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  1. It sounds like you are not currently enrolled somewhere as a full-time student, but it's unclear. Broadly speaking, research experience is far more important than what courses you take. If you are enrolled somewhere, I would say it's best to take some form of research methods. Courses that provide some hard skills are the most helpful, and also often give you the opportunity to do some primary research. If you are not enrolled somewhere, I would say it is not worth it to spend money and time on courses.
  2. Option 2 is the better option if your only goal is top 10 PhD program. The biggest factor for admissions is going to be research experience and you are much more likely to be able to RA or do strong independent research at an institution with more resources and high-profile faculty. One thing I would add is that you should cut out the master's step. Getting a master's in sociology does not significantly help you get into a PhD program and is often very complicated to fund. Some people do it and it works out well, but it should be plan b, not your first choice. I totally understand if you
  3. There's a lot to talk about here, so I'll try to break it down succinctly. - Yes, you definitely have a chance. You have great GREs, a strong GPA, and good work experience. I think it's fair to identify the lack of research experience as your weakest spot, but you should know that most people don't have published work when applying either. It's ok to be thinking about class or work projects as your main research experience at this point, you just have to sell why it's relevant. Programs do not expect you to be the complete package already or else you wouldn't need them; they want to see t
  4. It sounds like you already have pretty much the best type of position you can? A huge number of other students in my cohort (top 10 program) worked at social science think tanks like Urban Institute, MDRC, etc. before applying. You have the scores, the grades, and the research experience. The letters might be the weakest part of your application, but overall that is still an incredibly strong profile. I will also say that sociology programs usually respect the methodological training and recommendations from other social science disciplines. Graduate level sociology is very different than unde
  5. I don't think you should read too much into this. Departments are pushing for professionalization and a quicker clock largely because of incentives on their end, which means you'll get different info depending on who you talk to. I was told 6 years by my department when going through the application process, but I now know that's largely a joke. I certainly can't think of anyone done in 5 and the vast, vast majority are in the 7-8 range. This is at a top department with small cohorts and ample resources. I do think it is true that different departments have different priorities on this. Y
  6. When I applied none of my schools updated the application status beyond submitted until a decision had been sent out, so don't freak out if it doesn't say under review.
  7. I second this. Do not spend $5000 to take one class!! I have tons of students in my cohort who were not soc majors in undergrad. I also wonder if you're overrating how much it helps to have a rec letter from someone in sociology. If you can get recs from professors in other fields, especially ones that are sociology adjacent like econ, that is perfectly fine. I have heard from professors that tons of students get a masters thinking it will help find recommendations, and that this is a mistake. More often than not professors are not focusing on their master's students and you don't have enough
  8. One thing to keep in mind is that the spread can be in part due to how schools notify you of acceptance. For example, UNC has some variation, but it's all in a week or so period. This is because they have a faculty member you listed on your SoP call you, so it depends on that professor's schedule. Other schools will do it by email, so it all goes out at once. I'm sure these things also change year to year. This is mostly to say that it is not worth getting stressed and assuming you've been rejected somewhere just because some people have already gotten in. I had schools where I thought th
  9. Most sociology programs do not admit you to work with one specific person, unlike some other fields. A single POI is not going to make or break your application (especially if they're not on the admissions committee) and most interactions you have with the department about admissions decisions will go through someone like the department chair, head of the admissions committee, or director of graduate studies. Specific faculty I had listed as potential advisors did contact me after I had been admitted places, but I did not interact with them beforehand or about the application process.
  10. Oh no, I should've double checked about this! I did not apply, so I may just be repeating misinformation I heard elsewhere. Take this with a grain of salt and sorry if it stressed you out.
  11. What programs are you applying to that you know have interviews? Chicago is the only one I know of. Not sure what advice there is beyond basic interview advice, since they don't appear to be that common.
  12. You have nothing to worry about. Great GRE, Good GPA, and strong work experience. I think high_hopes is right both that econ by itself is not a problem (and sometimes a bonus!) but you should make sure you can give a compelling case about why you're interested in sociology. There are multiple econ undergrad students in my cohort (top 10 department) and no one even remembers exactly what everyone's major was at this point. And, because statistical skills are a big part of the field, and often criticized among incoming soc students, econ gives you a leg up. I wouldn't worry about not having
  13. Ok, there's a couple things going on here, but I'll do my best. First of all, ignoring GRE for a second, you are a very strong applicant. Good GPA, strong research experience, a clear substantive research interest/project, and strong recs. All of that is fantastic and you should feel great about it! I know it's easy to focus on the one negative aspect here. So, there's two ways to approach your problem. 1) The vast majority of your application is fantastic and your GRE scores are not disqualifying enough by any means. I think you should get into a fully-funded, and most likely top 20, pro
  14. Second what high_hopes says. In general, methods courses are more valuable than content-based courses. PhD programs are largely designed to turn you into research producers, rather than consumers. Most of the coursework you will have in grad school is methods based for these reasons. Any opportunity you can get to give yourself a head start there will make you a great candidate. In addition, if there's any type of course you can take that gives you an option for an independent project, thesis, or even just original research paper you should do it. You will need a writing sample for your PhD ap
  15. It definitely is not too bold to ask! For the record, all of the Soc PhD programs I've been in contact with have offered to reimburse travel expenses, at least up to a certain amount. I am not familiar with master's programs, but I think it is certainly reasonable to ask.
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