Jump to content
Sigaba

Applications 2019

Recommended Posts

On 2/17/2019 at 1:34 PM, HRL said:

A belated congratulations to you! My subfield is 19th and 20th century U.S. labor and working-class history. Yours? 

Kind of moving between two eras here - broadly a Southern historian, more specifically Civil War/Antebellum period , but I also have some interest in the late 19th/early 20th century as it pertains to Confederate memorialization.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, potsupotsu said:

I just turned down my Northwestern offer. Hopefully someone on here can make it off of the waitlist. @Balleu and @Rekishishu perhaps that means one of you!

Thank you for the update! Have you made your final decision, or are you still weighing options? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Balleu said:

Thank you for the update! Have you made your final decision, or are you still weighing options? 

I'm still deciding, though I am leaning towards Yale.

I really like the faculty at Harvard's HEAL, but even though it's a dual degree with History, I worry how the area studies half (EALC) will impact me on the job market. This is something I will definitely have to talk to them about at the visit days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Balleu said:

I see you saying here and in your other thread that you've struggled to get useful feedback. What kind of feedback have you sought or received from your professors in your current MA program? When you do get feedback ("language I was previously using in my SOPs was outdated and made it apparent I wasn't current on scholarship trends"), how and where do you incorporate it? 

My focus has been on my SOP because that's what seemed like was giving me the most trouble. In fact, one professor not in my program but whom I'd reached out to in a previous admissions cycle as a potential POI gave me, relative to the others, the most useful advice and that was primarily about the language I'd used in previous years. Therefore, the advice and guidance I got, I incorporated primarily into my SOP although I tried to apply the advice to my (new) writing sample which was an excerpt from the thesis I just started writing for the MA I'm currently in but since I've gotten very little feedback on my writing sample/thesis, I can't say if it's up to par and whether that was my Achilles heel this year. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, potsupotsu said:

I just turned down my Northwestern offer. Hopefully someone on here can make it off of the waitlist. @Balleu and @Rekishishu perhaps that means one of you!

Writing to your POI whose work you admire so much and telling them that you are "rejecting" them is a really difficult thing to do. I did not really anticipate just how hard it would be at the beginning of the process!

Thank you and best wishes to your future studies!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, OHSP said:

Unfortunately it's actually just that the incoming cohort is designed to be very small, weather didn't really affect the department this year. The prospective students day has been announced. 

Ah well, that's that then. Thanks for letting us know!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, pilisopa said:

But after being in my current MA program, I get the feeling my topic, however refined and well composed, doesn't stand a chance if it doesn't incorporate popular themes like East or South Asia, gender issues, etc. Nothing wrong with those but is my candidacy hopeless if I don't include these things?

"Popular themes," was my biggest concern. I love political history, and that is far from popular. Most people find it dull and boring. I have a piece of advice, and it does not even apply to your acceptance or rejection from multiple programs: You have to pursue what you enjoy and are passionate about. I dropped out of the history field and attempted to go to business school at one point because it was practical. I HATED every second of it, and ended up a C student, barely getting by. One day, on a whim, I decided to go back and finish my history undergrad. I became a model student because I cared about what I was doing. If you have the passion, it can work out for you.

That said, if you aren't working with a "trendy" topic, admission can be hard. I am looking at 1950s political history with my MA, and I struggled to even find potential POIs. You may have to search for POIs. They may not be at the big name schools. I found one who seemed interested in what I am doing and has done similar work, in ONE introductory meeting before I ever applied, he gave my some incredibly useful advice. I'm telling you, it can be done. I have friends in academia who proofread my SOP. I worked for 6 months on a writing sample. Those things are an excellent opportunity to demonstrate what you're passionate about, and if you find a POI who has similar interests, they may get excited about you. DIG DIG DIG through school's faculty pages on their websites, that's what I did. 

It won't hurt you to incorporate more trendy topics. I am working with a specific election cycle and the women's vote does matter, but I never made it a key focus. The Korean War? Not trendy, but it's a key focus. I didn't apply to many TT programs because they are heavily focused on the current popular themes, but keep in mind that those change, and if you find even one person who wants to work with you, it could surprise you. Who knows, maybe 15 years from now you're the person someone is desperately looking for because it seems like no one has an interest in what they are passionate about. Or maybe your topic is the new trendy topic and you were ahead of the curve!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, pilisopa said:

But after being in my current MA program, I get the feeling my topic, however refined and well composed, doesn't stand a chance if it doesn't incorporate popular themes like East or South Asia, gender issues, etc. Nothing wrong with those but is my candidacy hopeless if I don't include these things?

...plenty of people successfully admitted to PhD programs in the past few years are not working on the "popular themes" that you've listed. I'd really get yourself away from thinking that people are getting in over you because their work is "trendy". Often it's less a matter of "topic" (I don't know of anyone who talks about the topic they're working on, really), and more a matter of research questions -- how are you presenting the questions that are guiding your research? Do the questions sound urgent, relevant, feasible, worth pursuing etc, and do they show that you're thinking about how to intervene in historiographical debates, methods etc etc. Instead of blaming the "trends" you're identifying, think about how you can re-frame your project (beyond the transnational thing) by explaining where it fits and who you're speaking to.
On the same note, the SoP is very, very important--more important than having publications or a completed thesis or some random fellowship that your POI's never heard of etc. I'd go so far as to say that without a strong SoP you can't guarantee that admissions committees are going to do more than skim the rest of your application (at two schools I was admitted to it was obvious that my POIs had not read my writing sample, beyond maybe the first page--this is just a practical reality. They have very little time, they're not actually reading every 25 page paper closely). So the SoP is where you frame your project and "stand out" from the hundreds of other applicants. I used to think the advice on this forum was harshly phrased--it's kind of necessarily so. Without tough advice you won't make the serious changes required to get into a program, so my advice is to find a professor (assistant profs are often closer to the process/remember their own SoP) who can give you that brutal advice in real life--it was the most helpful thing I did when applying. 

