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2020-2021 Application Thread


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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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Received a waitlist from Harvard Govt ~3hrs ago. Theory subfield.

Utterly surprised and a bit at sea right now, since I was rejected by every other school except for Northwestern, which is a great school and a fantastic fit for me. I have already begun communicating with students at NW, getting their advice on studying and living in Chicago etc.

I am more than happy doing my doctorate at NW, but now knowing that "in an ordinary year" I could be getting into Harvard, I am wondering if I should do my masters first and reapply in another cycle? 

So I guess I am asking if there is really a chance to get off the waitlist at Harvard and if ppl who are accepted into Harvard theory could lmk if they're accepting? Many thanks and any suggestions from all of y'all would be appreciated. 

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19 minutes ago, verschiedene said:

Received a waitlist from Harvard Govt ~3hrs ago. Theory subfield.

Utterly surprised and a bit at sea right now, since I was rejected by every other school except for Northwestern, which is a great school and a fantastic fit for me. I have already begun communicating with students at NW, getting their advice on studying and living in Chicago etc.

I am more than happy doing my doctorate at NW, but now knowing that "in an ordinary year" I could be getting into Harvard, I am wondering if I should do my masters first and reapply in another cycle? 

So I guess I am asking if there is really a chance to get off the waitlist at Harvard and if ppl who are accepted into Harvard theory could lmk if they're accepting? Many thanks and any suggestions from all of y'all would be appreciated. 

Go to Northwestern. You really don't want to miss out on that opportunity based upon the possible but by no means guaranteed chance you'd get into Harvard in a normal year. Certainly, there is no harm in hoping you'd get off the waitlist this year (who knows what would happen? And I presume your chances of getting off the waitlist is greater than the initial chance of even getting on the waitlist). But Northwestern is a very good program, especially for theory, that consistently places its students in great TT positions after graduation. Also would you be commuting to Evanston from Chicago? If I recall correctly, Evanston is an hour from Chicago proper, so the vibes would probably be quite different.

Edited by Muan1
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5 minutes ago, Muan1 said:

Go to Northwestern. 

Could you perhaps elaborate on your reasons? 

Just wanna add that I am not implying that one of the programs is definitely better than the other, there's so many different factors going into it depending on particular research interests. I am more concerned with the difference in career prospect - esp with how bad the academic market generally is and will be, I have to also think about if a doctorate from Harvard opens more doors in the future.

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37 minutes ago, verschiedene said:

Received a waitlist from Harvard Govt ~3hrs ago. Theory subfield.

Utterly surprised and a bit at sea right now, since I was rejected by every other school except for Northwestern, which is a great school and a fantastic fit for me. I have already begun communicating with students at NW, getting their advice on studying and living in Chicago etc.

I am more than happy doing my doctorate at NW, but now knowing that "in an ordinary year" I could be getting into Harvard, I am wondering if I should do my masters first and reapply in another cycle? 

So I guess I am asking if there is really a chance to get off the waitlist at Harvard and if ppl who are accepted into Harvard theory could lmk if they're accepting? Many thanks and any suggestions from all of y'all would be appreciated. 

The application process is messy and trust me there is zero guarantee that you would have gotten into Harvard had you applied next year. Whether or not you get in depends on if a faculty member happens to have sufficiently overlapping interests with you and if that faculty member has space/capacity to take on a new phd student. It also depends on who is reviewing applications that particular year. Since you did not get admission to several other competitive programs, I would for sure count myself lucky and wait it out for Harvard. If you get into Harvard then that's amazing, but if you don't you should definitely go to Northwestern. The idea that you would have gotten in in a normal year year because you were waitlisted during covid does not make much sense to me. If you don't get off the waitlist, go to Northwester.

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26 minutes ago, Muan1 said:

there is no harm in hoping you'd get off the waitlist this year (who knows what would happen? And I presume your chances of getting off the waitlist is greater than the initial chance of even getting on the waitlist)

That is certainly true. if 2020 taught us anything it's there's no guarantee how much worse it could get... but still, can't seem to shake the terrible feeling called hope lol. 

 

27 minutes ago, Muan1 said:

If I recall correctly, Evanston is an hour from Chicago proper, so the vibes would probably be quite different.

I haven't decided but my partner is at Uchicago, so I might not live in Evanston.

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9 minutes ago, verschiedene said:

That is certainly true. if 2020 taught us anything it's there's no guarantee how much worse it could get... but still, can't seem to shake the terrible feeling called hope lol. 

 

I haven't decided but my partner is at Uchicago, so I might not live in Evanston.

Right, you correctly identified a possible complication: next year's admissions prospects might even get worse. But it also might get better. But the fact that this is an uncertainty should convince you about why it might be incorrect in not entering a PhD program this year on the off (maybe off-off-off) chance you get into Harvard the next year. Moreover, plenty of folks who get waitlisted from a top program one year when reapplying the next year do not get in. Perhaps the faculty on adcom reading theory apps won't be the same next year, or perhaps there might be a candidate next year whom they prefer more. Who knows? Your safest best is to go with Northwestern in the here and now. Yes, of course the Harvard name brand carries some weight when it comes to hiring decisions, but Northwestern is not chopped liver, and what is more decisive is the quality of your research and the strength of your mentorship relationship (not to mention the reputation of the mentor itself). NW does not lack on any of these fronts: depending on what your interests are, plenty of great theorists to work with at Northwestern. Monoson and Dietz immediately pop up in my mind, and Monoson as I understand has a lot of diverse eclectic interests that span the history of political thought.

