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i know 2020 is still hearing back and making decisions about places, but it's never too early for us fall 2021 folks to start thinking/commiserating.

i'm at university of chicago doing a 2 year masters with a focus on cinema/media studies and secondary track in russian language and media. my interests are nationalism, new/digital media and online subcultures, memes and meme aesthetics, and kitsch/irony studies. i am not enthused about doing the admissions process all over again but i actually feel like i know what the hell i'm doing this time, so let's see! 

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Hi everyone. Thought I'd log back into the good ol' GradCafe to see how this year's application cycle is looking. If anyone wants, I'd be happy to share my SOP from last year's cycle. Just shoot me a

First post woohoo! Hi everyone, after going through one application cycle in a socially distanced bubble before those things were even popular and getting rejected all around, I've decided that I

Just wanted to give some info about how the covid crisis is affecting graduate schools and future admissions. In Yale's case, what we know now is that individual departments will have autonomy when gi

Joining the party! I am teaching abroad this year and applying in the Fall. I applied to a few MA programs this year where I was able to defer my admissions decision so I am thankfully have some sort of back up. My interests are 20th British/American, modern and contemporary drama, psychoanalysis, law and lit, crime, Appalachia lit (gender in appalachia/the rural), early American religion and literature, American christianity and womanhood. I am still figuring out the schools to add my list but hoping to stay somewhere along the east coast.

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18 hours ago, Bopie5 said:

Thanks for making the thread @jadeisokay! I don't know about anyone else, but I'm definitely already very anxious about the impacts of COVID-19 on admissions, funding, etc, etc...freaking out extremely...it's fine!

I was wondering the same thing! I was even trying to decide whether I should reach out to the programs just to ask if anything has changed/will change in terms of requirements but sending emails makes me so nervous for some reason. I'm planning on retaking the GRE and the GRE subject test, so I have no idea what that's going to look like in the world of COVID. It's all so crazy--I'm definitely freaking out too! 

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2 hours ago, haleydanielle said:

I was wondering the same thing! I was even trying to decide whether I should reach out to the programs just to ask if anything has changed/will change in terms of requirements but sending emails makes me so nervous for some reason. I'm planning on retaking the GRE and the GRE subject test, so I have no idea what that's going to look like in the world of COVID. It's all so crazy--I'm definitely freaking out too! 

Yeah, I'm wondering how GRE, ordering transcripts, TOEFL, and other similar usually-in-person elements of the application will be affected. I know Chicago has already publicly stated they will consider P/F and S/U grades equivalent to letter grades when evaluating PhD apps. But that doesn't answer what will happen with standardized test requirements. And we can't totally know yet how this will affect other parts of the admission process.

Two of my advisors have said that they predict this coming cycle to be very competitive. It seems like most people are anticipating that there will be more applicants, less funding, and fewer spots. 

However, for what it's worth, I know (from a friend who works there) that Berkeley's business school is very concerned that they won't have enough applicants for Fall 2021 admission, at either the grad or undergrad level. Business isn't the humanities, so in some sense this is comparing apples to oranges (or maybe more like apples to lawn chairs). But it is interesting to know that some grad programs have the opposite concern that most of us seem to have. I don't think we can draw any conclusions from this, other than "no one knows what is going to happen."

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I know a number of (well-endowed) university have suspended their hiring process for new faculty, citing financial difficulties. I don't know if the same difficulties will result in reduced number of fellowships they can offer - maybe there just isn't enough information at the moment.

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21 hours ago, Bopie5 said:

Yeah, I'm wondering how GRE, ordering transcripts, TOEFL, and other similar usually-in-person elements of the application will be affected. I know Chicago has already publicly stated they will consider P/F and S/U grades equivalent to letter grades when evaluating PhD apps. But that doesn't answer what will happen with standardized test requirements. And we can't totally know yet how this will affect other parts of the admission process.

Two of my advisors have said that they predict this coming cycle to be very competitive. It seems like most people are anticipating that there will be more applicants, less funding, and fewer spots. 

However, for what it's worth, I know (from a friend who works there) that Berkeley's business school is very concerned that they won't have enough applicants for Fall 2021 admission, at either the grad or undergrad level. Business isn't the humanities, so in some sense this is comparing apples to oranges (or maybe more like apples to lawn chairs). But it is interesting to know that some grad programs have the opposite concern that most of us seem to have. I don't think we can draw any conclusions from this, other than "no one knows what is going to happen."

Yeah, I agree. I talked to a tutor I'm working with for the GRE who mentioned GREs are now being conducted in home with web cam monitoring and things of that nature. I suppose we'll find out!

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On 4/18/2020 at 6:00 AM, EM51413 said:

I know a number of (well-endowed) university have suspended their hiring process for new faculty, citing financial difficulties. I don't know if the same difficulties will result in reduced number of fellowships they can offer - maybe there just isn't enough information at the moment.

The University of Arizona has already announced that it'll be furloughing employees (including faculty). I'm not sure how many other universities will follow suit, but this almost definitely doesn't bode well for humanities funding in the coming years: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2020/04/17/university-arizona-furlough-cut-pay-employees-due-shortfall/5154742002/?cid=twitter_azcentral

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I was, sadly, let go from my last waitlist the other day, so... here we go again!!

