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hey @dilby! i applied to chicago cinema studies as well. your research areas sound super interesting. best of luck! chicago is #2 on my list behind penn (for comp lit). 

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Hey all!  Longtime lurker here as well. Primary research interests are pretty staid -- government/law/politics in nineteenth-century American lit. I feel a little self-conscious about it, as everyone here seems to have much more timely/cutting-edge topics.

Got 8 apps in, working on 2 more.  Applying only to top 15 schools. I know that's foolhardy, even with good stats (3.9 GPA, 170V/163Q/5.5W, 740 Lit), but I'm older and have an established career in another field, which I'll stick to if the English thing doesn't work out.  

Thanks to everyone for posting and keeping me semi-sane during this grueling process. Good luck!!

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4 minutes ago, Renzo said:

Got 8 apps in, working on 2 more.  Applying only to top 15 schools. I know that's foolhardy, even with good stats (3.9 GPA, 170V/163Q/5.5W, 740 Lit), but I'm older and have an established career in another field, which I'll stick to if the English thing doesn't work out.  

It's nice to meet another older applicant who also has a solid non-academic career! I'd like to think it's keeping me slightly saner as I know I'll be just fine if I don't get in (very upset, but also just fine).

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37 minutes ago, placeinspace said:

It's nice to meet another older applicant who also has a solid non-academic career! I'd like to think it's keeping me slightly saner as I know I'll be just fine if I don't get in (very upset, but also just fine).

Exactly!  The process is also super expensive, so it's also nice having some disposable income so you don't have to, for example, agonize over the cost of applying to more schools.  On the other hand, applying years after undergrad is pretty challenging in a lot of ways (at least it was for me) -- studying for the GREs, trying to figure out a good writing sample/SoP without any advice, reconnecting with professors for recs,  trying to manage the process with a full time job, etc. So happy that it's almost done and I can move onto the worrying stage, along with everyone else. 

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@RenzoI think it's awesome that you have a career that you're happy to stay in so you know what you're doing otherwise. Right now I'm working some temporary jobs (I graduated in June), and I'm trying to think of back-up plans if the grad school plan doesn't work out--it's been a bit of a struggle! 

Edited by sugilite

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2 hours ago, sugilite said:

@RenzoI think it's awesome that you have a career that you're happy to stay in so you know what you're doing otherwise. Right now I'm working some temporary jobs (I graduated in June), and I'm trying to think of back-up plans if the grad school plan doesn't work out--it's been a bit of a struggle! 

I can imagine -- that sounds tough!  Lots of people say, though, that the key to making your dream work is not having a backup plan.  So I think people like you might ultimately be more successful than people like me at the whole literature thing. And I have to say, I'm really, really impressed by people like you who are committed to doing something impractical you love right outta school.  It takes guts!

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Officially got every application completed with all letters.

Also realized the other day that I had a book by a POI among my stuff that I had forgotten about. Had I realized and read it it would have been a great connection point as it is right up my alley. Oh well.

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4 hours ago, sugilite said:

I'm trying to think of back-up plans if the grad school plan doesn't work out--it's been a bit of a struggle! 

This is so real. I know rationally I SHOULD put thought/energy/time into my backup plans, but right now I have 2ish vague impulses about what I'll do if I don't get in. I can't really bring myself to do anything more than acknowledge that the possibility exists.

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my plan is still to move the minute i get off stage and out of cap/robe. i've struck out on a few back-up job interviews because i think even though i'm obviously not mentioning that grad school is my #1-or-bust plan, i have no poker face and feigning excitement for a position that is "well i guess if nothing else this'll do" in my mind is quite difficult. 

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I was in a similar position when I applied to my MA program. I had been out of school for a few years, excited to re-enter academia, but not really sure what I'd do if I didn't get in. The wait is painful, but you all have come so far already and taken some big risks. Try to be gentle - y'all are doing a lot of hard work!

This time around my position is a bit different. I'm confident that, barring any disasters, my current program will accept me to the PhD no problem. It's my reach schools I'm more nervous about.

Last night these worries resulted in a dream in which someone pointed out a typo in my SOP and my heart broke. Lol.

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Current undergrad seniors applying, I feel your anxiety about leaving school. I really couldn't envision myself doing anything else but took a couple of years to do other things because every single mentor told me it was a good idea.

I started applying to on-campus administrative jobs (in the English department, libraries, stuff like that) shortly after graduating and struck out after about 20 of those (maybe about 6 weeks in application time). I ended up getting an entry level customer service job and it's been pretty wonderful. If you end up in a similar situation (I hope you get in, of course), I think you'll find that it can be really nice to watch and read literally anything you want. Especially if you can manage to stay in the town where you went to school and can remain connected with your mentors. I pretty much only spend money on food, rent, used books, and criterion collection flash sales, so I've also been able to build up a little nest egg to help pay for living expenses when I'm (hopefully) living on a stipend next year. :]

I'd say don't worry too much about lining up other plans until you know for sure that you'll need to find a job. Employers don't really hire more than a month or two out anyway, and because you're strong writers/communicators you'll have an easy time of it.

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A long time lurker here! I just got my MA and moved back home earlier this year, but most of the teaching positions in my country require a PhD to advance, so I thought I might as well get one ASAP. 

This is my second time going through the waiting game, and it's still as nerve-wrecking as the last. What worries me the most, though, is probably the fact that most of the programs I applied to are in the States, and that means I'll have to live there for at least 5-6 years.  I did my MA in America, so it won't be my first time living abroad, but 5-6 years sound really daunting and I'm surprisingly concerned about the cats that I'm leaving behind with my family more than anything. 

