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5 hours ago, snorkles said:

As a nontraditional student, I'm learning more and more about the depth of access privilege. It doesn't end with admissions. 

What is access privilege? Sorry, I googled and tried to use context clues but I don't know what it means. :) 

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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

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37 minutes ago, missmarianne said:

What is access privilege? Sorry, I googled and tried to use context clues but I don't know what it means. :) 

I'm thinking of a pretty capacious definition. Access to resources is one way to think about it. For me that means anything from spheres of knowledge, opportunities, guidance. Take admissions for example: Many people have mentors helping to shape their application. Some people have been guided on this path since high school. 

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16 minutes ago, snorkles said:

I'm thinking of a pretty capacious definition. Access to resources is one way to think about it. For me that means anything from spheres of knowledge, opportunities, guidance. Take admissions for example: Many people have mentors helping to shape their application. Some people have been guided on this path since high school. 

Ohhhh okay. That's what I thought you meant. Yeah, it's pretty infuriating.

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4 hours ago, Warelin said:

What are your interests? I think your application is competitive but it's likely that universities might have felt that they did not think they had someone free who could currently advise you. It's possible that they might have someone free next year and it's also possible that they won't. Unless you're applying in specific subfields, most universities won't require you to have a working knowledge of foreign languages from the start. It is likely that they'll request you to either take a course or test out of a language at some point during the program. I don't think you need to spend time on more publications.

@wildsurmise- I've heard the same things about several California schools as well as some other state universities. I think state schools generally tend to be harder for international students because of how much tuition waivers are for public schools. There is no cost difference in tuition waivers for international student at private schools.

On a similar note, what might help an international student who is not competitive enough in terms of the stats? After all so many applicants have such brilliant stats. Can a strong SOP and writing sample help the application? Would it be madness to apply to one of the reach schools if you don't have brilliant stats? I realise these queries seem rather facile but as an international student with very little help from either my current institution or my professors, I feel like I am groping in the dark. And the applications are way too expensive to try my luck 'randomly'-- that would be twice removed from the already (very) uncertain reality of admissions! All  suggestions would be immensely helpful! Thanks!

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10 hours ago, Hard times! said:

On a similar note, what might help an international student who is not competitive enough in terms of the stats? After all so many applicants have such brilliant stats. Can a strong SOP and writing sample help the application? Would it be madness to apply to one of the reach schools if you don't have brilliant stats? I realise these queries seem rather facile but as an international student with very little help from either my current institution or my professors, I feel like I am groping in the dark. And the applications are way too expensive to try my luck 'randomly'-- that would be twice removed from the already (very) uncertain reality of admissions! All  suggestions would be immensely helpful! Thanks!

I can't really speak to the potential impacts of being an international student, but everything I've heard (on here and elsewhere) suggests that stats (GRE, GPA) are significantly less important than SoP, sample, and LoR. And I know for me, my stats are good (4.0 GPA, 98 percentile verbal, 99 percentile AW) but that didn't get me anywhere last cycle, because my project was vague and poorly defined. 

I've heard that good stats don't necessarily help you, but particularly bad stats (major GPA, subject, verbal, and AW--the quant score doesn't matter at all for us, really) might have a negative impact. Proving that you are equipped to pursue scholarly work semi-independently matters much more than proving you can get a good score on a test. I'm showing my cards a bit here, but I think standardized tests are mostly a classist barrier to entry/access, and I hope more and more schools stop requiring the GRE general or subject. I'd say unless your scores are particularly low, I would focus way more on your sample and SoP, and on finding departments where you can clearly articulate departmental fit in multiple ways (happy to say more about this if that would be helpful).

Also--part of your application is proving that you will be a good colleague and department member. This means demonstrating that you participate in your field (often, through conferences) and aware of scholarly debates and at least somewhat cognizant of your "intellectual genealogy." But it also helps to have involvement in academic community (maybe working as a student editor for a journal, having a position on a committee for a particular conference, working as a teaching assistant or a grader for your department, or being on a grad student council or committee). Also, something that seems counterintuitive is that you don't want to seem too "finished" or that you've already arrived. You want to show that you're ready to be shaped by the program.

This is getting way too long, so I'll stop haha. (Maybe we should make a "what we learned from this cycle" thread or something, lol). But I hope this helps, and I'm happy to answer any questions over PM too.

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1 hour ago, Bopie5 said:

I can't really speak to the potential impacts of being an international student, but everything I've heard (on here and elsewhere) suggests that stats (GRE, GPA) are significantly less important than SoP, sample, and LoR. And I know for me, my stats are good (4.0 GPA, 98 percentile verbal, 99 percentile AW) but that didn't get me anywhere last cycle, because my project was vague and poorly defined. 

