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Indecisive Poet

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Indecisive Poet last won the day on July 14 2018

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About Indecisive Poet

  • Rank
    Double Shot

Profile Information

  • Pronouns
    Anything works
  • Location
    Scotland
  • Interests
    British Romanticism & Literary Theory
  • Application Season
    Not Applicable
  • Program
    PhD English (Fall 2020)

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  1. Indecisive Poet

    Rutgers or NYU?

    I did my undergrad at RU – I don't know too much about the graduate program but feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions you think I'd be able to answer about the university, location or department in general! I am no longer anywhere near a medievalist but that was my area of concentration there as an undergrad.
  2. Indecisive Poet

    Choices choices

    As someone approaching the second half of a 1-year program (in the UK, not at TCD), I just want to emphasize this. I wouldn't have been able to apply to PhD programs this cycle, period. Luckily, I am okay with and had planned for a gap year. But if that's not something you're willing to do, I'd go with the 2-year program. If I could do this all again, I'd apply to fully-funded, 2-year MA programs in the US rather than attend my current institution (as an undergrad, I didn't really understand that this was an option). But if it were a choice between 2 relatively equally un-funded programs, US vs. Europe, I wouldn't have an immediate preference. I would choose, as others have suggested, based on 1) which will cost you the least in the long run (including living expenses for 1 vs. 2 years); 2) which program (and which faculty) is the best fit for your interests. One final thing I want to throw in is that while I do think it's responsible to defer attending graduate school until you're able to attend a funded program, I am not necessarily on board with the "you can do all the prep work on your own anyway" sentiment that I've seen thrown around TGC a lot lately. I took a year off after undergrad and did teach myself a f***ton, but the first 6 months of my program have taught me more and provided me with far more opportunities than I would have had access to or learned on my own. I feel confident about applying to PhD programs in 2019 and I can firmly say that wouldn't be the case had I just taken another gap year. I wouldn't have the letters or the writing sample to get in, nor would I have the research focus and understanding of my field that I've gained from spending a lot of time talking to my professors and working on writing assignments for class. I've also been able, while here, to really identify my weaknesses as a writer and researcher and target exactly how to work on those things. There's something definite to be said for spending a year in intensive, formal study. But – take this with a grain of salt. I worked through undergrad and ended up with a savings that is allowing me to leave my MA program debt-free at the end of the year, and that may not be the case for you – which changes things! FWIW, Dublin is a wonderful city, Ireland is a beautiful country to live in and TCD is such a fantastic (albeit touristy) campus.
  3. Conference funding is not guaranteed at my MA program – I have to fill out an application and have it approved by the department. Part of this application is a short statement about how the conference will benefit my career and research development. I'm curious what you all write for this sort of thing/for conference bursary applications. Should I state the obvious about conferences generally being helpful experiences for graduate students? Should I go into detail about what sorts of extra activities the conference will be offering? The programs aren't available just yet for either of the conferences I'm planning to attend this summer so I can't write about any specific papers anyone is giving. A side question: if I am awarded a grant, is that something I can list on my CV? As I mentioned, it's definitely an if scenario as it isn't at all guaranteed, but it would be coming directly from my university's English department.
  4. FWIW, I was told by a distinguished professor at my undergrad (which is a top 15 program in the US) that, quote, "I don't think admissions committees will care where you did your MA." This was the response I received when I was choosing my UK MA institution and I reached out to him wondering how much I should factor the prestige of the university into my decision. A good way to get a sense of this is by looking through graduate student profiles at the programs you're interested in. Many of them list their previous university/universities. I always find a handful at each program with European MAs, and more surprisingly, there are always more than a handful from regional universities and small colleges in the US that, as a US native who was primarily educated there, I have never even heard of. If there are no current students with training outside the US or from non-ivy universities, that should be a red flag for you. My understanding is that where you've done your previous degrees is not nearly as important as the quality of work you've done at those institutions, fit, and what you write in your SoP/WS. I have been warned, though, that there are certain programs at ivy league universities – Harvard and Yale off the top of my head – that do tend to prefer applicants from ivy league BA institutions, although not exclusively. I would also say that if you choose a European university, think carefully about who will be writing your letters of recommendation. British & European professors infamously tend to write a very different (read: brief, objective, non-glorifying) style of letter than American professors do.
  5. Indecisive Poet

