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8 minutes ago, historygeek said:

Okay, I'm not gonna lie, I'm already freaking out and it's not even December. I'm only applying to schools where my POIs have said I would be a good fit, but I'm terrified my stats (3.45 gpa, 160v and 5.5aw) will be the kiss of death. I know my LORs will be great, my SOP is strong (if I do say so myself), and I'm incredibly proud of my writing sample. But I'm still terrified I won't get in anywhere.

All the people i've contacted (we're applying to the same schools: Harvard, Michigan, Loyola Chicago) have said that GPA and GRE are only sign posts to get past. Basically, you're scores, with the exception of GPA (3.97 here) are exactly like mine. I told my POI's this along with grad students there, and they agreed it'll get through the initial look through.

I had one graduate director say this to me: "personally, I put 80% of the weight on the statement of purpose, most professors put 90%."

Get a couple of drinks or mugs of coffee, pick up your fav books, cultivate a backup plan, and ride out the next few months! Though, I think based on the effort you've put on this application so far, you'll be in store for good news.

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Thanks for the responses to my questions!

@historygeek and @urbanhistorynerd, I worry about my stats too (did well on the GRE verbal section with a 167 but flubbed the AW a bit with a 4.5 and botched the quant with like a 150) but I'm honestly more worried about the personal statement, particularly if it's as important as urban was told!  I have a month to keep polishing it for a couple of programs, but I have two apps due tomorrow.

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All my applications are in and its time to play the waiting game, again! First crate of beer has been bought and bottles are cooling in the fridge. If you want a different vice, I found work and friends tend to be a better coping mechanism than family. My family loves to question me about my graduate studies, which is not a soothing thing during the wait. For all applicants, find your mechanism and stick to it. Before you know it, the wait will be over and we will all have answers. Best of luck to you all!

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16 hours ago, historygeek said:

I'm terrified my stats (3.45 gpa, 160v and 5.5aw) will be the kiss of death

I don't know what else to say that I haven't said before, but to repeat: I failed out of undergraduate twice (cumulative GPA from my first 2 years: 0.86). I'm now in my fourth year at an Ivy. There may indeed be some political nonsense that means you don't get in this year, or just an unlucky handful of wunderkinds in your precise subject area, but it won't be your stats keeping you out.

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17 hours ago, historygeek said:

Okay, I'm not gonna lie, I'm already freaking out and it's not even December. I'm only applying to schools where my POIs have said I would be a good fit, but I'm terrified my stats (3.45 gpa, 160v and 5.5aw) will be the kiss of death. I know my LORs will be great, my SOP is strong (if I do say so myself), and I'm incredibly proud of my writing sample. But I'm still terrified I won't get in anywhere.

GPA and GRE scores are fairly unimportant unless they're absolutely horrid. Yours are not. 

Success or failure hinges on your fit, application materials, and things outside the realm of your control. I didn't get funding from a program for political reasons (my PoI and another faculty member were very excited by my application, but they didn't have enough sway). I was rejected from another program after learning the amount of stipend and going through a day long interview, in part because that small department decided to take 3/4 other students in early modern. Yet another program has an internal war between philosophers and historians, and the philosophers hold the purse strings. I got an unfunded MA, which my PoI there said was a function of philosophy wanting to stay on top.

I'm not telling you these anecdotes because I think they're super interesting. My point is that there's a whole number of items you can't control. Your PoI may take ill and have to go on medical leave. S/he may die three days after your application goes in (I know multiple people whose advisors died during their careers; one is now a faculty member here). S/he may get insensibly drunk and lead to a police standoff in his/her office (A well-known person in my field did this). 

Your stats are your stats- they're not changing. You sound like you've done a bang-up job on your materials, which is what matter most.

From my old undergrad advisor (and now friend), the SoP and writing sample are where the application is made or broken.

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18 hours ago, historygeek said:

Okay, I'm not gonna lie, I'm already freaking out and it's not even December. 

This is totally understandable and relatable. We've all seen how much thought and effort you've put into your application process, and now it's out of your hands. That's a terrifying feeling.

