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Hey everyone! Just an update--I just received an acceptance email from Michigan State for the doctoral program in Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures! I don't think anyone else on here applied th

Anyone else already starting to get antsy waiting to hear back? 😅

Got an interview at UT Austin. First program I’ve heard from! Sending good luck to everyone!!

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17 hours ago, labradoodle said:

I'm quite salty about something tbh: I couldn't start my applications till last month (when I was too busy with classes starting again,which is on me, sure), but only now I can really find clear info about the language tests and potential waivers (which is probably also on me, sure, but this is a rant more than a real complaint lol), and the applications are open for only 2 months or so, but TOEFL states you need to do the test 2/3 months before your earliest admission deadline, which is basically impossible. But now I'm finding info that I'm probably not eligible for waivers in the U.S. unis I wanted to apply to (most other places, even in the UK, where I'm considering applying waive the tests for me), even though I've literally been studying almost exclusively in English for the last 4 years.. So annoying, honestly. :( I know I should've just done it earlier, but I wanted to first start the application and figure out all the info to make sure I really wanted to and not waste any money (which turned out to make sense because one of my programmes just didn't open for new applicants this year). I'll contact them anyway with "I literally studied English, in English, what more do you want" emails, but I'm not too optimistic lol. Still, especially because it's clear so late whether they're actually taking on new applicants, I do feel like this is a bit of a shitty policy towards internationals, but whatever haha.

Where does it state that applicants need to take TOEFL 2/3 months before deadline?! TOEFL is also not the only English proficiency test that US schools accept. What about taking IELTS instead?

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8 minutes ago, Alyson said:

Where does it state that applicants need to take TOEFL 2/3 months before deadline?! TOEFL is also not the only English proficiency test that US schools accept. What about taking IELTS instead?

Can you still apply without a proficiency test? In many cases the proficiency test is not a departmental requirement at all and schools are ready to consider your application without the test. Of course this is provisional and even if you are made an offer it will be conditional but I am sure you'll have plenty of time then. Or have I made this up in my head because it's convenient? I am an international applicant too but in my case, some schools list my country as an English-speaking one while others don't.

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1 hour ago, Alyson said:

Where does it state that applicants need to take TOEFL 2/3 months before deadline?! TOEFL is also not the only English proficiency test that US schools accept. What about taking IELTS instead?

It says so on the site of TOEFL itself, and it's just too expensive to gamble with. I just assumed IELTS would be similar, but you're right!! I'm gonna decide today if I'm taking the IELTS next week, lol. Thank you! (I swear I'm not as disorganized as I seem here, haha.)

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6 hours ago, Hard times! said:

Can you still apply without a proficiency test? In many cases the proficiency test is not a departmental requirement at all and schools are ready to consider your application without the test. Of course this is provisional and even if you are made an offer it will be conditional but I am sure you'll have plenty of time then. Or have I made this up in my head because it's convenient? I am an international applicant too but in my case, some schools list my country as an English-speaking one while others don't.

I think the language proficiency requirement doesn't work like that in the US...but then again some schools (e.g. Stanford) waive the test if the applicant has a degree in an Anglophone country or a degree in which English was the sole medium of instruction. But of course, many are still requiring proficiency test scores and GRE scores (e.g. Yale). 

5 hours ago, labradoodle said:

It says so on the site of TOEFL itself, and it's just too expensive to gamble with. I just assumed IELTS would be similar, but you're right!! I'm gonna decide today if I'm taking the IELTS next week, lol. Thank you! (I swear I'm not as disorganized as I seem here, haha.)

No...I don't think IELTS has the same requirement (and I was also not aware of the 2/3 months requirement by TOEFL....) Good luck!!

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Does anyone have insights into which English departments draw on philosophy a lot? I mean of course much of literary theory is based off of philosophical ideas but there are certain issues in philosophy which English departments do not typically deal with anymore because they tend to border too much on 'formalism'. Issues like how metaphors are conceived, current theories of imagination, phenomenology (a lot of affect theory does draw on this but not enough), time and cognition and so on-- does anyone know which English departments (not Stanford or Berkeley and the like but more 'modest ones) would perhaps be interested? 

