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About Artifex_Archer

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    Machiavelli Was Right
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    Political Science [Theory]

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  1. I see. Even so, I still think the answer is 'it's unlikely,' for the reasons described... And I'm afraid I'm showing my ignorance here, but in my experience, it's the professors who make up, and make, the major calls on grad school adcomms—not general admissions officers. This may not apply to all fields, though.
  2. I'm sure it happens, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. Obviously you don't want to be too self-disclosing—just general internet advice, really—but think about it this way: Professors don't have oodles of time to trawl the GC forums, and admissions committees have a much easier time identifying applicants by checking their social media profiles than they do scrolling through one anonymous post after another and cross-checking those posts with the information in applicants' files. The opportunity costs are way too high, and the payoff is dubious at best.
  3. You may also want to make sure it's not some sort of mundane issue like needing to mail an official transcript. Many schools who allow students to apply with electronic or scanned transcripts will request a hard copy mailed to them prior to sending an official letter of admission. If that's a hoop you'll need to jump through, that information should be readily available on the admissions website or in any of your earlier communications with the university/application server.
  4. From what I understand, the UC leadership and student government are still in talks about what to do this fall. Anecdotally, most of the people I know who know things [I said it was anecdotal...], whether faculty or students, want classes to be conducted in-person ASAP. Fingers crossed. Yeah, California's not necessarily always ahead of the game on all of the things. And lest we get too excited about any of the CARES funding—which would be great, if it were sourced differently—I'm not super pumped about bearing the inflationary fallout that comes from a helicopter money drop leaving a crater-sized hole in the economy. But deficit monetization is a heck of a drug.
  5. Sharing a link for anyone attending a UC [this is from the UCLA site specifically, but many of the announcements pertain the the entire UC system]: https://newsroom.ucla.edu/stories/coronavirus-information-for-the-ucla-campus-community The latest is that the UCs plan to offer students the option to attend classes remotely, even if said classes are being held in-person, because of travel restrictions etc. That sounds like a reasonable approach—one that doesn't necessitate sticking to a remote-only curriculum until all travel restrictions are lifted. UCLA is also using some of its federal funding to increase eligible students' need-based aid, specifically related to the virus. I imagine other UCs will be doing so as well.
  6. There's a UCLA Grad Student Housing Facebook group that you may find helpful. People have recently been posting a lot of offers for sublets and longer-term leases as well. Pricing seems decent, considering the area.
  7. My understanding is also that the article claims that the model used was developed in early April [during which time the US began to show a slow-down in new cases and/or deaths], whereas it was actually developed using data from late March, thereby making the situation look worse than it’s now expected to be. ^ All of this. It also plays into a lot of folks’ political priors to push the narrative that this is As Bad As It Could Possibly Be and apportion blame accordingly. It’s beyond irresponsible when it stokes the sorts of social and political responses we’re seeing. But I digress. Essentially it seems that this is being mishandled on every level—including and beyond the universities who sent their possibly asymptomatic students back to their parents and hometowns [my office lost an intern who was forced to move out of her dorm and back to—wait for it—Shanghai]. My hope is that the universities who have rescinded offers of admission will permit students to defer for a year instead, although that also seems unfair to would-be new admits who are now going to be pushed out of next year’s running undeservedly.
  8. There is nothing wrong with politely emailing the schools on which you are waiting, mentioning that you've not heard from them yet, and saying that you are inquiring as to the status of your application. Do mention that you remain very excited about the prospect of attending University X and would hope to attend if admitted. Many times, if a school knows that you WILL accept an offer if they extend one, they're more likely to do so.
