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Nanachi

Chances on transferring to a mainline seminary from Evangelical school

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Hello all! I looking for some advises on transferring to a mainline seminary from my current Evangelical school. I finished my undergrad with an unideal GPA, about 2.4. I only finished one semester in my current school with a semester GPA 3.7. I am attending a MTS program right now and I become very interested in theology. Now I am thinking about pursing a Phd program after I graduate. I think that to better my odds to get into a top Phd program, I need a master from a mainline seminary. I am wondering what my chances are if I decide to apply for transfer to a MDive program at Duke, Yale or Princeton seminary in the middle of my program. I know that my undergrad GPA is not great. I didn't do well in my first two years because I was struggling with my science major. In my third year I switched to English Literature. Then I tried to take as many classes as I can to catch up but I was overwhelmed by the heavy course works. As a result, I didn't boom up my GPA too much. I also had a health issue at that time and I was greatly distracted by it. Three of my professors had to give me late grade after the semester is over due to my health problem. That also left a mark on my transcript.  I wondering if my one semester's grades at current school can prove that I am capable of doing academic work. Any advises on how should I explain about my undergrad gpa in my PS? Should I finish my first master degree first and then apply for a mainline seminary or transfer right now in the middle of my program? 

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Hi Nanachi,

It is my understanding that many schools will take your academic work at another institution into consideration when looking to transfer. For example, I wasn't accepted into YDS this time around but was invited to reapply after beginning coursework at Princeton Seminary. 

I'd recommend you start dialoguing with admissions counselors at all of the schools you're considering ASAP. Visit the schools and make yourself known. Personal visits are often taken into admissions considerations as well. 

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2 hours ago, vineyard_guy111 said:

Hi Nanachi,

It is my understanding that many schools will take your academic work at another institution into consideration when looking to transfer. For example, I wasn't accepted into YDS this time around but was invited to reapply after beginning coursework at Princeton Seminary. 

I'd recommend you start dialoguing with admissions counselors at all of the schools you're considering ASAP. Visit the schools and make yourself known. Personal visits are often taken into admissions considerations as well. 

Thank you for you advise! The main concern was that I only complete one semester's classes at my current seminary. I am very interested in Duke divinity school and Princeton Seminary. But I am not sure how the admission office evaluates one's undergrad coursework after graduation. I will definitely start talking to the admission counselors. 

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2 hours ago, Nanachi said:

Thank you for you advise! The main concern was that I only complete one semester's classes at my current seminary. I am very interested in Duke divinity school and Princeton Seminary. But I am not sure how the admission office evaluates one's undergrad coursework after graduation. I will definitely start talking to the admission counselors. 

Undergrad coursework is evaluated but MDiv applicants are looked at a bit more holistically than MTS. A shitty uGPA isn't going to tank your chances but you'll need to explain the low grades.

If you have an upward curve in your degree, etc - this will go a long way in improving your profile. If you had a significant health issue and it's now resolved, this can help some. If the health issue was a mental health issue, you need to be careful in how you frame it. Mental health stigmas are still rampant, especially so in grad school admissions.

I'm sure Duke and PTS put their transfer policies on their websites so take in all of that before reaching out to Admissions.

EDIT: If it's a mainline school you want and you want to be competitive for a doc program, apply to them all. At least as many as you can see yourself being comfortable at. I define comfortable as: being outside your comfort zone some, but still having a cohort that you can use as a support system as you come to terms with academic religion vs personal conceptions. If you go to a school and it's 100% right up your alley and doesn't push you on your beliefs, you've failed.

Edited by xypathos

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As a grad of PTS I can think of a number of students who transfered in from evangelical schools like Fuller, Gordon-Conwell, etc. Can think of a couple similar folks from YDS as well. Definitely at think that happens with some regularity. 

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On 7/11/2019 at 8:36 PM, Rabbit Run said:

As a grad of PTS I can think of a number of students who transfered in from evangelical schools like Fuller, Gordon-Conwell, etc. Can think of a couple similar folks from YDS as well. Definitely at think that happens with some regularity. 

