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18 hours ago, meghan_sparkle said:

Have ... people seen this?

Not English but I just about burst into tears at the prospect !! 

Have decided the last few days that unless programs begin on campus and in person in the fall that I'm deferring -- and am asking the DGS's of all programs whose offers I'm very seriously considering whether they would allow me to defer in that circumstance. It sucks because it's the last conversation in the world I want to be having, I'm ready to start my PhD tomorrow, but ... I've worked from home for a year and know it is really not great for my mental health and the richness of my intellectual life, and the last thing I'd want to do is waste 1/6 funded years that way. 

Oof, this is the fear that's been seeping into my thoughts the last few days. There were unconfirmed whisperings of rescinded offers on Reddit. And an instructor who had had a verbal offer of a TT position said it has since been withdrawn.

Aside from the awful prospect of losing an offer,  the idea of beginning the first semester or year of a PhD online has had me close to welling up. As I'm wrapping up my master's, I can't overstate how vital the first semester was in terms of bonding with my cohort through our sharing the same struggles and stresses. Those bonds have remained so crucial for our mental well-being. I know not everyone reports the same level of closeness with their cohort. But we communicate everyday through group chat and share so much in terms of information and support. In our second semester, we talked one of our cohort members out of quitting the program, and when I've hit my own rough patches, they have been there to give me a morale boost. Plus, how can we develop relationships with professors through glitchy, hiccuping interfaces? I don't want to defer because I'm an older student and have worked for the past 7 years toward beginning a PhD but I dread beginning the fall semester from home. 

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How are people going about admissions communications in this time?

I emailed the administrator who sent out waitlist notifications a month ago for more information on the waitlist process (my position, etc.), didn't hear back from him, emailed the DGS and received confirmation from her that she'd received my email and would get back to me that week. It's now been several weeks. I followed up with her again over a week ago. I know departments and faculty members are dealing with a lot of transition and work right now, but I'm also trying not to hold up a school that has admitted me. Is it rude or annoying to keep emailing? Should I just assume I'll never get a response?

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Just had a virtual meeting with the dean of the grad school of arts and sciences. They are going to accept decisions after April 15th, as long as they're made aware more time is needed. Hopefully this is happening with other schools. 

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After a few further conversations I want to modulate my earlier panic a bit. Universities won't know for certain before our commitment date how the fall is going to proceed, simply because no one knows how exactly this is going to play out. Will the worst of it, the part requiring total lockdown, be 6 weeks? 2 months? 6 months? Impossible to say right now.

That said, many places are planning to be live, in person, in fall, and a dean at one of my schools (sorry to be vague; trying to be informative while also not making private conversations public) said she would be surprised if things were still online in fall. One thing she stressed that I hadn't fully thought about before is really how devastating remaining online would be to so many departments in the arts (and even sciences) where education and classes are 100% built around active, live in-person education. I think everyone is done a disservice in the switch to online but for a lot of departments there really is no replacement the way there kinda is with, say, a literature graduate seminar of 8 people. It would really devastate the university to proceed like that, and (this dean said) she can't see it happening without clear, concrete, firm government directives to continue quarantining based in hard data and health advice.

She said most likely, places will be aiming to go live with extensive contingency plans about what to do in the event of another outbreak—say, a resurgence in fall. It may well be the case that fall starts as normal and there's another outbreak and we have to go back online for two weeks, and so on. Again, all of this is speculation (even faculty, DGS's, and that one dean I've talked to are really only speculating based on whispers or conversations that higher-ups are only just beginning to have). I don't think we'll get a clearer indication for weeks or even months, but fwiw, things aren't looking completely, inalterably bleak. 

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Anyone else feeling like they can't begin looking for housing due to the uncertainty of fall semester? What if I sign a lease and pay the deposit and then we still have to go online or worse, defer, or even worse, have our offers rescinded? I can't do this another year :( plus I'm almost 30 and I'm just so ready to get going on this PhD journey. Arrrgggh!!! As an international student, I also have to keep tabs on the situation in my country (which is getting worse by the day) and the US. I get exhausted thinking about this. 

