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megabee

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About megabee

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    Ph.D. in Political Science

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  1. Students in previous cohorts cannot give accurate advice on how your cohort is going to mesh. Different cohorts have different dynamics, and this varies from year to year based on the personalities of the people in them. How you interact with your cohort also depends largely on your own personality, as in any group setting. These things cannot be reasonably measured, except perhaps a "gut feeling" at visit weekend.
  2. Many applicants will have language proficiency. ICPSR is well known in the field, and will set you apart. Opt for ICPSR, just mention that you're learning Arabic -- you can gain more proficiency in it once you're in your program.
  3. Seconding Magoosh! It's a bit pricey but I only used it for a month and bumped my quant score up 8 points.
  4. Math camp is generally 1-2 weeks of voluntary morning and afternoon lessons before the start of the program. It is not a substitute for the math for social scientists course that you will take your first year, as the previous poster implied. Instead, math camp prepares you for taking that course. My own math camp experience was mostly a crash course in calculus. Integers, derivatives, partial derivatives, CDF/PDF, etc. The course also had some some basic probability, stats, and set theory/set theory notation. The first day of math for social scientists assumed that we had all taken the course, and did not go over these things. If you do not have a strong background in these fields -- i.e., if your most recent math experience was taking the GRE -- you should plan to attend math camp.
  5. Behavior is indeed under the American subfield in most departments. God only knows why. Apparently Americans invented political behavior in 1776, and no one else in the world has behaved politically since then? Anyway, the above post is correct. Check the Americanists in the department. Just because a department doesn't have a behavior subfield doesn't mean they're poor in behavior faculty. Political science has distinct subfields and topics traditionally get shouldered into the preexisting fields -- even ones that cross lines, like IPE/CPE, conflict/peace, and behavior. Also, a subspecialty in methods is not required to do political behavior. You can study methods without specializing.
  6. Your focus is in political theory. Most of these comments don't seem to have made note of that. Retake if you want to, but theory admits are allowed lower quant scores. A 154 quant is perfectly acceptable in the theory subfield at top ten institutions. Quant scores are (wrongly, in my opinion, and also according to research on the matter) used to assess how the applicant will do in the rigorous methodology courses typical of these top institutions. As a theorist, the admissions committee knows you won't be taking these courses.
  7. GPA considerations are largely luck of the draw. At least one person on your admissions committee will think GPA/GRE should be the only consideration. A couple of people on your admissions committee won't consider them at all. For others it's just a hurdle - it won't help you get in at all, but it will keep your application on the table. A shocking amount of the application process is left up to chance, and the consideration of GPA/GRE scores is one of those where everyone on the committee will have a strong opinion. Consideration of GPA will vary widely just based on the department atmosphere, and who the loudest person in the room is, and how the debate over not requiring GRE scores next year is heating up, and other things that no one can predict or account for. In any case, you really can't change your GPA at this point in the process. Focus on making the things within your control stand out.
  8. My understanding is that it would be the latter (relationship between economics and politics).
  9. Michigan State does the Afrobarometer. It also has a strong Africa focus in its comparative subfield, if I remember correctly. If you apply to a top school with a poor fit, it probably won't turn out well. Apply to places (top, middle, and safety) that have Africanists. If a top 5 has a good fit, that's not a waste of a fee. If it doesn't, then yes, you're wasting your money. A program won't accept you if you're a bad fit. Even if it did, you would have a hard time studying Africa with no Africanists.
  10. I don't know if this is applicable for you, but I had one section that I was much better at than the others. I scored in the 160s on the verbal without much effort, and it took me around ten minutes to finish and check over that section. Instead of immediately diving into the next section, I treated my remaining time like a small break (especially since the next section would be quant, and I was much worse at that). I'd let the timer run and lean back in my chair and relax until I felt ready to go on or my verbal section time ran out. It's worthy of note that you only get one extended official break during the middle of the exam. During the short two minute breaks between sections you will not have easy access to water/the bathroom/etc, and as it is likely that others will be taking the GRE or other exams in the same room, you generally aren't allowed to get up and walk around. Treat your practices like the real test in this way. Learn some "mindfulness" techniques that you can do sitting at a chair in front of a computer.
  11. Getting home necessities from scratch can be difficult and expensive. Easily movable things like kitchen stuff (pans/small appliances/utensils/tupperware/dishes/etc) can add up. I've been buying a few things every paycheck and when I see them on sale so I don't get hit with a huge bill. These things don't take up that much space and can be tossed in a car. Buying this stuff early is worth it. As for furniture, I'd hold off. I'm buying stuff near my new place, since it's a bit far from where I am now. My university sells old office furniture out of a warehouse, and I just don't see the point in buying something sturdy like a desk or a filing cabinet brand new. Of course, even without that option, there's always thrift stores and estate sales and such. Spending the money to move furniture is only viable if you already have the furniture, I think. Buying furniture where you live now + moving expenses probably costs a lot more than buying furniture there. Or, if you're shopping online, feel free to set aside a list of things that you like and be ready to order so it arrives the day your lease starts. Random furniture stores close all the time. You can generally find a good quality, new couch for a significantly reduced price if you seek out those closeout/clearance sales. Used is cheaper than new, obviously, if you're alright with that. A couch also isn't something that you necessarily need to have ready the minute you move in. You can wait a bit, shop around, and hold off on buying for as long as you need (or until you make enough friends that the seating situation becomes embarrassing).
  12. Interdisciplinary LORs can hurt you, depending on the field. I don't know how it is for developmental psych. Perhaps cultivate a new relationship in the psych department? Pick a prof that you've had a class with but don't know through research. Drop by their office and ask for advice with grad school apps, where to apply, etc. Even if they don't give you useful advice, seeing them in a one-on-one setting weekly will establish a relationship. It takes a surprisingly short amount of time to do this. If they're helping you through the application process, they'll probably happily agree to write you a letter.
  13. Many thanks to both of you for answering. Upon consideration, I realized that I will already have plenty of opportunity to interact with the potential advisor due to their role within the department and my subfield. I will instead use my first advisor assignment to cultivate a different contact. This is much needed perspective, thank you.
  14. Hello all! I know from searching through the forums that it's typical to have your first year academic advisor assigned to you, and that this advisor isn't meant to be your final advisor by any means. However, my program gave me the option of requesting an advisor or having one assigned. Is there a benefit to requesting someone I might want as an actual advisor to be my first year advisor? I'm slightly worried that starting our relationship mostly talking about courses/academics is going to put me in a position to be taken less seriously later on. However, there's so much "START EARLY" advice out there that I'm not certain if the benefits (early focus on cultivating thesis and publication ideas) outweigh the costs (being seen as coursework focused or not feeling allowed to discuss academics with my academic advisor).
  15. After years of searching, the Pilot Juice Retractable 0.38 is my pen soulmate. Relatively inexpensive and absolutely perfect for my writing style . Great for small or large handwriting, and doesn't smudge. Would take this over the G2s any day. Only downside is that they really aren't sold in stores, but they're available online (and with Prime shipping). Also slightly off topic, but the Ticonderoga Emphasis highlighters are wonderful. The only standard color highlighter set where the blue highlighter was actually usable and not immediately thrown out.
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