Jump to content

2020 application thread


Recommended Posts

Just received the rejection email from Wisconsin. I know that there were some acceptances a bit back but when I contacted the department I was informed that acceptances would be sent out through this coming Friday. So, I was trying to maintain optimism. I had a Master's with a 3.96 GPA, submitted my Master's thesis as my writing sample, had a professor from Wisconsin edit my personal statement, had two others proof my personal statement, and three great LORs. I had an average GRE score set. I really don't know what to think after that rejection. I had talked to each prospective professor to work under who were interested in my research area.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 951
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

I've been taken off the waitlist at Indiana! Just received my formal offer today and I have to say that I'm relieved/emotional/over the moon. I'm going to get a PhD! I'm still on the waitlist at

quite a lot to unpack here. you assume that I’m not using this as a way to put a better application forward next year which is quite a big assumption to make. I’d like to recontextualize: I said I was

sorry but why do you feel the need to be such an asshole about this? the poster didn't get into a program they really wanted to and are upset about the way the rejection was dealt with. sounds perfect

11 minutes ago, histori041512 said:

Being in Limbo makes me want to throw up but also laugh until I can't anymore. Hopefully, we know soon. 

Same here. I’ve only heard from Columbia so far... I feel like life is on hold until I know if I’m going somewhere!

Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, jocelynbymarcjacobs said:

Same here. I’ve only heard from Columbia so far... I feel like life is on hold until I know if I’m going somewhere!

 

3 minutes ago, jocelynbymarcjacobs said:

Been listening to a lot of Talking Heads recently, so I think it’s been pretty stellar. :)

How very NYC 😉 (edit: oh god I just realized it was a rejection for you -- hopefully NYU works out?!? Keep the NYC dream alive)

Edited by hojoojoh
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, icanhavephdasatreat said:

Question particularly for the already-attendings in the thread: I was waitlisted at a school that is now my top choice (got rejected from previous top choice). I was informed of my waitlist status by a professor on the AdComm and then received a follow-up email from my POI. I was told that the odds look good for me getting off the waitlist but that I might be in limbo until April 15. I responded to both of these emails thanking them for their consideration, reiterating my interest in the program, and promising to update them about my status over the next few months.

Does anyone have any recommendations about whether/how I should follow over the next few months? I figured that it might be useful to shoot them an email once decisions from similarly ranked schools are all out telling them that the school is my top choice and that I am still interested. Not quite sure what to do, so would really appreciate advice. 

 

6 hours ago, psstein said:

I would send a followup email after all the decisions are out and make it clear that this program is (if it's true) your top choice. I would reiterate how you think your project would fit well into the strengths of the department faculty and how much you look forward to attending.

This was my situation last year. @psstein's advice is solid and was the approach I took. I also asked the DGS if wait list students can visit campus to meet with professors, tour the campus, etc. I did it on my own dime, which is not possible in many cases, but feel very lucky and glad that it was an option for me. Regardless of whether it's in person at a campus visit or via email, express to your POI how and why your work fits well with University of Zed's strengths and how you're eager to pursue your research with them. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Pikepride2000 said:

Just received the rejection email from Wisconsin. I know that there were some acceptances a bit back but when I contacted the department I was informed that acceptances would be sent out through this coming Friday. So, I was trying to maintain optimism. I had a Master's with a 3.96 GPA, submitted my Master's thesis as my writing sample, had a professor from Wisconsin edit my personal statement, had two others proof my personal statement, and three great LORs. I had an average GRE score set. I really don't know what to think after that rejection. I had talked to each prospective professor to work under who were interested in my research area.

The obstacles you faced included:

  • Graduate degrees in education are not highly regarded outside of schools of education (and even in some departments in schools of education)
  • Your field (as described) may still be too "traditional" for the current gate keepers of the profession.
  • You have what can be called a check list approach to graduate admissions.
    • A challenge of such approach is that, with few exceptions, most applicants are competing against others who have check lists that are just as good.
    • A second challenge is that the check list approach puts one in a competitive disadvantage against applicants who approach graduate school admissions as part of professional training.

Going forward, I recommend that you do more to comport yourself as what you are: a historian. Put more effort into reading, thinking, studying, speaking, thinking (again), and writing as a historian. From this perspective, your grades matter less, who edited what matters less, who wrote your LoRs matters less.** What matters more and more, what other historians notice and remember, is how you contribute to conversations about the past and will make increasingly refined contributions with training, experience, and support.

