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21 hours ago, potsupotsu said:

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?

I wanted to do mine on Trouillot's Silencing the Past. Advisor said not to. And he did his PhD at Yale lol.

Edited by elx
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Not sure if anyone is still reading this but I've been accepted to William and Mary's PhD off their waitlist! I couldn't be happier!

Finally got some good news: I was admitted to Central European University's MA program in Late Antique, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies with a full tuition waiver, so it looks like I'll be in Vienna

It feels completely surreal to say this, but I have accepted an offer from Northwestern. On my way home in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I said out loud to my partner, "I have fully accepted that i

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22 hours ago, potsupotsu said:

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?

I believe that you'd be making an avoidable if not unrecoverable error if you were to write on a work of anthropology.

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Agree with @elx and @Sigaba, write the review on a book by a historian so you can explicitly engage with the historiography in which that historian intervenes. The committee wants to see how well you do that, in addition to your ability to summarize the argument and critique the book.

As an aside for posterity, and not as a criticism of @potsupotsu (I'm sure you're an excellent reviewer!!): do not strawman historians' arguments in lit reviews, be it in a book review or an article or your dissertation. Our discipline is a small pond, our subfields even smaller ponds, and people tend to know the gist of prominent scholars' arguments in their prominent books. They also tend to be friends or at least friendly acquaintances, and if you try to get a knock-out punch by strawmanning an argument, it's not a good look. I've been knocked down a peg for accidentally doing this early in my MA, thankfully by a supportive professor who realized I was just a novice, but I've seen worse happen to others further along in their grad careers.

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Submitted the majority of my applications yesterday. Now, the descent into insanity as I wait for results ?

Question for people who know more about adcoms than me: how do you imagine professors read writing samples? Read the intro, skim a bit, and read conclusion? Only read the first few pages? I'm just worried because the beginning of mine is mostly historiographical summaries and the original research comes later. I think I do a good job of blending my findings with the established literature around the topics/time period, but I worry readers won't get there.

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52 minutes ago, adsperli said:

Submitted the majority of my applications yesterday. Now, the descent into insanity as I wait for results ?

Question for people who know more about adcoms than me: how do you imagine professors read writing samples? Read the intro, skim a bit, and read conclusion? Only read the first few pages? I'm just worried because the beginning of mine is mostly historiographical summaries and the original research comes later. I think I do a good job of blending my findings with the established literature around the topics/time period, but I worry readers won't get there.

They read the whole thing, at least in my experience. The DGS of my program talked with me about how I evaluated the original Greek. 

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3 hours ago, adsperli said:

Submitted the majority of my applications yesterday. Now, the descent into insanity as I wait for results ?

Question for people who know more about adcoms than me: how do you imagine professors read writing samples? Read the intro, skim a bit, and read conclusion? Only read the first few pages? I'm just worried because the beginning of mine is mostly historiographical summaries and the original research comes later. I think I do a good job of blending my findings with the established literature around the topics/time period, but I worry readers won't get there.

In my experience, adcomms read the statement of purpose and the writing sample very closely. Even profs outside my field commented on my writing sample after I was admitted. My impression was that they read the statement first and if they thought it was really good, the application was still “live” and then they moved on to the sample. Of course, different people will put more weight on different aspects of the application so it’s hard to say what your adcomms will do.

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3 hours ago, adsperli said:

Question for people who know more about adcoms than me: how do you imagine professors read writing samples? Read the intro, skim a bit, and read conclusion? Only read the first few pages? I'm just worried because the beginning of mine is mostly historiographical summaries and the original research comes later. I think I do a good job of blending my findings with the established literature around the topics/time period, but I worry readers won't get there.

This varies enormously. Some will read the whole sample carefully, some will read part, some won't read it at all (and will still admit you!).

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I feel like, logically, adcoms only read the first few pages of the sample because they don’t have time to read it all. That’s what one of my professors told me and he recommended that the first few pages need to wow the judges so to speak. However, I’ve also had professors tell me after that they read my entire writing sample. Perhaps as they finalize the candidates, the samples start to be read more closely.

