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peggy.olson

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  1. peggy.olson

    Profiles, Results, Advice - 2019

    EDIT: Forgot to note — I graduated in spring 2018, and took a year off in between undergrad and grad to work as an RA PROFILE: Type of Undergrad Institution: SLAC known for sending students to PhDs Major(s)/Minor(s): Political science Undergrad GPA: 3.67 (my school is known for major grade deflation, tho — this GPA put me in the top 10 percent of the graduating class) GRE: 166 V / 156 Q / 5.5 Any Special Courses: I took a lot of political science classes and had a 4.0 in my major (around 10 classes, most of which were 300+ level), and I took five grad-level research seminars (i.e., you read 6000000 pages a week and produce a large paper at the end). Also took upper-level Econ courses and intro stats + data science classes. Letters of Recommendation: Presumably pretty good. I knew all three profs very well and took multiple classes with all of them. Research Experience: Aside from my senior thesis (mandatory for all seniors), I worked as an RA with a visiting prof my second year and our paper was accepted to ISA (I wasn't there to present, though). I worked in a think-tank in a former Soviet country as an RA for a summer. Also interned at a public interest magazine and wrote freelance print articles for them for 2 years afterwards. Worked as an RA for a global humanitarian non-profit/NGO. Worked remotely as an RA for a federal agency in a former Soviet country. Currently working as a super data/quant heavy RA at an academic dept at an Ivy League but not within my own major or specialty. Teaching Experience: None but I worked like a million on-campus jobs. Subfield/Research Interests: IR first, CP second. Conflict studies, mostly. Other: Native fluency in another """strategic"" language and can read in two others. RESULTS: Acceptances($$ or no $$): Duke $$, Columbia $$ Waitlists: Rejections: Stanford, Yale, Northwestern Pending: Going to: Most likely Columbia LESSONS LEARNED: Firstly, this is super obvious but like...research schools and programs as much as you can. I went into this super blind and clueless (I'm first-gen) and knew for sure I had a #1 choice but was having a hard time figuring out the rest. Come January, I was definitely regretting not applying to more schools and would have DEFINITELY regretted it if I hadn't gotten into my top choice. I'm not recommending applying for more schools just to apply to more schools (like, I applied to Yale but have no idea why really), but make sure you know exactly all the programs that might fit well for you and consider them all seriously when applying. Second, I really think connections are incredibly important. Ask your profs where to apply and where they know people — aka so they can personally put in a good word for you. Third, STUDY for the GRE as much as you can. Again, I kind of went into this blind and clueless and did not study for the GRE as much as I should have. I had maybe a week of serious studying before my exam. I decided not to retake it but I had a pretty low quant score. My writing sample (a quant-heavy thesis) and my current job and skills hopefully offset that low score, but this is one thing you can do to even out the playing field for yourself a bit. SOP: PM me! It starts with a relatively quick anecdote about my personal history to explain why I'm interested in poli sci (and IR and CP specifically) and then I go straight into my research interests, then my current job, then my thesis, then other research, and then a paragraph about fit.
  2. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    Yes, definitely was not thinking of reneging on Duke - I'm still very excited to go and meet with everyone, but also a little sad about missing Columbia — but I will go ahead and email them like you said, thanks!! Thanks for the advice, everyone - its good to know I'm not the only one! And congrats to everyone, again!!!!
  3. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    Also, following up on my question about conflicting visit days — I'm deciding between two T10 ranked (but tied) programs, one of which I already decided was my top choice. However, the other program had gotten back to me first and already booked me a flight, etc to their visit weekend. My top choice's visit weekend is at the exact same time. Any advice?
  4. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    FINALLY rejected from Northwestern lmao
  5. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    Also, does anyone have advice on overlapping visit days? Columbia is my top choice but is at the same time as a visit day I already registered for (and they already bought flight tickets for me as well).
  6. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    Claiming a Columbia acceptance!!!! I've never been more excited in my life and still cannot believe it. Relatively generic email with details to come later. I'm IR / kind of CP btw!
  7. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    Totally unsure of actual etiquette here, but I've been getting similar emails and have also been ignoring them (in the sense of not replying) if it makes you feel better lol. I figure I will be able to meet the profs and chat in person during the visit day anyway!
  8. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    what is with northwestern slowly releasing like 2 rejections a week but only on Saturdays lol
  9. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    Also, congrats on your admissions!!!
  10. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    I'm not an expert on rankings of Canadian schools (other than knowing McGill/UBC/U Toronto are the holy trinity), but (as someone who is dual Canadian-American) I was thinking of applying to Canadian programs but was warned against doing so by my professors — that is, they told me to think twice about attending a Canadian program if I wanted to stay in the US and work at US schools. From what they told me, it's apparently extremely difficult to get a leg up on TT positions with a Canadian PhD... However, if you want to stay in Canada (and Vancouver is absolutely amazing and beautiful albeit expensive), then that's less of a problem. Something to think about!
  11. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    Hmm, who at Chicago?
  12. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    Completely agree.... It's absolutely insane to me that Yale used to be one of the best places to study conflict and yet the IR/conflict department has completely disappeared in like, the last year. Their conflict/security studies center closed this summer, and like you said, all their major conflict profs have left. After I heard Lyall is also leaving, I'm very very very doubtful that I have any chance at admission (or that it would even make sense for me to be admitted) as I applied as a conflict-focused IR scholar. Sad! And it's also kind of crazy to me thinking about all the grad students admitted 2-3 years ago when the conflict profs were there and now they're all gone and have almost no one to work with in their on dept
  13. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    Hoping Columbia will come out soon.... ! But who knows might have to wait till next week
  14. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    Also claiming a Stanford IR rejection - oddly at peace with it and mostly glad that they didn't drag it out ! Congrats to those admitted!
  15. peggy.olson

    2018-2019 Application Thread

    !!! Here's hoping - sending good vibes / good luck your way too!
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