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a_sort_of_fractious_angel

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a_sort_of_fractious_angel last won the day on January 30

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About a_sort_of_fractious_angel

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    Mocha

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    United States
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    Already Attending
  • Program
    English

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  1. Haha, I understand, and it is good to get this all sorted now! One thing occurred to me this morning re: phrasing (apologies if someone else has already mentioned it). The academic merit/other vague turns of phrase about academic stuff is sometimes code for "you need to pass." I.e., the university will not be funding you if you're flunking out or failing to meet milestones in an acceptable amount of time. Seems obvious that all that is required for remaining funded, but I can understand why they need to gesture toward that (however vaguely) on the web pages.
  2. No problem - it's likely legal or technical language that is beyond my ability to explain (and it's definitely hard to parse) but, rest assured, it is a fully funded program.
  3. I was admitted to Buffalo this past season. It is not competitive or merit-based funding - everyone gets a livable stipend for 5 years, although there are "top offs" offered by the university at-large. And, IIRC, there are actually 6 years of funding - like other programs, of course, the 6th year is discussed in vague language due to technicalities, but as it has been noted, that's not unusual for universities to do. If Buffalo is of interest to you, feel free to PM me and I can go look at my offer and tell you the details I received. Alternatively, you could email the DGS - Buffalo's website is on the more vague side of things, but the DGS was very responsive to my Qs and would, I imagine, be happy to discuss funding details with a prospective student.
  4. a_sort_of_fractious_angel

    Emeritus Involvement

    I completely agree with @Warelin on this point - I loved my MA program but it wasn't in the greatest location (for me ) as it had a very rural/college-town feel which was kind of a bummer always and a real bummer in the summer. That "vibe" influenced me and my work, and it taught me that location mattered for my PhD apps. Granted, I have some friends who could care less about where they are physically, but I (now) identify as sensitive to geography and if you think you might as well - that's totally cool and doesn't have to be a problem when you apply to PhDs. One additional thought I'd like to add, for you and future applicants reading this thread: it's OK to want to be near family or friends or things familiar. When I applied to PhDs, I put down some "rules" - for example, I'm from the Northeast, so I didn't look at West Coast schools or schools in the deep South. I knew, no matter how amazing the program would be, I'd be too far from friends/family/familiar things (like seasons!) to feel settled. I also emphasized city or city-adjacent schools because I really wanted a certain level of energy that just doesn't seem to exist in the smaller/rural/college-town type places. And, the cool thing about city schools is that they sometimes pair up with other schools/programs, formally and otherwise - I found that to be really attractive. Of course, I wasn't super strict about these "rules" - I applied to a couple of programs way outside of the Northeast and to a few smaller programs in college towns, but I also made sure that these programs would be worth my going there. So, seriously considering location worked out for me, which means it can absolutely work out for you, @indecisivepoet. Please don't feel you have to dump location first - I'd first dump weak/non-existent funding and noticeably poor placement rates. I'd also (if you can) visit and drop anywhere that has culture that doesn't work for you (like geography, dept culture can kill or create your future academic self).
  5. a_sort_of_fractious_angel

    Quick Conference Question

    Hi - it shouldn't be a problem at all. I never stayed the full length of any of the 5 conferences I attended. Conferences are very much "get out what you put in," in that no one is taking attendance and you're not required to do anything but give your paper. Although, if there are panels that could be relevant to your work, it would behoove you to attend them (it's also nice to have an audience as a presenter - I've seen some morning panels with 1-2 people aside from the participants which can be a bit of a bummer.) It is also nice to network if you're able (there's usually a big reception at the end or the beginning and smaller ones throughout that can be fun.) That being said, it's fine to structure the conference around your time/financial constraints - I had to arrive and leave the same day for one conference, so I was only able to give my paper and then listen to one other talk, and no one cared.
  6. a_sort_of_fractious_angel

    GRE Writing Feedback

    @jrockford27 and @indecisivepoet are right - lean hard on the Princeton Review and it'll get you where you need to be. Also, I didn't get a perfect score but I had success with apps. I've heard (from profs who sit on adcoms, profs who don't, and others tuned into application life) that the verbal score - out of all 3 - matters the most. You may be required to have a baseline Quant score (part of a cumulative score of 311 or whatever they want), but the AS score is, like, whatevs. A kick-ass SOP and WS outweigh all 3 by leagues, so don't fret if you've a decent AW score (my $0.02).
  7. a_sort_of_fractious_angel

    Fall 2019 PhD Applications

    For sure! Just shoot me a PM and we can swap emails or whatever you'd like.
  8. a_sort_of_fractious_angel

    How 'fitted' does 'fit' have to be?

