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About readingredhead

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    18th c British literature
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    English PhD

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  1. Another thing that just came to mind: if you are waitlisted for your top choice, and it doesn't look like you'll necessarily get in, it's worthwhile to ask any POI what they think your chances are for getting in during the next admissions cycle. I'm incredibly thankful I didn't have to go through with that, but when I first met with the professor who's now my advisor, she encouraged me to reapply to this program if I didn't get in off the waitlist, and pretty much guaranteed that I would not be rejected a second time around. And wikichic, I actually did not find out until the week leading up to April 15. I was contacted via email on the 10th by the DGS at the university I presently attend; she told me that it looked very likely that they would have a spot for me if I still wanted it but asked me to confirm that I was still interested, since if I wasn't they would want to notify the people lower down on the list as quickly as possible. I wrote back and told her honestly that this school was absolutely my first choice and I was willing to wait. The afternoon of the 14th, I received my offer email, and I wrote back immediately accepting their offer. Later that night I actually got an email from my #2 school asking if I was still interested in remaining on their waitlist; this email suggested there might have been a spot for me if I wanted it. I responded immediately saying that I'd already accepted another offer. And then one school had the audacity to email me on the 19th saying that they were sorry if I had made up my mind already but they were obviously the best school ever and there were ways to get out of commitments I had previously made elsewhere, since a spot had miraculously opened up! (They were at the bottom of my list, and I never felt quite so good as when I got to email them back saying "as if!" I mean, not in so many words...but still.)
  2. Only one of my four waitlist emails said what my chances were (they told me I was #1 on the waitlist in my field). I later found out, by talking to a professor when I visited, that there had been 3 students accepted in that field. In the end, none of them ended up accepting their offers and I'm the only 18th c specialist in my cohort! I don't know what protocol is for asking where you are on the waitlist or the size of the waitlist, but I think that especially as it gets down to the last days it's acceptable to ask a school about your chances, so that you'll know whether to wait or to just accept another offer.
  3. Last year I applied to six of the top ten English PhD programs in the US, was rejected by two and wait-listed by the remaining four. And I really wish that someone could have told me then what I am here to tell presently wait-listed applicants now: there IS hope. Maybe not a lot. And maybe not for everyone. But I wound up getting into my first-choice program off of the wait-list. It can be done. Being on a wait list is one of the worst kinds of limbo. You can't just make the accepted students in your field decide to go somewhere else! But from my experience at least, there are things you CAN do: -- Don't take it personally. This is obviously the hardest thing but one of the most important. If you've been wait-listed it means that the department believes that you are qualified and they would like you as a colleague, there are just 2-3 other people who study vaguely the same thing as you who come across better on paper (or who unknowingly have played to the strange personal tics of people on the admissions committee!). If you get in off the wait-list, no one will be able to tell that you were wait-listed just based on your performance in the program. Being wait-listed doesn't mean you're not smart and doesn't mean that you're not capable. It just means you're wait-listed. -- Most email notifications of wait-listing ask you to respond and notify the DGS if you would like to be kept on the wait-list. Respond promptly and respectfully and concisely that you would. If the notification email hasn't invited you to attend potential visiting days and you really want to know, it might be appropriate to ask (though this isn't something I've done). -- Even if you're not invited to the official visiting day, try to visit the campuses where you've been wait-listed and talk with professors in your field. It is a lot easier to offer admission to a friendly face than to a faceless name. If you can't afford to visit, then email with the professors in your field so that they know who you are. If possible, email with other graduate students in the program, even if they're not in your field, just to get a sense for what the department is like. You never know when professors will ask graduate students for their impressions of wait-listed candidates. -- When you talk with profs/grad students, be concise (don't waste their time), be sincere (don't tailor your description of your interests to suit theirs, though do focus on the areas where your interests and theirs overlap!), be confident (you are just as good as everyone else who got in!), and don't be afraid to ask questions about the school and the program. You may find out important things if you just ask questions! I care a lot about teaching, so one of my questions to every professor and grad student I met was, "What are the teaching opportunities like for graduate students?" At one university, a professor answered me by laughing and saying, "How cute, you still think of them as opportunities. Frankly they're mostly a waste of time, and you should avoid them if you can afford to." Obviously this program immediately plummeted in my rankings! -- If you try to set up appointments with professors who don't respond, or if they just don't answer your emails, see if anyone at your university knows those professors and would be willing to intercede on your behalf. I once emailed a superstar prof in a department where I was wait-listed, asking if I could meet with her and/or sit in on a class when I came to visit; I didn't get a response for two weeks. I mentioned this to one of my professors in a completely different field, it turned out she had worked with this other prof in a previous job, she emailed the prof and I got a response to my email the next day asking when it would be most convenient for me to meet! That's all I've got for now, but I'm sure there are other people on the boards who can relate what they've done when wait-listed or what they are planning to do. To all of you hanging in limbo, my sincerest wishes of good luck!
