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Found 13 results

  1. Hi, is there anyone who has succeeded in increasing the scholarships/ financial awards they have received, as part of their admission to top graduate schools? I currently have one admission offer from UChicago's MAPSS program, and was able to increase the financial award to $20,000, but I want to request again that the school provide a full tuition award. What can I say and how can I appeal to the MAPSS committee better? Do I need to provide new GRE scores? More evidence of research activity? I heard that this funding request was not supposed to be difficult, but it does not seem so for me.
  2. Hey all, It has been a long time since I've been to this forum, but I thought I would write this post to share my experiences as an anthro major in undergrad to getting my MA through the MAPSS program at UChicago, and where I am now, in case any of you are wondering if it's worth it, or are just looking for some perspective in a field that is only getting more difficult to make something of, both academically and professionally. Please note that this review/perspective is from someone who decided *NOT* to pursue a PhD, but instead chose a non-academic career path. Maybe you can relate to this feeling, but when I was in undergrad, friends and family smirked when I told them I was pursuing anthropology. "What will you do with it?" and all other questions ensued. I myself wasn't too sure what I was going to "do" with it; I believed college was for pursuing what made you feel whole, and the "job" aspect of it was only an afterthought. Immature and naive, especially for a student going some $25,000 into debt at an unremarkable California State University. I did it, and considered going into the Peace Corps and made it through the final interviews, but ultimately didn't go. I was working in customer service at a tech company, answering phones all day. Personal things in my life made me move from NorCal to SoCal and I was in my second round of applying to graduate school after being rejected by the seven programs I had applied to the year prior. That second cycle I was only admitted to UChicago's MAPSS program and after a month of anguish over whether I should take out more debt (I had 50% funding), I decided to do it. I'm not really a strong proponent for MAPSS. I had spent hours and hours researching the program, talking to professors before I accepted, to educate myself on what my day-to-day would be like there. I found that the experience did differ pretty significantly from what I was told. It really was a grueling time, but that isn't to say it wasn't worth it. Lowlights / Highlights of the Experience -While I wouldn't call the program a "Cash Cow" program like so many LOVE to quip, there were aspects that made it feel that way, like the forced "Perspectives" course. That was far and away the most useless university course I've ever taken. It is a surface-level course that goes over different major concepts/canonical works of the various social sciences. It's bad enough we had to waste 2.5 hours of our lives once a week in the dreadfully boring lectures, but to make it worse, the grading for the midterm/final is so severe that it is set up for students to fail. Out of my cohort of about 240 people who were forced to take the class, only 17 people received an A or A- on their midterm, and the figure was lower for the final. I was told that anything less than a B+/B in graduate school is considered to be failing, so a B+/B is considered a C or C- in terms of GPA. I have no idea what the program's logic is to forcing you to take a class and then taking a blow to your GPA right out the gate. Seriously. ????? The fact that students are forced to take this course makes it feel like the program does it just to make more money off the enrollment or something and then kicks you while you're down on top it all. -The MAPSS cohort is sadly what many have described. Most MAPSS students are not very intellectual--that's not to say they weren't "smart" in their own right, but they did not compare to the level of the other graduate students in terms of how intellectual they were. You could tell right away who was a MAPSS student in your classes versus PhD students. MAPSS students weirdly tend to have a sort of braggart, or pretentious, way about them when the things they would drivel on about were inane topics that you might find a newly-minted freshman undergraduate might talk about. I knew many MAPSS students who thought they were just so smart and would constantly, CONSTANTLY whine about the workload and how everything was so 'unfair'. It was insufferable to listen to because no one forced them to do the program, and the workload, while difficult, was not impossible (and, I had a part time job!). This being said, I made no friends at MAPSS. They lacked the maturity that I seem to find in PhD candidates or even some undergraduates. -I did very well academically only because I lived and breathed the program. I had a part time job, but I was able to work from home which was a huge part in why I could dedicate myself wholly to the program. I spent almost all of my free time in the Regenstein library and it got to be depressing sometimes, but I found ways to make it somewhat positive (like always treating myself to hot tea or coffee and taking little breaks to draw). I think to be successful in MAPSS you have to be very independent and self-motivating; otherwise, it will be easy to lose sight of what you're doing/why. I think others have mentioned this, but do make it a priority to go downtown and explore the other neighborhoods of Chicago. I would "treat" myself to a bus/El ride and just go anywhere, to see something new, to see something that wasn't UChicago. It helped immensely. -I had read about the difficulties of finding an adviser/establishing a relationship early on with a potential adviser, so in my first quarter I zeroed in on the faculty member I really wanted to work with. I made sure to take at least one class of his every quarter, participated in all discussions, did all the readings, and did very well when it came to group projects. He would take smoking breaks and I would join him, or I would walk with him to his office after class. I didn't ask him to be my adviser until much later; I just built a relationship