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NSF GRFP 2011-2012


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Two questions, one for-real and the other just ... yeah.

1) As a senior undergrad, what to put as the institution at which you'll be doing this research? Just your top choice, or the best fit for your proposal, or where you think you'll be most likely to get in, or what?

2) Anyone else still have at least one essay completely unfinished? (Not in terms of outlining, just...no draft yet.)

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That was me.

seriously though can someone give the nsf a call?

If we acknowledge that the more recent years are better predictors than the farther away years, then we can do better than regression. We have to make several assumptions (like an original prior, that

Yeesh - Yeah Bio Anthro was the way to go with me. Somehow this whole process has made me feel ridiculously dumb. Thanks to everyone who has helped so far. As a side note - I was told by the NSF help team that not even program officers can answer questions about choosing a primary field.

6 days left for me. I got some last minute help from 2 other NSF fellows and I hope their suggestions are the key.

Good luck to ALL of us - wish NSF had enough $$ for everyone.

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I have a general about emphasizing things in your application. In the past, I have heard people say that it may be useful to accentuate certain parts of your application (especially broader impact stuff) by bolding, underlying, etc. However, I'm not so sure I'm comfortable with how blatant this may seem, so I'm still debating whether I should do it or not? Does anyone here have any thoughts on this?

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Hello all -

quick question about the "Presentations and Publications" section of the Previous Research Essay.

I have a couple publications in preparation (none actually submitted/published yet), one a couple weeks from submission and the other a month or two. I've referred to both in my essays, but want to include them in my presentations and publications list so it's clear that I really do mean they're in prep and have co-authors and titles and all that jazz. Legit?

Thanks!

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Hello all -

quick question about the "Presentations and Publications" section of the Previous Research Essay.

I have a couple publications in preparation (none actually submitted/published yet), one a couple weeks from submission and the other a month or two. I've referred to both in my essays, but want to include them in my presentations and publications list so it's clear that I really do mean they're in prep and have co-authors and titles and all that jazz. Legit?

Thanks!

I'd say it's fine! I'm going to be doing the same with an in prep manuscript and an under review one. Just make sure it's listed clearly as such!

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Two questions, one for-real and the other just ... yeah.

1) As a senior undergrad, what to put as the institution at which you'll be doing this research? Just your top choice, or the best fit for your proposal, or where you think you'll be most likely to get in, or what?

2) Anyone else still have at least one essay completely unfinished? (Not in terms of outlining, just...no draft yet.)

List the best fitting institution. The reviewers know that your plans are up in the air, but they still care about whether you are able to ascertain what is the best fit for the proposed research. I got it in my second year when things were already settled, but I definitely got some push back on fit from one reviewer. Moreover, I would imagine fit is more important at your stage since you have more control than once you are already in a program. Choosing the best fit program more over signals that you understand your field.

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1. That's what i did- I posted a grade report without any grades, just a list of the courses I'm taking.

2. Maybe you need to say what you are correlating with what? The important thing is to show how your methods will test your hypothesis (though I'm not sure what the difference between methods and procedure is).

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Does anyone know what order the essays are read? In my opinion this has huge implications for how I structure my essays.

Yes, I have the same question! I would imagine that it's 1) personal statement 2) previous research 3) research proposal, but I don't to assume!

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It's my understanding that not the same people will be reading every essay, so you should really "hit them over the head" with your main points!

I remember seeing a PowerPoint somewhere that talked about two different reviewers' approaches to the packet, and mentioned that they look at the essays (as well as grades, LORs, etc) in different orders, based on their own personal tastes (what they thought was most important, whether they wanted to see the GPA or not, etc). They will be reading the whole thing, but I wouldn't assume an order.

But the "hit 'em over the head" is accurate. I've posted this before, but one of my reviewers got my gender wrong in the review...now, if you give me a fundable score, you can call me a lot worse than "he", but still. Assume nothing. ;-)

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I remember seeing a PowerPoint somewhere that talked about two different reviewers' approaches to the packet, and mentioned that they look at the essays (as well as grades, LORs, etc) in different orders, based on their own personal tastes (what they thought was most important, whether they wanted to see the GPA or not, etc). They will be reading the whole thing, but I wouldn't assume an order.

But the "hit 'em over the head" is accurate. I've posted this before, but one of my reviewers got my gender wrong in the review...now, if you give me a fundable score, you can call me a lot worse than "he", but still. Assume nothing. ;-)

Thanks for that input, BlueRose. Yes, I definitely agree that there's no way to know what order reviewers will look at ALL of the materials, but I think what we're all most concerned about is the order in which reviewers will likely read the essays. I just can't imagine that there would be any logical order to reading the essays other than 1) personal statement 2) previous research 3) research proposal, right?? I've definitely taken the "hit 'em over the head over and over" approach throughout all my essays, but still, it would be nice to know from a narrative perspective that they stick to the most logical reading order.

