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Just now, onerepublic96 said:

Anyone who got into Penn, could you possibly let us know the time your email came? 

Also please just ignore me if I sound absolutely insane. 

Mine came at 5:59pm EST.

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I applied to Ball State University’s English literature program and had not heard back if I had gotten in or not, so I decided to call. They said that I had been accepted last week but my email had yet to be sent. It sounds like they’ve made decisions, so anyone who’s applied, check your email soon. 

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17 hours ago, meghan_sparkle said:

Just an update on this: I have been emailing/having coffees with all of the mentors of mine who're in the know about the state of the programs I applied to at the moment and they are ... all giving me completely contradictory advice lol! Also most of them know each other and it's gotten to the point where some are fighting behind the scenes about their advice to me. (I'm sure this will all be fine in the end, no one is totally right and no one is totally wrong, but just picture me, a person who always tries to please her teachers, good teacher's pet, sitting in a chair, trying to process all of this.)

A: Don't go to (x). There's no one for you to work with there.

B: Well, A doesn't know what she's talking about. Go to (x). 

C : Wait, actually I think (y) could be a perfect fit for you. Don't go to (z).

D : I've been talking to C and we both think you should go to (y). Go where you have multiple people you want to work with who have clout.

E: I know you like (y) a lot but eh ... I'm not crazy about [POI]. 

D : I've changed my mind; go to (k).

F (teacher of B ) : (x) is boring. (y) is also boring. Don't go to (x) or (y) under any circumstances. Also don't choose for advisors; all that can change. Go where you like the intellectual community best. More soon, bye.

B : Remember there are no jobs so don't expect that you'll get one. Kiss kiss!

Part II:

A: Go to (k). I went to (y) but the three most brilliant minds working in literary studies right now are at (k). You would be an idiot not to go there, but I have a feeling you won't, because you'll be an idiot about it.

Me: Well I've heard that all of the graduate students at (k) are miserable—a lot of current and recent ones have reached out to me with not so great things.

A: What is "happiness" anyway? Why would anyone do a PhD thinking they're going to be happy during it? 

Me: Okay that's a point. Were you happy at (y)?

A: Well, yes.

Me: I feel like I could be really happy at (x) but they apparently haven't placed a TT job in 3 or 4 years now.

B: There are no jobs. You will not get a job. Just go where you want to read and write for 6 years and expect to leave the profession after.

Me: But you have a job.

B: Do not pay attention to that. No one gets jobs.

Me: This is a Beckett play and I want out.

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44 minutes ago, meghan_sparkle said:

Me: Well I've heard that all of the graduate students at (k) are miserable—a lot of current and recent ones have reached out to me with not so great things.

A: What is "happiness" anyway? Why would anyone do a PhD thinking they're going to be happy during it? 

Ouch, why does this penchant for sadism resonate with me so much?

But anyway, here are my $0.02 worth. Even if "happiness" isn't the main criteria for your decision, it doesn't mean that you should be abjectly miserable either. You don't have to be the happiest you've been in your life during the course of your grad studies, and this will likely be impossible anyway given all the inevitable stress, but you also can't be so downtrodden that you're rendered almost incapable of doing the work you're meant to do in a PhD program (if that makes sense)? I suppose this means choosing a program where you know you'll be supported adequately for the next six years, academically, psychologically, and financially. I don't doubt that the programs to which you've been accepted are offering you rather sizeable funding packages, but there are certainly some places (Brown, Princeton) where you can make your money stretch more than others (Columbia, Berkeley) — would you like to live more comfortably and with some savings? Or is the bare minimum enough? Does the school have a strong grad union? What are the teaching requirements? Also, I trust that all these programs are challenging in their own ways, but several places (UChicago, Berkeley) used to be infamous for being shark tanks. I don't know if their reputations for being exceedingly harsh still hold today, and it'll be definitely better for you to check in with the current students on your visits. But if certain programs are in fact more 'hardball' than others, then ask yourself if you're the sort of student who thrives in such hyper-competitive environments, or if you're better suited to more collaborative pedagogical strategies. Ultimately, you have several great programs to choose from, so pick the one that suits your needs — whatever they may be — best. 

Edit: I'm guessing that your mentors would have also vetted your POIs with you, but if they haven't, do ask around about their reputations and supervision styles. 

Edited by BwO

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50 minutes ago, meghan_sparkle said:

Part II:

A: Go to (k). I went to (y) but the three most brilliant minds working in literary studies right now are at (k). You would be an idiot not to go there, but I have a feeling you won't, because you'll be an idiot about it.

Me: Well I've heard that all of the graduate students at (k) are miserable—a lot of current and recent ones have reached out to me with not so great things.

A: What is "happiness" anyway? Why would anyone do a PhD thinking they're going to be happy during it? 

Me: Okay that's a point. Were you happy at (y)?

A: Well, yes.

Me: I feel like I could be really happy at (x) but they apparently haven't placed a TT job in 3 or 4 years now.

