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Hello all, I have plans to become a scholar, focusing on systematic/constructive theology, for a post-secondary/graduate institution. I am also open to ministry if things don't pan out for getting a teaching job. I applied to 8 Mainline schools (Boston U, Candler, Claremont, Chicago, Duke, PTS, Vanderbilt, Yale; all in divinity schools/schools of theology), 2 Evangelical schools (Fuller, Wheaton), and a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Divinity School. I applied for MTS/MA/MAR's at most schools except I went for an MDiv at Chicago and the SDA school. With my first acceptance to Emory already announced, I have begun serious contemplation of what route I should take in preparing for a PhD. Honestly, before this acceptance letter I wasn't hoping for acceptance into these other schools (I had a little above average scores like a 3.68 GPA but I was just pessimistic I suppose). Now that I got this wonderful letter, which I am ecstatic about, I have begun to realize my dilemma. I see the benefits of going denominational as follows: 1. Networking within Adventism: I could network far more thoroughly within my denomination 2. Opens door for Pastoral Ministry: I'd obtain the basic ministerial credential for service in the church just in case I don't get a teaching job at the end of my later doctoral studies 3. Great financial aid: There would be fairly good financial aid (80% scholarship) 4. Work Experience: I am likely to be a TA or RA 5. Further grounding in SDA theology: Perhaps most importantly, I'd gain a more thorough understanding of my denomination than I have in my undergraduate studies 6. Impressive Faculty: Though Adventists don't tend to be thought leaders in today's theological climate, some amazing scholars are there, most of them having credentials from top tier universities and two faculty having degrees in second-tier institutions. Under them I would get to study from a progressive SDA perspective (so far I was only trained within a more conservative tradition). In addition, they do have connections to mainline universities, particularly Claremont, and they could possibly have sway in getting me into these places. 7. An open MDiv Curriculum: Their MDiv is fairly open-ended and creative. I could essentially use my electives to specialize in an area of study and take even more courses there than I would in an MTS. I would also be able to direct my ministry classes to post-modern ministry, ministry and the arts, and other creative possibilities. I could also get special training in post-secondary research and teaching there, giving me a great foundation in methodology and practice. Bonus: I'd get to live in Southern California, which I see as the greatest place in the universe at the moment. You can see the faculty's credentials all right on this page quickly if you'd like At the same time, I would have the opportunity of a lifetime to study at Emory and would enjoy the following benefits as I see them: 1. The opportunity to study under well-known scholars 2. With a name like Emory under my belt, I would likely enjoy greater likelihood in gaining admission to a PhD program. I intend to only apply to mainline schools like the ones mentioned above (Definitely not an SDA one; an Evangelical school is a minute possibility). 3. I would gain a thorough understanding of contemporary Christian issues from an authoritative institution that houses thought leaders and widely contributes to modern scholarship 4. Broader networking opportunities to up my chances of PhD admissions and future teaching posts (This shorter list reflects both my lack of awareness of my financial aid package and my lac of familiarity with specific opportunities at Emory) I see the following possibilities: 1. Go to Emory and then go straight to a PhD 2. Go to Emory now since I'm accepted and then go to Denominational School before a PhD (Would this defeat the purpose of going to a place like Emory for reputation and connections since the SDA school degree would be my last degree?) 3. Go to Denominational School and try for a PhD immediately after. If I can't get in apply to MTS at mainline school later (But would rejecting my acceptance from Emory now doom me from being able to get into the same program later?) Just to throw in some potential possibilities that may sway your assessment: - I'm strongly considering also pursuing an MA in Philosophy before graduate school since progressive SDA theology values philosophy highly. I would apply exclusively to top tier institutions and pursue it directly before my PhD studies, which again would be in systematic/constructive theology. - It is possible that I would do an MDiv/MBA combo at the SDA school, perhaps giving me a slight edge in PhD admissions. Side question: How hard is it to get into Emory's MTS program? I ask because I'm trying to gauge my chances for the other 9 schools as I await their response. Note: I'm completely comfortable going anywhere for school, I hold no reservations learning from anywhere! P.S. I didn't want to type the SDA school name out here because it might pop up unintentionally in search engines and attract unwanted attention to my dilemma