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2018-2019 Application Thread

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12 minutes ago, irgradcafe said:

Applied 11 schools, got into 2 T20 programs and 1 T10 program this cycle (IR, international applicant). Two takeaways I got from my experience which I believe mattered to my application, for future applicants' reference:

  • Letters written by people whom the DGS / POI know and cite. Two of my accepted schools have people who definitely know my letter writer.
  • A writing sample that hits the main research interests (in my case, also the methods) of the DGS / POI.

Obviously my case is singular and there could be millions of other factors that mattered. Perhaps more people can share and we'll have large-N data!

Congrats -- it must be really hard to pull this off as an international applicant! Just curious, did your letter writer get his PhD from the U.S.? I'm affiliated with a top university outside of North America, and although I'm sure the students there are bright and capable, their training seems different from the kind we get in the U.S. and the professors there aren't familiar with U.S. academia (in terms of research methodology and in terms of personal connections).

Edited by sandmoon

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24 minutes ago, taraeh said:

C'mon Northwestern!!!!  What the heck??  Waitlisted? Rejected? Something? ANYTHING?  It was my greatest hope, and my last hope... funny how that works.

Hi. Just as I was reading this.. puff- (1) Inbox... Alas, another rejection... [edit: just so we're clear-- a rejection from Northwestern!]

Best wishes~ 

Edited by TiKei

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21 minutes ago, irgradcafe said:

Applied 11 schools, got into 2 T20 programs and 1 T10 program this cycle (IR, international applicant). Two takeaways I got from my experience which I believe mattered to my application, for future applicants' reference:

  • Letters written by people whom the DGS / POI know and cite. Two of my accepted schools have people who definitely know my letter writer.
  • A writing sample that hits the main research interests (in my case, also the methods) of the DGS / POI.

Obviously my case is singular and there could be millions of other factors that mattered. Perhaps more people can share and we'll have large-N data!

Where are you most likely headed if I might ask?

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2 minutes ago, TiKei said:

Hi. Just as I was reading this.. puff- (1) Inbox... Alas, another rejection... [edit: just so we're clear-- a rejection from Northwestern!]

Best wishes~ 

Seriously!??!?!  BUMMER!  I have so much homework and so little focus. The (0) Inbox is distracting... 

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I'm really curious why departments drag out the process for over a month. Is it just so that they can budget better while maintaining the lowest acceptance rate possible?

It doesn't make sense to me to worry about acceptance rates, because unlike undergrad admissions, the U.S. News ranking doesn't take into account the acceptance rate. So why not accept the people you like all at once?

Edited by sandmoon

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5 minutes ago, sandmoon said:

I'm really curious why departments drag out the process for over a month. Is it just so that they can budget better while maintaining the lowest acceptance rate possible?

It doesn't make sense to me to worry about acceptance rates, because unlike undergrad admissions, the U.S. News ranking doesn't take into account the acceptance rate. So why not accept the people you like all at once?

I'm convinced it's because some of them are in league with the devil. 

Edited by Dwar

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1 minute ago, taraeh said:

Seriously!??!?!  BUMMER!  I have so much homework and so little focus. The (0) Inbox is distracting... 

Honestly, I was fortunate enough to get an awesome collaboration going about two years ago with an American Prof. I've never met until last summer (when I came to present our research in APSA, Boston). This luckily ended up with a research grant on such an awesome project that I simply don't mind waiting for answers. I'm super busy! But I'd sure appreciate at least one acceptance... I truly only need one! (applied only to uni.s. that I'd love to be at)... The thought of another cycle is just disgusting! 

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1 hour ago, irgradcafe said:

Just emailed Harvard and they replied in minutes telling me my result (rejected). They also said "Notifications are being sent just now by the Graduate School Admissions Office." So my fellow applicants to Harvard - it's time to check your mailbox every 5 seconds.