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Got an email from BU's graduate school telling me they're moving visits online (duh) and to contact individual programs if they haven't reached out already. Um, I did that. It sort of annoys me that I'm being asked to reach out to them when the ball is in their court. I'm trying very hard to be understanding about the difficulties of the current situation, but it's...hard not to contrast this with UW's total 180 (in-person visit to zoom visit) in the span of literally 2 days.

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6 hours ago, BetterLight13 said:

I know it's not exactly the same thing, but throughout this whole mad situation, I just keep thinking of every story I've ever read about characters who were suited to / wanted to be academics, but their involvement in a war effort prevented them from realizing this on their ideal timeline. It's crazy. The prevalence of technology and science in our time gives the false perception that we're fully in control, but this is a reality check. 

My heart goes out to everyone, whether involved in Higher Ed or not. It's going to be a rocky road forward. 

I was actually reading Vera Brittain very recently. Reading the point of view of a young woman beginning an education she was so excited about only to have it cut short by the war and all the trials that ensued really struck. Her situation was more tragic, sure, but some of the emotional background feels so so familiar right now...

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Posting about BU now almost has a sense of nostalgia attached to it.

Oh BU, do you remember when we were both young? Full of hopes and dreams and laughter. How naive we both were that summer. To be that young again...

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, gooniesneversaydie said:

Posting about BU now almost has a sense of nostalgia attached to it.

Oh BU, do you remember when we were both young? Full of hopes and dreams and laughter. How naive we both were that summer. To be that young again...

When I woke up, I saw two posts on the results for BU. PEOPLE are really not happy with them... 

Edited by Emailchecker

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20 hours ago, tinymica said:

Got an email from BU's graduate school telling me they're moving visits online (duh) and to contact individual programs if they haven't reached out already. Um, I did that. It sort of annoys me that I'm being asked to reach out to them when the ball is in their court. I'm trying very hard to be understanding about the difficulties of the current situation, but it's...hard not to contrast this with UW's total 180 (in-person visit to zoom visit) in the span of literally 2 days.

I definitely felt this with my schools, lol. 

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Help, for those who have MA experience.

I have 2 standing MA offers, both with partial funding:

A.) Bigger city, slightly better funding, higher cost of living

B.) Smaller city, funding is worse, cost of living significantly less

Is the cost of living enough to make a difference in my case? In A, rent is going to probably be above $1k for a 1 bedroom. In B, I think I can score a 2 bedroom apartment for like under $800. I worry that A will have also a longer commute time to get to school.

Anyone have advice? It seems like funding is an illusion if the place is more expensive. 

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54 minutes ago, Puurple said:

Help, for those who have MA experience.

I have 2 standing MA offers, both with partial funding:

A.) Bigger city, slightly better funding, higher cost of living

B.) Smaller city, funding is worse, cost of living significantly less

Is the cost of living enough to make a difference in my case? In A, rent is going to probably be above $1k for a 1 bedroom. In B, I think I can score a 2 bedroom apartment for like under $800. I worry that A will have also a longer commute time to get to school.

Anyone have advice? It seems like funding is an illusion if the place is more expensive. 

You can use a Cost of Living calculator to determine how the funding will work in each context.

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I keep going around in circles about my decision. I feel like I know what I want to do, but I'm too nervous to commit right now. I keep worrying that I'll make the wrong decision and hate it! But while one program might be objectively "better" than the other (smaller cohort, slightly more resources), I don't feel...excited to go there. It's weird because I've not laid eyes on either city/campus. I hate that I have to make this decision blindly!

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7 minutes ago, tinymica said:

I keep going around in circles about my decision. I feel like I know what I want to do, but I'm too nervous to commit right now. I keep worrying that I'll make the wrong decision and hate it! But while one program might be objectively "better" than the other (smaller cohort, slightly more resources), I don't feel...excited to go there. It's weird because I've not laid eyes on either city/campus. I hate that I have to make this decision blindly!

