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AnUglyBoringNerd

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About AnUglyBoringNerd

  • Rank
    Double Shot

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  • Location
    New York
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    East Asian History

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  1. AnUglyBoringNerd

    Applications 2019

    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?
  2. AnUglyBoringNerd

    Do top grad schools care about your course load?

    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).
  3. AnUglyBoringNerd

    Applications 2019

    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...
  4. AnUglyBoringNerd

    Lessons Learned: Application Season Debriefings

    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".
  5. AnUglyBoringNerd

    Applications 2019

    Totally with you on this! I wrote an email to my Harvard POI (I was rejected from Harvard), who very kindly replied with further advice on how to improve my profile. Then the second time I applied to PhD programs, I got in. (although I didn't apply to Harvard this time also based on that POI's advice) The field is really really small, and in my sub-field all established historians seem to know each other. And I actually met with two of my POIs last semester when they came to give talks at my current school, both are from programs that rejected me. In my experience, our relationships with any of our POIs won't end just because we are rejected from their programs.
  6. AnUglyBoringNerd

    Noticing a change in my research interests-- what should I do?

    I just love @gsc's advice, so this is not in anyway a counterargument but just another possibility, and obviously I can only speak from my own experience, so please do read this with a grain of salt. The first time I applied to PhD programs, I mainly applied to Political Science programs, and I was rejected everywhere, even by the school I am currently attending. The only offer I got is a two-year MA offer in Political Science without any word on funding. My supervisor suggested that I take the offer and use it as an opportunity to adjust to American academia and to access resources that would make me readier for the next round of PhD application, but I just didn't feel it. (it's not mainly about funding, though, bc I would have other sources of scholarship; it was more of an issue of opportunity cost in general) Instead, I reapplied, this time to PhD programs in history only, and got in half of the programs I applied to... Now I think about it, my supervisor was probably more stressed out and upset by the unhappy news than I was. And I am now very very happy in my current program. Of course, the change you have in mind is a lot less drastic than changing the discipline, but should this feeling about change follows you around....well, I definitely second gsc's wonderful comments regarding the self-doubt part, but this doesn't mean any decision you make while you are self-doubting is a bad decision. I certainly made the decision of changing discipline while I was stressed out, in a lot of pain, and self-doubting, but I knew Political Science wouldn't work for me, and applying to PhD programs in PolSci was more of a result of path dependence than that of self-reflection. I have only been in my program for a bit over an semester, but like @gsc described, the "on the edge" feeling is a daily experience. That being said, I also feel that I can and should be able to feel fulfilled and make rational decisions while I also self-doubt and feel stressed. In short, it's totally normal and legit to think about changing fields even if you are feeling stressed, some supervisors would even encourage you to rethink what you want to do once you are in the program. When I asked my supervisor what they expected me to do for my first year, they said they simply wanted me to explore and experience as many different things as I can and see what could excite me the most. Also, it's not over until you hear from every program, and it's not over even after you hear from every program. Fingers crossed that you hear good news soon!
  7. AnUglyBoringNerd

    Applications 2019

    I was just talking with my supervisor, and they said all History Department acceptance letters are out and they are out all at once. > < Also, this year there is only one acceptance in the field of Japanese history.
  8. AnUglyBoringNerd

    Applications 2019

    I applied to the History - East Asia program (joint program between the History department and EALAC) through EALAC, and I was notified by one of my POIs (who's coordinating the joint program last year) via a Skype call disguised as a third interview (they made an appointment with me via email to say they would like to talk a bit more, so...) before I got the notification to check the portal. Maybe the process is different for those who have a non-East Asia focus, but awwww I am soooo excited and I'm gonna ask my supervisor about it on Thursday! Congrats to those who already got Columbia acceptance!
  9. AnUglyBoringNerd

    Interview

    Re: the search function, it helps if you limit your search within the history forum and pair "interview" with other key words, e.g. “asked" (yeah, I know, sounds silly, but imagine in a scenario where people could have said "at my interview, I was asked this and that question"), "prepare", "project", etc.) Here is the result if you search "interview” AND "asked" only within the History forum: https://forum.thegradcafe.com/search/?&amp;q="interview" "asked" &amp;type=forums_topic&amp;nodes=38&amp;search_and_or=and&amp;sortby=relevancy Honestly, what I learned from my three interviews (with UPenn, UCSB, and Columbia) is, the most difficult question (in my case) is a seemingly mundane one: "tell us about you/how do you see yourself [as an aspiring historian]". The relatively easier one is the standard "tell us more about your project". Good luck with the interview!
  10. AnUglyBoringNerd

    Applications 2019

    Re: Columbia stipend, it's supposed to increase by 3% every year, so the (GSAS) graduate stipend for 2019-2020 is a nine-month stipend of $30,232 plus the summer support of $3,884 for 2020 - just got an email from GSAS about this update two days ago. (tuition, insurance, and most of the fees are covered ofc). Also, there are a number of internal summer travel/research fellowships every year to support overseas archival research/language training on top of the nine-month stipend and the summer support. I second OHSP and paisleytree, living in NYC isn't a financial nightmare if you keep an eye on how you spend and budgeting, and being good at cooking never hurts. I'm also an international student~
  11. AnUglyBoringNerd

    EALC / EALAC / EAS 2019

    Winter break hasn't ended so I imagine some professors are not back yet and the applications could still be with the department administration. The application form of Harvard used to have a section specifically devoted to language in great detail (at least that was the case when I applied in 2016), maybe this year they forgot to add this section and now are trying to collect that info.
  12. AnUglyBoringNerd

    Applications 2019

    Mhm...I think things might start to change from this year (I'm not completely sure, but I had a conversation with my supervisor about interviews a few months ago). If it's the History-East Asia program, then those on the shortlist would probably be interviewed (there wouldn't be many people on the shortlist anyway). I was interviewed before offered admission last year. :) Maybe it's different for those in non-East Asia fields, but it never hurts to get prepared. :) I was also interviewed by the history departments of UCSB and UPenn.
  13. AnUglyBoringNerd

    EALC / EALAC / EAS 2019

    @Naito Happy New Year to you too! Glad to hear that you are enjoying Harvard! And @civitas, don't worry about the average GPA thing, many non-US universities use a different grading policy, in which case it's normal to leave the average GPA blank. And your GPA looks alright to me. (I personally don't think anyone would get admitted to humanities programs bc they have high GPAs or rejected for less than stellar GPAs, what's way more important is the SOP and the writing sample)
  14. AnUglyBoringNerd

    Applications 2019

    I am not very sure about this "tiebreaker“ thing... In my humble opinion, whether or not you have money shouldn't be considered by the committees in their decision making regarding admission to the program, which should be solely based on their judgement of the applicants' academic capacity and potential... At Columbia, if you come with external fellowships you'd have the "top-off" and "extend" options, and there is a document explaining the complexity of the fellowship policies out there; but coming without any external fellowships (to my understanding) should in no way make you less likely admitted than other applicants, although having won a prestigious fellowship won't hurt.
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