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It's not weighting, just a +/- system. without the pluses, It's a 4.0 in both majors and a 3.9 overall (One B in honors calculus being the lone blemish). Thank you all for the help with the number of schools to apply to. Do any of you have any idea how getting my undergrad in 2 years would affect me?

 

I think that may depend on who's in your adcomm. One professor might see you being done in two years as a sign that you're focused and committed. Another might see that as a liability - that you've only had two years of work in history, so 1) you may not be as well prepared, and 2) you might jump ship because you haven't had as much time working with history.

 

I'm not sure if you need to address it directly in your SOP (someone else can weigh in on this?), but I think it's extra important that your LORs are glowing, and that in your SOP you present yourself as someone who's had experience in history, is well-prepared, and can add to the department.  Things you'd want to include in any SOP, I guess, but of extra importance here.

 

And this is just a bit of a pro tip from someone who started at sixteen (two years behind everyone, which is where you'd be in a PhD program) - everybody will automatically assume you did four years and that you're the same age, because the possibility of someone having finished college in two years and gone on to graduate school won't even have occurred to them. So don't let the age bit intimidate you (as it has for me), but don't advertise it, either - if people know or it comes up in conversation, that's one thing, but I find that if you keep that quiet, people won't label you in their heads as "SUPER YOUNG GRAD STUDENT" or whatever, which can be pretty counterproductive. I work as a writing tutor, and instead of being "that eighteen-year-old writing tutor," my supervisor instead thinks of me as "writing tutor, who happens to be eighteen," which is where you want to be.

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BTW, since I've enjoyed being part of this community for a number of years now I'd just like to celebrate.   As of this morning when my dissertation prospectus was signed off... i'm officially ABD. 

You haven't necessarily been waitlisted. At my (exceedingly middle-of-the-road) program, we divide the applicant pool into tranches. Last year, out of about 100 applicants, there were 70 or so who wer

I will defend my use of "office ladies".  It's a category in part because service jobs at universities are almost always done by women and to pretend otherwise is it's own form of othering.  In fact I

I remember talking to a prof this year about an applicant from my alma mater who emailed me to ask questions. The prof said they rejected this particular applicant because they were "just a baby, straight out of undergrad," and it showed in the application. Some of the top programs aren't admitting people without MAs partly for the same reason.

 

I would consider taking a gap year or two to get some life experience outside of school, given you'll be 20-21 when you finish your undergrad. Go teach English abroad for a year, join the Peace Corps, do something besides school. The "super young grad student" isn't just about how other students (or profs) might see you, but also about knowing yourself. Grad school will always be there, but you will gain a lot from doing other things... and besides, you won't have that opportunity after your PhD because you will need to find a job. A friend of mine started grad school without a M.A. but took a gap year to participate in a political campaign... and that experience was incredibly valuable.

 

Not to mention, if you have to TA and you're the same age (or younger) than your students, it will be difficult to establish authority. It's already hard enough just for being a "grad student."

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I remember talking to a prof this year about an applicant from my alma mater who emailed me to ask questions. The prof said they rejected this particular applicant because they were "just a baby, straight out of undergrad," and it showed in the application. Some of the top programs aren't admitting people without MAs partly for the same reason.

 

I would consider taking a gap year or two to get some life experience outside of school, given you'll be 20-21 when you finish your undergrad. Go teach English abroad for a year, join the Peace Corps, do something besides school. The "super young grad student" isn't just about how other students (or profs) might see you, but also about knowing yourself. Grad school will always be there, but you will gain a lot from doing other things... and besides, you won't have that opportunity after your PhD because you will need to find a job. A friend of mine started grad school without a M.A. but took a gap year to participate in a political campaign... and that experience was incredibly valuable.

 

Not to mention, if you have to TA and you're the same age (or younger) than your students, it will be difficult to establish authority. It's already hard enough just for being a "grad student."

 

Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't want to work with someone that rejects people out of hand with the justification "they were just a baby,  straight out of undergrad and it showed in the application." What does that even mean? Unless there was an applesauce stain on the application or something, it seems rather silly and anti-intellectual for an historian. The competition for people without MAs is admittedly more intense, but I wouldn't let that kind of logic deter you (meaning the Professor's, not CageFree, who is merely the messenger). I applied straight out of undergrad (and received acceptances to PhD programs), presumably because the graduate committee believed that based on their experience,  my undergraduate record and application package suggested I could grow into a good historian, even if my knowledge of the profession was different than someone applying with an MA. I really hope this is how most programs approach applicants without an MA, or else they should be honest and declare the real admission requirements. 

