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8 hours ago, thetruewalkingwoman said:

Guys...I don’t know whether to feel hopeful or completely disheartened. I received the waitlist email for Minnesota. I know this means I’m not totally out of the running but I sort of feel my self-worth draining. Do I even bother to hold on to hope?

Just checked my mail and found out that I have been waitlisted too. I would definitely take this as a positive turn since my first notice was Duke's rejection. Good luck to us all~

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That would be me. My first acceptance and I’m thrilled.

just got my Michigan offer. 6 years funding. Fuck. 

IN AT YALE!!!  IM GOING TO LOSE MY MIND I DON'T KNOW WHO I AM ANYMORE 

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2 hours ago, caffeinated applicant said:

lol rest in pieces my heart, u gotta deal with the high latent anxiety for "the next couple of weeks"

I know! I wanted to respond "thanks, I guess...." Hopefully we'll hear something soon! 

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hi, all!

I'm a long time lurker, first time poster, and this is my first time applying to PhD programs...and it is not going so well. I am starting to lose hope and I am struggling to come terms with the fact that it looks as though I am going to be shut out of all 16 schools that I applied to. I have received 4 rejection letters and I have another 6 implied rejections based upon what I have seen on the results board. I spent a year working on these applications, doing everything (that I thought) I could to make sure I chose the best schools with the best fit based upon my scholarly interests. I mostly applied to schools in the top 50 (based on US News) all over the country.

A little bit about me. I received my BA last spring. I have a 4.0 GPA, a litany of academic honors, I am proficient in French, I have great letters of recommendation, and I have excellent GRE scores. My thesis chair as well as many professors pushed me into applying to top schools: I had roughly ten professors (as well as many others) look at my SoP and my writing sample (my revised thesis) and after revisions, we were all very comfortable with how I was going to be presenting myself. But obviously, something is not clicking and I'm at a total loss. Except...

...here's the kicker, and here's what I can't get out of my head: I am 39. I turn 40 in June. Am I just too freakin' old to be applying to funded PhD programs?

Edited by trolloped
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10 minutes ago, trolloped said:

hi, all!

I'm a long time lurker, first time poster, and this is my first time applying to PhD programs...and it is not going so well. I am starting to lose hope and I am struggling to come terms with the fact that it looks as though I am going to be shut out of all 16 schools that I applied to. I have received 4 rejection letters and I have another 6 implied rejections based upon what I have seen on the results board. I spent a year working on these applications, doing everything (that I thought) I could to make sure I chose the best schools with the best fit based upon my scholarly interests. I mostly applied to schools in the top 50 (based on US News) all over the country.

A little bit about me. I received my BA last spring. I have a 4.0 GPA, a litany of academic honors, I am proficient in French, I have great letters of recommendation, and I have excellent GRE scores. My thesis chair as well as many professors pushed me into applying to top schools: I had roughly ten professors (as well as many others) look at my SoP and my writing sample (my revised thesis) and after revisions, we were all very comfortable with how I was going to be presenting myself. But obviously, something is not clicking and I'm at a total loss. Except...

...here's the kicker, and here's what I can't get out of my head: I am 39. I turn 40 in June. Am I just too freakin' old to be applying to funded PhD programs?

You’re not too old. Hang in there. I went through several cycles, but for now just wait. I know it’s tough but there’s still schools left, don’t lose hope. If it doesn’t go your way know that it’s not the end of the world (feel free to reach out if you want to talk to someome who got shut out too).

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7 minutes ago, trolloped said:

hi, all!

I'm a long time lurker, first time poster, and this is my first time applying to PhD programs...and it is not going so well. I am starting to lose hope and I am struggling to come terms with the fact that it looks as though I am going to be shut out of all 16 schools that I applied to. I have received 4 rejection letters and I have another 6 implied rejections based upon what I have seen on the results board. I spent a year working on these applications, doing everything (that I thought) I could to make sure I chose the best schools with the best fit based upon my scholarly interests. I mostly applied to schools in the top 50 (based on US News) all over the country.

A little bit about me. I received my BA last spring. I have a 4.0 GPA, a litany of academic honors, I am proficient in French, I have great letters of recommendation, and I have excellent GRE scores. My thesis chair as well as many professors pushed me into applying to top schools: I had roughly ten professors (as well as many others) look at my SoP and my writing sample (my revised thesis) and after revisions, we were all very comfortable with how I was going to be presenting myself. But obviously, something is not clicking and I'm at a total loss. Except...

...here's the kicker, and here's what I can't get out of my head: I am 39. I turn 40 in June. Am I just too freakin' old to be applying to funded PhD programs?

I'm so sorry that you've put in all of this work and have been having such a rough go with things this application cycle. I absolutely DO NOT think that you are too old to be applying to any PhD programs and hope that despite how everything has been going that you won't have to apply again next cycle. That all being said, I actually had a brilliant professor for my critical theory class who didn't finish his undergrad till he was in his 30s (he had started his BA, stopped, and then picked it back up later in life) and then went on to get his PhD at Yale. I also know a couple of graduate students here at my school (Texas A&M) who are well into their thirties with kids and getting their PhDs so if you are committed to getting yours I think you should not let what you think the committees might think about your age stop you. It sounds like you've been doing a whole lot of the right things to do so I don't really have any advice/helpful tips for you but perhaps some current grad students might have some valuable insight? I hope this cycle doesn't end with a shut out for you and best wishes.

