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Profile Evaluation for PhD in Political Science (IR Track)


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TOEFL: 108 (not important tbh as I will be having an MA degree from an American university, most schools waive this)

GRE: 158 (V) - 166 (Q) - 3.5 (AWA)

Publishing: 1 single author conference paper & presentation in my undergrad university (non-American), 1 co-authored conference paper in America, 2 single author papers under review in 2 journals, 1 co-authored paper under review in a journal

LORs: 3 LORs all from American professors in my Master granting university, kinda known in their areas

Undergrad GPA: 3.7/4.00

Grad GPA: 3.8/4.00 

Undergrad Major: International Relations - lots of math classes (from the best university in my country)

Grad Major: International Affairs - many math classes

Grad School: Not in first 40, between 40-50 maybe 60 in America 

Aiming: MIT, Harvard, Brown, Boston University, Boston College, UMass Amherst

Edited by TheBunny
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4 hours ago, Dwar said:

Mind if I ask why you selected those schools? For example, why MIT? and why only Harvard and Brown from the Ivy League?

Thanks! 

For family reasons, I need to stay in the New England area. Also, MIT offers the most math-related IR program which I really enjoy. I like doing quantitative/statistical work. There are also several professors that I wanna work with in MIT.

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4 minutes ago, TheBunny said:

I am still desperately seeking help for the evaluation of my profile.

Aren't most of the deadlines past due anyways (subsequently meaning that even if there were big red flag deficiencies in your profile, there'd be nothing you can do about it anyways)?

 

Your profile looks fine and competitive enough for everywhere. If your fit is good with the faculty, your LORs say good things, and you didn't mess up badly in your statement of purpose, I'd be surprised if your didn't get in somewhere. 

GRE Q is good. GRE V is a little low for Harvard and MIT, but not so low that you'll get disqualified on the basis of it in the first eliminating round. GRE is much higher than average for everywhere else (maybe not Brown but that's because theorists like Brown). 

To me it feels odd that you don't really have anywhere in the 10-30 ranking range, which I think is the range you should be targeting. Anything in the top 10 is more or less a crapshoot for anyone, and things ranked beneath 30 or 40 might think that you're not that serious an applicant because your profile is much better than average. 

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8 minutes ago, eggsalad14 said:

Aren't most of the deadlines past due anyways (subsequently meaning that even if there were big red flag deficiencies in your profile, there'd be nothing you can do about it anyways)?

 

Your profile looks fine and competitive enough for everywhere. If your fit is good with the faculty, your LORs say good things, and you didn't mess up badly in your statement of purpose, I'd be surprised if your didn't get in somewhere. 

GRE Q is good. GRE V is a little low for Harvard and MIT, but not so low that you'll get disqualified on the basis of it in the first eliminating round. GRE is much higher than average for everywhere else (maybe not Brown but that's because theorists like Brown). 

To me it feels odd that you don't really have anywhere in the 10-30 ranking range, which I think is the range you should be targeting. Anything in the top 10 is more or less a crapshoot for anyone, and things ranked beneath 30 or 40 might think that you're not that serious an applicant because your profile is much better than average. 

Thank you for your answer. My husband is also a Ph.D. student in a 40-50 ranked university in Boston Area. Unfortunately, because of the financial constraints (living on a stipend, being international students), we need to stay in the same household during our Ph.D. studies this is why I was not able to apply better (10-30 rankings) schools. Also, before my master program, when I was straight out of undergraduate, I applied for many programs and got rejected from all of them, not even waitlisted. It created a very negative mindset and put me in severe depression. As far as I remember, I got rejected from all 20 Ph.D.s that I applied for 2017 cycle, and it broke me terribly.

Again, thank you for your insights. I am just expecting my application results now and very much excited. :)

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11 minutes ago, TheBunny said:

Thank you for your answer. My husband is also a Ph.D. student in a 40-50 ranked university in Boston Area. Unfortunately, because of the financial constraints (living on a stipend, being international students), we need to stay in the same household during our Ph.D. studies this is why I was not able to apply better (10-30 rankings) schools. Also, before my master program, when I was straight out of undergraduate, I applied for many programs and got rejected from all of them, not even waitlisted. It created a very negative mindset and put me in severe depression. As far as I remember, I got rejected from all 20 Ph.D.s that I applied for 2017 cycle, and it broke me terribly.

Again, thank you for your insights. I am just expecting my application results now and very much excited. :)

Out of curiosity, were your GRE scores the same as they are now when you applied a couple years ago? Did you get feedback on why you might've been rejected the first time around? 

I'm sure your application is much stronger this time around, especially with a degree from an English speaking country and conference attendence and papers :)

 

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24 minutes ago, eggsalad14 said:

Out of curiosity, were your GRE scores the same as they are now when you applied a couple years ago? Did you get feedback on why you might've been rejected the first time around? 

I'm sure your application is much stronger this time around, especially with a degree from an English speaking country and conference attendence and papers :)

 

My first GRE was super low on Verbal as I am not coming from an English-speaking country. I improved my verbal significantly, from 142 to 158. My quant was always high, I have so much love for math. My AWA never changes and tbh I did not have money to spend on classes. I had one friend who improved her AWA from 4 to 6 in a month with private classes but those classes were like crazy expensive. The only big change is Verbal. 

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5 hours ago, TheBunny said:

My first GRE was super low on Verbal as I am not coming from an English-speaking country. I improved my verbal significantly, from 142 to 158. My quant was always high, I have so much love for math. My AWA never changes and tbh I did not have money to spend on classes. I had one friend who improved her AWA from 4 to 6 in a month with private classes but those classes were like crazy expensive. The only big change is Verbal. 

I don't think AWA is a matter of private tutoring, but like pretty much all other aspects of the GRE, you can improve with practice. Fyi I'm also an international student, and English is my second language. My first AWA was 5 after a few practice essays, my second AWA went up to 5.5 a month later. In total, I wrote about 20 timed practice essays in that one month, so on average I did not spend more than an hour a day on it. I understand that there may be other factors getting in the way of your studying, but it may be misleading to other GRE test-takers to conclude that way.

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8 hours ago, olieb0llen said:

I don't think AWA is a matter of private tutoring, but like pretty much all other aspects of the GRE, you can improve with practice. Fyi I'm also an international student, and English is my second language. My first AWA was 5 after a few practice essays, my second AWA went up to 5.5 a month later. In total, I wrote about 20 timed practice essays in that one month, so on average I did not spend more than an hour a day on it. I understand that there may be other factors getting in the way of your studying, but it may be misleading to other GRE test-takers to conclude that way.

Oh, I am sorry. I did not mean that people should take classes for GRE. I am personally against taking classes because of its prices, and I believe they are not very effective. The evidence I presented above is only anecdotal, based on only one person. I know many people whose main language is not English and got great AWA scores without taking classes and only studying by themselves. Sorry for the confusion. 

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