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a_sort_of_fractious_angel last won the day on January 30 2018

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About a_sort_of_fractious_angel

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  1. Congrats to everyone who has been accepted so far, and especially to the CMU admit - I'm currently in the program and happy to chat! To everyone still waiting, there is - as they say - a lotta football left in the game, so seriously - don't panic.
  2. No problem - no matter when you send it in, if you can organize in groups and send before/after emails, I think that'll help them with organization and you with keeping your sanity.
  3. Hi - I think Interfolio is an absolute scam. I had to use it during my second application season. In theory, it makes it easier to submit your letters since you have control over the letter submission. The problems are (1) the cost, (2) the fact that you still have to upload every other document via the websites, and (3) a fair number of schools won't accept letters sent by Interfolio. When I applied to 14 schools this past season, I did not use Interfolio. The portals should be open by this point, and you should be able to submit your LW info between now and the actual due date. I submitted my LW info in batches, groups of 3-5 schools, and emailed my LWs both before (to let them know what schools and when) and after I had submitted their info (to clue them into looking for requests). I had zero problems with them since I didn't flood them with requests. I did have a couple of programs require me to submit my application before I could submit my LW info, but that isn't hard to deal with. One thing to keep in mind - your application materials should absolutely be in by the deadline. If your LW can't get their letter in by the deadline, that is usually OK. Obviously, they cannot wait weeks and weeks, but there is a bit more leeway for faculty because, well, other faculty know how busy everyone is. At least that is the story I've been told (and have sort of, kind of see myself.)
  4. Thank you, @Warelin - this is awesome. I appreciate you bringing in COL as a factor for some % of Ph.D. students. It is important, as apps start in earnest, to remember that it is OK and normal to be concerned about COL and living quality as a Ph.D. student.
  5. I would strongly suggest you look at Carnegie Mellon's Literary and Cultural Studies program. I believe Minnesota is a known cultural studies place as well, although I don't know much at all about the program.
  6. @LittleShakespeare90 - if you want any general (very general) advice on the SOP, holler!
  7. Hi! I agree with a lot of @jrockford27's advice. You should be OK to take the GRE again in time - ETS was pretty speedy with getting my scores officially reported and sent out last year. I wouldn't stress about the Quant - I've seen a few schools that require 140 or higher and have heard from faculty that it's not really considered on its own. I've heard that 90% percentile or higher (165 or higher, I think) is recommended for the Verbal. That being said, I know people who have scored lower and who have been fine. I think the biggest thing is making sure that both scores combined meet any possible requirements - for example, a few of the schools I considered required a 313 score combined. This was a regulation set by the graduate school, not the department, so look at both the English page and the Graduate School page to see what if you can glean some hard data about any GRE requirements. There's no reason for you to have published - I've heard that is sometimes looked down upon, actually, as it isn't likely that a PhD applicant wouldn't be accepted to major journals in the field (IDK if that's true, I'm just passing it along.) And your teaching experience, while good, won't help your application - I don't think programs care at all if you've taught before. That sounds super harsh and I don't mean to say that your experience is of no value. It is. Teaching just doesn't seem to be a required, preferred, or even considered component of Ph.D. applications. The most important pieces of your app are recs, the WS, and the SOP. I would second the suggestion that you offer and/or outright send a decent version of the SOP and the WS to your potential recommenders - I took a year off and all of my LWs requested those documents so that they could write up-to-date & in-depth LORs. Hope this helps!
  8. Hey, all - I'd be happy to share how I approached the SOP (my various versions got me into 5 Ph.D. programs last season). The SOP is an individual kind of document (and I'm NOT taking into consideration the various department regulations, like word count or prompt questions when I say that), so there's really no single "right way" to do it. That being said, I'm happy to share how I approached writing 14 of them in a way that didn't make me pull out all of my hair. If you'd like my 2 cents, shoot me a PM. And good luck!!!
  9. Not silly at all - if you mean "do you need to bank with them prior," nope. I went to sign up for a checking & savings account that is linked to my university for direct deposit. After I opened that account, I was offered the credit card options. If you are asking if one can get just the credit card - I don't know, but I do think you have to have a checking account with them so you can pay the card off. Hope this helps!
  10. Hi - Citizen's Bank has two different credit cards you might want to look into. One has points that equal cash-back and one is a travel card. Off the top of my head, both have 0 foreign transaction fees and no annual fees. Also, their banking hours are longer than most other places and their customer service/online interface is good. I might suggest looking into the cash-back card as opposed to a travel card - when I did my MA in English, I went to (at most) 2 conferences per academic year, as did most of my peers. Also, as I understood it while talking to a CB rep, the travel card is ideal for people who travel multiple times per month for work (like consultants or sales reps who are on a plane every other week). While academics travel, I don't think we consistently put in those kind of hours (especially graduate students), so the cash-back might get you more.
  11. Hi - I might possibly suggest adding, to the great suggestions listed above, the University at Buffalo. Buffalo and Carnegie Mellon were two of my top choices this past season. I study Caribbean and Caribbean American literature and do a lot of work with critical race theory, postcolonial studies, and slave narratives. I'd say that both programs exist in the same broad wheelhouse but do, of course, differ in details and particular strengths. Buffalo may not have what you're looking for, but there are some great scholars doing excellent poco and critical race studies work there, so --- I figured I'd offer up the name. And if you have any questions about CMU, please don't hesitate to shoot me a PM (especially in few months, once I've actually started coursework, haha).
