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DanaJ

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  1. Upvote
    DanaJ got a reaction from unwelded in Lessons Learned: Application Season Debriefings   
    Firstly, I want to echo the discussion of considering an MA program. Honestly, for all this talk of elite schools, my goal was always to teach community college (for a variety of personal reasons). With that goal in mind, I set my sights on a terminal MA and NEVER considered applying to any PhD program out of undergrad. That goal has evolved as I have grown and gotten further into my research, and I am still shocked that I will be entering a PhD program in the fall, simply because it was not the plan until about a year ago.
    Secondly, an advisor or two is a key element to this process. I had my MA thesis advisor working with me on my writing sample (as it is a chapter from my thesis), but my department chair helped me extensively with my SOP. Those types of instructors and mentors can also help you determine schools that are best for you to apply for. So many historians know each other, they will likely know someone who could be a potential POI.
    Thirdly, contact potential POIs EARLY. I was in e-mail contact as early as March of 2018. Honestly, I started discussing my research interests with them and trying to work out if we would be a good fit because many of us live life on a budget, why waste time/application fees/stress on programs that are certainly not going to accept you because your POI is not interested. That's not a surefire way to be accepted, but it helps to know if the program is worth your effort and cost. I still ended up rejected from a program after speaking to a POI on the basis of "your intended advisor did not think he could properly advise your project." You never know, but networking and feeling people out never hurts, as long as you are polite and respectful about how you approach it.
    Ok, for some reason this has turned into a much longer response than I planned, but I'll keep going. Visit schools that you are interested in (if you are able). Set meetings with the DGS and POI. It doesn't have to be a formal interview, but if you show up with questions prepared about the program and demonstrate that you are serious, it can go a long way. Dress nicely, make a good impression, and admission committees will be able to put a face with the name on paper. This also helps you because you can see if your personality fits with your POI. I can't imagine anything worse than entering a long term program and having to work closely with someone I could not stand! The program I will be attending in the fall is one that I went to meet with. Honestly, my verbal GRE score is not fantastic. My written was fairly high, as well as my letters, GPA, and presumably the rest of my application. I think that visiting helped to offset the fact that standardized tests are not my friend.
    Lastly, I know the job market is hard. The goal of entering these programs is to find work after you graduate. That said, yes, the big elite schools look great to potential employers, but check out the placement records of some of the smaller state schools. ESPECIALLY if there is a POI who you mesh well with. Great historians do work outside of the well known programs, and if the school has a good reputation, a good placement record, and a good POI, there's no reason to not consider them. I am glad that I looked, because my research interests are relatively uncommon and I got very lucky with the school that I found. Do lots of research into different types of programs, sometimes what's best in a name is not necessarily best for your personal interests or goals.
    **EDIT: Many state schools also offer funding packages, especially because they realize our job market is incredibly tough. Always look at the funding, but keep in mind that it is often offered. I am about to complete a partially funded MA at a regional school, and I had scholarships to cover what my Grad Assistant position did not. There's always ways to find funding, but you have to look!
    I hope some of my rant helped. I'm clearly no authority figure, I just speak from experience.
  2. Upvote
    DanaJ got a reaction from Marier in 2020 application thread   
    Funding is really tough for an MA. HOWEVER, if you are open to state schools, many of them require an MA before the admit PhD students. I was lucky enough to have a funded MA, but it was via a partial tuition scholarship and a partial scholarship the university allowed MA students to apply for. If you want to keep applying in the future, I would look for different combinations of funding to cover the MA. 
    On a personal note, without an MA, I would have felt incredibly unprepared for my current doctoral program. Not to mention they don't accept students without an MA, but I think that time was incredibly beneficial. I think that all comes down to the individual, but I am incredibly thankful I did the MA.
  3. Upvote
    DanaJ got a reaction from historyofsloths in 2020 application thread   
    Funding is really tough for an MA. HOWEVER, if you are open to state schools, many of them require an MA before the admit PhD students. I was lucky enough to have a funded MA, but it was via a partial tuition scholarship and a partial scholarship the university allowed MA students to apply for. If you want to keep applying in the future, I would look for different combinations of funding to cover the MA. 
    On a personal note, without an MA, I would have felt incredibly unprepared for my current doctoral program. Not to mention they don't accept students without an MA, but I think that time was incredibly beneficial. I think that all comes down to the individual, but I am incredibly thankful I did the MA.
