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So I've been having a crisis of a sort.

I'm going to accept my offer to study for an MA at Syracuse University, but I didn't get any TA-ships, and I'm not sure the scholarship numbers are going to be good either. I'm a little disappointed, as my last semester of undergrad has been my best yet; I've received and number of honors (a German writing prize, and was nominated to present my senior research at the end of the year), and I'm also finishing up a senior thesis involving theory. None of this really made it onto my initial application, so perhaps had I waited a year with a internship or two in tow, I could have been a MUCH stronger applicant.

Coming from a small institution, I'm somehow sure an MA would be beneficial to me; though I do have a good deal of student loan debt I'm concerned about. Yet, even without much scholarship Syracuse is a great deal less expensive than other, more "top-tier" schools that I probably would have been financially doomed at (even if I got in, I doubt I would be well funded).

Should I attempt to talk to the school about better scholarships, defer admission (I dread beginning loan payments without a better guarantee of a decent job- I doubt a BA will get me much) or re-apply to different schools next year? I mean, 96th percentile in analytic writing on my GRE has to count for something... I know I may be up against students from larger schools and bigger cities with more opportunities for internships and a wider range of courses, or professionals looking to go back to school, but I would like to think I'm not pursuing this for a "hobby" or anything.

I also do know that there's not a good guarantee of money in an academic profession, but I suppose I'm frustrated and worried that using this MA to get my PHD won't get me anywhere. I was really and truly excited to know I got into a program that looks decent, yet I suppose I'm having one of those "what if" moments.

I know it was long, but I'm wordy and can't help myself. What say you, more seasoned graduates? I would love input :)

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I feel very similarly. I am currently choosing between two private schools who do not offer me much money (and have extremely expensive tuitions) and two public schools that have policies about not funding MA (but are considerably, considerably lower than the first two.)

Just as my two cents, I think that there's nothing wrong with deferring entrance. It will give you a chance to get out in the real world, away from academia. You may get a better sense of what museums, galleries, or institutions are looking for, and what you really need to do to progress to the job you want (What kind of job do you want?). You can also re-apply to PhD programs, or apply to the Syracuse PhD program in that year with more life experience and a better sense of what you want to do in your research. Also, if you are accepted to more programs next year, you can use that and whatever money another school may offer you as leverage.

Although it is currently really close to the decision date, you should definitely contact Syracuse! Tell them about your awards, and drop some information about your thesis in conversation. Then ask about the financial situation. It can't hurt, and there's a chance they may reconsider your funding based on new information.

Fair warning though, MA Art History programs are often sparsely funded. Student debt is a serious consideration. This is a question that I've wanted to ask of the forum for a while- what kind of student debt is everyone in (roughly speaking)? Is that putting anyone off their dream graduate school? Also, is it true that private school Art History graduates make more money than public?

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