  12. You're welcome, @kgras13! And that's the approach I took, haha - I did the GRE as many times as I could justify financially/emotionally, took the best score I had, and then went back to pouring my energy into the WS & SOP.
  13. I have heard a range of perspectives on the GRE. Some told me that the Q score doesn't matter but that a 163+ V was an implicit requirement for admission. Some said it was the percentile that mattered and not the number. Others said "just don't raise eyebrows," and others suggested getting both scores as high as possible. This past application season, I saw some programs that had a minimum Q requirement in the low 140s, and at least one program that I applied to had a requirement for a combined Q/V score (i.e. 311 or something like that). Other programs didn't post any GRE information at all (occasionally explaining why, although not always) and some posted the average Q & V scores of past successful applicant pools. The GRE, no matter how good, cannot compensate for a weak SOP & WS and mediocre letters. But as @trueblueDetroiter rightfully points out, how your score is evaluated depends on your total application package and how both the graduate school and the department view the GRE. Sometimes, the graduate school will have score requirements that are more rigid than the English program itself. Sometimes that info is easy to find and sometimes it isn't clear. I'd guess (although I have no insider knowledge) that there are also some programs that have score thresholds for whatever reason, which (again) may or may not be clearly explained. If it helps you to know, I had a 165V and a 144Q and got 5 offers from good places, one that is an absolute perfect fit in terms of resources/support/faculty/etc. So, a low 140s won't necessarily hinder someone from getting into a great program. But there are many successful applicants on these threads who have (much) higher scores and do equally well with applications. In short, I'm not sure anyone on the applicant-side of the process can fully know how the GRE plays into the larger (and VERY nuanced) application process.
  14. Hi, @orange turtle - I'm glad you're OK. I'm not a man or a professor and I haven't had to negotiate that kind of relationship & power dynamic, but I have been someone who found another someone who I did not know well at all passed out in a shower. I had the kind of experience @E-P describes - the only thought I had was "THIS PERSON NEEDS HELP AND I HAVE TO HELP THEM." Even now, the thing I remember is feeling very scared because I didn't know what was going on and being very focused because it was on me to get help to them ASAP. I don't recall the naked bits because someone's life was possibly at risk. That being said, I can totally understand why the awkward-levels spiked during your random encounter. So far as your upcoming meeting - I think the advice to lead is correct and if you're comfortable leading with some light humor, awesome. It's what I would do (although I understand your concerns about how it is perceived.) If humor doesn't feel right, the advice to lead with a genuine and serious "thank you" is equally good. It might still be a bit awkward - you can probably bank on that - but whatever approach you take will be fine, and time will pass & life will move forward, and it'll be OK.
  15. Hi, @Adelaide9216 I’m in the process of moving into and totally furnishing an apartment for the first time. Before I get into the details of my experience & advice, the most important thing I’ve learned is that this process is very personal and depends entirely on your particular financial, geographic, & time constraints. That being said, there are lots of ways to get it done well and crowdsourcing advice is a great idea. For context: after I had committed to a program (March) but prior to deciding how I wanted to live (studio/1B/2B with a roommate) and in what neighborhoods, I made a list of “essential,” “important,” and “luxury” items, including furniture. I then did three things simultaneously - learned about various neighborhoods and their rental patterns (i.e. when listings came up and how to find them), decided what way of living worked best for me and my stipend (I opted for living by myself in a 1B), and made notes on the places from which I could buy every single item on my list (even if I wasn’t sure that I’d end up purchasing all of it.) I held off on buying anything until I’d seen my place in person because I am doing a slow move-in. The details of that particular experience may not yield anything useful for you, but it has produced some more general advice that I’d give anyone who is doing this for the first time. First, figure out what furniture is essential to you and get a firm sense of how to get those things purchased and/or delivered to your new place by the time you're living there. For me, those things were my bed & bed frame, desk & chair, and bookshelves. Then, explore your important/luxury items since, hey, data is always good to have. I would suggest, however, holding off on actually buying those things until you get to your place. It’s nice to walk around the apartment, take a breath, measure stuff, and get a sense of the size and type of furniture that will work in your new space (unless you 100% totally love something and know it will fit, in which case I think it makes sense to get it delivered at the same time as your essentials.)* *This is assuming you're purchasing most or all of your stuff from the same place, like IKEA. Which brings me to another piece of advice - the more you can buy from the same place, the easier. Also, buying in town is usually a lot easier (in terms of delivery/self-transport) than having to move it from where you’re at now, so take a look at what options (big chains, resellers, etc.) are available to you in your new city, what their delivery policies are, and wait to buy and have furniture delivered/transported yourself until you're in your new place. So, to answer your Q directly - I'd do as much research and list-making as you'd like right now and hold off buying anything until you sign your lease and get the key unless it is a small piece of furniture that you won't be able to find again or a big piece that is flat-packed, *and* you can store it where you're living now and then transport it easily once it is time to move. I'd also get your essentials there as soon as possible after you've moved in and get other stuff in as needed, unless you're 100% "I want and need this here now." I’m happy to share my lists if they’d be helpful to you and I hope this aids your apartment prep!
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