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Just now, brownrose95 said:

Second cycle applications definitely aid in refining research questions and polishing everything. At the same time though, the waiting, the rejections and mustering up the energy again and again to apply take their toll.

I have 2 master's degrees, one of them being a distinction in MSc International History from LSE where I won the prize for best dissertation in all MSc courses and I still have been rejected from all US universities I applied to. It is really tough out there at the moment and the lack of feedback is infuriating (yet understandable). Herein I realise, I need to look after my  mental health first and foremost, which most likely means not going through a third application cycle and resigning to the fact a PhD just isn't for me. It's tough to accept, but at some point one needs to cut their losses and move forward rather than being stuck in a loop of reaching out to POIs, applying, waiting and getting rejected.

I definitely understand what you are saying and appreciate it. I will be reapplying this next cycle but that would be it for me I’m pretty sure, and although I really have appreciated the support on here this year I think I may try to stay off here next winter when decisions come out so I’m not overly distracted during my MPhil (and so I don’t get overly anxious!) Ultimately the decisions will come when they come and I’ll just keep abreast of my inbox. 

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1 hour ago, scarletwitch said:

Two rejections in one day... (and possibly more to come) have officially given up hope for this cycle! And now am even starting to feel pessimistic about my chances for the next cycle despite the fact I’ll be working on my masters... 😔

Did you get official rejection letters?

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9 minutes ago, brownrose95 said:

Second cycle applications definitely aid in refining research questions and polishing everything. At the same time though, the waiting, the rejections and mustering up the energy again and again to apply take their toll.

I have 2 master's degrees, one of them being a distinction in MSc International History from LSE where I won the prize for best dissertation in all MSc courses and I still have been rejected from all US universities I applied to. It is really tough out there at the moment and the lack of feedback is infuriating (yet understandable). Herein I realise, I need to look after my  mental health first and foremost, which most likely means not going through a third application cycle and resigning to the fact a PhD just isn't for me. It's tough to accept, but at some point one needs to cut their losses and move forward rather than being stuck in a loop of reaching out to POIs, applying, waiting and getting rejected.

Sounds like we have similar backgrounds ❤️ I'm sorry it has been so rough on you, we definitely all need to be self-aware when it comes to our mental health and the toll that the cycle takes. Hope you're doing alright, and I'm sending you good vibes.

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8 minutes ago, brownrose95 said:

Second cycle applications definitely aid in refining research questions and polishing everything. At the same time though, the waiting, the rejections and mustering up the energy again and again to apply take their toll.

I have 2 master's degrees, one of them being a distinction in MSc International History from LSE where I won the prize for best dissertation in all MSc courses and I still have been rejected from all US universities I applied to. It is really tough out there at the moment and the lack of feedback is infuriating (yet understandable). Herein I realise, I need to look after my  mental health first and foremost, which most likely means not going through a third application cycle and resigning to the fact a PhD just isn't for me. It's tough to accept, but at some point one needs to cut their losses and move forward rather than being stuck in a loop of reaching out to POIs, applying, waiting and getting rejected.

I appreciate this post. With multiple rejections in hand, I think we're in the same boat (and subfields). Having spent the past three years consciously preparing for this (MA, great GPA, stuff for the CV, building relationships with Profs, strong LORs, tailoring my application to schools, getting feedback on my SOP, etc.) the prospect of having to go through the application cycle and all of its time commitment, stress, and uncertainty yet again is frankly exhausting. Doubly so since, as you said, it's difficult to get a sense of why the rejections keep coming -- in this difficult environment, it all feels a bit random, quite frankly. I think at least a couple years out to re-evaluate is needed. Each year applying to schools feels like a year where, due to the uncertainty of where you'll be in a year's time, you're putting your life and career on hold. 

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8 minutes ago, brownrose95 said:

Herein I realise, I need to look after my  mental health first and foremost, which most likely means not going through a third application cycle and resigning to the fact a PhD just isn't for me.