  4. Heh, I definitely just told my parents that it was likely to show up on their doorstep, now I find out it will be arriving at mine! The best part is that my mom was probably more anxious at the prospect of having to open the letter for me and told me that she wouldn't be able to do it alone and would wait for my dad to get home from work. At least now I can tell her she doesn't have to deal with that stress...
  5. Oh god. Someone found out about the UK already. And at their current address. I was sort of banking on having that letter going to my parents' house so I wouldn't have to be the one to open it. As if opening a PhD decision from Harvard wasn't hard enough?? afskjlaglkjgadskjlsadg. And of course it's a Sunday here so no mail until tomorrow. Pardon me while I go die and complete none of my homework. Or, maybe I will use the pent up fear-energy to just not sleep and study for upcoming midterms/read for upcoming papers instead? (No, no, that would be too reasonable.) Pardon my impending mental breakdown -- and congrats on getting an alternate spot, lmr005!
  6. Argh, yeah, basically the same call I made a week and a half ago. Big congrats to everyone who's already in, but best of luck to fellow people who are waiting to hear a decision!
  7. God, and I thought it was bad to be waiting on one school! Granted, it's possibly made harder by the fact that NYU has already notified accepted and waitlisted applicants, because they had their visiting day already -- but when I called the DGS she said decisions hadn't gone out yet? And would be coming out this week? This week is now almost over, dammit! Just tell me I'm rejected already so that my brain will stop coming up with scenarios in which I'm not!
  8. For what it's worth, my coping mechanism is to worry about something else for a while! Granted, I'm applying straight out of college so I'm still finishing up my senior year, applying to grad school in the US as back-up in case Fulbright doesn't come through, working on my honors thesis, etc., so I feel like I have plenty of worries to choose from. Sometimes, if I can't stop thinking about it, I go to the gym and work it out. I find it much harder to worry about large-scale life decisions when I am a sweaty mess on the elliptical machine with upbeat/angry music pounding in my ears.
  9. Hah, I'm the opposite. My program notifies before I start Spring Break (in a week and a half, shit!), and apparently usually sends mail to the permanent address, which right now is my parents' house rather than my college address. So they are the ones who will be doing the dreaded daily walk to the mailbox...and I'm going to be dreading their phone call. Although, if the UK notify late, there's also a chance that I could get that parental phone call while I'm in New York/Princeton/Cambridge pleading with the graduate schools who have me waitlisted. I feel like an emo teenager again. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS MY PAIN, etc.
  10. Ugh, am I the only one who's getting a little tired not knowing what country I'll be living in next year -- much less which city? (It probably doesn't help that I've received nothing more positive than wait-lists so far in my quest for an English PhD, which is the back-up plan if Fulbright falls through...)
  11. Honestly, I'm just not going to worry about this. Either the lady I talked to in the department is telling the truth, most decisions haven't been made yet, and I'll find out sometime this week...or the department is lying, decisions have been made but people are not being told about them, and I'm most likely rejected -- but would I really want to go to the kind of school that did that, anyway? No use sweating bullets.
  12. When you say UK special programs, do you mean Fulbright partnership awards? I put my first choice down as a university without a partnership award (Queen Mary University of London) and my second choice as a partnership award uni (University of Sussex), and haven't been contacted about an interview.
  13. Now I'm just confused -- I just got off the phone with a lady at the NYU English department who said that no notifications about PhD applications had been sent out yet, and that I should hear back sometime next week? Even though of course people have heard back and been invited to the visiting day? Weird.
  14. Yeah, one of my recommenders used to work at one of the schools I'm waitlisted for, so she's getting in touch, and 2 of the schools said they'd be willing to help put me in touch w/ faculty/students in my area. My only question is, what do I SAY to them? Do I ask questions about the school and the program? Talk about my research? I obviously can't just repeat "please let me in!" a billion times over
  15. ssundva, I feel ya. I applied to six schools -- no safeties, with the rationale being that I could take a year off and apply again with a wider scope if I didn't get in -- but as of now, I am waitlisted for FOUR of these schools. Basically, I'd jump at the chance to go to any one of them, but I have no clue how likely that is. I mean, I keep telling myself that a lot of the same people will have applied and been offered acceptances at places like Stanford, Princeton, Columbia, and Harvard, and so the lucky folks who have been accepted to more than one of these places will likely have to turn down at least one of them, if not more, potentially opening up spaces...but then again, I also don't know where I stand on these waitlists, so. Just know that you are not in the waitlist angsting alone. Something else I'd like to ask -- does anyone have an idea whether positive contacts with professors in your area can influence your position on a waitlist once decisions have been made, or is there a fixed order in place now?
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