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6 hours ago, TheWiggins said:

For the question of how to write an impactful statement of purpose - here is my attempt. 

4F1D4A60-EEDA-4D89-BB91-270F5ECABAF9.jpeg

As a polite suggestion: It is not very clear. What historical subfields? Which actors? What are these "lived experiences"? The heartbeat metaphor is not very clear either, even if I tried to read carefully for the second and third time.

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5 hours ago, scarletwitch said:

Does anyone know if interviews are essential to getting accepted to the Yale History PhD programme? I’ve seen people posting about getting interviews from them but have not heard anything myself. I have previously corresponded with 2 professors in the department and those exchanges were positive. Have seen cases where people have gotten in without interviews but don’t really know what to expect? Thanks in advance.

hey! I think they are for Yale history, but from what I've heard at Yale the admission decisions are coming out later this year than normal, so interview requests might still be rolling out now. Good luck!

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Replying to  TsarandProphet 

 

Hi - I am not surprised that the metaphor does not make full sense as you are only able to see the opening paragraph to a statement of purpose. Now, the heartbeat metaphor is intended as an impactful hook to quickly get the eyes of admission officers in graduate application review committees. As far as what the specifics of historical sub-fields, actors, or lived experiences - well again, that would make sense if you could read the entire thing. The metaphor comes from a literary giant Raymond Carver - this idea of looking into the past to listen for the heartbeats is a philosophical overture about how I think historical scholarship should and ought to be conducted. This project that begins with this paragraph ultimately discusses maritime experiences of early modern books and readers - it is about creating a interdisciplinary project that explores the fields of ocean history, history of the book, intellectual history, and transnational history. Again, you would have no idea about this because only the intro is there. The metaphor is there to provide grounding - basically, to look for the "heartbeats" of historical actors is the basis for conceiving of doctoral project that is truly interdisciplinary - I believe the last sentence mentions this rather clearly. 

I believe that in a statement of purpose for a doctoral program, you want to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Diving into your research is very abrupt and fatigues the eye - if you can start with hook that frames the discussion carried out in the SOP, but also differentiate yourself as a budging scholar with an academic vision, then you are doing the right thing in my opinion. Of course during the progression of your program, naturally, your project and focus will shift, however, I think it is important to be able to express in your SOP that you have an idea and philosophical background on where you want to root your project. 

 

Then again, not everyone likes one's writing as is the normality of academic exchange.

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3 hours ago, TheWiggins said:

 

 

3 hours ago, TheWiggins said:

Replying to  TsarandProphet 

 

Hi - I am not surprised that the metaphor does not make full sense as you are only able to see the opening paragraph to a statement of purpose. Now, the heartbeat metaphor is intended as an impactful hook to quickly get the eyes of admission officers in graduate application review committees. As far as what the specifics of historical sub-fields, actors, or lived experiences - well again, that would make sense if you could read the entire thing. The metaphor comes from a literary giant Raymond Carver - this idea of looking into the past to listen for the heartbeats is a philosophical overture about how I think historical scholarship should and ought to be conducted. This project that begins with this paragraph ultimately discusses maritime experiences of early modern books and readers - it is about creating a interdisciplinary project that explores the fields of ocean history, history of the book, intellectual history, and transnational history. Again, you would have no idea about this because only the intro is there. The metaphor is there to provide grounding - basically, to look for the "heartbeats" of historical actors is the basis for conceiving of doctoral project that is truly interdisciplinary - I believe the last sentence mentions this rather clearly. 

I believe that in a statement of purpose for a doctoral program, you want to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Diving into your research is very abrupt and fatigues the eye - if you can start with hook that frames the discussion carried out in the SOP, but also differentiate yourself as a budging scholar with an academic vision, then you are doing the right thing in my opinion. Of course during the progression of your program, naturally, your project and focus will shift, however, I think it is important to be able to express in your SOP that you have an idea and philosophical background on where you want to root your project. 

 

Then again, not everyone likes one's writing as is the normality of academic exchange.

I agree that you need a hook, I disagree that you need a whole paragraph to say "I'm into interdisciplinary work," especially since you are doing it through the eyes of another scholar, not your own. 

