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  1. dreamerr33

    Illinois-Urbana-Champaign 2018

    Hey everyone, Good luck to all, I will be entering the PhD program in HRIR. PM me those who would like to talk.
  2. dreamerr33

    Urgent! Names different on I20 and Passport

    Hey guys, So if the University sends a new I-20 to me with the name updated according to my Passport which is as follows - Surname - *blank* Given name - XXXX YYYY Will I be having any problems after reaching the United States? I mean, having no surname in my official documents (I-20, Passport VISA) woudn't tend to create a problem for me in any way, right? I would be able to receive financial aid, open a bank account and file taxes? Or having a surname is important in USA?
  3. dreamerr33

    Urgent! Names different on I20 and Passport

    @TakeruK@fuzzylogician Thanks a lot! I have written to the International Office, hoping that the problem gets solved. Good day!
  4. Hey guys, I received my I20 last month, but until now I hadn't seen that the my name on I20 is different from the name entered in my passport. I realized the mismatch of names while filling the DS160 form today, I don't know how long it would take the embassy to issue the VISA, and I still haven't submitted the VISA application, so I'm really worried now and I feel short of time. In my I20, Surname is - XXXX YYYY Given name is - *blank* While in my Passport, Surname is - *blank* Given name - XXXX YYYY I don't know what to do now, shall I fill the Names section in DS 160 according to the name in my Passport or the I20? Or shall I ask the university to issue an updated I20? Or shall I try to get the name in my passport changed? Any help or advice is appreciated. Thank you
  5. dreamerr33

    Debt after PhD?

    Hey everyone, I am about to join a PhD program in US this fall. I recently came across an Article about debt during PhD. The article mentions that the average grad school debt for Social Science PhD holders is $24,581, but it doesn't mention how students go into debt. My field is Social Sciences. Although I have been offered a tuition waiver and stipend for 5 years. Should I be concerned?
  6. dreamerr33

    How to politely decline an offer?!

    Bumping this thread here, I recently declined an offer, and the Program coordinator has asked me which school will I be attending. Is it important for me to reply? What could be the consequences if I don't reply, anyone who has had a similar experience?
  7. dreamerr33

    "Let's just TALK about it..." Decision Edition

    I have to choose between UIUC and Rutgers. I am inclining towards Rutgers as my field is Social Sciences, and UIUC is known just for Engineering. Although the stipend offered by UIUC($21K) seems appropriate when compared to the Rutgers offer($25K), considering the lower cost of living in Urbana. Its hard to decide for me, in case of Rutgers, I like the fact that its near NY and Philly, while UIUC is nowhere close to a big city. I also feel that at Rutgers I would be able to save more of my stipend and maybe afford a better standard of living. As for research compatibility, I like the research areas at the UIUC department but what concerns is me that the majority of scholars rely highly on quantitative methods, but I prefer to use qualiitative methods for some problems. While at Rutgers, the research areas don't perfectly coincide with my interests, but I would still be fine researching on those areas. One common aspect that I have observed in both departments, is that there is a majority of East Asian students(Chinese and Koreans), I personally would have preferred a more diverse student body. I hate this confusion!
  8. Hey everyone, So when I initially joined gradcafe and went through the list of forums and subforums, I was astonished to find that so many academic disciplines exist in the world. I am keen to keep myself updated about latest research in all disciplines. As I like to read and gain knowledge. So I wanted to know is there any particular website or app which lists latest research developments(such as Journal articles, PhD thesis from top universities, Articles from influential scholars in the field, Review Articles etc. etc.) in all fields(Social Sciences, Applied Sciences, Pure Sciences, Humanities etc.) and subfields. Thanks in advance
  9. dreamerr33

    "Let's just TALK about it..." Decision Edition

    I'll be(If I accept) in UIUC
  10. dreamerr33

    Trying to understand the PhD life in US

    @GreenEyedTrombonistThanks a lot for your answers. They have been helpful for me in my decision making process. Good luck for the journey ahead. @schenarThank you for your insight @rising_star That is really helpful and clears a lot of my concerns. Thanks. I am intrigued by the story of your friend having completed a US PhD in 3 years! I received my second acceptance, so now it has become harder for me to decide. Hopefully will be able to take a final decision and accept one of the offers within a week.
  11. dreamerr33

    "Let's just TALK about it..." Decision Edition

    Happy to receive my second acceptance. Although I am not sure about how good the Financial Aid Award [20% Research Assistantship($10.5K)@12 hours per week + $11k Fellowship] is to cover my costs of living in Illinois as compared to the $25k(Graduate Assistantship@ 18 hours per week) Financial Aid package in New Jersey. Anyone would know which of the offers would be more wiser to accept? Anyway, still waiting for responses from some more universities.
  12. dreamerr33

