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  1. Your recent stuff will weigh more importantly- especially your more recent grades and your related work experience. It took me multiple schools and multiple majors to figure out what I wanted, but once I figured it out I committed and worked hard.
  2. I took three years off. The work experience helped me quite a bit, and was one of the stronger parts of my application. The fact that I went out and worked in my field (even entry level) and then decided to pursue further education reflected well. It also gives you perspective on the options that are available to you, and will help you figure out if it's what you REALLY want to do. However, I am in a program where several people when straight from UG and MA. Some regret it, some just wanted to "get all the school they needed out of the way" - I think there might be some merit to powering through too if you're up for it. I'd recommend the year off though.
  3. I wouldn't do it if its in any way avoidable. Been long distance with mine for a year now and it can be very hard on a relationship. Everyone involved has to be very understanding and even then...its hard and lonely and can make you slightly bitter at times. And like others said - to continue to pursue your career it would likely be longer than 5-6 years... and 5-6 years alone is a VERY long time.. especially as you are getting older, wanting to be more settled and wanting something more permanent, as some people do. Is there a way you guys could take turns or he could transfer or reconsider where he wants to work when he's done - and then when you are done you go where he wants/do what he wants to do?
  4. This person graduated 7 years ago. Who they were and how they performed 7-11 years ago may reflect nothing of their abilities now, especially if they have worked hard in the field since then and know many languages. That speaks to an upward swing. Also I believe there are some international affairs programs that place work experience above everything so depending on what this person's work experience is it could make up for the GPA in part. To the OP: You could have a chance, but you should definitely contact the programs and other students who are in this field. Contact POIs where you are interested and be up front and honest with them, and ask for honest assessments of your profile if they are willing/have the time to comment. They might be able to tell you what things you could do to improve or what they are looking for, and then you'll have to decide if you are up for that challenge. In general with any major deficiency like this its a good idea to prove your dedication - pick up some classes, continue to improve your resume, etc. Retaking classes you did poorly in if you can afford it is an excellent idea especially if you think it would show major improvements in your profile.
  5. If its funding - have you had an open and frank conversation with them? They must know that it would be odd for you to not have funding in your field, and that anyone with sense (ie you) would seriously question it. They should at the very least be able to sympathize with your concerns, and if they can't fix the situation somehow for you - it will be good grounds for you to have the "How would you feel about me transferring then?" conversation. I'm only suggesting talking to them because if you apply elsewhere, where they know people - in the time you are waiting to hear back from the new place they could meet at a conference, exchange an email, have a chat with your POI and find out that you are applying to another school- depending on how small/acquainted your field/topic is. This could lead to an awkward "So I hear you're applying to University of X?" conversation, or your current advisor has a conversation with your POI at U of X and badmouths you because of you blindsiding them, OR you don't get into U of X (for that or other reasons) and are stuck in your program as a black sheep (and maybe you could have gotten funding after all had you sorted through the issue with them), etc. etc. There are a lot of "what ifs" in a situation like this if you don't confront the problem. I know not every professor can handle confrontation/conflict/frank conversations, or maybe that sort of thing isn't for you either. You know your situation better than any of us. But if you choose to go about it a different way, by not informing them, be aware/ready for the what ifs in case they happen so you're prepared to deal with them.
  6. What do you mean by "show my interest/remind them I exist"? Do you have real questions or things to discuss with them or are you just fishing? If they are in the middle of midterms/finals (depending on quarter/semester) and theyre trying to make decisions on the new group, any sort of email that isn't important is likely to be looked over or seen as fishing. The heads of the graduate programs are probably even more busy cause they are orchestrating all of this. If you have real things of substance to contribute/ask - I would contact the POIs - they are the ones who can argue for you getting in or not more than anything.
  7. You can transfer, its not unprecedented. If you're transferring because you were advertised/promised something that they can no longer deliver, and your choice to go there was made because of that - I would discuss it with the professors at your current university first to make sure that nothing can be done about it. Transferring is more troublesome at the grad school level than the undergrad level in general. If its because of other reasons, or more than just the funding (ie trust has been broken because of the funding issues) you may wish to just apply elsewhere. Be aware however that grad school is sometimes a small world.... these people know each other from conferences, working together, being colleagues, etc. and it can reflect badly on you to skirt the issue in that way. If you can talk to them - I would.
  8. I think if you explain to them how you've improved and why you think you have a better chance of succeeding this time, and how much you want it - they might just see you as driven, and appreciate that.
  9. Yes its okay to be completely vague as long as you are tactful. They know a large chunk of students will say no - they know this particularly when they know they are lower ranking and admitting a student who has excellent credentials and can probably get into better programs. Especially if you've never visited, don't know them personally, haven't been their student etc. they're likely not even going to remember you. Right now, you are just a number to them so they're not going to take it personally as long as your rejection is polite and tactful.
  10. I got a call from a professor during the decision process. She also wanted to make sure before the acceptance came through that I was 100% about the school, their program, understood what was going to be expected of me. It still took a few days however for her decision to go through the department and be processed. You need to just take some deep breaths. Its only been two days. I wouldn't start worrying until it was at least a week.
  11. I would not. I had health problems in undergrad as well - surgeries and things that kept me out of class and certainly influenced my grades. However - there are lots of students out there that go through the same things and have not let it influence their grades. You'll sound like your making excuses for your behavior - at least to certain personalities. You're taking a gamble on who will be on you adcom - some may feel sympathy, others will say "wow, so what if something happens while they are in grad school? will they have the same problems?" In addition, it takes up valuable space in your SOP - that could be used to point out positive things about you, instead of distracting them with negatives.
  12. Keep doing what you're doing. I got rejections across the board my first year of applying. I went back and got more experience in my field research/job, improved my GRE scores, etc. The next year I adjusted my expectations - instead of applying to the top 1% of programs when I wasn't a top 1% student, I applied to schools that were more reasonable and I applied for an MA instead of a PhD. I got a fully funded offer and am continuing to improve my credentials so that I can apply for PhD programs in a year or two. I have better LORs now, tons more experience, better grades, and it shows that it was something I REALLY wanted... as opposed to some kid who had no direction in undergrad, and decided they wanted to hide out in academia while the market was bad - which is how my application probably looked initially. It can be done. It will just take work and the desire.
  13. No, this is not a problem, because you can just say that you are expecting your degree before you would start the PhD. Lots of people apply like this - its the same thing with people applying for grad school straight out of undergrad. They don't have their degrees yet but you still have to apply to continue.
  14. This happens - and its not just about a person's work. If you think that people grade solely on work, especially in grad school, you're either very lucky, or naive. I've known professors who graded down at the end of a quarter based on personal decision, despite the fact that the grades proved a higher grade. Their response was "Its what I feel is deserved." And they had done this to several students. You are right that its absolutely ridiculous, and that it shouldn't happen. However, the rest of the world is the same way. When you apply for jobs, interact with coworkers, etc. it will have as much to do with how you perform as it does your personality, how you present yourself, whether or not your values are in line, etc. It's just something we have to accept. Also when it comes to undergrad - if you're the kid that never shows up to class/always walks in late, talks while the professor is lecturing, blatantly plays on FB in class, and in general acts like a disrespectful loon - I am sure its difficult for them not to be influenced when they are grading your paper. But again, its the same way outside of academia, if you behaved like this in a job, even if you still did well - you'd be risking disciplinary action.
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