Late to post but I just submitted my first two applications (NYU and Emory) and naturally, I'm having post-submit jitters.
I'm applying to 11 Ph.D. programs total: Brown, NYU, UC Irvine, Duke, UNC, Rutgers, Ohio State, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford, Emory, and University of Colorado at Boulder.
I'm graduating in May with a BA in English and a minor in Spanish. I have a 4.00 cum/major GPA, but my GRE scores are clearly lacking (161V/152Q/4.5W). My letters of rec are strong and come from professors that were alumni of strong institutions (Rutgers, Yale, etc). I presented a paper as a conference panelist in 2017 and I'm in the process of completing an undergraduate research thesis. If you're interested (?), my thesis discusses 9/11 as a multidimensional political and literary marker that allowed the U.S. empire to cultivate an ideological memory foregrounded in the particular highlighting of dominant voices and visuals while simultaneously silencing and inverting audible/optical components of the "other's" oppositional memory.
My research area is contemporary American literature and postcolonial theory with specific interests in U.S. ethnic literature, U.S. empire, and cultural productions in the post-9/11 moment. My line of research is pretty specific, but I've targeted faculty at all my institutions who would be equipped (and hopefully eager) to oversee my graduate project. I don't think my writing sample is fantastic, and honestly, it feels a little unfocused; but this is probably because I have only written it over the course of this semester and I haven't spent that much time refining it (it is the first ~17 pages of my undergraduate thesis). I'm confident in my SOP and have submitted a strong diversity/personal statement, I think.
The entire application process has consisted of me second-guessing my institution choices because it feels like i am definitely applying out of my range of capability. I don't feel confident in thinking of myself as a strong candidate, but my fingers are crossed!! Best of luck to everyone!!!!