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Anyone here a Victorian/19th C British specialist? It seems that this year's acceptances have so far consistently been for other areas of specialization other than Victorian/19th C British. I'm wondering if last year was a big year for this particular area, and there just isn't much space for specialists working in this period this application season as a result. Granted, people might not be reporting their areas on the results page, but I'm curious to know if anyone else has noticed that.

Edited by WildeingOut
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In at yale, oh my god

Friends!!! I just had a paper on dynamics of embodied race in Kate Chopin's "Desiree's Baby" accepted for publication in an undergraduate research journal! I am OVER THE MOON! My first academic public

I would very much like to know where/if I am going to graduate school !!

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lol I love the way we all talk about Yale because it truly is like a straight up lottery — everyone is really out here awaiting a rejection and some lucky person is gonna get a surprise admit

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22 hours ago, barshmie said:

Maybe we can ask @emprof what they think about school prestige in admissions decisions? (we are all so grateful to you)

School prestige is not not a factor. (Litotes!) But I wouldn't say that it's decisive. 

I think @Dares has a point in saying that there is a particular language (and habits of mind, and methodologies, and preoccuping questions, etc.) that characterizes elite academic discourse. It's the language that the profession uses to talk to itself. And one might more readily, or more easily, encounter that language (habit of mind, methodology, etc.) at Yale than at Unknown University. So perhaps a candidate from Yale will be more immediately legible to an admissions committee as a proto-academic than the UU candidate. There is also the sense--perhaps unfair--that success at a prestigious university presages success anywhere; if an undergraduate institution is truly unknown to the committee, then a straight-A average there might not provoke that same assumption. (The UU could be academically rigorous, of course--but it could not be.) LORs often rate students in comparison to other students: e.g., "top 5%," "top 10%," "2 or 3 best of my career." At a prestigious university, top 2-3 of the career is very impressive. At UU, it might be less so. It's not that the committee knows or assumes the UU student to be weaker than the Yale student; it's just that the information from UU doesn't signify as strongly.

That said, committees also love to flatter themselves (and sometimes maybe they're right) that they can recognize "diamonds in the rough" (this is a phrase that comes up all of the time) and "refine" them with expert teaching, mentorship, and advising. There's also a high premium on diversity, including economic diversity and "first-generation college student" status--meaning we don't want a whole class of Ivy League grads from wealthy parents with graduate degrees. If an applicant has gone to a fancy prep school and a fancy university, and is very polished, but the ideas in the WS are uninteresting, that application is much less compelling than one from an applicant from UU who lacks polish and knowledge of the most recent work in the field, but offers a strikingly original approach to a text or topic. And occasionally, applicants from high-prestige undergraduate institutions are identified so strongly with their prestigious undergraduate mentors that the question of "teachability" comes up: does the applicant seem already to be calcified in a particular approach or methodology and s/he would not be adequately responsive to feedback and mentorship? 

So all of that is to say: sure, it matters. Everything in the application matters. But it matters a lot less than the intellectual excitement that the SoP and WS generate.

Hope this is helpful. Happy to natter on further if people have questions.

 

 

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23 minutes ago, dilby said:

lol I love the way we all talk about Yale because it truly is like a straight up lottery — everyone is really out here awaiting a rejection and some lucky person is gonna get a surprise admit

“What We Talk About When We Talk About Yale” by us.

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1 hour ago, WildeingOut said:

Anyone here a Victorian/19th C British specialist? It seems that this year's acceptances have so far consistently been for other areas of specialization other than Victorian/19th C British. I'm wondering if last year was a big year for this particular area, and there just isn't much space for specialists working in this period this application season as a result. Granted, people might not be reporting their areas on the results page, but I'm curious to know if anyone else has noticed that.

Hiya! I'm a Victorianist :)

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Just dropping in to share this, in case anyone could use a pick-me-up via humorous, eccentric, and historical feline portraiture. Eulalie Osgood Grover, writer of children's books and the original cat memer (c. 1911): 

edit-kittenscatsbooko00grov_0051 copy

(enjoy further perusal: https://archive.org/details/kittenscatsbooko00grov)

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1 hour ago, dilby said:

lol I love the way we all talk about Yale because it truly is like a straight up lottery — everyone is really out here awaiting a rejection and some lucky person is gonna get a surprise admit

Shhhh. You are disrupting my illusion of control. 

