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    FL, US
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    2017 Fall

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shoupista's Achievements


Decaf (2/10)



  1. I'm in a discipline where you apply largely to the program and not to specific professors, so I don't have much personal experience. However, you might find this useful: https://theprofessorisin.com/2011/07/25/how-to-write-an-email-to-a-potential-ph-d-advisor/
  2. In theory, I don't see why this would be a problem (assuming the pre-reqs available to you at the present moment fulfill the specific graduate program requirements, which is something you need to discuss with your future graduate program). If you're on the quarter system with a set of late-summer classes, it's probably still feasible even this far into summer. It may not be possible with a semester system, however.
  3. Having just gone through what turned out to be a pretty successful application cycle, I had ample opportunity to think about this. Ultimately, a program admitting you without funding to a PhD program is sending a signal that, for whatever reason, they're not invested in you as much as they are the people they fund. That right there would be sufficient to remove such a program from my consideration. I believe that one should be honest with oneself when evaluating career paths, and frankly being unable to attract funding at a given program should give one pause about whether that school is the right choice for them at this moment (as this can and frequently does change over time). It also sends a signal that your application has potential and may be able to be improved and attract a funded offer to that institution in future application cycles. It would be unfortunate for someone who could have improved their application, reapplied, and received a funded offer to a given program in the future to accept a non-funded offer now- that's potentially upwards of $250,000 in opportunity costs.
  4. I was going through old threads here and wandered across one discussing essayscam.org. After perusing the forum for a while, I'm flabbergasted at the complete lack of ethics on the part of almost every member. As a hopeful future academic, I'm disgusted and enraged. The whole site is an interesting illustration of many of the more negative aspects of human behavior. Additionally, it's frankly incredible that that many people involved in an industry designed to facilitate cheating have the gall to complain about "unethical" services/clients. Has anyone had any personal experience with people using these kinds of services? The intention here is not to promote any of them (quite the opposite, in fact). I'm really curious as to how common their use is, especially in a U.S. context, and what strategies can be used to detect their use.
  5. Research experience and potential to conduct further research is the key thing planning PhD schools are interested in. Describe your activism experience only inasmuch as it informs your research experience, interests, and plans. Describing activism/protesting you've participated in that isn't relevant to your research interests is wasted space in your admissions materials. The central question you should ask yourself when completing your application- does including this information provide adcoms additional evidence of my potential as a researcher? I just came off a successful application cycle for planning doctoral programs (receiving completely-funded fellowship offers to 4/5 programs to which I applied). The guidance provided to me by planning advisors and faculty (all of whom have served on admissions committees) emphasized research fit and potential above all else.
  6. I've received two similar emails in the past month. Both resulted in funded admissions offers. Be prepared to talk about your research interests and your interest in their program. It also wouldn't be amiss to have a list of your questions about the program handy.
  7. In addition to thanking my recommenders in person, I bought each of them a small thank you gift and gave them a handwritten thank you note. I have fairly strong relationships with all three of them, so it seemed weird not to get an actual gift. I've told them all the decisions I'm getting, pretty much as I know. My situation is a little unique- suffice it to say that I see two of my recommenders weekly, if not daily, and they're actively involved in helping me make my final decision. My third recommender is a little different, but I'm a pretty open book so I fill her in when I see her. They'll know my final decision just about as soon as I do.
  8. The biggest advantage I had was the guidance and support of academics in my intended field. In addition to writing what were apparently very strong letters of rec (I was told by two professors in one program that they expected me to "walk on water" based on the strengths of my letters), professors in my old master's program provided me with as much assistance as I needed during all stages of the application process. It helps a lot to demystify the application process when you can ask someone who actually sits on an admissions committee in your intended field about your application questions. My field is fairly small, so it's not super easy to find application advice that actually applies. Having the support of faculty in my old master's program made all the difference.
  9. This is perhaps a bit too late for the OP, but I'll respond in the hopes of helping a future reader. For what it's worth, I had multiple people advise me that not having any "real world" experience outside of academia may hurt my chances in the admissions process for doctoral programs. I've received funded acceptances at 4/5 of the programs I applied to, though, so who knows- maybe the lack of real world experience is why I didn't get that last admission. Maybe it had nothing to do with it. On the other hand, most of the doctoral students I personally know took some time off school before starting their PhDs. And most business schools won't even consider applicants that don't have at least two years of full-time work experience (bit of a different ball game, but the point stands). Time well spent (which you seem to have done) is an incomparable teacher. What did taking time off of school teach you about your field and your desired career? Tell the admissions committee this story. Show them that taking gap time has increased your ability to be a contributing member of their department. Make no excuses or apologies- it's a waste of precious application space (and in our current economy, working in a field outside of your undergrad major hardly merits an explanation). Instead, focus on your research. This is not a weakness- this is an opportunity. Be sure to grab it.
  10. I'm in a social science field, so my experience may not reflect the realities of your field. My undergrad GPA was ok (3.2 overall, ~3.8ish upperclassman). My Master's GPA is a 4.0. I'm currently applying to PhD programs, and aside from one question about why my grades improved, schools have seemed way more interested in my graduate GPA. I suspect that schools that consider undergrad GPA want to see GPA maintenance and/or improvement as much as a high GPA per se. YMMV.
  11. I'm also in a social sciences field. For what it's worth, when I interviewed at a West-Coast institution, I defaulted to referring to my interviewer as "Dr" and was politely informed that it was departmental convention to use first names. I've had several experiences with professors at my current institution where they actually prefer to be called by their first name but never explicitly mention it. They'll sign off their emails with their first name and even refer to themselves as their first name, but won't correct anybody for calling them Dr or Prof. I've also had professors that use their first names in written communication but still expect to be addressed as Dr/Prof. YMMV. The lesson: You can always ask (politely) what the professor prefers to be called- IME, they recognize that you're trying to be respectful, and they appreciate that. Asking office staff is also always an option.
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