 

I also really would not worry about being a young TA. Might it cause some anxiety and minor problems? Possibly, but it's a terrible reason to consider not going (or delaying)  graduate school if someone is going to fund you. I dealt with it and can assure you that after the first midterm, the establishing authority thing isn't an issue. Once students realize that you can give them a D and the Professor is not going to change it, the problem  takes care of itself. 

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To clarify, what the professor meant was that the application wasn't strong enough to compete against other people who had a much better sense of who they were and why they wanted to go to grad school. Some undergrads don't realize what grad school is all about... they think it's more "going to classes." Not every applicant is intellectually mature enough to attend (and this can also be true even if you're 40). Hope that makes a little more sense.

 

It's great when people ARE ready to proceed straight through (and some people are) but having outside experiences (work, travel, additional education, volunteering) is incredibly valuable in developing a sense of self.  I simply offered a suggestion to consider the advantages of doing something nonacademic in order to be better rounded.

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I also really would not worry about being a young TA. Might it cause some anxiety and minor problems? Possibly, but it's a terrible reason to consider not going (or delaying)  graduate school if someone is going to fund you. I dealt with it and can assure you that after the first midterm, the establishing authority thing isn't an issue. Once students realize that you can give them a D and the Professor is not going to change it, the problem  takes care of itself. 

 

Maybe for you, it wasn't an issue. For other people it most definitely is. Undergrads can be quite dismissive of a person they see as "just another student" and thus devoid of authority. Maybe you're one of the lucky ones who's never had an undergrad try to go above you to get a prof to change a grade, or who think it's ok to be disrespectful, but I can assure you it absolutely does happen.

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I think what really matters isn't age, it's experience and maturity level.

 

I graduated high school two years early and after a gap year abroad went to college. The year was enough to normal up but I can easily say that without it I would have been extremely poorly adjusted and struggled big time in college. Of course, each person is different. Other advanced kids  might not have been as far behind in some important social areas (girls, responsible drinking) as I was coming out of high school -- or might have been able to ignore temptation once in college. I needed the year off to figure out how life worked. Without it I would have been a disaster freshman year.

 

For graduate school, and in particular regarding the professor above, I'd note that they said that the application reflected the age of the individual and that was the reason for rejection. Of course we'd find that statement rather shocking if it was "they come from [X minority community] and the application reflects [Y sterotype about X group]," meaning we're not as sensitive to agism as we are other forms of discrimination, but still, the rejection did not come based purely on age. I'm sure that, if you're really ready, it won't be an issue.

 

Finally, the real takeaway for me is this: what's the rush? Your extra two years are a gift. You can do Americorps or Peace Corps (though there might be an age floor on that one) or a million other things and gain experiences over a year or two that no other graduating 21 or 22 year old will have. I found that taking one year off was perfect -- lots of kids are a year ahead, and since you're two, you have the chance to be both a year ahead and ahead of all the other gifted kids in experience.

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Actually, this poses a good opportunity to shift to my favorite topic: me! I got rejected last cycle in part because I wasn't ready enough for graduate school -- despite the fact that I'm starting to push 30 (ugh). I spent long enough on a career that I had forgotten much of how academia works and that showed in my application. I came across, I believe, like a bit of a dilettante, rather than a serious student of history, and departments weren't willing to take a chance. I was advised to fix that, so that's what I've been working on.

 

I've spent the last month or so alternating days at the Library of Congress and coffee shops to produce what started as a revised writing sample from my master's American Studies thesis, but has developed into an all-new history paper that tours most of the key secondary historiography over the 30 years of the 40 year period of American history I want to study, as well as incorporating primary sources throughout, all while outlining the basic argument underlying the area I want to study over the long haul. My plan here is to show that I'm capable of doing both historiography and primary source research. I'm curious if you all think that's too ambitious, and I should focus on just primary source work. Right now it's about 2/3 secondary, 1/3 primary in footnotes.