Do you have any gut feelings toward one or the other? Sometimes what's "best" on paper isn't necessarily the right choice. I think you'd be successful at either with the resources they offer!

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12 minutes ago, gooniesneversaydie said:

Do you have any gut feelings toward one or the other? Sometimes what's "best" on paper isn't necessarily the right choice. I think you'd be successful at either with the resources they offer!

Yes, I totally lean one way over the other! I don't mean to inconvenience anyone on either program's waitlist by dragging things out, but I'm still waiting on more info so I can make the most educated decision. I'm ready to free up some of my brain's real estate and focus on other things!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, tinymica said:

Yes, I totally lean one way over the other! I don't mean to inconvenience anyone on either program's waitlist by dragging things out, but I'm still waiting on more info so I can make the most educated decision. I'm ready to free up some of my brain's real estate and focus on other things!

I would make a guess that any waitlist etiquette has been cannon-balled out the window at this point, so take your time because it's a big decision. 

Edited by gooniesneversaydie
Reread my post 500x - all over the place - made the main point shorter.

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1 hour ago, tinymica said:

Yes, I totally lean one way over the other! I don't mean to inconvenience anyone on either program's waitlist by dragging things out, but I'm still waiting on more info so I can make the most educated decision. I'm ready to free up some of my brain's real estate and focus on other things!

as a current third year, choose the school where your stipend is union protected (i really cannot emphasize this enough, uw's union has steadily fought for increased pay, we have no copay for mental health, and a strong contract enforcement protocol to protect against infractions), where grad students are nicer and seem organized, where faculty seems like you can really talk to them (this you may or may not have a feel for) and the city where you will feel excited to live for 5-8 years! the job market is such that no school can promise placement, so you should choose the place you *feel* is a good place to live in. that's just my two cents 🙂

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Posted (edited)

Just got a very kind and understanding email from Michigan (looks like it was sent to all waitlisted applicants) talking about how they understand the frustrations caused by these delays, expressing thanks for our patience, and also answering some common questions about deadlines, etc. I think I just fell a little bit more in love. 

Edited by onerepublic96

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2 hours ago, onerepublic96 said:

Just got a very kind and understanding email from Michigan (looks like it was sent to all waitlisted applicants) talking about how they understand the frustrations caused by these delays, expressing thanks for our patience, and also answering some common questions about deadlines, etc. I think I just fell a little bit more in love. 

Truly wish you get it. Your passion is dancing on my screen right now!! 

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18 hours ago, garnet7 said:

as a current third year, choose the school where your stipend is union protected (i really cannot emphasize this enough, uw's union has steadily fought for increased pay, we have no copay for mental health, and a strong contract enforcement protocol to protect against infractions), where grad students are nicer and seem organized, where faculty seems like you can really talk to them (this you may or may not have a feel for) and the city where you will feel excited to live for 5-8 years! the job market is such that no school can promise placement, so you should choose the place you *feel* is a good place to live in. that's just my two cents 🙂

Thank you so much for your kind response! I really appreciate it. It's such a comfort to have your (and everyone's) insights :)

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Wow. Just wow. Two weeks out and still nothing. C'mon BU, please please please just send rejections already (if they do waitlisting, I'll literally throw up). I already have my bitter, hilariously juvenile comment ready to put on the main page. 

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Just got off a zoom meeting with BU’s DGS and DGA. They seem like a rockin’ bunch and now I’m even more unsure than before! I keep vacillating between the pros and cons of each place.

Time to update my extensive and mildly obsessive spreadsheet...

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31 minutes ago, gooniesneversaydie said:

Wow. Just wow. Two weeks out and still nothing. C'mon BU, please please please just send rejections already (if they do waitlisting, I'll literally throw up). I already have my bitter, hilariously juvenile comment ready to put on the main page. 

They STILL haven’t said anything? I know this sounds obnoxiously Californian but I have to say this: Dude, not cool.

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