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fuzzylogician last won the day on December 11

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About fuzzylogician

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  1. Some questions about publications

    Also sometimes called double-blind: the idea is that your paper is anonymized (so no one can tell who wrote it) and then sent to reviewers whose identity is also kept secret from the author. The journal editor chooses these people based on their expertise in the area your paper is in. The editor decided what to do with the paper (accept, ask for revisions, reject) based on the referee reports. Since the referees don’t know who wrote the paper, their reports should be objective and based solely on the content of the paper — so your name and affiliation shouldn’t matter.
  2. Moving out for the 1st time

    You can live with roommates. It'll be more affordable, too. Depending on the COL in your target city and the stipend you'll get, it might even be necessary. You'll have cohort mates, and you can stay in touch with your family via the phone/skype.
  3. Unless the prof has kept up with colleagues, they may not know the department culture as well and may not comment on it. 40 years is a long time. That said, over the course of 40 years, a person will have a lot of experience placing students in various grad programs, and therefore might instead write something like this: "Stu has a similar work style to former students X, Y, and Z, who have been successful in your program in recent years." As a general rule, I think it's actually entirely acceptable for someone to write not only that someone is a good candidate because of research interests but also that, in particular, their work style/character would fit well with the particular department. To me, that's still a part of the candidate's qualities. One might still write that about departments they never attended or taught at, but certainly one's opinion would carry more weight if they actually have first-hand experience in what they're talking about.
  4. It seems to me that this teacher might still be the best option. I think the hesitation is entirely natural, and I'd be concerned if such hesitation wasn't expressed. It's been 10 years after all, and as a result, there is only so much that the letter can say, especially if you didn't ask for a letter back then. If you did, then the prof will perhaps have something on file to refer back to. If not and this is a new letter, I think it's safe to say that this person probably doesn't remember you, or at least won't be able to share details and anecdotes. Strong letters are ones that are detailed and can give examples, which this one won't be able to do that. So here are some suggestions for next steps. First, since you're targeting a specific program, have you thought about reaching out to them and asking what they would prefer? They might want two academic letters, or they might tell you it's best to have two detailed recent letters, even if that means that they're not academic. I could see it going either way. Second, I'd look into submitting four letters: two more detailed/recent ones that won't be academic, and two academic, including the recent one and your advisor. Even if it's technically not allowed, since you have a special case, it's worth asking about explicitly. Third, if you do ask your advisor, you need to help her write you a strong letter. That means providing her materials to rely on (your SOP, writing sample, a summary of things you think she can say, your transcript, etc), and offering to talk/Skype with her, if she'd like. Again, strong letters are ones where the person can say they know the student, think they're a strong candidate, and can provide details about their opinion; if she can't remember you from 10 years ago (which is quite likely), help her generate some opinions/memories now.
  5. Letter from a fired professor

    I wouldn't get a letter from someone who's been fired for misconduct unless I absolutely had to. In your case, the letter you describe doesn't sound terribly strong, unless there's more he can say than what you told us. I would suggest scheduling a meeting with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, to talk about this issue. If this is the strongest letter you can get, maybe it can come from the DUS instead of this prof, or maybe it can be co-written.
  6. ^Seconding this. It's not exactly about legacy, but one important factor is that people tend to trust people they know more than people they don't, for obvious reasons. So if you compare a letter from a former student you know and trust with a letter from an unknown prof somewhere, it's easy to see how one would carry more weight than the other. Another advantage this kind of letter has is that when a former student writes "I think X is a good fit with the department", they really know what they're talking about, not just from the perspective of research fit (which you can get from others) but also in the sense that they understand the culture of the department. It's a fact that different departments have different cultures, for example in how much collaboration happens among students/faculty, or how competitive students tend to be, or how much freedom students have in selecting courses/committees/etc, or how often students present in reading groups and share with others, or how much coursework/collaboration happens with other departments, and different people need different levels of those things to be happy. That's independent of whether someone can support your interests. For example, you could have a department that could support your interests, but if you really thrive in an environment that pushes you a lot, you might not be happy if said department is very hands off and you only meet with advisors twice a semester. On the other hand, someone else who shares your interests but enjoys working off on their own a lot might be a better fit. So when a former student writes that your work style and personality fit with a department, the department can really take that opinion seriously.
  7. Recommendation Not Sent in Time

    ^Seconding this. Although we can't make you any promises, there is often some leeway for letter writers to submit after the official deadline (while everything the student submits absolutely has to be there on time!). Often LOR writers know from their own experience that the only thing that really matters is that letters arrive before the adcom meets to discuss files, and that takes some time after the official deadline, while some administrative processes are taking place. I'm not going to tell you not to worry, but really, don't worry. If your LOR writer is aware of the request and says she's on top of it, she knows what she's doing, even if it's causing you some distress.
  8. Senior grad students/mentoring

