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About oscarwildebeest

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  1. So I initially found it a bit awkward to decline from the wait list - turning down an offer no one had made me seemed presumptuous - but I eventually sent this to one of my schools. If anyone else is in this position and wants to know what sort of thing to say, you could probably do worse: Professor [NAME], Thank you for providing this information. I'm glad to have received such careful consideration from [sCHOOL]. I read through the details on the attached letter, and in the past week I've given plenty of thought to the options in front of me as far as where I will begin my study next year. I have decided to accept an offer from another program. I thought it would best to provide this information now out of respect for your admissions committee and the other students on the wait list. If the committee would like any information about the institution at which I have enrolled or the factors influencing my decision, I'd be happy to provide it. Thanks again for your time and attention, Matthew "
  2. Yep, I'm on the waitlist. Is there a polite way to say they should just move someone else up because I won't be taking the offer even if they can make it?
  3. Well, just dropped them a line. Guess I'll find out soon.
  4. Didn't know much about it. Can I ask when/how you heard from Minnesota? There's still nothing online for me. And I live in the state, so I can't imagine the letter is still on its way.
  5. Chicago finally replies with a rejection - and, surprise, a totally unsolicited acceptance into the MAPSS program with a 2/3 funding offer. Had I struck out entirely, or only landed my safeties, this might be an attractive offer. As is,I've got a better alternative. And the 2009 cycle is over for this guy. Well, Minnesota is still quiet, but they were my last choice anyway. Looks like a win for Duke. Guess I should start learning how to talk basketball.
  6. Got my rejection from Northwestern, finally. I'm anticipating a rejection from Chicago any day now, and then I'll be set to make my decision. Maybe I'll even do it before spring break.
  7. I think it's likely that some faculty and admissions types read this, and I also agree that we're not tough to identify. Hence, I try not to come off as overly entitled / a sociopath in my posts. Some people fail, pretty regularly, at both of those things.
  8. Since we both visited Duke last week, there's little I can add that you wouldn't already know. But since you mentioned name rec and placement as concerns, I'll direct you to a study (link below) which found that, contra the disparity implied by the NRC rankings, Duke ranks #7 in PhD placement success for Political Science, to Chicago's #5. I don't know what kind of stock the USNWR rankings deserve, but they place Chicago at #3 for political theory and Duke at #6. Conclusion: they are programs that appear to be similar in quality, though it seems pretty well-recognized that Chicago is a better program. I also share your impression that Chicago has a deeper bench for 20th century / contemporary theory. I think that if you can say, identify two or more faculty at Chicago who'd you like to work with than at Duke, it might be a compelling reason to go for it. What matters more for placement than #5 vs. #7 by who-knows-what methodology is the quality of your work and the strength of recommendations you get from your faculty. So which has a better rate of faculty who you could see yourself working closely with? I'd make that the deciding factor, along with the cost of living stuff you've mentioned, rather than name rec or placement rates. Good luck with your decision! Placement study: http://www.insidehighered.com/layout/se ... 21/ranking US News: http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandr ... tical_thry
  9. So I know the absent Northwestern replies are a source of anxiety in the lives of approximately everybody. But lets expand the range of our Windy City Unrest: who else is still waiting on Chicago? Unlike Northwestern, they appear to have axed a good number of applicants already and put together something of a waitlist as well. Should I assume my rejection letter was a casualty of Minnesota's horrendous weather?
  10. To weigh in on the debate from a few pages back - turning down Cornell because it is "not HYP" would be absurd. To be blunt: the amount of respect that those three names carry in the field is unwarranted by their effectiveness at placing PhDs and the substance of their research programs. I understand the idea: that "pedigree" matters when you go on the market, so its best to start at the top. And there, Harvard is exceptional - it sits at the top of the last NRC ranking, and one study of political science placement found that it actually does do better at placing its PhDs than any other department. But the same study ranked Yale #12 in terms of placement, and Princeton at #13. Schools like Stanford, Michigan, Rochester, Chicago, Berkeley, Duke, Northwestern, UCLA, UCSD and Northwestern appear to be better bets than the much-vaunted "YP". For the record, Cornell is #14 for placement. Doing fine work at Cornell will make you competitive with PhDs from the (other) Ivies. As to the research, some are going to disagree, but my view is that the established departments don't tend to be much interested in novel scholarship. They want big name authors who have often already done their most important work because that's what will draw students. I'm a theorist, so I can defend my argument better on the grounds of the theory departments. Princeton does little of interest to anyone who isn't interested in Rawlsian liberalism; Harvard focuses heavily on state- and institution-centered theories of government; Yale has a lot of theorists doing contemporary democratic theory and equality. There are some exceptions: Tamshin Shaw at Princeton wrote a very good book on Nietzsche last year, Seyla Benhabib at Yale is still doing very provocative work on critical theory. But if you have more eclectic interests, maybe in continental theory since Nietzsche, or in more critical approaches to political theory, or in some of the less-canonical authors, you'd find more fellow-travelers at Chicago, JHU, Northwestern, Notre Dame, UVA, etc. Maybe the consensus is different in the other subfields, but in theory the world hardly orbits around the work being done at "HYP".
  11. Ha! Now you might be on to something with that. Though if you really just want to rank up the misery index can I recommend my own first job: usher at a shitty chain movie theater in a shitty Texas small town?
  12. My experience with food service - I was a waiter at a fine dining joint in DC - tells me that a job at a restaurant is about as far from a relaxing a way to spend the summer as possible. Seriously, I'd rather take a crack at Being and Time than get yelled at by another obnoxious old lady because I couldn't maker her damn Bloody Mary fast enough.
  13. Seriously. What is with the Midwest? Is it that Midwesterners are too polite to say "no"? Because I have received a decision, for good or bad, from every school on the east coast. But Chicago, Minnesota, and Northwestern remain silent. At this point, even if I were on some kind of waitlist, I'd be inclined to turn them all down since the school which has offered me a spot and funding is clearly interested in having me attend, whereas those three don't seem to care much at all.
  14. I am going to start learning French. I am going to read a lot - some political theory and some novels that have been on "the pile" for a while. I am going to hang out with my brother since he is awesome and I'm not sure when we'll get to do that again once the summer ends. I am going to become well acquainted with Madison's bar and local music scene. Then its off to Durham for the next step of my adventure.
  15. That's pretty uncool. I think that mid-March will be the latest I'll wait to make my decision.
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