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Fall 2021 Religion PhD


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7 hours ago, alizeh55 said:

What a lovely note at the end of your comment. I feel the exact same way. It takes a lot of guts to apply and push through the anxious never-ending weeks up until decisions are announced in ANY year, and the fact that we persisted during this year specifically speaks volumes about our patience and persistence.

 

Wow ... four spots for all subfields. That’s insane. I’m so sorry about that, but very happy to see everyone looking on the brighter side. Just think of it like this—Yale just lost their chance to claim all of you future groundbreaking researchers as their own ;)

Yeah, I must admit it was brave for all of us to submit at this time. I think it is to our credit that we decided to try, and however it comes out for any of us, it was great being in the process with all of you.

Wow. Four. That’s one or two less than I predicted. I must agree with @alizeh55 that, while congratulations are in order to those who got in, it’s Yale’s loss, not ours.

6 hours ago, alizeh55 said:

I know this is a relative question, but what do you guys think is the most crucial / deal breaking element of an application? The SOP, LORs, etc.

I agree that faculty fit matters more than anything else, so it’s partly the conversations one has with faculty during the process, and the SOP in a sense being an argument for how one can fit. My experience applying for one school showed exactly how that came together: I was able to find a way to match my project with someone else’s interests through both discussions and my SOP that emerged as a result. As to the outcome? We’ll see. It’s out at month’s end.

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8 hours ago, crossroadsph said:

I agree that faculty fit matters more than anything else, so it’s partly the conversations one has with faculty during the process, and the SOP in a sense being an argument for how one can fit. My experience applying for one school showed exactly how that came together: I was able to find a way to match my project with someone else’s interests through both discussions and my SOP that emerged as a result. As to the outcome? We’ll see. It’s out at month’s end.

I also vote for “fit.”

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Same! Fit for sure. 

Gosh. I e-mailed at least 30 POI before submitting applications. Lots of them were nice and encouraged me to apply. I spoke to some on the phone or Zoom.

However, I was only able to click with one POI. I think the best way I can describe this moment is meeting an  "intellectual soulmate" (if that makes sense?).  We Zoomed and I can👏not👏 tell 👏you how comfortable I felt in their presence. I know it was a Zoom call but there was an ease to it that I didn't experience with any other POI. Like, yes we talked about the program and potential dissertation topics but we also talked about our lives as scholar-activists. We have lives outside of academia and sharing those identities allowed me to see the underlying humanity that wasn't as transparent among the other POI conversations. I even shared my longass academic journey (it took me 8 years to finish my BA and went from Forestry to Religious Studies😂) but it felt like I was sharing it with someone who understood that struggle.  

I told him I was iffy about applying to the program because it wasn't History or Religious Studies--which is what I'm familiar with--and he told me I'd be okay. He talked at length about how he'd be able to connect me with other Religious Studies folks that he knows of and folks who do similar work on, and off, campus. By the end of the conversation he told me he'd like to be my advisor. I was like whoa. Um... Is this normal protocol? I didn't ask him to be my advisor. He even offered to look over my statement of purpose before submitting. Of course, he kept emphasizing "should you apply to the program" the entire time. I could sense he was really trying to sell the program but not in a car-sales-person way. By the end I was feeling a great deal of certainty that this was the program for me. It's funny because this was my wildcard and it turned out to be the school that made the most sense for me. I think it also made sense for the department because they've taken more religious studies students in the last three years. And, within the last two years, they also just got new archival material on religion and Mexican-American lives. In short, they're turning towards religion as a category of analysis and I just happened to apply at the perfect time.    

TL;DR. The point here is I felt like I could see myself working with this professor during the doctoral program but also afterwards--when I write my fourth book (I haven't written my first yet. I'm thinking long-term now 😂). I think the way he kept saying "should you choose to apply to the program" reminded me that I also had agency in this process, that I was choosing the best for me the way they were choosing the best fit for their program. A good colleague presented it to me this way: you're basically choosing your legacy when you choose your advisor because they're the ones who will (hopefully) guide you through the process so choose them wisely. 

