Jump to content

Recommended Posts

3 minutes ago, Shake829 said:

Believe it or not, the best advice that I got for my writing sample was from an editor who rejected my paper. He went through it on Word with track changes and sent back his advice: Great, but not researched enough. He then proceeded to send an entire list of sources that I should browse through to help with that. 

This is so true. It has always been super beneficial for me to get outside feedback, especially from people who are reading it for the first time. Even after my committee had approved chapter one, I still had some misgivings about structure in the back of my mind. I still sent it into a journal, though, knowing that the peer review would probably be helpful regardless and they sent me back the same back-of-my-mind criticism, only it was beautifully articulated by someone who hadn't written and re-written the project a million times. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 1.6k
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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

Posted Images

I was rejected from UCLA. Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeee! 😂😅

If anyone's wondering, I logged on to my application portal and saw the official decision letter waiting for me there. I didn't receive any email notification prior. 

Edited by The Maritime Scholar
Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, missmarianne said:

1. Ahhh! This is my fear--someone leaving a school. The people who were open to zoom chats...when did you contact them? I might try contacting them earlier next time. Definitely hit everyone up in November, last time, which is final papers time, so.

same, there's a few profs who MUST be on the verge of retirement that i wanted to work with but i don't think there's any polite way of asking 'are you planning to retire soon', lol. 

i mostly contacted them in late september iirc, ahead of the end of semester rush. but i ended up getting rejected from all those schools anyway and admitted to a dept where i hadn't even emailed anyone, so ymmv! not sure what i got out of the chats other than a temporary rush of validation. 🤡  indeed.

and yess, good luck with future SoPs!

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, missmarianne said:

Okay. Actual (ignorant) question for next year when I inevitably have to do this again. Most people do their MA's and PhDs at my school and don't venture elsewhere so I feel like I'm not understanding major components of this process. I'd definitely private message one of you, but I'm keeping this here in case some other confused person needs this information as well later on. 

What are POI email exchanges supposed to look like? The past two years, I've just introduced myself/my work, praised the POIs work (sincerely), and asked about potentially working with me if I were accepted to X university. Ordinarily, the professor emails me back and says "Your work sounds interesting. I'd be happy to work with you if you're accepted" or, if the person knows one of my LORs, they might comment on that as well. That has really been the extent of the exchange for me, though--with Rutgers--I never got a reply back. I had heard, through one of my editors and a grad student I reached out to, that that particular professor was considering retiring soon, so I was not confident about that application going in and I didn't feel comfortable emailing that person a second time. Now I have a few questions.

1. Was I supposed to be carrying on an ongoing email exchange with these professors beyond the introductory/inquiry email and the thank you-for-replying-email? I assumed that I would be disrupting their work if I did that...

2. Did y'all* have other professors reach out to them first to make an introduction? Is that a thing that happens?

3. Did y'all know the people you were going to work with before you emailed them and, if so, how did you meet them?

 

*using y'all because it's gender neutral and I'm from the South. 🤠

As someone who's on the other side of the cycle (phd candidate in a lit studies program), I really don't think reaching out to POIs has any bearing on admission. I contacted zero professors in my admissions cycle and was admitted to several PhD programs. I've also had conversations with faculty about the admissions process and they literally have never mentioned a prospective student reaching out to them as a factor in admissions. It really just boils down to the writing sample, LORs, and the SOP. I suppose if a POI could provide feedback on an SOP or writing sample that would be helpful but I doubt most, if any, have the time to do that. 

Fit, of course, is important to convey in the SOP but honestly you can find out way more about fit from reading a professor's recent work than from a short email exchange (especially when profs are already so overwhelmed with email from current students!). 

There is sometimes the scenario where a professor you might want to work with is on medical leave or sabbatical or close to retiring and some people encourage reaching out to get more information about those situations. But I also feel that's not necessary because if there is just ONE person you want to work with in a dept, it probably is not a great fit honestly. In hindsight, the programs I was admitted to were ones where there were several faculty whose work aligned with mine. IMO, it's really important to make sure there is more than one faculty whose work aligns with yours; I've seen people who come to work with one star faculty and then find out they're never around or their advising styles don't vibe. 

Hope this is helpful — please feel free to message if you want to chat more about this or the admissions process! It is a certainly a frustrating and mystifying process but I really do think time is better spent working on admissions documents rather than reaching out to professors. 

