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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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I still have nothing from BU and I gotta say even though the time and distance has kind of resolved me to calmly accept the coming rejection, I still can’t help but shake that slight hope that maybe it will be a waitlist?... 
I know I want to reapply if it doesn’t work out this time but everything happening right now with the pandemic and the economy is just adding an incredible level of stress. It’s almost funny to think back on where I was emotionally and mentally back in January or even February... nervous and stressed but still completely clueless about the absolute shitstorm that was already brewing...

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4 hours ago, Verticordia said:

The reassurance I can offer is one from experience—I was completely shut out my first cycle, but the time it gave me to re-evaluate my priorities until the next cycle was absolutely invaluable. I got a new job, tried some different industries that allowed me to hone my skills without being an a university setting, expanded my pool of friends and connections, tried several new hobbies (didn’t keep all of them), read things far outside my usual recreational and academic interests, continued to love the things I already loved, took more time to research which programs would actual be a good fit for me as an individual, completely rebuilt/rewrote my writing sample and personal statements from the ground up, because clearly they didn’t work the first time. In short, I changed the things I could, accepted the parts of my application that were beyond changing, and learned that there were many other things I could be happy doing outside of academia! The fact that I was able to step away for a year and still felt the urge to reapply was only confirmation to me of how dedicated I was to pursuing this path.  
 

I cannot stress enough how very competitive the admissions process is—my current PhD application cycle, even after all that, resulted in 4 MA acceptances, three of them wildly underfunded, three waitlists, and more rejections than I care to number. I was eventually accepted off of the waitlist to my favorite PhD program, and I could not be happier with my choice to attend—all it takes is one acceptance! All this is to say that you should absolutely not take this shut out as an indicator of your personal value in any way. It’s true that programs will likely become even more competitive next year, but if you feel like you’ll regret not giving it at least one more try, you have the financial means to reapply next year, and you’re able to work on strengthening your application, I would give it another shot. No one can make this decision but you—give it some time, weather out this current weirdo curveball of a year, and you’ll know what to do.

 

4 hours ago, gooniesneversaydie said:

My heart. I'm sending you all the good vibes I possibly can that it borders on being creepy. Take time to heal. I will say this from my own experience: At 22 I had to drop out of undergrad. Cut to me at 29, sitting on my living room floor sobbing, holding a rejection letter from a local state school I tried to get into to restart my education. In that moment I thought I was completely f'ed and would never achieve my dream. After my sob-fest, I reevaluated and called the school asking how to improve my application - started cc 3 months later - graduated at a better state school 3 years after that. Last year, I got into a bomb PhD program, but the move didn't work out. I thought I was completely f'ed again because I had to walk away from my one chance. But, I reevaluated again, redid my personal statement and applied to even more schools. I've been lucky again to get into one PhD program, and one that suits my personality/lifestyle better than the one from last year. 

What I mean to say in all this rambling, is that if this is truly the path you want, don't give up. If it's not going to be financially/mentally/spiritually harmful to you to do this again next year then go for it. Reevaluate your materials and see if something needs improving. You can only control what you have in front of you. And I'm sure you've learned many lessons this time around that next year might be more manageable (also, you'll know not to apply to BU, so there's that!). I wish you the very best and hope you know that it'll work out how it's supposed to in the end, even if the journey takes longer than you originally hoped. You're not alone!

Thank you so much for this. I really am wishing you all the best ❤️ 

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1 hour ago, onerepublic96 said:

Okay BU it took you long enough. Honestly not even mad about this anymore. 

I got some good vibes for you too! I'm sorry it wasn't better news, but hope you feel some relief from finally hearing from them. Good things are coming (she said looking around at the state of the world laugh-crying)! 

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58 minutes ago, gooniesneversaydie said:

I got some good vibes for you too! I'm sorry it wasn't better news, but hope you feel some relief from finally hearing from them. Good things are coming (she said looking around at the state of the world laugh-crying)! 

Thank you! Oh there is definitely relief. Now I can actively focus on planning my next moves for reapplication instead of being stuck in a horrid limbo of ‘will they or won’t they?’ whilst overthinking every possible aspect of my app. As ugly as this shutout feeling is, I’m actually not as sad as I thought I would be. Definitely feeling that fresh start blank slate vibe right now and I like it.  

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Welp, I'm two weeks out, on two waitlists, and my one offer just upped my proposed fellowship and stipend. I'm shitting my pants here not knowing what to do. I'm #1 on the waitlist at my dream program and at this point, I've been told by all schools that the 4/15 deadline is becoming a wee bit flexible... ugh. 

 

edit: I realize this is such a first world problem but my god, I did not see my MA victory lap looking like this...  