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I applied 4 years ago and got into my top choice. It was really just dumb luck as I didn't have any idea what I was doing. I didn't have any degree in my field. I got my MA Spanish in 2017 and now am trying to go ABD (All But Dissertation). I'm planning to be in Mexico all of next year and thankfully stop teaching undergrad Spanish classes (they take way too much of my time).

Anyway, one thing I've learned and as many of you know, you need to create a relationship with a professor who shares your interests. That's the only reason I've made it this far since there is so much nonsense that transpires in an academic department, some of it pretty petty and some of it pretty ugly. I'll go even further and say you need to have friendlies and support on your committees, both MA and PhD, that point cannot be overstated. So it all comes down to building and maintaining good personal relationships.

Good luck to all of you this year.

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On 10/14/2018 at 7:58 PM, WildeThing said:

I am nearing the final push for this cycle. I have SoPs nearly ready for 13 schools: Columbia, NYU, CUNY, Rutgers, Penn, Boston College, UConn, George Washington, Emory, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Stanford

@WildeThing I didn't know you were applying to Vanderbilt this cycle!! Good luck! I have zero power whatsoever but hit me up if you've got questions. We've got two new AfAm faculty coming in the fall too, so I'll extra cross my fingers for you.

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Hello everyone!

I just stumbled onto this community, and I’m so happy to have done so! I felt myself physically relax after a couple minutes of reading through the forums. Ahhhh - camaraderie! 

I’m was an English + computer science major who landed in a software engineering role after college. I enjoy the work, but I don’t get the same thrill that I get from literature.

So after a TON of introspection, I’m trying to career-switch myself into an English PhD program as modernist with a focus on computational approaches. 

I am 7/11 applications in right now - hoping to polish off a few more before the new year. Phew! 

Looking forward to bopping around this forum! Good luck, y’all! ?

 

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10 hours ago, M(allthevowels)H said:

@WildeThing I didn't know you were applying to Vanderbilt this cycle!! Good luck! I have zero power whatsoever but hit me up if you've got questions. We've got two new AfAm faculty coming in the fall too, so I'll extra cross my fingers for you.

Oh cool, thank you! Right now I’m weaning myself off learning new information to avoid regretting anything in my app but I will definitely hit you up if I get an acceptance. So please God I hope I’ll hit you up.

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6 hours ago, WildeThing said:

Right now I’m weaning myself off learning new information to avoid regretting anything in my app

 

Setting an example for all of us :]

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I'm having a hard time not panic applying to a few more programs.  Anyone else having this issue?  Like, why didn't I apply to any schools in Canada?  I love Canada!  Why did I disregard the entire South (US)?  Humidity isn't that bad!

You'd think 20 programs would be enough, but apparently not.  I'm terrified that I won't get in anywhere and then I'll be 31 reevaluating everything.  AAAAAAAAAAA.

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5 hours ago, kendalldinniene said:

You'd think 20 programs would be enough, but apparently not.  I'm terrified that I won't get in anywhere and then I'll be 31 reevaluating everything.  AAAAAAAAAAA.

FWIW: One of the last programs I added last year was the one I ultimately ended up attending. I overlooked it in my original go around but found my old notes and couldn't help having a lot of admiration for the program. There are so many opportunities here and the city is wonderful.

 

20 hours ago, BeachBum said:

So after a TON of introspection, I’m trying to career-switch myself into an English PhD program as modernist with a focus on computational approaches. 

 

Are you interested in Digital Humanities?

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Hi! 

I'm mom to a 2019 applicant, doing some research because I have more spare time than she does at this point. 

She just completed her BA at a state flagship and is applying to a couple of English Ph.D programs and a couple of Library Information Masters programs. 

She ended up with a 3.76 cumulative GPA and a 4.0 in English, her major. She got a minor in studio art and was one class away from a second minor in Ancient Greek. 

Strong points are a few publications and conference presentations as well as departmental awards and scholarships including the honors thesis prize. 

Her LORs are probably very enthusiastic. 

The weak points are her GRE scores. Her quantitative score was very low due to low processing speed and learning disabilities. Her analytical writing was a 4 which is also very low for an English major. I imagine this was also due to processing speed issues. She did however get a 167 in the verbal section and is taking the English subject test in April. 

She took her mentoring professor a list of 15 possible graduate schools to apply to and he thinned the list down to 5. His point was that that she should only apply to the schools that she would enjoy attending and that have faculty he believes will value her particular skills. 

Unfortunately, the only schools she applied to are the very most difficult to get into-Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan and University of Illinois ischool and Syracuse ischool. 

It is going to be a long few months waiting to see what happens. 

Good luck to everyone who has made it this far in the application process! 

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40 minutes ago, Mumasatus said:

I'm mom to a 2019 applicant, doing some research because I have more spare time than she does at this point. 

 

You sound like a really wonderful mom. Best of luck to you and your daughter. :)

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you sound like an amazing mom! your daughter and i have same gre stats/background (she has more accomplishments, though, and a hearty kudos to her!)  i have adhd so i'm already not the best test-taker, but sitting in a freezing room with mouses and keyboards clicking/people coughing/people watching me behind glass was fresh hell.  but i'm telling myself that the rest of my app is okay and the scores don't show anything than how well i took a test in that moment. good luck to you both!

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Thanks for the replies.  

I feel like in the end, so much comes down to luck. 

Even though this daughter went to a school with over 50,000 students, she was lucky to get a ton of individual help from her mentor and her advisor. That has been critical to her success. 

My middle daughter is at a much smaller school, but hasn't had anywhere near the same level of support. 

School fit isn't an easy for me to predict. 

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