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I feel like I might finally have found the first university I'm 100% interested in applying to, even when just going on the nausea I felt when I (falsely) realized they required GRE scores. 😂 It's kind of weird which universities require GREs and which have wavered them - the only one that still required them was one at such an unknown (to me, at least) university that I'd expected them to be wavered (as their requirements are probably less severe than those of top unis), whereas all the top unis don't require them this year, haha.

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Since I said I would make this topic; here it is! I've just started my first spreadsheet, and would love to find others applying next fall!

Wow. This site is an actual trigger, but I'm BACK Y'ALL. Let's see how this goes. 

If anyone is having nerves about emailing potential LOR writers, just do it! If you haven't already, now's the time to start reaching out! I know it can be intimidating, but writing LOR is a big part

Posted (edited)

By the way, does anyone know if you have to submit your language certificate (TOEFL or IELTS, I mean) simultaneously with the rest of your application? For my master application, I only had to hand that one in after, and if I got admitted, but I'm assuming I need to hand it in beforehand here. (I can't figure out if I need to take it as I'm in a fully-in-English type of programme right now, and literally studied English before, and have heard I don't need to, but will need to contact them.)

Oh, and another (hopefully final, haha) question: does anyone else feel obnoxious even trying to apply to highly ranked programs? Every time I even click on the website of an Ivy I feel really weird about it, but I simultaneously feel that one of my main problems with previous attempts to apply at "good" universities was that I didn't feel comfortable even applying, and that came across in my application.

Edited by labradoodle
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4 hours ago, labradoodle said:

does anyone else feel obnoxious even trying to apply to highly ranked programs? Every time I even click on the website of an Ivy I feel really weird about it, but I simultaneously feel that one of my main problems with previous attempts to apply at "good" universities was that I didn't feel comfortable even applying, and that came across in my application.

I totally felt I was a bit delusional while applying to places like Syracuse and Cornell last cycle 😅 which turned out to be true. Even one of my LOR writers told me to be more realistic after I was flatly rejected all around. I didn't feel comfortable applying to them but they are all fully funded, so I thought I'd give it a wild stab! I'll be applying to more more *ahem* rural programs this time around 🤠.

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6 hours ago, labradoodle said:

By the way, does anyone know if you have to submit your language certificate (TOEFL or IELTS, I mean) simultaneously with the rest of your application? For my master application, I only had to hand that one in after, and if I got admitted, but I'm assuming I need to hand it in beforehand here. (I can't figure out if I need to take it as I'm in a fully-in-English type of programme right now, and literally studied English before, and have heard I don't need to, but will need to contact them.)

I believe you have to submit your English language proficiency test results by the time you submit your application. Even for my masters I sent in my result with my application too. I know that some of the British universities allow you to submit them after you're given a conditional offer (i.e. Oxbridge), but I think mostly it doesn't work like that in the U.S.

Some universities in the U.S. (e.g. Stanford) waive this requirement if you have studied in universities where English was the only medium of instruction, but most universities still require international students from non-Anglophone countries to submit their English proficiency test scores. If you want to save some money, take a good and careful look at the requirements from each school!

Edited by Alyson
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31 minutes ago, Alyson said:

I believe you have to submit your English language proficiency test results by the time you submit your application. Even for my masters I sent in my result with my application too. I know that some of the British universities allow you to submit them after you're given a conditional offer (i.e. Oxbridge), but I think mostly it doesn't work like that in the U.S.

Some universities in the U.S. (e.g. Stanford) waive this requirement if you have studied in universities where English was the only medium of instruction, but most universities still require international students from non-Anglophone countries to submit their English proficiency test scores. If you want to save some money, take a good and careful look at the requirements from each school!

Thank you! Especially the first half is really good to know, as I couldn't find that info anywhere. I feel like I should be able to get away with not needing proficiency tests for some places, but am still in doubt. Like... as we need quite a high level of English to pass high school, any English requirements are completely wavered here for students who finished high school, and I've even seen Goldsmiths say that if you graduated from this school system with an 8/10 at least, they'd waver it. (But I graduated with a 7, even though I studied both English and an MA fully in English since, lol. An email should probably solve that one at least, haha.)

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6 hours ago, labradoodle said:

Thank you! Especially the first half is really good to know, as I couldn't find that info anywhere. I feel like I should be able to get away with not needing proficiency tests for some places, but am still in doubt. Like... as we need quite a high level of English to pass high school, any English requirements are completely wavered here for students who finished high school, and I've even seen Goldsmiths say that if you graduated from this school system with an 8/10 at least, they'd waver it. (But I graduated with a 7, even though I studied both English and an MA fully in English since, lol. An email should probably solve that one at least, haha.)

