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1 hour ago, ancientqueen said:

Just a tidbit of info I have-- two people I know applied to Syracuse in previous years. One was rejected and never had an interview, one was waitlisted and never had an interview. 

I feel like they have changed things lately. I know someone who was accepted without an interview, and this was just two years ago. Maybe they are trying something new this application season?

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26 minutes ago, klader said:

I feel like they have changed things lately. I know someone who was accepted without an interview, and this was just two years ago. Maybe they are trying something new this application season?

The waitlist w/o interview was two years ago, and the rejection w/o interview was last year. I'm guessing that it just varies on the person. I'm new to interviews in general--this was my first one--so I'm just info-dumping stuff I've heard from fellow students in my program. :lol:

My advisor gave me the best advice (I think) on this and just said that the interview absolutely doesn't mean you're accepted, but it's never a bad thing, and that no school is going to do an interview with people they aren't interested in. So whatever happens, we can all feel good about getting the interview. I know that for me, even if this application round doesn't work out, I'm happy to know that a school was interested enough in my work to want to hear more. :)

Edited by ancientqueen
wanted to clarify a point

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3 minutes ago, ancientqueen said:

The waitlist w/o interview was two years ago, and the rejection w/o interview was last year. I'm guessing that it just varies on the person. I'm new to interviews in general--this was my first one--so I'm just info-dumping stuff I've heard from fellow students in my program. :lol:

My advisor gave me the best advice (I think) on this and just said that the interview absolutely doesn't mean you're accepted, but it's never a bad thing, and that no school is going to do interview with people they aren't interested in. So whatever happens, we can all feel good about getting the interview. :)

Yes, good advice for sure! I am just really intrigued for the rationale and such, ahah. I'm also new to interviews. Guess we'll see what happens!

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I went back to school for an  MA in professional writing  after practicing law for several years.  I was looking for a law and literature paper topic for a literature class and ended up doing a rhetorical analysis of the book instead, focusing on the influence said book had on passage of law.  That paper eventually became my masters thesis, and my writing sample for my R/C PhD applications.

So, yesterday I was accepted to a University that has always been strong in R/C and is a 10 minute drive from my house.  I am married with children so it seemed perfect:  I could get the degree I wanted with very little upheaval in my family’s lives.  

Today, though, I got an email from the DGS that said:

 
“There is one issue that you should be aware of. While our Rhetoric and composition Program is thriving at present, we only have two professors in the area, and both are nearing retirement. We are hopeful that we will get hires to supplement and (eventually) to replace them, but, given all the budget problems in recent years, we cannot be sure of what will happen, or when.
 
If you are interested in continuing to work with both literature & RC, your path forward here is clearer than if you just want to do RC, because we have very strong staffing in literary studies.”
 
My research interest is how social class affects interpretation of meaning- both in the law and other public rhetoric.
 
Not sure what I think of this.  Can you all share your thoughts with me??
 
Thanks!
 
 
Edited by Daenerys

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1 hour ago, Daenerys said:

I went back to school for an  MA in professional writing  after practicing law for several years.  I was looking for a law and literature paper topic for a literature class and ended up doing a rhetorical analysis of the book instead, focusing on the influence said book had on passage of law.  That paper eventually became my masters thesis, and my writing sample for my R/C PhD applications.

So, yesterday I was accepted to a University that has always been strong in R/C and is a 10 minute drive from my house.  I am married with children so it seemed perfect:  I could get the degree I wanted with very little upheaval in my family’s lives.  

Today, though, I got an email from the DGS that said:

 
“There is one issue that you should be aware of. While our Rhetoric and composition Program is thriving at present, we only have two professors in the area, and both are nearing retirement. We are hopeful that we will get hires to supplement and (eventually) to replace them, but, given all the budget problems in recent years, we cannot be sure of what will happen, or when.
 
If you are interested in continuing to work with both literature & RC, your path forward here is clearer than if you just want to do RC, because we have very strong staffing in literary studies.”
 
My research interest is how social class affects interpretation of meaning- both in the law and other public rhetoric.
 
Not sure what I think of this.  Can you all share your thoughts with me??
 
Thanks!
 
 

This seems like a really tough situation :( for me, personally, I would take this school off my list, but I have very different priorities than you (no spouse/kids, don't care about moving). It sounds like the DGS is saying not to count on a strong RC faculty for your degree, though, and that seems like it could not be productive for your research interests. Could there be other factors besides faculty to make the program strong in RC?

I don't think it would be out-of-line if you wanted to call the DGS to chat more specifically about what this would look like (especially about just how close to retirement these two are). Whatever happens, I really hope it works out well for you!!

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Wow, @Daenerys. That's tough. I'll second @marisawhy's advice to call the DGS. If they're willing to be up front with you in writing, I think they should be just as forthcoming--if not more so--over the phone. 