 

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7 hours ago, Hard times! said:

Can you still apply without a proficiency test? In many cases the proficiency test is not a departmental requirement at all and schools are ready to consider your application without the test. Of course this is provisional and even if you are made an offer it will be conditional but I am sure you'll have plenty of time then. Or have I made this up in my head because it's convenient? I am an international applicant too but in my case, some schools list my country as an English-speaking one while others don't.

To add on to Alyson, I've only come across the proficiency-test-after-the-deadline situation at Oxford and Cambridge, I think, but other UK unis are a lot less strict with proficiency, meaning that you can meet the requirements in many more different ways. For instance, you might meet the requirement if your programme was in English, or even if you got a certain high school diploma with a certain grade. Hope that helps!

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I'm applying for fall 2022. I'm incredibly nervous because I graduated undergrad 7 years ago! I'm applying to top-ranked programs (for a really wide range of reasons) and my undergrad degree in English was from a mid-sized state school and my MBA is from a small state school. I've applied to conferences this year as an independent scholar but have not heard back. It's been a challenge applying so far out from getting my degrees!

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19 minutes ago, literaryhistorynerd said:

I'm applying for fall 2022. I'm incredibly nervous because I graduated undergrad 7 years ago! I'm applying to top-ranked programs (for a really wide range of reasons) and my undergrad degree in English was from a mid-sized state school and my MBA is from a small state school. I've applied to conferences this year as an independent scholar but have not heard back. It's been a challenge applying so far out from getting my degrees!

Good luck with all of your application preparation!! 

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On 10/23/2021 at 4:46 PM, Hard times! said:

Does anyone have insights into which English departments draw on philosophy a lot? I mean of course much of literary theory is based off of philosophical ideas but there are certain issues in philosophy which English departments do not typically deal with anymore because they tend to border too much on 'formalism'. Issues like how metaphors are conceived, current theories of imagination, phenomenology (a lot of affect theory does draw on this but not enough), time and cognition and so on-- does anyone know which English departments (not Stanford or Berkeley and the like but more 'modest ones) would perhaps be interested? 

 

I'd say it really depends on what kind of philosophy you're talking about. This might be stating the obvious, but I initially thought 'philosophy and literature' was a somewhat comprehensive field, when it's really not. However, I'm mentioning it because I initially thought of Berkeley as a good fit bc I'm interested in philosophy and literature, and even critical theory in particular, only to find out they really mainly do gender and race and not thaaat much else. You might want to check out the journal 'philosophy and literature' (maybe the words are switched around, idk), and see where the people writing on these specific things come from. I've seen that Binghamton has this kind of dual programme, so that might be to your taste, and I think Purdue might as well (though with specifics I can't really help you, unfortunately). Regardless, I feel like usually they have a 'philosophy and literature' tag on their faculty page, so that might be of some help!

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My language test waiver got approved by Columbia!! whoo (thank god because that test is like 5 hours and I have done enough fill-in-the-preposition and multiple choice questions to boring but ambiguous texts in high school English classes to last me a lifetime)

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2 minutes ago, labradoodle said:

I'd say it really depends on what kind of philosophy you're talking about. This might be stating the obvious, but I initially thought 'philosophy and literature' was a somewhat comprehensive field, when it's really not. However, I'm mentioning it because I initially thought of Berkeley as a good fit bc I'm interested in philosophy and literature, and even critical theory in particular, only to find out they really mainly do gender and race and not thaaat much else. You might want to check out the journal 'philosophy and literature' (maybe the words are switched around, idk), and see where the people writing on these specific things come from. I've seen that Binghamton has this kind of dual programme, so that might be to your taste, and I think Purdue might as well (though with specifics I can't really help you, unfortunately). Regardless, I feel like usually they have a 'philosophy and literature' tag on their faculty page, so that might be of some help!

Yeah, Purdue has a separate pathway called philosophy and literature but they didn't do admissions last year and haven't said anything about this year's admissions. The UK has many options in that direction but unfortunately their funding situation is quite bad. I will look up Binghamton, thank you. I think UNC, Chapel Hill has the 'philosophy and literature' tag as well. 

