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About dmueller0711

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  • Location
    Milwaukee, WI
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    PhD in Theology/Religious Studies.
  1. Considering Retaking GRE, Advice Welcome

    Retaking the GRE has two possible things in your favor: 1) you may get better scores. Frankly, what the school says about what their "most successful PhD applicants" have is what you should have. Are there exceptions? Of course. Don't bank on being the exception. Study. Retake. Get the score you need. 2) You will have a newer score. While GRE scores don't technically expire for 5 years, some schools will want scores that are less than 3 years old. With an application going out this year and a score from 2 years ago, a newer score may help. It may not. But not taking it again could hurt. Remember that in an applicant pool of 100 with only accepting 3-4 students the committee is looking for not only 3-4 students to admit but over 90 to reject. Your best bet is to do everything in your power to prevent anything in your application from being able to be rejected. A score even one point lower than the standard or a test a couple years older won't necessarily eliminate you from contention. But when it comes down to the wire, it honestly could be a part of the decision.
  2. Antioch U - Real School or Joke?

    I know this is late, but if you ever have a question about a school, always check As the link shows, Antioch University would be legit due to its accreditation by HLC
  3. What piece(s) of advice would you give to new TAs?

    I had two online classes I TA'd for over the Fall semester. At least for me, I rarely had interaction with the students that I did not initiate myself. Most of my work was editing the online classroom, updating documents for the professor, and grading essays and forum discussion posts. I may have had 5 unsolicited emails from students the entire semester. In my experience if you want interaction with the students you will have to create it: comment on their forum posts, email students just to check up on how they are understanding the material, and always add substantive comments to their work when grading. Otherwise, it was mostly receiving a to-do list from the professor every week and doing those tasks.
  4. Grad School Supplies

    I use Zotero. Free. Editable. And if you know some coding you can make adjustments to the style guide yourself in the source code. Definitely still has some kinks to work out, but overall it gets the job done without spending money.
  5. PhD Applications Fall '18 Season

    I'll be the hypocrite here as I advised against it but definitely was wearing athletic shorts during my Skype interview.
  6. PhD Applications Fall '18 Season

    Even though some of this is straightforward, I'll say it anyway. 1. Dress like it is an in person interview. 2. Make sure you have a clean room, a wall without anything distracting, and good lighting where you sit. If possible, use a room where you can have an ethernet connection rather than WiFi; better to have faster more stable internet than to freeze up during your interview. 3. Work on your answers to typical interview questions. Read everything you can on the program and tailor them to the school. Make them concise and brief. If you ramble, you waste time for other questions or substantial answers. If you get answers down from two minutes to one minute, even with ones like research focus, why you are interested in their school, and influences in your scholarship, you will almost double the amount of questions you can answer/the information they learn about you. 4. Have at least one or two good, substantial questions about the program. 5. If you have a smaller laptop, it may be helpful to set it on a couple books or a box so you don't look slouched or hunched over but are looking straight ahead.
  7. Grad School Supplies

    I would second most of the above. A monochrome laser printer for the home is a life saver. Even though I have virtually unlimited printing privileges on campus, I still find myself needing to print a lot at home. The second monitor is a lifesaver for research, tedious TA work (Netflix on one screen adjusting all the dates in the syllabus on the other), and grading. Noise cancelling or isolating headphones are a great idea, especially wireless ones so you don't have to pause your music or take off your headphones every time you need to get up to get a book off your bookshelf. A book stand for your desk to make research, reading, and note taking easier. No more awkwardly trying to hold down pages while you type up the quote you need. An Audible subscription. Audio books make the walks across campus and to the car more enjoyable and I don't have to listen to the freshmen talk about how hard their semesters are going. Then, your favorite brand of whatever school supplies you like. Anything that brings the stress level down some is well worth it.
  8. Accepted but Pressured to make an early decision

    Is there an academic blacklist you will be put on if you accept an offer and then decommit later? No. But it is seen as bad practice. Will it hurt you in the future? Probably not, unless your admissions committee has a long memory and the very slim chance that one of them will serve on a hiring committee for a job for which you apply. It will probably hurt your chances to return to that school for a PhD if you are decommitting from their offer to go to another M* program. If you need more time, the typical route is to ask the school for an extension on the decision deadline. Realize though that if you are waiting on an answer from a PhD program it may not come till Mid-March or April if you get placed on a waitlist. Also, once you accept an offer it is best practice to notify all other schools to which you applied and withdraw your application.
  9. What are the best websites for jobs postings in religion?

    1. AAR/SBL website (membership required). 2. HigherEd Jobs ( 3. Smaller accrediting/conference websites (CCCU, etc.)
  10. What Actually Works to Increase AWA Score?

    Two things that really helped me. First, learn to argue your point like an academic. For me, the argumentation portion improved greatly by applying the insights from The Craft of Research. In this book an entire section is devoted to "Making a Claim and Supporting it." The development of a claim, reasons, evidence, and warrants is very helpful. Since this book is widely read among graduate students and professors, it may help provide an argumentation structure expected by the graders. Given this framework, sketching out a quick outline with your claim, reasons, evidence, warrants, and arguments against your claim helps prepare you before you begin writing. Don't spend too much time on this. Leave yourself enough time to write. Often the longer the essay, the higher the score. This goes with what fuzzylogician said. A quick outline that hits the points of what the graders expect will help you achieve those expectations. Second, learn to make stuff up. Because you are not allowed to research, you are allowed to make research up. Don't be afraid to BS a quote or statistic to help support your argument. Don't be afraid to create a study that goes against your own statement, but one that allows you to dialogue with it and to prove why your statement is correct in spite of the argument against. I think I made up a couple quotes and some statistics for my essay and scored a 5.5. One of the expectations of a high score is to be able to dialogue with opposing opinions. A quick quote from a made up journal or study helps provide the opposition to explain away.
  11. Which is Best : IELTS or TOEFL ?