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11 minutes ago, sugilite said:

Can someone die from refreshing their email too much? Asking for a friend, of course.

I don’t think there have been fatalities in past years! The 2019 application cycle might just push us to that point, though. 

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Anyone 20-21st Century American and British?

i feel like this is a competitive concentration to choose. Idk if schools have been taking people with this research focus or not this year, anyone else know?

i think my parents r in disbelief that I haven’t gotten in anywhere yet, but I’m totally believing it lmao it’s just sad

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On 2/14/2019 at 11:32 PM, kendalldinniene said:

Do you think it’s bad in an interview to ask what about your application made them want to meet you?

@emprof would love it if you could speak to this.

This is a phone interview as part of the admissions cycle? My institution doesn't do these, so I'm speculating slightly about how other institutions might treat these. But it's hard for me to imagine that this would somehow count as a strike against you. In all interviews I've been a part of (both inside and outside of academia), the interview concludes with the question to the candidate, "Do you have any questions for us?" I think it's important to use that opportunity to signal your interest in and knowledge about the program--something like, "I know that you have graduate certificates in Digital Humanities, and I was wondering if you could tell me more about that." Or: "Can you tell me more about opportunities to develop as a teacher in your program?" This is the kind of question that gives the committee a chance to brag about their program, but also to signal your seriousness about their institution. But following that rhetorical performance, I don't think there would be anything wrong with asking, "What aspects of my application stood out to you during your deliberations?" I know that one of the most frustrating things about the admissions process is the lack of feedback on the application. It's just a numbers game: we can't possibly craft meaningful feedback for 200 applicants every cycle. But especially with the candidates who were at the top of our list and just barely missed the final pool, I do wish we had the opportunity to extend our encouragement and admiration for their work.

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11 minutes ago, emprof said:

This is a phone interview as part of the admissions cycle? My institution doesn't do these, so I'm speculating slightly about how other institutions might treat these. But it's hard for me to imagine that this would somehow count as a strike against you. In all interviews I've been a part of (both inside and outside of academia), the interview concludes with the question to the candidate, "Do you have any questions for us?" I think it's important to use that opportunity to signal your interest in and knowledge about the program--something like, "I know that you have graduate certificates in Digital Humanities, and I was wondering if you could tell me more about that." Or: "Can you tell me more about opportunities to develop as a teacher in your program?" This is the kind of question that gives the committee a chance to brag about their program, but also to signal your seriousness about their institution. But following that rhetorical performance, I don't think there would be anything wrong with asking, "What aspects of my application stood out to you during your deliberations?" I know that one of the most frustrating things about the admissions process is the lack of feedback on the application. It's just a numbers game: we can't possibly craft meaningful feedback for 200 applicants every cycle. But especially with the candidates who were at the top of our list and just barely missed the final pool, I do wish we had the opportunity to extend our encouragement and admiration for their work.

I’m wondering for my in-person interview at SMU :) Thank you so much for the feedback, it’s very much appreciated!

Edited by kendalldinniene
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On 2/14/2019 at 6:17 PM, Warelin said:

I'm curious here. Do you believe those traits are also sought-after for hiring committees? Can you tell us what you're looking for when you're looking to hire someone into your department? I think a lot of people have it in their mind that it's "top 10 or bust" when it comes to applications as opposed to finding universities which may be a better fit for them. I think a lot of the time to account for cohort size when we see placements or the fact that not everyone in a cohort is looking for a tenure-track position, which might impact smaller departments more than bigger ones when looking at placement. Can you provide some insight on that?

