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Has anyone reached out to Notre Dame at all? I'm wondering if they'll be doing interviews this year or just sending outright acceptances, but I've been hesitant to contact any programs as it's still rather early. 

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In at Davis!!! My first English acceptance of this cycle. Really exciting and particularly validating since I was rejected from their program in my last app cycle. I'm so happy! Funding details to com

Anyone else getting this weird message on their pending applications or is it just me? Guessing this is a hint from the adcoms that I should refresh a few more times

I got into my first MA program!!! I know most of y'all are PhD applicants, but this is so huge for me!! I got offered a teaching assistantship for two years!!!! This means I can move out of my parents

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7 hours ago, semiotic_mess said:

@mashatheicebear

(And anyone that needs interview advice)

I am so, so, sorry! I had some personal stuff come up and totally forgot I promised the doc. I will just post what I have here.

My personal advice after my own interview that was very academically oriented (some of it is just reinforcing what others have said): 

 

Review your own material. Focus more on the things you mentioned in your SOP rather than researching the faculty work. I am not sure about others, but, there wasn't any point that I needed to know faculty work or could have shown this off at all (definitely worth at least knowing what each of the committee members do generally, just as context for their comments or just generally to be familiar. But this isn't more than checking the faculty website)

 

Write out an explanation of your past/current work. Take the time to do this because externalizing it will help. Then, PRACTICE SAYING IT. I wrote out my explanation and then come interview, my brain decided to do its own thing. I wish I had practiced an elevator pitch or talking points MULTIPLE times so that I had something already ingrained in my brain. See if you can practice with a friend and have them ask about your work and future plans. 

 

Also prepare an answer for "Why X university?" or "Why are you a good fit for X?". And say something specific about the program and yourself. If you can say it about any university or candidate, it isn't a great answer.

 

Don't get thrown off by a critical comment or question. Consider it thoughtfully and if you don't have an answer don't try and BS, just say that was a good point you hadn't thought of and digging into questions like that further are part of the reason you want to get a PhD (good place to sell yourself as dedicated to academia) and then thank them for the question. They just want to see how you respond (it is nothing personal); they like you enough to interview, so don't think something critical means they don't! If you are mentally ready for them being harsh, you are either going to be prepared and not sweat it, or it turns out they were really nice and it is a nice surprise! Go into it thinking it will be like a tough conference crowd and then you won't be thrown off by critical comments or questions.

 

Remember, most of the interview is just to see that you are professional and a person they would want to be around for the next 5-6 years, so be nice, humble, and highlight your passion and dedication to the discipline and a career in academia.

 

That is all I have to add to the great advice below.

 

Most of this is not my own words, but a collection of different advice I found or was given:

____

From a professor:

 

"There could also be wildcard questions like “What do you like to do when you’re not doing philosophy?” or “What’s your favorite book?” These are designed to assess whether you have the maturity and well-rounded life to succeed in a doctoral program and not crack under the pressure. The oldie-but-goodie “Tell us about a challenge you faced, a time when you failed at something, etc.” might also surface. The most important thing here is NOT to say that you’ve never failed or faced challenges; be ready with a genuine example. Finally, they might ask you in general terms what areas of study you’re interested in, but I doubt they’d ask detailed questions designed to assess your knowledge of a specific figure or text."

 

From previous gradcafe threads:

As someone else said, feel free to admit that you haven't read something/don't know much about something. However, the best thing to do is not let that "I'm not sure, I haven't read that" end the conversation or question. Instead, try to turn the conversation back around into something you either DO know, or turn it into a relevant question. i.e. "You know, I actually haven't read much Foucault, so I don't think I'm confident speaking about his ideas of biopower. However, I have found myself really interested in X, who says Y-- and you're right that I should dive into Foucault to see what he can add to my thoughts about Z." Or, "I haven't read Frankenstein in a while, but I think you're right that it could open up an interesting question in my work. For instance, I'm really interested in... Thanks for the recommendation!" 