Honestly I am really terrified to see how the financial fallout of our present situation will affect admissions for next year. It seems like this was the worst year possible to get shut out and need another cycle. I have certainly learned a lot, and my application will be much stronger next time for a number of reasons, but still part of me wonders if it will be nearly impossible and I will just be throwing $1800 out into the ether. 

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2 hours ago, grace2137 said:

I have certainly learned a lot, and my application will be much stronger next time for a number of reasons, but still part of me wonders if it will be nearly impossible and I will just be throwing $1800 out into the ether

This is exactly how I'm feeling. I learned so much from my failures in the 2018-19 app cycle, and have learned even more in my MA program. My project and interests are more specific, my knowledge has increased in depth and breadth, I have a much greater sense of the realities of the academy...and yet, it could be $1500-2000 down the toilet.

 

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Hello! Just wanted to check in on the new application thread :)

I can't imagine planning applications in such a strange time. It's already strange enough being a grad student in quarantine (aside: I really cannot wait for in-person instruction when it's safe to do so), but to apply during this? I genuinely wish all of you the best of luck. Some of the stories I've seen about funding situations when it comes to graduate offers, etc. have been frightening. I truly have no idea what the admissions landscape will look like for Fall 2021.

I'm pleased to see some familiar names as well. @Bopie5 it's been so long! I hope things are going well at Villanova. I'm looking at your sig and I spy a certain UC Irvine in there. Let me know if you want to know more about the program.

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@ArcaMajora Hello! Yes, so long. Villanova is going as well as possible given the circumstances--I truly love the program, although things obviously have been much more difficult over the past month or so. I'm definitely going to apply to UCI English or UCI Culture and Theory (or both, which surprisingly is allowed?). I'll DM you!

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Hello all!

I'm beginning my MFA at Cornell in the fall. I never thought I'd consider the Phd, but it's looking like a possibility. So I thought I'd start gearing up even if my app season is 2-3 years away.

I studied political science in college (quite a few years ago) so I feel like a fish out of water in academic/research circles. Any advice moving forward? I''m already sleuthing on Cornell's databases and building reading lists for my interests (Latinx literature, 19th and 20th century novel, narrative theory, testimonio literature)

Also - is it common or uncommon for MFA graduates to switch lanes into academia and research/criticism? I picked Cornell over other programs because to my understanding it was a bit heavier on the critical side of things.
 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Treelike said:

Also - is it common or uncommon for MFA graduates to switch lanes into academia and research/criticism? I picked Cornell over other programs because to my understanding it was a bit heavier on the critical side of things.

 

 

 

I know first-hand that at least four (and I think probably a few more) of the applicants admitted to Yale for the 2020 cycle have MFAs, and I encountered folks with MFAs at other schools I visited as well. My impression is that doing both is quite common!

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Just wanted to give some info about how the covid crisis is affecting graduate schools and future admissions. In Yale's case, what we know now is that individual departments will have autonomy when giving year-long extensions to current students, and will decide whether to give blanket extensions to everyone, on a cohort basis, or on an individual basis. Every extension of funding given out, though, comes with a trade-off: for six extensions of funding given out, the department will have one fewer admission slot to offer. This will probably play out over the long term, buying many current students extensions by taking two or three fewer students each year for a number of years. It's all in flux right now, but know that this will likely make admissions even more competitive (or it may even out with fewer applications overall, who can say?).

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5 minutes ago, FiguresIII said:

Just wanted to give some info about how the covid crisis is affecting graduate schools and future admissions. In Yale's case, what we know now is that individual departments will have autonomy when giving year-long extensions to current students, and will decide whether to give blanket extensions to everyone, on a cohort basis, or on an individual basis. Every extension of funding given out, though, comes with a trade-off: for six extensions of funding given out, the department will have one fewer admission slot to offer. This will probably play out over the long term, buying many current students extensions by taking two or three fewer students each year for a number of years. It's all in flux right now, but know that this will likely make admissions even more competitive (or it may even out with fewer applications overall, who can say?).

oof ... hadn't heard this, good to know

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1 hour ago, FiguresIII said:

Just wanted to give some info about how the covid crisis is affecting graduate schools and future admissions. In Yale's case, what we know now is that individual departments will have autonomy when giving year-long extensions to current students, and will decide whether to give blanket extensions to everyone, on a cohort basis, or on an individual basis. Every extension of funding given out, though, comes with a trade-off: for six extensions of funding given out, the department will have one fewer admission slot to offer. This will probably play out over the long term, buying many current students extensions by taking two or three fewer students each year for a number of years. It's all in flux right now, but know that this will likely make admissions even more competitive (or it may even out with fewer applications overall, who can say?).

Thanks so much for this info! This is really helpful. I was thinking of making a "Tangible Ways COVID-19 Will Impact Future App Cycles" thread on here where we could keep track of this kind of thing and other similar info (like Chicago accepting P/F and S/U grades as equivalent to number or letter grades)--a thread that only included the concrete, tangible, official information that we know at this point. Do you all feel as though that would be helpful? Or would it just be depressing haha.