________________________________________
** It doesn't matter who writes your LoR if the letter doesn't speak candidly about your potential as a historian. Knowing what's being said about you in a LoR is a potential warning flag that it isn't written with as much candor as one needs.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, aaaddd said:

Thanks for sharing. What are some red flags to look out for during the campus visit?

Students in the program brought up issues from their perspective, stuff the professors courting me either wouldn't say or wouldn't know about, and most of it came out in informal settings during prospie weekend. Funding packages are all well and good, but they're pretty meaningless when you don't know stuff like cost of living, what happens if you need an extra year, if the department will defer funding in your offer for a year if you get an external fellowship, what sort of support the department/university offers (for me, stuff like child care), if the insurance is just medical or includes dental/vision (maybe less important if you get one offer and it comes with just medical, but I had multiple offers with the full suite).

What's the department culture like (hard to tell from afar, you get a better sense of it after the prospective student events, usually when current grads take prospies out for beer at the end of the day)? Department tensions (for example, one program seemed to show a lot of preference for a particular field, the students in other fields couldn't hide their resentment. Some programs fully fund some students, only fund others term to term, which can also breed resentment)? How supportive/what are the advising styles of the professors you want on your committees and, importantly, how do the professors you're eyeing work together (need to talk to their grad students, think about what happens if there are specific people you NEED on a committee and they don't get along)? Do you not want to be one of two women in a cohort of 20 (this happened to one of my friends)? If the department offers grants for research/conferences, how do those shake out ("We offer grants each year" can translate to "we offer one grant to one student each year")? Common element: talking to grad students in informal settings. You may be able to achieve this over email/phone, but I didn't get nearly as much information from the grads hand-picked to talk me into attending each university as I did when out to beer with grad students during prospie weekend. Hope this helps!

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ashiepoo72 said:

Students in the program brought up issues from their perspective, stuff the professors courting me either wouldn't say or wouldn't know about, and most of it came out in informal settings during prospie weekend. Funding packages are all well and good, but they're pretty meaningless when you don't know stuff like cost of living, what happens if you need an extra year, if the department will defer funding in your offer for a year if you get an external fellowship, what sort of support the department/university offers (for me, stuff like child care), if the insurance is just medical or includes dental/vision (maybe less important if you get one offer and it comes with just medical, but I had multiple offers with the full suite).

What's the department culture like (hard to tell from afar, you get a better sense of it after the prospective student events, usually when current grads take prospies out for beer at the end of the day)? Department tensions (for example, one program seemed to show a lot of preference for a particular field, the students in other fields couldn't hide their resentment. Some programs fully fund some students, only fund others term to term, which can also breed resentment)? How supportive/what are the advising styles of the professors you want on your committees and, importantly, how do the professors you're eyeing work together (need to talk to their grad students, think about what happens if there are specific people you NEED on a committee and they don't get along)? Do you not want to be one of two women in a cohort of 20 (this happened to one of my friends)? If the department offers grants for research/conferences, how do those shake out ("We offer grants each year" can translate to "we offer one grant to one student each year")? Common element: talking to grad students in informal settings. You may be able to achieve this over email/phone, but I didn't get nearly as much information from the grads hand-picked to talk me into attending each university as I did when out to beer with grad students during prospie weekend. Hope this helps!

This is SO helpful as I head into accepted student days and interviews. Thanks for such detailed advice!

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, jocelynbymarcjacobs said:

 I feel like life is on hold until I know if I’m going somewhere!

The people competing for spots today are the same people the same people who will be competing for grants, jobs, and awards for years to come.

Right now, at this moment, at least of those persons is in tremendous pain because of the uncertainty.  That person is pushing through the pain and finding a way to focus on an essential work -- an article, maybe even a monograph. And that person will do it again tomorrow, and then the next day. That same person is eventually going to get in somewhere and go on to make contributions to the historiography of modern Europe.  Why can't that person be you?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ashiepoo72 said:

How supportive/what are the advising styles of the professors you want on your committees and, importantly, how do the professors you're eyeing work together (need to talk to their grad students, think about what happens if there are specific people you NEED on a committee and they don't get along)? 

In the event you get information that addresses the questions @ashiepoo72 raises, be careful not to make a snap decision one way or another. You don't want to throw your hands up and say "This won't work for me" nor do you want to say "I can do this!" without additional information.

As A72 suggests, you will want to talk to the combatant professors' graduate students. You will want to find a mix. Those who successfully navigated the tension, got their tickets punched, and got jobs. Those who are still figuring out the tension. Those who made changes to their committees. And those who ended up so discouraged that they walked away (temporarily or permanently).

If you phrase your concerns diplomatically, you can also talk to the DGS and/or the professor who serves as the departmental rock.