with him and got to know him and his work, and allowed him to get to know me. If you aren't a go-getter in this way like I was, I think finding an adviser is very difficult. I knew many people who had to have preceptors assigned as their advisers because they couldn't find anyone willing. -One of the saddest moments I had in the program was during the office hours with said adviser of mine. He told me that he didn't expect much in terms of quality from MAPSS students, but was sympathetic to their plight (earning a master's and doing fieldwork//research/composing a thesis in 9 months) and sort of graded based on that, which was very disappointing to hear. I had hoped I would be treated like any other PhD student who was completing the MA portion of their candidacy, but that's not the case. He also revealed to me that he knows of some professors who ban MAPSS students from taking their courses because of the inferior quality of discussion that MAPSS students bring to the table, which was heartbreaking to hear as well. -While all of these things are really disappointing about MAPSS, I will say that the academics of UChicago seriously changed my life. I am also someone who takes academic matters seriously, so maybe this isn't saying all that much, but the classes I took were some of the most amazing and beautifully taught courses I've ever taken. I was exposed to wonderful academic literature that will stay with me forever. If you are someone who appreciates knowledge and academic inquiry for its own sake, I think you will be hard-pressed to find a more rigorous university than UChicago. If MAPSS is the only option you have at this moment to experience that, I would say it's worth it for that alone. Where I'm at Now All this being said, I did well and graduated in Spring with only 20% of my cohort (the rest graduated in August). I earned an A on my thesis, but it likely was inflated because of my adviser's sympathies to the MAPSS program, which I struggle with when listing that as an "accomplishment". After graduating, I worked full time for a bit for the company I had been working for during the program, and took 3 months off to live in Hungary. While abroad I interviewed for market research positions/firms and landed a position at a very prominent global market research firm, I'm 25 years old and my starting pay is 75k which exceeded my hopes and expectations for earning potential as someone with a "useless" undergraduate and graduate degree in anthropology. I will be able to pay off my student debt and live decently on that income, which is what I personally could only have hoped for in taking such a huge risk to pursue what I loved, anthropology. This is just one experience among many. I'm nothing/no one special, but I did work very hard in the program and I worked hard to secure a job that is related to my degrees and research interests. I did not "like" the program in the least, but I don't regret doing it. It was the most difficult academic year of my life and I did have to seek counseling in the Winter quarter which helped a lot- the student mental health services are very easy to access, so please avail yourself of that if you need it. I hope this review helped!
  3. I wanted to share my experience with the University of Chicago’s MAPSS program. I know that when I applied to the program, and when I was deciding whether to enroll, I found it difficult to find reviews online. I’m hoping this post will be of use to others. I was excited by the program because of its claims of offering a flexible curriculum and strong access to UChicago’s resources. I also was excited because the program bills itself as both a degree to prepare for a PhD, and, if students change their mind, as a versatile credential of employability. However, I was extremely disappointed with this program. What was told to me by faculty members and by MAPSS staff during my April visit day, and what is advertised on the website (at least as of Nov. 2018), does not hold up in reality. Indeed, I made the challenging—but correct—decision of withdrawing during the 3rd week of the first quarter. Why exactly? INABILITY TO ENROLL IN CROSS-SCHOOL COURSES: One of the appealing aspects of MAPSS is the purported ability to design a customized course of study. Indeed, UChicago bills itself as an interdisciplinary university that encourages cross-pollination among disciplines. One lecturer described the university to me as “America’s original think tank.” On the MAPSS website, the FAQ reads: However, as I learned, UChicago is unique in that there is no centralized university administrative structure; each school only reports to itself. That has its benefits. It results in a degree of intellectual independence, and perhaps contributes to the university’s heterodox atmosphere. But it also means that each school has its own unique and distinctive policies. Indeed, because each school reports to itself, there is no incentive for schools to communicate with each other about these differences. I learned this the hard way—twice. PART I: For instance, I tried to enroll in a business school economics course at Booth, given that my research interests center on industrial organization. However, it was never communicated to me that the deadline for Booth registration was a week before classes—despite preemptively e-mailing MAPSS in September, two weeks before orientation, asking how I could enroll. After attending the second course and submitting the assignment, I then went to the Social Sciences Dean responsible for registration. (Business school courses required in-person registration, and cannot be completed on the online student portal.) The Dean then told me that registration was closed. I asked why this wasn’t communicated to me. Surprisingly—and I’m unclear why he shared this—he noted that MAPSS administrators intentionally decided not to share the deadline with students, because there was an “internal discussion” that students would be unable to enroll at all in Booth courses during the first quarter. Naturally outraged at this, I then escalated this issue to the Dean of Students. I first told him that the course had 33 open seats and that I had since gotten the business school professor to petition on my behalf to the Booth registrar. However, whereas other schools assign more power to faculty than to administrators, at