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PhD- Comparative Politics Profile- Feedback please


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School: A university in the Philippines

Major:  Philosophy

GPA: 3.44/4.00

Graduate School: Private research university in the East Coast

Degree: International Political Economy

GPA3.9 

GRE: 170 V, 154 Q, 4.5 AW (will retake)

Subfield: Comparative politics- qualitative methods with focus on democratization and political violence in Southeast Asia

Graduate Courses taken: Applied Econometrics (B+ mentioning this because I'm worried that this grade will keep me out of the top-tier departments), Qualitative Research Methods, Comparative Politics, Political Economy, and Economic Policy 

Letters of Rec: 1 tenure-track assistant prof (taught me in 2 courses and my research supervisor), 1 professor (2 courses, both As), 1 associate professor (1 course, A)- All from the political science department at Fordham 

Research Experience: (1) received a $4000 university grant to conduct field research in the Philippines last summer (preparing article for publication now), (2) in the beginning stages of a co-authored field research project with an assistant prof and PhD student from other US universities, (3) presented at MPSA (with funding from university) and a bunch of other conferences in Southeast Asia, (4) 1 published co-authored study (for a Southeast Asian journal though so I don't think this means much), (5) 1 invited co-authored journal submission (also a Southeast Asian journal), (6) employed as a data analyst for a leading research center of political violence, (7) research assistant for tenured political science professor, (8) summer research intern at a policy think tank in DC, and (9) political theory undergraduate thesis. Important to note that all of these projects are connected to my research interests (democratization and political violence in Southeast Asia).

Professional experienceWorked for two years as a political reform advocate/analyst for an NGO; co-founded and managed a data analytics start-up that received some funding

Target Schools:

1: Cornell

2: University of Michigan

3: Northwestern

4: Emory

5: Johns Hopkins University

6: University of Notre Dame

7: University of Maryland

8: University of British Columbia

9: McGill University

10: UCSD

11: UC Irvine

12: UC Davis

13: UMASS Amherst 

I have three questions: 

1: What do you think about my profile? What should I emphasize and de-emphasize?

2: In terms of my target schools, am I being too conservative? Should I aim for more higher ranking schools or did I do a good job of "hedging" my bets? What are my chances of getting into a top-10 university? 

3: I'm planning to retake the GRE and get a Quanti score of 160. Let's assume, however, that I'm unable to improve on my Q score of 154. Will that doom my chances of getting into universities like Northwestern or Emory, for example, which are ranked by US News as 23 and 24, respectively?

 

 

 

Edited by Imperator_Taco
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It looks like you have impressive research experience, which I think will really help you! I do not think a 154 will keep you out of all of those programs, especially Northwestern.. I'd encourage you to check out their GRE stats (they publish them on the website). With a lower quant score, you really want other parts of the application to be top-notch. From everything I've been told, the statement of purpose is very, very important. If you haven't already, you should ask your recommenders to take a look and give you feedback. Personally, I would not apply to Amherst or JH. 

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On 10/18/2018 at 6:35 PM, MyWay said:

Cornell-Pepinsky

UMich-Slater

Slater's work is not heavily quant but my take is that your 154 GRE-Q might keep you out of most programs...it is a threshold.

Thanks for the feedback. They are definitely among the political scientists I'd like to work with. And yes, that's what I figured. I'll try to improve on that score during my retake. 

8 hours ago, IR1995 said:

It looks like you have impressive research experience, which I think will really help you! I do not think a 154 will keep you out of all of those programs, especially Northwestern.. I'd encourage you to check out their GRE stats (they publish them on the website). With a lower quant score, you really want other parts of the application to be top-notch. From everything I've been told, the statement of purpose is very, very important. If you haven't already, you should ask your recommenders to take a look and give you feedback. Personally, I would not apply to Amherst or JH. 

Thanks for the feedback! 

Yes, I've been workshopping my Statement of Purpose with one of my LORs and with professors/PhD students from some of the schools I'm applying to (was lucky enough to make their acquaintance during MPSA). 

Why wouldn't you apply to Amherst or JH? Too lowly ranked? 

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18 hours ago, Imperator_Taco said:

Thanks for the feedback. They are definitely among the political scientists I'd like to work with. And yes, that's what I figured. I'll try to improve on that score during my retake. 

Thanks for the feedback! 

Yes, I've been workshopping my Statement of Purpose with one of my LORs and with professors/PhD students from some of the schools I'm applying to (was lucky enough to make their acquaintance during MPSA). 

Why wouldn't you apply to Amherst or JH? Too lowly ranked? 

I think it depends on what your long-term goals are. The placement records at both schools would concern me.

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1 hour ago, IR1995 said:

I think it depends on what your long-term goals are. The placement records at both schools would concern me.

Makes sense. 

To be honest though, I'm probably less concerned than the average applicant about placement records because I'm ok with the idea of pursuing an academic career somewhere in Asia (where I'm from). In that case, I think either Amhest or JHU will suffice. Still, your point regarding placement (especially in North America) is well taken. Thanks.

Edited by Imperator_Taco
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