've been very hard to choose what to do, right? I live in Brasília, so I really thought about taking methods classes at UnB - the point is that only current graduate students are able to attend them (I was not authorized to enroll in these obligatory courses, according to Department's internal rules), so it has discouraged me a bit. But in fact I really should keep looking for similar opportunities, perhaps through online courses. I've completed my undergraduate studies at USP (International Relations) and my MA at FGV, in São Paulo. A senior professor from PolSci Department (USP) has been really helpful so far, specially considering that she taught me more than 10 years ago. As you've mentioned, networking seems to play a pivotal role (neglected by me) - I think I'll attend conferences in the short term in order to introduce myself to POIs. With regards to the GRE, I've scored a 324 (163V, 161Q, 4.5AWA) - no one told me so far that it may have constituted a weakness, but I think I could improve it (I have no formal training in English and I took a 40-day leave last October to focus on TOEFL - scored 112 - and on this exam). My undergraduate GPA is low (3.21), but I thought that by stressing my performance considering the last 60 credits (3.65), my MA GPA (4.00) and the fact that my dissertation was awarded with distinction I could then compensate for this potential flaw. Perhaps it didn't work, I don't know ... Do you recommend any specific program with those methodological aspects you've cited? A US professor suggested me to consider again Berkeley and Brown. Thanks and best of luck with your decisions!
  3. Next steps: MA in Politics, MPP - Any thoughts?

    Thanks, @VMcJ and @Comparativist for your insights. In my SoP, I've tried my best to show how my professional experience was an asset regarding my academic interests. To cut short, I work at an anticorruption agency and I've proposed to study corruption (I've framed the reasoning and the scope for that in detail there). I've also attempted to show that my prior independent researches - mostly on transparency and Open Government - were related to the inquiry presented. In my CV, I've detailed my trajectory and also emphasized other relevant experiences (I've promoted workshops on access to information policies and on strategy planning, I'm currently an editor of a academic journal, I have a background as an advocate for transparency, etc). My LoRs were, in my opinion, very strong - but all four came from Brazilians. My writing sample was a simplified version of an essay in which I presented a policy formulation framework based in Open Government, as a response to growing social demands in Brazil for accountability - I won a national prize conceded by the federal government for it a few years ago. In summary, I thought I had a competitive application - I knew it was going to be a very difficult process, but I expected to be admitted or waitlisted in at least one program. It is a good idea to check for programs that are more open to Brazilians. I have to say, however, that I'll probably have to "start all over again" in order to increase my chances anywhere, as the reasons for failing this cycle are not entirely clear - the hypotheses I presented in the opening post seem(ed) to be reasonable considering that my application wasn't a complete mess.
  4. Next steps: MA in Politics, MPP - Any thoughts?

