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Everything posted by misterpat

  1. No, any history program worth attending reviews applications all at once. There might be an MA prorgam or two with rolling admissions, but I haven't run across any of them. And Feb 1st is pure optimism. Last year, I think I had one program reply in February, and it was close to the end.
  2. I'm not sure if average GPAs and GREs are all that important. That being said, I'm pretty sure Duke has them on their website somewhere. I think average numbers of applicants vs. number admitted is a more interesting stat. One department that I didn't apply to but that I recall noticing was kind of a high acceptance-rate was University of Kansas, where about 1/3 of applicants are admitted. Pretty high for a top 50 program. The location is probably a big factor.
  3. It sucks, but I wouldn't worry about it that much. That 800 should outshine the 4.
  4. I fully agree with both of these points. As for your first point, I prefer to do this instead: A ------------------------------------------------------------------------- B ------------------------------------------------------------------------- C ------------------------------------------------------------------------- D ------------------------------------------------------------------------- E Then add vertical lines to separate your notations for each problem. This way, your scratch paper has less of a cluster-fuck appearance and you waste less time creating it.
  5. I don't think the AW will "make up" for the 600, but the 600 might not matter if the rest of your application is strong enough. It is a risk, though, and history students have some of the highest Verbal scores out of all disciplines. When I had similar scores and consulted professors who were writing letters for me, I was advised to retake. At this point, it's probably too late for you to take the GRE again and get your scores in by the deadline, so maybe don't worry about it.
  6. misterpat