With the above, if someone asks you something that you REALLY know nothing about-- say they mention a theorist or author that you've never heard of-- ask for clarification! Say something like, "I don't know Jane Doe's work. What's her take on eco criticism?" Then, use their answer to similarly make connections like I said above

 Don't feel like you need to have a definitive answer. Places where they ask you something that you haven't thought through yet are a great place to (1) say where you thinking IS at, but then follow that up by saying (2) this is why you want to be in a PhD program. Great phrasing would be something like, "I really do think that the relationship between gender and the publishing industry has had a huge impact on the reception of certain authors. I think to get to a definitive answer, however, I'll have to do some archival work, which I haven't had the time to do while in my M.A. That's one of the reasons I'm really excited about the prospect of being in your program-- you have such a great collection of early publishing records, and I love the work that Dr. X has done with them."

Have some questions prepared to ask them, if they give you the opening to do so. Even if you don't really have any questions, have some-- saying "I don't have any questions" can make you seen uninterested. These questions, though, should be higher-order questions about the program, and not nitty-gritty. i.e. DO ask about recent placement, but don't ask about specific stipend questions (unless they give you the space to do so). DO ask about the availability of funding for conference travel, but don't ask about how much. After you're admitted, you can ask about details, or about the city or housing or whatever. Right now, you're just trying to get in the door.

The best advice-- for interviews, and for campus visits when y'all get to that stage-- is to fake it 'til ya make it. It's ok to say that you're nervous if you are! But also, act confident, sociable, and kind, no matter how you feel inside. I used to teach speech, and I'd tell my kids that everyone starts to feel nervous before public speaking. That's a normal, healthy, bodily response. The key is to turn those nerves into energy, rather than thinking that they mean you're going to fail, and letting them shut you up. 

 

1. This may be obvious to you, but think of the interview as you pitching your work to the department. The point of the interview is to share your work with the faculty – both the past work you've done and future work you want to do – and to explain why you are excited to do that work at that particular program. I had no idea what kinds of questions to expect – did they want to get to know me better as a potential colleague? Did they want to hear about more ideas that didn't make it into my materials? Nope – they just wanted a better idea of how all of my interests fit together and some clarification of what I've done and what I want to do, research-wise. Our conversation never strayed from my SoP and WS. Talk about your past and future work in as specific terms as possible, rooted in arguments you have made and methods/avenues of research you want to pursue

 

2. Review your statement of purpose and writing sample very carefully for at least a few days before the interview. Practice talking about them with confidence in very specific terms, and be able to explain how they link together. Do not waste time reviewing books/articles written by the faculty at that program. I spent far too much time doing this and didn't have a single opportunity to hint at my knowledge. I should have spent the time reviewing my own materials carefully.

 

3. As @urbanfarmer mentioned, do have questions prepared for your interviewers. But while questions about funding and placement may be welcome at some departments, I very much got the sense that my interviewers did not want to be asked about classes, placement, job support, teaching (whoops). They made it fairly clear at the end of the interview that I should have asked about the opportunities available to me within my specific field/subfield at the program, and what the work culture is like in those areas. I didn't think to ask about those things because I had already researched them well and I didn't want to seem like I hadn't, but in retrospect, I do not think it is necessarily a bad idea to ask questions you already know the answers to. For my next interview, I plan to begin the "question" section with "I'm really excited about University's program because of x opportunities in my Field. Would you mind talking a little bit about the opportunities and culture in Field at University so I can get a better sense of how I would fit in to your program?"

 

4. Similarly, when possible, throw in phrases reiterating that you are excited about and think you are a good fit for the program because of x. Only after my not very good interview did I realize I really just talked about me the whole time and made it seem like I didn't know or care about the program. I thought my understanding of the department's opportunities in my field and my fit with the department was evident from my statement of purpose, but in retrospect, I wish I had emphasized these things during the interview.

 

https://dukeofbookingham.tumblr.com/post/190293342155/so-ive-been-in-the-room-for-prospective-phd


____

Here are some questions I wrote for a meeting with faculty before applications that could suit an interview well (These are particular to program, but you can extrapolate for other department specifics):

 

Website mentions: What is the mentoring program? Tell me about the teaching apprenticeships? What are the certification programs? Dual degree and minors? 

 

Professional development?- info on Graduate Placement Officer, who organizes placement workshops, arranges for mock interviews and works closely with students to put together a compelling CV and dossier?

 

Support for DAAD, Fullbright applications?

 

Lecture series? reading groups? department affiliated extracurriculars

 

**Would you say that students are often involved with faculty scholarship or vice versa (research assistants, co-editors, etc.)?

