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About literalturtle

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  • Location
    Tampa, FL
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program
    Environmental Science/Policy

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  1. I am in a pickle, 5 days before the decision deadline. I thought I had my plan set in stone; I was going to take a gap year, do Americorps, gain experience, retake the GRE, work on my writing samples, etc, then reapply to all the schools I got rejected to after the year of service is up. Great idea, right? RPI, which wasn't originally at the top of my list until they offered me a fee waiver which got me to research their program, had me on their funding waitlist for a PhD. I never thought I'd get off their waitlist, until today (again...5 days before the deadline) they told me I was now going to get funding. Yippee! Context, it's their STS program, which I've heard good things about. So now I could go to RPI fully funded and get my PhD in STS, which, again, wasn't my top choice (UCB, UCLA, and Stanford were), but I've gotten to know the faculty and department and they seem like my kind of people. The fit is amazing. And I wasn't too fond of the way UCLA, UCB, and Stanford treated me (much like a number than a student). At the end of the day, however, all those California schools have prestige. RPI - not so much, though better than my undergrad institution. I want to go into academia (which I know is difficult). So, am I better off taking a gap year, trying to get a position through Americorps (which isn't guarenteed, and I won't know if I get a position until well after April 15th), and taking that year to retake the GRE, and do all the other stuff mentioned above to potentially (not guarenteed) get into a prestigeous grad program? Or am I better off going to RPI, which again, perfect fit, but lower prestige? What really matters in academia? Oh, and my undergraduate institution wants me to stay for my MS, fully funded. And while I've been talking to my PI (if I were to attend) and he and his lab are amazing, I can't forsee myself staying here for another 2 years. I really need out. But maybe I could suck it up here for the next two years, gain experience, work on my GRE, and reapply to PhD programs...Too many decisions!
  2. Long story short, the only viable acceptance I've had this year was to my undergraduate institution (University of South Florida) - an M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy with full funding. The stipend isn't enough for me to live off of alone (730 per month in Tampa...) so I'd have to get another job (not a problem, I have a part time gig as a tutor I could continue). But, as I think about staying, I get more and more depressed. I really, REALLY wanted to leave the state. My PI is awesome and his lab is even cooler, so that's not the issue. But I'm already depressed staying at my institution, and while the money and the direct faculty I'll be working with is cool, the university itself is...draining. My other option is to take a gap year and do service with Americorps for a year. This would allow me to start my term of service and leave the state in August and come back in July, just in time to start graduate school. During my year, I would do service with an environmental organization (what I want to get my PhD in), retake the GRE, and work on my SOP/PS. It sounds a lot more appealing but I'm nervous about the following: What will look bettter to PhD programs that don't require an M.S. for admission - taking a gap year and working in th field, or getting publications/more research experience by getting an M.S.? Will taking a gap year hurt me or benefit me in the long term? Should I just suck it up, hope I gain experiences at my UG institution in my MS that I didn't have during my BS (I do have some research experience already)? I am graduating in May with my BS at 20, so I don't know if age is a reason for any of my rejections...
  3. Hey everyone, I’ll just post here what I sent to amandav today so you all can get an update... I called after emailing them back in the end of February and they told me decisions would be out in mid-March. But then when mid-March came and went I called, and they were pretty rude. Basically, the woman said all acceptances have been offered, and the waitlisted people have been notified. So everyone else who hasn’t heard anything is in the third option of if the accepted AND waitlisted people decline, then we have a shot. But the woman on the phone literally told me “you’re probably not getting in” after playing with my hopes and dreams by asking for all my info, and as I’m telling her what POI I applied to work with, I don’t even get to finish telling her before she says (without even looking up my profile) the whole spheal about how offers have already gone out. She could’ve just told me without starting to get my info and not even finishing...but that’s just a pet peeve 🤷🏼‍♀️
  4. I’ve gotten into three programs already, presumed rejection from Berkeley and I might get into NYU but probably won’t go. U of M admitted to essentially being a full-cost degree farm for the program I applied to, so that’s off the list. My first choice of the schools I was admitted to - RPI PhD - has me on their funding waitlist and I refuse to do a PhD unfunded. That leaves me with my current UG institution, which isn’t very well known in my field, but offered me a full tuition package with a small but reasonable stipend via a TA-ship. It’s only an MS and apparently only the most competitive MS candidates get a TA-ship; the other positions go to their PhD candidates. So at this point it’s my best option, unless I get off the funding waitlist at RPI. I plan to apply to a lot of the same universities I got rejected from for my PhD after I obtain my Masters. My question is, will it look bad at all that I’m staying at my UG institution for my MS? Will it impact my admissions probability at all, or is it more about the work I will do in my Masters to adcomms? Or, I could just throw that offer out the door and work for a year, then reapply. But I thought that would look worse on PhD applications than completing an MS, but maybe I’m wrong. Any guidance appreciated!