Which programs are you looking at? 🤔 (I'm just trying to help 😊) I think most list their English requirement for international students on their program websites; some on the graduate school website. If you were talking about not being able to find the info on Oxbridge's requirement, here it is:

https://www.postgraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/international/competence-english
 

When to take the language test

...

For the majority of courses, if a language test is required, you do not have to provide the results of your language test at the point of application, and you can submit your application for admission without them. However, the Master of Law (LLM), and Master of Corporate Law (MCL) do require you to submit your language test results with your application for admission.

In all cases, if a language test is required, you will be asked to provide the test results if you are made an offer of admission, and you cannot be admitted without a valid accepted language test certificate.

 

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/applying-to-oxford/application-guide/qualifications-languages-funding#content-tab--3

Do I need to have test scores when I apply?

If you already have English language test scores at the required level, please include them in your application. However, you are not required to provide test scores when you submit your application.

If you apply without submitting test scores, or you submit test scores below the required level, the academic department will assess your application as normal. If you receive an offer of a place, the department may require you to submit language test scores by a specific deadline as a condition of your offer. 

 

So if you don't need to have your test scores by the time you submit your application, if you're applying to these schools. And again, if you're applying to the U.S., there's a very high chance you will need them. It's only August now and you've still got months to take your TOEFL or IELTS! Book a test now if you haven't already. FWIW, I think the English test scores aren't that important in the admission process. Your proposal/writing sample and statement of purpose should speak to your ability to succeed in the program, so don't stress too much over this! 

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Posted (edited)

Thank you so much! I'm thinking of applying to Duke and Columbia now as far as US goes (not because I'm some sort of genius lol, I'm just not moving to a country without health care for a programme that's not worth that to me :P). I applied to Cambridge for my master's, so knowing that their leniency isn't universal does help, as I initially assumed their way of handling things must be the standard one (my home university didn't require anything of me). But I think I'm starting to understand, so you've already helped me out tons! Thanks! (I'm not too stressed by the requirement itself, by the way - I just need to figure out whether I need to schedule the test.)

Edited by labradoodle
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I have a question - probably not the first time someone raised this question but I did a quick search and nothing came up. So...

Online applications often ask you to provide the other graduate schools to which you are applying. Why does the adcomm/the school need to know about this, and should we provide them with such information? (When I applied for my MA I didn't give them my program choices, but now I wonder if I should do it this time)

 

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6 hours ago, Alyson said:

I have a question - probably not the first time someone raised this question but I did a quick search and nothing came up. So...

Online applications often ask you to provide the other graduate schools to which you are applying. Why does the adcomm/the school need to know about this, and should we provide them with such information? (When I applied for my MA I didn't give them my program choices, but now I wonder if I should do it this time)

 

Schools are curious to see what their peers are and see if they can get a better understanding of why applicants are rejecting their offers to improve their acceptance rate. Are they losing applicants to schools that offer better funding based on the cost of living? Is the applicant only applying to top 10 programs? Is the applicant only applying to schools that have the most name recognition? Is the applicant applying to schools only within a certain demographic region? Are they losing people due to certain placement rates/lack of placement results?

It's likely that a lot of reasons might not be something schools can do something about but consistently losing people due to funding might help them build a case to build their base offer in the future.

However, most schools are just curious and it's unlikely to have any impact on your application.

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15 hours ago, Warelin said:

Schools are curious to see what their peers are and see if they can get a better understanding of why applicants are rejecting their offers to improve their acceptance rate. Are they losing applicants to schools that offer better funding based on the cost of living? Is the applicant only applying to top 10 programs? Is the applicant only applying to schools that have the most name recognition? Is the applicant applying to schools only within a certain demographic region? Are they losing people due to certain placement rates/lack of placement results?

It's likely that a lot of reasons might not be something schools can do something about but consistently losing people due to funding might help them build a case to build their base offer in the future.

However, most schools are just curious and it's unlikely to have any impact on your application.

Thank you for your reply! If I ever get to choose which program to attend, I'll surely let them know why I'm rejecting them, haha!

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One question: is it just me that it seems weird some of grad programs are not posting graduate students' email addresses on their websites? I thought it'd be a good idea to reach out to some of them and see what they think about their programs. Without an email address the programs directly cut them off from outside communications. Is this some sort of red flag?

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13 hours ago, Alyson said:

One question: is it just me that it seems weird some of grad programs are not posting graduate students' email addresses on their websites? I thought it'd be a good idea to reach out to some of them and see what they think about their programs. Without an email address the programs directly cut them off from outside communications. Is this some sort of red flag?

I agree that this is odd. On the one hand, I tend to think any tendency for a program to keep prospective students away from current grad students should be treated with suspicion. On the other hand, this could very easily be an oversight by the website design team or a university policy intended to protect student privacy. You might try emailing the Director of admissions and asking if they can put you in touch with some current graduate students with similar interests so you can ask them some questions.