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4 hours ago, The Hoosier Oxonian said:

I know first-hand that at least four (and I think probably a few more) of the applicants admitted to Yale for the 2020 cycle have MFAs, and I encountered folks with MFAs at other schools I visited as well. My impression is that doing both is quite common!

Just to add a bit to this, @Treelike: first off, congrats on Cornell--that's a fantastic program! (I believe Cornell is also the only school that offers a dual MFA/PhD, but it's bonkers selective and I've never met an actual live human who was accepted to that track.) Second off, I graduated with my MFA in 2018, and I'm headed to an MA/PhD in English this fall; fellow GC-er @merry night wanderer also did an MFA prior to their PhD. At my MFA institution, there was a current PhD candidate who'd done an MFA first, and someone in the cohort one year ahead of me made the immediate transition from our school's MFA program to its PhD program upon completing the MFA. When I was applying to PhDs this time around, I did a deep dive on the "Current Students" listing at each of my potential schools; pretty much every program had at least one (and oftentimes more than one) MFA among its current PhD roster--it's definitely more common than you might think.

In terms of prep work you can do during your MFA that might better-position you if you do wind up applying for PhDs down the road, I think you'll be well-served by really thinking about the ways in which your creative and critical work intersect with each other, complement each other, supplement each other, etc. Having the opportunity to take workshop and lit seminars side-by-side can help clarify things in that respect (for me, it was a narrative theory seminar in my second year that allowed things to click into place for me and made it clear that I ultimately wanted to pursue a PhD). I do think you may be in a uniquely supportive environment at Cornell, due to the aforementioned MFA/PhD dual degree: that suggests you'll be entering a program where it is taken as a given that creative writing and literary scholarship are not mutually exclusive.

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I'm so glad this thread exists! Since I'm going out of the 2020 application season with a deferred acceptance for 2021, I'm definitely in a good place, but I am planning on reapplying to select schools, as the school I accepted and deferred is on the West coast and I would love to be closer to my home in Upstate New York (and also I...hate the sun). My decision to reapply despite being accepted is mostly motivated by fit, since it's a great school but not exactly what I'm looking for, but I anticipated that there might be fewer spots in the 2021 cycle and decided that if things don't work out with this upcoming application cycle, then I'd like to start a program in the fall of 2021 regardless.

Columbia is my top choice—I got an interview with them a few months ago, but unfortunately didn't get accepted into the program. If anyone has any intel on any changes happening or decision being made at Columbia, I would really appreciate it! I know New York's being hit very hard and this could have a pretty big impact on admissions, which definitely makes me nervous about the probability of my getting in 😕

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12 hours ago, mayhemily said:

I'm so glad this thread exists! Since I'm going out of the 2020 application season with a deferred acceptance for 2021, I'm definitely in a good place, but I am planning on reapplying to select schools, as the school I accepted and deferred is on the West coast and I would love to be closer to my home in Upstate New York (and also I...hate the sun). My decision to reapply despite being accepted is mostly motivated by fit, since it's a great school but not exactly what I'm looking for, but I anticipated that there might be fewer spots in the 2021 cycle and decided that if things don't work out with this upcoming application cycle, then I'd like to start a program in the fall of 2021 regardless.

Columbia is my top choice—I got an interview with them a few months ago, but unfortunately didn't get accepted into the program. If anyone has any intel on any changes happening or decision being made at Columbia, I would really appreciate it! I know New York's being hit very hard and this could have a pretty big impact on admissions, which definitely makes me nervous about the probability of my getting in 😕

Make sure that you look at the terms/expectations of your deferred acceptance. I remember when I first started applying I was looking at how some schools like at deferral and some of them have language about guaranteeing that you will enroll the following year. I don't know if this is common, how it would be enforced, or even if, given the situation, they would want to enforce it, but I'd just double check what your standing is so you don't face any issues or burn any bridges later.

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So, anyone have any good ideas/etc for the best way to use few months off to prepare for applying to graduate school besides working on the applications materials themselves? Language learning? Internships (and in what)? Just saving money? 

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7 minutes ago, riverbender said:

So, anyone have any good ideas/etc for the best way to use few months off to prepare for applying to graduate school besides working on the applications materials themselves? Language learning? Internships (and in what)? Just saving money? 

I would be interested to hear what others are doing as well! I am by no means an expert and am just figuring things out as I go, but so far my plan is to continue working my job in publishing remotely to save money, try to keep up with languages I was studying in undergrad (duolingo here I come...), and do really in depth research on programs/read scholarship I haven't had time to otherwise. 

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I'm finally getting my head around this application season enough to have a question! This is my second round of applications and I am trying to be very careful with my list of programs. My problem is I have several really good schools on my list (or I think they are? I feel confident about 0 things right now!) and I'm struggling to find some that are more in the middle of the road. My research focuses primarily on medicine in the long 18th century. I know departments are still largely divided by time period, but I'm struggling with whether I should apply to schools whose professors may study the 18th century, but no one has any emphasis on medicine/science/technology. I feel like there are so many things to get right and I'm extra stressed this time around! Has anyone had any similar experiences or have any clue what to do? 

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