    The SOP is really terrifying to write. Don't get discouraged (I say this, but I get discouraged all the time). I went, for all intents and purposes, 0/9 last year (admitted to a few, but without funding). Looking at the statements I submitted last year make me want to throw up; I fear that my friends whom I had proof-read it have lower estimations of my intelligence than they had before. I have read a LOT of outside material since last year's cycle, and it does make it a lot easier. Now I feel like I can speak somewhat confidently and not sound like a fool, and my main task is trying to figure out which potential ideas are going to make the best impression on each particular program. I can't offer much advice other than the excellent suggestions offered above. But for what it's worth, here are a few tips: 1. Maintian a confident tone. It's intimdiating knowing that you've only read 1/1000000 of the stuff the people who will be scrutinzing your SOP have, but if you don't sound like you think you know what you're talking about, why should anyone else think you do? Modesty is good, timidity is not. 2. No personal stuff, unless it's explictly requested or (somehow) relevant to a research idea you are proposing. Even then, keep it brief. 3. The person who described it as a proposal is right. If you had to write proposals for research papers in undergrad, it should kind of be like that. 4. Don't get too attached to anything you write. Starting from scratch a bunch of times is probably better than revising what you currently have. You'll surprise yourself with how easy it can be to hammer out a more coherent version of what you had written the first time.
  7. This post is so full of unverifiable claims that I don't know where to start. I suppose I'll just say that the test probably measures equality but doesn't accentuate it, and that you're criticizing the GRE for not "being a social equalizer" when that's not its purpose.
  8. The GREs are definitely a deterrent mechanism, but I don't think that means we should do away with it.
  9. It seems a bit ridiculous to entirely fault the book you used. As a Princeton Review teacher, I can't attest to the quality of that exact book, since the books we use in our classrooms are laid out differently. But I'm pretty sure the strategies are roughly the same, and I'll say that I prefer TPR over Kaplan for a couple of reasons, Math being one of them. TPR teaches you to "beat" the test, so to speak, by avoiding algebra and plugging in answers given to you instead of constructing algebraic equations and such. I've always taken standardized tests this way, so to see my way of approaching tests in a manual is a big step up from Kaplan, which is what I used when I prepared to take the test. I understand you're frustrated, but the entitlement in your post is very unbecoming. Take the test again. It doesn't hurt to take it multiple times. You probably just didn't study enough. Reading one manual and doing the practice exercises within isn't enough for a lot of people. Do every test in this book from ETS (the company that makes the GRE) and review your mistakes, before re-taking: http://www.amazon.com/GRE-Practicing-Take-General-Test/dp/0886852129 If you practice TPR's methods on ALL of those tests and STILL bomb, then you either have a point about Cracking or are hopeless. And to the person who remarked about the supposed difference in the difficulty of TPR questions: this should have been off-set by taking as many practice tests as you can get your hands on Finally, I noticed that you're going into education. Comfort yourself with the fact that education is about the lowest-scoring discipline that takes the GRE: http://www.ncsu.edu/chass/philo/GRE%20Scores%20by%20Intended%20Graduate%20Major.htm Good luck!
  10. Even though this is an objective measurement, I still feel slighted.
  11. "Dear Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen of the Life of the Mind" Refrain from anything like what you're thinking. It's an essay, not a letter. It sounds middle-school-dance awkard because starting it that way is, in fact, that awkward. Launch into a professional discussion of your interests, with no "Dear scholarly dudes and dudettes" at the top, and a minimal amount of personal information. Most people reviewing your application won't care about your personal life.
  12. Looks like you have solid stats. I loved my Russian history seminar, though I am an americanist. Are you applying to Indiana? I'd wish you luck if you weren't a dirty, dirty jayhawk.
  13. Well, if you can pay for the MA, that's a different story. And you're right; your stats are good enough to get into a decent PhD program, but would probably keep you out of a program like Chicago's Social Thought PhD. I believe they only take 5 or 6 students a year, but I could be mistaken. My concern was that your youthful idealism would be exploited by a university which admitted you to their unfunded MA program, letting you rack up tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt. Getting into an elite PhD program afterward isn't a given, and thus getting a job wouldn't be certain either. I'm sure I'm not the first to tell you that there are fewer and fewer tenure-track positions available in academia; the trend is toward using a lot of adjuncts, whom do not receive benefits and are paid a miserable wage which would make paying off that debt and living above the poverty line a difficult task. I didn't intend to sound abrasive, but I am very skeptical of such programs. I was admitted to Chicago's MAPSS last year with 1/3 scholarship and still turned it down, so I'm not trying to steer you away from a route I haven't considered. I've seen faculty members of decent departments holding those degrees, but my guess is that the vast majority of people who attend, say, Chicago or Columbia MA in the liberal arts program, will never be viewed as the caliber of student to be admitted to a PhD program there. Certainly, some people make the most of the opportunities afforded them by those programs (adjustable rate mortgages probably even worked out for SOME people, but were a bad idea for the overwhelming majority of those who took them). But the schools don't publish statistics on how well most of the graduates from those programs do, which suggests that the statistics aren't pretty. FINALLY, if you are considering the Chicago Social Thought PhD, APPLY THERE! You will probably get sent to MAPSS anyway. I applied to the History PhD program last year, and was admitted to MAPSS. If your application is good but not good enough, they'll pawn you off onto MAPSS. I can only assume it works similarly at other universities with such programs.
  14. So far as I can tell, the only reason anyone should laugh at you is the fact that you are only applying to programs you must pay to attend. I'd suggest figuring out exactly what discipline you want to pursue and to find funded PhD programs to apply to in that field. Otherwise, you are entering a career with uncertain job prospects and likely $50,000 in debt, assuming you finish one of these MAs in one year, go on to a PhD program afterward and complete it (not all safe assumptions, either). Have fun paying that debt off with a non-tenure track position, likely without benefits, which pays you something comparable to what my assistant manager made when I worked at Domino's in college. Aim higher. Sorry to rain on your parade.
  15. AWA is the hardest section to "fake" or "beat." One piece of advice for the Issue essay: most of the 6 examples I've seen don't fully agree or disagree with the statement. Accepting or rejecting the statement with reservations adds nuance to your argument. Most of the statements are pretty extreme, so this is usually the best route. Argument essay is totally formulaic, and thus easier to learn to write. And be daring with your diction. Graders like to see impressive words.
  16. Congratulations. That really is a top notch Verbal score. And don't let the people on this site worry you too much. Most components of your application are totally under your control.
  17. misterpat

    Emailing profs

    People worry about this shit too much. Anything between the two poles of addressing them as "bro" and being a total sycophant will be fine.
  18. has the highest post count of any non-mod.

