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  1. Just accepted into a PhD program for Fall 2019. Also just found out I am pregnant (surprise!) and likely due around November 15th. It's extremely early in the pregnancy. I haven't even been to the doctor yet. Should I tell the program before I accept to see how accommodating they will be able to be? Ideally, I'd love to postpone the first semester or just take a 1 credit course to stay on the books, but if that is not at all possible and they need me to be full-time and I'm medically not able to be, I might have to decline, which would absolutely suck. Anyone else delivered a baby in their 1st semester of a new PhD program? Thoughts on when/whether/how to tell the program?
  2. Happy update to this thread - The POI got back in touch today to say I would be receiving an official letter of admission soon!
  3. Thanks! Good language suggestions and helps to know I'm not the only one having their hopes raised and dashed.
  4. Brutal. Had a call with a professor for a potential PhD program earlier today to discuss whether I was still interested in the program (I am) and at the end of the call, she said a letter with official offer details would be coming my way soon. I only applied to 3 programs (1 reject/1 pending) so this would have been my first accept. Then a couple hours later, I received an email where the professor clarified that I am actually not accepted - just on the waitlist. Very sad. How to respond without sounding crushed?
  5. Would really appreciate some honest feedback. I'm applying to 3 PhD programs - one in Teaching & Learning, one in Urban Education, and one in Sociology & Education. I feel like my Statement of Purpose is just not hanging together well, but I'm not sure where I am going wrong. I've re-written it probably 3 times and I'm still not happy with it. 1st deadline is fast approaching. Conclusion still needs to be fleshed out with school-specific details. What say you internet? Help! As an admissions reviewer, you will undoubtedly read dozens of essays where applicants attempt to pinpoint the specific moment in their lives that crystalized their desire to make a difference in the world of education. Consider how many of the experiences people describe in these essays actually happened outside of a traditional classroom. Having spent the better part of the past decade immersed in the world of afterschool, I have learned that the most impactful lessons typically do not come on a chalkboard. They happen at museums and camps, libraries and trips away from home, through informal learning experiences that open our eyes to the world in new ways. As an educational researcher, I have seen firsthand how informal learning environments change kids’ lives in profound ways. I have witnessed the power of afterschool book clubs, summer science camps, youth advocacy projects, rooftop gardens, and study abroad programs to inspire transformational change, the type of change that defines us as adults. My own story illustrates how a non-traditional learning environment can transform an educational experience. In college, I participated in a study abroad program which focused on the struggles and triumphs of indigenous communities around the world. Everywhere I went on the trip, I was challenged to reconsider aspects of my education that I had always taken for granted. In Arizona, we toured a college built to keep the Navajo culture and language alive after native Americans endured decades of forcible abductions to government-run boarding schools. In India, we fled violent demonstrations by Khasi student groups over the local school board’s decision to move its headquarters to a city far from their cultural center. In New Zealand, we learned about the Kōhanga Reo movement to establish Maori-language preschools taught by community elders. In Mexico, we visited a school run by a militant group that had seized control of their land in part because they were tired of sending their children to public schools that insisted on teaching students a historical narrative they did not agree with. In each place, the indigenous people were fighting, often quite literally, for the right to educate their children in the language of their choice and to teach them lessons handed down by their people for generations. I returned to the U.S. deeply impacted by the individuals I had met and dedicated myself dedicated myself to supporting nonprofit organizations that provide young people with access to educational environments where their cultures and identities are valued and celebrated. The impact of that trip on me could never have been replicated in a traditional lecture-style classroom. This type of experiential learning is not unique to study abroad programs; in fact, it is a hallmark of many informal learning activities in afterschool programs, summer camps, museums and maker spaces. The hands-on structure and personal nature of the lessons make them potent opportunities for personal growth. In good afterschool programs, students are placed at the center of the learning, so that books are read, science experiments are conducted, and service projects are undertaken all with an eye to how they relate to our identities, communities, and histories. These programs answer the call for culturally-relevant education that I first heard on that study abroad trip so many years ago. The problem, as I see it, is that the educational community often treats these “enrichment” programs, and the type of social-emotional