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Everything posted by crackademik

  1. That makes a little more sense actually. Programs in the UK are usually more specialized and require a detailed proposal. It's still weird that they grilled you like that. Even in my UK interview they didn't ask much about my proposal. Have you talked to other people who have done interviews for the humanities in the UK? Either way I would try not to beat yourself up about it. It might not have come off as bad as you think.
  2. That is very unusual. I had 3 interviews and none of them ever asked detailed questions regarding my areas of interest. I've also never heard of this happening. When you say you proposed your own topic, do you mean that you did so in your SOP or at the beginning of the interview?
  3. I'm in the exact same boat. I absolutely love the school I'm going to be attending but I still haven't heard from two schools. I have this internal conflict of "was my application so bad I'm not even worth a rejection?" and "this school is crap for being disorganized". I spent a lot of time on one of the applications (more than the rest) for one of these schools. I even wrote an additional essay to give the admissions committee a better picture of my background. I've emailed and called both schools multiple times and they've done the equivalent of giving me the bitch button. It's so unbelievably frustrating.
  4. You definitely have a right to be angry. I agree with others that you should see if you can make a case for a refund. I had a similar situation with another university that clearly just wanted to extort potential applicants for money.
  5. Here is a list of things (gathered from personal observation throughout my own application process) that you can do to stand out: 1. If you can afford it, take graduate level courses at a nearby university in chemistry or biochemistry (it's better to do them at a different school than the one you went to for undergrad) It's especially good to do this in the subfield of chemistry that you are looking to do. 2. It will definitely help to get that research position. Even if you can get a job in industry, it would help. You may also find the added bonus of getting a third recommender by going this route. 3. Have some career goals that are well described in your SOP. and how grad school will help you achieve them. Admissions committee look for people who are going to grad for a reason, not because they don't know what else to do to kill time until they become a real adult. No one really knows what they ultimately want to do, but having a sense will go a long way in the admissions process. Try to avoid cookie cutter things like "I want to do synthesis because that's what I did in my undergrad research". 4. Try to contact your POI ahead of when you submit your application. Never underestimate the power of human interaction and networking. If you are going to a conference, try to talk to the POI at that conference. 5. Get involved. Join ACS if you're not already a member. Go to local meetings. Ideally if you get a job, they will pay for you to do this. Hope this helps! Edit: Getting a Masters is an incredible investment that allowed admissions committees to overlook my low undergraduate GPA. Getting a masters also means that you will not need as much time (generally speaking) to complete your phD
  6. HAHAHA please tell me that is a reference to the south park episode where a symptom of "smugness" is smelling your own farts.
  7. I was not in industry for 20 years but I've been in position in my field for 2 years now and I have had the exact same experience as you. At my last company, I was the lab manager so I also got close to 100 emails a day, many of which required swift responses. I constantly check my email from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed, so the inability for academics to respond to emails in a timely manner drives me insane! I've actually roasted (in a professional manner) a few programs regarding their disorganization and inability to communicate during this process.
  8. Well unless you are certain that you will get funding from Oxford, I would immediately remove that from your list when you have other fully funded options. The other two are in two different countries so if you've decided that the research, reputation, and quality of people are the same, I would make the decision based on what country you would like to spend time in.
  9. I feel this on a spiritual level. I've had my fair share of roommate drama from a low-key drug dealer (who was the son of the landlord) to a friend who ended up stealing over 400$ from me. I've had roommates from off of craigslist and ones that I've known well before, and it never has worked out well. Even when I didn't have crazy roommates, I've definitely experienced passive aggression from "leaving bread crumbs on the counter" per se. I've also had the opposite side of spectrum where I've found myself scrubbing slime off of my roommate's george foreman to mitigate the foul stench of the kitchen. Even if you screen your roommate there are plenty of other things that can go wrong. From my own experience, I notice that landlords who rent multiple rooms to college kids tend to be sketchier than those renting apartments (obviously there are exceptions). For example, I had a landlord who didn't screen potential tenants prior to visiting the house, so it ended up getting burglarized by criminals who scoped it out and used fake emails and names. I've also had landlords who have refused to fix things or deal with pests. I've had a much better experience with renting my own apartment from a reputable company. TL;DR screen screen screen the roommate if you can't afford to live alone If you can't live alone for financial reasons, living with a significant other is a good option if you're at that point in the relationship.