  19. Ha. I got excited when I read the thread title because I knew of NW. Apparently it is no secret. I applied last year and they wouldn't even look at my GREs.
  20. Sit in on a high school geometry class? I do think you're exaggerating, but make flashcards for math if it really troubles you that much. Make them for the common quadratics that you'll run into, geometry formulas that consistently elude you, and special triangles.
  21. I sure wish MY 3.55 gpa was considered cum laude... Anyway, as you seem to know, we are indeed sick of this question. They really should make an announcement that stays at the top of the page: "TO NEW POSTERS: NO, WE CANNOT PREDICT YOUR ADMISSIONS CYCLE." They are right to tell you that there isn't really a good answer to your question. Numbers will only get your foot in the door. You seem to know this, but wonder what those numbers might need to be... Your GPA will probably be a knock on your application at the very top schools. Not to say you couldn't get in with the right materials, but it's academia, so 3.9s and 4.0s are going to be pretty common among the competition at top schools. I doubt the AWA score will hurt you. You have an entire writing sample to showcase your analytic and writing abilities. The faculty will probably not see your ability to construct an opinion in under an hour on whether "Great advances in knowledge always require a rejection of authority," as indicative of your ability to do graduate-level work. If I were you, I wouldn't worry much about this stuff. It's the other aspects of your application which are going to make or break you. In your defense, I've always struggled with the PhD/JD decision, and have even considered doing a dual degree. I applied for PhD programs last year, and though some prospective advisers and American sub-committees recommended me to be admitted, I ended up getting waitlisted or rejected outright by the general funding committees. This year, the JD is my plan B. I'm mixing in a few law school applications in with my PhDs. And while many people on this board will give you a response similar to tickle's and kahlan's, I think they are overstating a valid position Granted, I am not in a PhD program, and they are, so take my post for what it's worth. A PhD program is a hell of a commitment; I'm not here to disagree with that. But to say that someone could not handle a PhD program because they have had second thoughts about attending law school or doing something else seems incredibly self-satisfied and unrealistic. Granted, you should be in the proper mindeset once you start the program, but to tell someone who is at a crossroads in their life that they are unable to handle a PhD because they have doubts about starting a program that lasts the better half of a decade, with precarious job prospects no less, isn't being helpful. I had a similar exchange with someone exponentially more unpleasant when I first started posting here and I was uncertain about what discipline I should apply under. That one can study American politics from a variety of perspectives and disciplines seemed irrelevant to her; the slightest bit of wavering, despite the fact that the wavering was a pragmatic consideration because of the other discipline's less-competitive job market, convinced her that I was not to be among the elect. Don't let people like that bring you down. I should add that they are, to a certain extent, correct. People like you and me likely aren't going to end up at Princeton or Yale (oddly enough, neither will most of the people who make this argument, but this is neither here nor there). There are enough people who have been gung-ho from day 1 of freshman year to fill those programs. They have the best backgrounds, most research experience, best letters of recommendation, etc. They deserve those spots, and there's nothing we can really do to match their credentials. But plenty of people get into decent PhD programs every year with profiles more like yours and mine, so don't let anyone convince you otherwise. Just don't mention your uncertainty in your statement of purpose. Best of luck.
  22. About the only thing anyone can tell you with any degree of certainty is that your math score is awful. History admissions is a crapshoot. Your (currently unwritten) statement and (supposedly sub-par) writing sample are going to be more important than any of the other stuff you have listed. What you SHOULD be freaking out about is your statement. It's harder to write than you seem to think ("Whatever I churn out..."). All good departments you have listed. Nothing absolutely insane though, like Columbia (I swear they get 400+ applicants), Yale or Princeton, so comfort yourself with that.
  23. When you don't have much to say because you haven't read many of their publications, ask if they're going on research leave or doing anything that would preclude them from taking on new graduate students next year. It's a good question to ask anyway.
  24. I'm kind of interested in this question myself. I keep hearing that law school is a lot like high school, but I can't imagine that will be so in a phd program.
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