    Hello, @TheWalkingGrad! Thanks for your inputs and congratulations for your admissions - it's inspiring to know you were able to perform such an improvement in just one cycle. So, have you decided where will you study? I do have research experience (I have published books, book chapters, articles in journals and I presented a number of papers presented at public management conferences - all of them based in qualitative methods), but somehow no one was impressed with that - I think someone being productive while remaining away from academia (as I did) seems weird to AdComms. Also, the training in methods I received both in my undergraduate and during my masters was very lacking, unfortunately. I think it would be great if I complete methods classes before submitting applications again. My relationship with Public Policy is ambiguous in the sense that I'm very connected to the field but I'm interested studying in a more abstract discipline - I sense that current trends in this field are directed at comprehending levels of efficacy of a given policy, and I'm more concerned with the underlying causes of public issues (despite having this normative bent, I'm applying in comparative, focused in Brazil). I see myself advising authorities on policy decisions, but I look forward to develop a career in academia - I'm not sure if a PhD in Public Policy would provide me with the needed "legitimacy" to do that as a PhD in Political Science would. On the other hand, it seems that a transition to PolSci is much harder than I predicted, so I'm in the middle of the crossroads right now. I'm also thinking about approaching POIs and discussing my interests - I intentionally avoided that during this cycle and, considering how away from academia I am (I've completed my MA in 2011), that may have been an inadequate strategy as well. Thanks again e boa sorte!
  5. Hello, everyone. I really would like to hear some thoughts from you regarding how could I make my application stronger for next cycle (I was rejected by 14 programs this year - I'm still waiting the formal rejection from Oxford's DPIR). I had the opportunity of talking to some professors in order to understand what factors may have hindered my chances of admission, and the following elements were presented: 1) Lack of a US/UK Degree (It seems to be very hard to be admitted in a Top-20 program having only Latin American academic credentials - I've surveyed some Departments and found only 4 current graduate students among 50+ that had previously studied exclusively in their countries of origin - Brazil, Argentina, Chile or Colombia); 2) Age (I'll be 32 in a few months and it appears that these universities prefer recently undergraduated students, as they are much more "malleable" to become leading scholars, academically wise); 3) Lack of institutional ties with research bodies/departments (my 6+ years of experience working as a civil servant seems to be irrelevant to Admission Committees - and it looks like independent researches are disconsidered as well); 4) Excessively qualitative approach both in my SoP and in my writing sample (I was awarded a national prize for a policy formulation framework I designed and I though it was a good idea to present it in my application). It seems that, in order to become a viable candidate for admission next cycle, I need to considerably reframe my profile - I thought I had a good background, but at least to Political Science Departments it looks like the other way around. Some colleagues have suggested I should change to Public Policy (I've applied last week to the DPhil Program at Oxford), but I'm not sure this is a good strategy. Perhaps it is, considering the professional trajectory I've followed over the last years ... Some folks recommended that a good strategy would be to apply to a MA; others, to a MPP. A third possibility would be apply to lower ranked universities. Honestly, I'm not sure if I'd have the stamina to pursue another Masters or the will to study in schools that are just as good as the best universities in my country. And quite frankly, I do feel prepared to perform advanced research - my inquiry interests are quite clear at this moment. However, I'm feeling "deadlocked" in some sense right now. I wonder if you could suggest a few good MA programs (or MPP) I could consider applying next cycle. Any other insights are very welcomed as well. Thanks in advance.
  6. Welcome to the 2016-17 cycle!

    Yeah, among those that use Applyweb (to which I applied), Penn was they only one who didn't send a notification e-mail. Others, like Cornell and Princeton, sent their rejection letter by e-mail, but didn't post their decision at the portal.
  7. Welcome to the 2016-17 cycle!

    Yeah, I didn't receive any messages from them as well. For me, it's Harvard, Oxford, LSE or bust.
  8. Welcome to the 2016-17 cycle!

    Just to let you know, Penn's letters (at least the rejection ones) are now available at their application portal (sorry if this was posted before).
  9. Welcome to the 2016-17 cycle!

    Yeah, Brown's rejection letter seems polited now ... At this moment I'm kinda anesthetized with all these rejections, so I laughted when I first read JHU's "tweet".
  10. Welcome to the 2016-17 cycle!

    Just received the most concise rejection letter so far (JHU, via application portal): " Unfortunately your application into Ph.D. in Political Science has been denied. Political Science Department".
  11. Welcome to the 2016-17 cycle!

    Yale is sending out rejections ... Congrats to those admitted
  12. Welcome to the 2016-17 cycle!

    Thank you guys for your insights. When so many schools give you the same negative answer, it seems clear to me that the problem is situated in one or more critical elements of the application - objective measures aside, like GRE, GPA and TOEFL. Perhaps an error in choosing something that is pivotal to your success, like the scope of the proposed research or even the department to which you should have applied (interdisciplinary approaches may suffer the burden of depending on multiple agreements from potential POIs ... idk). If I ever discover what happened to me, I'll post here, as I think it would be helpful to other applicants.
  13. Welcome to the 2016-17 cycle!

    A question to more experienced fellows here: is it worth to ask departments why they have rejected my application? I mean, I really would like to know what major flaws I'd need to handle if I ever apply again. In Stanford's case, they've explicitly mention that would not answer specific inquiries in this regard. But what about other programs? What strategies would you consider to be the most adequate to gather impressions about what needs to be improved? Thanks.
  14. Welcome to the 2016-17 cycle!

    Today I've received formal rejections from MIT, Cornell and Stanford. Yale was probably my best fit, and it seems that I won't even be waitlisted there. So far, I'm all rejections this cycle: 10/10, with 5 more to go (Penn, Harvard, JHU, LSE and Oxford). As it seems obvious that my chances of being admitted at these schools are definitely slim, I'm wondering whether I'll apply to other programs (Blavatnik School at Oxford, Brazilian Studies at King's College, perhaps The New School).
  15. Welcome to the 2016-17 cycle!

    Rejected by Cornell (I'm becoming good at this). 366 applicants this year, according to the letter sent by e-mail.