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Non-Traditional Situation-Fall 2014 Inquiry


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So, I have a bit of a different situation and am hoping to apply for Fall 2014...so any input would be greatly appreciated.  Here's my LONG story:


I went to community college and didn't really know what I wanted to do, so I was a bit all over the map with classes and ended up finishing most of my generals there and then transferred to a small liberal arts college with around a 2.9.  Once I transferred I immediately chose Religion as my major and in my senior year also declared Philosophy as my second major, as it went well with Religion.  However, I did not really like what I was doing and therefore did not perform well as I had no real motivation for anything, grad school or otherwise, and its also not the brightest plan to overload with philosophy courses, as they are hard! :)  So, anyhoo, I graduated in 2011 with around a 2.93.  I knew I had no desire to pursue anything connected to my majors, and knew what I really wanted to do was Art History and HIstory and hopefully someday work at a museum.  This is what I've always wanted, and actually wanted to major in Art History initially but found the program to be too regimented, which would have taken me longer to complete my degree, as it is a very small program.  So, immediately after graduating I returned to my alma mater in the Fall of 2011 to add Art History and History to my already held BA.  I am currently still pursuing these and will be finished in the Spring of 2014.  Since I've returned I have gotten my GPA up to a 3.16, which will be higher by Spring 2014, and have made the Dean's List every semester since my return, and without factoring in the GPA I graduated with, I have kept up a 3.5 since my return.  


Now, my advisors have suggested that I have an interesting story and have improved my studies greatly, which will help when I apply to grad schools.  They also suggest that I stop looking at my GPA as a whole, which is hard to do, and just concentrate on the GPA I have kept up since my return.  I've also done two internships, one at a museum in Poland and the other at a museum in Ireland, and I know Art History is the field I really want to be in.


My Art HIstory advisor has suggested that I wait to apply to grad school until I complete my studies, rather than applying next Fall during my last year of study.  This seems like a good plan, as then my GPA will be a bit higher and I will hopefully have more experiences to put into my application.  However, I really want to start grad school in the Fall of 2014, as I am in my early 30's and am not getting any younger.  I really want to be able to have a chance at top programs, like Williams, and the dream...Courtauld.  But I'm not quite sure I'll even have a chance at those.  So, to be able to start in the Fall of 2014, I was thinking of applying to Trinity's Irish Art History program, as the application deadline isn't until April and I am actually interested in Irish art.  So, my question is: Is applying and possibly attending this program worth it, and would it be beneficial to start my grad schooling at Trinity, or possibly a UK school (as I'm thinking of applying to some programs in the UK that also have later application dates), and then apply to further grad programs...even possibly other Master's programs, like Williams and Courtauld, as well as some Ph.D programs.


Hope this all makes sense, sorry for the long story!  

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I'm not familiar with Trinity's program; is the application deadline this coming April for the Fall of 2014? Or for this coming Fall? If you are interested now in Irish art, then it sounds like a good idea. Keep in mind, however, that if their program is only Irish art, you will be stuck with it if you continue on to a PhD program. That will also be EXTREMELY limiting when it comes to curatorial work. (And I can't recall ever seeing a professor in a US program who works on Irish art, so you may end up "stuck" in Europe.)

Your advisor is right in telling you to focus on your art history grades. You have a compelling story (which you should explain in your Statement of Purpose) regarding your less than stellar grades, and you've had internships that show your passion for your new major. I think admissions committees will focus on your more recent grades.

If your goal is to curate, you will need a PhD, so although you are interested in the program at Williams, I would advise that you look into PhD programs as well. Apply to Williams, but also to PhD programs. And one thing you haven't mentioned is languages, which will be a major factor in your applications (in the US at least). You have a year and a half before Fall 2014, so work on getting one research language under your belt (German is your best bet, as most programs and curatorial positions will require it).

I was in a similar situation, starting my BA as a bio major and not being motivated, so I completely understand where you're coming from. PM me if you want to talk about more specifics. And good luck!!!

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Bearcat1, thanks for the reply!  I am actually taken German at school and French lessons outside of school.  I'm hoping to take Italian outside of school as well, as Italian Baroque is a real interest of mine.  Obviously I have lots of interests when it comes to art...Irish, Italian Baroque, Medieval, etc...  The application deadlines for Fall 2014 at Trinity and some UK schools is in April of 2014, so I figured if I got in, a years worth of further study couldn't hurt, rather than just taking it off...I also plan to apply for internships for that year as well.  Curatorial work is what I'm ultimately aiming for, but I figured even if I get a masters from Trinity or a UK school, I'd still apply to places like Williams and Courtauld after and then jump to a Ph.D program.  I was advised that jumping from a masters to a Ph.D program, or in this case, a masters to a masters to a PH.D, could be beneficial, as if I do well in the masters programs I could get into a better Ph.D program, as  I know top programs are needed for desirable museum positions.  I'm really trying to do everything I can to ensure I ultimately get into a top program, if that's possible.  Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it! :)

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With your language prep, I think you are well-situated. It is true that you may better position yourself for a top PhD program with an MA, but it is much more difficult to change your research focus from MA to PhD than from BA to MA/PhD. So, again, Trinity may be very limiting. (Is that an MA program or a BA? If it's a BA, disregard that last bit.) 


And you're so welcome, any time!!! I really do wish you the best of luck. It's nice to know that there is someone else out there who didn't know what they wanted to be when they grew up until later, like me.  :)

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