    Trying to understand the PhD life in US

    Hey, Yes I did write to some of the current students, but I haven't yet received a reply from any of them yet. Yes, I did use the search function and got an idea regarding some of my doubts, but I wanted to know things in more detail. @Levon3 Thank you for your response. That helped @Bleep_BloopThanks a lot, that does simplify things for me. Is 60-70 hours a week including Saturday and Sunday?
  13. Hey everyone, I got admitted to one of the Social Sciences PhD programs I applied to, which was rather surprising for me as I didn't really expect to receive an offer. So now, I am really confused and finding it hard to take a final decision. I am an International student and I would like to learn more about various aspects of the PhD life in USA. So here are some questions, expecting to receive inputs from all, especially from current PhD students and graduated students. Help is highly appreciated 1) So while reading answers to a question about the challenges during a PhD on Quora, A specific portion of an answer surprised me, which says - Low social status. You are at the bottom of the hierarchy of a decrepit, creaking guild system. Undergrads are happier and sexier (no matter how in-shape or good-looking you might be, because it's not about that) than you are. Do not try to be a part of their world; that is just pathetic. Graduate students in other disciplines will generally look down on you and your colleagues will look down on them. Professors you have no choice but to look up to, since they survived the atrocity of a job market that 80% of your colleagues won't. So is it really true that it is considered as strange when Doctoral students talk to Masters students or undergrad students, or vice versa? Are friendships or relationships between these groups considered as weird? 2) How many hours do I need to work on weekdays? and the same for weekends? I know the answer to this question would depend from program to program and also on the year of the PhD. However, it would be good to have an estimate for Social Science PhD students. I would also like to have a general idea of which of the five years is the best in terms of having free time? 3) What do PhD students do in Summer? What is the duration of Winter vacation and summer vacation in US? Is funding for Social Science PhD students common? I like to travel and explore new places. So would summer be the right time to do it? 4) Is it possible to finish a PhD in less than 5 years? Lets say, If I take more than the actual number of prescribed courses in a Semester, or I complete my thesis in less time than expected. Would it be possible to complete the Program in 4 or 3 years? Or are there any other means of completing a US PhD in less time? 5) How difficult is it to stay in the same city for 5 years? Could it get really boring at one point of time? I ask that because I am still young(23) and I would like to explore new places during this phase of my life. So, to rephrase the question in a better way "How often do PhD students travel? How many times in an year on average? 6) What is it like to be a teaching assistant? In general, I am a shy person and I am not sure if I will be able to teach a huge class. I have no prior teaching experience and my personality doesn't fit to that of a teacher, and I am more interested in research. Thus, I would prefer to be a research assistant rather than a teaching assistant. However, I feel that I will have no choice but to be a teaching assistant as it is a condition mentioned on my offer letter. Therefore, I would like to learn more about being a teaching assistant, what are the jobs of a teaching assistant and how are difficult are each of these jobs? 7) Would there be huge work pressure and lots of sleepless nights? To break the question into parts, (A) Which of the 5 years will involve the highest amount of work pressure? (B) How difficult is it to maintain a 3.5 GPA(which is what I need to secure continued funding) (C) How difficult is the coursework? (D) Is fourteen credits per semester too much workload? (E) Which phase during a PhD is more challenging? The coursework phase or the final dissertation phase? (F) From what I have read, a lot of students who enroll into a PhD program tend to leave it in between, so I would like to know in which phase or year of the program does that generally happen? 8) Since professor jobs in Academia are so competitive, what are some other nice options open for Social Science PhD graduates? 9) What motivates people to pursue a PhD? Is it only the love for research in the field? Or are there other reasons too? When people finally take a decision to pursue a PhD, what other possible career options do they leave behind? (Although this is something which differs for each person, I would like to learn what is the motivation of people to enroll into a PhD program while denying Industry job offers they may have had or discontinuing their job to pursue a PhD) Or is it also the because they have no other option in life except pursuing a PhD? 10) What are the average monthly savings of a typical PhD student in US? I know it depends on the stipend, cost of living, and lifestyle of the student. However, I would like to have an estimate of savings per month, and I am also interested in knowing how does one spend one's remaining stipend after paying the rent and utility bills. 11) On average, how many conferences in an year does a PhD student attend? What are the conference funding provisions in general during a PhD in Social Sciences? 12) Do PhD students even have relationships in their university? Is it possible for PhD students to have girlfriends or boyfriends? Or the high work pressure makes it impossible? Have there been instances of Social Science PhD students being in a relationship? (This question is in the context of Single PhD students only) Inputs and responses to the above questions are highly appreciated. Thank you
  14. dreamerr33

    Accepted! But Confused

    Hey, thanks a lot for your response. That helped Thank you so much. Another question I have - The Program coordinator has asked me on what dates would I like to visit their department. Now, as I'm an International student, I am supposing that it would be difficult to obtain a VISA in a short span of time to be able to travel to United States. Besides, I have just about a month and half (Until April 15th) to respond to the offer. So in this case, what shall I do? Personally, I am highly interested in the visit as it would help me in my decision making process. But I am worried about the time taken to obtain VISA and for other formalities. Is there any other International applicant who may have had a similar experience or may have been in a similar situation. What shall I do? I have no clue how much time the issuance of VISA takes, but I imagine that it takes weeks.
  15. dreamerr33

    Accepted! But Confused

    Hey all, I finally received my first ever offer letter and funding details in response to my PhD application to a US university. I am excited but I am still rather perplexed as it is a huge life decision. 5 years is a long time. There are some points mentioned on the letter which I don't understand. I would highly appreciate if someone could give me a clear explanation of these - 1) You will be expected to work no more than an average of 18 hours a week during the term of your Graduate Assistant appointment. Does it mean that apart from what I have to do for progressing towards PhD degree, I have to work for 18 more hours in a week? Is 18 hours towards the higher end or the lower end, what is the average in general for Social Science PhD students? 2) Your appointment ratio is 100% time. Could someone explain this to me in an easy language? How is appointment ratio defined? The university has also offered me a visit funded by them. Does the university really cover the entire cost of the entire Round trip? I am an International applicant. Would it be wise to accept the visit? I am highly thankful to this forum, which has served as a huge support system for me during the entire application process. Although, I don't have a profile as impressive as many others have on this forum, I would stay here to try and help out applicants in the future application seasons. P.S - Still waiting for responses from other universities Thank you

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