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Hello. I just joined the forums because I need help but have no one to ask around me. I just got accepted to Columbia University's MA program in Social-Organizational (IO) Psychology. I understand that the program is mostly designed for students who are looking for a terminal program. I hear it is possible for students to continue their studies into a doctorate but it is not so common because the program itself isn't research based, but rather theory based. However, I don't want to rule out the option to obtain a PhD in case I do decide to continue my studies. The MA program at Columbia does not seem to be the ideal choice IF i decide to go all the way (for a PhD). On the other hand, I have also been accepted to Roosevelt University here in Chicago, for a PhD program. The school might not be as prestigious as Columbia University; however, it does give me an option to continue all the way for a PhD degree from the get go. I understand that Columbia University is a more prestigious institution known around the world, and furthermore, it is possible to continue all the way to a PhD, but I would be the minority and it is not the conventional route. However, If I end up deciding to go to Roosevelt University, it would be a more straightforward path towards a PhD. In conclusion, I guess what I am arguing with myself is whether I should choose a more prestigious school for an MA and limited opportunity for doctorate, or rather a local university where I can obtain an PhD at a more straightforward path. Thank you in advance for your input! I appreciate it.
I'm not sure if any of you listen to Fleet Foxes. They're my go-to shower singalong music, though my boyfriend calls it "weird monk music." He listens to rap. Artistic differences, I guess. Anyway, their music really hits me sometimes whether comforting or not. I have a playlist on my laptop of music that I find grounding, and it includes songs like "I Can Feel a Hot One" and some others by Manchester Orchestra, a large amount of Fleet Foxes, a taste or two of both Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles, and the like. I play that playlist when I study or do homework, or whenever I just need to get my sh*t together and calm down. I was not accepted into the program at WMU. I found out on Friday by way of a letter that my dad read before me because it wasn't sealed. I can't say I'm surprised at this decision-- I had a feeling the day I returned home from Interview Weekend that there wouldn't be a place for me there. I respect this decision, because I don't think I was who they were looking for. I can't handle the constant party that their department seems to encourage. Being told that the current students go out drinking multiple times a week together is not something that I'm itching to be part of. As I whine about not wanting to party, I'm soaking in the fact that I'll be moving to Chicago in six months. I have an acceptance in hand from Roosevelt and an interview lined up with Elmhurst as well as campus visits to both next week. That's right: Chicago! I held Roosevelt up as my top choice, and now it's becoming real. I need to find somewhere to live. I know very little about living in Chicago, and I'll need all the help I can get. My family knows people all over the country and world, but somehow we don't know anyone in Chicago (well, I know a couple people my age there, but no one who could save me if I ran into trouble). I'm lurking on the City Guide thread for Chicago and all the rental sites I can find. I know Roosevelt has very easy access to all the train lines because it's right by the loop. They include a CTA Ventra U-Pass in tuition, though I don't actually understand how it works. My limited experience in Chicago has always been great. I'm really excited to be living and going to school there, but there are so many issues I now face. Being rejected from WMU has set the ball rolling to the Windy City. Now begins a new journey filled with big decisions-- will my SO be able to move with me? Will I be working at the university or elsewhere? Where will I live? Will I get enough funding from the university to avoid major debt? Where before I was comfortable in the excitement of not knowing, I'm now very uncomfortable in the excitement of decision-making. Here we go. Headphones in, chin up.