Edited by helloperil
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, helloperil said:

As someone who's on the other side of the cycle (phd candidate in a lit studies program), I really don't think reaching out to POIs has any bearing on admission. I contacted zero professors in my admissions cycle and was admitted to several PhD programs. I've also had conversations with faculty about the admissions process and they literally have never mentioned a prospective student reaching out to them as a factor in admissions. It really just boils down to the writing sample, LORs, and the SOP. I suppose if a POI could provide feedback on an SOP or writing sample that would be helpful but I doubt most, if any, have the time to do that. 

Fit, of course, is important to convey in the SOP but honestly you can find out way more about fit from reading a professor's recent work than from a short email exchange (especially when profs are already so overwhelmed with email from current students!). 

There is sometimes the scenario where a professor you might want to work with is on medical leave or sabbatical or close to retiring and some people encourage reaching out to get more information about those situations. But I also feel that's not necessary because if there is just ONE person you want to work with in a dept, it probably is not a great fit honestly. In hindsight, the programs I was admitted to were ones where there were several faculty whose work aligned with mine. IMO, it's really important to make sure there is more than one faculty whose work aligns with yours; I've seen people who come to work with one star faculty and then find out they're never around or their advising styles don't vibe. 

Hope this is helpful — please feel free to message if you want to chat more about this or the admissions process! It is a certainly a frustrating and mystifying process but I really do think time is better spent working on admissions documents rather than reaching out to professors. 

Thanks very much! This is excellent advice on reading their work to get an idea of where they're at in terms of scholarship. I am in a very specific field so I really need to work on generalizing my focuses. I will almost certainly reach out to you. Thank you for your insight here!

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, missmarianne said:

Thanks very much! This is excellent advice on reading their work to get an idea of where they're at in terms of scholarship. I am in a very specific field so I really need to work on generalizing my focuses. I will almost certainly reach out to you. Thank you for your insight here!

No problem! Another thing I remembered  — it can be helpful to peruse course descriptions if a program has that info on their website and many do have them available somewhere (here is Indiana's, since I see you applied there). It gives you another sense of the scholarship/research that the department is engaging in. It's also helpful to see /who/ is teaching the courses because professors who aren't around will not be teaching grad seminars and you can see what sorts of classes your POIs are interested in teaching right now. It can also give you a sense of their approaches — are they engaging a lot with more current scholarship in their course descriptions or are they more traditional. 

You can also cite specific courses you are interested in taking; I remember looking through course descriptions and saying in my SOP that I would love to take insert course here taught by so-and-so professor. It demonstrates that you've researched the program and are excited by their offerings and how they would fit into your proposed project. 

It might also help your writing sample because you can see who your POIs are in conversation with and who you might need to be reading if you want to demonstrate that you have an understanding of current scholarship in the field and are able to situate your own project in said field.

Edited by helloperil
Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, helloperil said:

As someone who's on the other side of the cycle (phd candidate in a lit studies program), I really don't think reaching out to POIs has any bearing on admission. I contacted zero professors in my admissions cycle and was admitted to several PhD programs. I've also had conversations with faculty about the admissions process and they literally have never mentioned a prospective student reaching out to them as a factor in admissions. It really just boils down to the writing sample, LORs, and the SOP. I suppose if a POI could provide feedback on an SOP or writing sample that would be helpful but I doubt most, if any, have the time to do that. 

Fit, of course, is important to convey in the SOP but honestly you can find out way more about fit from reading a professor's recent work than from a short email exchange (especially when profs are already so overwhelmed with email from current students!). 

There is sometimes the scenario where a professor you might want to work with is on medical leave or sabbatical or close to retiring and some people encourage reaching out to get more information about those situations. But I also feel that's not necessary because if there is just ONE person you want to work with in a dept, it probably is not a great fit honestly. In hindsight, the programs I was admitted to were ones where there were several faculty whose work aligned with mine. IMO, it's really important to make sure there is more than one faculty whose work aligns with yours; I've seen people who come to work with one star faculty and then find out they're never around or their advising styles don't vibe. 

Hope this is helpful — please feel free to message if you want to chat more about this or the admissions process! It is a certainly a frustrating and mystifying process but I really do think time is better spent working on admissions documents rather than reaching out to professors. 

Sure. But any number of people on here claim to have received acceptance letters from POI.

