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Glad to see some familiar people in this thread! Like everyone, I'm also concerned about this application cycle. I am currently at Uconn's MA program, and currently our EGSA group is attempting to get everyone in the program an additional year of funding. I'm not quite sure how this would work out for MA students in particular, as the scheduling is quite tight, but just alerting people what Uconn is doing. At least I may potentially have another funded year if I am unable to get into a program for 2021.

I've been talking closely with my advisor and other professors, and they've still pushed me to continue with applying for the 2021 cycle. I am going to spend the summer working on materials, and also once we are in the late months of summer, start emailing schools to see if there are any changes to funding and what they expect their cohort size to be. 

I'm also concerned about how competitive this cycle will be, as someone who was shut-out of PhD programs out of undergrad, but I do have some hope. I have a few backup plans because though I love the work I'm doing and ultimately would love to be in a PhD program, the job market is going to be even more abysmal now (I was aware of this previously, and I will say that even despite this, having another five or so years to do something I love is worth it to me, even if I don't land a job). Since I think I'd be happy teaching in general, as well as doing other jobs in academia, I'm exploring MA's in education, and also library science programs. But we will see, I am definitely holding out hope to be admitted into some Lit programs this cycle! I hope everyone is doing well and I'm sure some of us will have luck in 2021!

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On 4/22/2020 at 7:11 PM, politics 'n prose said:

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.

This is great advice, and actually, almost every school that accepted me mentioned it as something interesting; the people I talked to sometimes asked further questions about how my creative/critical work were intersecting. One prof even said he particularly liked MFA students.

I suppose the only thing to mention is that I did feel like I could have benefited from the deep dive of a master's thesis, and for me I had to do my writing sample from scratch. It wasn't quite a seminar paper and it wasn't quite a thesis. But hopefully your lit mentors can help you out here. 

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2 hours ago, Bopie5 said:

@cassidyaxx So good to see you back on here! Fingers crossed for both of us for this upcoming cycle. 

Same here! :) 

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I'm applying Fall 2021; I'm guessing I'll become familar around these parts from far on. I'm also quite nerved about what the current climate of the world means for future admissions, transcripts, applications, and so on, but I'm hoping that this will all die down into next Fall.

I'm currently dwindling down schools, I want to get into comparative literature, preferably at UOregon.

I made this google sheets document to dwindle down my schools, hopefully it is helpful to other people: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VgiNLiql0VeUVNFonw1o_DlPOGIRdLRr7Ao2C1mAoA4/edit?usp=sharing

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On 4/24/2020 at 6:17 PM, haleydanielle said:

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? 

I am in the exact same situation! My research is also related to medical humanities, and I am also looking for some "safer" programs. Maybe it's just because there aren't that many people studying medicine/science, so our options are especially limited? I think it might be worthwhile to also apply to those programs that match your other interests (i.e., 18th century), even though they do not necessarily have a strong emphasis on medicine. But I really don't know...

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17 hours ago, Magic Lantern said:

I am in the exact same situation! My research is also related to medical humanities, and I am also looking for some "safer" programs. Maybe it's just because there aren't that many people studying medicine/science, so our options are especially limited? I think it might be worthwhile to also apply to those programs that match your other interests (i.e., 18th century), even though they do not necessarily have a strong emphasis on medicine. But I really don't know...

I'm glad I'm not the only one! My goal is to probably apply anywhere with a strong 18th c. presence as well as some interdisciplinary research, regardless of if it's with medicine. At least the approach will be the same! I think finding programs is the most daunting part of the whole process. Good luck!

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On 4/29/2020 at 1:35 PM, Kapol-in said:

I'm applying Fall 2021; I'm guessing I'll become familar around these parts from far on. I'm also quite nerved about what the current climate of the world means for future admissions, transcripts, applications, and so on, but I'm hoping that this will all die down into next Fall.

I'm currently dwindling down schools, I want to get into comparative literature, preferably at UOregon.