Booth, administrators manage faculty, to such a degree that they direct them in what courses to teach. While the Dean heard my frustrations and was helpful, he suggested the only course of action would be to petition the Booth registrar, using his influence to try to sway the Booth Dean. When I asked for a timeline, he said it could take 3-5 days! I was thankful, but I shared this would leave me in a hard and unsustainable position. Was I to complete assignments for a course I may ultimately not gain admission to, while also shopping for courses in their second-week, trying to catch up on their assignments? He advised I speak with the MAPSS Director (more on that later.) And sadly, this was only one course… PART II: I also enrolled in a public policy statistics course, as was suggested to me by my preceptor (an advisor to MAPSS students, who is either a current PhD student or postdoc.) The course was billed as being open to any student, regardless of division. But as I learned at the end of the first week of classes, Harris (School of Public Policy) students were required to complete a 2-3 month summer module on R, a programming language. Again, I was frustrated this was never communicated to me. And frankly upset at the position I now found myself in—two courses I would be unable to enroll in, and two-weeks behind in all other classes. I tried to see if I could make the best of the stats course by trying to gain access to the R module. I wanted to have, at the very least, all the necessary resources so I could try as hard as possible to succeed. Understandably, but disappointingly, Harris did not grant me access to this online module as I wasn’t a Harris student. When I asked the MAPSS director to subsidize the $300 cost, I was told I could attend a weekly R course in the computer science division. Again, this was a deflection that didn’t address my issue. I was then advised to consider enrolling in an undergraduate statistics course. I was shocked that a school as reputable and as esteemed as the University of Chicago oversold the ability of MAPSS students to enroll in professional school courses, nor was willing to work with me to find worthy substitutes. INFERIOR PERCEPTION OF STUDENTS: I also was disappointed that some faculty and many students from professional degree programs perceive MAPSS students as inferior. This creates a strange dynamic between UChicago graduate students, and limits the ability of MAPSS students to partake in UChicago programs, find a research advisor, and seek out extracurricular opportunities. This perception, justified or not, traces to the belief that MAPSS students are either (1) not smart enough to have gotten into PhD programs or are (2) wealthy students with the money to ‘buy’ the UChicago name. This was not something I would have known until I was on campus, but it quickly became apparent that saying I was in MAPSS made me a less appealing candidate to thesis advisors. In some respects this makes sense. Faculty have limited time and are more likely to benefit by taking on a PhD student, who is more accomplished and less ‘risky.’ Regardless, these perceptions add an additional obstacle for MAPSS students trying to take advantage of UChicago's resources and opportunities; there is additional energy necessary to "earn respect" as a MAPSS student. PIGEON-HOLING STUDENTS: MAPSS’s tendency to pigeon-hole students into pursuing one means of study, or to focus in one discipline, also was disheartening. When I expressed the above concerns to three deans from separate schools and to an ombudsman, I received some advice and tools to help me get back on track—despite it now being near the end of the second week of classes. But the Director of MAPSS suggested to me I was “doing the degree wrong—that MAPSS was not a professional degree.” He suggested I pivot my interests to Political Science, even though that was adjacent to my research interests. The lack of support in helping me achieve my academic and professional goals was disappointing, especially when I had proactively sought help and advocated for myself. If the program had been upfront in saying social science courses are encouraged, that there are limited options for cross-school enrollment, and that the degree is largely and exclusively an academic research degree—which does not double as a fall-back professional credential—I would have understood. And I would have known the program wasn’t for me. However, this is not how the program is advertised—currently, at least. - - - My advice is to stay away if you have a career, live in a different city, and believe the degree can be leveraged to advance beyond an entry-level position and/or lay the groundwork for a career-change. The website uses a lot of embellished marketing to convince students of the degree's value, and it is very much geared toward attracting students who have an unclear sense of their next steps. I admit I myself sat a bit in this latter camp. On the other hand, if you’re a recent college graduate (1-2 years out), 100% committed to academia (and, seriously, I mean 100%), are looking to gain ‘basic research’ experience, or come from a ‘non-brand’ school, the degree I think could serve its purposes. Whether it's worth 30k to 50k, is a personal decision. OTHER NOTES: I do disagree with the conventional critique about the program: it’s a cash cow that offers sub-par learning. Even if it may be a cash cow for the Division of Social Sciences, the academics at UChicago are strong. And the amount of resources the university wields is impressive. It’s just hard to access those resources as a MAPSS student. The MAPSS Career Office is growing, I believe, but was constantly overbooked. Two staff members are responsible not only for the 200+ students in MAPSS, but also for students in a program called CIR and for another Master’s program whose name I forget. Appointments starting from mid-October 2018 were booked one month in advance. The quality of preceptors varies. They have a huge caseload of advisees and also are responsible for teaching a mandatory 2-hour section of the “Perspectives” class each week. My preceptor had limited English abilities and did not drive strong conversation among students. I have heard students who were satisfied with their sections (even if from 5:30-7:30 on Friday!), so I think this varies preceptor by preceptor.