Another course of action is to do the research to answer the question "What's at stake?" Is the conflict essentially personal in nature or is a critical historiographical debate at the heart of the dispute? If it's less the former and more the latter, figuring out ways to navigate the human terrain may be akin to walking through an intellectual minefield during the most challenging years of your life so that you can have a reputation for walking on water after you get your degree.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Any chance that the person working on modern Taiwanese history who posted about Wisconsin is on this board? Would like to connect. Had a similar take on the difficulty of finding programs that fit, but several faculty/departments are definitely supportive.

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, hojoojoh said:

Waitlisted at Princeton a few hours ago. Any insight into how this works there would be of HUGE help.

Is it ranked by department or by field? What does this mean for my chances to visit (I'm international)? Should I reach out to people outside the admissions office (POI, department admin)?

@HardyBoy, perhaps you can help? 

Here's to hoping more news comes this week. Good luck everyone.

Edit: dipping back into 2014 and further, I see that Princeton almost never (actually never?) takes people off the waitlist. Bummer.

Congrats on even getting waitlisted! I'm afraid I don't know much about the process in terms of ranking, but I think it makes sense to contact your POI and reiterate your enthusiasm for the program, etc. Will you DM me your POI? I might be able to offer more specific advice.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, IGoToWar said:

Any chance that the person working on modern Taiwanese history who posted about Wisconsin is on this board? Would like to connect. Had a similar take on the difficulty of finding programs that fit, but several faculty/departments are definitely supportive.

Not the Wisconsin poster, but I had a recent chat with a new assistant professor at a very well-established and elite university. She shared that she only got one PhD offer as a master's student. However, now that she has more connections, she has been chatting with people at the programs that rejected her. They confirmed that they were supportive and excited about her project, but felt ill-equipped to fully help her succeed into her subfield. They had hoped that another department might be able to help her more effectively. So, I just wanted to hop on and encourage those of you in this situation not to give up. It's exactly the kind of projects that most departments feel ill-prepared to support that need a space in the field. And you get to be a big part in creating that space. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, histori041512 said:

If the person who was rejected from Indiana is on this forum, were you emailed to check your portal or by someone in the department?

I second this! I didn't even see the rejection on the Results page until you pointed it out. For what it's worth, my portal hasn't updated, so I'm assuming they received an email.

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Pikepride2000 said:

Just received the rejection email from Wisconsin. I know that there were some acceptances a bit back but when I contacted the department I was informed that acceptances would be sent out through this coming Friday. So, I was trying to maintain optimism. I had a Master's with a 3.96 GPA, submitted my Master's thesis as my writing sample, had a professor from Wisconsin edit my personal statement, had two others proof my personal statement, and three great LORs. I had an average GRE score set. I really don't know what to think after that rejection. I had talked to each prospective professor to work under who were interested in my research area.

Is UW the only school you applied to?  Was your writing sample based on historical research?

Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, Pikepride2000 said:

Just received the rejection email from Wisconsin. I know that there were some acceptances a bit back but when I contacted the department I was informed that acceptances would be sent out through this coming Friday. So, I was trying to maintain optimism. I had a Master's with a 3.96 GPA, submitted my Master's thesis as my writing sample, had a professor from Wisconsin edit my personal statement, had two others proof my personal statement, and three great LORs. I had an average GRE score set. I really don't know what to think after that rejection. I had talked to each prospective professor to work under who were interested in my research area.

Yes, rejections suck.

Remember, however, that a PhD program is not a checklist. You may have a stellar application, but that doesn't mean you will be offered a place. Further, you might fit perfectly, and still that doesn't make it. Programs are shrinking. And, as I've said many times, there is more to PhD admissions than your application. Graduate school pressure, budgets, department needs, previous cohorts, leaves/retirements/searches, etc etc etc. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Manana said:

So I've just heard a term that is new to me, from a grad student in a different discipline- an "implicit waitlist". Does it exist in history? I assume not, but I still feel compelled to ask.

Some departments have official waitlists and others don't. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/12/2020 at 1:58 PM, aaaddd said:

Should I make decisions after campus visits?

Yes

22 hours ago, hojoojoh said:

Waitlisted at Princeton a few hours ago. Any insight into how this works there would be of HUGE help.

Is it ranked by department or by field? What does this mean for my chances to visit (I'm international)? Should I reach out to people outside the admissions office (POI, department admin)?

I wouldn't count on going to Princeton for a visit on their dime if you are waitlisted. I seriously doubt anyone would reject the offer before the visit in time for them to arrange your visit. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.