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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. Yale is DEFINITELY a hoax. Especially since they misspelled ‘later.’ Come on, trolls; don’t be THAT obvious. Cal was almost marginally believable, but...
  2. Claiming another interview request from UW Madison [Theory]. Good luck, all!
  3. Usually they mean single-spaced, but it never hurts to ask someone there! They'll definitely have the right answer.
  4. Yale had a very helpful diversity statement webinar for applicants this past cycle. [As another economically privileged white female, I can relate to your anxieties.] Here are some points that I thought were especially valuable: - Begin by clarifying, both to yourself and in the statement, how YOU define diversity. Consider 'diversity diversity,' if that makes any sense: of course, diversity can apply to physical characteristics, but there's also viewpoint, methodological, political, and pedagogical/academic diversity to consider. Make sure that both you and the people reading your statement know what you mean when you use the word 'diversity.' - Don't volunteer too much about your own privilege or lack thereof. You never know who will be reading your statement and what preconceived notions they may have about people of your race, religion, political party, socioeconomic status, or any other identifying demographic characteristic. - Yes, it's good to refer to your prior experience contributing to diversity [especially in your academic or professional career], but committees tend to be more interested in what you will do, not what you have done. Think about what you'd like to do to promote diversity, however you define it, in higher education—especially in your academic field—and how you'll use the unique resources at University X to do that. Be sure to talk about what you'll do to continue to promote diversity after graduating as well. [A lot of schools have awesome volunteer teaching initiatives, both on and off campus. You can also talk about starting reading groups, journals, etc.—this is the place to draw from prior experience, to show that you have a sense of how you might go about realizing your mission.] But the focus should be on the future, not on the past. - Look for opportunities to include information that isn't located elsewhere in your file [statement of purpose, CV, recs, etc.] Doing so may help you get creative in terms of how you define diversity. [This tip also applies to other application materials, like a personal statement. You have a finite amount of space and an infinite number of things that make you unique. PhD applications are, among other things, grueling exercises in being resourceful and eliminating redundancy.] As for sounding disingenuous, yes, there's always that risk. But I'm willing to bet that you aren't COMPLETELY cynical [even if you're a liiiittle cynical] and that you do think that 'diversity,' however you define it, is a good thing. Think about it: how has being around people with diverse opinions, backgrounds, characteristics, etc. augmented your own academic and professional journey? Once you convince yourself [and you likely already have] of the merits of diversity, and reflected on how you've benefited personally from it, it becomes easier to speak from a place of authenticity. It still may sound disingenuous when you read your statement back to yourself, but part of that has to do with the fact that diversity statements are often the butt of jokes and many of us are more used to making a compelling academic argument than writing from a place of personal sincerity. Hope some of this helps—good luck!
  5. Popping in to say that there are entire reddit threads where people with really boring lives conspire to plant fake results on gradcafe. [I’ve seen screen shots of this in prior years.] Seriously, that has to be one of the least rewarding methods of trollery out there.
  6. I'm fairly proud that I'm currently only about 20% over the most restrictive of my SoPs' length requirements. In getting it to that point, though, I've cut references to all of my prior work. My understanding is that a lot of it can get funneled into my CV [a couple of sentences to summarize various publications/conference presentations] and my diversity statement [employment experience, etc.] Conventional wisdom, however, says to include a section on your prior research in your statement. Yet conventional wisdom also says not to duplicate material that can be found elsewhere in your file, so conventional wisdom is conventionally unhelpful here. I'll ask you guys instead: does it seem like a good strategy to move 'what I've done' into the CV and use the SoP for 'what I will do and how I'll do it at University X'?
  7. Sometimes I feel like I'm unconsciously competing with Friedrich Nietzsche to see which one of us can use more em-dashes per page. Bad news: I think I'm winning.