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Hi, everyone.  I'm new to the forum and a friend recommended joining to help me as I await responses from schools.  I have applied to a number of PhD programs (field: early modern European history; subfield: history of finance).  I think that I have been going a little nuts as I have waited, so I thought I would reach out to see 1) how to cope with the wait, and 2) if there are any ways to advance a candidacy once an application has been submitted. 

I am also trying to get a realistic idea of my chances.  I have a BS and MS in finance from a midwest school, GPA ~3.7.  I worked for a decade on Wall Street and at a startup that I helped take public.  I also obtained an MBA from a top-10 school.  I am pivoting to my passion of history after years away.  I have recommendations from a history of finance professor, an international relations professor, and my current CEO.  I have reading competency in three European languages and Latin.  My writing sample and SOPs are pretty solid and were reviewed by peers and a university professor.  I got a 170V/160Q/5.0AW on the GRE.  I have contacted relevant faculty at target schools over the months with some good responses, but I wonder how much this outreach will matter in the long run.  Is there anything else that can be done?  Schools: Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Duke, UT.  Thanks, all.

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14 hours ago, Carltonjacobs said:

Hi, everyone.  I'm new to the forum and a friend recommended joining to help me as I await responses from schools.  I have applied to a number of PhD programs (field: early modern European history; subfield: history of finance).  I think that I have been going a little nuts as I have waited, so I thought I would reach out to see 1) how to cope with the wait, and 2) if there are any ways to advance a candidacy once an application has been submitted. 

I am also trying to get a realistic idea of my chances.  I have a BS and MS in finance from a midwest school, GPA ~3.7.  I worked for a decade on Wall Street and at a startup that I helped take public.  I also obtained an MBA from a top-10 school.  I am pivoting to my passion of history after years away.  I have recommendations from a history of finance professor, an international relations professor, and my current CEO.  I have reading competency in three European languages and Latin.  My writing sample and SOPs are pretty solid and were reviewed by peers and a university professor.  I got a 170V/160Q/5.0AW on the GRE.  I have contacted relevant faculty at target schools over the months with some good responses, but I wonder how much this outreach will matter in the long run.  Is there anything else that can be done?  Schools: Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Duke, UT.  Thanks, all.

Welcome! I think your background will be really interesting to adcomms, and since you're entering a quantitative field and already have extensive experience that's a plus (as are the languages). Your GPA seems perfectly respectable and your GRE is stellar. Glad to hear you got feedback from a historian on the written material. Does your CEO happen to have a PhD? Honestly, that you have a non-academic recommendation is the only thing that makes me hesitate, but considering you've worked in the "real world" for a decade and your background seems perfect for history of finance, adcomms may appreciate your CEO's perspective. 

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15 hours ago, Carltonjacobs said:

Is there anything else that can be done?  

 

Start the process of figuring how to make the transition from the private sector to the Ivory Tower based upon the assumption that you're going to get multiple offers of admission.

I think that the most significant challenges you're going to encounter are the differences in pace, process, and personalities. And also...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s1s5K52zEQ

 

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No

2 hours ago, ashiepoo72 said:

 Does your CEO happen to have a PhD?

Thank you for the encouragement.  I've been mostly alone in this process until now so positive, albeit objective, words mean a lot.  No, my CEO doesn't have a PhD, but I hope that you're right about adcomms being interested in a private sector perspective -- this recommendation would shed light on my analytics, research prowess, creativity, and writing ability.

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1 hour ago, Sigaba said:

Start the process of figuring how to make the transition from the private sector to the Ivory Tower based upon the assumption that you're going to get multiple offers of admission.

I think that the most significant challenges you're going to encounter are the differences in pace, process, and personalities. And also...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s1s5K52zEQ

 

Multiple offers would be phenomenal.  I agree that things in academia will be different, likely drastically so, along those same dimensions that you mentioned.  The Men in Black video brings back 90's memories and the message is definitely applicable to my situation.  It's still a good movie after all these years.