  4. I was offered admission into the University of Chicago's MAPSS program, but I was only offered one third tuition coverage. Unfortunately I can't afford to attend if I don't receive more funding, so I was told by the program to write a merit petition highlighting achievements that the committe might have missed when deciding funding. I would appreciate it if someone could help me edit and proofread my merit petition, so that it looks nice and neat for the committee. Hopefully it will help influence their decision concerning my funding. Would anyone be interested in proofreading and helping me edit my merit petition?
  5. Dear community, I have applied to a couple of one-year programs (willingly and knowingly since I am still on the fence regarding future career) and have been accepted for the MAPSS (2/3 waiver) and MSc Sociology at Oxford (funding tbd). Obviously two different planets in some respects (for instance when comparing the two cities), but I was wondering what the most important differences are between the two programs? How do they rate if I would want to pursue an academic degree (either in Europe or the States)? What are the biggest differences I can expect in relationship towards professors etc? Any other things I should be aware of? Any thoughts would me much appreciated!! Also nice to hear from other students going either direction Kind regards
  6. It seems that MAPSS has sent out many decision letters! I've received admission with 1/3 tuition waiver (not much, I know, but no complaints since I'm prepared to pay and my other choices wouldn't be much cheaper anyway), but since the econ concentration is a recent addition to the MAPSS program, maybe I'm not the only one who wants to discuss and know more about it? So, I'm wondering are there any current MAPSS econ students (or someone who knows more about this program) out there willing to share a bit about your experiences so far? Like, what's the difficulty level of the math camp? (And if you're an international student like me, have you attended the English prep course in Aug?) Have you taken some courses in other disciplines? What is your goal (phd, or work?) and whether/how is MAPSS helping you so far? What's the typical class size? How's your experience with the thesis? Do you have any time for extracurricular activities or part-time work? Anything And for those who're admitted, have you made a decision, and what are your reasons, if you don't mind sharing? If you're still hesitating, what are your doubts? As for me, I'm still considering, but I'm very inclined to go since I really like the interdisciplinary nature of MAPSS, and I want to incorporate some sociology elements into my study. But I'm not sure whether I'm just being naive or idealistic here since 9 months is a short time and I've kind of been working in an unrelated field in the past two years, and I'm not too sure what kind of phd studies (or even whether I want to pursue a phd) I want to do afterwards. Is everyone very clear about exactly what you want to get out of the program?
  7. Hi, everyone! I'm just wondering has anyone directly applied for the MAPSS and got accepted, especially anyone with economics background, or does anyone know someone like that? I'm asking because I'm having difficulties with the candidate statement. More specifically, do I have to make my research interest the focus of it like a PHD statement, even if I directly apply to the MAPSS program? So my situation is like this: I have an economics degree with quite a lot of math and programming from a non-US university with a decent ranking, got pretty good GPA, GRE, English language test scores, some not-so-relevant working and volunteering experiences. But....I'm not too sure about my research experience and research interest. Sure I did my coursework and group projects and all those stuff. I've written enough essays, and some of the courses did involve research-like projects, and I did well in all of those, but....it's still just a course project, isn't it? Even if I can use them to show my ability to do research, the point here is that I don't have a clear research interest yet...I can think of a few topics that I'm interested in, and probably talk about it for as many words as I need to, but I doubt that it'll sound convincing without relevant research/work experiences to back it up, isn't it? That leads to my question: if I apply directly to the MAPSS program, do I still have to have a very specific research idea? Do I still have to write my candidate statement as if I'm applying to PHD? I know that this program is for those whose goal is PHD and many are referred applicants from the PHD programs, but..isn't it the point of an MA that one can start searching for a research interest during that and decide whether PHD is right for them? And the curriculum certainly looks like it wants you to do that. So can I be honest about that and just say that I'm still exploring? Besides, since U Chicago is one of the best in the economics field, I believe that the PHD applicants who are just a tiny bit below their admission standard will be legion, and many of them may be offered MAPSS instead. So will they even consider direct applications at all? Thank you all for reading so much!
