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Dear all,

Mille pardons if this topic appears more absurd than it should to seasoned Gradcafe members, but I would appreciate your advice on this matter. I am from Britain, and interested in Victorian literature (the George Eliot - Robert Browning - John Ruskin variety). I have have secured admission to the PhD in English at Rutgers (full funding with TA), as well to the Chicago MAPH program (half-funding). Judging by the MAPH-related posts on this forum, I guess it is somewhat silly of me to even pose the question, but I would like to make another bid for the Ivies / top 10 as it is the matter of a lifetime (completely obsessive and irrational, I know, but who doesn't?), and Chicago seems to offer a second chance.

Rutgers is great as far as 'fit' is concerned, but so is Chicago, which along with Johns Hopkins was my top choice. The MAPH program with its emphasis on literature and philosophy is really looking attractive to me. Further, its focus on creative writing (the pathway I hope to take, should I get in) does seem a great way to refine my interests and produce a better writing sample, as my current writing sample was rather staid and stolid, and based on a contemporary British 'neo-Victorianist' writer who isn't really studied in the US. I would really like to reapply with a better sample, along with better grades and more background in foreign languages (ah, if wishes were horses...).

Trouble is, I need to take a considerable amount of debt for Chicago, and would probably have to begin repaying the loan in six months after I graduate. My being an international student does not make things any easier. In this scenario, do you think it is feasible for me to try for Chicago? and current MAPH students/alumni, do you think the program helps students with placement opportunities that will help somewhat in repaying the loan as they prepare to reapply (though of course there is no guarantee of these matters)? I have been through the relevant program webpages and forums, but would really appreciate your feedback as I know next to nothing about how these things really work,

best,

M & S

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Firstly, congratulations on your awesome acceptances!

Secondly, I think I would ask yourself if the top 10 programs would really be a better fit for you than the ones you've already gotten into. You've acknowledged that you think both Chicago and Rutgers are a good fit for you, and they are very highly ranked programs themselves, and it is no small feat to be accepted into either of them.

My personal inclination is that taking on debt unless you absolutely have to isn't the best path to take when to comes to humanities PhDs, and I would be very, very cautious of doing so. There's no guarantee a second round of applications will get you into the top 10, and in the worst case scenario you could end up in debt and still not have any acceptances to places you'd want to attend.

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Just to reiterate what people have already said: the MAPH is so intense that even though it's only a year, you'd not have the time to put out really strong applications for the 2013 year, so the earliest you'd be able to reapply is 2014. Rutgers is a phenomenal school, you won't be taking on debt, and you can get started right away on your Ph.D. A professor of mine gave me the advice that it truly doesn't matter where you get your Ph.D. from, all that matters is that you got your Ph.D. Since you've stated Rutgers is a great fit, I'd go with that: there's no point in taking on tons of debt when you've got an admit at a terrific school in hand.

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To not take on a funded PhD offer from a department of Rutgers' caliber, in order to take on debt at a master's program that (fairly or not, I'm not making any judgment myself) has a contested reputation the way that MAPH does... seems a little crazy to me. Go to Rutgers.

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Dear all,

Mille pardons if this topic appears more absurd than it should to seasoned Gradcafe members, but I would appreciate your advice on this matter. I am from Britain, and interested in Victorian literature (the George Eliot - Robert Browning - John Ruskin variety). I have have secured admission to the PhD in English at Rutgers (full funding with TA), as well to the Chicago MAPH program (half-funding). Judging by the MAPH-related posts on this forum, I guess it is somewhat silly of me to even pose the question, but I would like to make another bid for the Ivies / top 10 as it is the matter of a lifetime (completely obsessive and irrational, I know, but who doesn't?), and Chicago seems to offer a second chance.

Rutgers is great as far as 'fit' is concerned, but so is Chicago, which along with Johns Hopkins was my top choice. The MAPH program with its emphasis on literature and philosophy is really looking attractive to me. Further, its focus on creative writing (the pathway I hope to take, should I get in) does seem a great way to refine my interests and produce a better writing sample, as my current writing sample was rather staid and stolid, and based on a contemporary British 'neo-Victorianist' writer who isn't really studied in the US. I would really like to reapply with a better sample, along with better grades and more background in foreign languages (ah, if wishes were horses...).

Trouble is, I need to take a considerable amount of debt for Chicago, and would probably have to begin repaying the loan in six months after I graduate. My being an international student does not make things any easier. In this scenario, do you think it is feasible for me to try for Chicago? and current MAPH students/alumni, do you think the program helps students with placement opportunities that will help somewhat in repaying the loan as they prepare to reapply (though of course there is no guarantee of these matters)? I have been through the relevant program webpages and forums, but would really appreciate your feedback as I know next to nothing about how these things really work,

best,

M & S

You're crazy if you don't go to Rutgers. Who gives a shit about the Ivies? I could understand your plight if you got into a very lowly ranked--or unranked-- school, and your decision was between that and MAPH at Chicago. But a funded spot at Rutgers? You realize that there is some sort of consortium between Rutgers and other local universities, meaning that you can take classes at Princeton, etc? EDIT: After a short google search, I discovered that this is indeed the case. You can enroll in courses at NYU, CUNY Graduate Center, Princeton, Columbia, etc.

Again: go to Rutgers.

