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2020 application thread


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21 hours ago, FruitLover said:

If the school's website does not specify whether they want applicants to provide fall grades after the application has been submitted but there is an option to upload additional documents after the deadline, should I or should I not upload an updated transcript?

Do you have any specific reason to? If your grades have improved, you can contact the graduate coordinator to see if it's possible to send an updated (unofficial) transcript. For most part, most of your work has been done and profs will assume that you've maintained your performance and not have failed courses :)

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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

20 hours ago, FruitLover said:

The only reason I'm asking is because a couple of schools encourage submission of fall grades, so I wasn't sure if it's a universal thing or just particular to those schools.

By all means, go ahead and submit fall grades to those schools.  For the rest, it's your call to contact graduate administrators in the departments to see if they will take your updated unofficial transcripts.

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Hi there! Just found these forums which is great timing since one of my POIs at Berkeley just tweeted about starting to read graduate applications and oh boy the anxiety is happening. Between that and still waiting on my fall grades to come out these schools are really just not wanting me to have a relaxing new year huh

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I keep seeing other people posting about receiving emails from the programs they applied to letting them know that they'll be reviewing applications soon. Haven't even gotten an email like that yet. And it looks like the majority of acceptances for my programs go out the first week in February. I think I'll take your advice @telkanuru and just drink my way through January.

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Guest HistNerd

Hey guys, Sorry I'm late to the party. Made an account just to post on this thread as I'm very nervous and looking for some camaraderie with this nerve-wracking wait. Has anyone heard back yet from schools? Do we know when committees are meeting to make their applications? 

I got an email from my POI at Berkeley for an interview but otherwise it's been radio silence... Also if anyone has interview tips for me, please hit a girl up! Didn't realize history even did interviews.

Field is US history/International History. Applied to Princeton, UMich, Berkeley, UChicago, Yale, Harvard, Brown, Cornell, and Columbia.

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Just now, HistNerd said:

Hey guys, Sorry I'm late to the party. Made an account just to post on this thread as I'm very nervous and looking for some camaraderie with this nerve-wracking wait. Has anyone heard back yet from schools? Do we know when committees are meeting to make their applications? 

I got an email from my POI at Berkeley for an interview but otherwise it's been radio silence... Also if anyone has interview tips for me, please hit a girl up! Didn't realize history even did interviews.

Field is US history/International History. Applied to Princeton, UMich, Berkeley, UChicago, Yale, Harvard, Brown, Cornell, and Columbia.

Many of those programs list their application review schedule, which only just started. With regards to interview tips, write down and rehearse a few sentences describing a) your previous work/experience and b) your research interests. The ability to clearly and coherently talk about yourself as a scholar will be noticed by the interviewer.

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2 hours ago, HistNerd said:

Hey guys, Sorry I'm late to the party. Made an account just to post on this thread as I'm very nervous and looking for some camaraderie with this nerve-wracking wait. Has anyone heard back yet from schools? Do we know when committees are meeting to make their applications? 

I got an email from my POI at Berkeley for an interview but otherwise it's been radio silence... Also if anyone has interview tips for me, please hit a girl up! Didn't realize history even did interviews.

Field is US history/International History. Applied to Princeton, UMich, Berkeley, UChicago, Yale, Harvard, Brown, Cornell, and Columbia.

I applied to a number of the same schools you did and would take @WhaleshipEssex's advice re: timelines (and interviews! I'm going to do this asap -- thanks) ....

2 hours ago, WhaleshipEssex said:

Many of those programs list their application review schedule, which only just started. With regards to interview tips, write down and rehearse a few sentences describing a) your previous work/experience and b) your research interests. The ability to clearly and coherently talk about yourself as a scholar will be noticed by the interviewer.

It's too early to expect anything from any of those schools. Perhaps Berkeley has such an early start because it's a state school with more rigid and institution wide regulations? I was shocked to hear someone there was looking at applications on the 1st or 2nd ...