How did you word your email? I wrote one to the DGS at another school and didn't get a reply (at least not immediately)

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10 minutes ago, OmniscienceQuest said:

How did you word your email? I wrote one to the DGS at another school and didn't get a reply (at least not immediately)

At Harvard, DGS does not reply, as well. The last time e-mailed them to get more info about the program, I wrote to DGS, but the administrative assistant got back to my e-mail. 

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Hey all - quick reminder that if your cycle is ending you should head over to the Profiles, Results, Advice 2019 thread and leave some nuggets of wisdom for the years of anxiety-riddled students who follow!

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22 minutes ago, TheBunny said:

At Harvard, DGS does not reply, as well. The last time e-mailed them to get more info about the program, I wrote to DGS, but the administrative assistant got back to my e-mail. 

yeah after I made this post I figured I'd emailed the wrong person, so I emailed the program admin too. As soon as I hit "send," my inbox updated to show that the same admin had just replied like 30 seconds earlier to the email I'd sent the DGS yesterday. Ugh. I guess now she knows how neurotic I am... In my defense, the fact that I worry intensely about everything is also what makes me a high-achieving student. I can't get a C on a weekly quiz because then the professor will know I'm mediocre and then I'll end up with lukewarm recommendations and I won't get into a decent PhD program and won't be able to find a job at all so I'll probably just end up managing a coffeeshop somewhere at 50 wearing those $10 black pants you buy at the discount store -- you know, the ones you can't iron because they just melt the moment you touch them with heat -- and the coffeeshop will only give me 29 hours of work a week so they won't have to give me health insurance, and so when I need to see a doctor I won't be able to afford it and that's how I'll end up dying pathetic, overweight, and destitute at 50 without even enough money to pay for my own funeral. No one will even notice except for a few of our regulars -- the other baristas will be like, "Oh, OmniscienceQuest? Yeah... He died. Of poverty. So sad..." And the regulars will be like "Oh, no! I'm so sorry to hear that... Gosh... Yeah, I'll have my regular latte thanks... Gosh, so sad..." But you know what? I never liked any of them even a little, I just didn't have any other choices because I got a C one time on a quiz and my whole fragile life plan collapsed.

(BTW the email from the admin said I'll have an answer within the next two weeks. It was a kind email too, I didn't get the faintest hint of annoyance that I'd asked).

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Okay, it got worse (the DGS replied and told me the admin could answer, and then the admin replied to the DGS's email with me cc'ed saying she'd already answered my question to a separate email).

The real issue is that I don't have a Plan B that I'm happy about. I have a lot of ideas for crappy ways I could survive for a year while I retake the GRE and reapply next year, but I don't want to do any of those things. I guess the best thing for me to do is to spend the next two weeks searching for and applying to jobs I'd be really excited to do. That can be my Plan B. Then, if I strike out with my last PhD application in the next two weeks, I can move on to Plan C, which is applying to jobs I don't want but am reasonably sure I can get. Plan D would be to take literally any job in a city where I'd want to live, and Plan E would be to take literally any job, literally anywhere. Plan F would be to go live with the mole people who live in the abandoned subway tunnels in NYC, although I've heard it's extremely dangerous down there. I hope it doesn't come to that.

(In case it's not clear -- yes I'm trying to be funny and am not being 100% serious, but the feeling of anxiety over where I am and what I'm going to do is real)

Edited by OmniscienceQuest

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 I did not write Harvard yet, I am waiting them to e-mail to me to check the portal but did not get anything yet. I assume rejection anyway so...

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6 minutes ago, OmniscienceQuest said:

Okay, it got worse (the DGS replied and told me the admin could answer, and then the admin replied to the DGS's email with me cc'ed saying she'd already answered my question to a separate email).

 

Oof

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9 minutes ago, Dwar said:

Oof

I just noticed she also cc'ed a professor. Whelp. Guess I know what I need to do now. If anyone needs me, I'll be in the kitchen with my head in the oven.

(But seriously, I'm fine -- I replied with a brief "Thanks for the info and sorry for the duplicate emails.")

Guys, I think I'm an annoying person. I'm also unattractive.