I second @TsarandProphetthat is not very clear. The heartbeats metaphor (noise of the present to understand lived experiences) made me think of anthropologists and how they do participant observation (or you could even argue oral history). This ambiguity does not work in your favor. You want to be as clear as possible. While I grant the benefit of the doubt that you will eventually explain what subfields you are referring to, you have little space in a SOP, so if you are not mentioning your field/subfield/etc right away, in my eyes it goes to the "no" pile. 

This might be just the wording you chose *here*, be aware of passages such as "I think historical scholarship should and ought to be conducted" which doesn't appear verbatim in the intro but there is that kind of tone. While I understand your argument to have a distinct philosophy to distinguish yourself from other applicants, the *tone* in which you say sounds like you are telling faculty what they are supposed to be doing. As you proofread, pay attention to that and if you are satisfied, then send it along. 

Good luck.

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9 minutes ago, AP said:

 

I agree that you need a hook, I disagree that you need a whole paragraph to say "I'm into interdisciplinary work," especially since you are doing it through the eyes of another scholar, not your own. 

I second @TsarandProphetthat is not very clear. The heartbeats metaphor (noise of the present to understand lived experiences) made me think of anthropologists and how they do participant observation (or you could even argue oral history). This ambiguity does not work in your favor. You want to be as clear as possible. While I grant the benefit of the doubt that you will eventually explain what subfields you are referring to, you have little space in a SOP, so if you are not mentioning your field/subfield/etc right away, in my eyes it goes to the "no" pile. 

This might be just the wording you chose *here*, be aware of passages such as "I think historical scholarship should and ought to be conducted" which doesn't appear verbatim in the intro but there is that kind of tone. While I understand your argument to have a distinct philosophy to distinguish yourself from other applicants, the *tone* in which you say sounds like you are telling faculty what they are supposed to be doing. As you proofread, pay attention to that and if you are satisfied, then send it along. 

Good luck.

Thanks for this comment. So a few things I just want to mention. First, I appreciate your best wishes and your time commenting. I think as most prospective doctoral students should, I reached out to at least several faculty members in the department and have had extensive conversations with them, so they are aware of the fields I want to dip my project in and why. This was established before the SOP was written. Second, again because you could not see the whole statement, the very first sentence of the next paragraph states what those sub-fields are and immediately dives into the project and what it is really about. It was designed so that the last sentence mentions that the project is wide reaching, and then the next paragraph talks about how and why. So, I respectfully don't agree with the appraisal that unless you mention sub-fields off the bat in the very first paragraph, the statement goes into the "no" pile. If this was the case, I would have never have gotten my Master's and many others would not have gotten their PhD's. 

 

Second, that's okay if we judge writings differently, but I don't think the tone tells anyone what to do. It is a part of what I see my project being and again, the project would not have been green lighted in interviews before the actual writing of the SOP if faculty members were not receptive to the philosophy of how I saw my project. Also, if an academic department does not have the same approach to history that you do, in the sense that they don't share the same approach of how historical scholarship should be approached, chances are that is not the department for you. No matter what you study (but, especially in the humanities), if a department does not value your academic philosophy and faculty members do not think along the same issues that you do in similar ways, those are not the right people to be working with. 

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49 minutes ago, TheWiggins said:

Thanks for this comment. So a few things I just want to mention. First, I appreciate your best wishes and your time commenting. I think as most prospective doctoral students should, I reached out to at least several faculty members in the department and have had extensive conversations with them, so they are aware of the fields I want to dip my project in and why. This was established before the SOP was written. Second, again because you could not see the whole statement, the very first sentence of the next paragraph states what those sub-fields are and immediately dives into the project and what it is really about. It was designed so that the last sentence mentions that the project is wide reaching, and then the next paragraph talks about how and why. So, I respectfully don't agree with the appraisal that unless you mention sub-fields off the bat in the very first paragraph, the statement goes into the "no" pile. If this was the case, I would have never have gotten my Master's and many others would not have gotten their PhD's. 

 

Second, that's okay if we judge writings differently, but I don't think the tone tells anyone what to do. It is a part of what I see my project being and again, the project would not have been green lighted in interviews before the actual writing of the SOP if faculty members were not receptive to the philosophy of how I saw my project. Also, if an academic department does not have the same approach to history that you do, in the sense that they don't share the same approach of how historical scholarship should be approached, chances are that is not the department for you. No matter what you study (but, especially in the humanities), if a department does not value your academic philosophy and faculty members do not think along the same issues that you do in similar ways, those are not the right people to be working with. 