 

Dissertation advisor process?- how frequently do you meet, is it one person or many, how self-directed is it?

 

For the coursework requirements, are the courses taken exclusively graduate seminars or do you take some courses that are undergraduate/graduate mixed level courses? What is the typical class size of the graduate seminars?

 

I saw that taking courses in other departments is an option, but it does not count towards philosophy credits, only as credits required by the graduate school.  Would the credits required by the graduate school normally be fulfilled by the regular program requirements entirely in the philosophy department? Would this mean that by taking courses in other departments you would be taking more credit hours than the requirements for graduation? 

 

For the foreign language requirement, is there any assistance for students to fulfill this requirement or is it something that needs to be done independently? Do you know if there are student-based study groups for this? I saw that auditing requires permission, is it common practice for students to audit language courses?

 

Question examples (and what not to ask) from a professor:

 

"Something you’ve seen on the website and want further information about — this will not only let them know that you’ve visited the website, but will also allow them to learn about some aspect of the program you’re particularly interested in

 

Opportunities for contributing to the department (e.g. whether grads are involved in organizing a lecture series, conference, or some other aspect of departmental life) — in other words, a “what can I do for you” type question

 

How they organize TAing/teaching (if not clear from the website) — it’s a good idea to find something to ask about teaching, to show that you’re exited about it and not someone who will just want to do your research and not pull your weight in the classroom

 

Placement (if not on the website) — makes it clear to them that you’re interested in an academic career and serious about completing the program"


 

Things NOT to ask (almost as important)

 

"Anything that you could easily find the answer to on their website — you don’t want it to look like you’re not invested enough to check out the website for basic information and answers to common questions   

 

Anything about specific faculty members (e.g. whether they’re taking on new advisees) — that could make everyone else feel resentful or more likely to favor candidates who might want to work with them. Questions about the faculty or the department’s strengths in general are fine, as long as it’s not about info that’s easily available online.

 

In general, avoid asking too many “what can you do for me” type questions — asking about one resource that’s particularly important to you (e.g. travel funding) is fine, but don’t ask a list of questions that will make them think you’d be a diva or high maintenance"

 

_____

I am currently on my tablet, so I will go back and edit to add the sources from the gradcafe threads (also that's why there might be some spelling or grammar mistakes, sorry!

I hope this advice helps someone! I have no idea how my interview went, so who knows if what I have to say is useful 😆

This is SUPER HELPFUL! Thanks so much for putting this together and sharing your own experience. I have an interview coming up next week and I really needed this! :)

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Hello! Long time lurker here. Thanks everyone for being so supportive and providing such amazing resources. I was wondering if anyone applying to UCLA has also noticed a change on their application status page: I might be going crazy, but I don't remember seeing a UID before.

Crossing my fingers this is a good sign, and good luck everyone! 

ucla.png

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7 minutes ago, inquisitive-reader said:

Hello! Long time lurker here. Thanks everyone for being so supportive and providing such amazing resources. I was wondering if anyone applying to UCLA has also noticed a change on their application status page: I might be going crazy, but I don't remember seeing a UID before.

Crossing my fingers this is a good sign, and good luck everyone! 

ucla.png

I have a UID on my UCLA status page too.... I wouldn’t overanalyze it : )

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1 hour ago, inquisitive-reader said:

Hello! Long time lurker here. Thanks everyone for being so supportive and providing such amazing resources. I was wondering if anyone applying to UCLA has also noticed a change on their application status page: I might be going crazy, but I don't remember seeing a UID before.

Crossing my fingers this is a good sign, and good luck everyone! 

ucla.png

 

56 minutes ago, R Westy said:

I have a UID on my UCLA status page too.... I wouldn’t overanalyze it : )

I am not going to overanalyze it either, but I did some quick digging, and did find this interesting... But it's probably nothing.

1.PNG

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I have that too, but I don't think it means anything because it was there since I submitted my application...I am able to know that because I have emailed a document to their assistant on Dec 9th and have that ID included in my email : (

Anyway, good lucks to us all!

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Just now, alszd said:

I have that too, but I don't think it means anything because it was there since I submitted my application...I am able to know that because I have emailed a document to their assistant on Dec 9th and have that ID included in my email : (

Anyway, good lucks to us all!