    I don't think it's a responsibility exactly, but I think it's the professional thing to do as a senior student toward junior students. Junior students will often take time to adjust, especially if they have some unusual circumstance (first generation, international, etc). Not everyone will reach out, and they won't always know who is a good person to talk to -- that takes time. It's just a nice thing to do to reach out to those students once you've been around for a while and help them out. It's often part of the department culture. If someone did that for you, you'd be more likely to do it for someone else. You don't even necessarily have to be senior -- even a second year student will have a lot of wisdom to impart on first-years.
  9. "Self-plagiarism" question

    It's fine to use the same evidence to support arguments in multiple papers. You'll need to cite the original source(s) of that evidence in each one of your papers. If you do re-use arguments from your previous work, you need to cite that work, too. For classwork, things might be a little different: you should consult with your professors as to how much overlap they allow between work submitted for their class and old work. But in any event, you always cite any paper you used in your work.
  10. How to edit your profile

    Account Settings > Signature.
  11. General letter advice?

    1. Yes, if you interacted with them outside of class and they have something more to say than just "X attended my class and got an A". 2. One letter could be from a different department, especially for an MA application. Again, you'd want it to be able to be more than just a Did Well In Class letter. If you're just getting one of those, at least get it from a philosophy professor. However, I'm not sure I see the point of a letter from a regular job, unless it's glowing and preferably talks about transferrable skills. Otherwise, it's hard to see how it would help. Overall, it's fine to have an okay third letter if the first two are strong. 3. Writing letters is part of a professor's job. You don't need to apologize or feel like you're stealing their time in any way. Just be sure to help them help you: provide them with a CV, SOP, and anything else they ask, so they can write you as strong a letter as possible. You might even offer to give them a short summary of what you hope the letter will contain. But in any event, as long as you're professional and respectful, this is a part of their job so you don't need to feel like you're taking their time away from their job.
  12. 1. Assisting with research could be "research assistant" under "research experience". Briefly list who led the project and what you did (1-2 lines). 2. Yes.
  13. Waiting to hear back after interview :'(

    Hm, can't say I've heard of too many cases where an applicant was contacted and asked to rewrite an already submitted SOP, but I'd take it as a positive sign, because if they were going to simply reject you, they wouldn't need a revised statement, they'd just do it. As for the interview, interviewees are often terrible at assessing how they did; since you have no reference point for how others did or what the interviewer was expecting, I think it's best not to dwell, hard as it may be. Now, two thoughts: for any future interviews, you could and should always ask about the timeline post-interview when they ask you if you have any questions for them (usually happens toward the end of the interview). For this one, I would say if it'd been more than 10 days, you could simply email and ask about the timeline (if it were right after, you could email to say thank you and ask about the timeline, but now is a little late for that..). It's hard to give a general one-size-fits-all answer; these things can really vary according to circumstances.
  14. Program Dilemma

    Plans change. As long as you went in with the right intentions, I think you need to stop it with the guilt and self-doubt about having changed your mind. You thought you wanted X, you tried it out, and you've realized it's not for you and really your passion is in Y. That's a perfectly common and sensible course of affairs. Stop worrying about taking up someone else's spot. You went into the program in good faith and the spot is yours. You don't owe anyone else anything -- you have to give yourself the best shot at what you want (at any given time). So, that's the first thing I want to say. I'd have said this if you were funded by the department, and certainly if you've taken out loans to do it. Now, the next step in your decision process has several moving parts to it. I assume that it's too late to apply for PhD programs this year, unless you can find programs with January deadlines and really push it. So we're likely talking applying next fall for a start time of two years from now. While you get ready to apply and start over, the question is what you want to accomplish where you are now, with the ultimate goal in mind of eventually returning to your CS route. It's possible that the certificate is the wiser choice, if you don't feel like there's more that you can/want to take from your current program, or actually since you'll have the time to finish the two-year degree, if you can still see the reasons you went into it in the first place and you can make it work, maybe there are reasons to stay through. Either way, one very important point is that you'll need LORs from your current program, so it'd be advantageous to do things in consultation with them, so you have their support. They might have their own opinions about what's the better choice. Another very relevant factor is your mental health. If your current program is making you unhappy, in my book that'd be a very good reason to leave with the certificate and find another thing to do while you apply next year that makes you happier. You might also look into requirements for the PhD applications; for example, maybe there's a writing sample requirement, in which case you'll want to make sure you have one of those before you leave, which you can get some feedback on. There's also the question of tuition vs perhaps working and earning some money next year.. I think it's time for some strategizing.
  15. Only 2 references, where to apply?

    Question: is it possible for you to obtain a "just ok" letter? If you have two good ones, a third letter, even if no more than a "did well in class" type letter, should still be fine and will allow you to apply to all those departments that want 3 letters.