  4. Upvote
    DanaJ reacted to AP in 2020 application thread   
    Re: Adjunctification
    https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2020/03/12/adjuncts-serfs-of-academe/
  5. Upvote
    DanaJ reacted to AP in 2020 application thread   
    It truly depends on many, many things. I want to be clear on something now that I've been hired and that I've participated in a search at my institution. There is no formula to get a TT job. THERE IS NO FORMULA. Like when applying to grad school, many things are unknown. I can assure you the job market is incredibly less straightforward than grad school admissions. At my institution, an R1, research is very important so conversations swirled around originality of argument, the literature candidates were engaging with, the possibility of grants, the possibility of cool courses. Needless to say, research production such as articles is evidence of cool research. 
    [Tip for Americanists: please, f*cking engage with the literature of your topic outside the US. Eg: if you study gender in urban settings, do engage with scholars that study Europe and Latin America, for example]
    So, there's no golden time between time of degree and time of job, though if you've been out and you haven't taken a VAP, postdoc, or NTT, it's harder to come back. This is incredibly unfair to women, of course. 
    Always take the TT offer (minus the exaggerated caveat proposed by @telkanuru). You might be able to negotiate postponing a TT starting date for a prestigious postdoc. This usually happens at institutions that do not need you right away, so it's the exception, not the rule. 
    It's always best to do your research, though I can tell you that coming from abroad I had no idea what fellowships were least of all what I should be applying to. Peers and advisors walked me through that in my first and second years. 
    Re: online presence, you've noticed that it doesn't matter. However, know this: people will look you up so having online presence gives you control of what they find. I've been very active on twitter and thus was able to find out about opportunities (conferences, fellowships, archives) that I could have missed. I even organized an entire conference with twitter friends. Again, I came to the US with no network so for me my online presence was a way to creating my niche. 
  6. Upvote
    DanaJ reacted to telkanuru in 2020 application thread   
    Interestingly, at Ivy+ schools, the history major is booming. My department has been adding 1-2 TT professors a year since I got there in 2015.
  7. Upvote
    DanaJ reacted to ashiepoo72 in 2020 application thread   
    I want to cosign. I had to replace my laptop in the middle of my first year, but the one I bought (extremely cheap and unreliable, don't be like me) ended up dying early in my third year. I found a laptop that had the specs I wanted at the price I could afford, and it has been good to me (it's an Acer Aspire E5-575 if anyone is interested). However, I recently went through a horror show trying to recover the documents I had on my last laptop because the external drive they were on was lost in my latest move. I HIGHLY recommend you have a reliable laptop at the very start of grad school. It's great if your current laptop does the job, but if you're having any issues, get an upgrade. Also, treat your external drive like a block of gold. And maybe back stuff up on the Cloud, too. 
  8. Upvote
    DanaJ got a reaction from psstein in 2020 application thread   
    I went into my program with mindset of a clean slate. New laptop, new schoolbag, blah blah blah. That said, I had an 8 year old MacBook. It was giving me a lot of issues while I was writing my MA thesis, and one day I actually had to open up the back and re-seat the RAM. Not the end of the world, and my thesis was backed up in my google drive, but still a scary moment when everything was formatted and near final submission. Consider it, if you can. PhD programs are long, tech doesn't last forever, and changing computers in the middle can be incredibly inconvenient. 
    That said, for most historians, a MacBook is overkill. I got a little HP on Amazon for half of what I would've paid for MacBook air, and it's just fine.
  9. Upvote
    DanaJ got a reaction from gsc in 2020 application thread   
    I went into my program with mindset of a clean slate. New laptop, new schoolbag, blah blah blah. That said, I had an 8 year old MacBook. It was giving me a lot of issues while I was writing my MA thesis, and one day I actually had to open up the back and re-seat the RAM. Not the end of the world, and my thesis was backed up in my google drive, but still a scary moment when everything was formatted and near final submission. Consider it, if you can. PhD programs are long, tech doesn't last forever, and changing computers in the middle can be incredibly inconvenient. 
    That said, for most historians, a MacBook is overkill. I got a little HP on Amazon for half of what I would've paid for MacBook air, and it's just fine.
