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About fortschritt22

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  • Location
    Bloomington, IN
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program
    English PhD/MA

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  1. I actually asked a version of this question to one of my POIs at an institution where I was accepted. Their advice to me was: "as far as American Studies vs. English, it’s much better to get a degree from an English Department rather than an American Studies Department, since there are many times more faculty jobs in English. That said, an English Ph.D. with an American Studies concentration is optimal for anyone studying American literature and culture, since many American lit jobs want to see someone with interdisciplinary credentials (American Studies particularly). The book market also privileges interdisciplinary work, since they can pitch it to different fields simultaneously (straight-up literary criticism is much harder to get published these days, as even the academic audience is relatively tiny)."
  2. Fit > ranking for sure. My biggest piece of advice is to not apply to top tier schools where the fit is a reach. I feel like I did that a little bit and it was probably a waste of time and money. Out of 13 PhD programs I think I applied to 8 "top 20" which was probably too high.For MAs my calculus was different- I was much less concerned about ranking and more concerned about funding at that point.
  3. I would consider myself a nontraditional candidate due to my career background and because I was out of school and away from anything remotely related to academia for five years. I also did not have any conferences or anything published, just a single departmental award from a very small undergrad department. For the writing sample, I would probably warn against writing a brand new one if at all possible. It all depends on your confidence level with whatever you are currently using, but if you know for sure that you were close to that acceptance then it would seem to me that maybe you just need to improve the one you have. If you have not already received feedback from multiple readers (preferably your LOR writers), I would definitely do that and get some recommendations for improvement and fine tuning. Overall, I think that would be a better investment of time as opposed to starting completely from scratch. Personally, just thinking of taking on that endeavor after be out of the game for a while gives me heart palpitations. Also, my SOP research interests and the subject matter in my WS were not all that closely aligned apart from the fact that they were both in the American lit. field. I think that as long as you don't have some vast difference between the two- like your WS is about early modern drama and your SOP says you want to study contemporary American lit- you should be ok. I'll echo @Anonymouse124 on the funded MA programs and spread sheet. I had a lot of success with the MAs I applied to. The spreadsheet I used helped a lot. I started with somewhere in the realm of 40 schools and used it to narrow down from there. I ended up applying to 13 PhD and 4 funded MAs, which was overzealous and exhausting. I definitely had some schools that were a stretch for research fit and I kind of regret wasting time and money on them. I'm happy to share any materials if you'd like, just DM me. Good luck!
  4. I also graduated undergrad in 2014 and I applied this year. As others have stated, I don't think the gap is a problem and you really don't need to conference or publish as a BA candidate. The only I thing on my resume that came from my gap years was joining the MLA in 2016. Though I don't think schools really cared that much that I paid a membership fee for a few years. My job during those years was not academic or related to writing or literature whatsoever. For your recommenders, reach out to who you might want to ask now even if you don't think that they'll remember you. Express your interest in applying and if you can recall the class you took with them--or if you still have your work from those classes--sharing that information with them would be ideal. For one of my recommenders, I actually met them in person because I didn't think they would remember me and I didn't want them to write the letter without having that face-to-face. I think that helped a lot. I think the biggest determining factor for how you strategize which schools to apply to is your writing sample. If you're confident in its quality and if you can have some good second readers comb through it (ideally your recommenders) then I would recommend applying to both PhD and funded MAs, which is how I went about this go-around. Hope some of that helps!
  5. Same here with both NYU and UC Davis. I had already assumed rejections, but with NYU there are all three types of notices on the board (though only one rejection) so I'm not entirely sure what to think. Someone on the board said there might be an unofficial waitlist but I'm not getting my hopes up for that, of course.
  6. I'll second @kendalldinniene on the looking into more hybrid and/or culture programs. If I were to do this again I would definitely apply to a couple of American Studies programs, especially when it comes to those blue chip top ten schools. I honestly was pretty naive about these programs in general as I had always just pigeonholed myself into English. I would start nailing down my SoP much much earlier because it would have helped me better define what programs were a good "fit." Although I was researching programs well in advance, I hadn't really narrowed my research interests enough before I started. I would recruit more second readers for my SoP. I only had one second reader, who is very talented, but I wish I would have passed it around to at least one other person. I would only take the subject test once. I got a terrible score, twice, and still got admitted to a program that requires it. The time spent studying for it a second time was definitely wasted time for me. I'm glad to see that it's being phased out by more schools every year.
  7. One hell of a photo finish to close out your app cycle! congrats!!
  8. Thank you, this is a wonderful perspective! I'm taking a big leap and leaving behind another career and all the job security in the world and I'm happy as can be because I've experienced what it's like to do something that serves as nothing but a paycheck. For most people, out of necessity, that's all that a career will be so I'm celebrating having the privilege to pursue something I love. Not a lot of people get the opportunity to do that. That said, it will most certainly be challenging as is anything worthwhile. But damn I'm excited for it.
  9. Normally I would have celebrated my acceptances with a bottle of nice champagne, but alas, I was blessed with spending the entirety of this application cycle in a dry country and won't be able to make my toasts for another few weeks.
  10. So sad about Penn. Should not have gotten my hopes up like that urggh
  11. I'm 20th century American Lit. I'd imagine it being a more competitive concentration but I'm not sure either way. Might just be my own bias for it ha
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