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About AnUglyBoringNerd

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    Double Shot

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  • Location
    New York
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  • Program
    East Asian History

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  1. It's true in my experience. And regardless of how consequential GRE would be (it's not that consequential), don't allow a standardized exam dictate the directions of your entire career. Don't give GRE that power! It's not worth it! Confront it! You don't want to look back at this year a decade later and realize you did not do what you should have done to make yourself a great/better historian simply because of the GRE. Well, I just realized I was also trying to talk my procrastinating and unproductive self into working by thinking of taking GRE as dealing with COVID-19 lockdown in NYC... [the difference is, COVID-19 is consequential] Anyways, good luck!
  2. It's actually not entirely uncommon for programs to do that. It doesn't have anything to do with whether or not you already have a Master's. Columbia does it as well, though the offer might be unfunded.
  3. I was in a similar boat. After getting rejected by the Political Science PhD programs I applied to, I applied to History PhD programs and am now doing a PhD in history. Speaking from my own experience, I'd strongly encourage you to also think about the differences between historical analysis and qualitative analyses in social science, e.g. sociology, anthropology, etc. There is a substantial difference between rhetorically constructing a narrative (a story) and forming a hypothesis then test it with qualitative methods. It took me a lot of time to really feel it, but social scientists have a mentality/mental road map that is quite different from that of a historian. I couldn't appreciate this difference until quite recently and when my adviser and I sat down to go over a piece of my writing. Don't get me wrong, for I enjoy my program to an extent that is beyond what words can describe, but it takes great efforts for me to even begin to understand what my adviser means when they say my writing is too "mechanical" and "social sciencey." Just my two cents.
  4. I had a similar experience. I contacted my POI after being rejected to thank them for their time and to ask how I can make improvements before applying again, and their advice was very helpful; I did also have earlier communications with said POI. I sent a follow-up email to that POI one year later after I got accepted somewhere else just to thank their earlier encouragement and advice, and they very generously took the time to respond to that email as well. However, I now have come to see how my experience is very likely not the norm... I never thought about reaching out to the program (DGS, the administration, etc) though, just a POI. Apologies for being misleading because some of my posts mention how helpful I found reaching out to an POI after rejection was. >_<
  5. I don't think you are "transferred" to EALAC. The History-East Asia program is a joint PhD program, so no matter which department you apply to, your application will be viewed by the same group of professors in East Asian history, and this might mean the timeline of notification is different from other fields of history. For those already in the joint program, the requirements are the same for those who registered at the Hist Dept. and those who registered at the EALAC Dept., which (I think) are a bit different from Hist Dept. students in other fields. Good luck and best wishes!
  6. If I am reading it right, it is still possible for you to hear good news from two schools! In my humble opinion, there are not really "far reaches," so don't give up yet. I did my Bachelor's and Master's in other disciplines and another continent, so I am pretty sure none of my professors here know about my previous advisers. So, don't worry about name recognition. I also got rejected everywhere during my first cycle. It was like my biggest nightmare coming true, but, if I may quote Conan O'Brien, "there are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized." If not being able to enter a PhD program in 2020 is not your biggest fear, congratulations, you are much more mature than I was. And, should you get rejected everywhere, I second all the advice offered by others^ Fingers crossed for you!
  7. 1. Many do accept applications, but some professors will be interested in the history courses you have taken. I switched to history from international politics and public policy. While I don't think anyone can tell you about the "general chances of success" since it's not about a rate or anything like that, in my field (East Asian history), some people do get in top programs without having previously earned a degree in history. A few people who used to study PolSci with me are doing a PhD in history in top US programs now. 2. When I applied I already had two Master's degrees, adequate language training, a bunch of rejection notifications from PhD programs in PolSci, and knew what my research interests were/are, so I didn't think of getting another Master's degree in history, especially given that the PhD program normally entails coursework requirements which will train you and result in an MA in history. Plus, MA programs can be very expensive in the US.
  8. I want to echo this and suggest that the OP spend some time finding out the nature of different EALC departments and what they offer. Sometimes historians are also listed as the faculty of EALC departments even though the EALC departments do not offer a PhD program in history. I am in Japanese history and technically speaking registered at an EALC department. While some EALC departments are language and literature based in the field of Japanese studies, such as that of U Chicago, others do have a strong emphasis on history. To my knowledge, this applies to the joint PhD program "History- East Asia" of Columbia between its History and EALAC Departments and the HEAL program of Harvard. Also, in the case of Columbia, the degree you get from the joint program is a PhD in history (not in EALAC). In addition... this is not the right thread, but in my interviews the question of why applying to a History Dept/EALC Dept instead of the other came up twice. (I applied to the Hist. Dept of UCSB where one of my supervisor is primarily an EALC prof, and I applied to the East Asian Studies Dept. of Princeton instead of the Hist. Dept) So, whichever department the OP decides to apply to, I recommend thinking carefully about your rationale, in case you need to discuss it with potential POIs. In my case, I prioritize the competitiveness (=placement records) a disciplinary PhD will give me over an interdisciplinary degree. Meanwhile, I also am attracted by the well-funded and multidisciplinary experience specific PhD programs would allow me to have. (And of course, the rejection notifications helped a lot with narrowing my options down...) Hope this helps~