  8. I am an international student, and I have submitted the application on 29 April. (the final deadline is 30 April) According to the MAPSS website, it says that "Persons applying after January 4 for our April 30 deadline will be notified once all materials are received and the file has been reviewed by our faculty committee, " but I am not sure how long it will take. I have checked the results page and found nothing because it seems that everyone had applied before 4 Jan (priority deadline). So I am worried this means that my chance of gaining admission at this stage will be very slim. Should I contact the admission office now (or when is more appropriate?) Anyone in the same boat as me? Any information would be appreciated! Thanks!
  9. First time posting...and I need some advice. I applied this season to a handful of PhD's and MA programs. I got rejected from the PhD programs, which I semi-anticipated as I am changing fields from philosophy to history and don't have all the language background I should. That being said I do have some offers and I am trying to weigh the options. UH Manoa MA with next to no funding. UChicago MAPSS with some funding. NYU World History MA non-funded. I am still waiting to hear back from Columbia/LSEs' World/Int'l History MA. I am curious about UChicago, but I don't really understand what my degree would be should I complete the program. I have done some research and plan on visiting. I've heard really good things and not so good things about the program. I like the idea of a one year program with a "gap year" for a fellowship or language training purposes. It appears I could create my course of study which would be a benefit as I am a little wide spread in focus area. (I am interested in international comparative history with an emphasis on philosophy and socializing cultural norms.) This being said I don't really know how it appears to PHD admissions committees when I reapply. UH Manoa would focus on Korean history (my weaker geographic area of interest) over two years and would allow me to bolster my language skills and balance out my interest areas. I could also (hopefully) get funding for the second year as well as in-state tuition. However, there is no one I particularly want to work with. Though their resources for East Asian studies are no joke. Lastly NYU World MA could be cool, but I am not super stoked about it. I've heard some not so good things about the department and the lack of support for MA students there. It would allow me a more balance approach to studies like Chicago, but not thrilled about the attitudes I hear from others. In terms of finances, I am going to take an almost equal hit across the board (NYU being slightly more costly in terms of daily expenses). The two years in Hawaii would (hoping that the second year's funding would improve) probably be similar to one year in Chicago (which is another con the whole MA cash cow thing frustrates me). I am lucky in that I was able to graduate with next to no undergrad debt. While I am not excited about the prospect of creating buckets full of debt, I do really want to improve my chances at a solid PhD program (with funding) and from what I have discovered through this season I need more background in history and in my non-european area of interest. Any thoughts, advice?
  10. I've recently been rejected from several PhD programs in Psychology, and offered masters instead - including MAPSS at UChicago without funding. Overall, MAPSS is cheaper simply because it is one year. The fact that I have been rejected from all the PhD programs makes me sure that I am not ready to apply for a PhD program. It seems that even people who had negative things to say about MAPSS, still admitted they got fully funded PhD offers from top schools. So, I've also heard that some people have been very successful at appealing the financial aid decisions, and I'm considering doing that. Without any aid, it's going to be about 70k to attend including living expenses, and tuition. I will not be receiving assistance from relatives. What do you guys think? Is 1 year getting a masters from UChicago with a lot of debt better than 1-3 gap years working in a lab better my application for PhD programs? What are your experiences asking for more financial aid? I would really love to attend, but it's daunting without any assistance.
  11. Hi everyone, I'm an international student (UK) at Oxford, I've just been accepted onto the two programmes I applied for, EAS at Yale and MAPSS at Chicago. I've only been to Chicago briefly, it seemed really cool, but from what I've seen it seems like the course is better at Yale. The only problem is I've been offered a 2k scholarship from Yale vs. a 40k scholarship from Chicago. I'm really praying they will offer me more funding at Yale, although my course director says this is unlikely (maybe because I'm an international student?). Does anyone have any thoughts about the two campuses? Chicago seems like it has more going on, but I might be wrong? Any advice greatly appreciated! Best Regards, Alex
  12. hey there, i have gotten a string of disappointing news for my cultural anthropology phd applications. today, i got a full-tuition masters offer from university of chicago (instead of being admitted to the phd program)... this definitely doesn't cover living costs for the year that i will be spending studying, but my parents are so desperate for my situation that they'll probably cover that for me...ha. anyways, i am still painfully waiting to hear back from 3 more schools (but from what i have seen on this forum, i should have heard a long time ago if i was accepted, so i'm going to rule those schools out mentally..for now). BACK TO MY MAIN POINT (sorry for the long intro), is there anyone who is in a similar boat here?
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