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Hello everyone,

I am currently an undergraduate student studying History at SUNY Oneonta. My current GPA at SUNY O is 3.93, and I am working for the department chair as a research assistantship (funded work). I have worked as a research assistant for another professor, and I will be working as a teaching assistant next semester. I am also learning Russian and French, and I will be studying abroad in Saint Petersburg. 

Unfortunately, my academic history is hardly great outside of SUNY Oneonta. I started college when I was 16 at SUNY Delhi. I did 100 level classes with a mix of A's and B's. I started the nursing program there, and the results were poor. I obtained largely C's (some A's and B's but they were online classes). It was an associate degree, and unfortunately in the last semester I obtained two D's, which did not allow me to graduate. I guess I couldn't get my mind to enjoy the nursing like I have the history. 

With that said I looking for answers and advice. 

How do schools (PhD in history programs) view my nursing school failures? 

Even though the GPA is good, does SUNY O, hardly a reknown school, not make it look like a great turn around? 

What schools would be within my reach? 

Any response is greatly appreciated!

Edited by Boyar678

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I'll give what's assuredly a boilerplate, unsatisfying, though nonetheless useful answer:

Graduate school admissions, especially for history, are much less data-based than you assume. Your application will be made or broken on three fundamental items: SoP (statement of purpose), writing sample, and letters of recommendation. Next to these three items, things like non-major GPA are nearly valueless.

You have two languages and presumably a decent degree of proficiency. Have you written a senior thesis or other 15-20 page research paper using original sources? If so, you have a writing sample.

Do not think of graduate school admissions as "reach, match, and safety." I myself was rejected from a PhD at Indiana HPS, a solid, but by no means spectacular program. I was among the final five candidates interviewed at Hopkins and was accepted into Wisconsin, both of which are much better history of science programs (i.e.: Indiana is probably low first-tier, high second, Wisconsin and Hopkins are both high first). If you do well on the SoP and writing sample and have excellent letters, you're going to have a chance pretty much anywhere. It then comes down to elements as disparate as "how many graduate students has Prof. X had in the last year?" to "when should I next go on leave?"

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Hi Psstein, 

Thank you for the reply!  I have decent proficiency in French, and I am expanding my proficiency in Russian. I hope to be fluent in Russian. I will be starting work on my undergrad thesis this fall, and it will take two semesters. 

Your answer is extremely useful. Based off the above, the letters of rec, writing sample, and statement of purpose factor in more than I thought, but how much emphasis is placed on the GRE? 

 

 

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The GRE varies in importance depending upon program. Some programs care a lot, others can't be bothered. So long as you get above the 90th percentile on the verbal section and similarly on the analytical writing section, it's fine. The quantitative section only comes into account in very particular areas (e.g. history of mathematics).

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14 hours ago, Boyar678 said:

Any response is greatly appreciated!

Hi, @Boyar678

Please consider the utility of using the search function to find answers to your questions before starting a new thread. 

The ability to generate answers to one's own questions is a core skill set in the historian's toolbox. You are competing against applicants who are taking every opportunity to develop their research skills and that effort is going to give them a competitive advantage. 

https://forum.thegradcafe.com/search/?q=russian&type=forums_topic&nodes=38

IRT flunking out of nursing school, the challenge you may face is that unless members of admissions committees know nurses personally, they may not appreciate how difficult nursing school can be. You may also need to find a way to explain better why you did not successfully address your short comings in nursing school before getting the D's. 

Finally, given the fact that you're working in a history department now, you would probably benefit more from developing a relationship with professors at your school, especially Malikov, and get answers to your questions from them.

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Hi Sigaba, 

It's my first time on the site. I have a very good relationship with Doctor Malikov, and I worked with him on his latest research project. I have discussed grad school with some professors. I posted here to see what others would say.  Out of curiosity, did you go to Oneonta, and do you know Dr. Malikov? 

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12 hours ago, Boyar678 said:

Hi Sigaba, 

It's my first time on the site. I have a very good relationship with Doctor Malikov, and I worked with him on his latest research project. I have discussed grad school with some professors. I posted here to see what others would say.  Out of curiosity, did you go to Oneonta, and do you know Dr. Malikov? 

If you have a "very good relationship" with Professor Malikov and have discussed graduate school with professors you know in person, what is the purpose of asking strangers for their opinions? Are you saying that you don't trust Professor Malikov?

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@Boyar678

Sigaba knows without being personally connected to your institution or professors because one can always Google up History departments of the institutions.  In a smaller department, it's quite easy to figure out who one is/should be working with.  Again, making use of the search function on this site (or anywhere on the Internet) is extremely important skill to have.  I can't tell you how many times in a day that I google for my dissertation research or teaching.

I'd strongly consider going to Middlebury for Russian.  They have plenty of financial aid so the cost of attending should not be such a burden.  It's a beautiful campus with very, very intense program (Russian 24/7).  You'll learn far more Russian there in 8 weeks than you would in St. Petersburg in 4 months.

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6 hours ago, Sigaba said:

If you have a "very good relationship" with Professor Malikov and have discussed graduate school with professors you know in person, what is the purpose of asking strangers for their opinions? Are you saying that you don't trust Professor Malikov?

Hi Sigaba, 

By no means do I not trust Doctor Malikov. I trust him him greatly. Yet I want more than just one opinion on grad school. In addition to talking to Doctor Malikov, I have also sought advice from Doctor Harper, and I will soon go to Doctor Hendley. I want as many opinions as possible. I posted on this site to see what people would say. You might think it fruitless to post here, but I'm just trying to get as many opinions as possible. I didn't intend for my post to appear as if I didn't trust the faculty I work and study under. I hope that clears up why I posted here. 

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Oh my god I love @Sigaba. He's so ruthless.

OP, read the damned site. There's 10 years' worth of application discussions here. You'll get more from conducting your own reading and forming your own opinions based on what discussions prior users have had than you will from posting naive questions and relying on whoever answers. I've started to dislike people directing OPs to the search bar, especially in pompous form, but for a budding scholar (or adult), it really is useful to develop the instinct to first attempt to resolve your problems independently rather than immediately asking for help.

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4 hours ago, ExponentialDecay said:

Oh my god I love @Sigaba. He's so ruthless.

OP, read the damned site. There's 10 years' worth of application discussions here. You'll get more from conducting your own reading and forming your own opinions based on what discussions prior users have had than you will from posting naive questions and relying on whoever answers. I've started to dislike people directing OPs to the search bar, especially in pompous form, but for a budding scholar (or adult), it really is useful to develop the instinct to first attempt to resolve your problems independently rather than immediately asking for help.

Another critical skill to develop, @Boyar678-- understand that you are by no means the "first" to ask such questions. There have been posts about chances/applying to PhD programs in Russian history. You will learn in your first year of coursework (especially during preparation for exams) that many scholars before you have asked similar questions. It is your job to do your homework on the debates/discussions that have occurred in the past years so you can present a more nuanced question or suggestion.

Also, do yourself a big favor, please refrain from being quite specific (which you have done already with professors' names and your school) when you are posting on an anonymous forum (It is anonymous for a reason).  You want to minimize your personal information as much as possible as professors and current graduate students do look at this site and will make connections. The last thing you want to do is create a less-than-solid impression on these people who will judge you when they meet you (though they will try to keep an open mind).  if posters want to obtain specific information from you,  they will message you.

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