Perhaps in these particular instances these particular professors are, just temperamentally, quite eager to contact applicants whose friendly exchange they remember months, and hundreds of applications, later. It sounds to me, however, like a relationship had been built; how, I do not know, and if I admit that I suspect that the applicant's mentor reached out to a friendly colleague to put in a word on that student's behalf I do so without bitterness. And in any case this is the last time around for me. But just for the sake of knowing I would be interested to know what goes on, as would, I'm sure, other older or working class students who may be throwing hundreds of dollars out the window on chances they, as outsiders, just do not stand. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, MaoistTowelette said:

Sure. But any number of people on here claim to have received acceptance letters from POI.

Perhaps in these particular instances these particular professors are, just temperamentally, quite eager to contact applicants whose friendly exchange they remember months, and hundreds of applications, later. It sounds to me, however, like a relationship had been built; how, I do not know, and if I admit that I suspect that the applicant's mentor reached out to a friendly colleague to put in a word on that student's behalf I do so without bitterness. And in any case this is the last time around for me. But just for the sake of knowing I would be interested to know what goes on, as would, I'm sure, other older or working class students who may be throwing hundreds of dollars out the window on chances they, as outsiders, just do not stand. 

For what it's worth, I also received acceptance letters from my POIs but I didn't contact them before submitting an application; they were simply given my name because their interests aligned with mine and they sent an email and offered to chat on the phone as part of the recruiting part of the admissions cycle. I guess, personally, I wouldn't read too too much into getting acceptance letters from POIs, they're pretty much just given a list of admitted students to reach out to in order to woo them to accept. 

I want to make clear that I don't think there's any harm in reaching out to POIs but myself and fellow cohort members who have gone through the admissions cycle just don't really see any correlation between reaching out and acceptances/rejections. If you have the time to do it, that's great but if you're pressed for time, I wouldn't worry about it. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, helloperil said:

For what it's worth, I also received acceptance letters from my POIs but I didn't contact them before submitting an application; they were simply given my name because their interests aligned with mine and they sent an email and offered to chat on the phone as part of the recruiting part of the admissions cycle. I guess, personally, I wouldn't read too too much into getting acceptance letters from POIs, they're pretty much just given a list of admitted students to reach out to in order to woo them to accept. 

I want to make clear that I don't think there's any harm in reaching out to POIs but myself and fellow cohort members who have gone through the admissions cycle just don't really see any correlation between reaching out and acceptances/rejections. If you have the time to do it, that's great but if you're pressed for time, I wouldn't worry about it. 

This is a wholly reasonable response, which I thank you for. 

I reached out during a couple cycles myself, not to every school but just here and there, and my application went no further. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, MaoistTowelette said:

Sure. But any number of people on here claim to have received acceptance letters from POI.

Perhaps in these particular instances these particular professors are, just temperamentally, quite eager to contact applicants whose friendly exchange they remember months, and hundreds of applications, later. It sounds to me, however, like a relationship had been built; how, I do not know, and if I admit that I suspect that the applicant's mentor reached out to a friendly colleague to put in a word on that student's behalf I do so without bitterness. And in any case this is the last time around for me. But just for the sake of knowing I would be interested to know what goes on, as would, I'm sure, other older or working class students who may be throwing hundreds of dollars out the window on chances they, as outsiders, just do not stand. 

I also got the sense that a relationship had been built while reading some of these posts, though I don't think one professor's word is going to make or break anyone as it all depends on who has the most influence in the deliberations. My own advisor happened to be working on a project with someone at Cornell around the time I applied and it's possible that he mentioned my work to that colleague but it obviously didn't help me very much, haha. I guess I'm just trying to figure out the best way to manage my expectations and also how to force a window open when I can't get through the door. Maybe my advisor isn't best friends with whatever professor, but I can look into what journal/s that prof edits and submit a project there and maybe it gets published and I reach back out to the prof later in the year. Don't even know if that helps me, but at least they know my name through emails. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, helloperil said:

No problem! Another thing I remembered  — it can be helpful to peruse course descriptions if a program has that info on their website and many do have them available somewhere (here is Indiana's, since I see you applied there). It gives you another sense of the scholarship/research that the department is engaging in. It's also helpful to see /who/ is teaching the courses because professors who aren't around will not be teaching grad seminars and you can see what sorts of classes your POIs are interested in teaching right now. It can also give you a sense of their approaches — are they engaging a lot with more current scholarship in their course descriptions or are they more traditional. 

You can also cite specific courses you are interested in taking; I remember looking through course descriptions and saying in my SOP that I would love to take insert course here taught by so-and-so professor. It demonstrates that you've researched the program and are excited by their offerings and how they would fit into your proposed project. 