  5. I’d also: 1. Work on my GRE. It’s stupid, I hate it, I thought my AW score would show that it’s just the multiple-choice formatting of the test that got me down, but I’m guessing not. I shouldn’t be listening to people who told me GRE doesn’t matter...it does. 2. Contacting POIs ahead of time. This one was huge for me. I should’ve done it but I got so anxious about bothering them or them not wanting to talk to me. I had some great and poor interactions with faculty once I was admitted to universities so I now know that if a professor is annoyed by a prospective student contacting them, that’s a bad sign. 3. Not completing applications last minute, and not feeling lazy about putting work into them. I fell into a depressive funk my senior year and just didn’t want to do anything at all. Getting out of bed was so hard. But I shouldn’t have let that get in the way of my applications. 4. Finding a job related to my field. All my jobs are not specifically related to my career field and while they have certainly helped me gain skills that carry over, I need a title on my CV that stands out and catches their eye 5. Applying to less prestigious programs
  6. I’m assuming a rejection at this point. Right after my rejection from UCLA and my placement on RPI’s funding waitlist and talking to my advisor at Michigan and finding out the program just isn’t for me. This season isn’t looking pretty...
  7. I’m talking about the results section on Grad Cafe, not the Berkeley website https://www.thegradcafe.com/survey/
  9. I was waitlisted for funding from Rensselaer's STS PhD, and I am devestated. Program director said I am high on the waiting list and there are three outstanding offers. All this coming about 4 hours after waking up at 6am to a rejection from UCLA. I'm pretty down in the dumps right now.
  10. Do you have an advisor or POI already picked out/that you have communicated with? Often when communicating with the department itself, they will only give official answers, whereas you would have a better guage when talking to a specific point person in the department. I would use this time and uncertainty to talk with professors/advisors/POI to see what funding history has been in the past, what - if any - opportunities they may specifically have, and really find out in previous years what has occured with funding. If you're worried about that, ask for some current graduate students in the program and ask them. I'm sure they'll be happy to answer, and if they're not, there may be something shady about your programs. Taking time to ask and seeing what the responses are will also give you a better idea of the faculty and environment at the universities you are considering, which could be argued to trump financial awards. If they're rude or not interested in helping you, that may be a sign that spending the next 2+ years there would not be worth your time or money, even if it is at a low cost. Just an idea
  11. Thank you so much, good luck to you as well! I really hope that’s the case. I’m not trying to be super optimistic because it is my dream program. But I had the same issue you did, I was so hesitant to email them because I didn’t want to have such a direct rejection. But maybe you should too! Best of luck to you, and thank you again
  12. I applied to Berkeley’s ESPM program and saw on the results section that some people already got in at the end of January, and I still hadn’t heard anything or gotten an update on the portal. Some one on the results page emailed their POI, who told them that they didn’t make it in. I decided to email the department, not my POI, and ask about my status on Friday. They emailed me today and said “All applications will be updated by mid March when decisions are made. Thank you for your patience.” Does this mean they’re still considering me? Could I be waitlisted? Or could they just have rejected me but the department won’t tell me? Should I email my POI instead? This is my dream program, but someone on the results page said they only admitted 10-15 people this year, so I don’t want to get my hopes up. I didn’t have much communication with my POI to begin with which I’m sure adcomms didn’t like... Any help would be appreciated!
  13. Tried posting this in the Lobby with no response, hoping for better luck here! What has been your experience making friends in grad school? Is it natural for cohorts to be close, or does it really vary by programs? I'm really looking forward to not being surrounded by undergrads (especially freshmen, given my position as a resident assistant...); I usually make friends with older students. I also don't like partaking in alcohol/drug consumption, and I'm hoping the norm of going to frat parties on Friday/Saturday nights will peter out once I start. What's been everyone's experience like making friends, and what's seen as a typical grad school weekend night, beyond cramming for exams or editing/grading/writing papers?
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