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NowMoreSerious

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NowMoreSerious last won the day on October 15 2012

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Los Angeles
  • Application Season
    2013 Fall
  • Program
    English Literature

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  1. Update for 2021-22: I am now a Tenure Track Professor at a Public University. 

  2. It's difficult to give an answer without more information. What are your goals when it comes to a Ph.D. in English? Are you trying to get a job with the degree? a TT job? Are there any factors pulling you into the less-known university, such as location, family, partner, etc? When you say better vibe, do you mean from the dept as a whole, or the specific people you wish to work with? When you say "less known" for Option 2, how many tiers/rank lower are we talking? ***Oh, and people might argue with me about this, but if your goal is to get a job, especially a TT job with the degree, and Option 1 is a top 10 and option 2 is outside of the top 20, then forget all the rest of the questions and choose Option 1.
  3. I should also mention the Collegiality/Funding paradox that is present in some schools. Some schools try to make up for their lack of funding by promoting and formalizing all kinds of "team building" type practices. But believe me, nothing kills collegiality like bad and uneven funding. In other words, choose adequate funding 100% all day, not cookies or sandwiches in the front office every week, or a retreat once a semester. You want everybody to be close to each other because they believe in mutual and communal support, not because an entire cohort was forced to live in a two bedroom apartment due to lack of funding. Not trying to be snarky, but sorry I've seen it.
  4. In asking this question, I would make sure you hear out not just people in their first stages of the program, but people at the end of the program. Usually the first several years of the program are the smoothest, since funding is often guaranteed and committee drama hasn't developed yet. Many programs will roll out the red carpet for you, but it is the programs that will help you finish and professionalize that really show their worth. And yes, this includes the collegiality of your fellow graduate students as well since they are often a crucial part of this by reading/workshop your drafts, attending your practice talks, etc. Let's say you are a bit behind to due life reasons, is the program going to support you through this, or turn the screws on you? This is crucial information and you need to ask latter stage ABD students how their program handles them. I'm ABD at UCLA, and I still feel I am being supported and the program has gone to bat for me when it comes to things like funding. My committee reaches out to me and tells me about fellowship opportunities, etc. I would say this extends to questions about programs in general. Don't just ask 1st, 2nd and 3rd years how they are doing. Ask 1) People who have been there a while and are behind 2) People who finished really quickly. You'll get a some different perspectives, believe me.
  5. If any of your writers have already submitted their letters I'd be shocked. As somebody who has written many rec letters (though not for grad schools, but for scholarships, fellowships, etc) I usually don't start seriously writing until the week before no matter when they asked me. I always ask my students, though, to send me a reminder email about 2-3 days before.
  6. I think if you have two letters from professors who have a lot of cache already, your best bet is choosing the professor who will write you the more personal letter and/or the letter that will speak most specifically about yo and your work.
  7. That's an incredible rate. I mean that's gotta be as good as it gets, right?
  8. I somewhat disagree here. The quality of education, if we are just talking about in seminar and through mentorships with faculty, may actually be better with many lower ranked programs.
  9. I can't really speak for everywhere, but I know here at UCLA there are people from all over. This year's cohort had people from Bard, Boston U, North Carolina. I think the CUNY system is pretty well known. I wouldn't sell yourself short.
  10. Is this at Harvard? If so, I see their reputation continues to be well earned. At Harvard, (like many ivies) you just have to get through the program in ANY WAY possible, and hope the name carries you.
  11. @Warelin I really don't have enough knowledge about that issue to respond to it. For all I know, some countries may not even care whether you publish at all, much less which journal. I do know that anecdotally, everybody I know who has found a job outside the US (for teaching, at least) has been from a top 10 school.
  12. All I can say about publishing articles is that it's probably more important where you publish than just checking off a list. For conferences, I try to attend one per year, and to make it count. So I've done one conference presentation per year. They are probably more about networking than the actual presentation for most people. Choosing a dissertation committee is a complicated and crucial decision. So much is about learning what type of mentorship is most effective for you to be productive. Note, this is different from what kind of mentorship you want or think you need. Part of the early years of graduate school is figuring out how you best work and getting a sense of your POI's mentorship styles. But one thing is clear, and this is from my own experience as well as everyone I've known: The single most important factor for choosing an advisor is whether that professor has an affective investiture in You, Your Project, and Your Career. The other committee members probably should be a bit less hands on. You don't want your committee fighting amongst themselves, leaving you to waste energy and labor managing THEM. Choose a committee member who is good with structure and feedback as well, if possible. Two hypothetical scenarios: 1. Big name professor who matches your research interests, but a bad advisor. 2. Smaller name professor who doesn't quite match your research interests, but shows interest in advising your dissertation if you slightly switch fields. Honestly, I'd say switch fields. I've seen this play out. I know we think our research interests are sacred, but if you can't formulate a committee to move your project and career forward with your current interests, it might be worth switching them up. I've known many with star studded committees that never finished.
  13. @Warelin Since Los Angeles is an extremely large city, our living situations vary. Obviously, the closer you want to live on campus, the most expensive it is. People generally need a roommate if they want to live near campus. One could get by with public transportation, but it's true what they say that Los Angeles is a car city. Many do use bikes, too, though. Students are allowed to teach and research outside the department, yes, especially post exams (ABD). It's also the case that several of the courses are cross-listed with departments such as African-American Studies, American Indian Studies, and Chicana/Chicano studies. UCLA has strong departments in many of these adjacent fields, meaning there is a lot of opportunity for interdisciplinary research. As for the stipends, they do raise a bit from time to time. I'm not sure if each year. I think some of that depends on our UAW Union contract.
  14. I'm happy to say UCLA has a mixed bag. I came from a school in the CSU (state college) system, as did many others. We get a good mix of people from Ivies, liberal arts colleges, and state schools. But I know some other top ranked schools (especially the ivies) that aren't quite diverse. For instance, I was shut out of all the ivies. But accepted to almost all the public schools. Weird right? I couldn't help but think at the time that my background from a lower tier public state college played a role in this. Who knows, but frankly, I'm now glad everything played out like it did.
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