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3rd Year Undergrad. here.


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Hey there,

I was directed here from my friend who just got accepted to a grad. school in Michigan and have been lurking for a little while. I finally have the courage to actually post something. Haha.

So I'm a 3rd year undergraduate at UC Irvine studying Anthro (of course) and am so intimidated by everything that is grad. school. I know I want to go for sure, but I'm so scared of not getting in anywhere, not being competitive enough, etc.

I'm very much interested in cultural anthropology (maybe studying gossip?) and the only school I've really looked into is SFSU. I have a little above a 3.0 GPA and I haven't taken the GRE yet. Lots to do!

So I was wondering if you kind people had any sort of advice at all? I know this is such a random and maybe stupid post, but anything would be magnificently appreciated. Thank you! :)

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  • 11 months later...

my best advise to you is:

*narrow down what your interests are - what do most of your classes lean toward? (Include the ones you chose for GenEd AND liked)

*read as much classic anth as possible, pepper it with some contemporary ethnography. Your professors can prob give you a sug. or two. *start using these theories, they will pop up in all of your Anth classes in one way or another.

*get to know each of the 4 fields ALSO get experience in Methods/Theory/Area courses

*set yourself up with an internship. Commitments count! 3 months during the summer is not enough!

*set up some type of research proposal and apply for your schools undergrad research funding.

*Go see your professors during their office hours. Find out about their research.

* Work on another language. Have you already taken a ton of Spanish? Try a language from a part of the world you're interested in.

then the obvious: research schools, network, raise your grades, gre.

So, I'm at the University of Hawai'i and there is one thing that the department has a difficulty with. Applicants having no or little linguistic experience! Due to this the people who have linguistic classes would have otherwise looked similar to the rest of the applicants may have a slight edge. Other schools may have similar gripes. I know I have seen professors beam when you know ling anth. (in their eyes- you prepared well for grad school) It is worth investigating.


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Hey there numerical person!

Intimidation disappears with familiarity, so start doing some research...What would you want from a grad program? (MA or PhD?) Are you interested in ethnology or cultural from older societies? What are the regions/topics are you most familiar with, and are they interesting to you? The most important thing to do, now, is to read lots of research from lots of professors. Find some researchers that are working with issues that fascinate you, then email them and politely let them know your interest. In other words, begin to cultivate some sort of professional relationship with people that you would want to work with in the future. Your current profs should be of some assistance in how to begin that process. These relationships may prove helpful if you are applying and a researcher already knows who you are. Or adversely, you find out in advance if someone is retiring/not taking grad students etc.

Look for a GRE prep class at your school (ie before you have to pay for one) and take it seriously. A good score on your GRE never hurts, and could smooth out any rough spots come application time.

I agree with the last poster, and I cannot stress this enough, do undergrad research! Even if you don't have to, ESPECIALLY if you don't have to. It makes you stand out and helps you decide if research (grad school) is for you. This effort will also help you to define your interests.

Also, even if there is a school that you are interested in right now, try to keep an open mind. My dream school at the start of this process didn't even receive an app from me, because after looking extensively for other schools I realized its program didn't offer some of the neat-o stuff that others did.

Beware of "ranking" sources when it comes to anthropology. A top ranked school may only be the top in one specific sub-field, and weak in others. The best way to find out the dirt on a school is to email the existing grad students and ask honestly what they think the program excels in/is weak with, and take even that with a grain of salt.

Good luck!

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