Other posters have offered thoughts on your worries about GPA and GRE; I haven't made it to the other side, so I can't speak to the experience of actually getting through admissions. But I would like to humbly offer my thoughts on anxiety. This cycle is not the end. It's not the end of your academic life, it's not the end of your professional life, it's simply not the end. You are young, hard-working, and motivated. You have a multitude of options ahead of you, and that is true regardless of the outcome of this application cycle. Waiting out the anxiety will be uncomfortable, but it will not last forever. Alcohol is certainly a popular coping strategy for anxiety. I have also had great success with learning a new physical activity. Ever wanted to try rock climbing, curling, hip hop dance, etc.? Now is the time. Anything to get out of your head. It's not for everyone, but meditation has been a great help to me. I practice observing my thoughts from a distance and then letting them float away, like a falling leaf carried off by a stream. 

If I'm overstepping, I apologize. But I hope you can take what works, and leave the rest. I believe in you, and I'm rooting for you. Sincerely, An internet stranger with many years of fighting this battle.

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7 hours ago, Balleu said:

This is totally understandable and relatable. We've all seen how much thought and effort you've put into your application process, and now it's out of your hands. That's a terrifying feeling.

Other posters have offered thoughts on your worries about GPA and GRE; I haven't made it to the other side, so I can't speak to the experience of actually getting through admissions. But I would like to humbly offer my thoughts on anxiety. This cycle is not the end. It's not the end of your academic life, it's not the end of your professional life, it's simply not the end. You are young, hard-working, and motivated. You have a multitude of options ahead of you, and that is true regardless of the outcome of this application cycle. Waiting out the anxiety will be uncomfortable, but it will not last forever. Alcohol is certainly a popular coping strategy for anxiety. I have also had great success with learning a new physical activity. Ever wanted to try rock climbing, curling, hip hop dance, etc.? Now is the time. Anything to get out of your head. It's not for everyone, but meditation has been a great help to me. I practice observing my thoughts from a distance and then letting them float away, like a falling leaf carried off by a stream. 

If I'm overstepping, I apologize. But I hope you can take what works, and leave the rest. I believe in you, and I'm rooting for you. Sincerely, An internet stranger with many years of fighting this battle.

I cannot LOVE this enough.  So much truth in here.  Also, please, please enjoy your senior year of college. You'll never get that excitement again (no, no, your final year of the PhD program will NOT look like it at all.)

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22 hours ago, Balleu said:

This is totally understandable and relatable. We've all seen how much thought and effort you've put into your application process, and now it's out of your hands. That's a terrifying feeling.

Other posters have offered thoughts on your worries about GPA and GRE; I haven't made it to the other side, so I can't speak to the experience of actually getting through admissions. But I would like to humbly offer my thoughts on anxiety. This cycle is not the end. It's not the end of your academic life, it's not the end of your professional life, it's simply not the end. You are young, hard-working, and motivated. You have a multitude of options ahead of you, and that is true regardless of the outcome of this application cycle. Waiting out the anxiety will be uncomfortable, but it will not last forever. Alcohol is certainly a popular coping strategy for anxiety. I have also had great success with learning a new physical activity. Ever wanted to try rock climbing, curling, hip hop dance, etc.? Now is the time. Anything to get out of your head. It's not for everyone, but meditation has been a great help to me. I practice observing my thoughts from a distance and then letting them float away, like a falling leaf carried off by a stream. 

If I'm overstepping, I apologize. But I hope you can take what works, and leave the rest. I believe in you, and I'm rooting for you. Sincerely, An internet stranger with many years of fighting this battle.

You're not overstepping at all! I appreciate it! 

And thank you all for your words of wisdom and encouragement. ? I've found a power yoga class offered by my university that will probably be keeping me sane next semester. 

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Hi everyone! I mostly lurk on this forum, but I wanted to share with people who would understand the feeling: I submitted my last application today! Woohoo!

Of course, now the painful wait begins...

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1 hour ago, historygeek said:

This isn't grad school related, but I'm so excited that I had to tell someone... I got the news today that I was awarded a grant! My first ever!

