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Rani13

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Rani13 last won the day on April 9

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About Rani13

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  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program
    English

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  1. All is not lost! I had a catastrophic transcript that I thought would sink my PhD applications. Happily, that was not the case. Here’s what helped: I did an MA in English, this (good) transcript superseded the one from earlier. I also went after whatever opportunities and honours my MA institution offered (research fellowships, writing awards). In my PhD SoP, I focused mainly on pitching my proposed project (which I made sure was well defined) and also elaborated on the honours I had received during the MA. I only devoted a few short sentences to my past failures and described what I had learned from them before returning to my current work and inquiries. I also asked my advisor to briefly address the problem in her letter and affirm my commitment as a graduate student. Considering the circumstances, I had an unexpectedly good season. I recommend a (funded) MA because graduate training will always matter more than adolescent mistakes! Good luck to you!
  2. Rehashing this conversation from a while ago. I'm trying to figure out what taxes* will look like on a fellowship during non-service years. I know that the university does not deduct taxes in those years. I was also told by a graduate student in the department that taxes do not apply for non-service fellowship years (aka there's no need to report said fellowship as income). I know there's conflicting advice on this, but wondering what the insight is on GC? *I'm terrible at taxes/numbers.
  3. Annnnd I just accepted my offer from the University of Pennsylvania. This was an agonizing decision but I'm convinced that I've made the right choice. So pleased to be joining a program featuring so many brilliant and generous scholars in and beyond my field. Equally thrilled to be doing a PhD in a city that I know and love. My path to the PhD has been rough, and for a long time I did not expect to get here at all, so this feels especially sweet.
  4. Just turned down Princeton and their incredible Centennial Fellowship. That was heartbreaking.
  5. I just declined my offer from Brown. That was hard given the many brilliant scholars in the department. Really hope they go to the waitlist!
  6. I just turned down my offers from Rutgers and the University of Michigan. At the latter school, I also turned down the Rackham Merit Fellowship. I hope this bodes well for some of you!
  7. To be clear, I don't mean to suggest that more “approachable” schools are automatically better at placing students at state schools. From what I can tell, that's not quite the case. My sense is that one is a strong candidate for any job if one comes from a program considered to be strong (or maybe even the “best,” whatever that means) in one’s field, and if one is backed (advised, recommended) by scholars who are well known and respected in said field (as well as in the academy at large). I just meant to say that the “best” is not always a matter of the big three, in fact the big three (in some fields) have a reputation for being intellectual wastelands (not my words). Obviously, there's no hard and fast rule about this and one’s work is what matters in the end. We're all just reading the tea leaves here. I just think it's not enough to choose a school based on prestige vs approachability when there is strength/reputation in one's field to consider. And, not to forget, the financial resources that a program can offer.
  8. I'm not sure, I can only speak with any knowledge of English and Comp Lit. If I understand you correctly, you're thinking about academic job market prospects in fields other than the field you'd be housed in (US/ethnic studies). Is that right? In any case, it might help for you to pay close attention to where people are getting hired from the two institutions you are considering.
  9. I'm told (by friends who are young professors, but also some senior scholars) that there are many times when a degree from the "big three" will actually count against you. This is true for academic jobs at less fancy institutions and also at state schools (including R1s), who are reluctant to hire from these schools because of a perception of eliteness, lack of teaching experience, and also the knowledge that these candidates will likely leave the moment a fancier/better job shows up (something that is arguably true for PhDs from any institution: a good job is a good job). There's also the fact that these big threes can often be really old guard (depending on your field), and so are really lagging behind when it comes to fields beyond your standard Anglo-Euro-American canons. Of course, there will be exceptions to this. But in my research (and I'm facing a similar choice between one of the big three and another school that is best known for cutting edge work in my field) it does seem to hold up to a great extent.
  10. Garrulous post alert in response to so many of the comments and thoughts here. What a time to be alive and contemplating the ivory tower! I've been torn between three of my offers for the last two weeks, but I've achieved some clarity of late. It's disappointing that the visits have been cancelled, but I think I have come to a (tentative) decision without them. Maybe my thought process will be helpful to some of you. Of the three (similarly ranked) schools, I eliminated one just based on location. There was nothing wrong with the location per se (in fact many people speak highly of it), it's just that it would have been a slightly more arduous move for me and ultimately the merits of the program did not outweigh the other two enough to justify the move. Down to two, both of which were tempting me enough to want to pull a James Franco so I could attend both at once (jk). Of the two programs, school 1 is very well known in my field, has an excellent placement record, has lots of young faculty doing cutting edge work, and is known to be extremely rigorous. School 2 is also very well known and prestigious. But while it has excellent faculty in my field, it isn't quite as well known for producing scholars in my field as school 1. It's also older, whiter, and somewhat more old fashioned than school 1. On the flipside, school 2 is offering me more money (in fact it is throwing money and fellowships at me). Attending it would be the more comfortable experience overall (they also require less coursework of you and leave you alone more). BUT I've decided on school 1 because I think it will make me the better scholar. It will be tougher to survive (though I'm lucky enough that it's still very well funded, so I'm definitely not making a case for anyone to choose financial hardship for the sake of excellence or whatever), I will be challenged more, and I will be more tired, but I do think that I will get better engagement overall from the scholars I want to work with. I've determined this by Skyping/calling with the professors in question at both schools and asking them how they would mentor my specific research project. I have also talked to other graduate students who are currently dissertating at both schools to learn more about the mentorship styles of both institutions. In response to what we're all wondering about (how involved will faculty actually be in your work once you've committed to attend), I am finding that some schools have clear positions vis a vis mentoring such that it's not even really a question of the style of individual professors so much as it is of the school’s overall ethos. In my case, school 1 clearly takes a very hands on approach (sometimes to the extent that it can become a problem) whereas school 2 is much more handsoff. So I'm wondering less about individual professors (though so many have reputations for being either too checked out or too invested) than departmental ethos (to which most professors ultimately subscribe). I'm probably going with school 1 because I ultimately think more engagement is better than less. I have a few friends in departments where their advisors are checked out, and they're struggling with their dissertations (and looking job market prospects). All of this is to say, thinking about where my intellectual interests would be best served has helped me make this decision. I know my project will change, but I'm choosing the place that I think will hold me to a higher standard. Other (more minor) things that have helped: looking at coursework from this academic year as well as for the upcoming fall term (if it's listed) to see which school had more interesting/exciting/cutting edge offerings. There's such a wide range. Also imagining myself in these courses and trying to think about which seemed like a better fit for me. Also convenience of location and money. Even though I'm (probably) declining the school giving me more money, the difference is not all that significant given that school 1 is located in a city with a lower cost of living. Also pleasantness of location (school 1 is in a city, school 2 is near some cities but I wouldn't actually be able to live there until later). Also thinking about job placement statistics. Ok, I'll stop now.
  11. These are good questions that I hope Columbia can answer for you. I’m wondering similar things about Princeton tbh.
  12. Fwiw I just took myself off the UVA waitlist today. And CUNY. I’m sure there are others.
  13. Just declined my offer from Emory. Hope it's good news for someone!
  14. From what I hear, Columbia’s placement rate (or lack thereof) is egregious even by the declining standard of the ivies. There's something going on over there. As one of my professors put it, “It's certainly not the students that are the problem.”
  15. Agree 100%. Adding something urgently new to a field in terms of both theory and literary archives/texts.
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