Finally, the email from the POI this early sounds like their own initiative. A great sign but maybe not an department-wide practice.

Either way, I think it's really early to expect anything from the other schools.

Edit: an email for interview this early is probably an exceptional case - wanted to emphasize that

Edit2: just got an email direct from POI at a private uni (one w/ a Dec 19 deadline) asking for skype interview!

Edited by hojoojoh
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3 hours ago, FruitLover said:

I'm curious, why is it not a common practice to conduct interviews in History departments? I know some other departments don't make decisions until after they've conducted on-site interviews, but I got the impression that in History, it's more of an exception than the rule.

Unlike the sciences and engineering, history (and humanities in general) is not an involved discipline which you have to be around peers/colleagues all the time and need to make sure you'll mesh with the group.  These interviews with POIs in History are really informal and to make sure that you are what your letter writers, SOP, and writing sample are: A student who is resourceful, teachable, cooperative, intellectually engaging, and committed to the discipline at minimum. There is also a difference between being a book-smart and street-smart. The latter will get you further than the former, who tend to struggle the most after the comprehensive exams.  I've seen a number of "book smart" graduate students drop before the street smart, and in greater numbers. 

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23 hours ago, HistNerd said:

Also if anyone has interview tips for me, please hit a girl up! Didn't realize history even did interviews.

Field is US history/International History. Applied to Princeton, UMich, Berkeley, UChicago, Yale, Harvard, Brown, Cornell, and Columbia.

Spend as much time as you can working on tasks similar to @WhaleshipEssex's guidance.

23 hours ago, WhaleshipEssex said:

Many of those programs list their application review schedule, which only just started. With regards to interview tips, write down and rehearse a few sentences describing a) your previous work/experience and b) your research interests. The ability to clearly and coherently talk about yourself as a scholar will be noticed by the interviewer.

Spend as little time as you can speculating on questions like the one below. The past does not predict the future. (And it's the kind of question that David Hackett Fisher warned the profession against fifty years ago.)

45 minutes ago, HistNerd said:

Does anyone have a sense of what the Interview/Admit ratio looks like?

I would also recommend that, time permitting, you do some efficient back ground research* on POIs in the nine programs to which you've applied so you could get a sense of where they stand on the big questions of international history. Is international history really that much different than what Samuel Flagg Bemis did? Does international history do more than provide insights into what elite groups did? Where are the women? Is the practice of contemporary international history critically undermined by the amount of unreleased archival materials?

I also recommend that you go to each department's website and read up on program policies, requirements, time tables, and course offerings. The objective of this exercise is to develop a list of questions you'd ask during the interviews. For example, what can be done if the courses you want to take conflict with the courses you have to take? What standard of care will you need to apply to developing language skills? Can a language requirement be swapped for another skill set? Can you really have a professor from another institution sit on your committees? 

Other questions. Which historian or what historiographical topic might you write an extended essay at the end of your first year? What fields other than diplomatic history would you study? Do you have any thoughts on your outside field?

Additionally, it would not hurt if you were to develop a broad understanding of the kinds of archival materials each of the nine schools has or is close to and how you would use them for your own research projects. I strongly advise that you phrase any such comments as provisional -- don't over state a desire of doing work on the Ford presidency if you go to Michigan. 

Thinking way ahead, what is your vision of your personal professional identity as an academic historian? (Hint: research, publish, research, publish, move the needle on key historiographical debates. Hint 2: no matter how much you want to be a great teacher of undergraduates, keep that goal under your hat. )

For the interviews themselves, figure out what you're going to wear.** If you're going on campus, think through all routine steps and how they can go slightly sideways so you'll have a plan to handle such gremlins. (It will be small stuff -- the pre planned route includes an intersection with a slow traffic light, paying for parking, having cash to buy something to drink, lip balm, having something to use for note taking, an extra pen, a dying cell phone battery.)