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16 hours ago, CafeConGabi said:

Same! Fit for sure. 

Gosh. I e-mailed at least 30 POI before submitting applications. Lots of them were nice and encouraged me to apply. I spoke to some on the phone or Zoom.

However, I was only able to click with one POI. I think the best way I can describe this moment is meeting an  "intellectual soulmate" (if that makes sense?).  We Zoomed and I can👏not👏 tell 👏you how comfortable I felt in their presence. I know it was a Zoom call but there was an ease to it that I didn't experience with any other POI. Like, yes we talked about the program and potential dissertation topics but we also talked about our lives as scholar-activists. We have lives outside of academia and sharing those identities allowed me to see the underlying humanity that wasn't as transparent among the other POI conversations. I even shared my longass academic journey (it took me 8 years to finish my BA and went from Forestry to Religious Studies😂) but it felt like I was sharing it with someone who understood that struggle.  

I told him I was iffy about applying to the program because it wasn't History or Religious Studies--which is what I'm familiar with--and he told me I'd be okay. He talked at length about how he'd be able to connect me with other Religious Studies folks that he knows of and folks who do similar work on, and off, campus. By the end of the conversation he told me he'd like to be my advisor. I was like whoa. Um... Is this normal protocol? I didn't ask him to be my advisor. He even offered to look over my statement of purpose before submitting. Of course, he kept emphasizing "should you apply to the program" the entire time. I could sense he was really trying to sell the program but not in a car-sales-person way. By the end I was feeling a great deal of certainty that this was the program for me. It's funny because this was my wildcard and it turned out to be the school that made the most sense for me. I think it also made sense for the department because they've taken more religious studies students in the last three years. And, within the last two years, they also just got new archival material on religion and Mexican-American lives. In short, they're turning towards religion as a category of analysis and I just happened to apply at the perfect time.    

TL;DR. The point here is I felt like I could see myself working with this professor during the doctoral program but also afterwards--when I write my fourth book (I haven't written my first yet. I'm thinking long-term now 😂). I think the way he kept saying "should you choose to apply to the program" reminded me that I also had agency in this process, that I was choosing the best for me the way they were choosing the best fit for their program. A good colleague presented it to me this way: you're basically choosing your legacy when you choose your advisor because they're the ones who will (hopefully) guide you through the process so choose them wisely. 

That’s an incredible story. Genuinely so nice to hear! I can imagine how you must have felt :)

 

though it does scare me a bit, because I didn’t exactly have the same interaction with my POI. I did have a great email exchange with one POI (who is affiliated with the department but not on the actual committee), which I was told to mention in my SOP, but the actual committee member who was a potential POI as well never replied my email. When I spoke to the program director they said it wouldn’t be held against me because they understand that professors are busy... but now I’m really starting to doubt that. I don’t know whether the POI who I spoke to will be able to really fight for my case if she isn’t even on the committee to decide admissions. Though I’d hope that by mentioning I spoke to her, they would at least discuss it... but no idea. 
well, it’s too late now anyway. POI #2 (who didn’t respond to me) has taught coursework in my research interests, and my perspective as an “insider” who grew up in the communal histories he teaches would be a great fit. Let’s see what happens! 


Also, I should note that POI #1 (who replied me but isn’t on the committee) is someone whose work I’ve closely followed for years and she knows that. I also got an LOR from a professor who is just as prominent in her field. 