I made this google sheets document to dwindle down my schools, hopefully it is helpful to other people: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VgiNLiql0VeUVNFonw1o_DlPOGIRdLRr7Ao2C1mAoA4/edit?usp=sharing

Not to speak out of my expertise here, which is limited to what I've seen and experienced from a single application cycle, but I'm not sure the ideas of "Reach" and "Match" can be applied to graduate programs in the same way as they can be readily applied to undergrad programs. Although an applicant's statistical chances might be higher at one school than another, many perfectly qualified applicants are rejected from programs for various unpredictable reasons (maybe their interests aren't well suited to the department, or a professor they would like to work with is going on leave, etc.). Some people are rejected from lower-ranked programs and accepted to higher ones. Forgive me if I'm only repeating information you already know, but I just wanted to opine that these categories are not ultimately very useful for applicants thinking about grad schools. At any rate, that is a really useful list, and and thank you for sharing it here!

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On 4/29/2020 at 10:35 AM, Kapol-in said:

I'm applying Fall 2021; I'm guessing I'll become familar around these parts from far on. I'm also quite nerved about what the current climate of the world means for future admissions, transcripts, applications, and so on, but I'm hoping that this will all die down into next Fall.

I'm currently dwindling down schools, I want to get into comparative literature, preferably at UOregon.

I made this google sheets document to dwindle down my schools, hopefully it is helpful to other people: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VgiNLiql0VeUVNFonw1o_DlPOGIRdLRr7Ao2C1mAoA4/edit?usp=sharing

I recommend that you break column B into at least one additional column for degree. Maybe also for department and for program.

I would add columns after "Funding" for analysis of a school's financial health, another for public/private, and maybe another for the number of major sports programs a school has. (Because the revenue generated by hosting major sporting events is a big unknown.) I would also add columns for if a school is in a red state or a blue state as the "culture wars" are likely to heat up over the next couple of years as the bills for the CARES Act come due.

If you want to get into the details over the "current climate of the world" you might add one or more columns for likelihood of four categories of catastrophic events (war, pandemic, natural disasters, economic ruin) so you can figure where you want to be in the SHTF moment. 

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2 hours ago, TheorySchmeory said:

Not to speak out of my expertise here, which is limited to what I've seen and experienced from a single application cycle, but I'm not sure the ideas of "Reach" and "Match" can be applied to graduate programs in the same way as they can be readily applied to undergrad programs. Although an applicant's statistical chances might be higher at one school than another, many perfectly qualified applicants are rejected from programs for various unpredictable reasons (maybe their interests aren't well suited to the department, or a professor they would like to work with is going on leave, etc.). Some people are rejected from lower-ranked programs and accepted to higher ones. Forgive me if I'm only repeating information you already know, but I just wanted to opine that these categories are not ultimately very useful for applicants thinking about grad schools. At any rate, that is a really useful list, and and thank you for sharing it here!

 

27 minutes ago, Sigaba said:

I recommend that you break column B into at least one additional column for degree. Maybe also for department and for program.

I would add columns after "Funding" for analysis of a school's financial health, another for public/private, and maybe another for the number of major sports programs a school has. (Because the revenue generated by hosting major sporting events is a big unknown.) I would also add columns for if a school is in a red state or a blue state as the "culture wars" are likely to heat up over the next couple of years as the bills for the CARES Act come due.

If you want to get into the details over the "current climate of the world" you might add one or more columns for likelihood of four categories of catastrophic events (war, pandemic, natural disasters, economic ruin) so you can figure where you want to be in the SHTF moment. 

Very useful, thanks.

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On 4/24/2020 at 9:57 AM, 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? 

Hi everyone! I'm reapplying this year, and I've been trying to work on my app materials. I'm also considering language learning, since I'm pretty solid with my first language but my second one is very rusty/basic at this point. Also just catching up on standard readings that I feel like I missed out on. I'm also super stressed about the impact of COVID-19, especially because I haven't seen a lot of grad websites updated for 2021 and even this Grad Cafe thread is pretty silent 0.0 What's everyone else doing?

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On 5/10/2020 at 7:37 PM, Small potato said:

Hi everyone! I'm reapplying this year, and I've been trying to work on my app materials. I'm also considering language learning, since I'm pretty solid with my first language but my second one is very rusty/basic at this point. Also just catching up on standard readings that I feel like I missed out on. I'm also super stressed about the impact of COVID-19, especially because I haven't seen a lot of grad websites updated for 2021 and even this Grad Cafe thread is pretty silent 0.0 What's everyone else doing?