If you're doing interviews remotely, check your technology up and down, do a sound check, check your lighting. Think twice before doing any full dress rehearsals.

During your interviews, keep the following in mind. It is okay to say "I don't know." Just know how  to say it like a historian. If the intensity of the interview starts to rise (especially if it is a group interview), keep in mind that the change may be a sign that you're doing very well.

After each interview, quickly jot down some "lessons learned" as well as anything you think you heard but weren't sure at the time. 

Above all else, please keep in mind the following. There's a lot of talk about "fit" at the Grad Cafe. Over time, the meaning of that term has shifted. Now, aspiring graduate students increasingly speak (write) of how this school or that professor fit a student's plans, objectives, and ambitions. When you're participating in an interview, the professor or professors on the other side of the table likely have a different understanding of "fit." They want to understand if you belong in the House of Klio. Your mission is to convince them that you do..

___________________________________

* By "efficient background research" I recommend obtaining copies of POIs CVs, abstracts of theses and dissertations (if not copies of those works), copies of first major articles in key journals, copies of first and second major works, copies of reviews of their first and second major works. If you get a good rhythm, consider expanding the search to include thesis/reports/dissertations that the POIs has supervised and/or reviews they've written as well as research on the POIs' POIs. (IME, knowing where American diplomatic historians learned the craft is always critically important.) Budget about two hours for each POI, thirty minutes for research, ninety minutes for going through your findings.
** There are a number of existing discussions on this topic here at the Grad Cafe, some are gender specific. (FWIW, my recommendations are wear layers, comfortable shoes, and the right backpack/bag if you're going to visit a campus.)

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On the interview aspect, which has been hammered to death by great advice,  I'm attending a program that did not interview anyone. I interviewed at 2 other schools and got rejected from both. One POI that I interviewed with said that he interviews all students who want to work with him as a primary adviser. Meanwhile, another POI said he only interviews his top 2 choices. As a marker of acceptance/wait-list/rejection, interviews are almost meaningless and one should try hard (I know) to not let a lack or abundance of interviews affect them. I hear Jack and Cokes and Vodka Teas are a great way to minimize sweating over apps.

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Hey all,

I'm applying to masters programs (oxbridge specifically). I'm wondering about the advisability of basing my research proposal on a paper I wrote in undergrad. My proposed research would look at a certain inquiry that my paper discussed with less focus and in tandem with other inquiries. Would application readers look at this research proposal any differently than one not based on the applicant's prior research? My fear is that they would want more original research, albeit this undergrad paper is only 20ish pages so it's not like I've exhausted it.

I'm assuming that I should (1) include this undergrad paper as the writing sample (2) discuss in the research proposal how I would build on this prior research.

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On 1/3/2020 at 5:15 PM, HistNerd said:

Does anyone have a sense of what the Interview/Admit ratio looks like?

I don't know about other programs, but Hopkins HoS interviews 5 or so candidates for its slots, and then accepts somewhere between 1 and 3.

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Hello to those of you applying for this cycle, and good luck! I know January can be stressful, so seat back, relax, and just enjoy the ride. 

I'll address here a couple of issues: 

1) Re: Writing Samples.

WS are evidence of what you say you can do in your SOP. It shows readers the type of questions you ask and how you try to answer them. A writing piece, you know now, tells a lot of how someone thinks, how they communicate their arguments, and how they guide their readers through them. It also hints at other aspects such as: Is this person coming to the program with language expertise? Has this person any archival research experience? Etc etc. To answer you question @pj19, I seriously doubt it. 

2) Re: Interviews.