 

Next week, I start a graduate course at one of the universities here in town on American History from 1945. It's from a full professor who does US domestic politics and policy in the same forty year window I'm looking at studying. He doesn't do much on foreign policy but it seems like a really solid match for an LOR anyway. I guess one issue with my application was that two of my LORs are from undergrad, which was 8 years ago now, one was from an adjunct, one was from a classicist, and the last was from my work. So hopefully I do a good job in this class and get a strong LOR there. Does anyone have any other suggestions on ways to try and snag a second LOR from a tenured historian that would have worked with me more recently?

 

Finally, I've been taking French classes, though I'm not going to be able to get up to fluency and it has very little to do with American domestic politics, they were a key voice on nuclear issues in Europe during the Cold War so it seems like it can't hurt, and plus it's great to start to understand "Je t'aime... moi non plus" so I feel good about that. And I joined three historical societies because I thought it looked cool on my CV. I'm really not sure that one was worth the money but that's the advantage of having been in the workforce I guess.

 

And then this fall I plan to do campus visits.

 

Oh, and for those who remember, I declined the law school offer. Everyone thinks I'm absolutely nuts, but I really want this history thing to work out.

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Actually, this poses a good opportunity to shift to my favorite topic: me! I got rejected last cycle in part because I wasn't ready enough for graduate school -- despite the fact that I'm starting to push 30 (ugh). I spent long enough on a career that I had forgotten much of how academia works and that showed in my application. I came across, I believe, like a bit of a dilettante, rather than a serious student of history, and departments weren't willing to take a chance. I was advised to fix that, so that's what I've been working on.

 

It's funny that you mention that because I had a similar issue with my earlier applications. I took had been out of academia for an extended period and forgot what it was like to be an academic. I kept working on them throughout the application season and not surprisingly, it was the last applications I submitted that were successful. I was looking through the SOP that I submitted to the programs with earlier deadlines and compared them to my last version (the one that got me into this program) and they really were a disaster. I'm embarrassed to have submitted what I did to a couple of programs.  :blink:

 

I will say though that while the time I spent away from academia made my applications weaker, it came in very handy as a graduate student. Not only do I have a good grasp of my work and study habits, but having taught various subjects exposed me to knowledge that I would have been sorely lacking at 23. 

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It's a bit shocking at times when I compare my first year of PhD at 27 and my first year of MA at 23.  I had to spend 2 years (as any very long time GC visitor knows) out doing various things.  While those years were miserable because I really wanted to be in academia so badly, they were a mixed blessing.  I've brought plenty of experience to the table in my program and professors and graduate colleagues appreciate them.  Overall, I feel more mature and able to handle the challenges of being a very young academic and academic politics better. 

 

I'd sometimes say to my PhD adviser, "I really did NOT know what I was doing"  and "I really did NOT do this kind of thing" when we discuss something relevant to my MA experience (we share graduate degrees from the same university and she knew the faculty and system to relate).  I'd shake my head in amazement how far I've come along in terms of being socialized into academia. Taking time off helps you break that "undergrad" mentality more effectively than going straight through and get you in the mindset that you ought to treat the faculty as colleagues, not authorities, and have them treat you like one, not an undergrad, within 2-3 years, not 6. 

 

I will make a point- money.  If you go straight to PhD, it'll be quite some time before you can have a taste of real money.  It's hard enough as it is as an undergraduate when you're dependent on  your parents and/or working your way through for at least 4 years.  Do you really want to live like that for another 5-8 years?  Do you really want to live close to poverty line for upwards of 12 years straight?  It's nice to be able to earn a little and life in comfort for a bit in between.  It's hard to take decent vacations on your own as a graduate student because various life and professional expenses come up ALL...THE...TIME.  Entering academia is not free.  At all.  It's essentially an exclusive social club that requires dues.  As someone said recently, "You're essentially trying to live like a middle class person without a middle class income."  I've got a colleague entering in her sixth year who is seriously itching to get out and "make real money like an adult."  She went straight into a PhD program with undergrad loans.

 

I'm not bitter as I manage my own budget carefully and take in pride the fact that I've done things that I wanted to do before entering in a PhD program like living in exciting cities in the US and Europe.  

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Yeah, Fall 2014 Applicants!  So glad someone got this started.  I have one year left in my (three year) MA program and am already fantasizing about where I'll be moving a year from now.  

