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European Lumpi

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    2018 Fall
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  1. European Lumpi

    'Am I competitive? ' thread (Sociology)

    @method I was in exactly the same boat as you are in last year in terms of applying to soc depts and b-schools, so let me try and help. Just because you've highlighted your work experience and are currently writing your SOP, let me just stress: don't focus on your work experience in your application. People are only interested in why you want to do research, what kind of research, how that fits into the department, and why you're going to succeed. So unless your work experience informs the first of those points, I would not advise to spend much time on it. Especially for B-schools (even the sociological ones), it doesn't matter that you haven't taken any soc classes. If you look at their current grad students you'll see that plenty have no soc background. You will, however, need to make clear why you want to do sociological research, especially at the soc departments. This might be a little difficult for people with interdisciplinary interests. But as long as you can refer to people at the department doing similar research, you should be fine. There's nothing you can do about not having published anything. That being said, your profile, which generally looks very strong otherwise, would benefit from some academic research experience. Not sure if there are any feasible ways to check that box before application due dates. Not having taken any math classes is definitely not going to hurt at soc departments, and even most b-schools don't care too much as long as you're applying to the OB/management concentration. There's nothing you can do about your age either. I've only heard anecdotal complains about this and officially it shouldn't be a factor, but who knows. If you can't change it, don't worry about it. A few more things to be aware of regarding the schools you are looking at: Have a look at Yale SOM (very sociological) and Duke soc (strong faculty in econ soc and organizations). Maybe someone will fit your interests there. Booth's OM program hasn't been taking in students for the last two years. Burt stopped working on it, and it might take some time for the younger faculty to pick up the slack. Wharton, albeit a great school obviously, kind of sticks out of your list as it is the only schools that is decidedly not very sociological. Whether or not that matters is up to you, just be aware that they are doing much more general management research, whereas you'll find plenty of people publishing in soc journals at the other programs.
  2. European Lumpi

    'Am I competitive? ' thread (Sociology)

    @egr37 Honestly, there don't seem to be any notable weaknesses in your profile. Seeing as you're at UW, you should try and get LORs from some of the more well-known professors, which should really help make your case. I don't know too much about your subfield, so there's nothing much else I could say. Higher quant scores can never hurt, but if you're not planning on doing heavy quant work, you should be fine as is. EDIT: regarding your writing sample, just submit whatever you believe is your best piece of work and, potentially, showcases some of your research skills.
  3. European Lumpi

    Advice on becoming a professor in the social sciences?

    Additionally, get research experience. See if you can RA for a professor you know, make sure to write a senior thesis if you're in the US. All of this has the advantage of looking good on your CV, helping you write better applications, and will also help you figure out if you actually want to go down the academic path. It's really hard to judge whether academia is something you actually want to commit to long term, without having spend an extended amount of time doing research. Otherwise it depends on the type of research you envision yourself doing. If you want to do quantitative research, start taking methods and math(!) classes. This would significantly raise your ceiling and show that you're serious about your training.
  4. European Lumpi

    Are my activities during a 3-year gap decent?

    Quick thoughts: Are you applying to the US? If so, you're not expected to come with a fully fleshed out research project to begin with. You're obviously expected to have some ideas or interests, but people are generally expected to revise their plans or develop new ones as they learn about theory and research the first couple of years. From what I've heard, AdComms can even see it as a negative if you come with a very detailed proposal as they fear that there might only be very few potential advisors for such specific project ideas. Don't box yourself in too much by spending half a year refining your project. Regarding your work experience. This isn't like an undergrad application. Nobody will care what you did during your gap year unless it directly relates to your research (abilities). They AdComm will not (/should not) judge you for having done other work in between. However, it is up to you to convince them that you have the motivation and ability to make it through a PhD (plus fitting research interests). While your jobs aren't necessarily a downside, it does not sound like they would particularly help in convincing any AdComms either. So your work experience is not going to break your application. It will depend on all the other things.
  5. European Lumpi

    'Am I competitive? ' thread (Sociology)