  9. Hey all: I wasn't sure of where to post this initially, but I supposed that since students in different fields have to take different things into consideration when choosing between grad programs, I should probably stick to my home turf. Much of this, however, likely applies to fields outside of poli-sci. After going back and forth between two excellent schools offering comparable funding packages, I've settled on a grad program [yay!]. I'm very, very fortunate and grateful to have been admitted to both of them, which is part of what made this decision so difficult. This post is a list of the strategies, exercises, and 'games' that I came up with [I'm sure others have thought of similar things, too!] to help me reach a final decision. These are, of course, meant as a complement the usual deliberative channels. The most informative thing you can do by far is talk to the faculty and students. A lot. Ask different people the same questions. Annoy yourself with how many people you email, ask to be put in touch with, etc. Ask former advisors. Ask anyone you know in academia; it's a small world. [In fact, asking 'outside sources' about these different programs helped me learn a lot of things that I never would have learned through internal recon!] If you're a spiritual or religious person, it helps to meditate or pray, if only because doing so can remind you of what matters most to you, personally, in choosing a school. And, don't let any one factor overpower all the others. I'd really love to hear what you all did/are doing to make a decision, too—ideally current and future prospective students will happen upon this, find it useful, and add to it themselves! 1. Go over your statement of purpose. If you haven't done so already, print out a copy of each of the statements your wrote for each school you're considering and re-read them. Pay extra attention to how you feel when you get to the POI parts—you know, the ones where you say how excited you are to work with Professor Professorson because of XYZ and can't wait to participate in the Center Institute's programs because of ABC. For which schools do those portions of your statement feel most true, or most exciting, now? Then pretend you have to create an outline for your dissertation today. Yes, I know your topic will change. Pretend you have to write it out anyway. Using your statement as a reference guide, make that outline [it can be brief and general]. Now, look at that outline and decide what you know the most about researching vs. the least. What areas are you most comfortable with, methodologically? Where do you need help, even in terms of coming up with a basic research design? Look at the list of things that you know the least about and figure out what resources, professors, reading groups, or interdisciplinary colloquia are most suited to help you at each school. What, if anything, do you notice? 2. Pre-empt your regrets. Imagine your lowest period at each of the schools you're considering. This will look different, depending, but imagine those times—we've all had them before and we all will again—where you'll feel behind, unseen, frustrated, stupid, lonely, like you desperately need a haircut but don't have the time or the money, and are you effing kidding me [insert The Last Straw here]. T These are the moments when a little voice will pop up in the back of your head and say, 'if only I'd gone to _______ instead...' . Complete that thought. What's that second clause? What will you most readily regret about not going to Alternate University? 'If only I'd picked Alternative University, I would have been able to work with that professor who shares my quirky research interests and methods.' 'If only I'd picked Alternative University, I'd be able to afford something nicer than this glorified walk-in closet.' 'If only I'd picked school Alternate University, I'd have more research autonomy and a less rigid curriculum.' Compare the 'if only's that you come up with for each school. Which internal monologues look easiest to recite? Which ones look the most painful? Which ones seem like the most valid? 3. Use numbers! Ranking systems get a bad rap for being overly simplistic. Which they are. So are all of these strategies. That's the point. None of these should be used to change your mind. Rather, each of these is just a new way to help you make up your mind. They're exercises for getting more information from yourself—the sort that's difficult, if not impossible, to come by directly if you just, y'know, think really really hard about your options. [Because you've probably done that already, and now your head probably hurts.] One thing that I did, after visiting my prospective schools [and taking an aspirin], was to put a note card on my desk and—every day for a week—assign each day a number 1–10 to represent how close I was to choosing a certain school. You can either do this for each school individually, or if you're choosing between your final two, you can make '1' mean 'I am, at this moment, about to press the "accept offer" button for University X' and '10' mean 'I am, at this moment, about to press the "accept offer" button for University Y.' After however many days seems prudent, look at your note card and see if there's a pattern. 4. Make a list of all the stupid reasons. You're smart. So you've probably already thought about what the smart reasons are to choose any given school. You know the sensible things to take into account. Maybe one university has a better cost of living, a better stipend, better study abroad opportunities, or a better placement record. Maybe another has a more engaged student body, more compatible faculty, more intellectual diversity, or a uniquely kick-ass comprehensive exam format that would just help so much when it comes to publishing. Assuming that each of these 'good' reasons cancels out the others... what about the 'bad' reasons? The ones that aren't supposed to matter, but do? When you think 'this really shouldn't make a difference, but...' what are the siren songs that draw you toward each school? Better weather? Nicer architecture? [Personally, this UChicago kid has a thing for bad weather and ugly libraries, so those 'bad reasons' were flipped.] More TA office space? Is there a department dog? Do you want there to be a department dog? Assume you're in a ceteris paribus scenario. I mean, if you're reading this, you probably are. All else is equal... so what are those final non-equalizers? Do any of them offset the others? 