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2020-2021 Application Thread


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58 minutes ago, nivy25 said:

I don't know if that's because the students' goals were not to pursue that path, or is there some reason why Rice graduates aren't being offered jobs at R1s? 

It's almost always not that students' goals were not to pursue that path, if they knew they reasonably could. The job market sucks. People from top 20 schools are thankful to get TT jobs at directional state schools. Some people really do realize that academic jobs are not for them. But most people who end up in industry (especially if we exclude the small sliver of industry that has starting pay in the six figures) would rather have an R1 job if they had the choice. 

Schools will very often say stuff like "oh they chose to be in industry, that's why they're not in academia" but it's very often not a true choice if you value getting paid, having a family, and living somewhere semi-desirable. 

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JUST GOT A FULLY FUNDED OFFER FROM CONCORDIA!!!!!

I just got a call from the program director for Government & Social Policy at Harvard letting me know I've been accepted! Really can't believe it, I had completely given up hope for this cycl

I JUST GOT AN OFFER FROM USC WITH FELLOWSHIP AAAAH (still have to put it in the survey) 

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Another plus for UT Austin @nivy25: if you decide to go industry route, the tech startup scene in Austin would mean you a) are less likely to have to move afterwards assuming you get a job in data analytics/science/tech public policy - all of which are common routes post poli sci grad school - and b) are likely to be in that small proportion earning 6 figures as @BunniesInSpace implied. [Another way to get into that group is to go a top school (generally like Princeton or quant methods wise like NYU) or otherwise get outstanding methods skills in some other program.]

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1 hour ago, Homeless said:

Two admissions is nothing to sneeze at! And while it's fine to change your research interests in grad school, don't do it just because you weren't the right fit for other schools. You might be able to pursue those interests at the programs you're admitted to--indeed, they may be excited for you to do so! There's so much that goes into an admit decision and so much of it is beyond your control that I would urge you not to give up something you're interested in. 

Thank you.  I appreciate the encouragement.  I realize I should be grateful for the two admissions and I am.  However, I have presented a lot over the past few years on my research and to be passed over by top programs makes it seem like it is less about fit and more about research viability.  I have been humbled and pleasantly surprised by everyone on this forum.  I already have a graduate degree and it is really time for me to read the writing on the wall.  There are so many great people on here and I wouldn't want to take someone's spot.  It has been great going through this process with each of you.

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1 hour ago, natpvh72 said:

First of all congrats and good luck!

About the 2 things you said, this is what I have learnt from my college advisors (and my POI at the school I'm accepted to), of course take my words with a grain of salt:

(1) Ranking is important for sure, but only to an extend. The reputation and network of your advisor are important in getting you an R1 job as well. And your own publications and dissertation during the program is important for that matter. Also, I have learnt from both my ugrad advisor & POI that the environment at a program is crucial (sometimes as important or more important than ranking). Departments with supportive and collaborative environment can provide you w good mentorship and help you produce better research. My POI said that for the past few years several IR faculty just left a highly-ranked and very well-known program (yes I'm trying to be vague, but the program is well-known - you'll definitely know it if you hear the name). Most recently among these faculty is her friend, all because the friend's been so miserable. -> so I'd say keep ranking in mind for sure, but consider the environment & the resources they have to make you thrive as well.

(2) Tbh I have no idea either. But it's not like Rice hasn't been able to place people in R1 schools. So if I were you I'd directly ask them about this, but frame the question like "I noticed an interesting trend abt placement. Are students' interests shifting toward non-academic jobs or is it the direction of the department? & what can the department do to help students get an R1 job?" - or something like that (but that's just me tho).

And another advice maybe to ask them about any general expectations for grad students in general or you in particular if you're accepted - basically "how can I contribute to the program." That way you can figure out what they look for in an applicant and then pitch yourself to show how you can contribute and thrive there (maybe it'll help lifting you from the waitlist) - I believe everyone like a person who not only seeks to get things out of the program but also wants to give sth back.

Sorry for the long answer. Hope that helps. Again I hope you can get in - ideally to both places.

I appreciate all your inputs! I am aware that rankings aren't the only thing that matter, and my goal will be to get a feel of both the programs' environments through talks with my POIs and maybe even current graduate students. 

I'm just afraid of not getting a TT job at a R1. I know how horrible the job market is, and I am not being naive. I just want to try my best to maximize my chances and not make decisions that would jeopardize them, which is why I asked for advice in the first place! 

