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A few questions pertaining to the actual application forms: 

1. How in depth do they want us to go with the questions the application asks that will be covered in the SoP? Like, optional fields in which you can describe your previous research experience, the factors that influenced your choice to apply to that university, etc.

2. When programs ask if you have any language experience, how exact should you be in your account? I took a number of years of Spanish, so I'm sure I could pick up a decent understanding of it again without too much trouble, but if they were to ask me tomorrow to complete a translation exam, forget about it. I also have a little bit of experience with Russian, but that experience is minor (shout out to Duolingo and An Idiot's Guide to Learning Russian). Russian is actually relevant to my research interests, though, and I have dedicated some time in the past to learning the basics. Are these languages worthy of listing on an application, or do only languages in which you're fluent really count? If I say I have a beginner's understanding of Russian, and an intermediate understanding of Spanish, will they immediately demand some sort of proof? I feel like not listing any languages at all might be a red flag for English programs that usually require proficiency in at least one or two languages for completion of the degree. And, like I said, I'm definitely not making up my familiarity with these languages, nor would I claim to adcomms to be fluent. I'm just wondering whether my mediocre language background even warrants mentioning in those fields on the apps. 

3. How should an undergrad applicant without publications format a CV? And what counts as relevant to your application when determining what work experience ought to be included? I've been a docent at a historic house museum since high school, and the house dates to the period I'm interested in studying, so that experience could be considered maybe slightly relevant? Maybe? And although I don't have any teaching experience, my years of experience giving tours, i.e. talking to groups of people about nineteenth century America, answering their questions, etc., seems to me at least vaguely reminiscent of teaching. For these reasons, would you recommend I include this, or does the fact that it's not strictly in the realm of academia make it irrelevant? 

4. When a school provides space for an optional personal statement in addition to a statement of purpose, will you be at a major disadvantage if you choose not to write one? 

5. When indicating your specialty area on an app form via drop down menu or what have you, how important is it to list secondary and tertiary areas of interest, seeing as you go so in-depth in the SoP about your research interests? I could include secondary and tertiary areas, but usually those drop down menus don't really list precisely what I consider my secondary and tertiary interests. I could leave those blank (bad idea? I don't know), fill them in with whatever seems nearest my interests, or write in my actual interests (some school's applications provide that option). 

Thank you so much in advance! I apologize for the overly long post. 

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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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8 hours ago, karamazov said:

A few questions pertaining to the actual application forms: 

1. How in depth do they want us to go with the questions the application asks that will be covered in the SoP? Like, optional fields in which you can describe your previous research experience, the factors that influenced your choice to apply to that university, etc.

2. When programs ask if you have any language experience, how exact should you be in your account? I took a number of years of Spanish, so I'm sure I could pick up a decent understanding of it again without too much trouble, but if they were to ask me tomorrow to complete a translation exam, forget about it. I also have a little bit of experience with Russian, but that experience is minor (shout out to Duolingo and An Idiot's Guide to Learning Russian). Russian is actually relevant to my research interests, though, and I have dedicated some time in the past to learning the basics. Are these languages worthy of listing on an application, or do only languages in which you're fluent really count? If I say I have a beginner's understanding of Russian, and an intermediate understanding of Spanish, will they immediately demand some sort of proof? I feel like not listing any languages at all might be a red flag for English programs that usually require proficiency in at least one or two languages for completion of the degree. And, like I said, I'm definitely not making up my familiarity with these languages, nor would I claim to adcomms to be fluent. I'm just wondering whether my mediocre language background even warrants mentioning in those fields on the apps. 

3. How should an undergrad applicant without publications format a CV? And what counts as relevant to your application when determining what work experience ought to be included? I've been a docent at a historic house museum since high school, and the house dates to the period I'm interested in studying, so that experience could be considered maybe slightly relevant? Maybe? And although I don't have any teaching experience, my years of experience giving tours, i.e. talking to groups of people about nineteenth century America, answering their questions, etc., seems to me at least vaguely reminiscent of teaching. For these reasons, would you recommend I include this, or does the fact that it's not strictly in the realm of academia make it irrelevant? 

4. When a school provides space for an optional personal statement in addition to a statement of purpose, will you be at a major disadvantage if you choose not to write one? 

5. When indicating your specialty area on an app form via drop down menu or what have you, how important is it to list secondary and tertiary areas of interest, seeing as you go so in-depth in the SoP about your research interests? I could include secondary and tertiary areas, but usually those drop down menus don't really list precisely what I consider my secondary and tertiary interests. I could leave those blank (bad idea? I don't know), fill them in with whatever seems nearest my interests, or write in my actual interests (some school's applications provide that option). 

