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About politolog

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  1. I received interviews/waitlists at top-10 programs with a much lower quant score. I think you have a strong profile.
  2. With respect to your methods training, you could write something along the lines of: "This training has prepared me for further coursework in statistical methods." With respect to your research interests/question, I would advise you to identify a gap/puzzle in the literature and then write about it in your SOP. You've already completed an MA program, so presumably you've had to identify weaknesses in the literature, understudied/theorized areas, etc. Build on those. What region is your area studies MA focused on?
  3. Do you have any training in quantitative methods that might offset your quant GRE score?
  4. I'll be applying to PhD programs in political science this fall. By the time I matriculate to the program, I will have received my MA in Russian & East European Studies.To what extent should my SOP focus on my undergraduate versus graduate education? If it makes any difference, my MA research and thesis deal with the same topic -- authoritarian regime stability -- that I worked on as an undergraduate.
  5. No problem! I think you will be a more competitive candidate if you have some language training under your belt prior to applying. Even if it is not a lot, it will signal to the admissions committee that you're serious about studying China.
  6. Harvard, Cornell, and Penn are each excellent programs. That said, Harvard is ranked higher tier than the other two. For example, USNWR ranks Harvard, obviously, #1, whereas Cornell and Penn are tied for #19. You mentioned that you will need to learn Chinese. Do you intend to do this before your start the PhD? I have a difficult time fathoming that you would be accepted without some language training. Then again, I have seen this happen.
  7. I'm currently working on my MA in Russian & East European Studies, and I'll be applying to PhD programs in political science this fall. I do research on authoritarianism and political economy in Russia and post-Soviet Central Asia. I need to retake the GRE, though, and improve my quantitative score by approximately 10 points. I'm currently deciding between two plans for what to do this summer. Which sounds like the better option? Option 1: Participate in an intensive language course at my home university. The advantage of this is that I would likely have time, after my classes, to study for the GRE, which I will retake in August or September. Option 2: Participate in an intensive language course abroad. I would be doing the same thing abroad that I would be doing at home. The advantage is that I would be immersed in the language 24/7, and this could really help to advance my language skills. The disadvantage is that I would not have time to study for the GRE while abroad.
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