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About Theory007

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    Double Shot

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    Political Science

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  1. I will of course not say that you have made a mistake in choosing Minnesota. If Minnesota outweighed Cornell in your mind that is all that matters. And no doubt, both are good programs. One thing I will say is that programs, in my experience, "act" in very different ways towards accepted applicants. I was in a program once where the visiting day was truly perfect; everyone were super friendly, professors engaging, and people spoke unanimously about how great the place was, etc. But once I got there it was very quickly clear that a lot of what the program had displayed itself to be was more surface than anything. Students were in actuality not supported well and it basically turned out not a great place to be for someone who wanted to be a political science professional. After the first year, a third of my cohort was gone and I think only about half the people stayed beyond the second year. The program I am in now is no doubt far more reputable. But there was barely any communication between myself and the university the summer before, and the visiting event was low key overall. The program however has turned out to be outstanding and everything I was hoping for when I began my grad applications way back. In my experience it looks like "weaker" programs (not saying that U. of Minnesota is weak of course) do what they can to retain the best of their application pool whereas stronger programs do not need to make as active an effort to appeal as well to the students who got first round offers. After all, if only few of them showed up they would likely still have a bunch of outstanding candidates to choose among for second round offers. Have others experienced something like this - stronger programs not making a great effort to appeal to accepted applicants? My point is that while I am sure Minnesota is a good choice for you, had I been in your shoes, knowing what I know now, I would be apprehensive about turning Cornell down. I would really look more at the more objective standards of the program instead of what I perceive the program to be (which really can be skewed), and think I think would have lent favor to Cornell. But I have no doubt that you will do very well in Minnesota.
  2. I think you would have a chance at almost any program you would apply to. If you could increase your quantitative score on your GRE that would help even if we all agree this is less important for theory, which is the subfield I assume you are interested in. Based on your list of universities, I assume you are interested in Continental Though. And yes those programs are all within reach. You will almost certainly get into Boulder, which has scholars on contemporary gender mainly so if that is your thing that might be a good place for you. If you are not super interested in gender I really don't think political theory at CU Boulder has anything to offer. You might add UCLA to the list. I would also apply to 2-3 top programs since you will have an at least decent chance of getting in. One thing to keep in mind is that a writing sample on Nietzsche may make it look as if you are more interested in philosophy than political theory. If you are interested in continental thought broadly, and not contemporary work on race, gender, power, I think more mainstream programs would suit you better than at least some of those you have listed.
  3. It will not do any harm to take the test now even if your score is low; you decide which of your tests to report to graduate programs. But I'd rather save half (?) the fee and take it when it was likely I would get a high score. If you are going to retake it in the future, and from what I understand this is likely, you would have to go to an actual test center and do it there. So I dont even think that taking the test now prepares you well for the second round if that makes sense. I don't think that 155+ should be your aim. 165+ is realistically what you need for a top 10 program.
  4. Before I say anything I should make clear that it looks like very many programs will not be requiring the GREs this year. Apparently to take the GRE prospective students are now required to do them at home under a certain conditions, and since this dramatically increases the chance that the applicant cheats programs have simply decided not to rely on the GREs. It's not true for all programs, I presume, but for many it is. As a long-term member of this forum, I would definitely not take the GRE if I was you and expected that I'd do around 155+. I think the consensus is that most programs have minimum GRE thresholds of what is necessary to be seriously considered for admission. No one knows where that threshold is, and it undoubtedly depends on the program, but in general, I'd say that a V of 165+ and a Q of 163+ will make you competitive for any program. For reference, the average at UCSD was 165 & 164 last year but I'd highly doubt that I top program would even consider an applicant with scores below 160. What this means is that you would be better off taking some time off a study seriously for the GREs (especially since you are not applying right away). The preparation is stressful and the exam is tough, but everyone struggles with this and you can do it!
  5. I wonder why he left UChicago. Cornell U is of course not bad, but it must take something extraordinary to leave the core faculty at UChicago
  6. To specify further; letters of recommendation for US phd programs are letters that professors write on behalf of their current or former students. So the student and professor know each other and the professor is able to recommend the student by attesting to their academic performance/ability. So no US professor (and non-US professors as well I presume) will recommend you if they do not know you. You may still be recommended for admission to a program by an admissions committee, but an individual recommendation is a professor's positive assessment of you as capable to performing well in a phd program and become a scholar. Hope that clears it up.
  7. I my opinion, and others may disagree, it might come across as smug. I do not doubt your abilities or accomplishments but even if you whatever you have looked at in MWG looks reasonable you really are in no position to judge if the courses will be easy for you or not. Besides, the adcoms have heard it all and it might not come as a surprise that everyone who applies to a given program have confidence they can and will do well in it. I'd explain to the adcoms why you never took intermediate economics courses (that really is a genuine question if you want to do an MPA) and then I would start now on my SOP, speak to recommenders, and prepare a writing sample if that is required. Even if you are smart and capable those other things are very important. I am sure that Harvard wants people who are academically capable, but another thing to keep in mind is it is looking for people who are unique and contribute to a stimulating environment. Very many people apply to Harvard and the like because of its name, and that does sounds like you to be honest, but adcoms will see through that immediately. So think hard about why you want to be a HKS and try to communicate that in the application.