Thank you so much in advance! I apologize for the overly long post. 

These are some great questions. I'm in this application cycle with you, so I will put my understanding of a few of these and maybe it can help you in some way. 

1) So far, I've constructed my statements of purpose to include: first what some schools will call "your reason for doing literature beyond a general love of the field"-- essentially, what brought you to this field and why do you feel like doing a PhD necessary for you. Secondly, I describe my previous research, only the one I use for my writing sample, which is a portion of my master's thesis. Then I explain how I feel like I could expand the study or I ask some possible research questions I could approach. The second half of the essay, I write why specifically this school.  Bottom line- I'd say go as in depth as you feel is appropriate and relevant in the 500-1000 words you have.

If given additional space on the actual application to write something, I would carefully re-read both what they want you to write about in your SOP and what they want you to write in the space given. Often times, they are similar, like splitting hairs, but they do have differences. Sometimes they only want 500 words for a SoP, but you may have a 1000 word one. That space can be used for the extra info you feel is relevant that you weren't able to add to the SOP. Make sure you are specifically answering the prompt though, if there is one. 

2) I would definitely include languages you are not fluent in on your CV. I believe language acquisition can be divided into Beginner/Novice/Elementary; Intermediate ; Advanced; Fluent/Native Proficiency. You can also say something like "Spanish- Intermediate Reading Proficiency, Novice Speaking and Writing"

3) I have 2 sections in my CV for experience-- work experience, then other leadership experience. For the first, I would add jobs you got paid for that is relevant. You can list the job title, but then add a description below it. For example: Tour Guide- In this position, I was responsible for leading and guiding large groups of people...etc. However you want to make it sound, your description is the place for it. Then under leadership experience, I put roles I was not paid for. If you were the president of a group for your extracurricular activities or any major role that showcases your leadership, etc. That would be a decent place for it, if you so choose. 

4) I don't know.

5) If the school's application page requests that you list a secondary interest, I would. If they do not specifically say it, AND you do not see something you would want to add, then don't. 

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9 hours ago, karamazov said:

3. How should an undergrad applicant without publications format a CV? And what counts as relevant to your application when determining what work experience ought to be included? I've been a docent at a historic house museum since high school, and the house dates to the period I'm interested in studying, so that experience could be considered maybe slightly relevant? Maybe? And although I don't have any teaching experience, my years of experience giving tours, i.e. talking to groups of people about nineteenth century America, answering their questions, etc., seems to me at least vaguely reminiscent of teaching. For these reasons, would you recommend I include this, or does the fact that it's not strictly in the realm of academia make it irrelevant? 

I would include those things, yes. If they're at all relevant to your areas of study, I think they're worth including – admissions committees want to know that you're invested in the period you're studying, and it sounds like the work experience contributes to that narrative, as well as your knowledge about the period. It would be great to include the tours, too.

I'm also responding because your other questions are very good ones that I would like to hear others' answers to!

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5 hours ago, Cryss said:

2) I would definitely include languages you are not fluent in on your CV. I believe language acquisition can be divided into Beginner/Novice/Elementary; Intermediate ; Advanced; Fluent/Native Proficiency. You can also say something like "Spanish- Intermediate Reading Proficiency, Novice Speaking and Writing"

I'm also torn about what to write in the language section. Do you (and/or does anyone else) have any idea about how programmes review this section of the application? I studied Latin for 4 years in high school and part of the way through college I picked it up again and studied on my own, so I feel like I could qualify myself as 'intermediate' at least in reading proficiency, but I worry that someone reading my application might discount my experience because I never took any Latin classes in college. 

In my position, would you just specify your proficiency and call it a day or add a note explaining the nature of your study? 

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28 minutes ago, onerepublic96 said:

I'm also torn about what to write in the language section. Do you (and/or does anyone else) have any idea about how programmes review this section of the application? I studied Latin for 4 years in high school and part of the way through college I picked it up again and studied on my own, so I feel like I could qualify myself as 'intermediate' at least in reading proficiency, but I worry that someone reading my application might discount my experience because I never took any Latin classes in college. 

In my position, would you just specify your proficiency and call it a day or add a note explaining the nature of your study? 

I'm just specifying my proficiency in each language on my CV. I did 7 years French, but didn't take any college classes. I personally don't think you need to justify it by offering explanations. 