It might also help your writing sample because you can see who your POIs are in conversation with and who you might need to be reading if you want to demonstrate that you have an understanding of current scholarship in the field and are able to situate your own project in said field.

YES! This was actually a great tool for me as well, looking at the theorists profs mentioned in the course description. If I didn't know at least a couple of names, I knew that it likely wasn't the best fit since it was probably going to be out of my reach in terms of my previous coursework. This year, my plan is to track down some recent performance seminar syllabi and compare those to the course offerings at Indiana, Rutgers, etc so I have some idea of the trajectory of scholarship within each program as well as a basis for performance in my own work. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, MaoistTowelette said:

Sure. But any number of people on here claim to have received acceptance letters from POI.

Perhaps in these particular instances these particular professors are, just temperamentally, quite eager to contact applicants whose friendly exchange they remember months, and hundreds of applications, later. It sounds to me, however, like a relationship had been built; how, I do not know, and if I admit that I suspect that the applicant's mentor reached out to a friendly colleague to put in a word on that student's behalf I do so without bitterness. And in any case this is the last time around for me. But just for the sake of knowing I would be interested to know what goes on, as would, I'm sure, other older or working class students who may be throwing hundreds of dollars out the window on chances they, as outsiders, just do not stand. 

One thing that might help to alleviate some of the stress/anxiety is to remember that admissions committees are practical groups.  They aren't looking for the six or seven "best" applications in a vacuum, as odd as that may sound.  They are looking for fits with current faculty members.  If a program has a Renaissance scholar who already has six advisees, then you would need to be an absolute rock star to get accepted at that program in that year.  If not, they already have six of you.  They want to find a student for their Modernist colleague who just graduated both of her advisees.  You can track that a LITTLE bit by looking at commencement programs at schools on your list.  Who were the advisors for their PhD graduates over the last couple of years?  Those are likely the higher percentage sub-fields at that school for this application cycle.  This is why it's important to mention POIs in the cover letter--they are looking to match people to faculty, and once admitted, even if the faculty member wasn't on the adcom, schools sometimes have those POIs contact with the offer of admission (potentially, at that point, to engender a connection with that school so that you select them over any other offers).

 

There are also internal politics that are pretty much impossible to figure out in advance.  Many schools have a "toxic" colleague or three that that try to hide on visit weekends and NEVER match with grad students.  If your SoP mentioned wanting to work with that prof, your app is often dead on arrival.

 

The TL/DR of it all is to remember that even if you are going through a rough application season, it almost certainly has nothing to do with YOU.  There are so many little things that adcoms care about that grad school applicants just don't have access to (ie: the practical side of the process mentioned above).

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Oklash said:

This is random but I am from the deep south and talking to departments that are definitely not in the deep is jarring. 😭 I suddenly feel very self-conscious of my voice and speech patterns. 

Oooo! I feel this! Southern accents and speech patterns are hard because they're steeped in history and cultural signifiers. I was always confused, when my friends came down from Boston to my town outside of Atlanta in the late nineties, and skeptically asked how my family had the internet. I guess they heard the region they were traveling to and assumed we were backwards.

In my experience, though, most people from the Northeast (who are not ten-year olds from Boston) view the outsider cultural perspective quite favorably because diversity is very good for academia. 

I will add, however, that some academic/intellectual people outside of the South cannot help but view Southerners through an anthropological lens. In those cases, I have 100% leaned into their narratives and said, "Why yes. Boys in the South DO get dueling pistols when they turn ten years old. The rumors are true." So just...feel free to troll anyone who fetishizes your region.

Edited by missmarianne
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Tybalt said:

One thing that might help to alleviate some of the stress/anxiety is to remember that admissions committees are practical groups.  They aren't looking for the six or seven "best" applications in a vacuum, as odd as that may sound.  They are looking for fits with current faculty members.  If a program has a Renaissance scholar who already has six advisees, then you would need to be an absolute rock star to get accepted at that program in that year.  If not, they already have six of you.  They want to find a student for their Modernist colleague who just graduated both of her advisees.  You can track that a LITTLE bit by looking at commencement programs at schools on your list.  Who were the advisors for their PhD graduates over the last couple of years?  Those are likely the higher percentage sub-fields at that school for this application cycle.  This is why it's important to mention POIs in the cover letter--they are looking to match people to faculty, and once admitted, even if the faculty member wasn't on the adcom, schools sometimes have those POIs contact with the offer of admission (potentially, at that point, to engender a connection with that school so that you select them over any other offers).