I’m not in history (I’m in Spanish) but my undergrad was in history and Spanish and I have professional experience in teaching rhetoric at college level so  I thought I’d throw my two cents in. I agree with what the others have said, I honestly don’t think your opening paragraph is as strong as you may think it is. Think about your audience - it won’t just be the professors you’ve spoken with and the first paragraph is key in setting the tone of how they view the rest of the statement. It should have a hook, yes, but it doesn’t need to be a whole paragraph. You need to be concise and precise with language. The example statement from Berkeley which is often used as a holy grail statement does this most of the time, however, there are a couple of paragraphs in there which add very little to the general narrative even there. This first paragraph just feels like an attempt to mimick a more artistic style but it’s lacking any real substance. 
 

You also seem to struggle to take any constructive criticism from other members in the forum. Think about what a PhD entails - you will be critiqued on all of your writing and scholarly output continually and this will make you better. The feedback people have given you (including me) is to try and help. 
 

Just my $0.02, I am not trying to cause any issues. 

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45 minutes ago, TheWiggins said:

Thanks for this comment. So a few things I just want to mention. First, I appreciate your best wishes and your time commenting. I think as most prospective doctoral students should, I reached out to at least several faculty members in the department and have had extensive conversations with them, so they are aware of the fields I want to dip my project in and why. This was established before the SOP was written. Second, again because you could not see the whole statement, the very first sentence of the next paragraph states what those sub-fields are and immediately dives into the project and what it is really about. It was designed so that the last sentence mentions that the project is wide reaching, and then the next paragraph talks about how and why. So, I respectfully don't agree with the appraisal that unless you mention sub-fields off the bat in the very first paragraph, the statement goes into the "no" pile. If this was the case, I would have never have gotten my Master's and many others would not have gotten their PhD's. 

 

Second, that's okay if we judge writings differently, but I don't think the tone tells anyone what to do. It is a part of what I see my project being and again, the project would not have been green lighted in interviews before the actual writing of the SOP if faculty members were not receptive to the philosophy of how I saw my project. Also, if an academic department does not have the same approach to history that you do, in the sense that they don't share the same approach of how historical scholarship should be approached, chances are that is not the department for you. No matter what you study (but, especially in the humanities), if a department does not value your academic philosophy and faculty members do not think along the same issues that you do in similar ways, those are not the right people to be working with. 

I'm going to pull a @Sigabahere.

Are you actually trying to tell everyone that your approach is the "right" approach when you have yet yourself been admitted into a PhD program? You're making others who have submitted their applications already extremely nervous that maybe they totally messed up. 

You also suggest that it would be a total disadvantage if they did not contact their POIs "early enough." This is a classist statement as low-income students and students from largely teaching colleges may not be aware of the importance of establishing contacts and networking early on. My department is very cognizant of this when evaluating applications.

Your paragraph goes nowhere. It simply tells me how you feel and think about history.  Cool but it's not helping me quickly decide which pile you fall on when my time is limited -- geographically or temporarily.  If I had a pile for "history of emotions" or "intellectual history" then I'd throw your application right there.

Have you graded undergraduate essays and think, "Just get to the point"? I have explicitly told my undergraduates to get to the main point of their essay by the end of the first paragraph. Because they followed this instruction, I was not as fatigued as I was before. Undergraduates have a strong tendency, leftover from their HS English classes, that the opening paragraph has to be dramatic to get the reader's attention.  Not true. In history, you can get away with a few opening sentences about a very interesting idea or fact or story. I personally quite literally stopped reading after two sentences because I didn't get a clear sense of where you were going and you were not presenting your own ideas. If anything, the graduate school in history will break students of this habit learned in English classes.

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Anyone here had interview invitations from UC Berkeley? On the results page it seems like a few went out on the 5th, but I haven’t heard anything. (Had emailed with 4+ professors there though prior to applying). While we’re at it, anyone had an interview invitation from Chicago? I think these two and Yale are the only ones which seem to do interviews out of all the many places I’ve applied to. Thanks. 

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15 minutes ago, scarletwitch said:

Anyone here had interview invitations from UC Berkeley? On the results page it seems like a few went out on the 5th, but I haven’t heard anything. (Had emailed with 4+ professors there though prior to applying). While we’re at it, anyone had an interview invitation from Chicago? I think these two and Yale are the only ones which seem to do interviews out of all the many places I’ve applied to. Thanks. 

