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repatriate last won the day on October 15 2011

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  1. The requirements for a job outside academia vary with the job. At the research company I used to work for (government and private social science research contracting), a master's degree greatly limited career options. In other fields and settings, a PhD might be a drawback.
  2. I think PsychGrad2011 has it about right. After clinical, social programs are the most competitive. I believe that the APA book Graduate Study in Psychology has these stats, but I am not sure. It definitely has stats for individual schools broken down by program.
  3. Don't worry; you're in the right place! Your GPA won't exclude you from graduate school, but it will probably be a concern for graduate programs. FingersCrossedX's advice to offer a narrative explanation is a good idea. I'll emphasize not focusing on psychological or academic disability in this explanation. If you can afford it (in terms of tuition and delaying work), the extra quarter might look good. Even a couple of points above 3.0 move you that much further from the danger zone. Another option is to take additional courses after graduating while working. You definitely have enough time left to make contacts and gain research experience. Start browsing the faculty webpages at UCSD. Many of them will list opportunities for undergraduate research involvement on their websites, or you can contact them asking if they are accepting undergrad research assistants for the next term. Obviously, try to find work that interests you, but also keep in mind that, given your GPA, you may need to cast a wide net for opportunities. Many of the labs in my department, for example, will not take undergrads with less than a 3.0. This past semester, my lab took one with a 2.5 GPA on the personal recommendation of another graduate student who had been this undergrad's TA. So far, he has been a great member of the lab, but I know that he was rejected by other labs before being recommended to us. If you struggle finding research opportunities in the psych department, you can look in related fields that use similar methods (e.g., education, business, etc.) Some professors will be open to cold-emailing from students at other unis and taking on volunteer research assistants. However, in my experience, this is pretty rare. Most professors I have worked with prefer RAs who will be held to some kind of agreement (i.e., credit or employment) and who will stick around for at least a couple of semesters. It probably won't hurt to try, though.
  4. It's a form of signalling (on your CV), but the associations (at least in my field) offer discounted conference admission, travel funding, research awards, grants, and fellowships to members. Many of them have great listservs, too, where you can keep up with what people in your field are doing, ask for advice, and find job postings. Some of the major psych associations even use grad students as reviewers for some of their competitions, which is a great way to get reviewing experience before you are famous enough review for journals. Basically, I'd say the memberships are greatly beneficial. But I have no idea how well this generalizes to political science associations.
  5. I don't think the results of this study have been published yet, but I saw this video from this year's APS convention. Timothy Lawson had a poster on what coursework psychology grad programs looked for when selecting applicants and found differences depending on program type. He discusses some of those differences very briefly in the video, but hopefully there will be more details published eventually. It looks like he's done this kind of survey before and is updating the work.
  6. robot_hamster, I think you are really hitting on it in your last sentences. This really sounds like something you need to work out with your husband in terms of what is important to each of you. What are you and he each willing to give up--proximity, education, career, relationship? What's going to make you happy and satisfied will depend on your own values and priorities. How much will you be hurt if, after you finish the first year of your PhD far away, your husband decides it is too much to be apart but he is not willing to move? Is this something that might happen? Would you quit your PhD program and go home? If you don't pursue a PhD now and end up waiting many more years for your husband to finish, will you resent your husband or will you be able to see it is as a choice that provided you with something more valuable than a degree? As to leaving a spouse behind, I did that--but only for a year, with three visits. Yeah, I hated not seeing my spouse, but I knew it was temporary, and definitely shorter than a PhD. Our relationship is also fairly calm and independent--we haven't fought in years, and we we can remain close even when doing our own things most of the time. Those things may not be necessary for successfully living apart, but I do think they made it easier for us. One thing to consider is that living apart will cause you will each discover new patterns, habits, and personality features that will help you live alone. In short, you will each change a little bit. For example, I took to watching TV on my computer in bed to help me fall asleep. This was hard to do once I got back home and was sharing a bed again, and I had to get used to a different way of sleeping again. But we also both became more outgoing and talkative because we didn't have each other to rely on as much. Some people find these changes upsetting. When you live with your spouse, and they change a little day by day as you see them, you grow together, and it doesn't seem sudden. But when you see your spouse after five months, and they are doing new things you never saw before and talking more, etc., it can make you feel alienated from the person you thought you were closest to and knew the most. On the other hand, you can be pleased to see your spouse thriving (or sympathetic and supportive if they are not). How would you and your respond react to these kinds of changes in each other? I really wish you and your husband the best in this decision. It sounds like a truly stressful and difficult situation. I hope that you will find the solution that fits you both best.