 

I'm applying to phD programs at: Yale, Princeton, UW-Madison, U Toronto, U British Columbia and U Chicago.

My research field is late-nineteenth-, early-twentieth-century French history with a focus on urban culture in the interwar period.

 

Looking forward to sharing this nerve-wracking process with all of you!

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@TMP: is your transnational history program akin to other global & world history programs or does yours have an emphasis on what was once called "diplomatic history"?

 

@anyone else: Any Africanists out there this year?

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@oseirus

 

None of my fields relate to diplomatic history (though my dissertation does deal with it).  Remember, transnational doesn't necessarily mean diplomatic or military history.  You can go transnational in social history when you examine networks (social, economic, labor, activism, etc) and migrations.  My primary focus is naturally transnational in nature (though much of it has been Europe-centric).  I'm not really into world or global history though I do like to examine history through global perspective.

 

PM me if you have any more questions.

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Hey Guys,

 

      I recently just graduated this May with my BA in History. My cumulative GPA was a 3.38 and bad grades while I was a journalism major bought my GPA down. My senior year though I got a 3.7 and 3.8, respectively, and Dean's List twice. My junior year at my degree granting I got a 2.8 GPA (Journalism semester) and a 3.2 GPA thereafter. Before going to my degree granting university I received a cumulative GPA of 3.41 at a community college where I was a journalism major. I am also a part of Phi Alpha Theta (History Honors Society). What are my chances of getting into a Doctoral program?

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Hey Guys,

 

      I recently just graduated this May with my BA in History. My cumulative GPA was a 3.38 and bad grades while I was a journalism major bought my GPA down. My senior year though I got a 3.7 and 3.8, respectively, and Dean's List twice. My junior year at my degree granting I got a 2.8 GPA (Journalism semester) and a 3.2 GPA thereafter. Before going to my degree granting university I received a cumulative GPA of 3.41 at a community college where I was a journalism major. I am also a part of Phi Alpha Theta (History Honors Society). What are my chances of getting into a Doctoral program?

 

ronwill06- I would say it depends on the caliber of LORs you can get and how compelling your writing sample and SOP are.  That being said--and this is only anecdotal--a colleague of mine (MA program) was unable to get into any of the phD programs to which he applied (despite good LORs and a strong writing sample) due to a lackluster GPA and a pretty sparse CV (ie: no conference presentations, no published articles, no officer positions held, etc).  

 

I would talk to some of the professors in your department to get their advice, but its likely that you would benefit from an MA program first.  Two of my colleagues in the MA program had undergrad GPAs below 3.00 and they got into top 25 phD programs (UW-Madison and UChicago).  Without any other background info from you (ie: GRE scores, likely quality of your LORs, CV), it's difficult to say, but if you want to get into a top-tier phD program, its likely that an MA would make you a far more desirable candidate.  I think, as it stands, you may be limited in terms of the phD programs (and funding!) that you would be eligible for at this time.

 

Hope that helps.

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ronwill06, it might be tough to get accepted right into a Ph.D. program, with your gpa.  You might have to get into a MA program first.  I've known people to get accepted right into Ph.D. programs out of undergrad, but they usually have real high gpa's.  Have you presented at any conferences or anything?  Also do you have any programs in mind already that you are looking to apply to?

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Hey Guys,

 

      I recently just graduated this May with my BA in History. My cumulative GPA was a 3.38 and bad grades while I was a journalism major bought my GPA down. My senior year though I got a 3.7 and 3.8, respectively, and Dean's List twice. My junior year at my degree granting I got a 2.8 GPA (Journalism semester) and a 3.2 GPA thereafter. Before going to my degree granting university I received a cumulative GPA of 3.41 at a community college where I was a journalism major. I am also a part of Phi Alpha Theta (History Honors Society). What are my chances of getting into a Doctoral program?

 

I recently graduated with a cumulative GPA lower than yours (around 3.2 from my time at community college) and a GPA from my degree granting school of 3.87. I had a good verbal GRE (165) and a not so impressive quantitative (148). I did have really, really great letters of recommendation, a strong writing sample, a focused SOP, and a few conference presentations. I did not apply to any top PhD programs but did get into a few mid-tier PhD programs with funding. I ended up taking a fully funded MA at a well regarded flagship state school as a stepping stone to a better PhD program. I say apply to the PhD programs that are a good fit but, as others have suggested and as worked out for me, keep the MA in mind. Especially if you can get funding.

