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Everything posted by zabius

  1. zabius

    Minneapolis, MN

    My roommate and I just signed a lease for an apartment in Northeast. We're also both out-of-state and car-less, and were worried about finding a place without having a chance to look at it first. But, we managed to work it all out and I think you can too! This is what we did: We picked a weekend when we could visit Minneapolis to look at apartments (I couldn't go myself, but my roommate was able to drive out there to check out places on our behalf). Once we had a date in mind, we put together a list of our 5-6 favorite apartments from craigslist and then contacted the landlords to ask if we
  2. Well, the policy really depends on the school. I'm not familiar with how Canadian schools operate; I only know about schools in the US. Here, if you've accepted a funded offer, you can typically back out of it pretty easily as long as you do so before a certain date (typically April 15th). If you want to withdraw from the program after that date, though, typically you need to contact the school and get written permission before they release you. I don't know what the deadlines or policies are for Calgary and McGill. If you find out that you are accepted to Calgary, you should email the people
  3. Is there a chance that you could audit these courses? You'd get to learn the material by sitting in on the lectures, but wouldn't be taking them for a grade so your GPA would be safe.
  4. My advice would be to call the people at U Calgary and ask about the status of your application. Emails can go unanswered for days or even weeks, but a phone call will usually get you a prompt response. If they don't pick up the first time, call them back a little later. Be sure to explain your situation to them-- say that their program is your top choice, but you also have another offer on the table and need to know for sure whether or not you've been accepted because you need to start on your visa paperwork very soon. Hopefully they'll be able to tell you something definite (as opposed to so
  5. Signed my lease... now the doggies and I have a place to live this fall. Can't wait to move out to NE Minneapolis! :-)

    1. katieliz456


      yay! i wish i could take mine with me!