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Something is a little confusing to me about the WashU rejections on the board. All of them found out through the website, but on applyweb if you check the checklist, it says all decisions will be informed via email. I have scoured every part of that page trying to figure out if there's a link I've missed, but I don't think I have. This cycle's gonna be extremely anxiety-inducing if all of the programs I applied to have invisible waitlists. What ever happened to good old-fashioned visible waitlists?

Edited by NinaM
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@trolloped I don't think you are too old. I myself am a nontraditional applicant and have encountered many others in the discipline of comparative literature starting grad school after exploring lots of other possibilities in life. Your SoP and writing sample sound well-polished and your CV sounds stunning. Grad admission could be a random process about luck and doesn't speak to how good you are as a student/scholar. Let's wait for the other 6 programs to get back and hope for the best! 

I am not sure if you talked to potential advisors before you handed in the applications to see whether they were taking students, interested in your proposed project, etc. Apart from credentials, matching and timing are very important, too. I emailed almost 20 professors of interest from August to October last year, and found out that some of them were retiring, some leaving for a new school, some going on sabbatical, some not having the quota to take new students this year, and some simply not interested in my work. There are many possible reasons for rejection and many of those are not even related to how competitive you are as an applicant. You are a great student/scholar. Best wishes!

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1 hour ago, FlamePoint said:

Had a dream last night that I forgot to hit submit on all applications. RIP. It’s gonna be a loooong weekend.

I had a dream I'd gotten accepted somewhere I'd already received a rejection from. I can't deal 

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@WildeThing @Rrandle101 @asdf1123 Thank you, for the boost of support. That means a lot. I am still trying to hold out hope on the last six, but it's just existentially draining at times...but if age isn't a factor, I'm all in for next cycle! This is my dream.

Two things I did not do: contact potential advisers or "propose a project" exactly. While I did name faculty in my SoPs whose interests and previous seminars matched my own, I wasn't exactly sure how to approach them personally via email (I was even advised not to do this by a couple of my undergrad advisers, so that added to it as well). As far as proposing a "project," I really just went into strict detail about my interests and how they relate to the research that I've previously done as an undergrad. Again, this was because my undergrad advisers suggested that committees would not expect me to have all of my research interests completely figured out after only 2 years of rigorous literary studies as an undergrad. Should I have leaned more into proposing a dissertation topic?

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16 hours ago, Shkshk said:

So I waited a couple of more days and I got accepted yesterday!! (USC Cinema and Media MA)

Big Congrats! I think they are sending all their acceptances for both PhD and MA this week. Glad to hear you are accepted. Might be able to meet you there.

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4 minutes ago, trolloped said:

@WildeThing @Rrandle101 @asdf1123 Thank you, for the boost of support. That means a lot. I am still trying to hold out hope on the last six, but it's just existentially draining at times...but if age isn't a factor, I'm all in for next cycle! This is my dream.

Two things I did not do: contact potential advisers or "propose a project" exactly. While I did name faculty in my SoPs whose interests and previous seminars matched my own, I wasn't exactly sure how to approach them personally via email (I was even advised not to do this by a couple of my undergrad advisers, so that added to it as well). As far as proposing a "project," I really just went into strict detail about my interests and how they relate to the research that I've previously done as an undergrad. Again, this was because my undergrad advisers suggested that committees would not expect me to have all of my research interests completely figured out after only 2 years of rigorous literary studies as an undergrad. Should I have leaned more into proposing a dissertation topic?

From my personal experience and what I heard from my cohorts/PhD students, I came to realize that contacting potential advisors is not necessary UNLESS it is required by the program (some programs do require that). I contacted some professors. Those who replied with enthusiasm are implied rejecting me; those who did not reply or those I didn't contact accepted me -- same situations happened to a couple of my cohorts. Most of humanity/social science programs review applications in a committee base -- maybe your POIs are not in the committee this year, or on leave, or just not voice enough for your project for other professors in the committee. Though contacting professors would not hurt your application though, it is just not that important in many cases. 

However, I would agree that you should go more into your future projects than your undergrad works. Even though you don't know what exactly you want to do in your PhD, it is always a good idea to have a "proposed" project in your SoP. Most of my cohorts do 50% previous academic experience + 50% proposed projects and future interests in their SoPs. I hope that helps. 

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Hi All! I cannot tell you how much of a blessing this thread has been knowing everyone else is freaking out just as much as I am. I am currently an undergraduate living on a hope and a prayer that I can be successful through my first application cycle.

 

Kind of a dumb question but a lot of my applications were through apply web and I have no idea how to check the status. I applied to WASHU and received no email to check things but I see in results acceptances and rejections. How do I check my status to see?