I've heard that good stats don't necessarily help you, but particularly bad stats (major GPA, subject, verbal, and AW--the quant score doesn't matter at all for us, really) might have a negative impact. Proving that you are equipped to pursue scholarly work semi-independently matters much more than proving you can get a good score on a test. I'm showing my cards a bit here, but I think standardized tests are mostly a classist barrier to entry/access, and I hope more and more schools stop requiring the GRE general or subject. I'd say unless your scores are particularly low, I would focus way more on your sample and SoP, and on finding departments where you can clearly articulate departmental fit in multiple ways (happy to say more about this if that would be helpful).

Also--part of your application is proving that you will be a good colleague and department member. This means demonstrating that you participate in your field (often, through conferences) and aware of scholarly debates and at least somewhat cognizant of your "intellectual genealogy." But it also helps to have involvement in academic community (maybe working as a student editor for a journal, having a position on a committee for a particular conference, working as a teaching assistant or a grader for your department, or being on a grad student council or committee). Also, something that seems counterintuitive is that you don't want to seem too "finished" or that you've already arrived. You want to show that you're ready to be shaped by the program.

This is getting way too long, so I'll stop haha. (Maybe we should make a "what we learned from this cycle" thread or something, lol). But I hope this helps, and I'm happy to answer any questions over PM too.

Thanks so much! I am not too sure about the stats because in my country the grading system is very different and conversions to the US system are usually not recommended. Our grading system comes closer to the British system but still there is very little consistency in how different institutions go about the grading-- the older and more 'significant' institutions tend to be more conservative. My GRE score (only for the general test becuse I didn't take the subject test) is alright. But what I mean when I say that my stats are average is that I have never been to what you might call an 'elite' institution and I don't want to depend on my exam scores. They are nothing spectacular given so many applicants have pretty formidable records and I most certainly don't measure up to those. Neither can I change the stats at this point. The only things I can really work on are the writing samples and SOPs and it would be great relief if the admissions committees weigh those in over other documents. Yes, I will pm you soon. Thanks so much for your help and clarification :)

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How large are the biggest English PhD cohorts, and which programs? I was reading that UVA has ten people per cohort but self-describes the PhD program as “small”—so how big is big? I’ve heard cohorts will be smaller at many places this year, but I’m curious about a general reference point.

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On 2/14/2021 at 10:45 AM, wildsurmise said:

How large are the biggest English PhD cohorts, and which programs? I was reading that UVA has ten people per cohort but self-describes the PhD program as “small”—so how big is big? I’ve heard cohorts will be smaller at many places this year, but I’m curious about a general reference point.

Not an answer to your question, but I know from someone at UVA that they’re only taking 6 PhDs this year. 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, wildsurmise said:

Well this is a helpful consolation to keep in mind in the event of my probable rejection, thanks! :) 

Wow, so many of the top schools seem to be halving their cohorts this year—UVA, Harvard, Yale, Chicago, etc. not to mention those not accepting at all, like Columbia, Penn, Brown... what an application cycle.

Yeah, it’s disappointing, but also sort of reassuring to know it’s just an extra difficult year. 

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23 hours ago, Ulliver8897 said:

A department administrator mentioned to me that applicants should be notified by the end of the month, though it was in an email conversation about another topic.

many thanks! guess I can check the results page a little less religiously this week then haha

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19 hours ago, Hard times! said:

On a similar note, what might help an international student who is not competitive enough in terms of the stats? After all so many applicants have such brilliant stats. Can a strong SOP and writing sample help the application? Would it be madness to apply to one of the reach schools if you don't have brilliant stats? I realise these queries seem rather facile but as an international student with very little help from either my current institution or my professors, I feel like I am groping in the dark. And the applications are way too expensive to try my luck 'randomly'-- that would be twice removed from the already (very) uncertain reality of admissions! All  suggestions would be immensely helpful! Thanks!

As an international student who went through two cycles and applied to many schools, here's my take: school prestige is a thing and it is very important. There's a reason why the "higher" you go up the alleged rankings and look at current students, the less variety you will see and less likely you will be to find a school you're unfamiliar with. Part of admissions is risk assessment; how likely is a student to perform and finish the degree? Schools are investing time and money that is ultimately supposed to pay off by producing brilliant scholars and so they want to get the best students that fit what they're looking for every year. While a great student is a great student, there are hundreds of applicants every year and for the most part, they're all brilliant. Even when you narrow down to specific fields and interest areas, you might still have multiple great students with similarly-brilliant supporting materials. If one of those went to an ivy league school and another to a school no one on the committee has every heard of - and, perhaps, from an a national content they've never dealt with before - well, the latter student is just a more unknown quantity.