5. Hit "record." I was fortunate enough to have audio evidence of my absolute shock and delight immediately after receiving each acceptance letter. I use Voice Memos on my phone for... well, everything, so when I saw an acceptance email [within the hour] I would do a voice memo 'journal entry'/freeform gabble-fest about how excited I was to have been admitted. When I was deliberating between my final two schools, I went back and replayed those two voice memos. Yes, there was a clear difference between how I sounded in each one. And no, it wasn't one of audio quality. You can do this retroactively, too. Take some time to really tap in and be completely present with your excitement over getting into one school. [At a time, that is.] Then start recording [or writing], stream-of-consciousness, about that excitement. Then read or play back each session. Again, observe what differences you notice without judging any of them or jumping to conclusions. 6. Plot your research trajectory. If you've done this right [and you have], you already have a pretty good sense of what your research trajectory would look like at each of the schools you're considering. You know what your core classes are, you know what 'normal progress' looks like, and so on. Now put that knowledge to use, and add to it. Go to each university's website and make a 'mock schedule.' Don't limit yourself to core courses or options within the poli-sci department. Obviously, course offerings are going to change, so are your interests, and it makes no sense to 'decide' when you'll take different non-essential courses. But you can list courses, seminars, TA opportunities, reading groups, conferences, projects, and professors that look cool. Sketch out the trajectory of classes that you know you're going to need to take [field seminars, dissertation workshops, mandatory TA practicums, etc.]. Then get familiar enough with your other options to have some idea of what the rest of your time could look like. Again, this is about familiarizing yourself with the possibilities, not making a plan. The idea is to use these exercises to move past any implicit rigidity you may be experiencing—not create more. 7. Practice saying "yes." In front of a mirror, without trying to manage your reaction, practice saying that you've decided to go to School X. Then do it for School Y. And so on. Imagine you're telling your friends, your family, your former professors, etc. How did you feel each time? Physically, emotionally? Was there a knot in your stomach when you said it? Did you feel like a weight was lifted off of your shoulders? Did you tense up? Relax? Where? Did you smile? Laugh? Make a mental note of it. Then, actually tell someone—before you hit "accept." You should only do this when you feel like you're ready to make that final call. Once you do, give yourself some time [a day is ideal] to see if any last dissenting thoughts come up. They probably will, if you're a commitment-phobe. The point isn't that you shouldn't have any doubts. You should, because ideally, you chose to apply to these schools for a reason, and they chose to admit you for a reason. You both saw an extreme level of compatibility between yourselves. The fact that this is a difficult decision is a sign that you did this absolutely, perfectly right. Go you! Honor that. Again, I'd really dig hearing the unique strategies that others used to come to their own decisions!
  10. I am almost certainly attending UCLA. I was on the west coast for undergrad, but did my MA at UChicago, so I'll actually miss the horrible weather [no lie]! Congratulations on the admit! Have you requested a revised offer letter to help make finances more doable? That's fairly normal, and it never hurts to ask politely.
  11. Just as long as everyone commits up front to revolting en masse if this happens, I think we can resist any overly protectionist policies...
  12. Yep—I'm tuned in now. Would be great to have virtual meet-up sub-forums for admitted cohorts, since so many schools are doing online visiting days. I got lucky with some of the visiting days that were scheduled earlier... Also, could someone please assuage my anxiety over this quarantine stuff continuing into the fall? My nightmare scenario is that schools will decide to defer all new enrollment until who knows what. Logically, I know that wouldn't be economically feasible for an institution, but panic does funny things to people.
  13. HIGHLY recommend MAPSS. I’m an alum [technically of MAPH, its humanities equivalent, but I was much more active in the MAPSS community and everyone ended up thinking I was MAPSS]. I also was given some funding but required some loans. It is more than worth it, IMO.
  14. UW-Madison also cancelled. I understand that the schools feel like they're in a predicament, and really can sympathize, but I'm lost as to how a university can expect students to make a decision like this, sight unseen and with extremely limited access to current students/faculty/resources.
  15. Adding to my comment above... May I push slightly on your remark that you're curious about 'left-wing politics departments'? Most of the politics departments in the U.S. are left-wing, although some are certainly more so than others. That said, I've always enjoyed studying with professors and students with a variety of political and social views, especially when they're amenable to challenging mine [and others'] respectfully. I understand not wanting to have your own research thwarted because of a professor's bias; that's totally legitimate. But I rarely see that happen with left-leaning students. And the positivist turn, ironically, was more an outgrowth of left-wing social movements. Of course, most critical theory is also left-wing, so both the very positivist [hah] and very critical theory-oriented departments [of which there are fewer] are liable to be predominately leftist in orientation. This is not an attack, nor is it an attempt to hijack this thread, since some of my most valuable academic experiences have come from my being willing to extend the scope of the ideologies I engage with, both in and out of class. In general, though, I don't think you need to worry about finding a sufficiently left-wing political science department, and certainly not a CT-focused one. @lispenard is right that The New School is another great place to look. Finally, I do hope you apply to Northwestern again next year. People frequently re-apply to the same schools and get in. And Northwestern does sound like a good bet for your general research interests.
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