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I found that reaching out to professors was extremely helpful in developing my research ideas and picking programs to apply to, but probably much less useful in ‘getting a foot in the door,’ so to speak. If that is your goal, I would suggest asking your letter writers (and other professors you’re close to) who they know at the schools you’re applying to, since a personal email from them can go a long way. Granted, I haven’t heard back from anywhere yet lol

Edited by FlamePoint
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Anybody know if getting an MA in teaching, (English education), could be a viable path for me if I get shut out this cycle? I am a BA-only applicant. I would like to be a teacher of some kind, if not a college professor, eventually. I just don't know about the price and funding (most would be from graduate loans). Would I be better to cut my losses as I am set to graduate this semester, and go into the work force? Any suggestions or input?

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21 minutes ago, Puurple said:

Anybody know if getting an MA in teaching, (English education), could be a viable path for me if I get shut out this cycle? I am a BA-only applicant. I would like to be a teacher of some kind, if not a college professor, eventually. I just don't know about the price and funding (most would be from graduate loans). Would I be better to cut my losses as I am set to graduate this semester, and go into the work force? Any suggestions or input?

I don't have much knowledge or advice to offer, but do keep in mind that as a general rule, you don't need a master's degree to teach at a public school, nor do you need an education degree. You do have to have pass some licensing exams and a teacher prep program (which includes student teaching), but the requirements vary a lot from state to state, and a lot of states have massive teacher shortages right now. I'm not an educator, so I know pretty little about all of this, but your BA university's career center probably can help you figure out a couple of options to obtain certification without taking on too much debt. 

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1 hour ago, Kelsey1599 said:

Hi All! I cannot tell you how much of a blessing this thread has been knowing everyone else is freaking out just as much as I am. I am currently an undergraduate living on a hope and a prayer that I can be successful through my first application cycle.

 

Kind of a dumb question but a lot of my applications were through apply web and I have no idea how to check the status. I applied to WASHU and received no email to check things but I see in results acceptances and rejections. How do I check my status to see?

On the ApplyWeb page there should be a new gray space (often below checklist) which will say Decision Letter.

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35 minutes ago, caffeinated applicant said:

I don't have much knowledge or advice to offer, but do keep in mind that as a general rule, you don't need a master's degree to teach at a public school, nor do you need an education degree. You do have to have pass some licensing exams and a teacher prep program (which includes student teaching), but the requirements vary a lot from state to state, and a lot of states have massive teacher shortages right now. I'm not an educator, so I know pretty little about all of this, but your BA university's career center probably can help you figure out a couple of options to obtain certification without taking on too much debt. 

I agree that the rules vary. In the state I'm in (NY), I would need a teaching certificate granted most easily thru a Master's program. But I'll keep what you've said in mind. Perhaps there are other avenues.

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On 1/29/2020 at 1:07 PM, NinaM said:

Would it be really weird if I email Notre Dame asking them if there have been any developments with my application? Cause I haven't gotten a rejection nor an interview, and my anxious brain has somehow convinced itself that they haven't even gotten my application which doesn't make sense, but now I can't stop thinking about it. UGGH.

Agggggh same! I'm positive I'll be getting a rejection since I didn't get an interview/recruitment weekend invite but I just want to hear something from them. I logged into my portal and no updates. 

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19 minutes ago, theburiedgirl815 said:

Agggggh same! I'm positive I'll be getting a rejection since I didn't get an interview/recruitment weekend invite but I just want to hear something from them. I logged into my portal and no updates. 

I know I get it. I wouldn't mind getting a rejection at this point, I just don't like not knowing. Are you going through the same thing with WashU as well?

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3 hours ago, trolloped said:

While I did name faculty in my SoPs whose interests and previous seminars matched my own, I wasn't exactly sure how to approach them personally via email (I was even advised not to do this by a couple of my undergrad advisers, so that added to it as well). 

I think this is field specific, so if your undergrad advisers in your discipline advised you not to do it, they probably have very good reasons. In my case, I just sent out very brief emails with one sentence of self-introduction, one sentence connecting our research interests (showing that I've read their recent publications), and the last sentence asking if they were taking new students for this application cycle. I agree with @ztshin that their responses don't mean much. Some people don't reply, some might reply with encouragement but in fact have acceptance rate or even application fees in mind (sorry for being a bit dark here but I've seen this). The important thing for me was not to get in beforehand (which is obviously impossible), but to see if people were *not* taking students so that I could narrow down my list.  

3 hours ago, ztshin said:

Even though you don't know what exactly you want to do in your PhD, it is always a good idea to have a "proposed" project in your SoP. Most of my cohorts do 50% previous academic experience + 50% proposed projects and future interests in their SoPs. I hope that helps. 

I second that. The balance is tricky though - you sort of need to have a coherent and feasible "proposed" project to demonstrate that you are able to come up with one, but at the same time it cannot sound as if there's no room left for the program to nurture/mold you. This, however, is also field specific. I recommend asking junior faculty and/or current PhD students about expectations in your field.  

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1 hour ago, Puurple said:

I agree that the rules vary. In the state I'm in (NY), I would need a teaching certificate granted most easily thru a Master's program. But I'll keep what you've said in mind. Perhaps there are other avenues.

HS English educator here (though not in NY): there are looooots of ways to get into the classroom. This link might help: http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/certprocess.html 

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