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ClassicsCandidate
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Hello, all! I am back and ready to get my applications out into the universe again. I figured I would kick things off again since I've begun working on my second round of applications - this time with a new list, with some shiny UK universities on it as well, so I have applications to prepare and proposals to write. I'll be looking into UK funding for international students, too, so if anyone has any advice on that, I would appreciate it! I'm still gunning for primarily interdisciplinary programs at the US universities as well as Art/Archaeology, and for the UK universities I've been going by friends' recommendations who have attended the institutions already. Who knows, maybe I'll be in Scotland next year. 

My tentative list for this time around:

US: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, NYU, Princeton, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale; I'm still on the fence on whether I want to reapply to Rutgers or the University of Michigan

UK: Cambridge, Edinburgh, Exeter, and St Andrews  (I was thinking about expanding this list but I think I am going to keep it to these main four; I'm most keen on the unis in Scotland, though)

I'll be reworking my SoPs, (start) writing a new writing sample, and sending out emails to request application fee waivers today. I'm happy to say MOST of the US universities I've got on my list no longer require the GRE so that's a win from me. I unfortunately couldn't secure funding for the UPenn Post-Bacc in time, so I'll also be trying to find alternatives to learning the languages on my own for this year while I wait to hear back from PhD programs. I hope everyone's doing well and the prepping is easy and without too much stress!

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Hi! Much like ClassicsCandidate, I'm back again with a new list of schools! I'm currently considering if I should reapply to any of the programs I was accepted to last cycle (accepted but no funding, so couldn't enroll, sadly) but any input anyone has on the subject would be greatly appreciated!

My firm list of schools this consists of: University of Wyoming (history, MA), UToronto (Classics, MA), Arizona (Classics, MA), and UT Austin (Classics, PhD)

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Hi. I'm not sure if my post will be well-accepted here, but I feel the need to post this anyway.

I am a current grad student at a top program in the U.S. A name that you'll all have heard of. 

I would advise everyone not to apply to a Classics grad program. I know you've heard this many times before and that this is your dream. It was mine too. Two years of grad school have completely destroyed my love for Classics and any semblance of passion for my subject. It has made me bitter, poor, and deeply unhappy.

Sure, maybe I have other issues. Depression maybe, or I'm a bad fit for my department. I am happy in all aspects of my life except for grad school. I see no future here. You will be paid a stipend far below the real cost of living and expected to make do. You will be surrounded by equally unhappy people, dysfunctional alcoholics (I don't judge, I've been there) who fear their advisors and contemplate suicide over their coursework, even though we all know it "counts for nothing". 

The actual work isn't hard. Teaching isn't hard. Rote memorization isn't hard. You have all studied this for many years after all. The constant devaluation of your work by all of society, professors who have given up on life let alone mentorship and research, and the barrage of arbitrary work and requirements will crush you. Everyone in my department is kind. I know some of them are on this forum, helping out future students. They are all good people. But a Classics PhD will not get you where you want to be. I know that you know how slim the odds are of a tenure-track job, but they will be even slimmer in 5-6 years (more like 6-7!) when you graduate. My program has one of the best placement records in the country, and it is struggling anyway. 

Feel free to ask me more questions or tell me to F off. But I promise I'm not just some nut trying to discourage others from applying so that I have a better chance. I am leaving grad school within the next year and I feel the need to warn others from making the same mistake. Honestly, unless you are just doing the PhD for fun because you have a lot of family money, you shouldn't be here. Do something useful with your life. Am I devaluing the Humanities? Perhaps. But I am telling you that it is grim, and the retention rate is actually pretty low (Departments will boast of having all students complete, but if you probe deeper into how many people take long leaves of absence or just mentally check out after the comps/generals/quals, you will see the true reality). Do not tread on this path. You will regret it. 

Here for any questions or challenges.

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On 8/24/2021 at 11:28 AM, expositorveritatis said:

Hi. I'm not sure if my post will be well-accepted here, but I feel the need to post this anyway.

I am a current grad student at a top program in the U.S. A name that you'll all have heard of. 

I would advise everyone not to apply to a Classics grad program. I know you've heard this many times before and that this is your dream. It was mine too. Two years of grad school have completely destroyed my love for Classics and any semblance of passion for my subject. It has made me bitter, poor, and deeply unhappy.