That's quite encouraging. I can think of some Duke and PTS professors such as McCormack and Hunsinger whom I am interested in working with. Do you think a campus visit and talking to the professor may improve my chances when applying for a master program in PTS? 

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On 7/10/2019 at 5:43 AM, xypathos said:

Undergrad coursework is evaluated but MDiv applicants are looked at a bit more holistically than MTS. A shitty uGPA isn't going to tank your chances but you'll need to explain the low grades.

If you have an upward curve in your degree, etc - this will go a long way in improving your profile. If you had a significant health issue and it's now resolved, this can help some. If the health issue was a mental health issue, you need to be careful in how you frame it. Mental health stigmas are still rampant, especially so in grad school admissions.

I'm sure Duke and PTS put their transfer policies on their websites so take in all of that before reaching out to Admissions.

EDIT: If it's a mainline school you want and you want to be competitive for a doc program, apply to them all. At least as many as you can see yourself being comfortable at. I define comfortable as: being outside your comfort zone some, but still having a cohort that you can use as a support system as you come to terms with academic religion vs personal conceptions. If you go to a school and it's 100% right up your alley and doesn't push you on your beliefs, you've failed.

It wasn't a significant health problem I think. There was a problem with my ankle and it reoccurred frequently during semesters. It was pretty painful and I couldn't walk for about a week every time it happened. The doctor only gave me painkillers, which didn't really work and asked me to ice my ankle...

Would the admission office put more weights on my one semester's grades in seminary than my four years' grades in undergrad when evaluating the application? 

Edited by Nanachi

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20 hours ago, Nanachi said:

That's quite encouraging. I can think of some Duke and PTS professors such as McCormack and Hunsinger whom I am interested in working with. Do you think a campus visit and talking to the professor may improve my chances when applying for a master program in PTS? 

 

I would encourage a visit to see if it would be a good fit, but I don't know how far a meeting with a professor would go since Masters admissions are (I believe) determined by a committee made of up people from the admissions department and select faculty. If you set up a visit with office of aadmissions and do well (i.e. can explain why PTS is a good place for you to continue your Masters work) then that will go a longer way than meeting with a professor (although you ought to try to do that to)

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On 7/13/2019 at 12:00 PM, Nanachi said:

Would the admission office put more weights on my one semester's grades in seminary than my four years' grades in undergrad when evaluating the application? 

Yes and no. A semester isn't a lot to go on but it is grad school, so they could be reflective of you maturing some and then naturally the health issue being "solved." First semester though is, more or less, the same courses for a lot of MTS and MDiv students - largely intro. Good grades always work in your favor though, just don't expect it to cancel out all of the concerns.

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On 7/17/2019 at 12:18 PM, xypathos said:

Yes and no. A semester isn't a lot to go on but it is grad school, so they could be reflective of you maturing some and then naturally the health issue being "solved." First semester though is, more or less, the same courses for a lot of MTS and MDiv students - largely intro. Good grades always work in your favor though, just don't expect it to cancel out all of the concerns.

Would it be common to pursue a Mdiv after finishing a MTS degree? By the way, Do you know what's the chances of working with an emeritus professor in seminary? Do they still teach class or seminar? There are two professor I am very interested in at Duke Divinity but now both of them are all emeritus professor.

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It’s not common to do a MTS and MDiv but it happens. ATS has extremely tight regulations when it comes to transferring credits between M* degrees so while you might save a semester or two, expect to essentially redo significant amounts of coursework.

If you’re going to do a MDiv at the same school you did the MTS at, it’s always better to surrender the first degree. ATS allows students to do this in order to save time but the shitty part is that it has to be at the same school and within ten years of getting the degree.

As far as working with an emeritus professor, it really just depends and not something you should count on. Some still teach but if they do, it’s often only an independent study or the 1-2 last doc students that they’re supervising. Most of the time though, they no longer live in the area so any sort of class is off limits. 

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12 hours ago, xypathos said:

If you’re going to do a MDiv at the same school you did the MTS at, it’s always better to surrender the first degree. ATS allows students to do this in order to save time but the shitty part is that it has to be at the same school and within ten years of getting the degree.

I'm not going to lie I died a little inside when I read this. Did not know it was an option...

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