  9. The context: I am in my second year as a PhD student in history and I got two A- for this semester (and two As). This is the first time I ever got anything but an A and I am totally freaking out and readying myself for a serious conversation with my supervisor, even though more advanced students in my program told me that it should be Ok. Both of the A- were given by professors from different disciplines and one professor (from STEM) told me that an A- is a very strong grade by their standards. Nevertheless, I am still very very upset and scared and think that I totally screwed up. In this light and in relation to the comments given by others on your evolving research interests, I wonder if the grades functioned as a factor that makes you feel like to consider pursuing a career outside the academia or changing your research interests, @historygeek? If that is the case, I would recommend having a discussion with a trusted and supportive professor(your supervisor maybe?) who knows your strengths and interests well and see their take on the matter. I used to think about the "other paths" as a coping mechanism when I was not feeling confident... Just my personal piece of thought.
  10. Hi there~ I never attended UNU, but I used to work non-profit and know several people who work at the UN. I don't know how familiar you are with UN's recruiting system, e.g. the YPP track where you take the exam and the more usual track where you are more than often asked to have some solid work experience (likely more than 5 years to begin with and in related fields). If your goal is to work at UN, you'd want to know the system. (also the usual length of contract for people with your background) I previously focused on human rights and SDGs, and most people I know (from UNDP, UN Women, etc.) have a degree from research universities (not necessarily PhD, but lots of people have a degree in law) and years of related experience working for NGOs or governments. Regarding its reputation, to be honest with you, I wouldn't know that it existed if I had never studied in Tokyo and happened to have walked by the building for a few times. If you are interested in studying at a prestigious institution for a PhD in (sustainable) development studies, (also I probably should point out that most people I know who do development studies/advocacy do not have a PhD in development studies but a MPP, or they have a JD or a PhD in e.g. economics or political science) you might be interested in Columbia's SIPA (PhD in development studies) or Princeton's WWS (PhD in public affairs)? Since I myself do not have first-hand experience with UNU, I'd also recommend that you contact them directly and ask who their graduate students are, the kind of jobs they take after graduation, and to what extent their experience studying at UNU helped or worked against their career. And, to what extent are they a think tank, and to what extent an education institution. Anyways, good luck!
  11. I'm not that sure about HiLi, but if the admission notification you are responding to is standard and official rather than a personal email from your POI/DGS, in the online application system there is supposed to be something you click on to officially decline the offer. I remember attempting to decline my Columbia MA offer via email then the administration staff responded with something along the lines of "please log onto the application portal and blah blah blah". If you want to let your POIs know that you appreciate their consideration, then the email you've written looks very formal to me. Are you trying to decline the offer by sending this response or are you trying to let your POIs know about it? I remember the emails I wrote to my POIs are a lot more..mhm... personal? I wrote first to my POIs and told them I'd be attending another (my current) program, thanked them for the advice they'd offered during the application process, and let them know I look forward to meeting them in the future etc. Then I declined offers via the application portals. In short, to decline an offer, you want to follow instructions via the application portal to make it official, so the response you wrote may not count as an action to formally decline the offer. Meanwhile, to share your decision with professors, mhm....your response doesn't look like a personalized email?
  12. And even with a master's degree or master's degrees, PhD students in US programs sometimes still need to do the course work and get another MA (then a MPhil) on their way towards passing the comprehensive exam, which will make me a serial Master's degree collector... Also, while schools may not care that much about your course load, some (great) programs do care about the kind of courses you've taken. When I was applying for the first time (spoiler alert: I didn't succeed), one of the reasons for my top program to reject me was that I didn't take any courses related to pre-20th century Japanese history (my focus was 20th century Japanese history back then).
  13. Is it possible to visit some Hili faculty in person and talk with some current students to get more information about this program? Columbia MA programs are indeed really expensive, but there might also be internal funding opportunities out there. (I'm in a different field and doing a PhD, and there are a number of internal funding opportunities for both MA and PhD students, and in the case of PhD students, these internal funding opportunities come on top of the stipend we get) Also, if you already officially accepted the other offer, you might want to think twice before you turn it down for an only partially funded Columbia offer. My impression is that the field is really small and we don't want to burn bridges too early in our career, or ever in our career, unless absolutely necessary...
  14. Mhm...I don't know about this. I feel what happens is that if the committee/professors at that specific school don't see us as a perfect match, we get rejected. This surely is more or less subjective, but does not necessarily mean that those professors are wrong. After all, it's more about what they think of us, not what we think of them. This might be sub-field specific, but my POIs from Harvard and Columbia both mentioned that they reviewed all the applications to my sub-field carefully. So, I no longer think the decision making in my sub-field is that random and arbitrary. Also, at least one of my POIs mentioned (figuratively) that someone whose style matches that of Harvard may not match the style of Columbia. So, I second historygeek, 5 is about right. After all, it's about getting in the program you want to get into, and then get a job after you are out of it....it's not really about getting into any school. And like what others have said for so many times, it's rather unlikely that there could be as many as 10 elite programs given our supposed-to-be flexible but somewhat refined research interests. *elite= good funding and resources + good placement records + good advising + many other factors Yes. I wouldn't worry about this "lack of connections".
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