  8. American non-phd programs are not very competitive but the program HKS is probably more competitive than others although not more competitive than many phd programs. Your GRE score is great and your math background excellent and you will stand out for these reasons. You are right to think that adcoms will find it strange that you never took intermediate courses in economics for a program that requires (Im guessing) phd level coursework in economics, where the difficulty is x10 compared to the intermediate courses. I suppose it all depends on how competitive the program really is and how many applicants it takes; you have one obvious deficiency and many applicants will not have any. Either way, this is not a reason not to apply. You'll have a good chance of getting in so do apply. And you will also be competitive for many great phd programs (although it's always hard to get in), especially with those GRE scores. If you get into one of those you wont have to pay tuition and will probably also receive a stipend. So I'd apply to HKA is I was you and possibly a bunch of phd programs if I was you.
  9. I don't know about MA programs, but I imagine that many do in fact offer evening classes and considerable flexibility (at some places part-time studies are possible). What I can say is that if you are proposing working and studying at the same time, a PhD program is not - in my opinion - feasible. The coursework alone will take all your time, and many programs have TA/RA requirements on top of that. In short, you will be crazy busy and it is literally unheard of that students have jobs (even part-time) on the side. That said, I would encourage you to pursue a phd degree if you are interested. Most are funded and will provide an adequate living stipend that is sufficient for most people. But know it is a full-time commitment where you have to put almost everything else to the side in the meantime.
  10. I don't know if others have made this point, but if you are concerned about not having sufficient coursework in international/comparative politics then I think (with all due respect) that your concern is misplaced. Political science programs admit plenty of students without any background in political science (economics majors are common, and physics majors not unheard of). And even if you do not have any background in IR/CP I really do not think it will work against you. You may be slightly more competitive with an MA degree if it comes from a non-American top university; Sciences Po, Oxford, Cambridge are decent choices. I'd add London School of Economics to the list and even Seoul National University (I my experiences, both are responsible for the majority of foreign MA holders in Top/Near Top US Phd programs in political science). I really would not waste my time at a US MA program; they simply will not make you a more competitive applicant. They can perhaps help you for other reasons (maturity, growth, figuring out what your interests are) but they will not help you in phd admissions. Now, add to all this that you both have strong recommendations and a 4.0 GPA at Cornell. That makes you look very competitive as an applicant! I'd spend a lot of time on the GREs, writing sample, personal statement and make all these great by next December. If they are, you are in a strong position to gain admission to a top PHD program. Forget the MA program. Since I know it is coming, I should add there there are plenty of excellent programs outside the top-10 (there really are!) so figure out where you will fit better and let that guide which programs you apply to.
  11. I think the consensus is that most programs have minimum GRE thresholds of what is necessary to be seriously considered for admission. It is usually also the case that a higher GRE score, even above the threshold, correlates with higher chances of admission. I do not know, and I suspect no one does, what percentage of applicants have both high V and Q scores. Typically, adcoms look for a higher verbal than quantitative score and I am almost certain that it is far more common for applicants to have higher verbal than quantitative scores (although there are some programs that emphasize the quantitative score - NYU and UCSD come to mind). In general, I'd say that a V of 165+ and a Q of 163+ will make one competitive for any program. Your scores are 4 points higher on both, which is what makes me think that your application will stand out no matter what.
  12. Can you share more about your supposedly poor academic record? With your impressive GRE scores you will be - on that parameter alone - among the most competitive candidates in the pool. You will stand out and any program will think twice before rejecting you. Even if your undergraduate record is poor, you will likely still be a serious contender for any program ranked 15-20 and below. Of course, you would still have to provide a great writing sample, quality SOPs, and most of all communicate very clearly why you would be a good fit at the programs you would be applying to. The truth is that all adcoms know that MAPSS is a cash cow and I doubt it would actually improve your record. I suggest either 1. that you aim for a program in the top top 15-35. Depending on how "bad" your record actually is you would probably have a decent chance many places. of 2. that you attend an MA program somewhere other than MAPSS, which is incredibly expensive anyway. Why not either pursue a 1-2 year MA degree in Europe (preferably something like LSE) or even went to one of the other few international programs that would improve you chances of getting into an American phd. Or do an MA degree in polisci at any American program? The latter would require that you applied for the phd and then left after two years with the MA. If you choose the first option you would likely be able to do well, become a great political scientist, and have the career you would want. If you choose the second and did really well in your studies, all the same is true except I am sure a top 10 program would be within your reach. If you are looking at programs for theory (did you say that somewhere?), I may be able to provide some advise. Just PM me.
  13. what program did you decide on if I may ask?
  14. Well in these times schools may withdraw offers they have extended to you. So I would worry about that less than usual
  15. Yeah I know of people who have heard back on exactly April 15th so hang in there. Good luck
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