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My brain pulled a lobe and I need intelligent feedback


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OK, So here it is:

The situation: I graduated with honors from a state university in 2005. I transferred into that university after drinking myself out of another university in 2001. The drinking and what not coincided with a number of family crises that are neither here nor there. Bottom line is that it was 8 years ago. I graduated with a 3.7 GPA in my English courses.

I've been a high school teacher for the last four years. I've done well. I aced the Praxis 2 content exam (one point off a perfect score and got some award from ETS). I've won a curriculum award for a Shakespeare unit. I've participated in a selective program at the Folger Library where I got to research in the Folger reading room.

I feel that I have a very strong writing sample and excellent recommendations, but my GRE general was relatively low (590). I took it in December, and didn't have time to take it again.

I applied to three programs: Delaware, Villanova and St. Bonaventure. I was rejected from Delaware within two weeks of the deadline (which was depressing, as one of my recommenders was their own professor emeritus of Shakespeare). I was accepted to Bonaventure within two weeks of the deadline, but I have not received word yet on the fellowship I applied for (half tuition and stipend). I've heard nothing from Villanova.

Here's my pickle: I'm assuming that I won't get into Villanova (at the very least, not with funding). What would be my better option: Getting the masters at Bonaventure (4.0ing through the two years to show a current track record of success), or staying in the high school for another year, re-taking the GRE and sending out a wider swath of applications next year? The Bonaventure program looks solid on their website, but I don't know anyone who has gone through it. Any feedback/advice?

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Are you looking to get the MA to continue teaching high school, or are you thinking of going on the the PhD and becoming an Acedemic?

I would think reputation wouldn't matter as much and a good, solid program you enjoy -- with some funding is pretty awesome. I don't think many programs offer support on the MA level.

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I would be looking to continue on to PhD track. As for debt vs. money, I wouldn't be teaching at all if I were overly concerned with making it rich. I want to be happy. Working on a higher level and doing research on Shakespeare makes me happy. Teaching at the high school level, I encounter too many students who couldn't care less, and I don't get the time to do any serious research. It's academically, socially and spiritually draining. I want to go academic-career track, but I'm unsure if Bonaventure or waiting another year will be the best way to accomplish that goal.

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I write this as I grade freshman comp papers and my soul is quickly draining: all teaching sucks your soul, I think. That said, there is a different kind of apathy encountered in teaching higher ed, so I get what you're saying.

I would talk to the Bonaventure people (didn't Thomas Merton teach there?) and ask them how their placement is into PhD programs. Where do their students go? Are they all just teachers dabbling in higher degrees or serious people who go onto great programs? Then, try to talk to someone in the program and ask them the same thing.

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Has anyone been rejected from Villanova? I see that at least three got acceptance e-mails today. I got no e-mail of any sort. Does than lean more towards rejection or waitlist?

I've been e-mailing with Delaware (which was my top choice- old professors of mine RAVED about their program), and their DGS has offered to discuss the broad strokes of my application over the phone next week. I think I am going to hold all decisions until after that conversation.

I've decided that if I don't get into Villanova and I don't get/don't accept the fellowship to Bonaventure, I will participate in the UNH Cambridge program (http://www.unh.edu/cambridge/) this summer. Not only does it look like a hell of a lot of fun, but it might look good on the resume as well, and I can absorb the $$ hit if I teach again next year.

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booksareneat said:
I write this as I grade freshman comp papers and my soul is quickly draining: all teaching sucks your soul, I think. That said, there is a different kind of apathy encountered in teaching higher ed, so I get what you're saying.

I would talk to the Bonaventure people (didn't Thomas Merton teach there?) and ask them how their placement is into PhD programs. Where do their students go? Are they all just teachers dabbling in higher degrees or serious people who go onto great programs? Then, try to talk to someone in the program and ask them the same thing.

I did this, and got an e-mail with this list:

"Here are the programs St. Bonaventure M.A. graduates have been accepted at over the past three years:

West Virginia University

University of Northern Illinois

Marquette University

IUP

SUNY Albany (MLS)

University of Maryland (MLS)

North Carolina at Chapel Hill (MLS)

University of Southern Mississippi

Bowling Green University

University of Rochester

Multiple St. Bonaventure M.A. grads have been accepted at several of these schools. We have a 79% acceptance rate for students who want to enter Ph.D. programs; for the past two years, that rate has been 89%. A number of our students have chosen to pursue teaching positions at the four-year college, community college, or private high school level following the M.A., and 100% of those students have found positions of the type they sought."

Some decent names on that list, but some blah ones as well (I know from experience that IUP is garbage, and, while Bowling Green isn't bad, their PhD program is a rhetoric rather than Literature track).

The DGS said that Fellowship decisions will be made tomorrow and I should know about that soon. Once I know about the status of the fellowship, and the status of my Villanova app, I can make a decision (if the decision isn't already made for me- ie: no fellowship and no Villanova).

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