School websites all mention mid-March as the notification time frame, but I've noticed that many decisions shared on other threads of this forum show that a majority of them are revealed between mid-January and late-February.  Any rules of thumb to go by with respect to timing?

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14 minutes ago, Carltonjacobs said:

School websites all mention mid-March as the notification time frame, but I've noticed that many decisions shared on other threads of this forum show that a majority of them are revealed between mid-January and late-February.  Any rules of thumb to go by with respect to timing?

Short answer, no.   

If you haven't heard anything by March 1, it is safe to e-mail your programs to check in on the status of the overall admission process.

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On 12/19/2018 at 10:40 PM, Carltonjacobs said:

Hi, everyone.  I'm new to the forum and a friend recommended joining to help me as I await responses from schools.  I have applied to a number of PhD programs (field: early modern European history; subfield: history of finance).  I think that I have been going a little nuts as I have waited, so I thought I would reach out to see 1) how to cope with the wait, and 2) if there are any ways to advance a candidacy once an application has been submitted. 

I am also trying to get a realistic idea of my chances.  I have a BS and MS in finance from a midwest school, GPA ~3.7.  I worked for a decade on Wall Street and at a startup that I helped take public.  I also obtained an MBA from a top-10 school.  I am pivoting to my passion of history after years away.  I have recommendations from a history of finance professor, an international relations professor, and my current CEO.  I have reading competency in three European languages and Latin.  My writing sample and SOPs are pretty solid and were reviewed by peers and a university professor.  I got a 170V/160Q/5.0AW on the GRE.  I have contacted relevant faculty at target schools over the months with some good responses, but I wonder how much this outreach will matter in the long run.  Is there anything else that can be done?  Schools: Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Duke, UT.  Thanks, all.

I think you will need to get an MA first. This will be beneficial for you and them. You to make sure this is what you want. And them to make sure you’re a good fit for academia and also to show how serious you are. As someone with an MD, I will tell you that success in another career helps with admission to masters programs and hurts when it comes to PhD programs. A PhD is a long road and many people worry that someone with a successful higher paying job would just bail when the going gets tough. And this is in a career trajectory that already has so many students that fizzle out in their dissertation phase. 

This is not to to discourage you but only to encourage you to apply to masters programs as a stepping stone for the PhD. 

Edited by Averroes MD
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I appreciate the candor. I’ve heard it both ways, and honestly the mixed messaging has complicated my decision-making.  A couple of people have suggested an MA, while others have stated not to worry about it in the case of a non traditional candidate with career experience supporting the subject matter.  I do understand the “demonstrate genuine interest” argument, but I would think that leaving the private sector would be sufficient to exhibit commitment.  I don’t know how admissions would view it all though.  Leaving my career for my passion and then paying for an MA is a double whammy.

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6 hours ago, Carltonjacobs said:

I appreciate the candor. I’ve heard it both ways, and honestly the mixed messaging has complicated my decision-making.  A couple of people have suggested an MA, while others have stated not to worry about it in the case of a non traditional candidate with career experience supporting the subject matter.  I do understand the “demonstrate genuine interest” argument, but I would think that leaving the private sector would be sufficient to exhibit commitment.  I don’t know how admissions would view it all though.  Leaving my career for my passion and then paying for an MA is a double whammy.

The issue is that commitment is something that waxes and wanes with time, so they want to see sustained commitment. It's easy to lose weight, but harder to keep it off.

It took me four years of sustained commitment before they finally took a chance on me, and even then, I'm sure many programs still had their doubts. Also, age discrimination is a real thing.

Lastly, I would say that I myself would not have accepted myself a few years ago, nor would I want to admit you as a PhD applicant at this point in time. Being a PhD student means you have a certain level of expertise in a field, not brand new to it. I understand your background in finance but I still think that this is different than the history of finance. But, I might be wrong on this, as I am in the study of religion, not history or finance!

The flip side of this is that you can get accepted to a shiny Ivy League masters program and then use that as a stepping stone to an even better PhD program than what you might get into it now. Just a thought.

