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    Rhetoric & Composition

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  1. I received an assistantship from my #1 school, which I'm very excited about, except that now I've discovered that their tuition waiver does not cover the out-of-state fee of $755 per credit hour. This is a huge obstacle because I have another in-state school that has a tuition waiver that would cover everything, so I wouldn't be thousands of dollars in debt if I chose to attend that school. However, the in-state school is my last choice, and the out-of-state is my first. I know that if you get a better offer from one school over another, you can try to negotiate, but is it possible to negotiate out-of-state fees? I don't want to reply to my assistantship offer with humble thanks and then throw in there a request to waive or diminish the out-of-state cost when there's nothing they can do, and therefore seem ungrateful for my assistantship offer. Advice/suggestions?
  2. I've applied to several graduate schools with varying deadline dates from January to March, and I didn't expect to hear back from any until April at least. However, University of Central Florida (deadline was January 15) has already informed me of my acceptance, and sent a letter explaining that I should contact them to set up an interview for an assistantship as soon as possible. This letter also ended by saying: "Finally, in accordance with national guidelines, we are asking for your acceptance or rejection of this admission offer within fourteen days of receipt of this letter." I only have fourteen days to let them know whether or not I'm going there? How can they expect that of me? I haven't even heard back from any other schools yet and I have no idea if I'm going to get an assistantship from them, which will be the biggest factor in making my decision where to go. How exactly do I handle this? I don't want to reject the offer because I might want to go there, but I can't accept it without knowing all my options either. Help!
  3. One of the schools I am applying to has a January 1st deadline, so I'm running out of time to get my application materials together. However, I don't want to rush myself because I have been continually revising my SOP and writing sample, and I don't want to apply before I am (mostly) satisfied with my revisions. So I haven't applied to any of my schools yet, and I haven't asked for any letters of recommendation yet. I recognize this a huge problem because I am close to giving my professors only a month's notice, and I know that's unacceptable. So my question is can I ask them to write letters of recommendation for me now even though I'm not actually ready to apply yet? I'm doing all of my applications online so while I'm not ready to submit my materials, I don't want to be last minute with my LOR requests.
  4. I'm applying to graduate programs for Composition and Rhetoric because I want to become a writing professor at the college level. However, while some of the classes of Comp/Rhet courses are specifically geared towards teaching writing, that's not the entire point of the degree, so I'm unsure of how I should approach my statement of purpose. I want to mention that my desire to become a writing professor as a result of the work I did as a writing classroom assistant and a tutor in the Writing Center, but at the same time I don't want that to sound like I'm narrow-minded in my goals, looking into graduate school for the wrong reasons, or unaware of the whole point of the Comp/Rhet program. Should I not mention my future goals at all, or how should I go about handling this aspect of my SOP?
  5. Thank you everyone! The school I've been in contact with is Salisbury University. It's located in Maryland.
  6. I made a bulleted list of everything I knew I needed to include so I wouldn't forget anything, then tried to figure out a logical outline from there. However, I received advice from my advisor to sell your strongest point first, so my first sentence was not a general answer to why I'm interested in the field - it jumped right into how I decided to apply to graduate school so I could continue the research I'd started, followed by a discussion of what I've done so far and then why I'm interested in studying issues in that field. That way I stand out, unlike every other SOP that starts out "I have always been interested in this field since I was a tiny baby child in the womb...." and I grab their attention by immediately giving them what they want to know: I can handle the graduate level research they expect from their students. So you might want to organize your list of points to include by putting the most important first and working backwards.
  7. I just graduated college this past May and am starting my applications for entrance to graduate school in Fall 2012. The professors I talked to for my letters of recommendation want to get them done before the school year starts up again and things get busy, which is understandable. But my earliest deadline is January 1st, and my advisor told me I should take my time revising my statement of purpose and my writing sample, so while I shouldn't be last minute with it, I shouldn't send them in this early. I want to take this advice, but it seems bizarre to me. Is it normal for admissions offices to receive applications in pieces? What will they do when they receive LORs for a person who hasn't even applied yet? I'm taking the GRE August 10th, too, so my scores will probably get to the admissions department before my actual application does. Is that an issue?
  8. Those scores are great, and by the time you retake the test, it will be the revised version, so you'll lose the advantage of knowing what to expect from taking the test before. I wouldn't waste the time and money to retake when it's not even the most important aspect of your application. Be satisfied with your scores and shift your focus and efforts to your other application materials!
  9. I wanted to get a general idea of people's opinions on this. I'm in the process of applying to graduate schools with a MA program in Rhetoric and Composition, and I have a broad range from my reach schools that are well known in this field (Purdue, Miami University, Penn State, etc.) and safety schools that are local for me but name-dropping the universities would hardly be impressive. One of my safety schools has been in contact with me (the result of one of my professors talking to her colleague who is head of the department) and we have "unofficially" been discussing the assistantship I would receive. It would pay for my tuition and includes a nice stipend. This has made me feel better about my application process (although I'm not delusional, I know that email correspondence does not equal official acceptance into the program), but it also makes me wonder. Obviously I'm far off from receiving acceptance/rejection letters in the spring so I don't know what's going to happen, but if I were offered admission to a big name school without funding, yet my safety school offered full funding, which would be better to take? I would go into serious debt to afford graduate school without funding, and I plan on going all the way to my PhD, so the more I think about it, the more sense it would make for me to go wherever gives me the most money. But at the same time, I can't underestimate the importance of an acclaimed university that is prominent in the Rhet/Comp field. So long story short, I'm not getting ahead of myself, I'm just curious of others' opinions who are familiar with the Rhet/Comp field on the importance of a university's name vs. free higher education.
  10. Sorry about the vagueness! I got 540 and 520 Verbal, which are abysmal to me. And natsteel, I didn't say I was applying to a very well known college, I said my GPA was from a college that is not very well known. Sorry for the confusion. I'm applying to a variety of grad schools, some well known and some not.
  11. I am so frustrated. I took the GRE for a second time and my results were still abysmal, despite studying. I don't care about my quantitative score because I'm applying for MA programs in English that all say they don't look at the quantitative score, but they certainly look at the Verbal and Analytical Writing, and I haven't improved. The thing is, I honestly don't think it matters how much I study, I have just always been a terrible test taker, period. I freeze up and panic and second guess myself, and always run out of time. I don't have the money to retake the GRE for a third time, but I'm scared of my scores ruining my application. I just graduated from college with a 3.75 GPA so I hope they would look at that and know I'm not stupid, but I'm worried that won't matter much because it's not a very well known college. Do you think that my GRE scores are really going to ruin my chances? I have to go to graduate school to get the job I want, and I don't want to be held back from my future just because I'm not a good standardized test taker.
  12. Penn State is definitely at the top of my list, thanks for your feedback!
  13. Thank you everyone, I had no idea they didn't look at applications until after the deadline because my undergrad schools all had rolling admissions. That makes me feel much better, and much less rushed so I can take my time to make my writing sample as well written as possible.
  14. Okay thanks everyone. I think I'm going to go with four because I have four strong options that I don't want to choose between, but I'll check with each department first to make sure their rules aren't explicit about a maximum. Thanks again!
  15. Thanks so much everyone, this was all really helpful. I've already started making flashcards so hopefully they will help, and I definitely did overthink everything during the actual test the way I hadn't during practice tests, so I'll try to avoid doing that next time. I really appreciate all of your input, I need all the help I can get before I take the test again.
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