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5 hours ago, Glasperlenspieler said:

I agree that this is odd. On the one hand, I tend to think any tendency for a program to keep prospective students away from current grad students should be treated with suspicion. On the other hand, this could very easily be an oversight by the website design team or a university policy intended to protect student privacy. You might try emailing the Director of admissions and asking if they can put you in touch with some current graduate students with similar interests so you can ask them some questions.

This is a great idea! Thank you!! 😃 

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I decided quite a while ago to which programmes in the US I wanted to apply, and only now I'm seeing that one of the programmes isn't taking applicants for next year. :'D Fortunately, they have another programme available that's quite similar, so I might try for that one instead (also depending on what they say with regard to language requirements, because my other programme does have my situation listed as a potential one in which you can get a waiver). Still, I hate this moment so much for an application time, as I'm only now developing my research ideas in my programme and will write my thesis next semester, so I might just try for a few this year and if it doesn't work out try again next year.

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1 hour ago, labradoodle said:

I decided quite a while ago to which programmes in the US I wanted to apply, and only now I'm seeing that one of the programmes isn't taking applicants for next year. :'D Fortunately, they have another programme available that's quite similar, so I might try for that one instead (also depending on what they say with regard to language requirements, because my other programme does have my situation listed as a potential one in which you can get a waiver). Still, I hate this moment so much for an application time, as I'm only now developing my research ideas in my programme and will write my thesis next semester, so I might just try for a few this year and if it doesn't work out try again next year.

My guess is that program is Duke? I was hugely disappointed when I found that out 😭😭😭

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If anyone is having nerves about emailing potential LOR writers, just do it! If you haven't already, now's the time to start reaching out! I know it can be intimidating, but writing LOR is a big part of your professors' jobs, and they've definitely been asked many times before. So don't feel weird about it!

Ok, that's it for my pep talk!

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Also, does anyone know with regard to US unis: do they or do they not want you to propose an exact small niche that you want to research (as in a proposal question)? I'm mainly putting all my stress right now into developing my interests further and turning them into a PhD proposal, but would the US really be okay with you just putting down your general interests? I had hoped to receive more information from my teachers, for instance, or from other students applying in my programme, but that's not really happening unfortunately.

Edited by labradoodle
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1 hour ago, labradoodle said:

Yes exactly! I think I'm going to apply for their English programme now instead of literatures. But I'm so sorry!

Good luck!! But I won't be applying for the English program because the faculty is just not the same...

1 hour ago, labradoodle said:

Also, does anyone know with regard to US unis: do they or do they not want you to propose an exact small niche that you want to research (as in a proposal question)? I'm mainly putting all my stress right now into developing my interests further and turning them into a PhD proposal, but would the US really be okay with you just putting down your general interests? I had hoped to receive more information from my teachers, for instance, or from other students applying in my programme, but that's not really happening unfortunately.

I want to know too! I feel like if I propose a very small niche that might make me look like I'm inflexible and unwilling to learn things outside the area. If I put down a broad area then it might mean that I don't know the topic enough. My professors are not sharing much information and advice with me too. I hope this is not because no one, professors and students included, actually knows the answer to this question??

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On 10/19/2021 at 8:47 PM, sadevilminion said:

If anyone is having nerves about emailing potential LOR writers, just do it! If you haven't already, now's the time to start reaching out! I know it can be intimidating, but writing LOR is a big part of your professors' jobs, and they've definitely been asked many times before. So don't feel weird about it!

Ok, that's it for my pep talk!

Haha this is really nice and I have been trying to write to my MA dissertation supervisor ever since your post but alas! He was my supervisor three years ago and the world has changed in so many ways since then and yes I had my MA in a different country (so no chances of showing up in his office to rattle his memory). He was pretty nice back then but what are the chances of a supervisor even vaguely remembering you if you have not been in touch and you were never a genius or your work was just as nondescript as a subway joint? Will sending the work help or sending the SOPs help? Or do you just write first? How do you approach a teacher after three years?

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1 hour ago, Hard times! said:

 Will sending the work help or sending the SOPs help? Or do you just write first? How do you approach a teacher after three years?

I think since you have not had contact for a good amount of time, I would start with a more general re-introductory email. Remind them of your general goals and research interests, your intent to apply for PhD programs, and that you are reaching out to ask them for a little. I would also include something like  - "If you feel like you are able to write a strong letter for me, I would happy to send over my application materials (SOP, CV, Writing Sample)." You may also wish to ask them to help review your materials and that you would be happy to set up a zoom meeting if it would be beneficial. 

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Thanks so much! I will try to do that as soon as possible! Just the prospect of my supervisor saying a 'no' is keeping me from writing but of all my recommenders he would perhaps be best able to comment on my research ideas.

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