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Just now, OmniscienceQuest said:

Okay, it got worse (the DGS replied and told me the admin could answer, and then the admin replied to the DGS's email with me cc'ed saying she'd already answered my question to a separate email).

The real issue is that I don't have a Plan B that I'm happy about. I have a lot of ideas for crappy ways I could survive for a year while I retake the GRE and reapply next year, but I don't want to do any of those things. I guess the best thing for me to do is to spend the next two weeks searching for and applying to jobs I'd be really excited to do. That can be my Plan B. Then, if I strike out with my last PhD application in the next two weeks, I can move on to Plan C, which is applying to jobs I don't want but am reasonably sure I can get. Plan D would be to take literally any job in a city where I'd want to live, and Plan E would be to take literally any job, literally anywhere. Plan F would be to go live with the mole people who live in the abandoned subway tunnels in NYC, although I've heard it's extremely dangerous down there. I hope it doesn't come to that.

(In case it's not clear -- yes I'm trying to be funny and am not being 100% serious, but the feeling of anxiety over where I am and what I'm going to do is real)

I found it funny, especially the coffee shop part. This is when I feel a little soothed that at least I can return to Europe sometime in the future, where they may not let you die of poverty.

This cycle did not work out for me either, probably because I started the process late and am bounded to a certain area, and to top it all, I'm a non-English speaker international student. It increasingly seems to me that I don't even know how PoliSci works here. Your comment made me think that a fair share of PhD applicants must be anxious high-achievers, who feel like there's nothing else left when you don't do well enough. I am starting to re-evaluate my identity which was predominantly based on academic achievement, because it is really toxic. I also feel like that my life is not headed anywhere, especially that I don't seem to be a competitive candidate at the job market of my location. But if you're capable of coping with this arbitrary process, and are mobile enough to go anywhere, I'm sure you will succeed in a job which excites you. And second-time applicants are way wiser than rookies, so I hope you succeed.

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Looks like my cycle is done! Nice to have it over with. I have found applications more difficult and stressful than any of the actual work I've done both inside and outside academia.

One nagging little worry pops up now that I'm finished; probably really dumb but now I wonder if I'm the only one to think of it --  Our academic subfields are pretty small, so I wonder if what we've included in these files will effect our career prospects down the road.

Anyway, congratulations to all the lucky people with choices (and with some of you so darn many!). To those who had a bad cycle: Don't lose hope! Keep working at it! It's all a stupid crapshoot anyway.

Edited by wara
Because.

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Finally got an email to check Columbia's website and had my presumed rejection confirmed. Just waiting on Harvard and NYU (still...) now. 

I just want to be able to really start cranking on comparing my acceptances, is that too much to ask?!

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20 minutes ago, OmniscienceQuest said:

I just noticed she also cc'ed a professor. Whelp. Guess I know what I need to do now. If anyone needs me, I'll be in the kitchen with my head in the oven.

(But seriously, I'm fine -- I replied with a brief "Thanks for the info and sorry for the duplicate emails.")

Guys, I think I'm an annoying person. I'm also unattractive.

Don't worry too much about it. Not sure if you've worked a hardcore job before but you tend to get hundreds of emails every day. So you learn to put 2 seconds of thought into each email. I'd be really surprised if they put enough thought into your email to actually get annoyed, let alone remember it an hour later.

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It sounds like I'm getting rejected from Harvard too at this point, which hurts a little but is ok. Literally everyone but Harvard has emailed me today, which has caused a lot of heart racing. 

I hope everyone is seeing this exchange on the results page about the LSE econ student from Bath. It's a little funny. 

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1 minute ago, eggsalad14 said:

It sounds like I'm getting rejected from Harvard too at this point, which hurts a little but is ok. Literally everyone but Harvard has emailed me today, which has caused a lot of heart racing. 

I hope everyone is seeing this exchange on the results page about the LSE econ student from Bath. It's a little funny. 

“The tuition in pounds is more than I weigh and I’m a hefty bloke” is golden. 

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