Edited by hamnet in tights
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Am I really going into April still not having heard from BU? What is with the 2-3 rejections a day malarkey?

I imagine some person sitting in a dimly lit room with my app pulled up onscreen and the person giving it the bird. Just flipping it off 24/7 in complete silence.

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Update from the world of applications across the pond: we're entering the time of year where decisions about funding to accompany offers are usually released. [Brief UK system summary: apply from Sept-Jan, get offers with or without conditions from Jan onwards, and hear about funding usually from March to early May, but it can drag on 'til July.]  I've been accepted unconditionally at three schools of the four I applied to - one was a really bad fit - and all are good for Renaissance literature. School 1 has informally offered me a good stipend with opportunities for teaching, but no official info has been forthcoming since the unofficial notification from my PI two weeks ago - and they've treated their current grad students pretty badly during all this, which has made me wary, but it's my only realistic choice at the moment; School 2 has been radio silent but last I heard (in early March, which may as well be years ago in the current climate) they will release decisions later this week; and the rumour is that School 3's funding committee, who had planned to release decisions this week, are partly in self-isolation after coming into contact with someone with coronavirus - but they're still hoping to get decisions through next week. I've been told I won't hear from another scholarship until May at the earliest. UK research councils have advised incoming doctoral students to keep in mind that "there is a need for flexibility" for October 2020 start dates. We're all in full lockdown here, due to be revised or extended in a couple of weeks.

Though I didn't end up applying for US schools in the end, it's been really useful following along to see the questions you've all asked; some aren't applicable, but a lot of them still are and I hadn't considered them much at all. Funding is so limited that it's easy to just be overwhelmed and grateful and forget to ask important things about the contact with the PI and the experience of current grads, etc. It's also been weirdly reassuring to see everyone here is still worrying over grad apps too! I feel almost guilty that it's still on my mind so much. Solidarity with those still waiting... it's the long haul over here.

 

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Was thinking about wait lists the other day and had this question: how large are the lists at some of these ‘smaller-cohort’ schools? I was just thinking that I’m sure there can’t be just 4 or 5 people on them (that’s about how many tend to post on the board), but at the same time I can’t imagine that it would make sense for a program to have a list of, say, 20 people because they can’t realistically imagine pulling more than maybe 2 or 3 people off the list... 

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13 hours ago, onerepublic96 said:

Was thinking about wait lists the other day and had this question: how large are the lists at some of these ‘smaller-cohort’ schools? I was just thinking that I’m sure there can’t be just 4 or 5 people on them (that’s about how many tend to post on the board), but at the same time I can’t imagine that it would make sense for a program to have a list of, say, 20 people because they can’t realistically imagine pulling more than maybe 2 or 3 people off the list... 

Pretty small from what I can gather. I have insider information from a school I’m on the waitlist of, where they admit no more than two in my subfield at any given time. Their waitlist is just as small as their projected cohort, and they do it somewhat purposefully; if they end up with students in that subfield in a given year, it’s hardly a bad thing to them. Helps them, really. 

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Quick question: when thinking about program ranking while trying to decide on an offer, is a difference of 9 spots on the US News list (18 vs. 27) that major? I know that the difference between a program in the 20s and a program in the 60s or 70s is pretty significant, but what if it's just 10s vs 20s? Or is this a large enough gap to still need to take ranking into consideration? 

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1 hour ago, karamazov said:

Quick question: when thinking about program ranking while trying to decide on an offer, is a difference of 9 spots on the US News list (18 vs. 27) that major? I know that the difference between a program in the 20s and a program in the 60s or 70s is pretty significant, but what if it's just 10s vs 20s? Or is this a large enough gap to still need to take ranking into consideration? 

I rejected a school ranked in the 20s for a school in the 30s. I think the difference is terms of rankings was also around 9? I felt the school ranked in the 30s was in a better location for me, had a better stipend, had faculty I was more interested in working with and their placements looked better to me. The school ranked in the 30s seemed was very open about their placement and the cohort vibe was ambitious and collegial.

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I feel like the standard line is "Don't go to a program that's not in the Top 20," which to me suggests there may be some appreciable difference between a school ranked 18 and one ranked 27, at least in terms of prestige, appearances, etc.

I believe we are both considering the same 27th-ranked program, though, @karamazov, so my thoughts on this matter may not be perfectly unbiased. That said, in trying to decide between my two programs--one ranked 27, one ranked 30--I've taken rankings less into account than recent placements (in my case, quantity and quality of recent placements seems to correspond to ranking, though, so that may not be a useful metric for you).  

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Ahh just got an email from UW's lovely DGS reminding me about the upcoming deadline like I don't wake up every morning with "April 15th" tattooed on my eyelids. I haven't forgotten about you, UW!