B: There are no jobs. You will not get a job. Just go where you want to read and write for 6 years and expect to leave the profession after.

Me: But you have a job.

B: Do not pay attention to that. No one gets jobs.

Me: This is a Beckett play and I want out.

I feel this. I’m lucky enough to be choosing between three brilliant programs, each of which is a perfect fit and has *excellent* faculty in my field who seem to be enthusiastic about my work. How do you say no to your heroes? I can hardly say no to a sandwich.

Edited by Rani13

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Am in a weird (not bad) situation, and am seeking some guidance from you Learned Jedis. I only applied to MA programs for various reasons, and have been admitted to 3. All are funded with a stipend, and all are exactly tied in the US news rankings for English (not high), though the overall prestige of each institution varies quite a bit. One is in the 40s overall, for example, while another is in the 70s, and the third is somewhere in-between. I will apply to PhD programs after the MA, so am eager to know if you all think future adcoms will care at all about the prestige (or more accurately, lack thereof) of the institution where I do the MA? The schools are Villanova, UConn, and Miami of Ohio. I'm sort of leaning Miami at the moment but am worried that the lack of name recognition might hurt me at top programs. Not that any of these schools are particularly high ranking (though I'm very happy to be admitted! woohoo!)

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26 minutes ago, Starbuck420 said:

Am in a weird (not bad) situation, and am seeking some guidance from you Learned Jedis. I only applied to MA programs for various reasons, and have been admitted to 3. All are funded with a stipend, and all are exactly tied in the US news rankings for English (not high), though the overall prestige of each institution varies quite a bit. One is in the 40s overall, for example, while another is in the 70s, and the third is somewhere in-between. I will apply to PhD programs after the MA, so am eager to know if you all think future adcoms will care at all about the prestige (or more accurately, lack thereof) of the institution where I do the MA? The schools are Villanova, UConn, and Miami of Ohio. I'm sort of leaning Miami at the moment but am worried that the lack of name recognition might hurt me at top programs. Not that any of these schools are particularly high ranking (though I'm very happy to be admitted! woohoo!)

It’s not about numbered rankings, but rather how recognizable the school’s name is and, most importantly, the renown of professors in your field in particular. What is your field? I know a little about some of these schools.

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2 minutes ago, Rani13 said:

It’s not about numbered rankings, but rather how recognizable the school’s name is and, most importantly, the renown of professors in your field in particular. What is your field? I know a little about some of these schools.

Thanks for the response! My research has been in critical theory (mostly Marxism) and 19th century American lit, though my interests are broad and still a little unformed, so I expect them to become more focused during the MA (indeed this is part of the reason I am doing the MA) UConn seems to have faculty who do interesting research in critical theory and Marxism, but I'm a little turned off by the teaching load, which is 2:2 for new TAs, right off the bat

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28 minutes ago, Starbuck420 said:

Thanks for the response! My research has been in critical theory (mostly Marxism) and 19th century American lit, though my interests are broad and still a little unformed, so I expect them to become more focused during the MA (indeed this is part of the reason I am doing the MA) UConn seems to have faculty who do interesting research in critical theory and Marxism, but I'm a little turned off by the teaching load, which is 2:2 for new TAs, right off the bat

That is a *lot* of teaching. I’d suggest finding out which faculty excite you the most and maybe even setting up phone calls with them about your work. See who responds most enthusiastically. Also I’m going to PM you with some info.

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3 hours ago, Starbuck420 said:

Am in a weird (not bad) situation, and am seeking some guidance from you Learned Jedis. I only applied to MA programs for various reasons, and have been admitted to 3. All are funded with a stipend, and all are exactly tied in the US news rankings for English (not high), though the overall prestige of each institution varies quite a bit. One is in the 40s overall, for example, while another is in the 70s, and the third is somewhere in-between. I will apply to PhD programs after the MA, so am eager to know if you all think future adcoms will care at all about the prestige (or more accurately, lack thereof) of the institution where I do the MA? The schools are Villanova, UConn, and Miami of Ohio. I'm sort of leaning Miami at the moment but am worried that the lack of name recognition might hurt me at top programs. Not that any of these schools are particularly high ranking (though I'm very happy to be admitted! woohoo!)

I agree with the previous poster that it's not the rankings but the reputation, so these programs might be 30 spots away from one another but considered equal, I don't really know how they're perceived by faculty. I know more about UConn because I applied there last year, and there has been at least one doing the Villanova MA here I believe, and maybe they can help you. I personally don't think POIs matter THAT much for the MA, because you're going to be doing mostly coursework and so outside of class and maybe a final thesis you're probably not talking to professors that much (you definitely can though, of course, but a professor who has not worked with you will not write a convincing LoR). Point being that if you went to a school because of a POI and they happened to not offer a course in your time there, you might not gain much from that POI. I'd look at recent course offerings and see how often the faculty you're interested in teaching (different schools have different ways of alternating teaching, sometimes profs teach a course each year for 2-3 years then stop for a while, others have a set rotation, others might not have certain professors teach grads ever).