  6. That's awesome! The school system needs more encouraging teachers like you.
  7. I think it definitely does depend... not just on the individual programs that you apply to, but also on where this funding is coming from. If you'd be paying your own way via external grants or fellowships, then that can definitely improve your chances. I know that, in my field, students who come in with that kind of independent funding (say, for example, an NSF fellowship) are viewed favorably. It won't guarantee that you get into the program, of course, if the rest of your application doesn't stack up... you still need a good SOP, good LORs, and you need to be a good fit for the program. How
  8. I don't know enough about these programs or these schools to really say anything about them. But if your plan is to go for a PhD in the future, I'd recommend checking out what graduates of each program end up doing. Does one school have a better record of sending its master's graduates off to highly regarded PhD programs? If so, that would probably be the best choice for you, all other things being equal. That information can sometimes be found on the individual departments' websites, but if it's not listed there, you can always ask someone (perhaps your POI or the DGS) for it. Good lu
  9. I know that there are many, many SLP people on these boards who can probably give you more specific advice, but in my opinion I think you should take the funded offer. Fully-funded master's programs aren't exactly common, and if the program at UNC can get you a good job, why take out $50,000+ in loans? I can maybe understand going into that much debt if UNC had a terrible job record, or if the difference in quality between the two programs was vast. But UNC sounds like a genuinely good school... maybe not as good as UC-Boulder, but still good enough that you'll come out of the program with goo
  10. Thanks! I'm not sure yet. Part of me wants to take my current specimens with me, and then add more species to the collection once I've settled in. Another part of me thinks that it might be better to sell the scorpions online before I move and then get back into the scorpion hobby later if I have the time. I might also give them to a friend. I have a few months to figure it out. The issue is that I've developed an attachment to some of my specimens... especially desert hairy up there. He's one of the few that has a proper name... Dwayne II. I guess it also depends on the apartment tha
  11. No, I don't think that would be a bad idea at all. But, I wouldn't dwell on it either... you can mention it in the part of your SOP where you explain your background and previous experiences, but I'd recommend using most of the SOP to discuss why you're interested in getting an MA in English lit.
  12. Dealing with my letter writers. Most of them were excellent-- I had asked them for letters well in advance and, when the time came, they submitted their letters to all of the schools before the deadlines. One, however, was the exception. He submitted his letter to all of the schools that I applied to except for one (which is strange, given that the deadlines were so close together and he was presumably using the same letter for each school). I contacted him several times as the deadline approached, but got no response. Then the deadline passed and I tried again, but still nothing. At the time,
  13. I had two dogs throughout my master's program, during which time I was also single and lived on my own. It's very doable, but you may need to adjust your schedule to make time for the dogs. I was often on campus from ~9-5 every weekday, but I also used my lunch break to go back home and walk the dogs. I lived close to campus, so this was pretty feasible. I also worked a nice, long morning walk into my routine. Then, of course, the first thing I did when I got home was play with them (they were always so happy to see me) and give them their dinner. One semester I had to teach an evening class
  14. I'm most surprised that my friends didn't strangle me, as grad school applications are all I've talked about since December. Also, the school that I thought was most likely to accept me rejected me, and the school that I thought was most likely to reject me accepted me. The latter ended up becoming my top choice and is the school that I'm going to be attending in the fall. This whole process was full of surprises!
  15. I'm also not sure if I understand the question. But here are some miscellaneous thoughts that might be helpful: If this course is needed as a requirement for your program and you get a C in it, you might have to retake it. Most schools consider anything below a B to be a failing grade for graduate students. However, you should talk to your advisor and the director of graduate studies about this... they might decide that you don't have to retake it even if you get a bad grade. In that case, you might need to get written permission from them or fill out some kind of paperwork. Based on t
  16. I agree with this. Competition was fierce this year... many programs saw an increase in applicants and a decrease in funding (due to the federal budget cuts), which is not a very good combination of circumstances. And there's no indication that the situation will improve next year; in fact, competition might be even more fierce then if the funding situation does not improve. There's also no guarantee that you'd be accepted next year even if you can improve your GRE scores or get your papers published this year. These things will increase your odds, no doubt, but it may not be enough if the
  17. "Abusive" is not a quality that you want in a mentor, no matter how good this person's research is. If nearly everyone associated with that lab is telling you not to work with this person, then there must be a good reason why. If it were just one person telling you this, I'd suspect that it's just an underlying personality mismatch between that student and the professor, but a large consensus makes me think that there is some truth to these complaints. Never, ever work with a professor that you would describe as "abusive." An intense professor is okay if you work well in that kind of situation
  18. There is generally no writing sample required for biology programs; writing samples are usually only asked for in the humanities or social sciences. For all of the programs that I applied to, I just needed a statement of purpose (in which I described my prior research experiences and plans for the future, including what I intended to work on and why I chose that school specifically). Some schools will also ask for shorter supplemental essays, but these are generally ~1 page in length and are aimed mostly at assessing whether or not you're a good fit for the program. Many programs also allow yo
  19. Good on you for deciding to be open about your plan with both universities! That is definitely the only right choice in this situation. The other posters here are right... the original plan was, as bamafan said, "ill-conceived, immature, and selfish (and not to mention, again, illegal)." I hope that you can appreciate why that is the case, and that you'll think twice before attempting plans like that in the future. But if you go through the proper channels and work out a plan that everyone at both universities agrees with (as it sounds like you are trying to do now), then perhaps you can s
  20. The letter was actually from my master's advisor! It's really strange because he never expressed any dissatisfaction with my research. Granted, he was very hands-off (he had many off-campus responsibilities, so he rarely had time to meet with me), but when we did interact he always came off as friendly and supportive. When I asked him for the letter, he didn't hesitate to say "yes." So, I have no idea why he would write me a lousy letter, but I wish he had just turned me down when I asked for it. My research had hit a rough spot when I had asked (some of my study organisms had died off due to
  21. There's a bunch of good "why I want to go to grad school" stories in this thread, mine included: I know that the OP's recruitment weekend has long since passed, but the thread above could be a nice read for anyone else in a similar situation (e.g. people planning accepted students' weekends or next year's recruiting events).
  22. Of course, that should have said, "It sounds like the ethics argument is not really resonating with you, though, which is a little worrisome." I didn't catch that typo before the option to edit my post had expired.
  23. You've been asking all of us for advice, but have you asked the relevant people at both schools what they think? You say that you have talked to one professor at the EU school, but really, you do need to talk to people at both schools-- don't pick and choose which people you consult based on who you think will tell you what you want to hear. You need to talk to everyone involved. Seriously, just tell your POI at the UK school and your POI at the European school what your plan is. Don't leave out any details-- tell them exactly where you plan to work, which funding you plan to use, and that you
  24. I didn't know that MN gave the world Funfetti. Now I'm even more excited!
  25. I don't think that they'll let you do that. Many schools stipulate that by accepting their offer you need to decline admission to all other schools. Even if that's not stated in your official admission letter, it's probably in the fine print somewhere. What you could do is email both of the schools and ask for a slight extension on the decision deadline. I'm not sure if they'll extend it past April 15th, but it's worth a shot. If they both go along with it, this will give your wife a little more time to look for jobs. They won't extend the decision deadline all the way to August, though (a
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