Sure, maybe I have other issues. Depression maybe, or I'm a bad fit for my department. I am happy in all aspects of my life except for grad school. I see no future here. You will be paid a stipend far below the real cost of living and expected to make do. You will be surrounded by equally unhappy people, dysfunctional alcoholics (I don't judge, I've been there) who fear their advisors and contemplate suicide over their coursework, even though we all know it "counts for nothing". 

The actual work isn't hard. Teaching isn't hard. Rote memorization isn't hard. You have all studied this for many years after all. The constant devaluation of your work by all of society, professors who have given up on life let alone mentorship and research, and the barrage of arbitrary work and requirements will crush you. Everyone in my department is kind. I know some of them are on this forum, helping out future students. They are all good people. But a Classics PhD will not get you where you want to be. I know that you know how slim the odds are of a tenure-track job, but they will be even slimmer in 5-6 years (more like 6-7!) when you graduate. My program has one of the best placement records in the country, and it is struggling anyway. 

Feel free to ask me more questions or tell me to F off. But I promise I'm not just some nut trying to discourage others from applying so that I have a better chance. I am leaving grad school within the next year and I feel the need to warn others from making the same mistake. Honestly, unless you are just doing the PhD for fun because you have a lot of family money, you shouldn't be here. Do something useful with your life. Am I devaluing the Humanities? Perhaps. But I am telling you that it is grim, and the retention rate is actually pretty low (Departments will boast of having all students complete, but if you probe deeper into how many people take long leaves of absence or just mentally check out after the comps/generals/quals, you will see the true reality). Do not tread on this path. You will regret it. 

Here for any questions or challenges.

 

Long time listener, first time caller here to say that this is not a universal experience. Sure, the job market isn't amazing, and neither is the pay, but I don't think that the situation is quite as dire as the OP would suggest, and a Classics PhD is certainly something that can still be both enjoyable and both personally as well as professionally beneficial (with one major caveat). Many of the "T5/T10" departments, especially the older ones, are still rather well off and can offer fairly generous financial support to admitted students. I know plenty of people who have been able to start paying off loans or putting decent amounts of money away during a PhD. Most also offer RAships that cover room and board, in which case your total compensation will probably wind up being fairly close to what the majority of your peers in the humanities are making out of undergrad.

Though this is obviously going to be somewhat department-specific, I, personally, also haven't noticed the sort cultural issues that expositorveritatis mentions either (at least not to the same extent). Every workplace in the world has drama in spades as well its fair share of miserable people, and, having spent some time in the "real world" before heading into a PhD program, I never felt that academia in particular had more of either to offer.

The state of the job market is going to depend to some degree on your particular field of study but, in general, I've noticed that these "top" programs tend to place roughly half of their graduates into tenure-track positions within 5-6 years. Obviously those aren't stellar numbers, but it is still possible to find TT jobs (contrary to what you'll read all over this board). Even if you don't, with a brand-name PhD in hand, you almost certainly aren't going to wind up as a barista. Generally speaking, I think that university career centers are finally beginning to wisen up to the state of the academic job market, and I know that I've definitely started seeing much more support for alt-ac careers in recent years. Consulting agencies in particular recruit quite heavily from Ivy League PhD programs and, of course, it's also possible to find comfortable positions in government and higher ed administration. If you're curious, the AHA has collected some very useful data on History PhDs that seem to broadly parallel outcomes for Classicists.

However, at risk of sounding a tad elitist, I would be very cautious of any programs outside of the top 5-10. None of them, to my knowledge, even come close to matching the financial support that HYPS can muster, and placement for 90-95% of graduates is going to be regional at best. Even in very strong public programs like Berkeley and Michigan, money can still be incredibly tight. There won't be much support for conference travel or research, and there probably won't be any sort of placement service either, both of which can make it very difficult to network and connect with hiring committees. And, as I'm sure you've heard before—tempting though it may be, you should always be extremely wary of paying for an MA, and especially of going into debt for one. IMO, most American Classics MAs are little better than scams, and there are good reasons why places like Harvard and Yale do not award a terminal master's in the field.

That said, even at programs that are less well-known, a graduate degree in Classics can still be a very rewarding experience. You get to meet a lot of wonderful and incredibly intelligent people, you get paid to hang out and read/write, and you have the freedom to work on your own schedule. A lot of folks on this forum seem to think that getting a TT job at an Ivy League university is the end-all be-all of the academic world and (though they're not entirely wrong), it is *gasp* still possible to lead a successful and fulfilling life without doing so. Always do your due diligence on any programs to which you're accepted, never go into debt for a graduate degree in Classics, and take very seriously any negative gut feelings you may have about a program (both in terms of its culture and support), and you should come out alright.

