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Literacy Specialist - Requesting a 101


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Hi, I was hoping someone could offer me some knowledge and guidance. :) I'm brand new to researching doctoral programs in Education. I graduated from a SUNY last year with an Ed.M in English Education (3.96 GPA). This past year, I applied to PhD programs in Rhet/Comp with the goal of being a writing professor. It looks like I'll be shut out this year. I'll apply again next year (and at more realistic schools! ;) ). I also want to apply next year to Education PhD programs in literacy, reading, and writing. My end goal there would be a faculty position in developmental literacy classes at community colleges or universities. I think I'd also like to develop my own tutoring center one day, but that's not an immediate concern. (As another side note, I have a strong academic interest in revising how argumentative writing is taught. Just adding this in case any schools are recommended for research in writing.)

My main concern is finding a PhD program that is funded, has good job placement rates for the career I want, and is a place where I'd have a shot at acceptance. I'm a non-traditional student. I'm well into my 30s, and I suspect that will hurt my chances a lot (especially since I haven't been working in education). I went to a regional state school for undergrad on full scholarship. I double majored in English and Philosophy and graduated with a 3.65 GPA (3.8+ in English and 3.9+ in Philosophy). I took the GRE last year and scored 167(V), 157(Q) and 5.5 AW.

Although I'd prefer not to live in a hot and humid climate, I'm open to attending school anywhere in the country if the school fits my other criteria.

Thanks for reading. I'd appreciate any guidance so much! Mostly, I'm wondering, is it a dream for me to aim for full funding? I'm finding contradictory information on if that happens in Education. Also, are any schools known for accepting older students?

Edited by snickus
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    From what I have seen, it is not unusual for education phd applicants to be in their late 20's or into their 30's so I don't believe it will be a problem for you.  Many programs want their doctoral students to have had a few years of teaching experience but there are still a number of them that do not have that requirement.  I am not in the English education field but here are some ideas to get your started in your search: 

University of Michigan: English & Education Joint PhD

University of Florida: English Education PhD

Stanford University: Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education (CTE): Concentration: Literacy, Language, and English Education PhD

Temple University: Education: Literacy & Learners PhD

University of California - Berkeley: Culture, Development, & Learning Sciences: Language & Literacy PhD 

Vanderbilt University: Language, Literacy, & Culture PhD

It really depends on the program as to how much funding you will get, but there are Education PhD programs out there that do provide full funding.  I hope this helps :)

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Yes, Waiting & Hoping, that helped a lot. Thank you!! :) Knowing that there are programs that provide full funding is a relief. Now I'll hope that they'll want me.  :D 

I fear some of the schools on that list are way of out my league. I applied to Michigan this year and am an implied rejection there. From that list, I just checked out Temple's program and fell in love. I'm grateful to you for putting them on my radar! Wow, I *really* like them and am kicking myself for not researching literacy programs earlier. 

As far as my age goes...I'm closer to the 40 side of things than 30. That's causing me a lot of worry, tbh. I'm thinking that I'll contact the programs I like and ask them if they've recently admitted older students like me. I don't want to make it awkward for them and ask if my age would make me less competitive in admission (bc I don't think any of them would feel comfortable admitting to that). So I'm hoping that way of phrasing it may help me sense if my app would quickly go to the trash. I'm a latecomer to education, did other things first. 

Thanks again! I'll be checking out the other schools on the list too.

Edited by snickus
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Just to throw this one out there, I know University of Minnesota has a Literacy Education program within their Curriculum and Instruction department. I applied with lower stats than you and got admitted (different concentration though). Priority funding is given to full time PhD students, so more than likely it is fully funded too. ;)

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