    It depends on the institutions you are applying to. If the institutions take both tests then it is your choice. Neither one is necessarily "better." As JohnKim noted the English expected in each test will be slightly different based on the country of origin for the test. However, depending on where you live, location may be a bigger issue. IELTS typically cannot be taken in as many places as the TOEFL. Moreover, the scoring of the tests typically are a bit different. Most universities look for the IELTS band score which is an average of all your skills. The TOEFL is usually based on an overall number (the addition of all four parts of the test together). The benefit to the TOELF is that if you have two sections where you particularly excel and two sections where you are good but not great, the adding of the scores does much less to negate the effect of your excellent sections. The IELTS which averages your scores often is more damaging to a high score if your other sections aren't as good. Having worked in graduate admissions in the US, most people took the TOEFL even though we allowed the IELTS as well.
  12. As has often been posted, GRE scores are viewed quite differently from school to school. Some schools use them to weed out the first round of applicants. Some use solely for comparison data among graduate schools (I was told what quant score I needed for a religious studies program because the Dean of the Graduate school needed that score to remain competitive among other schools...). It all depends. That being said, I would recommend retaking the GRE based on your verbal score. From what I can find online and from being in a related field (historical studies sub-field within Religious Studies) a GRE verbal score of over 160 (over 163 is better) is typically recommended for top programs. Magoosh published findings is 2013 that for a top 100 program a verbal score of 157 is close to the bottom being accepted. ( Your writing score is good. If you were able to bump it up to a 5.5 it would help your application. However, the biggest need for improvement is the verbal section.
  13. How much breadth in History of Christianity?

    Being able to cultivate a wide interest depends on multiple factors. Before I get to these you should note that you have spoken about professors who have wide interests. It is common for scholars to widen their breadth of interests given the time and desire to do so. It is easy to see the product of 20 years of study and scholarship and forget the fact that it took 20 years to get there. The Factors (well just those I can think of right now): Course work requirements. Depending on the school you may be handed a list of courses to take or you may be given free reign (more so at the Doctoral level) to work with your adviser to create a schedule of classes that suits your interests and needs. Realize at the MA level you may only have 3-4 electives and some of those may need to be taken in other areas. Course scheduling. While better at the graduate and doctoral level, you may get left with a class not available due to a conflict or not come up during your coursework years due to scheduling and/or professor sabbatical. Faculty at the school. You have listed a wide range of interests, many of which do not always get a dedicated scholar at a school due to the other needs of a historical theology/history of Christianity department (e.g., the Reformation, Eastern Orthodoxy, 19th and 20th century theologies, etc.). Exams for Ph.D. - who picks the content, how broad or specific are they going to be? At my current school, Historical Theology Ph.D.'s work with their adviser to choose 3 from 13 available topics ranging from Syriac Christianity to Romanticism and Theology and beyond. That allows for some choice of interests. You. Will you search out books, articles, etc. on topics outside of what you need to do for class? If you have an interest in a specific subject, especially a narrow subject, it is often up to you as the student to take the initiative to make it happen. Additionally, remember that while you are seeking a degree in the History of Christianity, there is a lot to cover outside of your interests. It may be best to talk about three levels of understanding. 1) Proficiency - the base subject matter for your field, 2) Excellency - typically your PhD coursework/exam areas, 3) Specialty - typically your dissertation area. You can add areas of excellence and specialization as time goes on but you shouldn't seek that level of understanding for too many areas lest you attempt too much in the short time of a MA and PhD.
  14. selecting 3rd LOR writer

    First thing to do would be to make sure the schools you are applying to set a limit on the number of letters of recommendation you can receive. Often there are a minimum number needed. However, all three schools I applied to in my field (Religious Studies) had the option of adding a fourth or fifth reference if the applicant desired. Second, if you feel like the second professor does not know your research ability that well, you are able to send him your writing sample or a chapter of your thesis to help him become better acquainted with your academic abilities. All professors understand that your academic ability will continue to grow over time and will be demonstrated in different ways in different classes. At the end of the day, however, Option 1 has already demonstrated a direct interest in your future education by pulling you aside. That initiative taken from the professor is priceless. I would stick with option 1 unless you have the option of submitting 4 references.
  15. PhD Students Publishing

    While your program will want you to publish, often it is only at the initiative of the student. Because publishing takes extra work outside the classroom, it is up to the student to pursue publishing opportunities. Also, it is up to the student to research issues in class that are not only of interest to the student, but provide a publishable topic/research. If you establish this as a goal, often your adviser will work with you to help select periodicals and conferences open to doctoral students publishing and presenting. Additionally, it is often helpful to find professors who are prolific publishers as they may have additional insights into the publishing world of academia. Some professors (two at my graduate school) created edited volume around certain topics and included the best doctoral papers from specific classes in them, in addition to the work of other scholars. All of this to say, while you may find assistance from your school and your professors, it is up to you as the student to take the initiative and set aside the time to make publishing a reality.