Also have an MA and am on my second cycle, and feeling exactly the same way. I had lowered my expectations for this cycle, and yet, I feel more depressed than last time around (although some of that stems from feeling misled about cohort size, as I mentioned before). If I'm experiencing this much disillusionment and emotional anguish before I even enter a program, I have to accept that maybe I just don't have a future in this field 😕 

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Kind of glad, but mostly sad, that many of us are in the same boat. It is definitely exhausting and as someone mentioned, for so much preparation to go into these things (let alone the financial costs), the randomness of it all + no feedback is not a great motivator. 

Wishing everyone the best of luck and positive vibes for this year.

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I think something we all need to remember is something that was said much, much earlier in this thread:  part of this IS random chance.  It’s not about fit or qualifications in some cases, it’s about who’s able to take who in a given year and what the landscape looks like.  It’s not personal.

I definitely agree that lack of feedback is difficult, as is the spotty nature of information coming out - the mystery of who’s rejected and who’s not, how many applications came in vs how many slots are available and departments not letting us know at the outset that information so we could all make more informed decisions about where to apply and how.

But it’s okay.  We’ll all get through and on the other side, we’ll be able to look back and decide whether or not it was worth it and then decide, after that reflection, whether or not to pick up and do it again—or decide what the next step is.

But either way, eventually, we’ll be okay.

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29 minutes ago, scarletwitch said:

Yep, within an hour of each other 🙃

I'm waiting for my rejection letters (Yale, Uchicago) and I hope they can arrive sooner than later. I think you will be fine. Nowadays few people get into PhD program without a MA or equivalent degree and I believe a MPhil at Cambridge will prove advantageous in the future. 

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1 minute ago, Boarskin said:

I'm waiting for my rejection letters (Yale, Uchicago) and I hope they can arrive sooner than later. I think you will be fine. Nowadays few people get into PhD program without a MA or equivalent degree and I believe a MPhil at Cambridge will prove advantageous in the future. 

Yeah, it’s been said before but it’d be great if places sent rejections closer to when acceptances are sent out, ideally the same day or day after. 
Indeed, that seems to be the case despite the fact so many of their FAQs say you don’t need to have an MA to apply. From hopping over to the Political Science forum a couple times it seems like more people in that field can get in to a PhD straight from BA. 

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1 hour ago, aco2 said:

If it helps, I am three years out of my MA and this is my second cycle applying before getting in anywhere! I think that applying multiple cycles allows you to really refine your research ideas and thus your application. I did some things differently this year that I think really helped me to make a better impression! I fully understand how much it sucks to wait and apply again, but I think your Cambridge MPhil will make a difference, and you'll be able to apply everything you learned from this cycle! 

This is really encouraging to hear. I just finished my MA this fall at Chicago and have been of the mind that on the heels of finishing an MA is the most competitive I'm going to be for the PhD. As it looks increasingly more likely that I'm not going to get in anywhere this cycle (and this is my second attempt), I've been feeling discouraged (as if this is the outcome at my most competitive) and am somewhat at a loss for what I could do between now and next cycle - besides continuing to work on application pieces - that would make me markedly more competitive. I think I'm also specifically worried that if I take a non-history job (been considering paralegal work) it will look like...I'm not committed to this pathway? Would you mind sharing what you've done between finishing the MA and your successful PhD cycle (either on here or by PM)? Also any wisdom you could impart re what you felt you did differently on your application pieces to be more competitive this time around? 

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Hi friends. I've been lurking a while and resisting making an account, lest it becomes pointless after my full slate of rejections. But here I am. I thought I'd let everyone know that I discovered *some* information re: Harvard & Yale admissions by reaching out as politely as possible to the department coordinators:

Yale - "Admissions decisions will be sent by late February."

Harvard - "All results will be posted by the end of the day next Tuesday, 2/16."

So at least Harvard gave a hard deadline. I am very certainly rejected from both. At this point I'd like to 1) move on and 2) make contact with POIs who I had positive engagement with in the fall to thank them and perhaps fish for some feedback. 