Yes. I had one last Friday, with two of my potential supervisors. It was short and sweet (about 30 min), and it felt more like a chat than a formal interview. I also applied to UChicago but have not heard anything yet, granted that I don't think my research interests and those of my POIs are a perfect match. Hang in there. The wait can be so frustrating. 🙂

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46 minutes ago, TMP said:

I'm going to pull a @Sigabahere.

Are you actually trying to tell everyone that your approach is the "right" approach when you have yet yourself been admitted into a PhD program? You're making others who have submitted their applications already extremely nervous that maybe they totally messed up. 

You also suggest that it would be a total disadvantage if they did not contact their POIs "early enough." This is a classist statement as low-income students and students from largely teaching colleges may not be aware of the importance of establishing contacts and networking early on. My department is very cognizant of this when evaluating applications.

Your paragraph goes nowhere. It simply tells me how you feel and think about history.  Cool but it's not helping me quickly decide which pile you fall on when my time is limited -- geographically or temporarily.  If I had a pile for "history of emotions" or "intellectual history" then I'd throw your application right there.

Have you graded undergraduate essays and think, "Just get to the point"? I have explicitly told my undergraduates to get to the main point of their essay by the end of the first paragraph. Because they followed this instruction, I was not as fatigued as I was before. Undergraduates have a strong tendency, leftover from their HS English classes, that the opening paragraph has to be dramatic to get the reader's attention.  Not true. In history, you can get away with a few opening sentences about a very interesting idea or fact or story. I personally quite literally stopped reading after two sentences because I didn't get a clear sense of where you were going and you were not presenting your own ideas. If anything, the graduate school in history will break students of this habit learned in English classes.

Hi - thanks for commenting, I appreciate your time. So, there’s a few responses to your comment that I would like to make below:

I am not telling anyone that my approach is the right approach (if that is how it game across, then I didn’t communicate myself clearly). I was trying to say that it is important that you locate people to work with who have a similar approach and vision to how one envisions their project. I happen to believe that the people I applied to work with have a similar approach, and this why I think my opening statement is going to be receptive to those particular people who read it and those particular departments.
 

Second, you mentioned that my comment about networking was classist.  If that was, then I was in the wrong, however it is naive to think that someone who is either admitted to a program or is trying to be admitted can change the culture of the Academy. Networking matters and in some cases does make or break someone’s application. For example, the University of Chicago’s PhD program matriculates a very small number of applicants (no shock). Now, one criteria that a school like UChicago uses, which by the way is a school that has an admission committee which is slightly different than say a UC where the agreement of a professor to work with you by in large can seal the deal. Not fully, but just about. Anyway, at Chicago the excitement of a potential advisor might have about working with you is important and can help. One think admissions committees at a place like UChicago think about is the actual chance of a student coming if we extend an offer letter. Because Chicago sends someone a letter and they end up declining and going somewhere else, that letter doesn’t get recycled to someone else - that spot is dead. A big tool that advisors and committees use is they try and make an assessment on the applicant’s likelihood of coming. Yes, it is classist however it is Academia - networking matters and in admission plays a crucial role. If you don’t network - bummer that is just a disadvantage that is emblematic of academia - a place that is often exclusionary. 
 

As to my paragraph - that is okay if you share a different opinion than me on it. I was not openly asking for critique. I sent it out so others could see what an example is. If they like it - sweet, if not- that’s okay. They are free to make their appraisal and do what they want with it. 

 

Also, becuase we are in a forum of good will, I don’t appreciate the micro-aggression which subtly compares my writing to a high school student beginning to write an undergraduate essay. I don’t think that is what this forum is for and I don’t think that has any place here. I think you can comment without being mean.

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10 minutes ago, TheWiggins said:

They are free to make their appraisal and do what they want with it. 

I've received excellent feedback in this particular sub-forum because I was open-minded and eager to hear from folks who've experienced the admissions process and are well into or have completed their PhD. Your comments are overly defensive, yet you say here that people should be "free to make their appraisal" of your writing. That's exactly what these people have done -- in an attempt to help you nonetheless!