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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!

Thanks so much for your pep talk! I wrote to my old supervisor and he was so forthcoming! If not for your post I wouldn't have dared to write to him :D

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Hey guys - this is a pretty basic question, but I feel like it might make a difference with what I'm doing in my apps – is there preferred formatting for the first page of the critical writing sample? Obviously it should have a title page,  but do I need to put my name with 'writing sample for so and so application' on there? 

I'm using a couple chapters from my master's dissertation, so I know I need to include a brief paragraph providing some kind of context for that on the title page. But what about a table of contents? It will likely just be two, maybe three chapters. 

Thanks in advance! 

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17 hours ago, A Small Raven said:

Hey guys - this is a pretty basic question, but I feel like it might make a difference with what I'm doing in my apps – is there preferred formatting for the first page of the critical writing sample? Obviously it should have a title page,  but do I need to put my name with 'writing sample for so and so application' on there? 

I'm using a couple chapters from my master's dissertation, so I know I need to include a brief paragraph providing some kind of context for that on the title page. But what about a table of contents? It will likely just be two, maybe three chapters. 

Thanks in advance! 

I asked a professor of mine for the format of the title page, and he told me I didn't need one, so I won't be including a title page for my writing sample.

I also included a part of the literature review relevant to the piece and edited/rewrote it, so no table of contents in my writing sample either. But these are, of course, what I did only and not necessarily the right practice. 🙂

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Hey all!  I am in my first quarter of my PhD now, in part thanks to Grad Cafe :) If anyone has any questions about my program (Stanford English), what my experiences were with other institutions I was accepted to (Indiana, Ohio State, UWisc, Uillinois, Rochester), or wants to see my application materials, please DM me!

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4 hours ago, Hard times! said:

How do you know if you should apply to Stanford because the fit seems great but your 'self-knowledge' warns you against such a move? Thanks in advance! 

A lot of people apply to these kinds of places purely because of the name and prestige, and fail to see that the fit itself is terrible. If the fit is especially good, why not try?

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5 hours ago, Hard times! said:

How do you know if you should apply to Stanford because the fit seems great but your 'self-knowledge' warns you against such a move? Thanks in advance! 

For me, I would definitely apply to every single program that can accommodate my interests (unfortunately there aren't many....)

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Hi everyone,


My name is Ellie. I'm new here, and I'm in desperate need of help. 
This is my situation: I live in Iran, and I HAVE TO get out of here as soon as possible because I just can't take it anymore. I need to get accepted to a PhD program in English. It literally doesn't matter where in the U.S or Canada (or even other big countries in Europe). It just need to be funded. I was wondering if anyone could tell me which university has a higher acceptance rate or any tips that would make it easier for me to get accepted. I also have budget problem due to Iran's currency so I can't just apply for like 20 universities and my professors won't send that many recommendation letters either. 


I have studied at state universities for both degrees, which have higher ranks and are considered more "prestigious" here because you have to have a higher rank in the entrance exam, and your education will be free.
GPA: B.A: 4.25/5 M.A: 4.3/5
Academic IELTS: 7.5, General: 8
TEF (Test d'évaluation de français): B1 
Work Experience: More than three years in the related field
Age: 28
My research interests are Narrative Theory, Metafiction, and The Novel (My Master's Degree thesis is also somehow related to this).
I have also written a proposal that's related to my research interest. It's not perfect, but I think it's decent.

So please let me know if you have any suggestions about any university that has a high chance of getting accepted. Thank you!

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Family, tell me what I need to do here. I'm considering applying to some of the same schools because I already applied everywhere and got rejected completely. Have any of you applied for the same programs twice? What did you do about your SOP? Did you change your research project altogether? There are no other options for me aside from applying to the same schools twice. I've researched everything many times over and my field is just too specialized. I need to expand my research into Contemporary Lit, switch fields altogether, or I need to find some way of re-working my SOP based on the same project. If anyone has been rejected from a school and accepted into that school in a later cycle, I'd be very interested in hearing about strategy.

