TheHessianHistorian

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About TheHessianHistorian

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Iowa
  • Interests
    History, Genealogy, Economics
  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    M.A. in History

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  1. Master’s Prestige

    Not a bad question. Mainly because the top-tier history departments almost unanimously offer PhDs only--no terminal MAs in history. One of the few exceptions I found was Yale. Hence, I tried applying to several top-tier PhD programs but I don't think I'm getting into any of them this cycle. In addition to a lack of top-tier terminal MAs, my range of schools to apply to was further restricted by finding POIs who were a great fit for me. Chicago and Georgetown, for instance, offer terminal MAs in history, but I couldn't find a good fit with the faculty there. If I had known last fall what I know now, I might have done things differently: applied for only top-tier Master's programs, but widened my options from solely History MAs to include European Studies MAs, Germanic Studies MAs, Germanic Languages MAs, etc. The one decision that makes me kick myself the most is my inexplicable decision not to apply to UPenn's History MA program. I don't know what my reasoning was that it didn't get included in my list of applications this year. In the last couple weeks, I've really hit it off with Thomas Max Safley via email. It turns out we both hail from the same rural corner of Iowa. His grandparents and my great grandparents were actually friends, which I had no idea about until we started chatting and he divulged where he was from.
  2. Master’s Prestige

    It's looking like I'm going to be doing my Master's in History at a middle-of-the-pack state university for the next couple years. My strategy is, in 2 years' time, to apply to top-tier PhD programs as well as some other top-tier Master's programs. If I have to do a second Master's degree--say, Yale's Euro/Russ. Studies MA, or Chicago's Germanic Studies MA, or another History MA at Humboldt in Berlin--I'm willing to put in a measly extra couple years in order to get into the top-tier PhD program 4 years from now. So long as the funding situation is doable (I can subsidize a chunk of my unfunded tuition/living expenses through income from my genealogy business), I think it's a worthwhile investment for my long-term goal.
  3. Master’s Prestige

    I would also add to that the sometimes-frustrating but all-too-real point that most of the "top 10" PhD programs strongly, strongly prefer to admit applicants who earned their undergrad or Master's from another top/Ivy program or a foreign program. Take a look at the Princeton/Yale/Harvard current grad student profiles, and you will see endless Bachelor's degrees and Master's degrees from top 10 schools and overseas schools.
  4. Master’s Prestige

    Almost every history department website now has a section that lists the names and email addresses of all their grad students. Most of the time it's in the "People" section of the department homepage. Under "People," they should have subsections like "Faculty," "Emeritus Faculty," "Departmental Staff," and "Graduate Students."
  5. Fall 2018 Applicants

    It's called up-selling.
  6. Rutgers or re-apply

    From what I've heard from my professor mother and grandfather, many ad-coms understand that sometimes it happens and it's unavoidable. Someone gets to a program, they realize it's not working for them, and they transfer to another program. However, it does raise a red flag that either the student did not do their homework on whether or not the first school was a good "fit" for them, or that the student is hard to get along with, or that the student doesn't finish things that they commit to. That one red flag in and of itself won't sink your ship, but if it's combined with another red flag, like a lackluster LOR, or a SOP that mysteriously dances around the transfer issue, or any sign of negativity or contentiousness in your communication with POIs at the new school, it's not going to bode well for you.
  7. Declining a program before they've accepted you?

    And the school sends me a formal rejection email the day after I withdraw my application! LOL "The Graduate Studies Admissions Committee completed its review of your application today. I regret to inform you that yours was not accepted for admission." I'm dying here. It's the old, "You can't quit! You're fired!"
  8. Fall 2018 Applicants

    According to the Results page, it looks like yes: https://www.thegradcafe.com/survey/index.php?q=history+irvine&t=a&o=&pp=100
  9. History PHD program with no language/GRE requirement

    Without a foreign language, it's going to be extremely unlikely to get into any of the top-tier History PhD programs that require no GRE scores. There would be nothing stopping you from earning a PhD through a lower ranked program, some of whom will not require GREs. However, you might need to ask yourself why you want to get the PhD. If it's just for personal edification or a personal accomplishment, that's fine, but it might be a big financial investment. If it's to enter academia, then you will need to earn your PhD from a top-tier institution with a good program and good placement rates. If it's the latter, then there's no way around it--you need one or more foreign languages and you need to take and do well on the GRE.
  10. Writing Style Recommendations

    Hands down Turabian's "Manual for Writers." I've also found Storey's "Writing History: A Guide for Students" and Rampolla's "Pocket Guide to Writing in History" to be helpful.
  11. Declining a program before they've accepted you?

    Mine were all basically the same, yes. I led in with the same personal story, I used the same paragraph to describe my personal background, and the same paragraph to describe my research interests, and the same conclusion paragraph. However, I completely wrote from scratch the two paragraphs in each SOP in which I talked about my fit with the school and who my preferred faculty in that program were.
  12. Declining a program before they've accepted you?

    I applied for a large handful of graduate programs this cycle (mostly Master's programs)--15 to be precise. My last choice school (15 out of 15) keeps losing parts of my application and asking me to re-send them over and over. Now they say they never received my GRE scores from ETS, even though I've provided documentation showing the date when ETS sent the scores to the department. The school is asking me to pay to re-send the GRE scores to them a second time. At this point, since I already have several offers from much better programs, and not wanting to pay $29 to re-send my GRE scores a second time to a program I no longer have any intention of attending, is it okay for me to email them and withdraw my application before they've notified me of a decision? I would hate for them to waste any more time on reviewing my application if I'm definitely not going to be attending their Master's program. What is the nicest and most professional way to communicate this to them?
  13. Fall 2018 Applicants

    You could email both, but unless your POI was on the admissions committee, I might advise steering more toward the DGS with such a question.
  14. Fall 2018 Applicants

    I think you hit the nail on the head right there. Steer clear of "why didn't I get in?" and more toward "Thank you for the consideration you gave my application. Do you have any thoughts on weak spots in my application, and how I might strengthen my application in the future?"
  15. Fall 2018 Applicants

    Same. Early modern European history for me. Also waiting on a few more schools. Best of luck to you!