Personally I think this plays a large part in admissions, but there's also just the access privilege issue someone mentioned above. Someone who spent 4 years at Yale is more likely to be able to speak the Harvard adcomm's language better than someone who went to Arizona State (and both are more likely than someone who went to lesser known university in Spain). These things have an effect and while it's certainly possible to get in regardless - an amazing candidate is an amazing candidate - it's probably just a bit harder. The good and the bad thing is that you have no control over this so it's pointless to worry about it. No one is going to throw your app out because of it so you should still apply to your top places, but, and this is always true, you should be realistic about your chances.

So, my advice to anyone in this position is to do A LOT of research on schools so you apply to the places with the best fit and can tailor your application (though there are many people who get in without tailoring their materials). Craft and re-craft your documents so they're perfect. And, and this I think is something that is less self-evident than the previous things I've said, diversify your school-list. Consider that if someone has a very similar profile to yours they are likely to apply to similar places. Now, someone who applies to Harvard is more likely to also apply to Yale or Chicago than to San Diego or Arizona State. Someone applying to UCLA is more likely to apply to UT Austin or Berkeley, etc. People generally apply via some structure and sometimes that's the school type (public, private, etc.), location, prestige, etc. If you only apply to ivies or only apply in a particular geographical area, you're more likely to be competing with the same people. So, if you're unlucky and your cycle has that person who is doing very similar things to you but for whatever reason is getting offers and you're not, applying to a wider variety of schools will give you more opportunities at schools where this person has not applied.

There's a whole bunch of factors and no one really knows how any of this works and no single factor is ever determinant so, ultimately, your best bet is to produce the best documents as you can, be as honest as you can about who you are and what you want to do, and just hope that you resonate with a committee. (But yes, strong SoPs and WS will trump average scores and a spectacular SoP can probably balance out anything, but what's a spectacular SoP?)

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54 minutes ago, WildeThing said:

As an international student who went through two cycles and applied to many schools, here's my take: school prestige is a thing and it is very important. There's a reason why the "higher" you go up the alleged rankings and look at current students, the less variety you will see and less likely you will be to find a school you're unfamiliar with. Part of admissions is risk assessment; how likely is a student to perform and finish the degree? Schools are investing time and money that is ultimately supposed to pay off by producing brilliant scholars and so they want to get the best students that fit what they're looking for every year. While a great student is a great student, there are hundreds of applicants every year and for the most part, they're all brilliant. Even when you narrow down to specific fields and interest areas, you might still have multiple great students with similarly-brilliant supporting materials. If one of those went to an ivy league school and another to a school no one on the committee has every heard of - and, perhaps, from an a national content they've never dealt with before - well, the latter student is just a more unknown quantity.

Personally I think this plays a large part in admissions, but there's also just the access privilege issue someone mentioned above. Someone who spent 4 years at Yale is more likely to be able to speak the Harvard adcomm's language better than someone who went to Arizona State (and both are more likely than someone who went to lesser known university in Spain). These things have an effect and while it's certainly possible to get in regardless - an amazing candidate is an amazing candidate - it's probably just a bit harder. The good and the bad thing is that you have no control over this so it's pointless to worry about it. No one is going to throw your app out because of it so you should still apply to your top places, but, and this is always true, you should be realistic about your chances.

So, my advice to anyone in this position is to do A LOT of research on schools so you apply to the places with the best fit and can tailor your application (though there are many people who get in without tailoring their materials). Craft and re-craft your documents so they're perfect. And, and this I think is something that is less self-evident than the previous things I've said, diversify your school-list. Consider that if someone has a very similar profile to yours they are likely to apply to similar places. Now, someone who applies to Harvard is more likely to also apply to Yale or Chicago than to San Diego or Arizona State. Someone applying to UCLA is more likely to apply to UT Austin or Berkeley, etc. People generally apply via some structure and sometimes that's the school type (public, private, etc.), location, prestige, etc. If you only apply to ivies or only apply in a particular geographical area, you're more likely to be competing with the same people. So, if you're unlucky and your cycle has that person who is doing very similar things to you but for whatever reason is getting offers and you're not, applying to a wider variety of schools will give you more opportunities at schools where this person has not applied.

