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About blackstrap

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  • Application Season
    2019 Fall

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  1. If your writing sample, SoP, and letters are great, I'm sure you're fine. too, solid undergrad grades often mitigate less than stellar GRE scores, and vise versa.
  2. Hey there. I'm applying to English PhD programs, all of which insinuate to some degree that the math GRE score doesn't matter. Being the perfectionist that I am, however, I've started studying math anyway via Magoosh. It's already become clear that there is no way I'm going to learn anywhere near enough math to do well on the quant section; in fact, I worry all this last minute cramming (I have a month before test) is detrimental, as I finish each long study session retaining little or nothing, and feeling totally discouraged. So, my hope is to master a few of the most common GRE math skills so I can score in the 30-50th percentile. I know, that score is so sad, but I consistently make 90-99th percentile on verbal, which is what really matters in my situation. So, long story short, does anyone know the most common skills tested on the quant GRE? Those few things that'll bump me just above total embarrassment? Thanks
  3. Thanks so much! After perusing the Brandeis English pages, it does indeed look like a potential fit. I'll definitely be reaching out to them for more info. Very cool of you to respond in such detail!
  4. This is all very encouraging, as I already know I will bomb the quantitative. I sucked at math to begin with, and now nearly two decades have passed since my last math class. I just tried a Magoosh practice test, and the entirety of the math section may as well have been written in Mandarin. Seriously, trying to read the problems for any sense of understanding was excruciating. I was under the impression there were all least a few basic questions? The Magoosh practice test started right out with "car x starts behind car y, passes at 3:20, arrives at 4:16, car y arrives 45 minutes later, what was car y's speed" or some such. Honestly made me want to throw the laptop at the wall. Ugghhh. So do I spend precious time trying to up my quantitative score at least a bit, or just say F it, answer a few when the day comes, and essentially guess on the remainder? I'm afraid if I actually exert myself, it'll frustrate me and kill my confidence for the verbal.
  5. I am having trouble narrowing down programs where I'll be a good fit (thus, strong applicant). I am interested in portrayals of religious suffering, guilt, trauma, despair, etc. in both literature and film, and my literary interests are primarily 20-21st century. I hope to apply to programs ranked as highly as possible, generally, but understand how critically fit will play into my application success. Suggestions on programs (and professors) I should be looking into? Thanks again. I've been dropping a lot of questions here, and folks have been so kind and helpful. Edit: Looks like Pitt and Oregon may be options . . .
  6. Thanks so much for the responses thus far! I'm looking into your wonderful suggestions at this very moment.
  7. I've been out of academia for a decade, and am woefully ignorant of contemporary landmark criticisms on two topics: 1. patriarchy, phallocentrism, heteronormativity, etc., especially in the context of Irigaray's watershed pieces 2. 20th-century existentialism and absurdism, flowing especially out of Camus' criticisms of Kierkegaard, Husserl, et al I plan to explore connective tissue between the two, and hope to enrich my argument with 21st-century material if possible. Being completely outside academia and its resources, I have yet to turn up criticisms I can confirm as instrumental to my understanding. Thanks so much for your time, Matt
  8. Thanks so much for the response. Your advice is definitely sound, but I think my unique situation may warrant a different approach. After an MFA at the University of Utah, I immediately began teaching secondary, as more school was just not an option at that point. I taught AP Lang and Lit for a decade, and learned a lot. Because it's been so long since my MFA, and because I am a completely different person after that decade, I feel a fresh writing sample may be best. I hope to peruse a few successful samples so that I can generally get my bearings, as it were, and acclimate myself with the parameters of the task.
  9. I'm so sorry if this has been covered to death, but my searching here and on the web has yet to generate a single example of a great critical wiring sample for Ph.D. applications. Examples of the SoP abound, strangely . . . I'm a few pages into mine, and am struggling some with tone, formatting, and organization. I've been out of academia for some time, and could really use some exposure to jobs well done. Thanks so much for your time. I've only just discovered this forum, but it has quickly become invaluable in navigating these difficult waters!
  10. I'd like to focus on 20th century existential lit and theory. I plan to apply to a few in the top 10, a few 10-20, then maybe a safety or two. I need to do more research on specific professors at specific schools, but am aware of the importance of attending a highly rated program in my field. I am okay with a pay cut. I did my MFA alongside the Ph.D. folks at the University of Utah, so I have some idea about doctoral research. I'm still researching the career options of the English Ph.D.
  11. I've decided I want to apply to several English Ph.D. programs. I earned an MFA in Creative Writing about a decade ago, then left academia to teach AP Lit. Now, 10 years later, I've decided it's time to go back. Trouble is, I'm having to start from scratch, given the amount of time passed. I need to: -retake the GRE -coerce erstwhile profs to get to know me all over again and update/write letters of rec. -write statement and critical sample from scratch . . . plus the other stuff. So my question: Do I hunker down and get an app together for this December, or do I, despite how sad it makes me, slow down and give myself (possibly too much) time for December 2020. I'm hoping folks who've been in a similar situation can chime in on how they decided to go. Thanks!
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