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Deep Fried Angst

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About Deep Fried Angst

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  • Application Season
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  • Program
    PhD in Theology/Religious Studies.

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  1. @marXian, glad to hear this! I just finished exams and have been pondering downloading Scrivener as I begin the dissertation process.
  2. If a PhD route is your go-to after your M* the most important thing for you to research is graduation placement rates into PhD programs from both schools. If one school is continually placing students in programs you would want to attend more so than the other one, than your decision should be made.
  3. Boston College's reputation and alumni network is nothing to shake a stick at. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Boston_College_people#Law,_politics,_and_public_service). Also, you would be much better connected to the network of Jesuit High Schools if you wanted to teach at that level.
  4. Just a reminder that a good number of the schools being applied to on this form have made decisions to transition most or all classes online to hinder the spread of COVID 19. This may result in delayed responses or notifications as faculty members scramble to transition their class to an online format.
  5. @NothingtoProve, you'll want to make sure those interviews or acceptances are from the same sub-field that you have applied to since there's a chance different sub-fields send out info a different times. I will say for me, Emory didn't reject me till March 22nd, so it kinda felt like there was an unofficial wait list I was on just in-case all of the interviewed applicants turned acceptances rejected their offer of admission. That being said, it is most likely that you did not get in if these interviews and acceptances were from the same sub-field to which you applied. There may be a chance that you have been placed on a wait list, but you will be behind (most likely) all of the applicants they interviewed (if they interview) but did not accept after the interview. Since most notification of interviews and many acceptances are sent out by at the latest the end of February, you may want to wait a couple weeks and email the departments about the status of your application. There's absolutely no shame in a full round of rejections. I know many people, on this site and in real life, who took a couple rounds before they were accepted to programs. Since you don't have interviews to prep for, it may be a good idea to sit down with a trusted professor, look over your application for weak spots (we all have them), find a feasible plan to improve them by fall, and get ready to do this all over again. (oh, and begin the job hunt so you have money to eat come summer...). I do not want to deny the magnitude of the suckage these rejections can make you feel. But you're not out of the ballgame. Regroup. Plan. And dominate next year's application cycle.
  6. A couple people have asked for interview tips: Be able to answer both why you want a graduate degree in the field and why you want a graduate degree in the field from that institution. The more specifics the better. Show the committee how you achieve the mysterious "fit" that every one talks about. Not why you want a Ph.D. but their Ph.D. Part of fit is showing how your educational trajectory fits in with the research agendas of professor, but also be open about areas of weakness and what the program offers to equip you to be a more well rounded scholar. Be able to describe the key influences on you scholarship. If graduate program policies and procedures can be found online, read them and use them to boost your arguments: e.g., how many semesters do you teach, availability for cross-listed courses in other departments, placement ratings, institutional help for teaching (Preparing Future Faculty programs, etc.), that you can use to help boost your profile. If you can say A and B are my goals and the unique aspects of the department/university including X, Y, and Z will help my achieve them, you're doing it right. Ask good questions: if the answer can be found on the department's website, it's a bad question. You can ask about how the professor's envision TA/prof relationships, their view of the atmosphere of the department/program, why they have chosen to commit to spend their academic lives at that institution (at least my interview committee loved that question), etc. Be specific. Be specific. Be specific. This is not your time to wax eloquent about your love of academia and your subject matter. It is a direct argument in the guise of a conversation about why you will flourish at that school. For Skype interviews, hardwired connection preferred; don't let your WiFi bug out and cause technical difficulties. Quite space. Blank/non-busy background. Look at the camera when answering questions/addressing faculty members. Feel free to use a split screen, half the Skype video/half your notes/questions. You may want to put your computer on some books to make it eye-level so you aren't looking down into the camera.
  7. @weakbutscrappy, interviews almost always mean that the school is interested enough to at least wait list you. Faculty are way too busy to entertain interviews, even Skype ones, for applicants who they wouldn't think about admitting. Most of the time there are about four groups of applicants: 1) The immediate rejects 2) The non-interviewees that are at the bottom of the waitlist (sometimes granted a future interview if enough people turn down their offers of admission). 3) The interviewees that get waitlisted 4) The interviewees that get accepted in the first round. Exceptions exist (e.g., don't curse out the profs who interview you unless you would to become an interviewee who gets immediately rejected), and some interviews may be given on the basis of glowing letters of recommendation from highly regard colleagues over say a stellar writing sample, SOP, or just an overall good application. But hopes should also be realistic. You still may be one of 10-15 people interviewing for 1-2 slots (more or less people and/or slots depending on the year/school).
  8. Most programs don't care about the quant score, but are looking for at least a 160+ verbal and and 5+ in writing. One DGS I spoke to said as long as their average for quant is 40-60% percentile, they are ok (because the graduate school cared about overall rankings across graduate programs....).