    This is the right advice. Widen your scope beyond what you think "makes sense" (within reason - don't apply to places where absolutely none of your interests are pursued.) Anecdata: the PhD I'm entering in the fall & and the 3 faculty members I'll likely work the most closely with -- One has a similar transnational/historical methodology to mine but works in a related but very different region. One has a similar interest in diasporic literature but focuses on another related but largely different region and looks at media I don't currently consider. One has a hemispheric approach that takes my region of study into consideration. However, they are centuries away from me and don't study novels (which I do). When I went to visiting days, I was told that the program - while excited about my app - paused before saying YES because they wanted to guarantee they could support my scholarship. They decided that they can , and I get the sense that they are interested in taking the dept in a direction that I'm also interested in. Bully for me but, more importantly ... I would have NEVER known this as an applicant. My letter writers didn't know this, either. Essentially, no one that I knew understood that this dept was the perfect fit for me. In some ways, I think it was a case of "right place, right time" - if I'd applied 3 years earlier or 3 years from now ... I don't know what would have happened. All to say - tailor your SOP and WS to you and what you want to spend 5-8 years studying. And be open to depts wanting you, even if they're depts that (on "paper") don't make a perfect fit. If you can see a way through and if you like the dept --well, really think about giving them a shot, even if you're unsure about your odds of success.
  9. a_sort_of_fractious_angel

    Lecturing During Round 2/3?

    An addition to my previous post - if your friends, @CulturalCriminal, want more teaching experience, they can likely get that through volunteer work. While working my non-ac job, I volunteered with two programs that emphasized teaching. One program focused on adult ESL learners - I was fully responsible for creating a "syllabus" for my student by using the program's materials to help her reach her goals. The time commitment was 3 hours a week, split between two days. The other program focused on college prep for inner-city, low-income students - I was responsible for helping my student with regular academic work as well as college application materials (especially writing.) The time commitment was 3-4 hours of most Saturdays during the high school academic year and a few hours a week via email/Google chat during high-stress times (summer program apps, college apps, etc.) A majority of cities will have literacy programs (it looks like Austin has several) and most will have college-prep programs, all of which likely rely on volunteer work - I'd also guess that all of these programs are relatively low-commitment and can be structured around any kind of day job (academic or otherwise.) In my case, I put these positions on my CV and, while I never cited them directly in my SOP, they definitely helped me talk about how and why teaching is an important part of my scholarship. Additionally, these positions gave me skills and experience in teaching that I will use when I begin my TAship at my PhD program. Again, hope this helps!
  10. a_sort_of_fractious_angel

    Lecturing During Round 2/3?

    I can't speak to successfully getting an adjunct or alt-ac position, but I see you mention non-ac employment - that is what I did after my MA. For context: My MA didn't have a teaching component. I worked 4 semesters as a writing center tutor, 2 semesters as a research assistant on a digital humanities project, and 1 semester as a grader (I split grading essays with the professor). I also applied (for my second time) to PhD programs during my MA and assumed that I'd just go straight on - alas, it was a shut-out. So, I first looked into adjuncting but my lack of TA & teaching experience made me a poor fit for those jobs and I didn't have the time to buff up my teaching skills. Additionally, a percentage of the adjunct jobs made it clear that the PhD was preferred and I was worried that the market would be already flooded with people who had teaching experience & a PhD in hand. So, I took a non-ac job at a small online sales company - I'm still there now and do copy writing & social media marketing. A few months after starting this job, I applied to about 25 alt-ac jobs (student affairs positions, alum relations positions, learning resource/writing center positions, general university staff positions) and I had zero luck. I didn't have the necessary training/knowledge/experience - most of the alt-ac jobs that interested me required someone with a M.Ed and all required at least 2 years (sometimes more) of specific types of work experience. ** There are positives to the adjunct and alt-ac route but I'll leave that discussion to those who actually work/have worked those jobs. So far as the pros to working a non-ac 9-5 job while applying to PhDs --- (1) The money is nice. It's not 6 figures but I make considerably more than I would have made teaching and I've been able to save up as I've worked - this means that PhD applications weren't a huge financial burden this season and I'll enter my PhD program with a modest but stable financial base. (2) The structure of a true 9-5 is great - I never take my work home with me, so my evenings and weekends are all mine. I spent June through Dec working on PhD apps and, while it was stressful, I never felt that my job interfered with getting the apps done (granted, it did help that I had 2 seasons of application experience behind me.) FWIW, I applied to 14 schools this season and got 5 offers. While I don't know exactly why I didn't get into the other programs, I can guarantee my non-ac job had nothing to do with the rejections. And I was accepted to a program that requires teaching in year 1 - I even asked the DGS if my total lack of experience would be a problem and they said not at all. I do have a few friends who went the adjunct route during the gap year between the MA and PhD - the advice they got (which I consider sound) was to not just take any adjunct position for the sake of having a teaching job. Teaching experience won't get you into a program - the SOP and the WS will. Final thought: it's hard to get adjunct jobs and it's hard to get alt-ac work and it's hard to get a non-ac job. I think the best approach is to find a a job that doesn't take more time than a job should - long commutes and unexpected time commitments and extreme financial worries won't help you out during the application season. If you can minimize stress and maximize time spent working on the SOP & the WS, it'll pay off. I'm sorry for not having better advice on adjuncting itself but I hope what I do have helps someone - good luck! ** I searched for adjuncting and alt-ac jobs in a metro area that spans 3 states and which has a large number of community colleges, suburban private colleges, satellite campuses of large state universities, and a slew of inner city colleges & universities.
  11. a_sort_of_fractious_angel