I've applied to 10 PhD programs - 4 rejections, 4 more surely coming (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Chicago) and 2 pending that I'm not feeling so confident about either. I am a history/poli sci BA, no MA. 5 years out of school with great work experience and relevant to the field. I am, like many of you, the kind of student that my advisors thought was a very strong candidate for top tier programs. I think that's still true but it's also not enough, even in a good year. And COVID has really made this brutal. This is my first application cycle and I know that the pandemic has made it extra competitive. It remains to be seen whether I'll get after it again. I'd like to, but as I approach 30 I will need to be realistic about my time and resources in the long term. I can't afford to pay for an MA in history. So, not sure what my next steps will be. Wishing you all the best. At least we're in this rough cycle with good company!

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2 hours ago, aco2 said:

I am three years out of my MA and this is my second cycle applying before getting in anywhere!

Ah, one more question for you - did you apply twice after getting the MA? Or once before having an MA/being in an MA program and once after? 

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4 minutes ago, history202- said:

Hi friends. I've been lurking a while and resisting making an account, lest it becomes pointless after my full slate of rejections. But here I am. I thought I'd let everyone know that I discovered *some* information re: Harvard & Yale admissions by reaching out as politely as possible to the department coordinators:

Yale - "Admissions decisions will be sent by late February."

Harvard - "All results will be posted by the end of the day next Tuesday, 2/16."

So at least Harvard gave a hard deadline. I am very certainly rejected from both. At this point I'd like to 1) move on and 2) make contact with POIs who I had positive engagement with in the fall to thank them and perhaps fish for some feedback. 

I've applied to 10 PhD programs - 4 rejections, 4 more surely coming (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Chicago) and 2 pending that I'm not feeling so confident about either. I am a history/poli sci BA, no MA. 5 years out of school with great work experience and relevant to the field. I am, like many of you, the kind of student that my advisors thought was a very strong candidate for top tier programs. I think that's still true but it's also not enough, even in a good year. And COVID has really made this brutal. This is my first application cycle and I know that the pandemic has made it extra competitive. It remains to be seen whether I'll get after it again. I'd like to, but as I approach 30 I will need to be realistic about my time and resources in the long term. I can't afford to pay for an MA in history. So, not sure what my next steps will be. Wishing you all the best. At least we're in this rough cycle with good company!

Thank you. 

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9 minutes ago, HRL said:

Ah, one more question for you - did you apply twice after getting the MA? Or once before having an MA/being in an MA program and once after? 

Not pointed at me, but as someone with 2 MSc's I may be able to offer insight. 

I enrolled into my MSc at LSE (History) with the idea that a strong BA, an MSc (Political Science) from a top Dutch university, and greatt projected grades would be enough to bag at least one PhD spot. I ended up applying to 4 US colleges while undertaking my MSc. I was naive. When I did not get in, I was disappointed but not too surprised and focused on finishing my Msc degree in History (which I thought was the missing piece).

This application cycle, I was much more prepared: two Masters under my belt, reached out to all relevant POIs, a distinction (gpa 4.0), and a prize while having worked closely with one of my LSE professors in polishing my research project ,and getting great letters of recommendation (don't want to namedrop but a top Economic Historian wrote a fantastic letter for me).

Still no chance. I will chalk this one up to COVID messing a lot of funding up, and it thus becoming a very competitive year. Nonetheless, in my experience, though unsuccessful, applying when I was done with my MSc degree, having all my grades, connections, and having the time to properly think about proposed research, felt much better. 

Disclaimer: I was lucky enough to do parttime work which allowed me to pay my bills and basically work fulltime on my application for a couple of months.

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40 minutes ago, HRL said:

Ah, one more question for you - did you apply twice after getting the MA? Or once before having an MA/being in an MA program and once after? 

Both after, last cycle and this cycle.

20 minutes ago, brownrose95 said:

Not pointed at me, but as someone with 2 MSc's I may be able to offer insight. 

I enrolled into my MSc at LSE (History) with the idea that a strong BA, an MSc (Political Science) from a top Dutch university, and greatt projected grades would be enough to bag at least one PhD spot. I ended up applying to 4 US colleges while undertaking my MSc. I was naive. When I did not get in, I was disappointed but not too surprised and focused on finishing my Msc degree in History (which I thought was the missing piece).

This application cycle, I was much more prepared: two Masters under my belt, reached out to all relevant POIs, a distinction (gpa 4.0), and a prize while having worked closely with one of my LSE professors in polishing my research project ,and getting great letters of recommendation (don't want to namedrop but a top Economic Historian wrote a fantastic letter for me).