Yea, I just posted that mostly to play devils advocate

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6 hours ago, inquisitive-reader said:

Hello! Long time lurker here. Thanks everyone for being so supportive and providing such amazing resources. I was wondering if anyone applying to UCLA has also noticed a change on their application status page: I might be going crazy, but I don't remember seeing a UID before.

Crossing my fingers this is a good sign, and good luck everyone! 

ucla.png

I just checked, and I have one as well. Maybe it’s automatically created for each applicant. 

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Just wanted to share that I looked at statistics/demographics of UC enrollees here: https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/fall-enrollment-glance and found that across all campuses, they only have one graduate student from my country for arts and humanities in the last five years. Of course, I don't know how many actually apply each year or how many were accepted yet couldn't push through because of lack of funding, other factors, etc. but my odds are not looking good. No wonder I was shut out last year from three UCs. There goes my $685 of app fees 😅

Hope this Tuesday is better for y'all. I have a feeling more results will come in this week. As they say in Korean dramas I love, FIGHTING!

Edited by jujubee
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2 hours ago, jujubee said:

Just wanted to share that I looked at statistics/demographics of UC enrollees here: https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/fall-enrollment-glance and found that across all campuses, they only have one graduate student from my country for arts and humanities in the last five years. Of course, I don't know how many actually apply each year or how many were accepted yet couldn't push through because of lack of funding, other factors, etc. but my odds are not looking good. No wonder I was shut out last year from three UCs. There goes my $685 of app fees 😅

Hope this Tuesday is better for y'all. I have a feeling more results will come in this week. As they say in Korean dramas I love, FIGHTING!

Yes! I learned this lesson last year ... to not apply to UC schools as an international student... and well, repeated the mistake again: applied to Berkeley as well as UCLA. And Berkeley PoI expressly told me also though... that they would like to work with me if accepted... and that the department has right mix of faculty to support a project like mine... BUT "we usually have very limited funding, and more so for international students." 😕

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25 minutes ago, ghost-enthusiast said:

Literally could not sleep last night because I kept hearing the song "Jolene" except instead of Jolene, it was "Cornell" over and over again. We're in for quite a week I think! Congrats to those accepted!!  

This is hilarious- I wish my voice of dread was that entertaining!

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I wonder if the winter storm will delay things for east coast schools. In my area, all the schools and local government offices are shut down. Can't imagine it would be a significant delay, but it might throw things off a few days for schools in the Northeast (especially in/near New York, Philly, DC, Boston, etc).

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43 minutes ago, ShivD said:

Yes! I learned this lesson last year ... to not apply to UC schools as an international student... and well, repeated the mistake again: applied to Berkeley as well as UCLA. And Berkeley PoI expressly told me also though... that they would like to work with me if accepted... and that the department has right mix of faculty to support a project like mine... BUT "we usually have very limited funding, and more so for international students." 😕

Berkeley has been plagued by massive funding issues in recent years, but the one thing it seems to have in common with other UCs is that, it is particularly close-fisted when supporting international scholars.

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17 minutes ago, LtotheOG said:

Berkeley has been plagued by massive funding issues in recent years, but the one thing it seems to have in common with other UCs is that, it is particularly close-fisted when supporting international scholars.

Wish I researched deep enough to know this before applying. But my mom lives in CA and she wants me to stay with her that's why I applied. Oh well..

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29 minutes ago, LtotheOG said:

Berkeley has been plagued by massive funding issues in recent years, but the one thing it seems to have in common with other UCs is that, it is particularly close-fisted when supporting international scholars.

That's so sad. But well, I guess that is public universities for you... 
I really have no clue as to why I applied to both UCB and UCLA :P

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I doubt that the UC system stands for most or all public universities in the US. I know an enormous amount of internationals attending several of the latter across the country; even the UCs have only lately become something like an exception. 

 

 

Edited by LtotheOG
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43 minutes ago, LtotheOG said:

I doubt that the UC system stands for most or all public universities in the US. I know an enormous amount of internationals attending several of the latter across the country; even the UCs have only lately become something like an exception. 

 

 

Agree. My lone acceptance last year was from a public ivy on the East coast. But still close to no funding for international students.

Edited by jujubee
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4 minutes ago, jujubee said:

Agree. My lone acceptance last year was from a public ivy on the East coast. But still close to no funding for international students.

I am sorry to hear that!

Wish you my best for this cycle.. hang in there!! 

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