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It seems that MA candidates have been hearing from Penn State. Anyone know anything about when PhD apps will hear?

I'm guessing that by MA they mean MA-to-PhD track. I understand that Penn State prefers applicants who have only BAs (not an MA from another institution).

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I'm guessing that by MA they mean MA-to-PhD track. I understand that Penn State prefers applicants who have only BAs (not an MA from another institution).

But Penn State also has a terminal MA, so maybe by MA they mean MA? I hope. Because of the late deadline I'm hoping they're still finishing up... The suspense!

Edited by mostlytoasty
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But Penn State also has a terminal MA, so maybe by MA they mean MA? I hope. Because of the late deadline I'm hoping they're still finishing up... The suspense!

Ah, I didn't know about the terminal MA. In 2009, I applied to Penn State and didn't get in, but was told that out of 18 offers only 3 were made to applicants with an MA already in hand.

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Penn State's English program (can't speak for comp lit, creative writing, or other departments) doesn't have a terminal MA per se, unless they've just started a new one that I don't know about. Students apply to the MA for the MA-to-PhD track; MA admits are awarded five or six years of funding because they are expected to go on to the PhD. Of course, some head out to other programs after completing the MA, but they don't have a stand-alone MA program. The wording on the website, if I recall, is really confusing about the difference between the MA and PhD tracks there--which isn't really a difference at all. So, if the admits on the board are for English, they are most likely for the PhD (which is actually the MA for those applying without an MA in hand). And yes, they take very few applicants with MAs in hand to the PhD program. Does this make sense? I hope it helps!

Edited to add: Penn State has also historically trickled out its acceptance notifications. Last year they began notifying in early February but kept an unofficial wait list until April, accepting wait-listees periodically in the meantime. So, especially for a program like Penn State, it ain't over til it's over.

Edited by Pamphilia
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  • 3 weeks later...

Anyone know anything yet?

Pamphilla is pretty much correct. Although admitted MA candidates have to apply to the PhD program, the expectation is that MA candidates will continue on to the PhD--unless the candidate also has a BA from Penn State, in which case they prefer that the student apply elsewhere for their PhD. They will admit a few PhD candidates to fill the spots of people leaving with an MA. Each year they admit approximately 1-3 PhD candidates who have MAs from elsewhere.

I don't know how many people with MAs from outside they are admitting this year. I want to say one, but I am not sure that that is correct. I know that they got 780 applications for both the MA and PhD programs and had 16 spots. Their visiting weekend is the 18th to the 20th of March, so I imagine that most of their offers have been made.

I hope that helps.

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Emailed them about the status of my application and they basically said you won't know anything for certain until April 15. They sent out their first round of acceptances, but haven't sent out any rejections yet. If I'm at the bottom of the list why can't they just put a nail in the coffin.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Emailed them about the status of my application and they basically said you won't know anything for certain until April 15. They sent out their first round of acceptances, but haven't sent out any rejections yet. If I'm at the bottom of the list why can't they just put a nail in the coffin.

Can't agree with you more!

PSU is the only school that I am waiting out now.

Come on, people got their life to plan here!

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I got a more-or-less waitlist email from the DGS late last week (he never used the word "waitlist" though), which said that they should know whether they can accept me by April 15. He also said that they received 784 applications this year(!), which was extraordinarily large for them. That might explain why it's taking them so long, and also why they seem to have a multi-tiered waitlist. I am really interested in their program, but I have two offers to respond to by the 15th, so of course I'll accept one of those if I haven't been admitted by then. If you have other offers, I wouldn't count on hearing from PSU before the 15th, but if you don't and would be willing to accept a post-15th offer, I think there's definitely still hope! They also don't accept anyone unless they can fully fund them, and the funding looks pretty decent (16k+ a year, alternating 1-1, 1-2 teaching load), which is probably why they can only make a few offers at a time. I hope that helps a little!

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I can somewhat understand the idea behind taking mainly BA's for an eventual PhD, but rejecting MA's (or subjecting them to different standards simply because the hold the degree) seem completely arbitrary. Plus they make most admits wait until the last day to accept an offer?

With a 2% acceptance rate I assume my chances of taking my MA to PS for the PhD are nil... but I won't know for sure until the last day!!! Yippee!!

Edited by KRC
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I got a more-or-less waitlist email from the DGS late last week (he never used the word "waitlist" though), which said that they should know whether they can accept me by April 15. He also said that they received 784 applications this year(!), which was extraordinarily large for them. That might explain why it's taking them so long, and also why they seem to have a multi-tiered waitlist. I am really interested in their program, but I have two offers to respond to by the 15th, so of course I'll accept one of those if I haven't been admitted by then. If you have other offers, I wouldn't count on hearing from PSU before the 15th, but if you don't and would be willing to accept a post-15th offer, I think there's definitely still hope! They also don't accept anyone unless they can fully fund them, and the funding looks pretty decent (16k+ a year, alternating 1-1, 1-2 teaching load), which is probably why they can only make a few offers at a time. I hope that helps a little!

Thanks for the info, that does help! I think I'll be proceeding on the assumption that even if PSU extends me an offer, it won't come in time.

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I can somewhat understand the idea behind taking mainly BA's for an eventual PhD, but rejecting MA's (or subjecting them to different standards simply because the hold the degree) seem completely arbitrary. Plus they make most admits wait until the last day to accept an offer?

With a 2% acceptance rate I assume my chances of taking my MA to PS for the PhD are nil... but I won't know for sure until the last day!!! Yippee!!

Incidentally, I do already have an MA. I don't know if they have a limit for how many students they'll accept with an MA, but I didn't get the impression that it affected my application negatively.

And I understand (and share) your frustration, but I have to keep in mind that last year, when I was rejected across the board, I would have wept with gratitude for a post-April 15th offer. As much as it sucks for those of us that have other offers and want to make a decision, I do think it's nice that they're doing this in a way that will allow them to extend the maximum number of offers possible.

EDIT: clearly multiple graduate degrees haven't prevented me from confusing "afffected" and "effected"

Edited by the once and future grad
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I can somewhat understand the idea behind taking mainly BA's for an eventual PhD, but rejecting MA's (or subjecting them to different standards simply because the hold the degree) seem completely arbitrary. Plus they make most admits wait until the last day to accept an offer?

With a 2% acceptance rate I assume my chances of taking my MA to PS for the PhD are nil... but I won't know for sure until the last day!!! Yippee!!

I freaked out during the application period and wrote all of my schools asking if and how holding an MA accepts the admissions process. The answer from most schools is that they just expect more from you coming in-- higher GRE subject scores, stronger (or at least more developed) writing sample. I kind of get it, kind of don't. I'm fairly sure that if I hadn't gone through the MA process I wouldn't have gotten into any programs, so maybe if I did hurt me with some schools, I still got into one, and I guess that's all you need!

But seriously, Penn State, step it up! Maybe they will think about moving up their deadline next year!

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Holy crap I just saw their course descriptions for the Fall. I applied to PS for two fairly fringe topics as they had had courses which touched on each here and there in the past, but in the fall they have TWO dedicated courses for one of the areas (that both look amazing) and one for another (which they haven't had in the recent past). Perhaps I'll get my hopes up a bit. It's only 3 weeks left anyhowsmile.gif.

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