  10. I would just gauge it by the personality of the PI. Some PIs really like to be in contact with their students but others are very hands off. I would talk to other students in this person's lab if you are unfamiliar with your PI's stance on communication. Also, when you say "communication" are you referring to productive research questions/potential projects or are you wondering if it's okay to say "Hi how are you doing?" The latter is generally unacceptable even if you are already working in the lab. Your PI is a boss not a bestie, even if they seem to be a really cool person. Hope this helps!
  11. As somebody who faced a similar dilemma (in terms of revealing personal information to account for a shortcoming) I would strongly advise against it based on feedback I got from admissions committees. From what I've learned from the admissions process, the improvement in your GPA speaks for itself and you may not even need to include your old transcript on your application if it was for the same degree level.
  12. I've heard that knowing if you have other offers gives them a reason to not extend you an offer (i.e. they think it'll make you less likely to accept even if you say it's your top choice). I was told this directly during two of my interview weekends. Edit: In addition to hearing this from graduate students from the two schools above, I was directly asked what schools I was accepted to in my first interview (super unprofessional) and I didn't want to lie or be sassy and tell them that it was an inappropriate question and I was waitlisted by the school.
  13. I also had an F on my transcript in a course unrelated to my major that I didn't address. I was in a motorcycle accident and withdrew that semester and the professor refused to allow me to submit work to change the incomplete once I resumed classes, which caused a default F. If I were you, I would not address it unless they ask you first because honestly I really doubt they will. Let the improvement in your transcript speak for itself because it will.
  14. For some reason, this program is so small that the secretary I've been in contact with throughout this process actually does know a lot about what is going with admissions. She was initially the one to tell me I was waitlisted before I got the official notification. And thank you! I know it's stupid to be worrying about waitlists but I'm admittedly a control freak and don't like open ended things. Until I've officially accepted an offer, I'll probably be freaking out no matter what.
  15. I just emailed the secretary to check my position. Unfortunately there are almost zero results for the program at which I was waitlisted so I can't really gauge it off of that
  16. I've always wondered what the chances are of getting off of a waitlist. I've heard mixed things here and there about the chances, but if anyone has their own waitlist story please feel free to share. Do people ever get off of a waitlist before April 15th? Is it normal to be notified of a rejection after being on a waitlist or do schools sometimes leave people in limbo months after the april deadline or never change the status at all?
  17. To be fair, since you're already accepted, you can wear anything you want and it isn't going to change anything. I think what you were planning on wearing is fine though Usually the only time it's necessary to wear business casual is if 1. they explicitly tell you to or 2. you're interviewing prior to acceptance. At accepted students weekend, I've seen everything from someone wearing ratty sweatpants to a prom tux (yes with vest and all it was ridiculous). Congrats on your acceptance!!
  18. I had a 2.58 undergrad GPA due to a number of issues and I've gotten accepted to 3 places with full funding. I have two years of work experience in my field and I got a 4.0 in my meh masters program. It can be done if you really want it. Edit: I know I'm not in SLP but I hope this still gives people hope!
  19. As someone who knows both cities pretty well. This made me die 😂 There's a reason people say Philly is the armpit of the mid-atlantic. Both cities have lots to do but as others have said DC is more expensive. That being said, college park is actually a bit cheaper than DC because it is still in MD and it's in PG county, which is another armpit. Temple is more integrated into Philly itself, but College park has a "college town" feel because it's not actually in DC and the entire city exists to serve UMD. If you're looking for super urban city feel then you should go with Temple. College park is definitely urban, but not like Temple. The public transport in DC is pretty good, but I would still want to have a car at UMD because it's not actually in the city.
