I'm new to the forum, thought I would throw some questions out regarding my future--just a few days of lurking and browsing has proved extremely helpful, so thanks already, GC, but a little bit of more specific help would be great in guiding me forward.
I'm not actually going to be applying until next fall, but, being the meticulous researcher/worrier that I am, I've been putting a lot of time into looking for the right programs for me in Comparative Literature over the last several months. Here's the issue I'm running into (obviously, I'm neither the first, nor the last...): MA first? Or go straight for the jugular, PhD??
I'm an English major and Philosophy minor (fingers crossed for a French minor as well) at a decent private school (DePaul). My GPA should come in around 3.75-3.8ish, with 3.9+ in both English and Philosophy. My practice GREs have been putting me in the mid- to high-700s. I should have solid LoRs, and I'm confident enough in my writing abilities to apply with a great writing sample and SoP. I'll be just about fluent in French, through intermediate Spanish, and have taken both French and Spanish Literature courses taught in those languages. For what it's worth, I'm working on a way to at least crack into either Latin and/or German on my own/outside of my school over the course of this last school year.
I know that ultimately getting my PhD is definitely what I would like to do, but (there's no end to these buts...) in my opinion--feel free to disagree, please--going to a top-20ish or so (ballparkin' it, obviously) PhD program and getting a good job afterwards, or at the very least being confident in the likelihood of such an outcome, is the best way for me to do it. In addition, for me, I know that, given my all-things-considered financial situation, I can come out of 1-2 years at an M.A. program doing alright debt-wise, if not entirely unscathed. So: questions. Will I be at all competitive for top-notch PhD slots come application time? Is the added time in an M.A. program going to help me more easily reach those top tier schools (given that I do very well there)? Is it a viable option to apply to a bunch of PhD programs AND M.A. programs (just sounds like a logistical nightmare)?
For the sheer sakes of thoroughness and not starting another useless thread, my main interests lie in Modernism, its precursors, its 'successors'--in English (long list), French (mainly poets, Camus, Beckett, theorists), and Spanish (Latin American: Borges, Boom lit, poets, Bolaño)--gah, German (Kafka, Rilke, Sebald, Theory) and Russian (Dostoyevsky, Chekov, Pasternak) as well. I love love love theory/criticism...everything...Continental, Critical Theory, Postcolonial, and even Wittgenstein. My kind of...encyclopedic approach to the field and current lack of specificity is obviously a factor to be considered in this ordeal. I'm a little interested in the M.A. in humanities programs at U of Chicago & Duke for that reason.
I'm gonna shut up for now. Any and all advice in terms of program type and specific universities' programs is very, very much appreciated...look forward to discussion. Thanks.