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bfat last won the day on June 15 2013

bfat had the most liked content!

About bfat

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    contemporary American fiction & film, gender/sexuality studies, critical theory, horror
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    English/Literature PhD

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  1. If you've heavily revised your SoP and have a clearer indication of your research goals, and you've revised the writing sample in a way that reflects new insights, that would be totally fine. I just know that there were a few that came up who hadn't changed much of anything, and they got tossed. Repeat applicants were noted, and compared to their previous year's application. If you do submit the same (or a similar) writing sample, I would just make sure to note what kinds of changes you've made to it in your SoP. The committee wants to see that you've continued to work and grow between applica
  2. Of course this factor will vary between programs and universities, but many of the applications sent to my program didn't even make it to the table for debate because the university grad school has a baseline acceptable number for both the Q and the V. These scores also determine eligibility for university-wide fellowships. There's a lot of pressure from some departments to stop using the GRE as a determining factor, but until the whole institution changes its mind, the power of numbers affects all departments. I'm sure this is true at many other R1 schools, too. It sucks, and I was kind
  3. Hi folks! I am currently sitting on the Grad Studies Committee with profs who are reading applications and making decisions. This is what I have learned: 1. This is the worst truth and you're not going to want to hear it, but GRE scores matter a lot. Not to the department, necessarily (most profs are very frustrated that it's a factor they need to consider), but to the university, who wants to look good in terms of numbers. It fucking sucks. It's the truth. This means quant scores, too. 🤢 2. The committee wants to see that you have a well-articulated set of interests and that your wo
  4. Oh boy. I do. I will say: the struggle is real, and there have been many days that I have daydreamed about being the young, single, just-post-undergrad person who could sleep until 10 and then leisurely walk to the library to work all day. There is none of that when your kid comes into your room at 6 a.m. and tells you she just barfed (as happened to me this morning). However, you will have an enormous advantage, which is that emotionally and priorities-wise, you will have your shit together like 100x more than most of your cohort. You know how to be a person and manage responsibilities. You'l
  5. Hey there! These are great questions, and ones whose answers would probably differ depending on who you ask. I would say that you definitely want to present at at least one conference by the end of your second year, and aim to work up a seminar paper for publication after that second year as well. Many of the regional MLA conferences (and ACLA) have abstract deadlines at the end of September. By that point, you should have a sense of what your seminar papers will look like--let your work do double duty, and propose one of your seminar paper topics for a conference. Get that first conference ou
  6. Hey there. Good questions. 1. If you are at a campus visit, the school is trying to woo you. They are probably not going to answer the "hard" (but important) questions that will actually be helpful, like "Is this department toxic?" or "Will I receive the full support I need here?" Grad students may be more open about this kind of thing than professors, so I would just try to talk to as many grad students as you can during your visit who work in similar areas to you, and try to get a sense of both the opportunities and challenges that those students have faced. Ask where they are now in th
  7. Hi all, I am a jaded 6th year PhD student, currently sitting on the Grad Studies Committee at a decent university, here to answer all your questions and crush your dreams, lol. But seriously, I will try to watch this thread and answer questions if you've got 'em. (Haven't been on this forum since 2013 and can't believe my computer remembered my login.)
  8. This CFP is the winner of today. Do you think they'll accept my abstract, "Shelley and Keats: Those Fuckwads Can Go Eat Dogshit"?
  9. Alive, but exhausted. Are any of the rest of you in non-seminar "research" courses that are required by the department? My whole cohort is enrolled in one, and it's beneficial in a lot of ways but also exasperating. So. Many. Assignments! Seminars are going very well, though I have so many books out from the library, I'm afraid I'll have to haul a wheelbarrow to school at the end of the semester.
  10. What is your area of interest? I've met many of the professors in the department, but I'm only in 3 courses right now, so I haven't "worked" with many.
  11. I'm a first-year at PSU this year, and while I'm not in Rhetoric, the people I've met from that dept. are really fantastic. The teaching that you do your first year (and potentially other years as well) is a low-level rhetoric course, which is really fun to teach. No one that I've met is pretentious, even when they're "famous." So far everyone from the English dept. that I've met or worked with has been very open and supportive (though I hear there are a few "scary" professors as well). I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and things to get nasty or competitive or something, but seriously
  12. This is true, but also kind of misleading. I hate to be Debbie Downer, because obviously people get accepted to schools with lower than "stellar" GRE scores, but I recently talked with a prof who sat on the AdCom last year who gave some different info. She said that PSU received about 800 apps last year and that there was a certain "quantitative" element to making decisions that the grad school itself (not just the English dept.) "needs to see" when the number of apps is that high. She said she wouldn't give numbers because it was "too depressing," but I got the impression that it was a pretty
  13. What seemed to work for me last year while writing my SOP, as repentwalpurgis mentioned, was to combine freewriting with outline. I made a list of everything I thought the SoP should have, and then didn't worry at all about length--I just blathered on with no filter at all, bullshitting and sappy-story-telling to my heart's delight. I then went back with a skeleton of an outline, and just started chopping and refining. I saved the various versions (each subsequent massacre edit) so I could look back and pull things when schools asked for more personal statements (or a personal statement and an
  14. Someone who actually attends one of these programs may be better at answering this question, but one of my advisors from my previous program got her PhD at Duke and told me a little about the difference. The Lit program is more theory based, so if your primary area of focus is theory and cultural studies, that would be the place to go. However, if you have a more traditional time period, but are just kind of "thematizing" your approach through race, religion, and culture (or something along those lines), the English department is better. Also, the English department has steadier (and perhaps m
  15. Speaking of next steps... I just registered for spring courses! Madness!
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