  8. Just took my first day off of applications in nine months and my brain is suddenly drunk on repose.

  9. Okay, take it easy. I appreciate both of your thoughts, and would refer you [non-snarkily] to the entirety of my post, in which I tried to clarify that, first, the font was still legible [no weird serif-y ish, and about the size of a Garamond 11/11.5]; second, that I was NOT trying to ‘trick’ anyone—that was precisely my reason for asking the question—and was still making cuts to fit the specified page requirement; and finally, I am aware that length limits exist for many reasons, most of them very good ones. Now that the mostly playful collegial indignation is out of the way... To your point, I also should have clarified that I’m a theorist in the humanities. Many, though not all, of us can be a bit more loquacious than those in STEM disciplines. [Side note: that’s so cool that your son is a mathematical theorist! Do you mind my asking what he specializes in?] NB: Not that I meant to hurt anyone with my initial remark about being a theorist. It was self-deprecating, and I understand that that doesn’t always translate well over the ether. I also should have clarified that I found Aparajita while playing around with different fonts for aesthetic reasons on an unrelated project. It was never part of some devious campaign to ‘own teh adcommz,’ or whatever. My general philosophy is that people should spend less time on that and more time on expressing themselves coherently and succinctly, as you point out. Finally, as an update, I did manage to make the necessary length cuts, and it’s a good thing, too, since while the Aparajita font is normal-looking, it translates to Arial [which is gnar-bar] on certain web portals. I checked just for giggles last night. So for anyone who’s reading this and IS interested in ‘tricks,’ [which I was not, and which I repeat since I consider this important and since I know people tend to scroll to the end of responses]: you don’t need them; and this ain’t one of them.
  10. That’s fair. I disagree that that’s always the case [per your disclaimer], and I have heard professors say that they consider it in an applicant’s favor if they show dramatic improvement between two GRE scores. But I think the lesson here is [as usual with grad school apps] that your mileage may vary. So your point is well-taken.
  11. ^ I don't have any reason to dispute this, and my advice is worth exactly what you're paying for it, but unless your GRE score is just abysmal, I'd probably report it. Especially if, as Tigla writes, the GRE threshold for funding is nonexistent and therefore unlikely to be particularly high for admission in general. I would also DEFINITELY confirm that the philosophy department itself doesn't require a GRE score before you decide not to report one. Again, the people who come up with department-specific requirements are not the same as those who come up with [or likely post] division-wide requirements. I always suggest prioritizing department requirements, which are more 'close to the source' [i.e., the people reading your application] over division requirements. This is the part where I don't draw an analogy between state and local governments. But seriously. For most humanities applicants, it's difficult for a GRE score to actually hurt you. It can help, it can be neutral, and it can sometimes be used in the final stages of admissions decisions—when people are essentially throwing darts at a board of arbitrary distinctions because they have five AWESOME applicants and only one spot left—but other than that, I don't see much of a downside to reporting it.
  12. The title summarizes it fairly well. I'm a theorist, which means I'm wordy; and I'm finalizing my SOP for a school that specifies a page limit rather than a word cutoff. Several months ago, I discovered the wonders of the 12-point Aparajita and will never go back. It sounds like a fine wine, but it's so much better than that: it looks a bit like a cross between Garamond and Times, although it's visibly smaller than Garamond (which is the second smallest standard font that I know of). There's nothing wonky about the script; it's legible and tidy. I dig it. I know better than to mess with the point size, margins, or the character spacing, but am even now slightly over the page limit even with Aparajita (still making cuts). Again, it's legible in terms of script and size, but yes, there is a visible size difference between it and most other 12 pt. fonts. I'm not trying to trick anyone, and I also don't think that my ideas 'deserve' the extra space. That said, I'd like to be able to make as efficient use as possible of the space I AM allotted and this is, technically, 'legal'. So, what are people's thoughts? Could this possibly hurt me if I don't try to pull any of the typical page-constraint shenanigans?
  13. I definitely recommend writing to the DGS or a POI about the issue. If you can't get in touch with anyone there, my rule of thumb is that the specifications on the department website take precedence over the specs on the portal. (Think about it this way: the department faculty are the ones reading your SOP, and they're also the ones in charge of coming up with and communicating their specific application requirements.) I'm applying to UCLA's political science program and the department website specifies a different [and fortunately for me, longer] word limit than the one on the division-wide portal [which I assume is the same as the one you're looking at]. So I'd defer to UCLA's sociology PhD landing page first. Especially since UCLA is such a massive university.
  14. It really depends on your field of study. For research in the humanities/social sciences, a poor GRE writing score [and I know of many stellar writers who have received scores below 5] can be offset by a strong writing sample and statement of purpose. For this reason, many disciplines that request a writing sample don't really pay much attention to the GRE writing section at all. The GRE writing section is one of the few components of the exam that I consider to be a fairly poor metric across the board. I don't think you can do a very good job of measuring what it's trying to measure in that format/time frame. But I digress. For STEM disciplines, I get the sense that the bar is a bit lower for the GRE AWA score anyhow. TL;DR: 1. You're probably fine, but it depends on your field of study/where you're applying; and 2. I'd take extra care to make sure that your writing sample [if required] and SOP really shine.
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