Edited by exitiumax
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7 minutes ago, exitiumax said:

I've received excellent feedback in this particular sub-forum because I was open-minded and eager to hear from folks who've experienced the admissions process and are well into or have completed their PhD. Your comments are overly defensive, yet you say here that people should be "free to make their appraisal" of your writing. That's exactly what these people have done -- in an attempt to help you nonetheless!

Hi - thanks for the message. As I’ve mentioned to a few others, I purely posted a paragraph so others could see what the beginning of my statement looked like. It belonged to a thread where someone asked what goes in a statement. I just wanted to show what I did.
 

Thanks for being the third person to say that I have been overly offensive. That is your prerogative. I did not ask for help on that paragraph, thanks. 

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42 minutes ago, Mandyz said:

Yes. I had one last Friday, with two of my potential supervisors. It was short and sweet (about 30 min), and it felt more like a chat than a formal interview. I also applied to UChicago but have not heard anything yet, granted that I don't think my research interests and those of my POIs are a perfect match. Hang in there. The wait can be so frustrating. 🙂

@Mandyz Hi, I have a Berkeley interview tomorrow with my potential advisor and was just wondering what types of questions you were asked, and if and how you prepared for the interview. kinda surprised that i got asked for an interview

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1 minute ago, Thucydides34 said:

@Mandyz Hi, I have a Berkeley interview tomorrow with my potential advisor and was just wondering what types of questions you were asked, and if and how you prepared for the interview. kinda surprised that i got asked for an interview

Yes of course. Talk to you in DM ☺️

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1 hour ago, TheWiggins said:

Hi - thanks for the message. As I’ve mentioned to a few others, I purely posted a paragraph so others could see what the beginning of my statement looked like. It belonged to a thread where someone asked what goes in a statement. I just wanted to show what I did.
 

Thanks for being the third person to say that I have been overly offensive. That is your prerogative. I did not ask for help on that paragraph, thanks. 

Well, you offered it as an example. Since you thought others might want to emulate it, we clarify that they probably shouldn't: It is vague, it leads to nowhere, there is no way to know to quickly classify your application based on that paragraph, and the heartbeats metaphor really sounds like a pretentious way of saying "I care about listening to the voices of people from the past," which is frankly what historians do.

Other people, in search of different examples, might want to consider that committees are composed of faculty members from across the department who have very little time to process what they read. It is best to exemplify concise, precise, and crystal-clear writing in the document that should be most representative of you in a stage where no one is committed to reading your carefully and slowly.

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Thanks for going out of your way to tear down someone else’s work for the sake of tearing it down. I appreciate it. I sure feel sorry for anyone who has to work with someone who is so acidic. 
 

It’s a good thing my career won’t be defined by a random person on the internet who is judging a paragraph as if it were a whole statement. Bye! :)

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3 hours ago, Mandyz said:

Yes. I had one last Friday, with two of my potential supervisors. It was short and sweet (about 30 min), and it felt more like a chat than a formal interview. I also applied to UChicago but have not heard anything yet, granted that I don't think my research interests and those of my POIs are a perfect match. Hang in there. The wait can be so frustrating. 🙂

I was one of the Berkeley posters as well. It was a very informal meeting, my potential advisor didn't even ask questions per se it was more of a conversation. They prefaced by saying that it was simply a new requirement of the graduate school so I believe the interviews are going to be more or less informal and sent out on a rolling basis. 

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3 hours ago, Thucydides34 said:

@Mandyz Hi, I have a Berkeley interview tomorrow with my potential advisor and was just wondering what types of questions you were asked, and if and how you prepared for the interview. kinda surprised that i got asked for an interview

I'm another one of the Berkeley posters. The person I spoke with didn't really ask me any questions about my research. It was really just an opportunity to clarify questions about the department, and we spent a while talking about the state of the field and some research interests that didn't take center stage in my application. SO it was more of a conversation than an interview.

I think it's up to the POI how they chose to guide the conversation, but It might be worth thinking less about your own research and more about smart questions you can ask them about Berkeley. There's lots of good advice in past threads, if you search for it! 