Edited by Two Espressos

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M&S, maybe you should talk to some of the young Victorianists at Rutgers. Ask them what kind of programs they turned down to go there. I'm guessing Princeton and Cornell will come up a lot. I . . . can't think of a department with a better faculty in Victorian. I mean, congratulations, I'm pleased for you. But this is a bizarre question. Best of luck!

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Also, as far as philosophy goes, Rutgers has one of the top programs in philosophy in the country. Sure, the University of Chicago is up there too, but if Dr. Leiter's Philosophical Gourmet is to be trusted, Rutgers is second in English-speaking countries (read: ranked above every single Ivy; second only to NYU).

I'm unsure as to how the philosophy department/English department relations work out there, but I'd imagine that you could take many courses in the philosophy department if you so chose.

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Just as an addition to this thread, my friend (we were both in MAPH a year ago; I in Cinema and Media Studies and he in English) has been accepted to Johns Hopkins for English. He was also accepted to NYU. I'd encourage you to browse the many threads here on MAPH before you decide. If you can make use of it, MAPH will be a very, very good thing for your future.

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I love it.

We need to get a beer after the DGS calls with my official acceptance so I can finally laugh about all this madness and so we can plan our future awesomeness in NJ.

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Also, as far as philosophy goes, Rutgers has one of the top programs in philosophy in the country. Sure, the University of Chicago is up there too, but if Dr. Leiter's Philosophical Gourmet is to be trusted, Rutgers is second in English-speaking countries (read: ranked above every single Ivy; second only to NYU).

I'm unsure as to how the philosophy department/English department relations work out there, but I'd imagine that you could take many courses in the philosophy department if you so chose.

*ahem!* ixnay on the utgersray aisepray!

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We need to get a beer after the DGS calls with my official acceptance so I can finally laugh about all this madness and so we can plan our future awesomeness in NJ.

Sold.

M&S, you should by all means explore your other options, as Swagato suggests. I merely meant to encourage you not to overlook a school because its letterhead is less fancy.

And I hear you on Hopkins: I really like that department too. But they are hemorrhaging senior faculty right now. Not a good sign for a department, of, what, twelve? You should probably be grateful you didn't have to weigh an offer from them. Would have been very hard to say no, but the immediate future doesn't look bright.

Edited by hiphopanonymous

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I don't mean to scold. But I have to confess that the Ivy-centrism (and I guess near-Ivy centrism, considering UofC isn't one) is a bit grating. There are quite a few Ivy English departments that I would rank well below Rutgers, in my own little estimation. And for Victorian, I mean....

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I don't mean to scold. But I have to confess that the Ivy-centrism (and I guess near-Ivy centrism, considering UofC isn't one) is a bit grating. There are quite a few Ivy English departments that I would rank well below Rutgers, in my own little estimation. And for Victorian, I mean....

Amen. I might be being a little disingenuous here, but for my interests, I'd rather go to CUNY than Harvard.

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Full funding vs half funding - in my eyes the decision was made for you :) I, personally, would choose the better funding option.

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Chicago MAPH. :-|

Best response.

Loyalties to TripWillis aside, I have this to say:

As someone who got no PhD offers, AND no funded offers, I say take your funded PhD offer and stuff the ivies.

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Admittance and funding to Rutgers' PhD program is very impressive. A Chicago MAPH is less so, unless you are able to use it as a stepping stone to something more suited - because there's not much, if anything higher than Rutgers - which seems less than guaranteed (not to mention issues of considerable debt and annoying application time-frame).

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If this influences you at all, I sometimes forget Rutgers is not an """"official"""" Ivy, because it is so highly ranked. Go for Rutgers.

...And make sure there's a spot for Trip, of course ;)

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I agree with antecedent on this one; having received no offers of funding, I would KILL for Rutgers. Particularly for Victorian (which I applied for too), I think you'd be crazy to try for something "better." The Ivies ain't all they're cracked up to be :)

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Rutgers is an amazing program with excellent placement--better than many/most traditional "top 10" programs. (Take a look at most Ivy placements also; they haven't all been great in the last few years.)

And, fairly or not, depending on who is reviewing your application, a MAPH may hurt your chances at a good program unless you really, really kill the app dead. (See that professor's post on "overcoming" the MAPH.)

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I'm going to be going to Columbia (as a Victorianist), but I got accepted to both Chicago and Rutgers and can give some further thoughts on this. Rutgers is particularly great for Victorianists (and has a reputation as such), especially because they have a large number of faculty working on a variety of topics related to the 19th century. Moreover, there seems to be a very strong Victorianist community in the Northeast. Not only is there NVSA (Northeast Victorian Studies Association, which holds a yearly conference), but in the NYC area there's a Victorianist collective of students and faculty that holds meetings and get-togethers several times throughout the year, and CUNY has a monthly seminar on Victorian studies. There's also a Rutgers-Princeton Victorianist group, I think.

Chicago has a small handful of truly fantastic, renowned Victorianists, but you can't beat Rutgers for 19th century studies (maybe Columbia can beat them, but it's a close tie.

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B) (<--- sunglasses hoping you make the right choice)

May I just take this moment to say that I love the versatility of the sunglasses emoticon. We've all used it to express everything from apprehension to contentment to unbridled fear.

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