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On 8/20/2021 at 11:04 PM, ClassicsCandidate said:

Hello, all! I am back and ready to get my applications out into the universe again. I figured I would kick things off again since I've begun working on my second round of applications - this time with a new list, with some shiny UK universities on it as well, so I have applications to prepare and proposals to write. I'll be looking into UK funding for international students, too, so if anyone has any advice on that, I would appreciate it! I'm still gunning for primarily interdisciplinary programs at the US universities as well as Art/Archaeology, and for the UK universities I've been going by friends' recommendations who have attended the institutions already. Who knows, maybe I'll be in Scotland next year. 

My tentative list for this time around:

US: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, NYU, Princeton, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale; I'm still on the fence on whether I want to reapply to Rutgers or the University of Michigan

UK: Cambridge, Edinburgh, Exeter, and St Andrews  (I was thinking about expanding this list but I think I am going to keep it to these main four; I'm most keen on the unis in Scotland, though)

I'll be reworking my SoPs, (start) writing a new writing sample, and sending out emails to request application fee waivers today. I'm happy to say MOST of the US universities I've got on my list no longer require the GRE so that's a win from me. I unfortunately couldn't secure funding for the UPenn Post-Bacc in time, so I'll also be trying to find alternatives to learning the languages on my own for this year while I wait to hear back from PhD programs. I hope everyone's doing well and the prepping is easy and without too much stress!

Finger cross mate. I am preparing for my grad-school as well.
To my knowledge, it is more difficult to get a scholarship/funding in Britain nowadays than the past (from my Profs, graduated from SOAS and Oxon).
You may need to spend some time to work on your RP (3-5 pages approximately) and contact your POI directly. (the PhD admission between British unis and North American unis is quite different)
For me, I wish I can go to Britain as well but none of the unis suit me... (Britain is fancy in modern politics/literature ... )

My provisional list for the '22 fall application (would be great if anyone has some comment on my decision) :
PhD: Alberta (Modern Lang.), British Columbia (Asian Studies), South Carolina (Comp. Lit.), UC Santa Barbara (East Asian Lang. & Cult. Studies), UWashington (Asian Lang. & Lit.)
MA/MPhil: Alberta (East Asian Studies), CUHK (MPhil in Chin. Lit.), Florida State (Chinese), UMass Amherst (East Asian Lang. & Lit.)

The reason I also consider MA is that I wish to give a buffer to myself and acculturate to the North America learning culture  :)

still... a lot of questions and concerns
- Should I also consider Arizona State (MA in Chinese), UC Irvine (East Asian Studies) too? It's a neat school but competitive (every grad school is competitive LOL)
- I am hesitating if I should go take GRE or not. I really have no time to prepare for this exam .... I am working full-time in a research project (about Computer Science) to survive the tuition fee for my current degree, and I am doing my degree at the same time (am gonna write my MA dissertation) [you may guess where I am from .... haha ,,,,]
- Further to my concern, I know GRE is "OPTIONAL" to some unis (at least UWashington's already announced that they no longer consider GRE result)... still I am not sure if taking GRE is advantageous for my application.
- I tried to contact some POIs too but no response from them .... quite frustrated... should I follow up? Or should I just focus on my dissertation first?


Anyway, good luck to everyone. Do our best and no regrets. Back to work!

Edited by AChinLitNerd
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20 hours ago, cacatacarta said:

 

Long time listener, first time caller here to say that this is not a universal experience. Sure, the job market isn't amazing, and neither is the pay, but I don't think that the situation is quite as dire as the OP would suggest, and a Classics PhD is certainly something that can still be both enjoyable and both personally as well as professionally beneficial (with one major caveat). Many of the "T5/T10" departments, especially the older ones, are still rather well off and can offer fairly generous financial support to admitted students. I know plenty of people who have been able to start paying off loans or putting decent amounts of money away during a PhD. Most also offer RAships that cover room and board, in which case your total compensation will probably wind up being fairly close to what the majority of your peers in the humanities are making out of undergrad.

