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TheDude

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TheDude last won the day on January 5 2011

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About TheDude

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  1. TheDude

    eReaders

    I used an iPad when doing research and helping to write manuscripts as an Undergrad. It worked fine. I didn't use the program Papers though, which I think would make cataloging them much easier. I'm never going back to paper form again. I never did stats on my iPad, but I did have Excel and did a lot of coding with it. I'm weird- if I am dealing with grids and boxes I want a mouse and a pc.
  2. That doesn't seem like standard operation on the part of the university. None of my programs waited to send me financial aid. It was a big part of my decision making to know what I might need to take/could take in loans as emergency funds before accepting an offer. I think your email would be fair. I'd also just say none of your other programs are making you wait and knowing the "complete" aid package is the only way you can make a decision. Why it matters: One school gave me a ton of Perkins Loans The other could not offer Perkins Loans to grad students.
  3. Full tuition waiver for my time at the program I am headed to. Not a bad stipend (just shy of 20K) for 9 months/20 hrs as an RA. I think it rises by 1500 after 2 years. Could suck a lot more, but if you take the stipend and see what you are paid hourly over 9 months it isn't bad. Now, if you can't set personal boundaries and working 40 hours for your stipend it might suck. You also should qualify for subsidized stafford loans which you can always bank and draw upon in times of financial need. If you don't use it you send it back. I only have to TA for a semester or year...I can't remember which one. On the insurance front. I don't know if the health fee is waived or not. I am checking that out ASAP. Hope that helps. Random: Next item I am checking out is the lifetime learning credit. That might make a huge dent in taxes. I talked with my accountant about stipend taxes and he said it was a very complex issue with distal universities interpreting the tax code differently. He thought if I was a TA it should not be taxed, but as an RA it might be different.
  4. I am waiting to send out my commitment response and deposit. I was between 3 programs. In the end I knew where I was going, but the other offers got me thinking about what might be. For a couple weeks I contemplated getting the Masters from Harvard as employment opportunities seemed plentiful for graduates with just an M.A., and the name, sadly, holds a lot of clout the further outside of Cambridge you head. I could be happy with just a Masters because I don't feel a burn to get the Ph.D. I'm just not married to that idea. In the end I am taking the Ph.D. program that is 95 minutes from my family and girlfriend. It's fully funded. My reasoning: 1) I worked my ass off in my undergrad and I deserve the funding. 2) If the program or advisor sucks then I can walk, and will do so with zero issue if it is for my personal happiness. I'll also have an M.A! 3) I know the principle components in life that make me happy: My family, my relationship with my S.O., being near some place I want to live....etc. Being near these things will contribute more to my overall happiness than being further away, which in turn will make me a more productive and successful graduate student. It's nice to know my plan B of coming back home would make me happy. I feel lucky to know these components at my age, and am somewhat concerned that going to grad school is rocking the boat. 4) Nothing prevents you from exploring what the job market will be like for you if you just had 2 years of grad school under your belt. I'm thinking being 90 miles from everyone will allow me to sneak back home a couple weekends a month and have my girlfriend down a couple weekends, Holiday breaks off and most of the summer (only 9 months of funding for 20 hours of work). I'll probably need another 2K-3K in stafford loans to swing the travel, but it could be a lot worse, right? I don't think it has to be a situation that is detrimental to relationships if 2 people are willing to work through it. I have a pretty realistic expectation of what the work in grad school will entail. I've immersed myself in blogs, forums and articles slanted towards the negative side of things probably more than I should have. I still think I can make it work. After all, I'm being paid to be a student and researcher. It isn't like I need to worry about other jobs, etc. And there are couples that make it would with a lot less time together than what life as a grad student entails. What I am struggling with is how far from campus I want to live. Everyone says close. However, I like to be away! I like silence and big fields with old houses. I can get that vibe about 30-40 miles from campus. This would put me closer to home and provide me with what I find palpable in living situations. I'd probably get more mileage from my stipend too. Maybe I just wait on commuting in until after the first year? P.S., I'm kind of over proofreading these posts. My apologies are offered to you in advance.
  5. Are you a dependent? If so there in lies your problem. I owe 58K in loans from my undergrad, and that never factored into what I received for aid from the government.
  6. Did anyone ever hear from UConn? I don't care because I am set to attend another program, but I never received any confirmation of materials in nor any subsequent notes like other programs. Maybe they weren't taking students, but if that is the case I'm going to write and bitch to get my 65$ back.
  7. Maybe I am crazy for saying this or following through with this, but why don't you take out all your Subsidized Stafford loans and just bank them? If you have to touch them, cool at least something is there. If you don't need them you pay them back.
  8. I disagree. I retook the GRE and the extra 50 points put me above 1200, where I was previously below 1200, it also solidified a near perfect writing score. I think it is the circumstance. Had I scored a 1260 the first time I wouldn't have thought to retake it if it would mean getting to 1300. If you are under 1200 you need to retake it. Study the vocab early too! I thought I could focus on math, since it had been ages since I had dealt with much of the material on the GRE, and I neglected verbal. If I had balanced out my studies early I would have been over 1200 the first time very easily. The other thing I'd add pertains to presenting at conferences: This is all great, and I did (if I remember correctly) 4-5 presentations, but I really didn't care to continue the research I was doing. The contacts that I met/would have met if I cared more, would have provided some pretty boring continuations of what I had been working on. The point is, don't let your research path as an undergraduate dictate your interests in certain graduate programs. Find a way to market the skills you obtained in a way that is useful to a particular lab. Sure, continuing on with what you examined with an advisor in your undergrad days is certainly playing your best hand, but it shouldn't be your only hand. A Ph.D. program is 5 years of your life. I realized this after I blew nearly 2K applying to schools. I'd gladly take back most of that money I spent applying to programs I didn't want to attend. I found 3 programs I loved, 5 I wasn't in love with. I should have just played my hand and applied to the 3 I'd be happy with attending. Yes, there is more risk with that, but you are talking about your personal happiness. I also second the notion of "no predictions." One of my letter writers wanted me to delineate my "safety schools, pretty certain schools and reaches." I remember writing to another letter writer who had been through the grad process in the early 2000's, and asking, "how the f*ck am I suppose to to know what a safety school is?" You don't know, and you really just have to do your best through this whole process and say the hell with it. This is a nice thread idea!
  9. If you are into music cognition you should show it in your SOP. Go for busts. This application season all the programs where I went "all the way" with my SOP I was admitted. The others, where I tried to show I could mesh with multiple advisors, I was given a Master's offer. McGill is fabulous, but the problem you are going to have is Levitin, and that lab, are really renown in popular press. So, I wouldn't be surprised if the applicant pool is crazy. When I was thinking of focusing on this subject and looked at McGill it didn't seem like those 2 professors had many grad students, the grad students they did have had really cool life experiences in the music industry, etc. So, you and everyone else who applies will have some kind of background in music. It would be silly to have music cognition as an interest if you didn't have that background. What I am trying to say is when you apply, if you choose McGill, I wouldn't have it slated as a "sure thing," but rather a "reach." I'd develop a second interest if music cognition is your only focus, unless of course you can't stomach the idea of having a second interest and would only be happy with studying music cognition. If this is the case just apply to the aforementioned programs and develop a plan B that isn't grad school. It shouldn't come as a surprise that finding funded research projects revolving around the arts is a tough go. Also, with the schools where you couldn't find faculty... did you look in the music department? Like I said lots of music cognition researchers are affiliated with the music school at various universities. That might make you uncomfortable though if you are expecting a straight Psych department affiliation.
  10. Take your GRE earlier rather than later. Be on your letter writers early and LIE about the deadlines. Yes, I said lie. You're going to be the one developing an ulcer when they push it to the last second of the last day... save yourself the headache. Spend a great deal of time on your statement of purpose, with a particularly shrewd eye on the letters going to your top choice. It really is all about "fit" and luck. You can only do something about one of those items, and even then you still don't have much control in this whole process. Save more money for applications than you think you might need. How you treat the application process can be the first step towards the ridiculous "do or die" mentality that is readily apparent in a lot of grad students. THIS WHOLE PROCESS WILL NOT MAKE OR BREAK YOU! You're not as smart as you think you are nor are you as smart as everyone told you. Realize this now and you'll be hurting a lot less in October. I'll have to revisit this prediction at a later date. No one cares that University X hasn't contacted you back yet and that you are freaking out. Once you apply shut up and don't bug your SO, friends and family about all of this. Expect rejections, and lots of them! Don't visit this site so much. In hindsight it drove me nuts!!!!!!
  11. So, this is an MA/Ph.D track program, you have an admissions letter, and I am assuming you didn't get a bunch of those (none of us did) so you figure this is your one shot to start grad school now? My question is this: Is it a funded program? No one can keep you anywhere, but if you are receiving funding you might be treading on thin wire. If you left a funded MA/Ph.D. program after obtaining the MA for personal reasons or to move into industry/private sector then you would get away relatively unscathed. A considerate advisor would understand and probably still advocate on your behalf with a LOR, an inconsiderate advisor won't be so kind. However, if you are leaving a funded MA/Ph.D program to head to another Ph.D. program you are doing something that is, in my opinion, in poor taste. But grad school is a job and you need to do you sometimes, right? If the program isn't funded: 1) Do you want to go into more debt instead of just waiting and trying again? 2) I'd see no problem with leaving if no one is paying you to be there. Advisors know that life happens for students. I would imagine they hope they could retain all their students, but know in reality some will leave.
  12. Don't shit where you eat...
  13. TheDude

