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What will you do if you strike out completely?


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Sure happy to. Basically, I got caught between a job offer in policy that my undergrad thesis advisor wanted me to take and the application season itself. As a result I had only gotten 2 applications out the door in September of 2006 and my advisor said he didn't want to recommend me until after some work experience at this research tank. So basically I ended up getting into 1 of the 2 places I applied. USC- POIR. I am public law. I wanted to work with Howard Gillman. I visited and heard whispers that Gillman was leaving for an Administrative position with USC's college as Dean. He did in fact do so. I figured ok, I went 1/2 with no work experience, after a year working at a solid Brookings Institution type place I will apply to many more schools and get into at least 1. Wow did I figure wrong. Hate to second guess yourself, but Gillman or no Gillman a free PhD is better than nothing.

I guessed wrong. maybe someone on here will understand my logic of 1/2 versus 0/8. Not that I'm 0/8 yet, but I'm down to a few Cornell, Brown and Boston College which I hear rumblings already from acceptees. And Notre Dame. Not looking Good. Cubicle LIFE HERE I COME! I'm seriously on the ledge.

Even if you don't get in now, you'll get in later. By the way, have you considered kicking ass on the LSAT, going to a top law school and entering academia that way. I know you have to pay for law school, but law professors make a lot more money, so it would be a pretty good investment. Also, I'm not sure, but I think I've only seen BC masters admits, so you may be in the running for their PhD program.

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Yeah, I went to law school as well, and it is a waste if you're looking for intellectual stimulation. It gets better after first year, but if you really want to challenge your mind, you have to do it on your own. But, if you go to a top law school known for producing academics and get on journal, you can go on to clerk at a circuit court and then find a nice tt position somewhere. Anyways, I hope you get in, but if you don't, you should apply again. Better to stomach a 3rd year of apps than a lifetime of TPS reports.

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I know I know, but I just can't see how I would be any different of an applicant next year. I was a better applicant this year and could go 0-8. The year I was less experienced and without a sexy Brookings like name on my application I went 1-2. That my friend is the definition of a crapshoot. LOL

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Like you said, it's a crapshoot. I actually compare this whole process to hold'em poker. The best hand wins more times than it loses, the best players win most of the time, but anyone and any hand can lose and anyone and any hand can win on any given day. If you have a 70% chance of winning, and if you're already 0-6, as you keep playing the percentages will converge on 70%. You can't start folding AK because you lost with AK a few times. You just have to keep playing good hands when you have them. Anyways, I always look for an opportunity to analogize anything with poker.

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My law degree is from UTexas and I will completely concede that law school is like trade school. Its also a rough way to break into academics. The admissions are easier, but the internal competition is very high for the academic positions. The pay is very good to compete with the market, and thus the jobs are highly sought after. So, you have to out law school the other would be profs/psychotic over achievers, which is a hard path. Also, you end up teaching in the very manner you dislike learning in... I think sticking with your guns and attacking the grad school route is better. I went to law school thinking it would be like grad school. I practiced thinking it would be more like law school. On and on... until here I am going back to school for a PhD. I don't regret the JD or years in the field, but I don't think law school is a good sub for grad school.

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Drink heavily for a couple weeks, return to my old career, make more money in three months than I would in a year of being a TA, take nice vacations, live in a decent house, and drink expensive scotch! -- Hmmm why am I doing this? Oh right, because even with the financial rewards the 9 to 5 is absolutely miserable.

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To Ammar and Missing Vandy Candy and other Posters,

Your crapshoot analagy sounds pretty fascinating/ realistic. My theory is that education, like other resources (jobs, oil, etc) is becoming more scarce and therefore, competitive. I think it was Marx who argued that the wages will progressively be leveled between professionals and proles (so, for example with my two masters degrees I am now making lslightly more than a Walmart or fast food manager but less per hour than my truck driving son who has not gone past high school). Similarly yet different is education in which more and more qualified people compete for fewer and fewer spots.

My theory is that this intensifying competiton in academia occurs along with grad committees making decisions based on (in order of priority) 1) who can help them or the power holders in the dept. with their research (the fine nuances of which most applicants will never be privy to) 2) which foundations will be willing to fund which applicants (e.g. U of AZ which rejected me has about half of its grants going to Native Americans for the 8 folks they took out of 70 applicants- and I am still pro affirmative action even for quotas, unlike most of my Anglo peers) 3)which applicants agree with their areas of interest and social/political views, 4)references -esp. how fancy and internal the names are (off and on the books) 5) GRE scores (e.g Mmm Is this 800 better than this 790? ) 6) grades (is this 4.0 better than this 3.99) 7) other random bullcrap (e.g. does this applicant like hats)?

This theory is one that may explain somewhat your expereince Missing Vandy Candy in getting accepted 1 out of 2 with less experience last year and this year's fear of going 0 for 8 with acceptances this year i.e. the phenomenon of the almighty "Crap Shoot".

P.S. May be partly grouchy since U of Md ditched me today - 2 down, 1 to go Nina aka gurly flynn

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I will probably live my life as usual, square my application up and apply again next year. In addition its doubtful anything in my life will really change. Ill still be getting drunk on Fridays and having a good time. Its not like these adcoms can diagnose you with cancer, make your child ill or take away anything of much real importance. Deep breaths it'll be ok.

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In all seriousness, I will probably just try and find whatever job requires as little thinking as possible. If I can't do what I love in academe, I might as well just shut down the brain and do whatever job pays the rent. Learning to compartmentalize learning and knowledge from my career will be tough, but there is no point in teasing myself by trying to bridge the gap when it can't be bridged. Two cheers for living for the respite of Monday Night Football like 99 percent of all unhappy Americans who hate their jobs.

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Missing Vandy Candy,

Do you see any other options besides these two? No lower ranked schools to consider? No other academic alternatives ? No other job alternatives to a boring 9-5? What about a bit o travel or schooling , some political activism or research abroad to spice things up? Maybe, the strain of your hard work applying is giving you grey colored glasses a bit. When things are not going well with a social institution, a short story by that witty satirist, the late Charles Bukowski can sometimes cheer me up. :o (Your rebellion ag. the constrictions of the 9-5 remind me a bit of some of his thoughts on this matter) :) Hold on brotha. Keep your head to the sky. nina gurly flynn

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I am not sure if "getting into an M.A. when I shot for a Ph.D." is striking out completely. I am still waiting on some more letters, but things do not seem too terribly optimistic.

Of course, for some reason, now I am almost excited about the prospect of applying again in two years with a renewed sense of purpose, a degree from the field, higher GRE scores (they expire in May!), and AN INFINITE QUANTITY OF HOPE!

MissingVandyCandy, you can come crash on my couch in Arizona or Kansas or Connecticut or wherever I end up.

Well, only if you are not a sociopath.

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