Though this is obviously going to be somewhat department-specific, I, personally, also haven't noticed the sort cultural issues that expositorveritatis mentions either (at least not to the same extent). Every workplace in the world has drama in spades as well its fair share of miserable people, and, having spent some time in the "real world" before heading into a PhD program, I never felt that academia in particular had more of either to offer.

The state of the job market is going to depend to some degree on your particular field of study but, in general, I've noticed that these "top" programs tend to place roughly half of their graduates into tenure-track positions within 5-6 years. Obviously those aren't stellar numbers, but it is still possible to find TT jobs (contrary to what you'll read all over this board). Even if you don't, with a brand-name PhD in hand, you almost certainly aren't going to wind up as a barista. Generally speaking, I think that university career centers are finally beginning to wisen up to the state of the academic job market, and I know that I've definitely started seeing much more support for alt-ac careers in recent years. Consulting agencies in particular recruit quite heavily from Ivy League PhD programs and, of course, it's also possible to find comfortable positions in government and higher ed administration. If you're curious, the AHA has collected some very useful data on History PhDs that seem to broadly parallel outcomes for Classicists.

However, at risk of sounding a tad elitist, I would be very cautious of any programs outside of the top 5-10. None of them, to my knowledge, even come close to matching the financial support that HYPS can muster, and placement for 90-95% of graduates is going to be regional at best. Even in very strong public programs like Berkeley and Michigan, money can still be incredibly tight. There won't be much support for conference travel or research, and there probably won't be any sort of placement service either, both of which can make it very difficult to network and connect with hiring committees. And, as I'm sure you've heard before—tempting though it may be, you should always be extremely wary of paying for an MA, and especially of going into debt for one. IMO, most American Classics MAs are little better than scams, and there are good reasons why places like Harvard and Yale do not award a terminal master's in the field.

That said, even at programs that are less well-known, a graduate degree in Classics can still be a very rewarding experience. You get to meet a lot of wonderful and incredibly intelligent people, you get paid to hang out and read/write, and you have the freedom to work on your own schedule. A lot of folks on this forum seem to think that getting a TT job at an Ivy League university is the end-all be-all of the academic world and (though they're not entirely wrong), it is *gasp* still possible to lead a successful and fulfilling life without doing so. Always do your due diligence on any programs to which you're accepted, never go into debt for a graduate degree in Classics, and take very seriously any negative gut feelings you may have about a program (both in terms of its culture and support), and you should come out alright.

Your viewpoint is valid and I, like all PhD students, once believed in it wholeheartedly. I know there are some "true believers" who will go do the PhD at a top institution as you suggest, do well and thrive under reduced circumstances for 6 years, and then get a top TT track. Without bitterness or rancor - I say good for them.

I would caution against comparing ourselves to History PhDs. Modern history and economic history in particular have far better non-academic job prospects than we do. If anyone here has the end goal of NOT teaching Classics, I would advise them to take a far more direct route to their goal. E.g. if you want to work in public policy, get the relevant MA; if you want to go into consulting, undergrad recruitment is an option, etc. If you want to teach high school, get your teaching license and get started. Do not waste 6 years of your life; if you go into your chosen field after undergrad, you'll be so far ahead of the PhDs who scramble to leave academia at 30. I was skeptical when people told me this, but if you are doing the PhD just because you love Classics and want to learn more, do something else as your day job. Classics will always be there for you in your free time, and if you have a job that pays well, you can even hire your very own language or history tutor. 

I agree that paying for MA or PhD are bad ideas. 

To your final point, all I'll say is: freedom to work on your own schedule, a stipend for reading, and meeting new people (many of whom may be Big Names but are checked-out) is NOT a good reason to sink 6 years of time, opportunity cost and so on into a Classics PhD. 6 years is a lot of time in your 20s, a lot of time for saving for retirement, for saving for a mortgage, saving for a marriage and kids etc. (if that floats your boat!) which you will not be able to do as a Classics PhD student. Unless you are a true believer - by which I mean you know very well why you want to get the PhD, NEED it for your dream TT job, and you are very confident of your ability to finish on time - don't do it. Yes, a PhD can get you a job teaching high school or in consulting, but rarely do you actually NEED a PhD to work in those settings. 

