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About dkhp124

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  1. Thanks for the response. But from what I understand, the ethos for the PhD at Duke GPR is to encourage their candidates to engage with other fields in their study, no? Would not the PhD also be a great place to do interdisciplinary work?
  2. Submitted my application to the Divinity School for the ThD. The PhD is through the Graduate Program in Religion, and it's due on Thursday. I'm planning on submitting the same writing sample, CV, and then just tweaking the SOP to address the GPR rather than the Divinity School. It seems like the Divinity School and the GPR, the ThD and the PhD, all share the same resources. The profs I want to work with are in both departments. Anyone know if the 2 departments expect 2 completely different applications? If anyone with insight on this can help, that would be much appreciated!
  3. Much better. Just also as a tip, if you start running out of time, don't worry about reiterating all of your points in the conclusion. You can instead just say something like, "the three points of weakness demonstrated above should show that...." Best of luck to you!
  4. This was posted a few days ago, so maybe this is too late of a feedback, but I just saw this so I'll give you some feedback anyway. I'll start with the things that are easier to fix in your writing. First, you have to proofread. Little errors here and there are not going to affect your overall mark, but there are way too many grammatical and spelling errors here and this quality will surely negatively affect your score. The errors I point out and my edits are underlined for your reference. Second, the essay is way too short. You need to develop each of your points more with counterexamples and stronger explanation. At the current stage, this essay would likely receive somewhere around 3-3.5 if the grader is generous. An easy to way to fix this is by practicing essay structure. A simple formula to follow is: Intro (where you re-state what the author argues and what evidences the author cites, and why those evidences are inadequate for his claim, and what kinds of evidence he might need to provide if he wants to make his argument more convincing) [First,] then talk about one type of evidence he can provide to make his conclusion that one can only cross the Brim River with a boat. An example of a hypothetical evidence might be something like, maybe the Paleans did not have boats but they used other mechanisms to cross the river. Or maybe there was a trade route that went around the river by land, so that they didn't have to cross the river by boat. OR, you can also argue that the lack of presence of boats might be because those boats were destroyed years later. In that case, the author would have to show other corroborating evidence that concretizes the claim that the Paleans did not have access across the river by boats. [Moreover,] maybe the Paleans in fact DIDN'T have boats, but maybe the people of Lithos did. In this case, you can expand on this by showing that, if the author can also provide evidence that, not only did the Paleans not have boats, but other villages also did not have access to Palea by boats, then the author's argument would be made stronger. That's another evidence the author can provide to make his case stronger. [Finally,] and make another point here about the weakness of his evidences for his conclusion, and what kind of evidence he might need to make his argument stronger. Remember, the essay is about analyzing the evidence that the author provided for his argument. Your job is to show how the evidence he's provided either weakens or strengthens his case, and what kinds of evidence he might need to further provide in order to actually make his conclusion more convincing. Then always end with a conclusion. Now, about your response essay itself: Your conclusion doesn't seem very well connected to the previous points you were making. The points you've been making up until the conclusion were that, despite what the author says, the Paleans may have had ways of getting across the Brim River. It's a sudden shift in the conclusion to say that showing that these baskets existed in other societies outside of Palea and Lithos makes the author's argument stronger. You want to make sure your essay is consistent from beginning to end. Also, you might want to reconsider that last conclusion because, if the baskets were found in other societies, it still doesn't negate the possibility that it is uniquely Palean. The fact that getting across the River to Lithos was a challenge for the Paleans doesn't mean that their connection with other villages also had the same challenges. Maybe Palea had easier access to another village than to Lithos. I would probably argue that, if the author was able to show that, aside from the lack of presence of boats, Palea was also a completely isolated village cut off from all other villages, then that would strengthen his argument. So just as a quick summary: 1. Make sure you WRITE WRITE WRITE. You want to use up every single second of the test time and jampack as much detail and expansion of your points as possible. You can't just write one sentence or two sentences per point and move on to the next point. Each point you make should take up a paragraph on their own. 2. Keep your essay consistent from the intro to the conclusion. Your intro should state your main point, your 3 body paragraphs should each make a particular point that supports your intro argument, and then your conclusion should be a summary of the previous paragraphs. The conclusion should NOT be introducing some new element of thought into the essay. Also, as much as possible, the examples you use and the points you make should have some level of connection with preceding paragraphs and points. You want to build on previous thought. Just as a reference, I got a 6 on the writing portion of the GRE. Here's a sample Analyze the Argument essay I wrote for the Princeton Review practice test, which gives you live grading on your essay. I got a 6 on this, so I think this should be somewhat helpful to your writing practice. The results don't show the prompt itself, so I'm just attaching the essay I submitted for your reference. Hope this helps! You'll notice that my essay is SIGNIFICANTLY longer than yours. Length really matters. Even if you make a few grammatical mistakes and even if you might not feel too confident on the subject, as long as you fit in a lot of words to help make each point as detailed as possible, it goes a long way to helping you. The Princeton Review book (I think) actually talks about how one of the common features of 5.5+ essays is that they're all quite long. The movie producer makes several assumptions that are not warranted and that require solid substantiation if his argument is to be convincing. First, the producer assumes that the amount of retakes done in commercials are wasteful. Second, even if one were to assume that the produce is correct about the wastefulness of the advertising industry, it is not then clear that