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MTS at Harvard Divinity School, questions.

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First time poster so please be nice :)

I have some questions about the MTS program at Harvard Divinity School:

1. Is the GRE required/recommended? Is there an “unofficial” cut off?

2. How flexible is the curriculum for the MTS program? Can students choose pretty freely or are all the classes selected for you?

3. Are there any current students at HDS who would like to share their thoughts about the school?

4. How easy is it to get financial aid? My family is not poor but they for sure won’t give me a dime so without financial aid I can’t attend.

5. What are my chances of getting in? I have a 3.92 GPA from a top 50 public school. Double major in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies + senior thesis. Letters of recommendation should be good.

Thank you!

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1, It wasn't required, then it was, now it isn't. There's a waiver request form somewhere. If you do well on it, submit it, if you don't do well on it, don't submit it. I was admitted with a bad score.

2. It depends on your concentration. Certain concentrations like Islamic studies have few course offerings, so you kind of have to go where the classes are. The more popular concentrations there are scores to choose from. you have to take 6 classes in your concentration, 4 that arent, and somewhere in there demonstrate intermediate proficiency (2 years equivalence) in a foreign language.

3. PM me if you have specific questions.

4. 50% tuition is the minimum, though I'd probably say most students get 100% tuition remission.

5. Based on that, if you write a strong statement as well, I don't see a reason you shouldn't get in.

Edited by 11Q13

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Thanks for the response!

Seems like they are quite generous when it comes to financial aid. Is it entirely need based? As I wrote before, my family is not poor but I am completely independent and come straight out of college. I would therefore need some type of merit based scholarship in order to be able to attend. The alternative would of course be to take out loans which sounds risky given the economy. What do most people in the MTS program end up doing after graduation? I would love to continue to get my PhD so I can teach somewhere.

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Thanks for the response!

Seems like they are quite generous when it comes to financial aid. Is it entirely need based? As I wrote before, my family is not poor but I am completely independent and come straight out of college. I would therefore need some type of merit based scholarship in order to be able to attend. The alternative would of course be to take out loans which sounds risky given the economy. What do most people in the MTS program end up doing after graduation? I would love to continue to get my PhD so I can teach somewhere.

Financial aid is pretty generous at HDS. Most MTS students go into Academia eventually, though some choose to get out while they still can or wait a few years before applying. If you do not receive a stipend (there are only a few students who do), then you will have to take out loans or otherwise procure other forms of financial solvency. Heck, even with a stipend, you'll probably need to take out loans. In terms of applying for a PhD/ThD, make sure you do well in your first year, and that you develop some semblance of a professional relationship with a few of your professors. It's actually pretty tricky, I think, since on the one hand these professors will be writing your recommendations, but on the other hand, it does not mean that they will simply let you in. Ultimately, just do well and earn respect that way, and if nothing goes the way you want it, consider it a blessing in disguise! (Since grad school isn't, how do you put it, exactly the most lucrative or stable career to consider)

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Thanks for the info. I'm thinking about applying for the fall of 2013.

I've been looking on their website, but I haven't seen a timeline for admissions.

Can anyone give me a basic timetable? When applications are due? things like that.

thanks

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Also applying this fall. Please correct me if I am wrong, but the HDS website clearly states that a GRE is a requirement for all MTS applicants. Also, from my own reading on the forum, it didn't seem HDS is as generous with scholarship/aid as portrayed by previous posts on this thread, especially for MTS students. Maybe someone could chime in on this. Best of luck to everyone getting ready to apply to HDS this fall/winter.

Edited by drechie

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Drechie - GRE was definitely required. And I'm not too sure about the financial aid for MTS students, but I will admit that I'll be entering the MTS program at HDS, and the school was extremely generous towards me with aid...

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Hi Sarah - Thank you so much for the information! And congratulations on your acceptance and package at HDS. I will definitely post here with further questions, as HDS is my top choice.

Edited by drechie

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Also applying this fall. Please correct me if I am wrong, but the HDS website clearly states that a GRE is a requirement for all MTS applicants. Also, from my own reading on the forum, it didn't seem HDS is as generous with scholarship/aid as portrayed by previous posts on this thread, especially for MTS students. Maybe someone could chime in on this. Best of luck to everyone getting ready to apply to HDS this fall/winter.