 

There is  nice list of funded MA programs here if you're interested:

Edited by Rogue856
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@oseirus

 

None of my fields relate to diplomatic history (though my dissertation does deal with it).  Remember, transnational doesn't necessarily mean diplomatic or military history.  You can go transnational in social history when you examine networks (social, economic, labor, activism, etc) and migrations.  My primary focus is naturally transnational in nature (though much of it has been Europe-centric).  I'm not really into world or global history though I do like to examine history through global perspective.

 

PM me if you have any more questions.

Thanks TMP!

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Ok....after a lot of soul searching. I have narrowed it down to eleven schools (not listed in any specific order) - 

 

1. UMich

2. UCLA

3. Berkeley

4. Brown

5. UWashington

6. UMD

7. OSU

8. USC

9. UCSD

10. UC Riverside

11. USC (American Studies program) 

 

My application includes: 3.74 GPA (I will spare everyone the story about that one. If you are curious as to why it so low, PM me); OK GREs (not a strong area, due to a learning disability); solid writing sample demonstrating my research interest, which is a pretty hot, up and coming topic in urban history; at least one or, if I am super lucky, two publications in peer reviewed graduate student journals (note that the one that might be published is from the professor that gave me the B, because he didn't like it); three to four conferences; good letters; and TA experience; and former archivist. As many of you know, I am currently in an MA program. I have an MLS with a GPA of 3.7 something. My undergrad GPA is 3.2 (I believe) and 3.4 in major. 

 

Any final thoughts or added suggestions? My main fear is that I am applying to so many highly ranked schools that I will be screwing myself. At the same time, I don't want to attend lower ranking schools due to the job market.

 

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Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't want to work with someone that rejects people out of hand with the justification "they were just a baby,  straight out of undergrad and it showed in the application." What does that even mean? Unless there was an applesauce stain on the application or something, it seems rather silly and anti-intellectual for an historian. 

 

I think there is a certain amount of maturity that can only come from age. Also, your perspective changes. I know I am a very different person at thirty-two than twenty-two. I've noticed this in my MA program where most of the students are in their mid-twenties. We did have a student who was only twenty years old in our program and, in my opinion, she was way too immature. She was extremely bright, but far more interested in talking about boys than history. She didn't see anything wrong with ditching classes to go on a trip to Vegas. Plus, I really think she found it strange being a TA since most of the students were exactly her age. She related to them almost too much. I know this isn't true for everyone, but the fact is that you are still a "baby adult" and you still need time to grow up a bit and really get to know yourself before making such a large commitment. 

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Ok....after a lot of soul searching. I have narrowed it down to eleven schools (not listed in any specific order) - 

 

1. UMich

2. UCLA

3. Berkeley

4. Brown

5. UWashington

6. UMD

7. OSU

8. USC

9. UCSD

10. UC Riverside

11. USC (American Studies program) 

 

My application includes: 3.74 GPA (I will spare everyone the story about that one. If you are curious as to why it so low, PM me); OK GREs (not a strong area, due to a learning disability); solid writing sample demonstrating my research interest, which is a pretty hot, up and coming topic in urban history; at least one or, if I am super lucky, two publications in peer reviewed graduate student journals (note that the one that might be published is from the professor that gave me the B, because he didn't like it); three to four conferences; good letters; and TA experience; and former archivist. As many of you know, I am currently in an MA program. I have an MLS with a GPA of 3.7 something. My undergrad GPA is 3.2 (I believe) and 3.4 in major. 

 

Any final thoughts or added suggestions? My main fear is that I am applying to so many highly ranked schools that I will be screwing myself. At the same time, I don't want to attend lower ranking schools due to the job market.