the next step which the producer takes in assuming that this particular inexperienced director, due to his background in commercial advertisements, will definitely reflect the trend of the advertising industry's wastefulness is a warranted assumption. And third, the producer assumes that, due to the inexperience of the director, the quality of the film will be directly related to the amount of retakes that the director will undertake. All of these assumptions must be proven true in order for his argument to be convincing. First, the producer may be missing some crucial information regarding why the advertising industry in particular takes multiple takes after multiple takes. Commercials are inherently short, not usually focused on the artistic expression through the medium of film, and instead focused on selling the product about which the commercial is made, not the commercial itself. As such, the approach to filming commercials may be inherently different to filming movies. It may be plausible that the reason why commercial directors require multiple takes is because the actors themselves are not as talented as A-list actors in movies. It is often the case that commercials hire unknown models and inexperienced and new actors, which may explain why there are multiple takes. In such a case, it may not be the problem of the director at all. Moreover, because the commercials are primarily focused on selling a product rather than artistic expression, it may be that the sales team, the marketing team, and the executive team of the company, may have much more say in the creation of the film, which means that a director will have much more to consider besides artistic creativity in making the commercials. The assumption that the high spending of the advertising industry will also directly translate into the movie making industry due to the director's advertisement background is without sufficient grounds and must be substantiated if it is to be taken seriously.Second, the producer assumes that a director whose background is in advertisements is also not able to adapt to the new context in which the director will be working. A sufficiently talented director may have no problem adjusting his approach and method in order to fit the context in which he is now in. For example, [took out the name for privacy, but if you can use real life examples, great!] Productions, a very recently founded production company, began with filming wedding videos and music videos before switching to advertisements, and the founder often speaks of the adjustments he has to make in order to accommodate the new purpose of the films. That is, a creative director, whether experienced or inexperienced, will often have the talent to adjust and switch his approach to filming based on what he is filming and for what purpose. The producer's argument seems to neglect the creativity and versatility of advertisement directors.Lastly, the producer assumes that inexperienced directors will require many takes before creating a quality final product. However, it is not at all clear that the two are directly related. For example, to use the hypothetical situation mentioned above, it may have very well been the case that the many retakes that the director had done in the past were due to feedback and direction of the executive, sales, and marketing teams for which he was working, rather than anything that the director thought was lacking when it comes to the film quality itself. In such a case, on the one hand, it was ultimately the executive/sales/marketing teams' decision to do takes multiple times rather than the choice of the director. On the other hand, even if it was the explicit choice of the director, it may very well have been the fact that the director has to keep in mind many other factors besides telling a compelling story through the medium of film that led to his multiple retakes. Often times, telling a story in a dramatic and highly descriptive and artistic manner does not always translate to the ability to sell a product. The producer has not considered that a director's ability in this new context to focus strictly on creating a compelling story through a medium of the movie may allow the director to be more focused and less reliant on multiple takes. As such, the producer, if his request for 10% increase in budget is to be convincing, must substantiate his assumptions by showing that the particular director has a history of wasteful scene retakes which are not the result of multiple factors outside his control, but rather the result of his own ineptitude.In conclusion, the producer makes too many unsubstantiated and unwarranted assumptions that are not fair to the director nor convincing to those he would be pitching his 10% increase request. These assumptions must be explicitly stated, then explained and substantiated with evidence before his request can be convincing enough for the studio to provide him with the extra funds. Hope this is helpful and let me know if you have any questions!
  5. @marXian Exactly what I'm hoping for. I don't know how hyperbolic the professor was, but he was one of the several profs in the UK who did their PhD in a TT American program. He was saying candidly that the competition for these TT school admissions is on a different level than the competition for even schools like Oxbridge. He had mentioned that my undergrad GPA may have already made it a possible waste of time and effort to apply, because so many applicants to these TT US programs apply having already won numerous academic awards or national awards, who have had basically perfect academic records since childhood. He's the one who said I would need basically a perfect GRE score to somewhat offset my undergrad GPA. The optimist in me has prevailed so I'm applying anyway, but his words are always at the back of my mind!
  6. Thanks for the responses. The Duke University PhD enrollment and admission statistics actually has last year's PhD students' average GRE scores as 168V/160Q. With those kinds of scores which are already very high, I'm concerned that getting scores below the average will hurt more than scores above average will help. I've heard from some profs at my previous institution that, at these TT schools, the admission committees are basically looking for any reason to cut students out of consideration and narrow down their pool, so I was hoping to make sure everything I submit, insofar as I have control over it, will be above reproach. But then again, I've also been coming across a lot of posts recently about how some of these TT schools simply don't care much about the GRE either.. I've had one prof tell me that, with my undergrad grades, unless I score in the 95th percentile or above across the board on the GRE, I won't even be considered in a serious way. On the other hand, I've also had a prof telling me that TT schools "don't give a sh*t" about the GRE. So.. wildly differing opinions on this issue, lol. With the average statistics of the Duke PhD students, I was beginning to believe that the first prof was actually right in telling me I have to score extremely high on the GRE...
