Alyanumbers Posted August 19, 2010 Share Posted August 19, 2010 Hi, I'm new here... I've read the first few pages of posts in this forum section, and decided to start a new topic. I'll start by giving you a bit of background about myself. I'm an Egyptian student of French Language and Literature. I'm hoping to pursue a PhD in Comp Lit in the US. Mostly, I'm interested in the way literature and art can reflect, influence and eventually cause societal change, and I'd like to study this in a foreign literature and society (60s' France, or 80s' Argentina, possibly), and apply it to contemporary Egypt. I have asked around and was told my research interests would be a good fit for Comp Lit programs who have an emphasis on Arabic and interdisciplinary research, and also for Near/Middle Eastern Studies program that have a literature track with a strong comparative or interdisciplinary component. Unfortunately, most such programs, especially the ones who offer full funding (which I need) are in the top schools. Thus, my application list for Fall 2011: Cornell (Comp Lit), Columbia (MESAAS), NYU (ME Studies) and Yale (Comp Lit). I contacted professors at each school, and all have expressed polite interest in my research interests and have been encouraging. However, I still haven't told them much detail about me as an applicant (I'm kind of... mildly embarassed? I don't want to seem whiny or bother them with my stupid, insecure questions.) So, anyway, I have some strengths and a lot of weaknesses. Strengths first ... I am fluent in Arabic (Egyptian dialect and a good reading/writing knowledge of classical Arabic), French (spent my early childhood in France) and English; I can speak Spanish moderately well; I've studied Latin in middle and high school and was pretty comfortable with it. I have also studied Armenian for a semester and hope to continue during the two semesters I have left in college. And I know basic Sango (lived in Central Africa for a year) and slight Czech (picked it up from a boyfriend). The last two don't count, I know, but I think I'm pretty strong on languages, and will have absolutely no problem fulfilling any language requirements. The profs I've corresponded with have seemed genuinely interested in my research interests; some of them, like Deborah Starr at Cornell, already work on the Egyptian cultural scene and society. Dr. Alryyes at Yale was very encouraging, praised my English and emphasized the importance of the statement of purpose. Hala Halim, at NYU, encouraged me to apply to ME Studies, rather than Comp Lit. They have, in general, made me feel like I do stand a chance, despite my weaknesses. Weaknesses which I shall now detail: I have some research experience, though not that impressive. I've assisted with field research on an EU report on cultural policies in the Middle East last year, and now I'm doing more field research for an Egyptian cultural fund project. I won 1st prize in an inter-universities research competition last semester, but the paper was only about 3 pages long (the competition's limit). I've never written anything 15 pages long, and so I don't have anything to submit for a writing sample. I have a vague idea what I'd like it to be about, but I don't really know how I'm going to do it. GPA-wise, mine is about 16.53/20. Scaled to an x/4 scale, it'd be about 3.3. Not stellar. It's mostly dragged down by my Arabic grades (I consistently gt 10 or 12 every year), because my grammar is abysmal. I still haven't taken the GRE (scheduled for November) or the TOEFL (October); I don't have a writing sample or a statement of purpose yet. I'm going to start studying for the GRE next week, and the TOEFL, and work on the SoP and writing sample, and I'M PANICKING. I guess my question is, do I even stand a chance? Is it too late to start on the sample now? Should I apply anyway, but expect to have to reapply next year? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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