    Look @Andromeda3921, I think generally your profile looks quite good, but I would agree with @high_hopes that upping your quant score would definitely help. This probably applies to schools outside of the US as well, partly because some are trying to model themselves after US PhDs and partly because other applicants simply will have higher scores. I also think people might be suspicious of a low quant score in combination with a operations research degree (at least those schools that value the GRE quite highly). High GREs will be especially helpful if your GPA isn't that great (don't know your UG GPA and have no idea what do with your grad GPA scale, so take this as general advice rather than me saying your GPA looks good/bad). One more thing you should spend time on in your SOP is making clear that you want to do sociological research (and not development studies/IR as your CV might suggest). If you talk about urban sociology, this should become clear without you having to spell it out, but just keep in mind that AdComms need to see why you want to go to a Soc department. Also, there are a lot of schools on your long list. Have you gone through all of these yet to figure out where your research interests might fit? Some departments (e.g. Duke) are very quantitative and your research sounds somewhat more qual-focused to me.
  6. Just to add to the pot: I've just applied for my third F-1 Visa. Once in my home country, twice in other countries (one EU, one non-EU). Nothing changed. Always the exact same process and nobody commented on it (other than maybe asking what I was doing in the country at the moment).
  7. European Lumpi

    'Am I competitive? ' thread (Sociology)

    @jriveracal I have a couple of thoughts, but let me be blunt first of all: You either need to significantly up your GRE scores or adjust the schools you're looking at. This is not to say that there isn't an outside chance that you might get lucky and have someone sitting on an Adcomm that really likes your research interest, but it is much more likely that you'll quickly be put in the pile of people that does not get a second look. One bad score (either quant or qual) can be overlooked if the candidate is looking to do research relying on the other side of methods, two, most likely, will not be overlooked, especially at the level of schools you listed above. So my number one advice would be to really get going on that GRE prep. On the plus side, it is not even July yet, you'll have about 5 months to work on them. A couple other thoughts/questions: How did you come up with your list of schools? It kind of looks like you just picked the top 12 (and Brown). I'm asking because research fit is incredibly important. If there aren't at least 2-3 people at each school that you'd see yourself working with, you're a) going to have a much harder time making a convincing case as to why you should be admitted and b) much less likely to succeed and enjoy yourself during the program. Plus, as noted above, most of these are going to expect top notch GRE scores. What kind of methods do you plan on using/have you been trained in? As hinted towards above, that might put your GRE scores in perspective and further might help you figure out which schools to apply to. Regarding you having worked since 17. I personally would advise you against writing about personal stories unless these directly inform your abilities or research interests. You want to convince them that you are interested in research, have your own ideas, able to make it through their (rigorous) program, and that you are a good fit for their department. If your personal experiences are part of that, fine, but make sure your skills and potential come across. What was your UG GPA? (or is that supposed to refer to your UG instead of graduate) Coming from Berkeley and a stellar GPA should definitely help. So should your extensive research experience. I wouldn't worry too much about not having any publications. Most people don't. And unless there's something you can do about it over the next few months, it doesn't help to worry about it anyways. Look, aside from you're GRE scores, you're overall profile seems very competitive. Good grades at a well-known institution. A lot of research experience. Presumably strong LORs. If you can get your GRE score to match that profile you should get into a good school. If you can up your GRE scores a little bit, so that the rest of your profile might make up for them, you should be able to get into a decent school (but then I'd start removing schools like Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, or Michigan from that list as these tend to report the highest avg GREs).
  8. European Lumpi

    GPA/GRE Scores - Can I still apply?

    First of all: Congratulations on taking the GRE and performing better than in practices. That is a win and every win along this journey should be celebrated. So here goes: Of course you can still apply, but you might want to adjust the types of schools you're looking at should you apply this round. I don't know to what extent AdComms will go into the nitty gritty of your transcript (probably only if you're a fringe candidate). Bad GREs or GPAs can typically be made up for by other qualities, but these are usually either the other of the two scores or research experience. You are telling us that you have a well written SOP, but it is probably the content explaining your interest in, and experience with, research that matters much more than the sophistication of your writing. The same goes for your LORs: These are supposed to speak about your research abilities. From what you've written on here, I can't tell why you want to go to grad school or why you would be good at it (I obviously haven't read your SOP either). To be perfectly honest: With mediocre grades and scores and little research experience, you are probably facing an uphill battle. Of course that does not mean that it is impossible to get into a (good) school (as a lot of anecdotal evidence on this board proves), but your odds might not be great. Although this does not sound great, I don't think it should be reason to despair. From what it sounds like to me you might want to consider getting some more research experience before you apply (even if that means waiting another year). That should increase your chances and further help you figure out why (and if) you want to go into academic research. You need something to pop out of your application, and having figured out that you want to do research during on of your undergrad classes does not cut it for most of the AdComms.
  9. European Lumpi