This summer turned out to be busier than expected--which I both like and dislike--but I'm currently interning as an economic analyst for a nearby SLC non-profit, I'm also a summer opinion writer for my uni's newspaper and I'm also doing summer preparation for a university class I'm leading next Fall.

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I'm not sure this is the right forum or not, but I'm seriously considering applying for the Iowa Writer's Workshop. I just finished a M.A. in Spanish Literature and was shut out, but I miss writing fiction so I'm looking at the MFA at Iowa...any other similar recommendations? Anyone else looking at this or has done this? 

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Posted (edited)

Though many here have or have applied to MFAs, you should know there is also a writing subforum for people applying to those types of programs where you might find more specific assistance (but please don't interpret this is as me saying you should go elsewhere, I'm sure you'll find a lot of help in this subforum as well since there's so much overlap between these programs and their applicants).

Edited by WildeThing

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If you are applying to MFAs, I would also look at the MFA Draft group on Facebook. The subforum here seems just fine but the Draft is extremely active and has plenty of good information (just beware getting sucked into the whirlpool of anxious applicants posting too much, as with anywhere!). Just search for "MFA Draft '21." 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/22/2020 at 4:44 PM, 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?).

I'd also like to emphasize how dire things are. Everything is indeed in flux right now, but I've heard rumblings of even more severe measures. This is to say, I would not wait for the 2022 cycle to apply. And only apply with the expectation that you will not land a tenured position at the other end (not that this is news). 

Edited by snorkles

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8 hours ago, snorkles said:

I'd also like to emphasize how dire things are. Everything is indeed in flux right now, but I've heard rumblings of even more severe measures.

Are you at liberty to say what these rumblings are? Always trying to get my finger closer to the pulse of what's going on (though I don't think anyone could really predict what will happen).

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Bopie5 said:

Are you at liberty to say what these rumblings are? Always trying to get my finger closer to the pulse of what's going on (though I don't think anyone could really predict what will happen).

Like you said, no one knows what is going to happen, and each program will respond differently. But I suspect admissions will be in a strange place for a while across the board.

Edited by snorkles

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Bopie5 said:

Are you at liberty to say what these rumblings are? 

i haven't heard of any of such rumblings in relation to english/literature departments yet, but i know — and it has been announced — that princeton's sociology department will not be accepting any applications for the 2021 cycle. apparently — though this still hasn't been confirmed — nyu history intends on doing the same, so i'm guessing that it's only time that several other humanities/social sciences departments might follow suit.

(to be clear, i'm not sure if most departments will take such drastic measures, however, but i don't also want to give anyone false assurance. given that most universities are currently in the process of finalizing their budgets for the coming fiscal year, i suppose that we'll just have to wait a few more months to hear more definitively about individual departments' admissions plans for 2021.) 

Edited by cruel optimism

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I heard about Princeton sociology and have worried english programs may be next... Though, I have taken a few cursory glances and it seems some programs have specific info about the 2021 cycle on their websites already, which is promising. 

I do have a question for the group - how is the current situation shaping where you are deciding to apply, if at all? It's a liiittle early to be toiling over it too much, and I imagine how universities respond/fare during the forthcoming fall term will be very telling - but I'm curious to hear where everyone else's thoughts are currently.

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i really want to stay where i am (my rent is cheap and i'm out of work for now and do not want to move) so just applying to hopefully stay at chicago or possibly northwestern. looking at a few other places out of state but ugh

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hi, just wondering, is anyone taking the literature subject test? unsure if I should use my time to study for it and take it or to work on my other app materials. 

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1 hour ago, jacobsroom said:

hi, just wondering, is anyone taking the literature subject test? unsure if I should use my time to study for it and take it or to work on my other app materials. 

I think the general consensus here is going to be that GRE tests (both general & subject) are worthless and unless you are required to submit scores for an application, it's best to not waste precious time on something that won't get more than a cursory look-over. 

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