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Does anyone know if interviews are essential to getting accepted into Boston College's Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology Ph.D.? I’ve seen people posting about getting interviews from this department, but I have not heard anything myself. I have previously corresponded with one professor in the department. I'm currently working on a second Master's at UPenn. I have a 4.0 GPA with three A+'s on my transcript (five courses total in the Fall semester and the other two grades were A's). Additionally, I have two publications, am working as a research assistant at Penn, and gave a virtual conference presentation in October. I received my first Master's degree from my undergrad institution that I began working on my senior year in undergrad. I received this degree with a 3.92 GPA one year after graduating with my BA.  Three very strong letters of rec. One from a top, highly regarded professor at my current institution; one from the Dean of my college in undergrad and another from an internship. 

With this record, I'm quite saddened that I have not even received an interview. However, I'm generally very unfamiliar with the Ph.D. admissions process. Does anyone know if it's possible to get into Boston's program without an interview? 

Thanks! 

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29 minutes ago, ConfusedMastersStudent said:

 

Does anyone know if interviews are essential to getting accepted into Boston College's Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology Ph.D.? I’ve seen people posting about getting interviews from this department, but I have not heard anything myself. I have previously corresponded with one professor in the department. I'm currently working on a second Master's at UPenn. I have a 4.0 GPA with three A+'s on my transcript (five courses total in the Fall semester and the other two grades were A's). Additionally, I have two publications, am working as a research assistant at Penn, and gave a virtual conference presentation in October. I received my first Master's degree from my undergrad institution that I began working on my senior year in undergrad. I received this degree with a 3.92 GPA one year after graduating with my BA.  Three very strong letters of rec. One from a top, highly regarded professor at my current institution; one from the Dean of my college in undergrad and another from an internship. 

With this record, I'm quite saddened that I have not even received an interview. However, I'm generally very unfamiliar with the Ph.D. admissions process. Does anyone know if it's possible to get into Boston's program without an interview? 

Thanks! 

Wrong forum.  Go to the Psych one

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7 hours ago, TheWiggins said:

Thanks for this comment. So a few things I just want to mention. First, I appreciate your best wishes and your time commenting. I think as most prospective doctoral students should, I reached out to at least several faculty members in the department and have had extensive conversations with them, so they are aware of the fields I want to dip my project in and why. This was established before the SOP was written. Second, again because you could not see the whole statement, the very first sentence of the next paragraph states what those sub-fields are and immediately dives into the project and what it is really about. It was designed so that the last sentence mentions that the project is wide reaching, and then the next paragraph talks about how and why. So, I respectfully don't agree with the appraisal that unless you mention sub-fields off the bat in the very first paragraph, the statement goes into the "no" pile. If this was the case, I would have never have gotten my Master's and many others would not have gotten their PhD's. 

 

Second, that's okay if we judge writings differently, but I don't think the tone tells anyone what to do. It is a part of what I see my project being and again, the project would not have been green lighted in interviews before the actual writing of the SOP if faculty members were not receptive to the philosophy of how I saw my project. Also, if an academic department does not have the same approach to history that you do, in the sense that they don't share the same approach of how historical scholarship should be approached, chances are that is not the department for you. No matter what you study (but, especially in the humanities), if a department does not value your academic philosophy and faculty members do not think along the same issues that you do in similar ways, those are not the right people to be working with. 

Lol I’m faculty. 
 

Several students also reached to me, but I’m not on the AdComm and they filter applications first. 

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9 hours ago, Historyman217 said:

I was one of the Berkeley posters as well. It was a very informal meeting, my potential advisor didn't even ask questions per se it was more of a conversation. They prefaced by saying that it was simply a new requirement of the graduate school so I believe the interviews are going to be more or less informal and sent out on a rolling basis. 

So I guess those of us who haven’t heard from Berkeley (or don’t hear in the next week) should consider ourselves counted out? I have previously been in contact with around 4-5 faculty members via email several months ago, so I think they have a good idea of my project but if interviews are now a formal part of the process I guess I’ve been counted out. Thanks and best of luck 😊

Edit: I realise that it is only mid-January, but it seems the bulk of interview offers have gone out. 

Edited by scarletwitch
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50 minutes ago, scarletwitch said:

So I guess those of us who haven’t heard from Berkeley (or don’t hear in the next week) should consider ourselves counted out? I have previously been in contact with around 4-5 faculty members via email several months ago, so I think they have a good idea of my project but if interviews are now a formal part of the process I guess I’ve been counted out. Thanks and best of luck 😊

Calm down, it's only January 15. 

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