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What will you do if you don't get in?


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What's the plan for September if you don't get in? Do you have options or schools that you know you can attend, just maybe not first or second choice? Or do you have an alternate plan? Will you reapply next year? Or move on?

I don't really have any other academic options. I live where I live for family reasons and can't just pick up and move for another degree. I guess if I don't get in, I'll take a course as a special student and try again next year.

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If I don't get in, I plan to start working and paying off student loans. I also plan to take French/German at a local community college and study (again) for the GRE to bolster my CV.

 

And keep reading.

 

And praying.

 

 

All of this comes after the weeping of course.

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I already extended my masters by a year before I even applied for a PhD, so that option is out, but my generous, wonderful, can't-possibly-be-thanked-enough parents have offered to pay for me to continue to take Hebrew as a community student in whatever town I end up in. So I'll probably be working some completely irrelevant job to pay the bills and student loans, studying Hebrew, and equal parts re-preparing for the GRE and complaining about what a worthless indicator of academic ability it is. And then I try again. The thing about student loans is that they can be such excellent motivators. The thought of incurring that much debt only to stop pursuing the goal is just enough to get me to climb my way out of this pile of tissues to submit my applications (and myself) to this dreadful process all over again.

Edited by EndlessAshley
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If the funding packages don't come through for my two admittances, here's my plan:

 

1. Form personality cult

2. Start a mega church

3. ???????????

4. Profit!

 

Seriously, though, I'll probably either apply for a ThM/STM and re-apply next year, or I'll just pack it in and become a hospital chaplain/sometimes preaching minister. I've considered that career path in the past and I don't think it would be unfulfilling. 

Edited by Body Politics
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Not applying this season...but I have thought about this quite a bit for the (inevitable) failure of doctoral apps. I'll likely, at first, be a bit out of my mind, then once the storm settles I will begin again: study for the GRE, yet again, and teach for a year, perhaps, and of course cast lots to Dionysius, or whatever god I fancy at the time. Hopefully none of us have to go through any of this... 

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If I don't get the funding level I'm hoping for (I think I'll get in, $$ is the question), then I will probably spend the next year doing research and maybe working. I'm blessed in that my wife is finishing her nursing degree this term, which will (hopefully) allow me to quit my 10+ year career in which I am beyond miserable. I think the research I'm currently involved in will ensure my admittance for sure next year once we start publishing some of it. Only time will tell though.

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After a season of rejections, and perhaps after multiple seasons of rejections, at what point do you realize that maybe you aren't cut out for graduate school/academia?
Well doesn't it depend on the circumstances and the reason for your rejection? I mean if you only apply to a couple of really excellent programs, should you give up on the whole idea even though a lower ranked school might really want you? Or what if your first choices just aren't a fit? We've seen enough posts on here that suggest that one school's top candidate might be another school's first-round rejection. On the other hand, if after several tries, it's just not working out the way you hope, then perhaps it's time to move on... Honestly, I'll be shocked if I don't get into my program of choice for this September. But in November, I plan to apply for the doctoral program, and I expect that I will be rejected the first year I try. I also expect that I will be told to reapply and that I will probably get in the following year. Why? Because a few more classes (current references!) and an opportunity to write and maybe even publish will push my application from ok to excellent. I'm going to apply even though it's a long shot because I want the experience of the application process and I want my name on the radar for the doctoral program. As I've said before, I can't move for school so my options depend on one institution. Should I not apply for the doctoral program x2 just because my first (weaker) application is likely to get rejected?
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Cry. A lot. The kind of crying that makes you hiccup and shoot snot bubbles everywhere. And also drink myself into an oblivion.

 

Then I would attempt to start some kind of interfaith initiative of some sort - someway, somehow. If I can't do what I wanna do academically, then might as well do it on the ground.

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If it makes you feel better, for those of us that don't have a religious affiliation this truly is all we have. If I don't get into a doctoral program my options are 1. teach high school or 2. work at Walmart. I'm sort of joking...but then again...I'm not.  :D  :lol:  B)

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I've thought about this a lot. In fact, in all my ruminating (I work alone at my job, so there's plenty of time for it), I've written two letters to myself - one if I get accepted, one if I don't. The 'accepted' one reminds me to not fear and that if God is leading me there, He will give me the strength and will preserve me through it. But the denial one reminds me that it is a good thing I was not accepted. God knows what the final outcomes would be and whether the experience would possibly be detrimental to me and to my family. So if I'm not accepted I will:

 

1) Pray and praise God for His mercy and guidance.

 

2) Go ride my dirtbike. I haven't ridden much in the last year since I've been focused on preparing for grad school and finishing school with excellence. I'll go tear it up for a while and probably look at racing a bit this summer.

 

3) It's a real debate on whether I'll apply to another program (currently applied to two). Applications for my 'backup school' are accepted until May or June, so I put it off until I find out from my main two so I don't waste the app fee. :) 

 

4) ...But I'm not sure if I'll continue on right away. Over the last few months, I've come to the place where I will be perfectly content if I don't get accepted. First, I have full faith that God knows what's best for me a little more than I do. But if rejected, I have really considered the idea of just resting, stopping, and raising my boys with my full and complete attention, continuing to work my average job and performing scholarly research and work on my own. I could really use the time to continue all of the reading I want/need to do and continue the textual projects that I'm currently working on. Plus, I've got a couple really good starts on a couple books I'd like to finish. Just stopping and being content where I'm at would give me a great opportunity to do all these things I'd like to do. And if rejected, perhaps that's God's intent. If rejected, I will see it as a blessed redirection, nothing else.

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It's kind of fun to see the cross section of the pious and the impious gathered here in the Religion section of Grad Cafe. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with either (I'll leave that up to God). It's just interesting that, in the same thread, we've got people threatening to go on a nihilistic, Fear & Loathing-esque bender, as well as people saying they'll thank God for the rejection.

 

What a strange little community we have here.

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Last application season, I applied to 4 schools and was only accepted to 1. That 1, Catholic University, didn't offer me any funding, but encouraged me to try again. They said that I applied during a year of unusually high competition and unusually low funding. One of the professors said that he was "confident" that I'd get funded the second time around.  He said, "You clearly have the ability and the drive; now all you need is the money." Although I felt like giving up, his encouragement allowed me to continue. I retook the GREs, studied Latin (I was already fluent in French, so I decided to add another language to my CV), managed to get myself published (in a popular religious magazine, but whatever) and applied to 7 schools this time around. 

So far, I've only heard from McGill, and I got in there with some funding. Now I'm just hoping to hear some good things from the rest, but especially from Catholic, which is still my first choice.

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