More important than either prestige or POIs, I think, is funding. Where will you be able to live most comfortably? Are you being fully funded at any place? Those would be my top considerations (the others are important too, though). As for UConn's teaching load, it is a lot, and I was honestly kind of scared about it when I first heard it last year, BUT, I believe those 2 classes have less students than some classes in other institutions because of recent changes they've made. Also, teaching experience is unlikely to help you for PhD applications, but the experience could be good for the job market. Having experience teaching similar courses at different institutions with different environments will give you a leg-up on some of your fellow applicants. It's definitely a lot of work, but it's not for nothing at least (as to whether that is worth perhaps having less time to work on your scholarship and make it as good as it can be, I dunno (perhaps not, depending on your capability to put up good work under time constraints).

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On 2/25/2020 at 2:29 PM, WildeThing said:

@MedievalIllusions @Wimsey @tinymica My understanding is that there was a lot of movement on the waitlist last year (which is not to say it will happen again). I believe 40% of the matriculating PhD cohort came off the waitlist. At least 3 of were informed of our acceptance in the last week of the decision period, and I personally was informed I had a spot on a Saturday before the deadline (which was Monday). So things CAN happen very quickly and I definitely would have felt more comfortable with more time and more opportunities to talk to people. Of course it would suck to get that info and then not get accepted, but feel free to PM if you DO want to ask stuff (even if it's an emergency PM on April 15th).

Wow, this gives me some hope about (maybe, just slightly possibly) getting off the UVA waitlist. It seems extraordinarily large this year (9 of us posted about it, I think?) so there may be some course-correcting happening. I may throw my hat into that PM ring soon too! Thank you!

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Out at Harvard and Penn (totally expected)! But in at UC Santa Barbara! Which is wonderful (seriously, I love this program so much) and complicates my life substantially! The roller coaster continues! lol

Edited by merry night wanderer

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On 2/28/2020 at 8:25 AM, merry night wanderer said:

@brownjournal I'm curious to see which one you'll choose to do first - it looks like you've got great offers on both the PhD and MFA end. (Madison is nothing to slouch at!) 

Yeah I have no idea what I’m going to do. Ideally one of the PhD programs would let me defer for two years to complete an MFA but maybe that’s asking too much 

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On 2/27/2020 at 1:18 AM, LitScript said:

Wow, this gives me some hope about (maybe, just slightly possibly) getting off the UVA waitlist. It seems extraordinarily large this year (9 of us posted about it, I think?) so there may be some course-correcting happening. I may throw my hat into that PM ring soon too! Thank you!

I counted 15 posts on the results board, plus me (I didn't post). That must mean there are at least twenty five applicants on the waitlist, if not thirty. Is that too pessimistic? I wish I knew.

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1 hour ago, kolyagogolova said:

I counted 15 posts on the results board, plus me (I didn't post). That must mean there are at least twenty five applicants on the waitlist, if not thirty. Is that too pessimistic? I wish I knew.

I can throw my hat into the ring as another waitlisted applicant at UVA.

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2 hours ago, kolyagogolova said:

I counted 15 posts on the results board, plus me (I didn't post). That must mean there are at least twenty five applicants on the waitlist, if not thirty. Is that too pessimistic? I wish I knew.

This doesn’t make me feel confident about my own chances 😕

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Posted (edited)
On 2/26/2020 at 2:18 PM, Starbuck420 said:

Thanks for the response! My research has been in critical theory (mostly Marxism) and 19th century American lit, though my interests are broad and still a little unformed, so I expect them to become more focused during the MA (indeed this is part of the reason I am doing the MA) UConn seems to have faculty who do interesting research in critical theory and Marxism, but I'm a little turned off by the teaching load, which is 2:2 for new TAs, right off the bat

I am 😧 about the fact that UConn now makes people teach 2:2. When I applied (and got in, but didn't go) they were really adamant that their grad students should only teach 1:1 in order to stay competitive with other programs. 

Anyway, I would highly recommend looking into Villanova. I know a lot of people who have gone there and then moved to really great PhD programs. If the funding is good, I would take a much longer look at that program than Miami of Ohio. The thing with MA programs--they don't necessarily set you up for a particular PhD program (and their ranking means absolutely nothing), but a lot of programs do have regional connections. Since Villanova is on the East coast, it may help you make contacts with other professors in that general region, and your professors will probably have contacts. If you want to try for a PhD program in the mid-Atlantic area, Villanova would be a better bet than Miami. 

If you want to be in the Midwest for a PhD, though, then Miami might be a better bet. Full disclosure: I did my MA at a Midwestern university that was very similar to Miami, and Midwestern PhD programs were interested in me, while East/West Coast schools not as much. When I visited one of the programs to which I'd been admitted, I figured out pretty quickly that that program felt that I was a "known quantity" thanks to where I'd done my MA. 

Obviously my experience is anecdotal, though.

Edited by Bumblebea

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