 

Edited by alizeh55
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3 hours ago, cosmo92 said:

What are some of your plans if this year's application cycle doesn't work out for the best? At this point, since I've already finished my MTS, I'm one waitlist away from running away to Maine and living on a blueberry farm lmaoo

I'll probably spend some time being annoyed/sad, and then eventually start the endless cycle of applying to jobs 

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6 hours ago, cosmo92 said:

What are some of your plans if this year's application cycle doesn't work out for the best? At this point, since I've already finished my MTS, I'm one waitlist away from running away to Maine and living on a blueberry farm lmaoo


I worked in a church for ten years before starting this degree, and I would be plenty happy to go back to church work if academia doesn’t work out. 

My wife and I made a deal when I started my second masters degree that if I got into a PhD, we’d go there, but if not, we’d move somewhere and stay for several years. She doesn’t want to move again this summer and then move yet again next summer. Which is totally fair. Especially since we have two kids also. So this is kinda my shot. Turned out to be the worst possible year to be taking my shot but, such is life. I’ve been really happy with this particular degree, so even if this is as far as it goes, I’m really glad I did it. 
 

 

Edited by TylerJarvis
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UVA philosophy and history phd results are coming in. Religious  studies cant be far behind. This is my last shot for the cycle. Never forget our intellectual  vocation depends on us, not institutional credentials. Love and solidarity guys 

Edited by beorn1968
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11 hours ago, alizeh55 said:

That’s an incredible story. Genuinely so nice to hear! I can imagine how you must have felt :)

 

though it does scare me a bit, because I didn’t exactly have the same interaction with my POI. I did have a great email exchange with one POI (who is affiliated with the department but not on the actual committee), which I was told to mention in my SOP, but the actual committee member who was a potential POI as well never replied my email. When I spoke to the program director they said it wouldn’t be held against me because they understand that professors are busy... but now I’m really starting to doubt that. I don’t know whether the POI who I spoke to will be able to really fight for my case if she isn’t even on the committee to decide admissions. Though I’d hope that by mentioning I spoke to her, they would at least discuss it... but no idea. 
well, it’s too late now anyway. POI #2 (who didn’t respond to me) has taught coursework in my research interests, and my perspective as an “insider” who grew up in the communal histories he teaches would be a great fit. Let’s see what happens! 


Also, I should note that POI #1 (who replied me but isn’t on the committee) is someone whose work I’ve closely followed for years and she knows that. I also got an LOR from a professor who is just as prominent in her field. 

 

It was a weird feeling tbh because I realized that no one else responded to me the same so it scared me. Maybe if I didn't apply to the schools that rejected me I'd be $400 richer 😂. Oh well.

What I did notice in your response and my POI's response is the word "fight". He called a couple weeks ago to congratulate me and said "I fought for you because I see your potential". I was like daaang. These professors be fighting for us. But even in that conversation nothing was ever certain. The rest of the faculty coulda easily made the case against me. So, even with his eagerness I coulda easily been rejected so I keep that perspective.

I try to remember that nothing is final until the admissions committee sends me the official letter. So, all I can do is hope for the best. I still have 3 more schools to hear back from. Torture!    

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7 hours ago, cosmo92 said:

What are some of your plans if this year's application cycle doesn't work out for the best? At this point, since I've already finished my MTS, I'm one waitlist away from running away to Maine and living on a blueberry farm lmaoo

A blueberry farm??? 😍 That sounds like so much fun!

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50 minutes ago, beorn1968 said:

UVA philosophy and history phd results are coming in. Religious  studies cant be far behind. This is my last shot for the cycle. Never forget our intellectual  vocation depends on us, not institutional credentials. Love and solidarity guys 

I sure hope for some good news! ^_^ Sending you positive vibes! 

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I heard from a current UVA grad student that they are accepting 4 phd candidates this year (department email went out with this info a couple months ago I believe), so...yeah that sucks. Maybe it'll be more than that for some reason, but I think Covid cuts are just brutal this year.

The waiting game is the worst. 