There's a whole bunch of factors and no one really knows how any of this works and no single factor is ever determinant so, ultimately, your best bet is to produce the best documents as you can, be as honest as you can about who you are and what you want to do, and just hope that you resonate with a committee. (But yes, strong SoPs and WS will trump average scores and a spectacular SoP can probably balance out anything, but what's a spectacular SoP?)

Thank you so much!! Before this no one has broken down the admissions with such clarity for me!

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Anybody else waiting for a San Diego rejection? Saw some last Friday and wondering why I haven't gotten mine yet. Could they be doing it alphabetically?

Meanwhile, I know Irvine has sent out acceptances and I saw a Riverside one on the results page, so not holding my breath for them, too. That leaves Santa Barbara before I get a second-year shutout from UC schools.

(Also, this is to anecdotally confirm how hard it is for internationals to get into UCs but then again, maybe I'm just not brilliant enough or didn't come from a prominent school, etc etc 🤷‍♀️)

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1 hour ago, jujubee said:

Anybody else waiting for a San Diego rejection? Saw some last Friday and wondering why I haven't gotten mine yet. Could they be doing it alphabetically?

Meanwhile, I know Irvine has sent out acceptances and I saw a Riverside one on the results page, so not holding my breath for them, too. That leaves Santa Barbara before I get a second-year shutout from UC schools.

(Also, this is to anecdotally confirm how hard it is for internationals to get into UCs but then again, maybe I'm just not brilliant enough or didn't come from a prominent school, etc etc 🤷‍♀️)

I mean, according to these stats (https://www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/documents/stats/ENGL_Grad_Profile_Final.pdf) it seems it's even twice as difficult to get into UC Santa Barbara English if you're simply not a Californian? Which I found pretty odd, and is one of the reasons I decided at the last minute not to apply. I should note these statistics are from 2013, but I'm assuming their in-state practices haven't drastically changed.

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5 minutes ago, wildsurmise said:

I mean, according to these stats (https://www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/documents/stats/ENGL_Grad_Profile_Final.pdf) it seems it's even twice as difficult to get into UC Santa Barbara English if you're simply not a Californian? Which I found pretty odd, and is one of the reasons I decided at the last minute not to apply. I should note these statistics are from 2013, but I'm assuming their in-state practices haven't drastically changed.

Thanks for the reply. Yeah, somehow I knew this and shouldn't really have pursued UCs. When I saw that five-year statistic of the whole arts and humanities across all UCs having only one graduate student from my country after I applied, I knew I had no chance. 

Anyhoo, I will keep optimistic and hope for a better chance elsewhere. Wishing everyone some good news this week! Let's manifest/law of attraction (lol) those acceptance letters! 😄

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35 minutes ago, 1 Pint of Ricotta said:

Any predictions for which colleges might come out this week?  I'm hoping Rochester and Emory...

I'm predicting UVA and Washington will be this week (the DGS for UW said final decisions will be probably sent on or around Feb 18). 

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31 minutes ago, 1 Pint of Ricotta said:

Any predictions for which colleges might come out this week?  I'm hoping Rochester and Emory...

From my list, I think Michigan will likely come out this week, and UT Austin should be coming out soon but they're already way later than previous years, so who knows. As for the maybe-this-weeks I've got UVA, it's possible Princeton will start releasing acceptances toward the end of this week, and Rutgers *might* start releasing acceptances this weekend (if not, I'm assuming next weekend, since they seem to mostly release on weekends). Irvine might release their rejections soon- I'm taking it as an implied rejection, since they seem to have released their acceptances.

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1 hour ago, missmarianne said:

No idea, but hoping for UT Austin.

I interviewed last Monday with UT Rhetoric, and they said they were hopeful decisions would be released this week-- not sure if this will also be true with UT English, but hopefully they're not too far behind!

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1 minute ago, Doc Sportello said:

I interviewed last Monday with UT Rhetoric, and they said they were hopeful decisions would be released this week-- not sure if this will also be true with UT English, but hopefully they're not too far behind!

Ooo! Okay. Do you know if they interviewed everyone or only the rhetoric people? Congrats on your interview! ❤️

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Just now, missmarianne said:

Ooo! Okay. Do you know if they interviewed everyone or only the rhetoric people? Congrats on your interview! ❤️

Thank you! ☺️ I got the sense it was just for potential rhetoric admits-- the rhetoric & English departments actually seem to be pretty separate even though you apply for the rhetoric department through the English department. 

I don't think either has historically done interviews, so I think the rhetoric department might have just added it this year. It felt like it was mostly just to gauge department fit. As far as I can tell, the English department is still sticking with the "no interviews" thing. Best of luck to you!!! Hopefully we'll hear good news this week!

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