Interviews can be really hard because they have a different purpose in each department/school. In some cases, interviews are to re-examine what faculty read in the WS (Can this person talk about research without rambling?). Other programs use interviews to narrow down a pool and get a "sense" of the applicants. In some cases, these interviews take place on site, others via Skype. Other programs use interviews to better understand how the student will fit in the program, especially if the program is ready to provide non-academic professionalization opportunities. And of course, I would argue many programs use a mix of all this. So, search through TGC for interview questions, ask your friends, think of questions on your own. And, this is very important, think of intelligent questions to ask the AdComm. Seriously. Asking questions is not about the answer but about how you ask questions. It's part of the interview and a darn important now. 

3) Re: Waiting.

There is no point in getting stressed about something that's out of your control. I've said this many times, and I'll say it as many times as it needs be: your grad school career begins when you click submit. You will click submit many times more so learning how to let go and acknowledging that many things in the universe are not up to you is part of our education as professionals. Trust me, there is absolutely no point in checking your e-mail a thousand times. Just go out, drink with friends, go on a trip, or read for pleasure. Accept the fact that your role in the admission process is (temporarily) over. It's humbling. 

If you want to "stay" in touch with the academic world, I suggest growing through your field's journals, blogs, H-net groups, graduate conferences opportunities, etc. 

Again, good luck! and chill :) 

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Hello All,

I just discovered this forum and wanted to introduce myself briefly. I did my undergrad work in Poli Sci at Wisconsin and graduated in 2010. I completed my Master’s in Secondary Education in 2015 at Edgewood. I applied to Wisconsin for 2020.

I taught for some time at the middle school and HS level in history, poli sci, and also worked with special education students. I served in the US Navy for twelve years. I have volunteered for my local government for three years and continue to do so. I am the Vice Commander for my local American Legion Post.

UG GPA: 3.0

Grad GPA: 3.96

Average GRE scores.

No published papers but I submitted my Master’s thesis as my writing sample.
 

Excellent LORs.

I have been a stay-at-home dad for three years.

I have just been trying to be patient while waiting to hear back.

Good luck!

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Hey Everyone! I am new to GradCafe and am excited to go through this process with you all. I graduated from UCLA with a BA in History and African American Studies and am currently working on my MSt at Oxford. I run a YouTube Channel and consulting business for students seeking advice, application assistance, funding etc. during undergrad or who are considering applying to Oxbridge. The channel is @TheRedHeadAcademic if any of you are interested! Would love to hear about your interests and see if any of you have advice for my channel that would be helpful for my followers. 

I have applied to 5 Ph.D. programs with a focus on Colonial America. Any other Americanists on this forum? 

Thanks! and Fingers Crossed for the coming weeks!

Edited by telkanuru
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On 1/5/2020 at 12:45 AM, pj19 said:

Hey all,

I'm applying to masters programs (oxbridge specifically). I'm wondering about the advisability of basing my research proposal on a paper I wrote in undergrad. My proposed research would look at a certain inquiry that my paper discussed with less focus and in tandem with other inquiries. Would application readers look at this research proposal any differently than one not based on the applicant's prior research? My fear is that they would want more original research, albeit this undergrad paper is only 20ish pages so it's not like I've exhausted it.

I'm assuming that I should (1) include this undergrad paper as the writing sample (2) discuss in the research proposal how I would build on this prior research.

Hey I am at Oxford and while your SoP is important, the strength of your writing sample and your ability to match with the work of your Supervisor is most important. While my proposal was different from my undergraduate work, I know several people in the MSt whose proposals were an extension of their undergraduate work. It is expected your research question will change while in your masters so don’t fret too much. 

If you want anymore advice on applying to OxBridge, I offer consulting services and would be happy to speak to you!

Edited by Carrots112
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10 hours ago, Carrots112 said:

 I run a ... consulting business for students seeking advice, application assistance, funding etc. during undergrad or who are considering applying to Oxbridge. 

 

10 hours ago, Carrots112 said:

If you want anymore advice on applying to OxBridge, I offer consulting services and would be happy to speak to you!

Am I reading your posts correctly? You're using the Grad Cafe to further your commercial interests? You sell advice and guidance that is offered on this BB at no cost?

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