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One thing I am still thinking about is this year's relation between interviews offered and number of acceptances agreed upon. Do you guys think that there were less interview invitations given out in general or that the interview invites stayed relatively the same while the acceptances decreased. I hope the former is the case because I want to feel as if my interview invitations were signs of at least a little good news lmao

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2 minutes ago, thewaiting said:

I heard from a current UVA grad student that they are accepting 4 phd candidates this year (department email went out with this info a couple months ago I believe), so...yeah that sucks. Maybe it'll be more than that for some reason, but I think Covid cuts are just brutal this year.

The waiting game is the worst. 

My close family friend is an assistant professor in philosophy and, toward the beginning of 2020, told me that graduate application processes are sadistic in so many ways and now I finally understand what she meant haha

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10 minutes ago, cosmo92 said:

One thing I am still thinking about is this year's relation between interviews offered and number of acceptances agreed upon. Do you guys think that there were less interview invitations given out in general or that the interview invites stayed relatively the same while the acceptances decreased. I hope the former is the case because I want to feel as if my interview invitations were signs of at least a little good news lmao

So this might not be comforting, but I feel like getting an interview is a BIG deal and even if you don't get accepted it means you were qualified enough for the program (ie smart enough, talented enough, recommended enough, interesting research...). I think with such crazy low numbers this year, it feels a bit like a lottery. I guess what I'm saying is that it's not a reflection on you if you don't get in.

I do wonder the same thing though – likelihood of getting in after getting an interview. Like, is it just a "you're not crazy and we'll take you" thing for some unis and a "be articulate, charming, "good fit" and impressive" for others? 

 

10 minutes ago, cosmo92 said:

My close family friend is an assistant professor in philosophy and, toward the beginning of 2020, told me that graduate application processes are sadistic in so many ways and now I finally understand what she meant haha

Ahhhh yeah hahahah

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6 minutes ago, thewaiting said:

So this might not be comforting, but I feel like getting an interview is a BIG deal and even if you don't get accepted it means you were qualified enough for the program (ie smart enough, talented enough, recommended enough, interesting research...). I think with such crazy low numbers this year, it feels a bit like a lottery. I guess what I'm saying is that it's not a reflection on you if you don't get in.

I do wonder the same thing though – likelihood of getting in after getting an interview. Like, is it just a "you're not crazy and we'll take you" thing for some unis and a "be articulate, charming, "good fit" and impressive" for others? 

 

Ahhhh yeah hahahah

I was waitlisted at Marquette after an interview so I feel like the "good fit" thing definitely takes precedence, especially this year maybe. Worst case scenario I get to tell my future grandchildren that I had a phd interview with a top theologian while sitting in a storage closet on Zoom haha

Edited by cosmo92
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I really tip my hat to everyone on this forum. :') This is possibly the worst application cycle to apply, and the academy can be so cutthroat and merciless, but you all seem like such lovely humans. Sorry for the sappiness, but the ivory tower could use more people like you all.

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Just now, _Athena_ said:

I really tip my hat to everyone on this forum. :') This is possibly the worst application cycle to apply, and the academy can be so cutthroat and merciless, but you all seem like such lovely humans. Sorry for the sappiness, but the ivory tower could use more people like you all.

very much vice verso. solidarity!

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14 hours ago, _Athena_ said:

I really tip my hat to everyone on this forum. :') This is possibly the worst application cycle to apply, and the academy can be so cutthroat and merciless, but you all seem like such lovely humans. Sorry for the sappiness, but the ivory tower could use more people like you all.

I agree. This thread is wholesome. It’s not just “anyone hear from” back and forth hahah, it’s actual conversations — human conversations — and that makes me so happy. I know that if this thread wasn’t here, I’d be endlessly reading quora posts about phds that have nothing to do with religion but still somehow letting it define me, so it’s great to have you all. 

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2 minutes ago, alizeh55 said:

Not sure since last year’s results say 25 February! But god I hope so. At this point I’m ready to just move on in life (once I’ve been sad for a period of time)

Ha, looks like last year rejections came out later than acceptances. Some acceptances were posted the 20th!

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