I honestly feel like Bella from Twilight. (Yes, I watched Twilight recently and it was hilarious. Excellent quarantine entertainment.)

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22 minutes ago, tinymica said:

This may be a stupid question and I should have asked many months ago, but how does cross-disciplinary study work within programs? I feel like my understanding of this has gaps.

I guess this will vary but in my cass, I have taken and been encouraged to take classes outside of the department, to pursue interdisciplinary certificates, and to engage with the learning community outside of my department. For more advanced students, this has led to take on advisors and committee members from other departments (sometimes unofficially). The core work is done in my department but I can branch out and professors seem interested in getting new perspectives and different methodologies applied within the work you do for them.

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2 minutes ago, WildeThing said:

I guess this will vary but in my cass, I have taken and been encouraged to take classes outside of the department, to pursue interdisciplinary certificates, and to engage with the learning community outside of my department. For more advanced students, this has led to take on advisors and committee members from other departments (sometimes unofficially). The core work is done in my department but I can branch out and professors seem interested in getting new perspectives and different methodologies applied within the work you do for them.

Okay, that's what I thought! I should have mentioned that I realize things vary from program to program. Every department is like its own little country with its own laws and culture lol! I was just questioning myself. Thank you!

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3 hours ago, Warelin said:

I rejected a school ranked in the 20s for a school in the 30s. I think the difference is terms of rankings was also around 9? I felt the school ranked in the 30s was in a better location for me, had a better stipend, had faculty I was more interested in working with and their placements looked better to me. The school ranked in the 30s seemed was very open about their placement and the cohort vibe was ambitious and collegial.

 

3 hours ago, politics 'n prose said:

I feel like the standard line is "Don't go to a program that's not in the Top 20," which to me suggests there may be some appreciable difference between a school ranked 18 and one ranked 27, at least in terms of prestige, appearances, etc.

I believe we are both considering the same 27th-ranked program, though, @karamazov, so my thoughts on this matter may not be perfectly unbiased. That said, in trying to decide between my two programs--one ranked 27, one ranked 30--I've taken rankings less into account than recent placements (in my case, quantity and quality of recent placements seems to correspond to ranking, though, so that may not be a useful metric for you).  

Thanks for the thoughts, y'all. I'm going to dig a little deeper into placement records at both schools. 

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3 hours ago, politics 'n prose said:

I feel like the standard line is "Don't go to a program that's not in the Top 20," which to me suggests there may be some appreciable difference between a school ranked 18 and one ranked 27, at least in terms of prestige, appearances, etc.

Some schools that make up the "top 20" will change every time the list is completed. A program in the top 20 might be there now, but might not be on the next list. A lot of the programs on the top 20 have been around for longer which helped them establish early presences in research-focused institutions. However, I think it's important to realize that your adviser is important and the "best" adviser for you might be at a school not in the top 20. There are some programs that aren't in the top 20 but are known for certain subfields. A top 20 might be given preferences at certain research institutions but that's not always the case. Placements might be the best indicator on where and how well a university places. I think it's equally as important to realize cohort size differences between colleges. More placements does not necessarily mean better if one cohort size is 4 and the other is 20.

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7 minutes ago, meghan_sparkle said:

edit: nevermind!!

I was JUST about to reply before your edit but I still want to share something that has helped me. For anyone else who is worrying about this: It is incredibly daunting to choose a place to live for the next 5+ years blindly. I have to remind myself it's normal to be upset and disappointed by that, even though I am very privileged to worry about that and not about a roof over my head or about going to work and getting sick. I think it's good to think of all your choices as great choices! There's no such thing as the "right" or "wrong" choice and I think there are undesirable aspects about every program. I totally understand being terrified that I'll make my choice and regret it very badly, but we're adaptable. We'll be able to figure it out. That being said, I think it's important to consider whether any program you're considering has the resources to help you adapt or cope with those undesirable things. That support is super important!

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It's been obvious to everyone I've spoken to that I know what I want to do/where I want to go. But there's something about the finality of committing to a program and closing the door on another that is very scary for some reason. "What if" is a very annoying question that my brain obsesses over.

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So, I think I'm going to officially accept my PhD offer soon. At this point, best case scenario with BU is that I get accepted to their MA program, but if I'm not willing to go into further debt for BC, I'm sure as hell not going to for BU - especially after this aggressive silence. I'm officially over waiting for them. While I'd like to have the option of my WL accepting me, I'm not really sure I'd take them over this offer, even though it would mean I wouldn't have to move. The prospect of finally committing has me anxious af. Last year was such a disaster that I'm afraid something is going to go wrong again. However, moving 2 hours away as opposed to 47 hours away should be exceedingly less stressful. *knock on wood* *knock on so much wood* My cats are going to be super pissed. 

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