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Yeah, I think most of us are in the same boat: fairly unknown Bachelors program with little prestige, small MA, and big dreams. I don't think any of us would be applying if we didn't think we could hack it at the most prestigious schools, but know that the likelihood of getting into schools--no matter how much ass we kick--is small.

Remember: everyone on these boards is likely the Blair Waldorf of their school. (If you don't get the reference, do yourself a favor and watch Gossip Girl.)

 

I watched three hours of Gossip Girl last night to distract me from thesis writing. No. Shame. Blair Waldorf is the greatest. 

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I just got a phone call from Tufts University! First acceptance. Beyond excited.

I'm reading this thread and seeing your stories and concerns, and they transport me back six years ago, when I first applied to graduate school. I applied to graduate school right out of my undergrad.

I just got into Syracuse's MA! Holy shit. Weight lifted.   Funding info to come, but they try to fund everyone. Woooo!

As far as late letter-writers go, any extra worry given to that would be superfluous. Most programs explicitly state on their website that they allow a little leeway for submission of items that are largely out of your control (LOR, test scores, transcripts). even if they don't I've found that reaching out to these programs usually causes any fretting to dissipate. Most DGS's or secretaries I've reached out to have been very forthcoming about the fact that there is always room for a little gray area as far as deadlines are concerned, at least with the items that you have to rely on other people to turn in.

Seconded. I spoke with a couple of programs (one of my LOR was over two weeks late to 4 programs) about secondary materials and they mostly care that they've gotten the letters/scores/etc with some time to spare before the committee begins meeting. As long as it says they've received your LOR you should be ok. I have a friend who was accepted with funding to a program that hadn't received one of his LOR.

Edited by shortstack51
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Seconded. I spoke with a couple of programs (one of my LOR was over two weeks late to 4 programs) about secondary materials and they mostly care that they've gotten the letters/scores/etc with some time to spare before the committee begins meeting. As long as it says they've received your LOR you should be ok. I have a friend who was accepted with funding to a program that hadn't received one of his LOR.

 

That happened to me with my MA program- they just asked that I reminded my LOR writer to send his before I officially accepted the offer. I think they might be more lenient than they let on, at least when it comes to things we can't control.

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I'm honestly worried more than anything about my GRE scores affecting my shots at a PhD program. Is this worry justified or should I try to shut down that particular part of my neuroticism?

 

I've heard both ways about that--mostly, the consensus seems to be as follows: really good scores look really good and bad scores look bad. I've heard that anything 80th percentile and up is a "safe" score and that most schools don't have an issue with scores after that point, but I've also read of people in the 70th percentile getting into solid universities. 

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I've heard both ways about that--mostly, the consensus seems to be as follows: really good scores look really good and bad scores look bad. I've heard that anything 80th percentile and up is a "safe" score and that most schools don't have an issue with scores after that point, but I've also read of people in the 70th percentile getting into solid universities.

Oh great. I'm high 80th in verbal. Glad to hear that, I was worried since I had heard so much about 90th percentile marks.

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I'm honestly worried more than anything about my GRE scores affecting my shots at a PhD program. Is this worry justified or should I try to shut down that particular part of my neuroticism?

 

I don't know what your scores are, but I honestly doubt it. If your actual application is good, they're probably not gonna care.

I checked a lot of the scores some people fill in on the results page. Some are rejected with a verbal 170 and others are accepted with 154. Good scores can't hurt I guess but mediocre ones are hopefully not gonna kill your application. But I guess, as with all things, it depends on the departments, yada, yada.

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As a side note, I'm feeling an overwhelming urge to poke schools.  Several notified last year at the equivalent of last week.  Where are they this year... come on, people.  Grad students wanna know.

 

As for the scores, I think you're alright if your application is solid.  As much as you can, try not to worry.  I know it's ridiculously hard, but at this point, you can't change them.  So fretting only makes the anxiety worse.

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I honestly hate the general GRE system. I really don't understand what it tells schools that our writing samples couldn't. I mean, a researched paper would include abilities to read, understand, and utilize secondary sources within our own well-formed argument. Which is pretty much what the GRE tests for verbal and writing. I mean, I know very few schools that care about the math unless calculated into an overall 310 and up figure. 

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If it makes you feel better, my combined in only 304. I scored in the 91st percentile for verbal, but my math score was abysmal. (11th percentile) because I was told that they don't care about the math. I was still encouraged to apply to the top 20s. (We'll find out if that was ill-advised.)

 
 
Edited by JuliaSug
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It really depends on the school. I've heard there are top 10 school that won't accept anything below 650 subject and 85th percentile verbal (like they won't spend much time with the rest of the app). There are also top 10 schools who will allow some wiggle room if the rest of the app is solid. I'm doing my MA at a top 50 school and there are people in the PhD program whose scores were low (like 30th percentile for the subject test).

There are schools who go out of their way to state that they don't think the GRE is a very good indicator of scholarly abilities.

Tl;dr It depends on the school. Your advisor/professional development person should be able to indicate which ones might have an issue.

Edited by shortstack51
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I did have an abysmal subject score, but only two schools I applied to asked for it so I'm not that concerned. I also applied to some top 20s, but I did try to be more broad than that and applied through the 60s (seems like I got the same advice as you, Julia). Probably should have applied further down the rankings too, but I am very relieved to know that my combined General score being one point shy of 310 doesn't have as much potential to hurt me as I thought.

Edited by despejado
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Omg, the subject score...I didn't want to submit it to the schools that did require it, it was so bad. Then again, I found it weird that my test had latin on it, but w/e.

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Omg, the subject score...I didn't want to submit it to the schools that did require it, it was so bad. Then again, I found it weird that my test had latin on it, but w/e.

Haha I didn't want to either! Especially to Texas, which requires something specific like a 650. It definitely rocked me, so I purposely chose to only apply to two schools that required it.

Edited by despejado
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My verbal score was pretty good, as was my analytical score. My math was terrible though hehe. Ohio State still accepted me anyway :D. From what I've heard, the SOP and writing sample tend to count for more than the GRE except at that the schools that have really firm cutoff points.

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I wrote a brand-new paper. one that accurately reflected my research interests and how I represented myself in my SOP. 

 

I did the same thing--or at least, tried to. Who knows how it comes across. I ended up kicking myself though because I wanted to turn it into a thesis chapter...and then changed the scope of that chapter just a few days ago. 

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I did the same thing--or at least, tried to. Who knows how it comes across. I ended up kicking myself though because I wanted to turn it into a thesis chapter...and then changed the scope of that chapter just a few days ago.

Oh wow.. I don't know how you guys did that. I had a hard enough time editing and adding to an old paper (which I also feels reflects my interests at least decently well), I seriously doubt I could have handled writing a whole new piece.

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Oh wow.. I don't know how you guys did that. I had a hard enough time editing and adding to an old paper (which I also feels reflects my interests at least decently well), I seriously doubt I could have handled writing a whole new piece.

 

I'm a sprinter when it comes to writing--I typically need about ten hours, a lot of coffee, and Bon Iver on Spotify and I can churn out a 20 pager pretty easily. After that, it's just editing, polishing, and expanding here and there. I know most people don't work that way though. I just didn't have a writing piece that I both loved and felt represented my interests. I'm a Medievalist and my favorite writing sample is on trauma, 9/11, and a Jonathan Safran Foer book. It didn't mesh well. 

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I feel the same way. Editing something old took everything out of me--I don't think I could have withstood putting something new together.

 

Not to mention that my WS, from start to finish, went through about a year and a half of drafting.  I could not have survived that again--I'm getting tired just thinking about it.

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