 

There are also internal politics that are pretty much impossible to figure out in advance.  Many schools have a "toxic" colleague or three that that try to hide on visit weekends and NEVER match with grad students.  If your SoP mentioned wanting to work with that prof, your app is often dead on arrival.

 

The TL/DR of it all is to remember that even if you are going through a rough application season, it almost certainly has nothing to do with YOU.  There are so many little things that adcoms care about that grad school applicants just don't have access to (ie: the practical side of the process mentioned above).

Good points and I sort of have a question about this. As you recommend, I looked at commencement programs and saw that two students were set to graduate this year in my sub-field. I gathered that the department had brought in two Contemporary Drama students simultaneously, but I also wondered when they decided it was a good time to bring in new people. Is it after the majority of students have graduated in a sub-field or do they start bringing in new students when it looks like the original students are graduating in the next year or two? As I asked myself these questions, I also looked at current students and realized there were no drama scholars but there many first-year people who might not have decided on a sub-field yet and I felt very confused.

So my question: does anyone know when profs start thinking about bringing in new students for a particular subfield? 

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, torok2021 said:

I assumed this cycle a wash but can't keep hopeful/anxious thoughts at bay as one of the few (?) still in suspense over UCLA and CUNY. Is it foolish to think acceptance possible? Preparing for rejection notifications…(i.e., uncorking the wine).

Cheers, friends.

Oh thank god! I’m not alone for UCLA. I’ve been cool as a cucumber recently, mainly due to the fact that I am fully prepared to be shut out, but the longer the wait goes on the more agonizing it all gets. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Arrrgghhhh said:

Oh thank god! I’m not alone for UCLA. I’ve been cool as a cucumber recently, mainly due to the fact that I am fully prepared to be shut out, but the longer the wait goes on the more agonizing it all gets. 

Same! This waiting period is as brutal as it is confusing. Do you think there is a chance that we're still being considered? Just checked portal...still nothing. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, missmarianne said:

Oooo! I feel this! Southern accents and speech patterns are hard because they're steeped in history and cultural signifiers. I was always confused, when my friends came down from Boston to my town outside of Atlanta in the late nineties, and skeptically asked how my family had the internet. I guess they heard the region they were traveling to and assumed we were backwards.

In my experience, though, most people from the Northeast (who are not ten-year olds from Boston) view the outsider cultural perspective quite favorably because diversity is very good for academia. 

I will add, however, that some academic/intellectual people outside of the South cannot help but view Southerners through an anthropological lens. In those cases, I have 100% leaned into their narratives and said, "Why yes. Boys in the South DO get dueling pistols when they turn ten years old. The rumors are true." So just...feel free to troll anyone who fetishizes your region.

This is so true...I'm from Texas and I went to college in South Carolina. Even in SC people were puzzled when I informed them that no, I do not live on a ranch and raise cattle. My focus in lit is actually Southern lit studies and I love all these little dialects and stereotypes, lol.

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, torok2021 said:

Same! This waiting period is as brutal as it is confusing. Do you think there is a chance that we're still being considered? Just checked portal...still nothing. 

That’s the only thing that makes sense, unless it’s some weird alphabetical thing because my last name begins with V. But it seems that whenever I have a renewed sense of hope, I get an email an hour later explaining to me why that hope was stupid. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, lilgreenblatt said:

This is so true...I'm from Texas and I went to college in South Carolina. Even in SC people were puzzled when I informed them that no, I do not live on a ranch and raise cattle. My focus in lit is actually Southern lit studies and I love all these little dialects and stereotypes, lol.

Okay, South Carolina needs to calm down with its stereotyping. 😂 

Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, missmarianne said:

Okay, South Carolina needs to calm down with its stereotyping. 😂 

The funny part about the "Texas girl = cattle rancher" is that the guy I'm dating (from SC)'s family are cattle farmers...my state has the wrong stereotype! Haha!

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, lilgreenblatt said:

The funny part about the "Texas girl = cattle rancher" is that the guy I'm dating (from SC)'s family are cattle farmers...my state has the wrong stereotype! Haha!

Bahahaha! At the risk of perpetuating a farm girl stereotype, my family 100% raises cattle in another part of Georgia even though my sibs and I grew up in the suburbs. Whenever I used to go horseback riding at my out-of-state summer camp, kids always assumed that I, as a nine-year old girl, could lasso bulls and jump barrels. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.