I think R/C has a lot of flexibility (e.g., my writing sample was very rhetorical but was technically produced for a lit audience and advised by lit people and that was good enough to get me into some great R/C programs), but it kinda depends on what your end goal is. Do you want to work in higher ed? If so, I think the advisors you associate with matter, as do the scholarship you produce and the administrative experiences you get to have. Having R/C people available to support you will make it easier to get those experiences. Do you want to work outside of higher ed? If so, then the scholarship you produce and the way you spin that work really really matters, but whether or not that program is "strong" in RC in 2023 (or whenever) matters a little less. I think it all boils down to what other opportunities and benefits that program would have to offer if your POI weren't there.

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2 hours ago, Daenerys said:

Not sure what I think of this.  Can you all share your thoughts with me??

First off, I am so sorry that the circumstances of the department are changing after already being accepted. This is an issue I think many of us need to consider- faculty can always leave and retire. I think the difference here is that the department is unsure of whether they will be able to replace them. I think the real question will be: what is important to you in terms of your future work? 

For your dissertation or just general mentorship, you could do just fine in the department. There are enough rhet/comp conferences, listservs, and online resources to get you by and expose you to the research. Personally, though, I would be concerned about the job market. You'll be looking for people to recommend you and help you through the process, and I'm not sure that you'll be able to supplement that with lit people. Though knowledgeable about the process, our field has different standards for hiring and one of the biggest will be who you were trained by, what classes you taught, what your formal teaching is in. Your classes will most likely be in lit, your committee will be lit people, and they will most likely have a different understanding of what your dissertation should look like compared to rhet/comp scholars. I do not want to sound pessimistic, it's just the reality of joining a graduate program. You're joining not for the piece of paper, but for the mentorship and instruction that will prepare you for a job in a specialized discipline.  The rhet/comp job market is much better than the lit market right now, but there is a large problem (as I've been told by faculty in my department) that many lit people are trying to rebrand themselves as rhet/comp in order to secure these jobs. You don't want to appear to be one of those people.  Additionally, you don't want the first thing people say when you apply to a job to be "I didn't know university xyz had a rhet/comp program." You want a program with some recognizability (note: this is different than rank). If you are open to lit or open to doing extra work to find those support networks (such as attending extra conferences, workshops, publishing in rhet/comp spaces, potentially finding mentors outside of your academy) it could work- but it'll be easier in a department that has that network built in.

It also concerns me that the department does not have the budget to replace their only two rhet/comp people. It implies that their rhet/comp track is not a priority or that the department doesn't have stable funding (which is a concern for graduate student funding as well). I have a hard time believing their rhet/comp program is thriving with only two professors (and that the department was not aware of their potential retirement when they advertised for admissions to the program). Something else to consider will be the future state of the program. If those two professors retire, we can assume less rhet/comp students will apply next year and the next and so forth. Will you be happy potentially being one of a handful of students working in your research area? Will you be happy attending conferences solo (as I imagine a department with no rhet comp staff will most likely not be attending CCCCs, but rather MLA). These things seem small, but it can have a huge impact on your professionalization and happiness as a member of the field.

You mentioned your family though and that can be a far more significant factor. So I'm offering these things up as red flags and concerns that I see from the outside looking in. In the end though, it's up to what matters most to you. Look at the overall offer, visit the potential people you could work with. See what your assistantship will look like. Weigh your other options (if you applied elsewhere or don't mind waiting another year and reapplying). But most importantly I would ask yourself where you want to be 5 and 10 years down the road and seriously consider what that requires.

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4 hours ago, Daenerys said:

Not sure what I think of this.  Can you all share your thoughts with me??

I agree with everything that's been said so far about considering your ultimate goals for the degree and how much mentor reputation, having a cohort with shared interests, relevant coursework, etc. matters to you. I'd also suggest looking into how flexible the department is about cross-disciplinary work. How many courses can you take in other departments? How many of your committee members can be from other departments? If the school has a Communication PhD with a rhetoric track, there might be good options there. If they have Linguistics graduate program, ditto. I also came from a graduate program with a limited Rhet/Comp faculty (more like 4 or 5 faculty, many in partially administrative roles) and a lot of us took classes in Education, Gender and Women's Studies, Tech Comm in the Engineering School...  My friend who did her dissertation on legal rhetoric ultimately had a rhetorician, a linguist, a law scholar, and GWS scholar on her committee (though its worth saying that she was not aiming for academic employment). I found this interdisciplinary background served me well, since Rhet/Comp is such an interdisciplinary field, but the posters above have identified a lot of the potential risks of having such a limited faculty. And 2 (or none) does seem scary-small. In addition to following up with the DGS, I'd also ask if there are current Rhet/Comp students that you can be in touch with to find out how they're approaching their coursework and what the ethos is like.

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22 hours ago, ancientqueen said:

Just got an acceptance email from Syracuse. I’m crying from happiness! 

Congrats!!!! I was waitlisted. You should feel proud because they only admit 4 people a year!! 