 

CrazyCatLady, I'm also coming from a CSU MA program with a relatively similar CV and will be applying to all top-tier programs for urban, cultural history (though my focus is European). Interestingly, we have no overlap in our program selections (I'm applying to: Yale, Princeton, UChicago, UW-Madison, UToronto, UBritish Columbia).  That being said, I have similar feelings in terms of the ultimate utility of a degree from a lower-ranked university and professionals in the field seem to agree, though there are also more reasons to aim high.  I was told by one professor to apply to MORE "reach schools" because, not only was she admitted to the ivies and rejected from the mid-tier state schools, but she knows that that is where the funding is.  I have had multiple professors echo such sentiments, adding to that comments on the state of the job market for humanities phDs, etc, etc.  Moreover, colleagues of mine that applied in the last two cycles were admitted to top 25ers like UChicago and UW-Madison and rejected by their "safety schools."  This is all anecdotal, of course.  But, as long as you've chosen schools that are a good research fit, that will help you grow as a scholar, I say go for it!

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I'm a fall 2015 applicant (as I've got a pesky anthropology degree to finish!) but I didn't think this warranted its own thread, so I hope it's okay if I ask this question here! Does anybody know much about Ohio State? I'm interested in modern women's history (US/Britain), and I really liked what I saw from the website - multiple faculty members I think I could work with/a good research fit, to start, but I also noticed what I thought was a "we're pretty low key/not super competitive" feeling from the department, which, if it's true in reality, really appeals to me. Is the department actually like that, or am I just projecting my ideal program onto them?

 

Thanks so much! Any other info on OSU would be fantastic too if you had it! 

 

(Edit - man, I'm at the top of the page again.)

Edited by greenwintermints
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I'm a fall 2015 applicant (as I've got a pesky anthropology degree to finish!) but I didn't think this warranted its own thread, so I hope it's okay if I ask this question here! Does anybody know much about Ohio State? I'm interested in modern women's history (US/Britain), and I really liked what I saw from the website - multiple faculty members I think I could work with/a good research fit, to start, but I also noticed what I thought was a "we're pretty low key/not super competitive" feeling from the department, which, if it's true in reality, really appeals to me. Is the department actually like that, or am I just projecting my ideal program onto them?

 

Thanks so much! Any other info on OSU would be fantastic too if you had it! 

 

(Edit - man, I'm at the top of the page again.)

Your best bet might be TMP

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I'm a fall 2015 applicant (as I've got a pesky anthropology degree to finish!) but I didn't think this warranted its own thread, so I hope it's okay if I ask this question here! Does anybody know much about Ohio State? I'm interested in modern women's history (US/Britain), and I really liked what I saw from the website - multiple faculty members I think I could work with/a good research fit, to start, but I also noticed what I thought was a "we're pretty low key/not super competitive" feeling from the department, which, if it's true in reality, really appeals to me. Is the department actually like that, or am I just projecting my ideal program onto them?   Thanks so much! Any other info on OSU would be fantastic too if you had it!    (Edit - man, I'm at the top of the page again.)
Greenwintermints- I can't really speak to the history program at OSU, though I did attend the university as an undergrad (graduated in 2005) and I can tell you that the campus, the community and the access to amenities are top rate. I do know that they have been elevating admissions standards over the last few years and would also encourage you to note that they are rated in the top 25 for graduate study of history in the US. So I think the assumption that admissions would not be competitive is a dangerous one.
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Greenwintermints- I can't really speak to the history program at OSU, though I did attend the university as an undergrad (graduated in 2005) and I can tell you that the campus, the community and the access to amenities are top rate. I do know that they have been elevating admissions standards over the last few years and would also encourage you to note that they are rated in the top 25 for graduate study of history in the US. So I think the assumption that admissions would not be competitive is a dangerous one.

 

Oh gosh, I completely understand that admissions are competitive, and I'm sure they'd be extra so at OSU! So that's not quite what I meant - I was more asking about the culture of the department itself once you got past admissions - they didn't seem super cutthroat, while still being a high quality department.  That's more what I was asking after, but thanks for the tip! 

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Oh gosh, I completely understand that admissions are competitive, and I'm sure they'd be extra so at OSU! So that's not quite what I meant - I was more asking about the culture of the department itself once you got past admissions - they didn't seem super cutthroat, while still being a high quality department.  That's more what I was asking after, but thanks for the tip! 

 

Oops, sorry. :)  It might be best to contact a current student to get some insight.  Most departments will profile grad students on their sites (field of study, email address, etc) and I've had great success with contacting them and getting candid, thoughful feedback.  Maybe give that a try?

 

Here is the link to the graduate student directory for OSU:http://history.osu.edu/directory/graduate.  Hope that is helpful.

Edited by jamc8383
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