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2021FALL pls evaluate my profile


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Dear all!

I hope you are staying well:)

I'll be applying for my PhD in the direction of contemporary art this fall. The fact that I got both BA and MA in mainland China puts me somewhere awkward when evaluating my profile. I got 3-4 potential PhD advisors in my mind, though haven't really reached out to any of them. I'd appreciate it if any of you could help me with evaluating my chance of acceptance. (please be straightforward! )

Undergraduate Institution Shanghai Jiaotong Uni( national ranking 3-7ish, worldwide around 100) 

Major film production (minor finance)

GPA 10%

Graduate Institution Beijing Film Academy

Major art theory

GPA 3.8/4.0(currently in my senior year, so will shift a little bit)

Additional UCLA summer session 2016, grades A+, A+, A

Recommendation letter: It's likely that I'll get 2 letters by professors in Cornell and 2 letters by profs in UCLA. They all know me well.

Experience  in-campus curatorial practice / presenter of several academic forum 

Publication two second author top film journal, one as interview/ two translation pieces forthcoming, one in Slovenia film history the other of Jacques Rancière's selected writing.(all in mandarin, though some of the presentations were delivered in English)

Schools Considered  (art history depart)

UCLA/berkeley/UCSD/Toronto/UChicago

 My major concern is that the institutions I graduated from are not "big name" at all. (As I was doing my research on programs, the "current students"column always appeared intimidating, like how many ivy degrees one has to have in order to get into UChicago....) 

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I should begin by saying that I know very little. In fact, no one on here *really* knows much when it comes to admissions; we're all just riffing off personal experience and inferred/presumed values.

BUT, what I do know is that none of the things that you mentioned above are going to get you into a PhD program. By the same token, none of these things are going to preclude your entrance. You have a really solid GPA and some great experience—but, of course, that isn't enough.

The things that you haven't mentioned are far more critical in getting you into a program: a strong vision of your research interests and a compelling sample paper.

In my experience, these two things will carry greater weight in determining your admission.

Don't worry about not going to an Ivy; worry about the things that you can change — and that actually matter. 

Bonne chance! 

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 6/9/2020 at 1:20 AM, CeliaChen said:

Dear all!

I hope you are staying well:)

I'll be applying for my PhD in the direction of contemporary art this fall. The fact that I got both BA and MA in mainland China puts me somewhere awkward when evaluating my profile. I got 3-4 potential PhD advisors in my mind, though haven't really reached out to any of them. I'd appreciate it if any of you could help me with evaluating my chance of acceptance. (please be straightforward! )

Undergraduate Institution Shanghai Jiaotong Uni( national ranking 3-7ish, worldwide around 100) 

Major film production (minor finance)

GPA 10%

Graduate Institution Beijing Film Academy

Major art theory

GPA 3.8/4.0(currently in my senior year, so will shift a little bit)

Additional UCLA summer session 2016, grades A+, A+, A

Recommendation letter: It's likely that I'll get 2 letters by professors in Cornell and 2 letters by profs in UCLA. They all know me well.

Experience  in-campus curatorial practice / presenter of several academic forum 

Publication two second author top film journal, one as interview/ two translation pieces forthcoming, one in Slovenia film history the other of Jacques Rancière's selected writing.(all in mandarin, though some of the presentations were delivered in English)

Schools Considered  (art history depart)

UCLA/berkeley/UCSD/Toronto/UChicago

 My major concern is that the institutions I graduated from are not "big name" at all. (As I was doing my research on programs, the "current students"column always appeared intimidating, like how many ivy degrees one has to have in order to get into UChicago....) 

I think your profile is very strong. I would focus on a strong statement and use your artistic background to your advantage to stand out of the crowd. Also sometimes giving a refresher to your recommenders on who you are, your goals, your achievements/character can help to make their letters more personalized. Also, I would not get discouraged if you do not get into your top choices this application cycle as who knows how many students will defer this year and take spaces away from new admits. I am also an art major going into art history - it iS possible! Best of luck to you!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Celia, great to hear about your experiences studying and where you are thinking of heading. Don't forego an application to an institution like Harvard, where I believe Eugene Wang is very interested in film and their contemporary professor(s) is/are also very well respected. The Beijing Film Academy is considered one of the best institutions in China for film, as I'm sure you're aware - this will definitely bolster your profile in the eyes of a committee. I think applying to Chicago is a smart choice as Wu Hung is there as well as Darby English.

I would absolutely shoot for the top schools, consider Stanford as well for both Marci Kwon and Jean Ma. And in terms of the GRE requirement which you don't mention here don't worry too much about it, the rest of your profile can bolster a less than ideal score. I think you are in a great position for wonderful acceptances.

If you position your application to be seen by the Chinese faculty members (both Chinese nationals and Chinese specialists) they will see Beijing Film Academy and be very impressed, just as they are when seeing Central Academy of Fine Arts.

Edited by Valorship98
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