  10. Upvote
    DanaJ got a reaction from ashiepoo72 in 2020 application thread   
    I went into my program with mindset of a clean slate. New laptop, new schoolbag, blah blah blah. That said, I had an 8 year old MacBook. It was giving me a lot of issues while I was writing my MA thesis, and one day I actually had to open up the back and re-seat the RAM. Not the end of the world, and my thesis was backed up in my google drive, but still a scary moment when everything was formatted and near final submission. Consider it, if you can. PhD programs are long, tech doesn't last forever, and changing computers in the middle can be incredibly inconvenient. 
    That said, for most historians, a MacBook is overkill. I got a little HP on Amazon for half of what I would've paid for MacBook air, and it's just fine.
  11. Like
    DanaJ got a reaction from histori041512 in 2020 application thread   
    I went into my program with mindset of a clean slate. New laptop, new schoolbag, blah blah blah. That said, I had an 8 year old MacBook. It was giving me a lot of issues while I was writing my MA thesis, and one day I actually had to open up the back and re-seat the RAM. Not the end of the world, and my thesis was backed up in my google drive, but still a scary moment when everything was formatted and near final submission. Consider it, if you can. PhD programs are long, tech doesn't last forever, and changing computers in the middle can be incredibly inconvenient. 
    That said, for most historians, a MacBook is overkill. I got a little HP on Amazon for half of what I would've paid for MacBook air, and it's just fine.
  12. Upvote
    DanaJ got a reaction from historyofsloths in 2020 application thread   
    I went into my program with mindset of a clean slate. New laptop, new schoolbag, blah blah blah. That said, I had an 8 year old MacBook. It was giving me a lot of issues while I was writing my MA thesis, and one day I actually had to open up the back and re-seat the RAM. Not the end of the world, and my thesis was backed up in my google drive, but still a scary moment when everything was formatted and near final submission. Consider it, if you can. PhD programs are long, tech doesn't last forever, and changing computers in the middle can be incredibly inconvenient. 
    That said, for most historians, a MacBook is overkill. I got a little HP on Amazon for half of what I would've paid for MacBook air, and it's just fine.
  13. Upvote
    DanaJ reacted to AfricanusCrowther in 2020 application thread   
    Longtime visitors to this forum are experiencing the strange feeling of deja vu...
  14. Upvote
    DanaJ reacted to ashiepoo72 in 2020 application thread   
    This is different for everyone. Anecdotally, I was pretty much set on one program until campus visits changed my mind, so they ended up being very important to the decision-making process.
  15. Upvote
    DanaJ reacted to psstein in 2020 application thread   
    Many programs have begun to react to the somewhat self-caused crisis of the humanities, and are accepting fewer students. For some, especially state universities, having lower history enrollments makes it difficult to justify more graduate students than you can reasonably have TA.
  16. Upvote
    DanaJ reacted to Sigaba in 2020 application thread   
    This post is arguably the most helpful so far this season for next season's applicants as well as for this season's admitted students.
    @Carrots112 is touching upon the importance of being able to present oneself as prepared, composed, engaged, forward leaning, and personable.
    Professional academic historians aren't just looking at test scores, grades, and other metrics, they're also looking for information that indicates an applicant will be a good colleague down the line (as in this fall).
  17. Upvote
    DanaJ reacted to Carrots112 in 2020 application thread   
    I am literally overcome with emotion 😭 I got into Yale!!! 
  18. Upvote
    DanaJ got a reaction from historyofsloths in 2020 application thread   
    I get the impression that every program is different. I can tell you that I received e-mails last year (at least 2 if memory serves) to check the application portal for a decision. One was a rejection (which I 100% expected) and the other was actually my acceptance to my current program. I was shaking waiting for it to load, so you just never know. ALWAYS check.
  19. Upvote
    DanaJ got a reaction from Manana in 2020 application thread   
    I get the impression that every program is different. I can tell you that I received e-mails last year (at least 2 if memory serves) to check the application portal for a decision. One was a rejection (which I 100% expected) and the other was actually my acceptance to my current program. I was shaking waiting for it to load, so you just never know. ALWAYS check.
  20. Upvote
    DanaJ reacted to lordtiandao in 2020 application thread   
    Having a MA doesn't matter at UCLA. I came in with an MPhil and plenty of my cohort members have MAs, but we're still required to take courses and get an MA from UCLA. You can't use your MA credits to exempt out of courses here, which is not necessarily a bad thing because you'll have the opportunity to learn new things and build relationships with different professors.