Your input on the way I should frame my question is super helpful. I'll probably ask something on similar lines and see what they think about it. 

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41 minutes ago, BunniesInSpace said:

It's almost always not that students' goals were not to pursue that path, if they knew they reasonably could. The job market sucks. People from top 20 schools are thankful to get TT jobs at directional state schools. Some people really do realize that academic jobs are not for them. But most people who end up in industry (especially if we exclude the small sliver of industry that has starting pay in the six figures) would rather have an R1 job if they had the choice. 

Schools will very often say stuff like "oh they chose to be in industry, that's why they're not in academia" but it's very often not a true choice if you value getting paid, having a family, and living somewhere semi-desirable. 

I see what you mean. Very few people actually prefer industry jobs, unless the pay is exceptional. 

I'll try my best to seek answers from both the schools in question about their placements. 

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30 minutes ago, aaaaaaaaaa said:

Another plus for UT Austin @nivy25: if you decide to go industry route, the tech startup scene in Austin would mean you a) are less likely to have to move afterwards assuming you get a job in data analytics/science/tech public policy - all of which are common routes post poli sci grad school - and b) are likely to be in that small proportion earning 6 figures as @BunniesInSpace implied. [Another way to get into that group is to go a top school (generally like Princeton or quant methods wise like NYU) or otherwise get outstanding methods skills in some other program.]

Definitely! That would be great as a sort of backup perhaps, because at the moment I would still like to see myself pursue academic jobs! 

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4 minutes ago, The Converse said:

Thank you.  I appreciate the encouragement.  I realize I should be grateful for the two admissions and I am.  However, I have presented a lot over the past few years on my research and to be passed over by top programs makes it seem like it is less about fit and more about research viability.  I have been humbled and pleasantly surprised by everyone on this forum.  I already have a graduate degree and it is really time for me to read the writing on the wall.  There are so many great people on here and I wouldn't want to take someone's spot.  It has been great going through this process with each of you.

I don't know. I think you should talk with people more knowledgeable about your work (LOR writers, POIs at the schools that have accepted you) before making any decisions. Don't get me wrong, there's a million and one reasons not to go to a phd program right now, and if you can imagine yourself being happy doing something else, I would say do that. BUT, as one stranger on the internet to another, I would say that you're letting this get to you more than it should (and I understand the feeling, trust me). Happy to talk about this more in dms if you want. 

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7 minutes ago, nivy25 said:

I appreciate all your inputs! I am aware that rankings aren't the only thing that matter, and my goal will be to get a feel of both the programs' environments through talks with my POIs and maybe even current graduate students. 

I'm just afraid of not getting a TT job at a R1. I know how horrible the job market is, and I am not being naive. I just want to try my best to maximize my chances and not make decisions that would jeopardize them, which is why I asked for advice in the first place! 

Your input on the way I should frame my question is super helpful. I'll probably ask something on similar lines and see what they think about it. 

I get you! The job market just sucks.

Thankfully I'm an international student and I'm open to getting academic jobs outside the US, where there're a lot more opportunities. The US market feels crowded nowadays, esp. for R1s. Maybe you should consider goin abroad as well. From what I know a lot of globally-ranked schools would welcome people with US degrees.

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2 hours ago, The Converse said:

Claiming a Yale rejection as well.  I was admitted to two programs this cycle, but I have had enough rejections to conclude my research interests are not worth pursuing.  Best of luck to those starting programs in the fall!  

I would also like to point out that most of the top US programs are VERY orthodox and VERY narrow-minded in what constitutes "worth pursuing." To the point that there are many good (and scholarly articles) out there about how political science is writing itself out of relevancy. I didn't apply to any top 10 programs this time for that reason, because I am passionate about my research and much life and professional experience has convinced me of its relevance. I was specifically told by a political science professor this year to keep in mind that, "just because it is a compelling real-world political problem, doesn't make it an interesting political science question." While I can see how that might theoretically be the case, there is still a huge problem with the privileged ivory tower getting to decide which random and often irrelevant political science questions deserve attention this decade. I have no idea what your specific research focuses on, but if you are passionate it, don't give up. Don't let a very small portion of the profession that has made up the rules on what is worth pursuing or not tell you otherwise. The rules are constantly rewritten and the more scholars that are out there pursuing interesting, relevant, cutting edge work, the more that becomes the norm. I'd urge you to seek out other scholars who are interested in similar questions, and worry less about the rankings of the programs they are at (not that you didn't do that this time - I don't want to assume!). But I do know that a lot of amazing academics who wrote the book on something didn't come from top ten or top twenty programs, but wound up redefining how those programs taught. 

