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About ecritdansleau

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  • Interests
    words, condensation, forms, colours, the Unknown
  • Program
    English Literature

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  1. I would say that (unless you're still at an earlier stage in your undergraduate career when you are still choosing courses to actually build professor relationships) you should stick to the professors who know you best: a recommender can only help you so much as they are willing to enthusiastically stand behind your scholarly aptitude. I have been told that letters of recommendation are less a testament to you being a decent student than a test of how much is a professor really going to bat for you; oftentimes, the nuances in LORs can volumes (ie the difference between "Sally has great ideas,
  2. This. I wasn't entirely aware of it at the time I was applying, but after I spoke to a recommender about my acceptances, it came up that the professor had a colleague here and there at some of the schools to which I was accepted (to sum up, there were professional relationships between a recommender and faculty at 3 of the four schools where I was accepted). I did not, however, contact any faculty members at any of the departments to which I applied.
  3. Oh no! I hope I didn't scare you. The fact is, most everyone who takes it feels as if they have bombed it! I meant though, that if you were to sit for it and the worst scenario happened, you can always cancel the scores (if say, you only filled in say 1/3 or the answers or something). In all honesty--if it happens for you as it did for me--you will perform similarly on the real test as you have performed on practice tests. That was the only consistency I found in the tests (I took it twice and one felt SIGNIFICANTLY easier but in the end my score was only 20 points higher on that test tha
  4. Remember though, that everyone who takes the Lit GRE is a literature student, so your percentile isn't expected to be as high as your percentile for the GRE verbal score. As far as I know, a Lit GRE score over 650 (really even 600) seems to be good enough for top programs, but considering how competitive things are, you have to ask yourself if that is a risk you are willing to take. How important is this aspect of the application to you? How competitive do you want to be? If you're wondering whether one can improve their score over time, then my answer is an emphatic yes. I also struggle
  5. I really wouldn't recommend taking it this way (without studying), unless you have taken the PowerPrep and scored really high without a hitch. I have friends who nonchalantly took it after graduating as a "test sitting" and they regretted it afterward: they didn't realize that once you take it, those scores will show up on your score report for the next five years, so even if you retake it and improve, schools will still see your bomb/mediocre scores on the report. I recommend simulating your own practice test rather than spending 100+ on the test because if you're interested in improving you
  6. I would advise applicants to get the tests out of the way as soon as possible, ideally taking the general GRE no later than the summer before applications. Why? The tests can become huge timesinks/overwhelming burdens, and the application cycle deadlines and Lit GRE test dates can set you up to spend the most time on these tests precisely when you should be focusing on your WS/SOP drafts. If you are anything like I was last year, you're waiting for the willpower to start intensively preparing for the GREs, and you may feel like putting the test off until say, for instance, you've finish
  7. Yes!!! Is it absolutely lame for me to admit, I actually had a collage over my desk with, among other images, pictures of libraries at the schools I wanted to go to....When you have discouraging moments and tedious hoops to jump through, it's nice to look up and think "why am I doing this?" it can be reassuring.
  8. I was told that during this application cycle, Columbia admitted three applicants in my field, twentieth-century British. Last year they only admitted two for that field. Such numbers aren't exactly useful, except in understanding how and why there are so many excellent applicants who can't be offered admission. On the bright side, they admit somewhere between 20-30 in total for a cohort of 15 or so.
  9. I'm not sure why someone dinged Galoup for this (if one has a difference of opinion, they may as well share their perspective). I can say that my professors would agree with the above statement by Galoup (For my undergraduate degree I went to a school similar to Iowa in the midwest..and yes, we talk about these things). Even if there's no objective truth to rankings in that way, I think it would be in one's best interest to be aware of varying "perceived" prestige when considering such a huge decision (And I would appreciate fellow gradcafer's honest opinions on that, despite how arbitrary s
  10. I basically paraphrased this, which has stuck in my head when I heard clips of it on the radio: "Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." from Steve Jobs' Commencement speech at Stanford http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html
  11. I guess it's in my nature to play both sides of an argument, but I feel as if I should admit one thing: when I visited my top choice school on the admit visit, I thought to myself that...it would have been worth it to have applied multiple cycles to go to what is basically my dream school. If--knowing what you know--you really feel that Rutgers is not right for you, it is not likely that your feelings will change. If you really do believe that Chicago might be a better launching pad for a PhD, I wouldn't completely write it off. You are making a huge commitment if you enter a PhD program as
  12. I'm headed to Columbia's English PhD program, and I could not be more excited. How awesome it is that there will be at least three gradcafe'ers in our cohort!!
  13. It may not seem like it at face-value, but as far as I understand it, Rutgers' fully funded PhD program is a much more prestigious admit than Chicago's MAPH (if prestige is something with which you're concerned?), not only because funding essentially equals prestige in academia, but also because Rutgers is such a highly ranked English PhD program. It's kind of interesting this question has come up because when I was researching programs, I began to become convinced that Rutgers is basically an ivy without the official title. Along with other Ivies (HPY, etc) Rutgers is one of the nine colo
  14. I don't know if I would say that Chicago is terribly isolated from other nearby universities--being within an half hour of three R1 universities (including UChicago, Northwestern, UIC) is relatively close, although I cannot speak to the inter-campus cultural climate; the Triangle may be better in that regard of accessibility. But I feel as if more is negatively *said* about Chicago's "culture" than can actually be witnessed (the "where fun goes to die" rep); the undergraduates, at least, that I've known who went there in recent years were all brilliant, happy, and energetic individuals.
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