They just started requiring the GRE a few years ago. And several of my friends that went to HDS got 100% tuition for the MTS. Though I do know a girl here at BC who got accepted with 50%.

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Here's a link to a chart of how much things are weighed, on average, in admissions committees (items higher on the list are more important):

https://p.twimg.com/Ae5zv-qCEAAYaGy.jpg:large

What this chart doesn't tell you is that it is all about fit. You do have to have some fairly good stats to get into Harvard but it is always possible to get in with lower GPA and GRE scores. The decision making process is very circumstantial ad subjective, though.

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Is this chart HDS specific? If not, it is of limited value since all schools and programs have their own requirements.

BTW, if you guys get admitted to HDS, what are you thinking about doing afterwards? I worry about employment prospects and am not sure that I would enjoy academia.

Here's a link to a chart of how much things are weighed, on average, in admissions committees (items higher on the list are more important):

https://p.twimg.com/...AYaGy.jpg:large

What this chart doesn't tell you is that it is all about fit. You do have to have some fairly good stats to get into Harvard but it is always possible to get in with lower GPA and GRE scores. The decision making process is very circumstantial ad subjective, though.

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Is this chart HDS specific? If not, it is of limited value since all schools and programs have their own requirements.

BTW, if you guys get admitted to HDS, what are you thinking about doing afterwards? I worry about employment prospects and am not sure that I would enjoy academia.

It's not HDS specific, it's a collection of factors that Adcoms consider on your application to graduate school - this specific list is geared to cover ALL graduate programs, in all fields/departments so its relevance is subjective and really varies from school to school. Like Wind said, Divinity Schools - even for their academic degrees (MTS), tend to rely more on "fit" than say a Masters program in sociology.

Getting that acceptance becomes even more of a rang issue for MDiv applicants (regarding "fit") - while it's true that for some top schools they had acceptance rates hovering at about 50% (poor economies tend to result in more people in graduate school, I've heard the acceptance rate at places like HDS/YDS/etc has dropped to 30%'ish the past couple of years), while I was at YDS I ran across several students who were honest that their uGPA was sub-3.0 and of the ones that took the GRE, they scored in the 1000-1100 range without any real mindblowing awesome part of their app that stood out - yet the Adcoms decided they were an amazing fit. They also shared stories of their undergraduate student friends who applied to YDS, HDS, Duke, etc with 3.7+ GPAs, GREs in the 1400+ and yet were denied.

But still, it goes without saying that if you meet or exceede the median stats for their student profile, you stand a far better chance than someone who is in the lower 25%. That said, you still stand a chance - half the job (if not more) of getting accepted into a school is selling yourself - Adcoms know their school is amazing, you're paying to apply, and if accepted, paying to attend. Spend some of your app telling them how you'll contribute to the school and make it a better community for everyone, show them what you have to offer and what unique experiences, points of view, etc that you have to contribute.

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GRE scores are not that important - at least that's my guess anyway. I did extremely TERRIBLE (trust me on this one)... minus the analytical writing part anyway. My professor (who also went to HDS, knows a lot of professors there, etc) told me not to worry about the GRE, either. However, I had to make sure the rest of my application was extremely - and I mean EXTREMELY strong.

I think what it all comes down to is FIT. HDS has to be right for you, and vice versa.

As for what I'm doing afterwards? I'm throwing myself back into application season and praying and praying that I get into Georgetown for their Religious Pluralism PhD.

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As far as Financial Aid - this is from the exit interview of the outgoing dean William Graham.

"we have developed unusually strong financial aid by Harvard standards. We support 90 percent or more of our students with at least half tuition and 70 percent of those with full tuition. Of those 70 percent, a number also receive stipends. I believe that 10 years ago, it was more like 30 percent of our students getting anything other than loans. We have been able to achieve this in part because we had good luck financially, and we managed to hang on to the same percentages through the economic crisis. We have not stepped back on our financial aid. It might be that we cannot sustain this forever, but I am hopeful that we can try.

A friend (MDiv) had full tuition and a 10K yearly stipend as a Harvard Presidential Scholar. She also mentioned that Harvard work study employment pays well - $17-18 an hour. They also fund summer programs, internships and travel.

Edited by pepper

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May I ask you all - who did your letter LoRs come from? Were they mostly religious studies/philosophy profs?

Two of mine were from professors from my Religious Studies undergrad, and one was from my English undergrad.

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