Every workplace has its miserable people and misanthropes, but at least in a workplace you'll be working towards a career, getting raises regularly, etc. The PhD does this, if you are going into TT teaching. But it does not do this if you're planning to start over in consulting or any other field. And for what it's worth, I do go to one of the schools you specifically mentioned, and the financial situation is not great. Cost of living around some of the T5/10 schools is very high. Not everyone wants to spend years as an RA (nor should they be blamed or penalized as 'giving up free money' for not choosing to live for years in undergrad dorms). 35k stipend = 29k after tax (generous numbers) = 27k after health insurance (at my school) = 2250/month for rent, food, transportation, and whatever else you might need. Doable but note that bedrooms in shared houses, the cheapest possible option if you're not an RA, go for 800-900 a month here. You will not starve but you will be eking out a tough existence, and this stipend is only guaranteed for 4-5 years (with teaching); afterwards you'll have to scrabble for courses to teach and for completion fellowships, extra funding etc. Travel funding is not as generous as it seems, in my Dept it's less than 3k over the entire period of the PhD, and often you have to pay first, then get reimbursed later. I am not the only one to complain about conditions - note that H., so I hear, has called a strike vote over issues including, but not limited to, stipends that do not reflect inflation and COL. 

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I'll also chime in to both validate Expositor's experience (and thank them deeply for sharing), and say that their experience doesn't match mine. Mine is much closer to Carta's, esp. about things like departmental culture. But, basically, I think both of them are in different ways highlighting the utmost importance of two factors: economics, and mental health.

On the economic point, I'd say it really depends. Expositor is dead-on, of course, that many people have financial trouble, even at top institutions. But many top institutions do pay reasonably well, relative to local cost of living, for someone with few other expenses. Since it's not worthwhile to accrue debt, it's a reasonable claim that one shouldn't go to a program with a poor stipend (by which I mean under ~30k) regardless of prestige. This is admittedly an elitist sort of claim, esp. for someone who's happy with their situation to say. But I think not worrying about money, and being able to pay undergrad loans and save to some extent, is a major factor in my satisfaction with my program. 

One of the main points I want to push back against is the framing a PhD as a waste of 6 years, or as necessarily a significant opportunity cost. It only is relative to some career or life goals, so it's important for one to be clear on what matters to one. I wrote a longer comment on this last year in the Philosophy forum, in which I was perhaps a bit too rosy, but not grossly so. It's worth adding that a good stipend is close to the median American income (though high-cost urban areas make things difficult). 

The second big point, mental health, can be difficult to predict and manage, but seems to be a huge determinant of PhD program satisfaction, and is strongly affected by many factors, including departmental culture, requirements, and money. I for sure don't recommend excluding those with mental health struggles from academia, and departments should be as understanding as possible, but even an accommodating department doesn't make struggles better, so weighing this sort of risk seems like a crucial part of deciding whether and how to apply. 

EDIT: I want to also respond to Expositor's exhortation to "Do something useful with your life." Academia is often quite problematic, but it can look rather subsersive compared to most private and many public sector jobs. So, if someone is devoting themselves to non-profit work, or volunteering, maybe that will help the world more than academia, but those jobs frequently pay about the same or even less than a good PhD stipend does, in my anecdotal experience from friends in the non-profit sector. Jobs that pay much better are usually not contributing to social good. (And, as an example, something like primary or secodnary teaching can pay more, but also generally requires more education and likely debt.)

Edited by Marcus_Aurelius
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On 8/26/2021 at 10:15 AM, AChinLitNerd said:

Finger cross mate. I am preparing for my grad-school as well.
To my knowledge, it is more difficult to get a scholarship/funding in Britain nowadays than the past (from my Profs, graduated from SOAS and Oxon).
You may need to spend some time to work on your RP (3-5 pages approximately) and contact your POI directly. (the PhD admission between British unis and North American unis is quite different)
For me, I wish I can go to Britain as well but none of the unis suit me... (Britain is fancy in modern politics/literature ... )

My provisional list for the '22 fall application (would be great if anyone has some comment on my decision) :
PhD: Alberta (Modern Lang.), British Columbia (Asian Studies), South Carolina (Comp. Lit.), UC Santa Barbara (East Asian Lang. & Cult. Studies), UWashington (Asian Lang. & Lit.)
MA/MPhil: Alberta (East Asian Studies), CUHK (MPhil in Chin. Lit.), Florida State (Chinese), UMass Amherst (East Asian Lang. & Lit.)