On this past Thursday, I came home with a plan to nap. Spoiler: I did not nap. I checked my email, and found one from the director of the IO MA program at Roosevelt University, informing me that I had been accepted into the program. He had forwarded his decision to the Office of Admissions, and wanted to tell me now because they have someone new in Admissions and it may take a bit for the University's materials to get to me. I yelled for my boyfriend, who came running because he thought I was hurt (whoops, sorry) and after I told him the news and that I was uninjured (if a bit lightheaded), we called my parents. Their reactions were so typical-- my dad in the background saying "see, I've always told you how smart you are" and my mother going right for, well, a more shallow topic involving appearances. So, this is really cool. My first acceptance! I'm not a complete failure/ idiot/ garbage person! RU's program is bigger than WMU according to SIOP with an average of 25 students to WMU's 7. Granted, RU has more faculty and internships to accompany research positions, so the higher number makes sense. The program director, in our emails since Thursday, has expressed that they are excited about the possibility of having me in their program. I know that's why anyone would be accepted in the first place and isn't unique to me, but it makes me feel pretty good. He also called me a "colleague," which was weird but cool. I still feel like a kid sometimes with this, and I keep forgetting that a lot of these people see me as a real person with value and purpose. What? Nah. There are a few faculty members who research things I'm interested in, but I only have some limited contact with one who I know through my advisor at my current school. Turns out that they worked together in the late seventies and early eighties, so I did my best to reach out to this professor not long before sending in my application materials. Again, I've exchanged only a few emails with him and the most recent email from him reminded me about the competitive nature of their assistantships. I found that a little odd, but I believe it was well-intended. If I understand the meaning of "POI" correctly, then I have none anywhere and didn't know it was even a thing. So, that's probably not helping me, but I can't yet tell if it's hurting anything. When I told my mom the news, one of her first questions was if I'm going to decline my interview at WMU. This shows again how unfamiliar my family is with the entire process. The funding decisions won't be made by RU's IO department until the middle of Feb, and the University itself makes separate scholarship and funding decisions mid-March. I'm not going to risk anything by removing myself from WMU's applicant pool. The theme of this blog (and my life) is that I don't know what I'm doing, so I'm not about to make any cocky decisions. Speaking of that interview, it's coming up quickly. I'll leave home on Thursday morning, drive the whole day with one or both of my parents, and arrive in Kzoo early evening. I'll have time to pack tomorrow, though I still have no clue what I'm going to pack. (Why are all of my adult-y, nice clothes mainly black?) The events are scheduled in tightly over the weekend, and I'm in the dark about how it works. How many other people are being interviewed? Who am I up against? Who pays for my meals while I'm there? Will my host have me in a bed or on a couch? When will the decision be made, and what of funding? Will I like the people and the campus? Will they like me? I know toddlers have a reputation for asking endless questions, but I'm pretty sure I could ask more right now. WMU: Interviewing this coming weekend RU: Accepted, funding TBD Elmhurst: ???? And as always, let me know if you have any thoughts or questions. My next entry may not be until after the interview unless something happens. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a good week going forward, and good luck.
I've never been one to sit back and wait. It's frustrating and feels distant. I'm nosy by nature, and I figure that my future university should know me as well as possible anyway. I think the universe is tired of me nosing around, because things just started moving really quickly. I've seriously applied to three schools, grudgingly to one, and have more casually submitted partial applications to others. Let's talk about me as an applicant in general, first. I'm female, 21 years old. I'm Hispanic and from a military family. I have a "learning disability" that seriously impacts my life. I have a good employment history with occasional promotions, and have worked at a large bank for the past two years. I've been named to the Dean's List 6/7 semesters, but my first semester of freshman year (the time I was not named to the Dean's List) was also when I was going through the testing and diagnosis process for my aforementioned disability. I currently have a 3.6 cumulative GPA and 3.8 Psychology GPA. I studied using Kaplan's 2015 GRE prep book and took the GRE this past November. I received final scores of V: 162/ Q: 152/ A: 4.5. I found the book and accompanying materials helpful, and used the Kaplan GRE Vocab app on my phone to go through flashcards frequently. My minor is Communication Studies, but I've also taken courses on Criminal Justice, Business, and am a student researcher in a Neuroscience Lab