  20. So I did make it in, but I also learned a lot about the process. I was (likely) rejected from every school I applied to before January, which was before I revamped my SOP, but then I had a lot of success after changing a few things. Here are some things I learned: 1. Like @Ternwild said, try not to make excuses for your short comings, ESPECIALLY if it requires you to go into detail about your personal life (unless the school specifically requests this). I had a graduate admissions committee member at a school look at my SOP and say the she was horrified by the personal information I had included. 2. Remember that "safety" school is not a real concept when applying to Ph.D programs. I was convinced I was out of the game after being rejected from the lowest ranked school I applied to in early January. You can easily get into a top 20 and be rejected from a bottom 10 in the same cycle. This happens because each school has a very specific criteria, and because admission is also a lot of luck. This criteria can be based on what subfields they are looking to recruit in a given cycle, how many students in a given subfield they already have, personality, nepotism, and much more. 3. Write your SOP in a positive tone of voice. The last thing the admissions committee wants is a negative nelly who will likely flounder under the stress of a PhD program. Also, be sure to highlight your strengths without coming off conceited (I know this is difficult as I struggled with this). It can be difficult to be humble without underselling yourself. As hypocritical as it is, Arrogant professors don't want arrogant students. They want bench slaves who will be at their beck and call. 4. CONTACT your POIs early in the process. This was one of my biggest shortcomings. It does not matter if they don't respond because at least it shows initiative. I have friends who were accepted at schools that I was rejected from simply because they became buddy buddy with their POI throughout the admissions process. It doesn't even have to be about their research necessarily. Any foot in the door is better than a cold application. Big schools get more than 800 applications, so they are more likely to keep applications from individuals who they have had personal contact with. Don't be afraid to use your connections to get into a school either if you have a coworker, boss, or PI that knows a PI at a given school. 5. Graduate education and work experience matter more than undergraduate record in many cases. Almost every school overlooked my 2.5 undergraduate GPA because of my Masters and work experience. It doesn't necessarily even matter where you get your masters as long as you perform well and aren't applying to Harvard. 6. TAILOR your SOP to each school even if that means slightly changing your interests and goals to a more attractive angle for the school. This alone got me into the best program I was accepted to. You can even go as far as proposing a prospective project with a specific professor. Hope this helps people for next cycle. There's a lot more I could say but then I'd need a TL;DR
  21. It sounds like the only reason you want to go to Chicago is because of the city itself, which should not be the most important consideration when choosing a school. It seems like Georgia state has research that aligns with your interests (you didn't mention research interests when talking about the other 2 schools), AND it is the cheapest (seems like a double win to me). GW is in an extraordinarily expensive area in DC, so if you don't have good funding, you will be broke. I think you may also want to consider how much you like the environment of the program itself (i.e. are the professors psychos? Are the students cutthroat-competitive?) If you look at UChicago and LOVE the environment (professors, students) and it is a perfect match research-wise, then definitely go there. Otherwise you will be financially struggling for nothing and regret it. The other thing is that getting a masters at a given school does not guarantee phD admission to the same school, so that should not be a reason for consideration. All that being said, you say you want to go into academia, which means that pedigree matters.
  22. I had an interview at a school over a month ago and heard nothing. Note the person who interviewed me said I would hear within a week what the decision would be. I emailed them two weeks ago asking what was going on, and they told me they didn’t know and to just wait. This morning I called the department asking what was going on. A very nice secretary (she actually remembered me) told me that she would talk to the director and get them to send me an email today with my decision. She made it seem that this person would be sending me a casual update shortly. I still have not hear anything and I’m about to scream. How can a program be so unprofessional?
  23. 20-30k pre-tax. As others have mentioned it does depend on what field you’re in and what area you’re in.
  24. If I can get in with a 2.5 undergrad GPA then anyone can do it 😂 you’ll be fine especially since you have field experience
  25. Short answer is no. Ph.D program curricula are largely independent of the school itself. For example, Purdue University is not particularly competitive with undergraduate admissions, but ranks #1 in the country for analytical chemistry (above all ivys). That being said, the "rankings" you see on U.S. news etc. are literally surveys they send out to departments where they ask people to subjectively rate a given program (one they may not even know) in different areas on a numeric scale. I would personally do your own research for each program to find out things that actually matter like program funding/resources, outcomes of graduates, and professor/student accomplishments. There is no real way to quantitatively rate the "prestige" of a phD program so it's bogus. So if your gut is saying NC state, then go there! I really think the only reason to get your phD at an ivy level would be if you want to be a professor at another ivy. side note: the "ivy" league is actually just a name for the sports league that all the ivy league schools are in, like ACC or Big 10.
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