Edited by Averroes MD
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On 12/21/2018 at 6:23 PM, Nicator said:

I've only applied for one PhD in History program (Cornell), but this thread was still incredibly helpful. Best of luck all!

Hey, a fellow Cornell applicant; hopefully I'll see you in the fall!  ?  I'm still polishing my writing sample and SOP.  Did you contact POIs at Cornell prior to applying?

-----

Two applications to go, and the struggle is real to finish them.  I really hate the fact that programs have such widely varying writing sample lengths.  Most of them are 50 pages or so and I've been able to include the bulk of the important bits of my MA thesis, but cutting down to 20 for Columbia was brutal (the application didn't specifically offer the option to send a longer sample and flag what you wanted them to read) and Boston U has a 40 page limit so that'll involve some more editing too.  Work's been crazy lately and Columbia was a pretty last minute decision so that was probably a wasted $110 given how mangled the final 20 page writing sample edit was, but you miss 100% of the shots you don't take, right?  RIGHT??  /sigh 

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On 12/25/2018 at 8:25 AM, fortsibut said:

Two applications to go, and the struggle is real to finish them.

Ah! Same! Cornell is my last app (out of 5) and the more I read my SoP the more I think all this was a great mistake and that I'm wasting everyone's time.

Ugh. Anyway!! I didn't contact any POIs, but I know they 'strongly recommend' it -- am I fucked? Did you contact them?

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12 hours ago, elx said:

Ah! Same! Cornell is my last app (out of 5) and the more I read my SoP the more I think all this was a great mistake and that I'm wasting everyone's time.

Ugh. Anyway!! I didn't contact any POIs, but I know they 'strongly recommend' it -- am I fucked? Did you contact them?

No. Move on.  Busy yourself with something else.  You didn't waste anyone's time by throwing your hat in the ring and hoping for the best.

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On 12/25/2018 at 4:25 PM, fortsibut said:

Hey, a fellow Cornell applicant; hopefully I'll see you in the fall!  ?  I'm still polishing my writing sample and SOP.  Did you contact POIs at Cornell prior to applying?

Fingers crossed mate! I did indeed, quite early on in the year actually. Luckily they were very friendly!

On 12/29/2018 at 9:06 PM, elx said:

Ugh. Anyway!! I didn't contact any POIs, but I know they 'strongly recommend' it -- am I fucked? Did you contact them?

Nothing to worry about. A friend of mine who just completed a PhD at Harvard actually advised not contacting POIs at all. In his experience, many students come on a little strong and scare off prospective supervisors. Other friends strongly advised the opposite. You can succeed with or without contacting them, and I think there's probably a 0.00001% chance that sort of thing is going to be the deciding factor.

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On 12/29/2018 at 6:06 AM, elx said:

Ah! Same! Cornell is my last app (out of 5) and the more I read my SoP the more I think all this was a great mistake and that I'm wasting everyone's time.

Ugh. Anyway!! I didn't contact any POIs, but I know they 'strongly recommend' it -- am I fucked? Did you contact them?

Did you single or double space your SoP for Cornell?  @Nicator feel free to respond as well!  They ask for two pages with no indication one way or the other and while Google advised me that the general rule of thumb is double spaced, Cornell's English MFA (yes, very different program but same school and I couldn't find anything closer after a quick search) specifically asks for single space.  Last year I sent in a single spaced SoP and didn't make the cut, but I was a less qualified candidate in many ways at that point so I'm not sure that played a huge part.  My SoP is currently right around 900 words, which is ballpark for other programs to which I applied.

https://gradschool.cornell.edu/admissions/prepare/statements-of-purpose/ seems to be pretty open-ended, so maybe it doesn't matter?

Thoughts?

EDIT:  Also elx, what is your field, out of curiosity?

Edited by fortsibut
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2 hours ago, fortsibut said:

Did you single or double space your SoP for Cornell?  @Nicator feel free to respond as well! 

I used single spacing for all my applications, with my Cornell SOP coming to 969 words (a little longer than I'd originally planned), but it did fit neatly into 2 pages. I don't think it will matter  - they're not going to torpedo an otherwise talented applicant over line spacing!

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