Congrats--- always tell your family first though!  Trust me, even if they don't understand what "grant" does, just say "I got money!" they will immediately understand and celebrate :) 

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2 hours ago, historygeek said:

This isn't grad school related, but I'm so excited that I had to tell someone... I got the news today that I was awarded a grant! My first ever!

Congratulations! May it be the first of many!

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16 hours ago, psstein said:

Congratulations! May it be the first of many!

Thank you! Here's hoping. 

 

17 hours ago, TMP said:

Congrats--- always tell your family first though!  Trust me, even if they don't understand what "grant" does, just say "I got money!" they will immediately understand and celebrate :) 

Thank you! Don't worry-- I told my parents and boyfriend first!

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Was editing my current SoP for one other other schools to which I'm applying and found a typo in the one I've already submitted to one of my top schools.  I'M DOOOOOOMED!

/le sigh

I know at the end of the day it's probably not going to break my application but I spent a lot of time on that stupid statement and it's frustrating.

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19 minutes ago, fortsibut said:

Was editing my current SoP for one other other schools to which I'm applying and found a typo in the one I've already submitted to one of my top schools.  I'M DOOOOOOMED!

/le sigh

I know at the end of the day it's probably not going to break my application but I spent a lot of time on that stupid statement and it's frustrating.

Get ready to enjoy this feeling again with grant and job applications!

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29 minutes ago, fortsibut said:

Was editing my current SoP for one other other schools to which I'm applying and found a typo in the one I've already submitted to one of my top schools.  I'M DOOOOOOMED!

/le sigh

I know at the end of the day it's probably not going to break my application but I spent a lot of time on that stupid statement and it's frustrating.

Had this exact same experience with my CV yesterday. Take a deep breath, and trust that committees will extend a little grace (and/or not even notice!).

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Listen, guys, I submitted a writing sample littered with typos. That morning I had been making final, last-minute edits and in retrospect should have waited 24 hours to edit the edits. I misspelled aura as "aurea," forgot an S on a noun that needed to be plural, left in [reference needed] in orange text in the footnotes. It was bad. Luckily, I realized what had happened over Thanksgiving break, so the Monday afterwards, on December 1st, I called up the seven schools I'd submitted that version to and begged them to let me swap out the writing samples. (I did not say that I was an idiot who couldn't proofread even though that was obviously the case; I said I had submitted an older, incomplete version.) Most let me switch out the samples with no trouble, except for one school that said their online application management software didn't have that capability. 

Takeways:

1) Edit your edits.

2) If you've made a grievous mistake (mine was grievous— it wasn't one mistake, but easily four or five glaring ones) call the departmental administrator and ask. Even if the deadline has passed, administrators may still be lenient if the admissions committees haven't met yet. This should be obvious, but thank them profusely. 

3) There were still typos and mistakes on the corrected version, as I discovered later. They're inevitable when you've worked on a piece of writing as much as you have! But I still got into grad school and you can too. 

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2 hours ago, gsc said:

Listen, guys, I submitted a writing sample littered with typos. That morning I had been making final, last-minute edits and in retrospect should have waited 24 hours to edit the edits. I misspelled aura as "aurea," forgot an S on a noun that needed to be plural, left in [reference needed] in orange text in the footnotes. It was bad. Luckily, I realized what had happened over Thanksgiving break, so the Monday afterwards, on December 1st, I called up the seven schools I'd submitted that version to and begged them to let me swap out the writing samples. (I did not say that I was an idiot who couldn't proofread even though that was obviously the case; I said I had submitted an older, incomplete version.) Most let me switch out the samples with no trouble, except for one school that said their online application management software didn't have that capability. 

Takeways:

1) Edit your edits.

2) If you've made a grievous mistake (mine was grievous— it wasn't one mistake, but easily four or five glaring ones) call the departmental administrator and ask. Even if the deadline has passed, administrators may still be lenient if the admissions committees haven't met yet. This should be obvious, but thank them profusely. 

3) There were still typos and mistakes on the corrected version, as I discovered later. They're inevitable when you've worked on a piece of writing as much as you have! But I still got into grad school and you can too. 

This is such great advice! 