I'm sorry for the aporetic quality of my advice. But these are the questions that I genuinely would be thinking about if I were lucky enough to be in your position. Hope this helped -- best wishes. 

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Thanks to all the help above. I think they all make a lot of sense and I will be talking to more people incl my advisors etc. 

Just as clarification, that "in an ordinary year" I would get an acceptance instead of wl is what the chair stated in the email to me. I would not presume to be able to get an acceptance for sure. 

I don't actually mind doing a MA because I am still waiting on the MPhil at Oxford, where I did a year abroad and had wonderful relationships with several professors. If funding turns out to be not a huge problem, I absolutely love the faculty and program at Oxford and will not be sad that I have to do a MA first. 

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Hey all! For anyone still waiting on USC, I sent an email today asking about the status of my application and I got a generic email with the following information back:

  • Almost 200 applications received, 18 offers made
  • Successful candidates were notified by email on Sunday, February 21
  • Decisions were input into the system on Tuesday, February 23 and will take between 48-72 hours to show up

As a result, those of us who haven't heard back can likely anticipate a reject. But keep your heads up and best of luck for any other applications you have pending!

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2 minutes ago, verschiedene said:

Thanks to all the help above. I think they all make a lot of sense and I will be talking to more people incl my advisors etc. 

Just as clarification, that "in an ordinary year" I would get an acceptance instead of wl is what the chair stated in the email to me. I would not presume to be able to get an acceptance for sure. 

I don't actually mind doing a MA because I am still waiting on the MPhil at Oxford, where I did a year abroad and had wonderful relationships with several professors. If funding turns out to be not a huge problem, I absolutely love the faculty and program at Oxford and will not be sad that I have to do a MA first. 

Yes, depending on your research interests, Oxford might be a better place to study, and you could easily stay on via the DPhil. Although the funding is in general a ton iffier than in the states, however the importance of this really depends upon the person. 

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25 minutes ago, kongnamul said:

Hey all! For anyone still waiting on USC, I sent an email today asking about the status of my application and I got a generic email with the following information back:

  • Almost 200 applications received, 18 offers made
  • Successful candidates were notified by email on Sunday, February 21
  • Decisions were input into the system on Tuesday, February 23 and will take between 48-72 hours to show up

As a result, those of us who haven't heard back can likely anticipate a reject. But keep your heads up and best of luck for any other applications you have pending!

So no waiting list? I was rejected knowing by contacting POI ysd.

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6 minutes ago, China_IR said:

So no waiting list? I was rejected knowing by contacting POI ysd.

Darn, sorry to hear :( I also applied hoping to do Asian IR stuff so I'm pretty bummed out too.

As for the waitlist, they didn't mention anything about it in their email at least... unless anyone else has heard otherwise?

Edited by kongnamul
can't english
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4 hours ago, kongnamul said:

Hey all! For anyone still waiting on USC, I sent an email today asking about the status of my application and I got a generic email with the following information back:

  • Almost 200 applications received, 18 offers made
  • Successful candidates were notified by email on Sunday, February 21
  • Decisions were input into the system on Tuesday, February 23 and will take between 48-72 hours to show up

As a result, those of us who haven't heard back can likely anticipate a reject. But keep your heads up and best of luck for any other applications you have pending!

I second this. I got the same email as well.

Tbh I thought USC was going to take much fewer people.

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7 hours ago, verschiedene said:

Just as clarification, that "in an ordinary year" I would get an acceptance instead of wl is what the chair stated in the email to me. I would not presume to be able to get an acceptance for sure.

Ok different story. I understand that's a hard choice.

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1 hour ago, XXXXbe1 said:

I received a notification from Vanderbilt today that I was kicked out of a short waitlist and was rejected. The reason is due to the limited offers, they need to first statisfy the research interests of more senior professors. Sad but anyway, not so bad because I was considered.

Gosh I’m sorry that you had to go through that rollercoaster!

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7 hours ago, XXXXbe1 said:

I received a notification from Vanderbilt today that I was kicked out of a short waitlist and was rejected. The reason is due to the limited offers, they need to first statisfy the research interests of more senior professors. Sad but anyway, not so bad because I was considered.

I am so sorry this happened to you. Congrats on being considered in this crazy cycle. 

May I ask what is your subfield?

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21 hours ago, OttoTheOrange said:

Hey everyone- did anyone else apply to UConn? I haven't heard a thing- from them or on here- and they're the last school I'm realistically waiting on. Has anyone heard anything?

 

21 hours ago, insightfulramblings said:

I just broke down and emailed the department, because I was wondering the same thing! I will let you know what I hear back from them. 

I applied to this program as well. Haven't heard anything. I did get a fully funded offer from UConn Comms program. There were Professors in both departments that could support my interests, so I went for it.  Crossing my fingers for us all!

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