Diversity definitely remains an important consideration in hiring decisions. But I would say that at that point, the *fit* between the teaching, research, and advising needs of the department and the profile of the candidate is the most important factor. In every search, the department would embrace the opportunity to hire a person of color who would diversify the faculty. Given two equally compelling candidates, one white and one a POC, the vote will go to the POC. But "equally compelling" is a much more specific thing at the hiring level than at the graduate admissions level. In my department, the gender balance among faculty is good, as is the balance between queer and not-queer faculty, so those factors are less influential. Other factors such as economic privilege in childhood and first-generation status are less influential at the hiring stage than at the admissions stage. Often, that deep background is not visible in the job application. 

I'm less sure what you were getting at with your questions about cohort size and placement. But departments should be able to tell you what percentage of their graduates get tenure-line jobs, non-tenure-line academic jobs, and alt-ac jobs, so cohort size shouldn't matter.

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3 minutes ago, kendalldinniene said:

I’m wondering for my in-person interview at SMU :) Thank you so much for the feedback, it’s very much appreciated!

Since they are bringing you to campus, they are obviously very interested in you! I'm confident that asking them about what in your application stood out will not derail that interest. You could even frame it in relation to their department: "What in my application made you think that I would be a good fit for SMU?" Sending lots of good wishes!

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22 hours ago, swarthmawr said:

@rr732 And I think this is sort of legally-binding, or a policy at least. One of my schools said, essentially, “while we legally can’t ask you to respond before April 15th, if you know you want to go here before then, please let us know.” 

Edit: did the research after writing this, and it is indeed a policy called the April 15th Resolution by the Council of Graduate Schools. Details/list of schools this includes is attached. 

CGSResolution_RevisedFeb2019.pdf

Yes! And perhaps even more importantly: if you know you *don't* want to come (i.e., you've been admitted to a school higher on your list), it's so helpful to know that ahead of time! Sometimes, knowing in advance of the April 15 deadline is what allows us to admit someone from the waitlist. So please don't postpone replying "no" once you know. 

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1 minute ago, emprof said:

Since they are bringing you to campus, they are obviously very interested in you! I'm confident that asking them about what in your application stood out will not derail that interest. You could even frame it in relation to their department: "What in my application made you think that I would be a good fit for SMU?" Sending lots of good wishes!

Thank you! I’m really passionate about the program and its unique opportunities :) 

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2 hours ago, optimistic_nihilist said:

Anyone 20-21st Century American and British?

i feel like this is a competitive concentration to choose. Idk if schools have been taking people with this research focus or not this year, anyone else know?

i think my parents r in disbelief that I haven’t gotten in anywhere yet, but I’m totally believing it lmao it’s just sad

I am with a focus in queer theory, 2a/2r/6w so far, but most of those 6 are anticipated rejections. It’s a pretty populated  field or so I’ve been told. 

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i feel like i’ve learned so much since submitting my applications (two of my classes this semester are HEAVY rhetorical/digital rhetoric theory). i wish i could convey that to the adcomms, like hey, i’m actually a little bit better now than when i submitted my apps PLS ACCEPT ME

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7 hours ago, WildeingOut said:

Anyone here a Victorian/19th C British specialist? It seems that this year's acceptances have so far consistently been for other areas of specialization other than Victorian/19th C British. I'm wondering if last year was a big year for this particular area, and there just isn't much space for specialists working in this period this application season as a result. Granted, people might not be reporting their areas on the results page, but I'm curious to know if anyone else has noticed that.

My research is mostly on Victorian/late 19th c to mid-20th c British novel. 

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I desperately want to hear back from my last few schools so I can start making decisions already. I feel like there's just a huge number of impending life choices waiting to crash down on my shoulders. Anxiety does not sleep and, apparently, neither do I.

Hope everyone's doing okay and managing the stress! We'll get through this one way or another. Fingers and toes crossed for each and every one of you!

Edited by Anonymouse124
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8 hours ago, WildeingOut said:

Anyone here a Victorian/19th C British specialist? It seems that this year's acceptances have so far consistently been for other areas of specialization other than Victorian/19th C British. I'm wondering if last year was a big year for this particular area, and there just isn't much space for specialists working in this period this application season as a result. Granted, people might not be reporting their areas on the results page, but I'm curious to know if anyone else has noticed that.

Another Victoranist here! Focus is also on race and empire and queer theory. 

Edited by purrfectpals
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