  7. So just an update to my previous post: I took the GRE on 11/2 and my scores came out as 170V (99th percentile), 159Q (72nd), 6AWA (99th). The quant is quite low, but I'm hoping that the verbal and writing would help offset that. Neither Duke nor Chicago provide a clear cut off, but I'm wondering if my quant score would put me below whatever the "unstated" cutoff is. Does anyone with experience at these schools know? Would love some feedback.
  8. I did my Masters program in the UK and was accepted to the PhD program there as well, in the school of divinity. From my experience there and the relationships I've built with some faculty members (some of whom were originally from the US), I was able to hear a bit of their insights on the UK system, so I might be able to provide some anecdotal help for you. Are you applying for a Masters or PhD?
  9. @marXian Thanks for the feedback. I am editing this post to remove possibly disclosing too much about myself on a public forum. Anyway, my area of interest lies in an exploration of modern theology (more specifically 19th century European theology) and its potential resources for a modern day theology of religions or principles for inter-religious engagement from a particularly Christian perspective. My dissertation at Edinburgh was on the relationship between a leading Dutch Reformed theologian in the 19th/20th century (Herman Bavinck) and the influence of Hegel to his thought, particularly in the area of the role of religion in the public sphere. Also, the view of the world and the individual as "organism", espoused by theologians like Hegel, Bavinck, Schleiermacher, the Romantics as well as the idealists, as a reaction against the growing mechanistic outlook resulting from the principles of the Enlightenment, has been an area of interest for me for the past few years. My reason for wanting to study at Duke lies primarily with the prospect of working with Luke Bretherton, who specializes in Christian ethics and religion and society/politics/culture. My reason for Chicago is primarily because of Kevin Hector and his recent work on The Theological Project of Modernism, as it has identified certain themes in modern theology (such as the conditions of "mineness" that seems to fit well with my interest in the organic perspective) that relates heavily with the ideas I was exploring in my MTh dissertation. As for what you said about Fuller and the risks of doing a PhD that I have to pay out of pocket for... I absolutely agree with you. I have made contact with two particular people at Fuller who would be a great fit for me, which is primarily why I'm considering Fuller, but the funding will obviously be the deciding factor as to whether I can study there or not.
  10. Well, not necessarily. They do have scholarships that cover full tuition. The thing is that, while schools like Duke and Chicago guarantee tuition coverage as a part of their admission conditions, Fuller doesn't. So full funding isn't guaranteed there. Def no stipend.
  11. Hi all, I'm thinking about applying to Duke (both ThD and PhD), Chicago, and Fuller for a PhD in theology (with an emphasis on theological ethics, political theology, modern theology (19th century European)). I would love to hear feedback from some people with experience regarding my chances for acceptance. I have two major concerns about my credentials, but I'll lay out my profile to provide some context. B.A. in Philosophy from Rutgers University. (GPA 2.0) <-- first major point of concern-- I was NOT in a good place at the time, struggling with depression and probably generally was too immature. M.Div Westminster Theological Seminary (GPA 3.65) M.Th University of Edinburgh (67.5% -- 2:1 honors) According to the Fulbright UK-US Commission, the UK mark conversion to US goes something like this: 65-69 --> 2:1 honors --> 3.7 GPA, 70+ --> 1st Class honors --> 4.0 GPA I received a 70 on my dissertation portion. I had one rogue negative mark (48%) in one of my classes due to severe illness. Without this one class, my cumulative average jumps up to 70% which would have made me eligible for graduation with distinction and 1st class honors. I was also the Postgraduate Taught Masters Programme Student Representative I've received feedback from two professors who know me well, one of whom is a very well established scholar in the field of theology and society/politics (David Fergusson) at UoE and they both said they are happy to write a strong reference for me. Fergusson especially was one of the markers for my dissertation and I also received a 71 in his class. The prof for whose class I received the low mark told me he'd be willing to write a note to explain that my mark would have been significantly higher if not for the late penalty for a paper submitted due to illness. I have presented 2 papers at two separate academic conferences, and I have 1 published book review. I have not yet taken the GRE, but I will be taking it in a week. The Practice Test from ETS PowerPrep marked me at 163V, 151Q and a practice test from Princeton Review at me at 163V, 150Q, 5.5AW. That was from about 2 months ago, and I've been studying aggressively since then to brush up on my math, so I believe both my verbal and my math would see some improvement when I take it next week. I also have, as part of my M.Th degree, a 15,000 word dissertation written. I've worked hard since finishing my undergrad to make up for my past flaws, but that one negative mark on my Edinburgh record is haunting me. I know that both Duke and Chicago are extremely competitive, so I don't know to what realistic extent I can actually compensate for my undergrad record with my UoE record. The negative mark doesn't help either. Does anyone with experience at either of these schools have some honest, blunt feedback for how competitive (or not) I'd be as a candidate? Sorry for the long wall of text and thanks in advance for any feedback you guys can give me!
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