    transitioning into sociology

    Research experience and GRE scores. For now, research experience. Doing some RA work besides your thesis and class projects will be a strong signal for adcomms and further help you figure out if you really want to go into academia. It could also show you areas of research you might be interested in. Decent grades during your master's shouldn't hurt either. Especially if your undergrad GPA wasn't all that great.
  10. European Lumpi

    Fall 2018 Acceptances/Interviews/Rejections Thread

    Sounds very fair! Seems like you know which things to think about. I hope NCSU turns out to be a great program for you or that one of the the other apps works out.
  11. European Lumpi

    Fall 2018 Acceptances/Interviews/Rejections Thread

    Oh sorry. That was not meant to sound judgy at all. I definitely agree with your statement (with the qualification that one has to be careful not to get too focused on one specific program, as the chances to get into a specific program are just that much smaller than into getting into one out of the few one has applied to). It was more meant to be helpful, in that it sounds like an incredibly difficult decision to me to give up an offer to apply again next year. So that might be something that could be avoided in round 2. I'm just trying to say that safety schools aren't worth it if one does not want to go there anyway. I obviously do not know whether that was the case here, or whether minds have been changed. And either way is fine, but I wanted to make it visible that it's easy to fall into the trap of just applying to an extra school to get in somewhere. Might be something for future applicants reading this to be aware of And with the first part I was just trying to say that NC State might not look as good after being rejected from Wisconsin, but after taking some time and having a closer look at it again, it might turn out to be a great program for any specific applicant. Again, not necessarily the issue here, but maybe.
  12. European Lumpi

    Fall 2018 Acceptances/Interviews/Rejections Thread

    Sorry if I missed this earlier, but why aren't you happy with your NC State acceptance? There must have been a reason you applied there. It might not be a bad idea to take some time for yourself at some point to really consider whether you don't want to take their offer. Taking some time away from this forum, where people talk about the Harvards, Stanfords, and Wisconsins of this world, might also help put NC State in perspective. Should you decide to apply again next year though, try and figure out which schools you would actually attend before you apply. There's no reason to apply to places if you would not attend them anyways.
  13. European Lumpi

    Deciding between programs

    I found this somewhere else. Might be good to keep in mind to reach out to advanced grad students. (Feel free to disregard the disgruntled, crude language if you wish) "REMINDER to all prospective students to seek out advanced graduate students and recent grads of the department for their perspective on the quality of training they have received. These people are not necessarily going to be easy to find. They're busy doing research, preparing for the job market, or working towards tenure. They don't usually even show their faces at visit days. But they're absolutely going to be giving much more candid advice about your likely outcome should you choose to attend their alma mater. Visiting prospective students are going to spend 95% of their time with young students in their starry-eyed first few years of bull**it course work who literally have no idea what it actually takes to get a job and succeed in academia. Don't listen to any students until they've gone through a round on the job market and have an actual sense as to whether the department has actually done an acceptable job professionalizing them. I WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD ME THIS."
  14. European Lumpi

    Fall 2018 Acceptances/Interviews/Rejections Thread

    Funding and family are obviously reasons that should seriously be considered and so are reputation and academic fit. You might want to try and talk to multiple people throughout the decision-making process. While this forum is a place to start, I'd advise you to talk to your letter writers or other academics that you might be able to ask for help. People are generally very supportive and like to share career advice. And your letter writers will be able to judge the situation more clearly and might provide more insight into the effects of limited funding and reputation. Weighing academic fit versus reputation is another difficult issue, for which people have very different approaches...
  15. European Lumpi

    Fall 2018 Acceptances/Interviews/Rejections Thread

    Haha they have the professors working weekends for this? Or were those just emails from your POIs informally letting you know?

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