  21. Upvote
    DanaJ got a reaction from Marier in 2020 application thread   
    I agree with that statement. I think that forward thinking is beneficial in any situation. My program is working hard to emphasize finishing in a timely manner, sixth year funding is gradually becoming very limited. I was also lucky and earned my MA from a university geographically close to my current institution. The faculty know each other and communicate often. Even then, my DGS and I had a meeting and examined the content for each course to ensure that necessarily skills were developed. I also needed a language course because I do not have the knowledge to test out, so my DGS and I made the determination together to waive one course.
    Additionally, I would never recommend anyone do this immediately upon entering a program. I waited until Spring registration opened, after getting a feel for the department and the faculty. Waivers and/or exceptions should absolutely be considered on an individual basis. I was not the first person to be granted this exception, nor was I the only member of my cohort granted a waiver. That said, I do not think it hurts to share personal experience if it can help another student. I would not advise anyone to walk into a department and expect waivers or special treatment if they had already earned an MA, but individual situations may vary just like individual departments. 
  22. Upvote
    DanaJ got a reaction from Marier in 2020 application thread   
    Look at the graduate school requirements as well as department requirements. That may help you to determine how long it will (potentially) take you to complete the program.
    The program I attend promotes a 5 year PhD, and they do not take students without an MA in hand. If I were to just meet the graduate school requirements I would only need to do one year of graduate level coursework, but the department has a different requirement. Instead I am scheduled to do 2 years of coursework, even though I have my MA. Look over the two requirements, the department is often more extensive than the graduate school itself. That said, you can sometimes speak to a DGS to get certain requirements waived. For example, I took a theory course during my MA. I sat down with my DGS and we compared the syllabus from my MA institution and my current program, in which he decided to waive that requirement. In doing so, I am still required to take the 2 years of coursework, but I was permitted to take an additional research focused course rather than a seminar. That swap gives me a jump on my own research, ideally helping me to complete the program in the 5 year timeline.
    However, as with many programs, we have students in their 6th, 7th, even 8th years. Most programs will not have a firm timeline, but the minimum requirements vary.
  23. Upvote
    DanaJ reacted to TMP in 2020 application thread   
    @Marier Know you're coming from abroad, I'd ask your POI (and the DGS) how they will consider your MA coursework.  Will they transfer all of the credits?  Some?  What about the thesis? Every program is different.  But definitely try to get out of the thesis requirement if you can, or at least, ask to re-use your thesis (if you plan to use it for the dissertation) and use the time to revise it into a journal article. One PhD program (which I turned down) said they'd transfer my MA coursework but would have to look into whether my MA thesis requirement could be waived.  My current PhD program accepted everything and let me get right to the coursework.  My first big hurdle, thus, then were the PhD exams, not MA thesis/exam.  Still, I did 2 years of coursework, took a year to prep for the exams, and moved onto the dissertation stage. It was just nice not to have to stress about a MA thesis/exam (while everyone else was...).
    Do ask about post-5th year funding and whether the program has been consistent in awarding such funding (budget cuts do happen at state schools).  Anticipate applying for external fellowships that will allow you to extend the life expectancy of your guaranteed funding package. Speak with your adviser's students and find out how they finished and whether the adviser is committed to securing funding for you until you can graduate. 
  24. Upvote
    DanaJ reacted to Sigaba in 2020 application thread   
    Your POI is telling you that while you may be able to finish in five years, the department understands that it may take six years or longer.
    Please keep in mind that when you enter a graduate program with a master's in hand, your new department is still going to want to "kick the tires."
     
  25. Like
    DanaJ got a reaction from Manana in 2020 application thread   
    As we are getting into decision season, I just wanted to wish everyone who is applying good luck! Remember, a rejection is NOT the end of the world. I was heartbroken when I received my first one, but after spending some time in my current program I know that I'm exactly where I am supposed to be. Sometimes decisions are based on factors that we do not know or do not understand. Celebrate your victories, but don't take time to wallow in any failures or take anything too personally. 
    Breathe, work on your ongoing projects, go for a run, lay around and watch netflix for an evening, do your best not to get psyched out or worry too much. I know that is easier said than done, but it is the healthy decision. 
    Good luck, I hope the best for all of you!!!
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