    Turned Down Offers Thread

    A friend of mine just turned down an offer from Tennessee (Knoxville) yesterday, if that's helpful for anyone! She is in the 18th century (mostly British), studying religion and literature and women writers.
  6. Hi everyone! I'm wondering if anyone has experience with guiding letter-writers at UK/European/non-US universities towards writing a letter that will be received positively by American PhD programs. I've long been aware of the different letter-writing styles of UK vs. US faculty members, and it's becoming increasingly apparent to me as I research the issue and talk to previous professors that the brief, objective and reserved letters written by Brits run the risk of being received as not very positive (despite their intentions) by American adcoms. I am applying to PhD programs next fall and I will have 1 American recommender from undergrad, 1 very strong writer from my UK MA institution, and... hopefully another recommender from my UK institution that will not be as strong as the others but not by a large margin (I hope). I am wondering if there is any sort of...template? I can send to the latter two that would help them understand what would be expected of their letters at the programs I'm applying to. I've come across this page from The Professor Is In, but it's geared toward letters for dissertating PhD students entering the job market so it's not all that helpful. I am especially worried about the personalities of all of the options I have for my 3rd letter not being conducive to writing a warm letter.
  7. Indecisive Poet

    Relative importance of LORs?

    I am in a very, very similar position to you and I am also planning to use 2 letters from my UK MA, and to ask my undergrad recommender to update her letter for the 3rd. For what it's worth, a friend of mine just accepted an offer at Notre Dame's PhD program earlier this week and she did the same thing – 2 letters from MA program, 1 from BA. A professor at my MA program advised me to do the same as well. I would second @Rootbound's advice and suggest that you just share your MA work, current CV and updated research interests with your undergrad professor and ask them to write a letter that reflects those changes.
  8. Eek, I hope this is reflected widely in admissions decisions. I'm finishing up a program at a British university right now and I had a professor from my undergrad tell me to try to take classes with Americans since they tend to write much more enthusiastic and personal letters than Brits do – I didn't end up being presented with that opportunity, so I'm hoping I don't get written off as having not-so-good letters just because there's a differently style of LoR-writing and a different kind of student-prof relationship here.
  9. I can't speak for the adcom necessarily but this particular prof certainly does! Hopefully that's something reflected in the rest of the faculty.
  10. Because you applied to Rutgers, I'll just corroborate this: a professor there who has served on their adcom for many years told me last year that he is by far the most interested in the SoP and the WS, and everything else is really of lesser value to him. He said he used to place greater weight on LoRs but has relied on them increasingly less in recent years (something about "everyone is, for the most part, going to write a strong letter, so there's no real way to use them to distinguish anything"). ? Thanks for posting!
  11. Indecisive Poet

    The Best Gap Year Ever

    Great point and thanks for sharing your experience! I forgot to mention that I am also looking at community colleges. Here's hoping for something full time, but I'm not above part-time adjunct/part-time restaurant (this is essentially what I did during my undergrad–MA gap year, though with adjuncting replaced by tutoring writing). It was tough juggling the two jobs and I'd really like the stability of something full time, but we'll see what happens...
  12. Indecisive Poet

    Teaching cert for non-ed graduate background

    Hey all, I have an undergraduate and M.A. background in English literature and I plan to apply to PhD programs in English literature in the fall of 2019. I plan to apply to 1 or 2 teacher training programs as well, as a backup in case my PhD applications are unsuccessful. I'm interested in getting certified to teach in Oregon or Washington. Would this be the correct program for me at U of O and this one at U of W? There is no way for me to get certified without getting the M.Ed degree considering that I have no course/practical background in education, correct? I'm also wondering if anyone has insight on how competitive these M.Ed programs are. Ideally, I'd like to only apply to Oregon's (and see if I can transfer it over if I want to apply to jobs in Washington as well) – but I don't know if they are competitive or if every qualified applicant is accepted. Are these programs intended for people who have already majored in Education? If so, how is one without an education background supposed to get certified? I have very strong GPAs for both my B.A. and my M.A. I don't have experience working with children younger than university age but I plan to either teach or volunteer over my gap year next year to obtain at least 40 hours of this.
  13. Indecisive Poet

    The Best Gap Year Ever

    Anyone who's taken/is thinking of taking a gap year have any tips on what sorts of jobs to apply to with an MA in English? And/or tips on submitting strong applications? I would love to teach and am looking at mostly independent high schools – some universities as well, though a part-time position isn't going to pay the rent so that route is unlikely. I am also looking at publishing, office jobs related to literature, film, etc. All of the above seem tricky because of either a lack of teaching experience or a lack of working experience given that I've spent all my time thus far in school.
  14. Indecisive Poet

    Thank You Gifts for LOR Writers?

    Just wondering, and I think I know the answer to this but want to check in anyway: is this something that is expected and that profs will be offended by if one does not do?
  15. Indecisive Poet

    American Lit/Women/Environmental Studies! Help!

    For ecocriticism: Buffalo, Kansas, UCSB, Rice, Nebraska.
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