I'll get off of my soap box now! Sorry for the ramble, I know I don't know you, but you've been a good influence on this forum and I hate to see great potential scholars disheartened by a system that isn't designed to create innovation and advancement but rather to replicate itself over and over again. I hope the future sees an army of political science renegades constantly redefining the profession we are all so passionate about!

(To be clear, I'm not putting down anyone who goes to or got into a top 10 program - that is amazing, and if your research interests fit go get it! I'm just advocating that there are other very relevant areas of research outside of what some of those programs are willing to consider.)

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34 minutes ago, natpvh72 said:

I get you! The job market just sucks.

Thankfully I'm an international student and I'm open to getting academic jobs outside the US, where there're a lot more opportunities. The US market feels crowded nowadays, esp. for R1s. Maybe you should consider goin abroad as well. From what I know a lot of globally-ranked schools would welcome people with US degrees.

Haha it really does.

That being said, even the admissions process is equally competitive and I am GRATEFUL to even have been waitlisted by 2 great schools.

On a side note:

This is just another reminder/request to everyone who got accepted to UT Austin or Rice and is not planning to go there to decline as soon as they feel comfortable doing so. The anxiety is real, and the uncertainty makes it worse. Every day that I spend waiting for UT Austin/Rice to get back to me regarding my waitlist is filled with extreme uncertainty, and also a lot of hopes that something might work out after all. 

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Hello everyone. Claiming Duke and Yale rejection as well.

As this cycle draws to a close, would any of you here have an idea about what the long term effect (if any) was of the 2008-09 economic downturn on grad school admissions? A prof (my recommender) told me that he couldn't get in any program when he applied for the first time that year but managed to get into Princeton the next. Would this economic downturn lead to permanent reduction in cohort sizes or do people think it is a temporary blip?

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1 hour ago, SanC said:

Hello everyone. Claiming Duke and Yale rejection as well.

As this cycle draws to a close, would any of you here have an idea about what the long term effect (if any) was of the 2008-09 economic downturn on grad school admissions? A prof (my recommender) told me that he couldn't get in any program when he applied for the first time that year but managed to get into Princeton the next. Would this economic downturn lead to permanent reduction in cohort sizes or do people think it is a temporary blip?

Quick response: I think it's permanent, especially if universities/departments believe they can operate with less grad students and manage the same teaching loads. I think the reduction in cohort sizes was long overdue because of the abysmal job market, the pandemic was just the "perfect" time to make it official.

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5 minutes ago, icemanyeo said:

Quick response: I think it's permanent, especially if universities/departments believe they can operate with less grad students and manage the same teaching loads. I think the reduction in cohort sizes was long overdue because of the abysmal job market, the pandemic was just the "perfect" time to make it official.

Agree, and considering the gossip I keep hearing (it looks like they tend to turn into self-fulfilling prophecies) from various universities, everyone thinks we are not going to enjoy old numbers of available spots. The timing sucks, speaking of our poor, nasty, brutal, and relatively short cycle. 

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12 hours ago, icemanyeo said:

I would like to give a huge thanks to everyone on this forum for being such a supportive group this year. This cycle has effectively ended for me, pending my MA application responses. 

I will be taking a break from this forum and come back around April to post my final results as I'm in the last leg of my master's (thesis defense soon 😱) and would like to focus on finishing on a strong note.

If you would like to keep in touch beyond this forum, I'm pretty active on Twitter! DM me and I'll send my handle to you. 

Congratulations again to all those who have received offers in such a difficult cycle -- if you are planning to apply in another cycle, you'll probably see me on this forum again. 

Best wishes to all! ☺️❤️

All the best, @icemanyeo
Btw, did you hear from Concordia?

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Cornell rejection here, also just heard back that OSU put me on their funding wait list. Bummer. Was thinking I was safe with the OSU acceptance. Anybody know when we can expect to hear back from MIT?

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2 minutes ago, jjiffy said:

Cornell rejection here, also just heard back that OSU put me on their funding wait list. Bummer. Was thinking I was safe with the OSU acceptance. Anybody know when we can expect to hear back from MIT?

What's ur subfield?

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