learning that happens in them, as icing on the proverbial cake rather than the meat and potatoes of what kids need to succeed in life. As everything that is not Math or ELA is increasingly squeezed out of the traditional school day, less time and fewer dollars are devoted to activities that take kids out of the classroom and personalize their learning. Public spending records further illustrate this point. In fiscal year 2018, the NYC Department of Education budgeted $17,500 in spending per student, an average of $19.44 per hour of instructional time. By contrast, the city caps afterschool spending at just $3,000 per child, an average of $5.55 per hour. Over 350,000 kids attend afterschool programs in New York City each year, with nearly 100,000 of those students attending the free COMPASS programs which operate five days a week and three hours a day. That is 500 hours of informal learning per child per year – an astonishing amount of time – that is underfunded and poorly understood from a research perspective. There is so much we as an educational community need to learn about afterschool. How can evaluators best capture the types of social-emotional growth occurring in these programs? Should we expect afterschool programs to move the needle on state test scores? Are afterschool students better served by certified teachers from their schools or young adults from their neighborhoods? New York City is a particularly favorable environment to explore these questions because it is one of the few cities in the U.S. where free afterschool is available to so many, proving sufficient sample sizes for larger scale investigations. I have spent years working on the operations, communications, funding, reporting, and evaluation of afterschool programs. Now I want to dedicate my knowledge and my skills to researching them, to finding answers to these questions so that programming as a whole can get better, so that more kids can experience the kinds of transformative education that I have benefited from. To be successful in this task, to complete this research with the level of rigor I feel the field deserves, I will need a doctoral degree. I am searching for a graduate program that replicates much of what I value in informal learning: an emphasis on hands-on research in the field, flexibility to pull from a range of perspectives and … [one more thing]. It is clear that the {NAME} Program values education that happens outside the classroom – the {NAME} program speaks directly to “the intersections of education and community or in-school and out-of-school learning” on its website and highlights the range of research institutes that students participate in for their field work. ...[add more points about why the school is a good fit, professors I want to work with, & conclusion]
  6. Could definitely use some advice. I'm applying for PhD programs in Urban Education/Sociology and Education with the goal of working as an education researcher. I am currently working as a Senior Research Associate at an educational nonprofit and I basically want to be able to continue to do my job at a more advanced level. I have two of my recommenders secured: the first is my immediate supervisor of 2 years, who holds a PhD herself and can speak to my capacities as a researcher and passion for education. The second is a Research Director of a institute at a nearby university, who I have collaborated with through my current position on a few conference presentations and a peer-reviewed article. Now, I graduated undergrad 10 years ago and finished my masters 3.5 years ago. I did well in grad school academically but I'd be very surprised if any of my professors remembered me personally from class. My original plan was to ask a professor who wrote truly glowing things on every paper I wrote for her class and even assigned a group paper I worked on as assigned reading the following semester. In response to my request, this professor wrote, " I can’t say how you will perform at the doctoral level for several reasons: 1. Masters level work is indicative but not predictive of the quality of doctoral work; 2. I can only speak to your performance based on one class; and 3. Your final paper was excellent but it was a team effort." ... ?‍♀️ I definitely assumed too confidently that that professor would have agreed to recommend me. So now I'm freaking out a bit with only 5 weeks til my first deadline and I think I have 2 options: 1) I can go ask one of my other grad school professors. I got A's in most classes but do not have personal connections with any professors and haven't spoken to most people in this category in 4-5 years. 2) I can ask the VP of my organization, who also holds a PhD and can speak much more specifically to my unique strengths and abilities, but she would be a third person who knows me primarily from a work context and not as a professor. What do you think? Better to go with a so-so academic recommendation or a strong professional one, given that I have already committed to 2 recommenders who are not former professors? Thanks!!
  7. Zero aid for me as well. Disappointed. Anyone think there's any point in asking them to reconsider? I didn't apply anywhere else so I don't have any competing offers to counter with.
  8. Accepted! Financial aid info to follow in a few days (did everyone's letter say this?). This is the only program I applied to, so I am beyond thrilled and so relieved it's all going to work out.
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