Still no chance. I will chalk this one up to COVID messing a lot of funding up, and it thus becoming a very competitive year. Nonetheless, in my experience, though unsuccessful, applying when I was done with my MSc degree, having all my grades, connections, and having the time to properly think about proposed research, felt much better. 

Disclaimer: I was lucky enough to do parttime work which allowed me to pay my bills and basically work fulltime on my application for a couple of months.

Have to agree that doing the applications after fully completing the degree, with grades in place and connections built and established, and more refined thoughts on my research interests, was very helpful. I think it would have been too overwhelming applying during my MA, don't know how you all do it! :) 

it has been an extremely competitive year, I hope you apply again next year when it will (hopefully) be a bit better.

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For those waiting on updates out of UIC: Got a warm response from the DGS, who says AdComm is still reviewing applications, and that we should expect to hear back "by the end of February." Her note suggested that the cohort size would not change this cycle, but PhD program is quite small to begin with (6 to 8 admits, plus more for the MA). Also said that the alternate was always very active (although conditions this cycle will probably have some impact there), so don't count yourself out if you get waitlisted.     

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3 hours ago, kchistory said:

I am an Americanist - 20th century gender, race, and immigration. What about you?

Thank you for sharing! Ottomanist - 17th century religious and social history. Congrats for getting in, i’m hoping the decentralised admission system at Davis means they aren’t not done with releasing results (though that seems quite unlikely at the moment), it is my top choice too. 

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56 minutes ago, generalstrike said:

For those waiting on updates out of UIC: Got a warm response from the DGS, who says AdComm is still reviewing applications, and that we should expect to hear back "by the end of February." Her note suggested that the cohort size would not change this cycle, but PhD program is quite small to begin with (6 to 8 admits, plus more for the MA). Also said that the alternate was always very active (although conditions this cycle will probably have some impact there), so don't count yourself out if you get waitlisted.     

This was the same feedback I got as well when I reached out a couple weeks ago.  No idea what the apps look like, though.  In past years, based on what I’ve been able to dig up (thanks Google), it’s been about 40-some apps with the 6-8 admits.

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3 minutes ago, scarletwitch said:

Anyone else finding some of the recent results on the survey page to be a bit fishy? Have to admit that long Ohio state comment was kind of funny...

Yeah that comment is pretty strange. And given what @history202- said he heard from Yale and Harvard, those timelines (especially Yale) doesn’t really seem like they’ve sent results out yet. Did anyone in the forum claim either a Yale or Harvard acceptance? (Sorry I’ve been away a few days and haven’t been keeping tabs)

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22 minutes ago, Ryan_The_Grogu_Fan said:

Yeah that comment is pretty strange. And given what @history202- said he heard from Yale and Harvard, those timelines (especially Yale) doesn’t really seem like they’ve sent results out yet. Did anyone in the forum claim either a Yale or Harvard acceptance? (Sorry I’ve been away a few days and haven’t been keeping tabs)

I thought I saw that someone had claimed Harvard on behalf of a friend and I could've sworn I saw a Yale one, but I could be misremembering?

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33 minutes ago, Ryan_The_Grogu_Fan said:

Yeah that comment is pretty strange. And given what @history202- said he heard from Yale and Harvard, those timelines (especially Yale) doesn’t really seem like they’ve sent results out yet. Did anyone in the forum claim either a Yale or Harvard acceptance? (Sorry I’ve been away a few days and haven’t been keeping tabs)

A friend of mine got an unofficial reject from Yale today, and their advisor said the list of final offers from Yale went out yesterday. And it's another friend of a friend who recently claimed the Harvard acceptance in modern European; from what I was told, I think they were notified a week or two ago. 

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I guess the thing I'm wrestling with right now is weighing whether I make the assumption based on radio silence and the results page whether or not the proverbial fat lady has sung for some schools.  Looking back at some of them, it seems very early for the officially official word to have come out (at least through portals and formal graduate offices), but there's also no real solid evidence beyond hearsay to the contrary--if that makes any sense.

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