The reason I also consider MA is that I wish to give a buffer to myself and acculturate to the North America learning culture  :)

still... a lot of questions and concerns
- Should I also consider Arizona State (MA in Chinese), UC Irvine (East Asian Studies) too? It's a neat school but competitive (every grad school is competitive LOL)
- I am hesitating if I should go take GRE or not. I really have no time to prepare for this exam .... I am working full-time in a research project (about Computer Science) to survive the tuition fee for my current degree, and I am doing my degree at the same time (am gonna write my MA dissertation) [you may guess where I am from .... haha ,,,,]
- Further to my concern, I know GRE is "OPTIONAL" to some unis (at least UWashington's already announced that they no longer consider GRE result)... still I am not sure if taking GRE is advantageous for my application.
- I tried to contact some POIs too but no response from them .... quite frustrated... should I follow up? Or should I just focus on my dissertation first?


Anyway, good luck to everyone. Do our best and no regrets. Back to work!

Hey there! I would suggest not doing the GRE if it is optional. It was by far the worst part of applications for me last year. It took me 2 full months of studying in order to get a good score and it was all very stressful and completely unrelated to Classics. In the end, the school I was admitted to didn't look at the scores at all. Only do it if you are applying to schools where it is mandatory.

As for contacting POIs, it can be quite frustrating. Make sure you write messages which are polite and where you mention their work in relation to your future research. They need to witness a genuine interest in working with them on your part. Also, they are all very busy, so don't take it too personally if they don't respond. 

Good luck! 💪

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(Also, AChinLitNerd, You might have more luck in the Languages & Literature forum then in the Classics one, since this one is generally ancient Mediterranean. But the comments by somethingClassics seems sound, that the GRE is low-priority when not required, especially if you're in an area where it's difficult to take or you think you would need to put significant study into it which could be more hopefully devoted to writing sample and other materials.

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  • 1 month later...
On 8/27/2021 at 10:34 AM, Marcus_Aurelius said:

I'll also chime in to both validate Expositor's experience (and thank them deeply for sharing), and say that their experience doesn't match mine. Mine is much closer to Carta's, esp. about things like departmental culture. But, basically, I think both of them are in different ways highlighting the utmost importance of two factors: economics, and mental health.

On the economic point, I'd say it really depends. Expositor is dead-on, of course, that many people have financial trouble, even at top institutions. But many top institutions do pay reasonably well, relative to local cost of living, for someone with few other expenses. Since it's not worthwhile to accrue debt, it's a reasonable claim that one shouldn't go to a program with a poor stipend (by which I mean under ~30k) regardless of prestige. This is admittedly an elitist sort of claim, esp. for someone who's happy with their situation to say. But I think not worrying about money, and being able to pay undergrad loans and save to some extent, is a major factor in my satisfaction with my program. 

One of the main points I want to push back against is the framing a PhD as a waste of 6 years, or as necessarily a significant opportunity cost. It only is relative to some career or life goals, so it's important for one to be clear on what matters to one. I wrote a longer comment on this last year in the Philosophy forum, in which I was perhaps a bit too rosy, but not grossly so. It's worth adding that a good stipend is close to the median American income (though high-cost urban areas make things difficult). 

The second big point, mental health, can be difficult to predict and manage, but seems to be a huge determinant of PhD program satisfaction, and is strongly affected by many factors, including departmental culture, requirements, and money. I for sure don't recommend excluding those with mental health struggles from academia, and departments should be as understanding as possible, but even an accommodating department doesn't make struggles better, so weighing this sort of risk seems like a crucial part of deciding whether and how to apply. 

EDIT: I want to also respond to Expositor's exhortation to "Do something useful with your life." Academia is often quite problematic, but it can look rather subsersive compared to most private and many public sector jobs. So, if someone is devoting themselves to non-profit work, or volunteering, maybe that will help the world more than academia, but those jobs frequently pay about the same or even less than a good PhD stipend does, in my anecdotal experience from friends in the non-profit sector. Jobs that pay much better are usually not contributing to social good. (And, as an example, something like primary or secodnary teaching can pay more, but also generally requires more education and likely debt.)

Marcus_Aurelius, is there any way to find out which programs offer ~30k stipend?