I'm going to add that everyone needs to develop an awareness of mistakes that are grievous vs those that are not. This is really hard for each of us to differentiate because we are so invested in our own work and careers, which is understandable, but think about the things you would tell your friends and colleagues not to stress about and apply them to you.

In the bibliography of my writing sample, I didn't properly alphabetize two sources, freaked out and lamented my imminent rejection to a professor. He laughed and told me no one would even notice, and if they did they wouldn't care. DON'T fill yourselves with anxiety over minor errors. The wait is hard enough as it is, and minor errors will crop up throughout your entire academic career.

Edited by ashiepoo72

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2 hours ago, gsc said:

Edit your edits.

 

 

When you're editing, consider the advantages of 

(1) Budgeting your writing time with at least 33% of the time for editing/proofreading. (IIRC, the recommended split is 60% writing / 40% editing)

(2) Doing one type of editing at a time. That is, one pass through a document for argument/consistency, another pass for clarity, another pass for citations/references, and a final pass to scrub for typos and other avoidable errors.

(3) Walking away from a document for a day or longer.

(4) Scrubbing for typos by reading a printed copy of the document backward, word by word.

IRT the changing sensibilities towards error-free writing, typos, spelling mistakes, and split infinitives all do not matter--until they do. One cannot anticipate how readers will use avoidable errors against an applicant. One cannot spend forever chasing down that last gremlin. Make a decision that allows you to do the best you can under the circumstances and find ways to be at peace with your choice.
 

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3 hours ago, Sigaba said:

When you're editing, consider the advantages of 

(1) Budgeting your writing time with at least 33% of the time for editing/proofreading. (IIRC, the recommended split is 60% writing / 40% editing)

(2) Doing one type of editing at a time. That is, one pass through a document for argument/consistency, another pass for clarity, another pass for citations/references, and a final pass to scrub for typos and other avoidable errors.

(3) Walking away from a document for a day or longer.

(4) Scrubbing for typos by reading a printed copy of the document backward, word by word.

IRT the changing sensibilities towards error-free writing, typos, spelling mistakes, and split infinitives all do not matter--until they do. One cannot anticipate how readers will use avoidable errors against an applicant. One cannot spend forever chasing down that last gremlin. Make a decision that allows you to do the best you can under the circumstances and find ways to be at peace with your choice.
 

Fantastic advice, as is ashiepoo and gsc's.  Thanks for the encouragement as well, everyone.  Like I said in my earlier post, it's not that I'm terrified that I'll get rejected based on one mistake, it's frustration about that mistake still existing after a number of editing passes over the document.  Tips like "do one kind of editing at a time" and "read a printed copy backwards" will be a big help going forward.

Four applications to go!

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17 hours ago, fortsibut said:

Fantastic advice, as is ashiepoo and gsc's.  Thanks for the encouragement as well, everyone.  Like I said in my earlier post, it's not that I'm terrified that I'll get rejected based on one mistake, it's frustration about that mistake still existing after a number of editing passes over the document.  Tips like "do one kind of editing at a time" and "read a printed copy backwards" will be a big help going forward.

Four applications to go!

Eh, I *have* seen occasional typos in books by top notch scholars.....  And they had copy editors :) Didn't stop reviewers from raving about the books (although I recall one unfair reviewer of one book in the American Historical Review who complained that the author (French) had a terrible editor.  And the book was published by Cambridge.  Seriously? Didn't this reviewer have better things to do?). 

Edited by TMP

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5 hours ago, TMP said:

Eh, I *have* seen occasional typos in books by top notch scholars.....  And they had copy editors :) Didn't stop reviewers from raving about the books (although I recall one unfair reviewer of one book in the American Historical Review who complained that the author (French) had a terrible editor.  And the book was published by Cambridge.  Seriously? Didn't this reviewer have better things to do?). 

My advisor once was a book review editor for a major journal in my sub-discipline. She said a reviewer sent a review in which noted every factual error in the book, something like 2 single spaced pages. Some people are just cranks.

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Would it be a mistake to write my book review for Yale's program on an anthropology book? Or would this potentially make them question my interest in or commitment to history?

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