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6 hours ago, elliehsz said:

Hi everyone,


My name is Ellie. I'm new here, and I'm in desperate need of help. 
This is my situation: I live in Iran, and I HAVE TO get out of here as soon as possible because I just can't take it anymore. I need to get accepted to a PhD program in English. It literally doesn't matter where in the U.S or Canada (or even other big countries in Europe). It just need to be funded. I was wondering if anyone could tell me which university has a higher acceptance rate or any tips that would make it easier for me to get accepted. I also have budget problem due to Iran's currency so I can't just apply for like 20 universities and my professors won't send that many recommendation letters either. 


I have studied at state universities for both degrees, which have higher ranks and are considered more "prestigious" here because you have to have a higher rank in the entrance exam, and your education will be free.
GPA: B.A: 4.25/5 M.A: 4.3/5
Academic IELTS: 7.5, General: 8
TEF (Test d'évaluation de français): B1 
Work Experience: More than three years in the related field
Age: 28
My research interests are Narrative Theory, Metafiction, and The Novel (My Master's Degree thesis is also somehow related to this).
I have also written a proposal that's related to my research interest. It's not perfect, but I think it's decent.

So please let me know if you have any suggestions about any university that has a high chance of getting accepted. Thank you!

I'm sorry to say that there aren't any programs with high acceptance rates. Maybe some are higher than others, but I'm not sure there's data and anyway, it wouldn't make for a great strategy. Any funded PhD program is bound to receive hundreds of applicants so it's really going to be a matter of finding the programs with the best fit.

4 hours ago, missmarianne said:

Family, tell me what I need to do here. I'm considering applying to some of the same schools because I already applied everywhere and got rejected completely. Have any of you applied for the same programs twice? What did you do about your SOP? Did you change your research project altogether? There are no other options for me aside from applying to the same schools twice. I've researched everything many times over and my field is just too specialized. I need to expand my research into Contemporary Lit, switch fields altogether, or I need to find some way of re-working my SOP based on the same project. If anyone has been rejected from a school and accepted into that school in a later cycle, I'd be very interested in hearing about strategy.

I was accepted by a school that rejected me the first time. The general logic is to limit the schools you reapply to because if they rejected you once it is likelier than not that they will again. Nevertheless I reapplied to a few and one did accept me. I did not retake any exams, my WS was the same, and my transcripts were basically the same. I don't remember exactly how the LoRs were similar or not but I think at least 2 repeated. Ultimately, the only thing I changed, but changed significantly, was the SoP. I was still basically proposing to work in the same field (20th c. African American) but the first time my project was, though defined, constructed in a way that didn't make me very legible (I was combining postcolonial criticism, existential philosophy, and critical race theory while referring to early century African American lit, across French and English). My second SoP focused on a more cohesive group of authors and proposed a specific topic that was easier to pin down within the discipline. I dunno if that is helpful; for me the ilegibility of my scholarship and the difficulty of classifying it was the main thing my LoRs and I interpreted as the reason I had no success, so - given that I had a different interest I was also interested in pursuing - I just abandoned the first project entirely. Unless that's your same situation, my experience is unlikely to be helpful. My advice would be be as self-critical as you can and talk to your advisors to really pin down why you didn't get accepted (the numbers game and luck will of course be relevant, but they're unhelpful because you cannot do anything to improve them). To the degree that you can change your SoP and address those things while still being true to your interests, I would make those changes. Of course, there's always the chance that you were a borderline acceptance and making changes might push you away from acceptance, so take this with a pinch of salt.

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5 hours ago, WildeThing said:

I'm sorry to say that there aren't any programs with high acceptance rates. Maybe some are higher than others, but I'm not sure there's data and anyway, it wouldn't make for a great strategy. Any funded PhD program is bound to receive hundreds of applicants so it's really going to be a matter of finding the programs with the best fit.

Does it matter if I apply for schools that have more faculty members whose interests coincide with mine? and should I contact them before mentioning their names in my SoP?

What if I apply for master's degree again? Does that make me have a higher chance?

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