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@classact Many universities' graduate school give funding information on their website. Trying a search like "[x university] graduate school funding/stipend" and go from there. Some schools offer the same stipend to almost everyone, and in others it vastly differs by department and even within departments. So it might be tough to figure out for a given university.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi friends! Hope everyone is making good progress on their applications this year. I have a curiosity I'm wondering if anyone can answer. In several of the apps I'm filling out they ask you to list other grad programs you're applying to. It seems that this is an optional question on all applications that ask for it, but I'm wondering what this question is about. I cannot really see why its relevant unless they are using it to see gauge how likely you are to get into other programs(?). I'm considering leaving it blank just because I don't see how it can benefit my application. Any thoughts or advice? Is there a good reason not to leave this blank? 

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On 11/6/2021 at 4:21 PM, Chaplin said:

Hi friends! Hope everyone is making good progress on their applications this year. I have a curiosity I'm wondering if anyone can answer. In several of the apps I'm filling out they ask you to list other grad programs you're applying to. It seems that this is an optional question on all applications that ask for it, but I'm wondering what this question is about. I cannot really see why its relevant unless they are using it to see gauge how likely you are to get into other programs(?). I'm considering leaving it blank just because I don't see how it can benefit my application. Any thoughts or advice? Is there a good reason not to leave this blank? 

(PhD student here. Disclaimer: I have no actual knowledge about this. But here are my thoughts!) It's possible it's just used for statistical/research purposes for the graduate school at large, but there is a chance it's to see how likely you are to accept them. Just going off the fact that shortly after I accepted my offer, I was chatting with my POI about the whole decision process (I literally waited until the last day to accept because I was so torn between 2 programs) and she mentioned that she had been worried I was going to accept at a certain school, one that I had never told her I applied to. Could have just been a coincidence, or maybe she just surmised based on where a prof with similar research is, but I've always figured she knew because I had listed that school on that section of the application. 

I don't want to advise on whether or not to fill it out because I really have no idea, but if you do fill it out, maybe list the schools in alphabetical order just so it doesn't seem like a ranked list?

Edited by RomeSweetRome
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Yeah, Rome (fantastic username, btw), I know admissions coordinators in departments at peer institutions frequently chat with each other in order to get an idea of how likely admittees are to accept to offer so they can make waitlist decisions, or (at schools where this is a possibility) offer more funding/benefits as enticement.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello, all! I'm glad to see such lively chats going on. I've become a bit torn on whether I should bother filling out my other applications again - I've actually spent most of this time talking with the people at St Andrews, filling out St Andrews-specific funding opportunities, and completing a Fulbright application, so I haven't been able to dive into any of the other ones yet. The more I talk to the folks at St Andrews and the more I think about it, I'm not sure if I want to put in the effort (and $$$) to apply to the other schools when it looks good from this university already. But, since I don't have an official acceptance yet, I'm super anxious about it and now the clock is ticking on that December 15th deadline. Admittedly, my first two MA programs? I only applied to one place each time, and I got accepted both times. Part of me is just hoping that'll happen again. Also, after driving to Philadelphia for work most of the week and walking through the city, I'm not sure how well I'd thrive in a city area vs. somewhere like St Andrews, which seems a lot calmer and is by the water, which is something I'm used to. I hope everyone else's application progress is going well!

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6 hours ago, ClassicsCandidate said:

I'm not sure if I want to put in the effort (and $$$) to apply to the other schools when it looks good from this university already. But, since I don't have an official acceptance yet, I'm super anxious about it and now the clock is ticking on that December 15th deadline. 

You, your aspirations, and the discipline are worth the money and the effort it will take to submit at least one additional application. 

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I've decided I'm only putting in any and all effort into St Andrews this year. I've applied for lots of different funding avenues as well, so I would rather just focus my energy on that. Now I can just sit back and hope one of those go through. We'll see!

I hope everyone's doing well with their applications and I'm waving pom poms for all of you applying!

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Hello everyone! I'm currently in my 2nd year of a PhD program in Classics. Chatting to people on gradcafe was a big help to me when I was applying and especially interviewing, so I want to make myself available to you all if anyone has any questions or worries as interview time approaches. I'm happy to help in any way I can!

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6 hours ago, classact said:

Thank you! What is your biggest piece of advice for these interview sessions?

Sounds cliche, but be yourself! Don't be afraid to let your personality come through and come prepared with questions about the department/program. If you've secured an interview, that means your academic qualifications/research interests/stats have passed the threshold and it's more about if you are a good fit for the program or if there are any iffy points in your application, it'll be about clearing those up too. The interview is just as much about you interviewing them as it is them to you. (For example, I had an interview for a school I ended up getting into where I knew immediately after the interview that the school was NOT for me). 

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