    HGSE Fall 2011

    I received a call from HGSE last night and was told the financial aid package will be available in 3 weeks.
  14. I emailed the aforementioned professor twice this summer and never heard back from her. Check out McGill and Dan Levitin's lab. Also, I think Stanford does this kind of work. I'd branch into studying creativity if you could. At least if you enter the private sector with that as a focus you have some potential as a consultant. I think there is a university in Illinois that focuses on this too. I can't remember which one, but when I thought this was a focus of mine I found more researchers linked up with music departments than psych departments.
  15. TheDude

    Stafford Loans

    Are grad students on stipends with tuition waivers taking these out? I'm thinking a few things on this front and want to hear from others if I am crazy. 1) I am relatively young to be starting a Ph.D. Consequently, I don't have savings from 2-5 years in the workforce to fall back on. If all goes well this spring I should be able to save 3500-4500$ before I move. A lot of that will be used for initial rent, first and last month, etc. It would be nice to bank a subsidized stafford loan "just in case." I'm pretty confident I am disciplined enough not to touch it. Have others done this? Dumb idea? 2) I owe 36K on a private loan for undergrad. I'd love to trade that debt for federal debt, especially given income-based repayment and other positive incentives provided under the terms of government loans. Is this nuts? Ya, ya...I know what Stafford loans are suppose to be used for. If all the money goes into the same account...... I'm just wondering what others are thinking. Based on the verbal conversation pertaining to my offer I am going to get 19,500-22,000K. I think rent is going to run me 9K a year with a roommate in a good situation. I've never really just gotten by and I want to be prepared.
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