  7. It all really depends on what you asked and how, but I think you advisor may have been acting from two concerns. First, it's not uncommon for faculty to be completely unaware of the course requirements for graduate students (unless they are the department chair or division head). Generally, you'll get this information from a graduate secretary or other graduate students or even the handbook. Second, as a graduate student, you are expected to be very independent, so rather than approaching your advisor and asking what you should do before you have done a substantial amount of independent work (in this case, reading the handbook, talking to the grad secretary, and asking other students), you should come up with a good plan or product and bring that to your advisor for approval (in this case, a list of courses for approval). Still, some advisors don't see courses as important and won't be at all interested in which ones you are taking; other advisors will want to approve your courses each term. I don't think it's a red flag if your advisor is not interested in your courses or that s/he took umbrage with being asked to decide on the courses for you.
  8. This will probably depend a lot on what type of city your university is in. I go to one of those schools in a big "college town" in the middle of nowhere, so no one lives more than a few miles from campus, at most. When I was in a large city, it was much more common for students to live much further than that or to have longer commutes. Also consider the kind of transportation you will have available. Can you afford to keep a car and park on campus? Will you be dependent on buses? Do you like the idea of walking to school? Will you be in a bike friendly city? The same commute could take very different times in each of these transportation modes. Whether it is good to avoid living with the undergrads simply depends on what kind of living situation you enjoy and also a little on the culture of your school. Can you work/sleep while your neighbors are being noisy? Where I am, grad students don't socialize much with undergrads--we even go to different bars in a different part of town for the most part--so there's not much to be gained from living near them. At another school, the situation would be completely different. Also, at some schools, undergrads are targets of crime (sexual assault, mugging) as they walk back home drunk from the bars. You might be safer living in a different area. Definitely look at the crime reports. You might be able to get advice from current students in your program about what kind of living situation is common and/or what suits your preferences.
  9. I agree with most of what you said, but this is incorrect. In order to closely approximate a test-taker's "true" score, you need questions at many levels of difficulty. Each question is associated with an approximate level of ability at or above which a test-taker will answer correctly and below which a test-taker will answer incorrectly. You must provide questions at many levels in order to come up with a good guess of someone's actual level of ability. This is why the computer adaptive nature of the GRE is important: once the computer program figures out that you are above or below a certain ability level, it starts serving you questions in the range it thinks you are so that it can discriminate more finely among people close in "true" score. So, let's say abilities range from 1 to 100, and people with a true ability of 50 or more will generally get a certain question right, and people with a true ability of less than 50 will get the question wrong. Then, this question only divides people into two bins: at-or-above-50 and below-50. By including questions at all different ability levels (and preferably a couple at each), you make those bins smaller and smaller. So both easy and hard questions are necessary for a standardized test like the GRE.
  10. I use a laptop for classes, primarily because printing all of the reading for a week (most are journal articles distributed as PDFs) gets very expensive, and with good PDF reading/organizing software, referencing specific quotations, figures, or personal notes is just as easy as with a printout. I get a print account, but I would exhaust it within a few weeks if using it to print class materials. I have a labmate who shares his laptop with his wife and does most of his at-school work in the computer labs or in our lab (when no participants are being run). This works well enough for him. Whether or not you will be provided with a work computer probably depends on the grant money of your advisor. You could ask them or their students whether the lab or the department provides a computer for students.
  11. That's something that might depend on the rules of the test center. I would call the test center(s) nearest you and ask.
  12. I agree. We ought to write accessible text. That is a separate issue from what texts the GRE should sample from. The GRE should sample from the kind of texts you will read in graduate school. Unfortunately, many scholars do write like this. You will need to be able to read such writing in graduate school, regardless of whether or not it ought to exist.
  13. This article is a terrible example of the clear writing the author so wishes we would all create. It's full of strange digressions (such as the salaries of bankers), and the author is using the GRE as a vehicle for a broader complaint about academic writing styles that really has nothing to do with what the GRE should test. Whether or not we ought to write accessibly (we ought), the GRE should test the ability to read the scholarly literature that is available. In the world we live in, scholarly literature is dense and convoluted in style. In most graduate classes, instructors will expect you not only to read and understand this literature without help but also to lead discussions on that same material. Why should the entrance exam test your ability to comprehend a totally different kind of prose than you will encounter in graduate school?
  14. If it helps at all, I heard back (rejection) by email on 3/25 last year, so it's still roughly in that range. Good luck to everyone who applied this year!
  15. I called today and asked if the delays in setting the budget would delay award announcements. I was told, "We don't have any information on that, so I can't answer your question. Sorry." According to FastLane, the number of fellowships is expected to be around 1,000. Edited to provide direct link to relevant FastLane FAQ.
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