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Hi everyone! Long-time lurker since my first round of grad applications 3 years ago, and now I'm finally feeling ready to participate, as I'm about to apply to PhD programs.

I'm applying with a MA, and want to use part of my thesis for the WS as it is really my best work both theory- and analysis-wise and reflects the kind of work I would like to do at the PhD level. The problem that I'm having is that my chapters are kind of short (~10 pages), with a long intro (~15 pages), so a combination of the intro + a chapter would be too long for most WS page expectations (~20 pages). The context is that my thesis is on 4 different novels, so each chapter is on one novel, with the intro and conclusion and one small interchapter for historical and theoretical backgrounds. Overall, it's a pretty long thesis. 

I would love to hear your input on how to approach excerpting a MA thesis: should I craft a paper that's like a cohesive whole, revolved around one of my chapters?  Can you offer some advice on best practices? I know that I should have a cover page explaining the excerpt and how it relates to the bigger project, but that's about it. I would really appreciate any advice, as this is the hardest part of the apps for me right now. Thanks!

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2 hours ago, coffeelyf said:

Hi everyone! Long-time lurker since my first round of grad applications 3 years ago, and now I'm finally feeling ready to participate, as I'm about to apply to PhD programs.

I'm applying with a MA, and want to use part of my thesis for the WS as it is really my best work both theory- and analysis-wise and reflects the kind of work I would like to do at the PhD level. The problem that I'm having is that my chapters are kind of short (~10 pages), with a long intro (~15 pages), so a combination of the intro + a chapter would be too long for most WS page expectations (~20 pages). The context is that my thesis is on 4 different novels, so each chapter is on one novel, with the intro and conclusion and one small interchapter for historical and theoretical backgrounds. Overall, it's a pretty long thesis. 

I would love to hear your input on how to approach excerpting a MA thesis: should I craft a paper that's like a cohesive whole, revolved around one of my chapters?  Can you offer some advice on best practices? I know that I should have a cover page explaining the excerpt and how it relates to the bigger project, but that's about it. I would really appreciate any advice, as this is the hardest part of the apps for me right now. Thanks!

The DGS where I did my master's said a strong intro and conclusion are particularly important and if/where I need to trim, some of the close readings would be best. My WS is a theoretical reading of three poets/four total collections, and I'm just going to summarize the whole analysis of the last collection to get to 20 pages. I may just include a paragraph or two from each collection for schools with lower page maxes. The DGS and gradcafe people have all said to just use brackets and a few sentences in place of where I cut and note on the cover page that I've done so. 

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Anyone else have a LOR professor just fall off the face of the earth? I've had no email response for the last three weeks (and he has no phone number?). I've contacted the department and been told to email again as he's usually very responsive by email. I have applications I want to hit submit on, but now I'm worried about listing him an LOR. What if he doesn't submit a letter? Is it too late to find someone else? Who else would I even find?

Send cat pics, pls.

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33 minutes ago, onerepublic96 said:

It seems I always work straight to the deadline, so I’ll probably be one of the people still freaking out on Dec 15 because I’ll be only just submitting my apps. 😞

I'll be right there freaking out with you on December 15! (Except for evil Northwestern and NYU with their December 1 deadlines *shakes fist*)

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On 11/13/2019 at 7:49 PM, karamazov said:

Anyone else having those last minute waves of intense self-doubt? 

In a weird way... no? I was shut out last cycle, and I survived. I also have a pretty well-established career to "fall back" on, though, so if I get shut out again, I'll just cry for a few days and (hopefully) move on. 

 

16 hours ago, CaliAcademic said:

Anyone else done with submitting apps? I'm so anxious about the waiting period now!

Yep! Done. Whew. Good luck!

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Should an SoP be single- or double-spaced? Some programs specify, and some give a word limit, but some only say "no more than two pages." Should I email the programs for specifics on this or is there an unspoken rule of some sort? I was assuming I ought to double-space everything but that leaves me so little room :') 
 

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4 minutes ago, karamazov said:

Should an SoP be single- or double-spaced? Some programs specify, and some give a word limit, but some only say "no more than two pages." Should I email the programs for specifics on this or is there an unspoken rule of some sort? I was assuming I ought to double-space everything but that leaves me so little room :') 
 

I've been assuming SOP is single spaced -- 2 pages single spaced ends up being around the same 1000 ish word count that other programs ask for? Hope I'm not wrong.

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