    How large/small is your cohort?

    I think the average (for English) is closer to 10 per year, but I'm basing that more on anecdata than hard fact. That being said, I'm one of 3 for my English PhD and I know a few other programs that opt for a smaller cohort, so it isn't extraordinarily unusual.
  12. a_sort_of_fractious_angel

    Funded English MA programs

    Bucknell University offers a non-competitive, fully funded, two year MA program. Carnegie Mellon offers a partially funded one year MA program. Bucknell is a great dept - supportive and collegial - and has done very well with placing their MAs into PhD programs (Harvard, UPenn, Vanderbilt, Temple, etc). CMU, while different in the details of its academic strengths, is also a very supportive and friendly place, and their MAs also do well with both PhD apps (I know they placed someone at Virginia but I don't have as much knowledge about what other programs - which there are - at this time). Both depts have scholars doing work in modern and contemporary literature and, depending on your specific areas of interest, one (or both!) might be a good to consider.
  13. a_sort_of_fractious_angel

    Waiting on Reimbursement - Reach Out Or Let It Go?

    Thanks, @TakeruK, especially for putting into words what is definitely one of my first academic experiences re: maintaining the balance between being polite/positive & firm/not a doormat.
  14. a_sort_of_fractious_angel

    Waiting on Reimbursement - Reach Out Or Let It Go?

    Thank you both! It's good to hear that university depts being really, really slow (esp for stuff like reimbursing prospectives) is par for the course. I'll follow up again in a week or so but will otherwise just sit tight. Thanks again!
  15. a_sort_of_fractious_angel

    Waiting on Reimbursement - Reach Out Or Let It Go?

    The program I have decided to attend hosted a visiting event and offered reimbursement. Once I had chosen that program (and was done visiting others, which made things a bit hectic), I emailed the dept admin about getting reimbursed. They copied the correct person to talk to and told me what I needed to send. I gathered those materials and sent them to the new person on March 24 (didn't receive a confirmation email). On May 1, nothing had changed so I sent an second email (in the same thread) confirming receipt and asking if there was anything else I needed to send. As of today, no response and no check. Since this is the program I'll be attending, part of me thinks I should just drop it - I don't want to appear pushy prior to showing up and, while I'd really appreciate being reimbursed, I have absorbed the costs. Plus, the school has already had its graduation so I don't know if I've missed my opportunity to fix this. The other part of me thinks I should try one more time and send the email from my official school account - I was offered reimbursement and (far more importantly) might be able to figure out how the whole reimbursement thing works in terms of time & whatnot (which would be really helpful to know prior to starting.) Granted, it could just take FOREVER to get checks to prosp students out but I'm a bit concerned about not getting any kind of response. What would you all do? Email the finance person one more time? Or email the dept coordinator directly? I don't like the idea of going back to them but, maybe if I reach out to the financial person a third time and get no response, I should reach out to the dept admin (who is great about responding to emails).
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