  9. Meeting in person is not necessary, though it may very well be beneficial, as you note. An email exchange with one/a couple prof(s) who you may be interested in directing your dissertation is pretty typical. This also can help with developing a SOP for that particular school/department (and how these profs might be of help, since department websites are notoriously out of date with professors' research interests). However, I know of some people (including myself) who have gotten in to funded programs without previous communication with the department beyond the application. In these cases, there are typically other factors that help (a reference from a graduate of the program still in communication and good standing with professors, etc.). But I wouldn't worry too much. Enjoy your break. Wait to see what happens. If nothing lands this year, wait till June or so and start reaching out to profs via email for next year.
  10. It really depends on what level Hebrew class you get into. The most common graduate language courses are the introductory courses, which in your case may be redundant. However, an intermediate or advanced Hebrew course that works closely with a full grammar (Jouon, Waltke/O'Connor) would definitely be of service to you. Even if you hope to focus on NT in your PhD it is likely you will need to pass a Hebrew competency exam. And many departments are looking for Advanced competency in Greek and intermediate in Hebrew even from an applicant. Moreover, deeper knowledge of Hebrew through your MTS may help facilitate an easier transition to Aramaic or Syriac as research needs arise.
  11. While institutions may claim it to be possible, I would do an in depth search of current and recently graduated students from the institution to see if they have actually accepted any students with an M* degree (as @sacklunch also suggested). The language may simply be a carryover from times gone by when this was more the norm. That being said, you will also want to figure out the process, if there is one, of being able to be accepted into an M* program at the institution if your application does not acquire you a PhD spot and the level of funding available for said M* program.
  12. Ask about culture of the program. Conference travel support. What the program is doing to help prepare the students for the job market, apart from adding three letters after their last name. Get a better picture of the TAship program, if there is. Ask anything that can get the chair to brag on their program, the distinctives, why that person chose to work at that uni, etc. But definitely email a couple of the students in the program and ask them if you can buy them a beer and pick their brains. They will be more forthcoming with the goods and the bads of the program. As @theofan said, do your research. I read all 100 pages of my department's polices and procedures before I asked questions, and it paid off.
  13. A couple things. First, don't worry about the publication for now. Most pre-Ph.D. program publications are looked upon with skepticism, and it can hurt you down the road if it does not represent the best of what you can do. Second, your lack of Hebrew will hurt you, there's really no way around it. While I am not familiar with the minimum/suggested requirements for every program, most expect some level of proficiency in both languages (e.g., Baylor prefers 12 hours of your primary ancient language and 6 hours of the other when you apply). Even if there is not set requirement, you will typically have to test at a high level in both ancient languages in any program, adding another thing for you to learn in addition to other program requirements. Third, I agree with @ChristoWitch87 that you need to cast your applications wide and far. There is no guarantee for anyone to get in. Program size is shrinking (though not as fast as the job market). Apply to some STM or Th.M programs as well. Fourth, take this summer and learn German (or Hebrew) if you can. Use April Wilson's German Quickly or another such resource, and go for it. Fifth, you GRE analytical score will not help you. You may want to take it again and get over the 90th percentile. None of this is to be nitpicky, but schools get dozens of applications for a handful (or less) of slots. Building strong relationships with POI, letters of recommendation, and a great writing sample can get you far. But every application committee will need to find reasons to say yes or no. Lack of Hebrew and a less than 90% GRE percentile for some schools may give them a reason to say no.
  14. If your goal is to enter the pastorate, why do you want to go into these programs, given the enormous cost they will entail? Don't get me wrong, I am in favor of pastor's having as much education as possible, but the intense research nature of PhD programs is not always easily transferable to a local ministry context. If you are not yet serving in a pastoral role, this will become even more difficult. If you are going to have to take out loans to pay for three years of study and living in the UK, will you be able to pay them off of a ministry salary (in addition to whatever student loans you may currently have)? If your only role you want to have in the academy is an adjunct at a small Christian college, then, depending on the school, your role as a pastor in the community may be of more benefit to you than the name Cambridge or Oxford on your CV. Moreover, some schools are developing more academically minded D.Min. degrees designed to better integrate higher levels of scholarship into local ministry (I'm thinking of Northern's D.Min. in New Testament Context led by Scot McKnight). These would allow study and full-time pastoral responsibilities to coincide. I do not want to presume your context, but this is an option in some circles to lead to adjuncting while retaining a full-time ministry position. That being said, you seem aware of the downsides and the cost of UK programs. However, as you claim a pastoral focus, I would urge a cautious consideration of three years of an intense study in a non-MDiv setting as related to your overall goals.
  15. What @sacklunch said. The nature of divinity programs is that they do not presuppose a background in the field. That being said, no mater where you go you will find students who simply want to get through the program to get into ministry and those who want to get every educational opportunity out of the program, including those who from the moment they set foot in the graduate program know they want to go on to doctoral work. I will be blunt. At any school you listed you will be able to surround yourself with smart people, seeking a higher level of rigor in their studies than the baseline what needs to pass the curriculum requirements. Your professors will have office hours which you can ask questions and go deeper than what may happen in class. You will be able to choose the topics for your papers and write them to a higher level of standard than what the rubric requires. You will have the choice to choose between which professor you take a class with: the harder or the easier one. You are in charge of the level of rigor of your studies, not your school.
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