Thoughts?

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Got an urgent question for you all about filling out the Proposed Graduate Program section of the NSF application on FastLane:

Under this section, you list your proposed university/college from a drop-down menu and then right under that you put the proposed program. Since I have a psychology application, I assume that "<insert appropriate adjective for your subfield> Psychology" is the best answer for me to put for this required field (screenshot below):

screenshot20111113at416.png

BUT!!!! Right under this area, there's another required field called "Graduate Program" (screenshot below; sorry for my hilariously shoddy paintbrush skills there...). What the heck am I supposed to put for that??? What is the difference (if any) between "Proposed Program" and "Graduate Program"?? There's no instructions for what they want for the latter free-response field, and since it's required, I don't think it's there only if you have an "Other" field of study picked or something.

screenshot20111113at433.png

THOUGHTS??

Edited by spiffyonion
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I just can't imagine that there would be any logical order to reading the essays other than 1) personal statement 2) previous research 3) research proposal, right?? I've definitely taken the "hit 'em over the head over and over" approach throughout all my essays, but still, it would be nice to know from a narrative perspective that they stick to the most logical reading order.

Thoughts?

I think one of the reviewers (in the PowerPoint mentioned above) read the research proposal first, on the grounds that if the proposal wasn't good, the rest didn't matter. I would try to make the essays as self-contained as possible, though references to stuff in the other essays would be fine...for instance, you could remind them in your Research Proposal that you have experience with some method, though you might save the detail for your Research Experience.

And spiffyonion: I read the "Graduate Department" as the umbrella program, and the "Program" as the specific track...eg. if you were in a neuroscience program with a psychology track, you could specify this. That's what I did. But programs in my field tend to have horrible recursive names - if I type up the full name of my degree program, it takes two complete lines on my CV.

Edited by BlueRose
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Also, if I end up not being able to get a totally up-to-date transcript from my undergrad school and have to upload one from before I actually finished my degree (from my final semester), do you think they'll even notice? I bet they won't even notice.

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Also, if I end up not being able to get a totally up-to-date transcript from my undergrad school and have to upload one from before I actually finished my degree (from my final semester), do you think they'll even notice? I bet they won't even notice.

they probably will. can't you get an unofficial transcript online?

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I'm currently locked out of the system that would give me an unofficial transcript. My PIN is expired and there's a bug in the system itself that won't let me update it. It looks like I should be able to get in today though, I just have to scan my driver's license and a written, signed statement and email the registrar to get the PIN reset...

Yeah, this is why you should always get the transcripts together more than two days before the deadline.

But also, does anyone remember if we had to upload transcripts last year or if we had to send them paper transcripts? If we had to upload unofficial transcripts last year as well then there should be a copy of an up-to-date one for me floating around on my office computer (I already checked my home computer and couldn't find it).

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Last minute help request from everybody. My field of research is speech synthesis, so it's going to fall on Tuesday with all of the other CS stuff. I'm sure not where to put it though, it doesn't fall directly under natural language processing although it uses elements of it. It seems like I could go with the other route but there seems to be a taboo against doing that. Thoughts?

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It won't kill you if you put it in a category that doesn't describe it 100%. That field choice is just there to determine which people read your application. If you picked theoretical computer science or operating systems, you would be doing yourself (and the reviewers for that matter) a huge disservice, but if you put it in natural language processing or whatever is the closest thing you can think of, you'll be fine (supposedly the reviewers won't be tailored specifically enough to stand a good chance of actually fully understanding your project or line of work to begin with, but just specific enough to do a good job of picking out good proposals and researchers).

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Poofh, well got my application in. That, combined with having gotten my grad school applications in last week just means I need to start harassing my recommenders (-:

Either way, it's nice to know that I don't have to do anything else with my applications. I just hope I can handle the stress of waiting the next several months to get a verdict.

Good luck to everyone!

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Can anyone find that quote about what happens when you have more than 3 recommenders? Do they just toss out your lowest priority one, or do they consider all four? If the former, it seems really silly to have my fourth professor go to the trouble of writing me a rec knowing that it will most likely be tossed out. He was formerly going to be my third until I just today got a more recent, bigger-name prof. on board.

Also, can anyone find a quote verifying that we can / cannot change who are recommenders are using the "manage references" link on the site after the application deadline? If you can't, will that link work at all after the app is due (ie. sending reminder emails, changing ranks, etc.)?

Edited by Mumbet
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