Edited by OHSP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, elx said:

Ah well, that's that then. Thanks for letting us know!

Sorry to deliver what is probably bad news--should definitely be stated that I don't know for certain that all admitted students have been notified, though. When I got in my POI called me many days after a stream of acceptances were posted on here, so I assumed I was out, but the POI was just super busy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone heard anything on Pitt? There seems to be one acceptance on the results page from Sunday but radio silence since then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Aithera said:

Has anyone heard anything on Pitt? There seems to be one acceptance on the results page from Sunday but radio silence since then.

Hi, @Aithera, I'm the Pitt acceptance. 

ETA: If you want to private message me about it, we can talk. 

Edited by Jericho
addition

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Aithera said:

@Jericho Thanks! I guess it was fortuitous that I posted this morning, because I just got my acceptance :)

Awesome! I'm definitely messaging you now, then! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I received an e-mail this morning informing me that I was actually not rejected, but rather have been placed on the wait list at UPenn. They make the claim that generally several wait listed applicants end up being admitted by the April 15th deadline. They also asked me whether or not I would like to accept or decline the wait list status. I know many people on here were applying to Penn, so did anybody else receive a wait list? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, daradara said:

I received an e-mail this morning informing me that I was actually not rejected, but rather have been placed on the wait list at UPenn. They make the claim that generally several wait listed applicants end up being admitted by the April 15th deadline. They also asked me whether or not I would like to accept or decline the wait list status. I know many people on here were applying to Penn, so did anybody else receive a wait list? 

Congrats! I had an interview with Penn, but haven't heard anything from them since then. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, OHSP said:

Sorry to deliver what is probably bad news--should definitely be stated that I don't know for certain that all admitted students have been notified, though. When I got in my POI called me many days after a stream of acceptances were posted on here, so I assumed I was out, but the POI was just super busy. 

I received an offer from NYU for their Joint PhD between History and MEIS, but I haven't heard anything about the Admitted Students' Day. May I ask what date you were told?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, misternovember said:

I received an offer from NYU for their Joint PhD between History and MEIS, but I haven't heard anything about the Admitted Students' Day. May I ask what date you were told?

I’m guessing information is coming soon, they’re organizing events etc now. Feel free to PM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, daradara said:

I received an e-mail this morning informing me that I was actually not rejected, but rather have been placed on the wait list at UPenn. They make the claim that generally several wait listed applicants end up being admitted by the April 15th deadline. They also asked me whether or not I would like to accept or decline the wait list status. I know many people on here were applying to Penn, so did anybody else receive a wait list? 

Nope, but I also wasn't interviewed. Well done!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, historygeek said:

I had expected to be rejected from NYU, so I'm not too upset! Congrats to all the admits! :)

Did you get an actual rejection or are you going by OHSP's post?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, elx said:

Did you get an actual rejection or are you going by OHSP's post?

It's presumed, by the post as well as the lack of any communication.

Edited by historygeek
grammar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, historygeek said:

It's presumed, by the post as well as the lack of any communication.

It literally could just be that you haven't been notified. Not trying to false hope anyone but it's really not over until it's officially over. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, OHSP said:

It literally could just be that you haven't been notified. Not trying to false hope anyone but it's really not over until it's officially over. 

☝️

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, pilisopa said:

It's been very difficult getting useful feedback. Best thing I got this year was that the language I was previously using in my SOPs was outdated and made it apparent I wasn't current on scholarship trends and I updated that considerably.

This is useful feedback. It's crucial feedback. Your SOP needs to demonstrate that you understand the kinds of questions your field is asking, and that you are prepared to join that conversation. Similarly, you need to understand the direction of the discipline as a whole. You joke about "popular themes" and trying to make your project transnational. But do you understand why so many historians are taking comparative and transnational approaches? Are you prepared to engage with those approaches in conferences, journal themes, the eventual job market, etc.? Even if you decide that approach is not what you want to do with your own work, you still need to show that you're aware of it, you've considered it, and you've decided to take XYZ approach because of ABC reasons. 

The information you've given us about your proposal (nationalist history, your prior research language reflects an "outdated" approach) makes me wonder: were you proposing to study an anti-colonial nationalist movement with only the language of the colonizers? Proposing to study Algeria while only speaking French, for example? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, pilisopa said:

Just wanted to thank you all for the advice provided in this thread. I took the MA plunge last year after a couple unsuccessful application cycles. I am trying to complete my MA in one year and I applied again this year and, thus far, all of my applications have been unsuccessful again. Wondering what the problem is. From what I've gathered, it could be me, my proposal, that my thesis is incomplete, that I haven't published anything, or that my LORs aren't strong enough (even though I was hoping this year, with fresh professors writing them, they'd be better). Fact is, I don't know and I'm at a loss and even though I'm considering applying again, I'm having a hard time justifying doing so without knowing exactly what I need to improve or change at this point. 

If you had applied just as you were starting your MA last fall, your application then didn't change much and it was too soon to re-apply to PhD programs.  You need to finish your one-year MA with a completed thesis (or at least a strong chapter for writing sample) and a set of in-depth letters.  Your professors in your MA program likely wrote surface-level letters because they didn't really get to know your work as well as they could have.  People in MA programs wait until their second (or third) year for best shot into PhD programs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.