on campus. I was in a community musical theatre company from ages 5-18. I talk way too much. I'm from a rural area in Michigan, and have gone to my hometown University. I have no family history of graduate education, and am a second-generation American. Great, moving on. Next, schools. First, there's Western Michigan University. Though it's in MI and I'm in MI, it's farther away than my other schools. WMU does have in-state tuition, which I obviously qualify for. I've applied to their IOBM Masters program, but they also offer a PhD. According to SIOP, they accept an average of 7 students into the IOBM MA each year. On 1/11, Western called to offer me an interview for their program, and the weekend event is Feb 4-7. I will be hosted by a current grad student, but because I'm a wimpy scared baby my parents will be driving there with me and staying in a hotel nearby during the interview weekend. I mean, they offered, I'm not about to say no to anyone offering to keep me company on a long road trip! My academic advisor knows one of the professors in I/O at WMU, and thinks I'd be a great match for her. Western seems to have a great program, and I've heard only good things from the few current students I know. I'd be able to get a nice apartment for a very reasonable rate, and staying in the state is nice for insurance and blah blah blah. However, the city of Kzoo is less than perfect for I/O, and my current employer does not have a presence in lower Michigan so I would not be able to remain with the company, no matter what. Oh, and as I was writing this I received the detailed schedule of interview weekend. It seems that IOBM, BATS, and BA will all be present. Also, my grad student host just emailed me, and she's under the impression that she has to pick me up from the airport. Like I said, I'll be driving. Whoops! Someone gave her some bad intel, friends. Next on my mind today is Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. I've applied to their I/O M.A. program, and am currently working on getting my LoR gathered for the separate application for graduate assistantship and scholarships. RU does have a PhD as well. My employer has solid presence in the Chicago area, and I would very likely be able to transfer to a convenient location and continue my part time employment while attending RU-- especially because RU holds classes in the evenings. My advisor is "old friends" with one of the IOBM professors at RU, and I'm emailing him back and forth to arrange a time when we can skype or chat on the phone. That'll be sometime next week. Now, a little update. I logged on to my applicant account for RU, and today there was a new document required: official college transcript with degree. Since I haven't graduated, that's difficult to provide and the application for assistantship is due Feb 1st. So, I called their admissions office. More confusion. I spoke to a woman who was very confused about my undergraduate transcripts, and after some investigation she realized that my records were weird because my application is already pending a decision. WHAT. Like, excuse me, hold on, no. What? So I expressed my shock to her, but she assured me that I should proceed with the assistantship app as I am. I asked some questions about sending in my LoR, all good. It'll save me some postage the way I'm doing it anyway. I have to mention: I have a feeling about RU. For some reason I am drawn to their program, and feel like it would be a great fit for me. My limited exposure to Chicago has been wonderful, and weather isn't a concern of mine. It would be a huge change, but I'm not afraid of that. The third serious application I've sent is to Elmhurst College, just outside Chicago. Their I/O Masters is highly rated by SIOP and within my preferred application area. Elmhurst doesn't seem to have an application fee, but they also seem to have extremely limited funding opportunity and no graduate housing resources. Their application process has been the most strange so far. I've been told I sent my GRE scores to the wrong office and that I'd have to pay to resend them only to have the scores found in the correct location later. I've gotten rather curt emails from their admissions office, and later was contacted by the assistant directer of admissions who asked me to send further correspondence directly to him. Checking my email just now, I found a new message asking me to activate my Elmhurst Technology Account that I've just been issued. What in the world does this mean? Why do I need this? Have I been quietly accepted, and the emails were sent in the wrong order? Besides, I haven't even sent my LoR to them yet. Let's recap this, because my head is spinning and a lot has happened today. 1. Interview at Western. My host for WMU interview weekend thinks she needs to pick me up at the airport, even though I've indicated that I'm driving. 2. Roosevelt already has me listed as "pending" a decision to accept or reject me, and the application for assistantship/scholarship is due Feb 1st. 3. Elmhurst issued me a Technology Account that leads to a "campus portal" and the email said that they hope I "will be an active member of the Elmhurst College community," but I haven't even sent them my LoR yet and haven't been officially accepted or rejected. Confusing. Today has been REALLY weird. I think there's Netflix and wine in my near future.