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@Daenerys I agree with what everyone else said. Since you are so close, I'd encourage you to go visit them. Talk to the faculty in person. Ask them when they might retire. Talk to current students in the program. Sit in on some classes (lit, too, to see if it could match your interests) to get a clearer picture.

What my faculty have been telling me is that you need a solid number of people interested in what you are interested in to make a diss committee. So, you've got to feel it out. And I'm really sorry this is happening! 

Edited by klader

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@Daenerys is it an option to talk with them about people from other departments that might serve on your committee? Like Communications or Law School professors, if the school has them? Or sociology? Or maybe they’re in a regional consortium that can supplement in some way?

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On 2/20/2018 at 6:44 PM, Crow T. Robot said:

@Wabbajack @WildeThing @marisawhy @all other Berkeley Rhetoric applicants: I just called the department and the grad coordinator told me they haven't sent out all acceptances yet! He said they hope to have the rest out "within the next week or two." Keep the hope alive!

I actually called myself and was told that “most but not all” decisions have been made and that we should be hearing back in one week or two. I asked if some acceptancs were pending and was told that some decisions have not been finalized. Personally I take this to mean that acceptances are out and they’re waiting on responses before finalizing rejections but who knows.

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3 hours ago, WildeThing said:

I actually called myself and was told that “most but not all” decisions have been made and that we should be hearing back in one week or two. I asked if some acceptancs were pending and was told that some decisions have not been finalized. Personally I take this to mean that acceptances are out and they’re waiting on responses before finalizing rejections but who knows.

Thanks for the update. I think you're probably right. I wish they wouldn't be so hush hush about it.

Edited by Wabbajack

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It looks like Clemson acceptances have gone/are in the process of going out. If anyone has any questions about the program or Clemson in general, I'd be happy to chat :)

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5 hours ago, mk-8 said:

It looks like Clemson acceptances have gone/are in the process of going out. If anyone has any questions about the program or Clemson in general, I'd be happy to chat :)

Thanks! Will PM you. 

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 I just want to thank all of you who have responded to my rather lengthy question above. I will go in and talk to them. It’s actually the same school where I got my law agree, so it’s possible we can work something out. Meanwhile, I have received three waitlist notifications so maybe something will happen with one of those schools. 

 You guys have been really terrific. I can’t thank you enough. 

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@Daenerys and anyone else wait listed at UTK: They made two initial offers to RWL applicants. 

NOTE: They also told me my number on the wait list when I asked. 

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14 minutes ago, katie64 said:

Number four on the waitlist for a fully-funded spot at OU (Oklahoma) for MA rhet/comp program. Anyone have any insight on the program there? 

I didn't attend, but I was accepted for an MA 2 years ago. Their campus is beautiful and their program was well funded from what I remember. You should totally reach out to Roxanne Mountford if you haven't already about visiting. I know they didn't fund visits for MAs when I went, but since it's so close I went on my own. She took me to lunch and showed me around campus, it was a very positive experience. There's someone on here who did their MA there, but at the moment I cant remember who. 

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4 hours ago, renea said:

I didn't attend, but I was accepted for an MA 2 years ago. Their campus is beautiful and their program was well funded from what I remember. You should totally reach out to Roxanne Mountford if you haven't already about visiting. I know they didn't fund visits for MAs when I went, but since it's so close I went on my own. She took me to lunch and showed me around campus, it was a very positive experience. There's someone on here who did their MA there, but at the moment I cant remember who. 

Thank you very much! I might just do that. I'm close enough I could visit on my own dime (I'm in North Texas) so if I move off the waitlist, I'll likely do that. They said that the number of spots they could offer this year was greatly reduced...not sure if they're saying that just to make me feel better haha, but we'll see what happens. 

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6 hours ago, Wooshkuh said:

@Daenerys and anyone else wait listed at UTK: They made two initial offers to RWL applicants. 

NOTE: They also told me my number on the wait list when I asked. 

Which was??  (I’m fourth).

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1 hour ago, Daenerys said:

Which was??  (I’m fourth).

I'm #2. 

Update: wait listed at ASU and Tennessee / rejected from OSU and Wisconsin / implied rejection from Syracuse / somewhere far away from consideration when it comes to Purdue because of their notification limbo 

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13 hours ago, katie64 said:

Thank you very much! I might just do that. I'm close enough I could visit on my own dime (I'm in North Texas) so if I move off the waitlist, I'll likely do that. They said that the number of spots they could offer this year was greatly reduced...not sure if they're saying that just to make me feel better haha, but we'll see what happens. 

Well good luck. I think you have good chances of getting of the waitlist. Also I tracked down the thread about OU with the MA student. I'm not sure if @LCB is active on GC anymore, but digging through the thread might be helpful. 

Hopefully you'll hear before April. I was in Denton when I drove up and it's a very easy drive, plus they're close to OKC which I always have enjoyed visiting. If you end up going definitely make time to visit their museum on campus. I easily spent 3 hours there alone. (plus it's freeeee :D).

Have you heard back from any of your other programs?

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