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In at UPenn. I'm at a loss for words. I'm hoping everyone else who has been shut out so far receives some good news soon (hopefully a few more today who also get into Penn).

That was me.   I've applied for 4 rounds.   Finally.

So... you are waitlisted at two schools that you'd seriously consider. You are likely not to find out to the last minute (i.e. April 12-15). Is it wrong to ask to visit a school you are waitlisted at... and by ask, I mean politely demand? I love one of the programs I am already into and I need to visit these schools and meet the faculty before I make an educated decision. Thoughts?

 

I visited the school that I was waitlist at, as it is my top choice. I have been waiting on pins and needles in the weeks since then hoping and praying that I get in, because it was much more than my wildest dreams could have hoped. Definitely go, as you need that information when weighing it with your other choices if you do get in. 

That being said, if you (and I) don't get in, it might make the crash of feelings that much worse if you loved the program even more after visit day. 

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Not to keep adding fuel to this particular fire (though, I suppose I am), but I'm finding myself in this situation right now.  I could take a lesser offer after getting 9 demoralizing rejections, but I'd be doing so with the idea that I would at least attempt to apply elsewhere next year.  I'd be content (even excited) to finish my degree at the first institution, I wouldn't move across the country if that wasn't the case.  However, it seems self-defeating and needlessly loyal to not at least attempt to better position myself for an academic job later on.  

 

Now, the alternative is to sit around for a year and take the risk of not getting in anywhere again.  But I then lose yet another year with no guarantee that I'll get in somewhere.  The idea of taking a fellowship for a year and jumping ship does seem somewhat jerkish, but I'm not sure it ought to.  I mean, my 'punishment' as it were, would be to essentially repeat a year of grad school since anywhere I'd apply to probably would be unlikely to accept transfer credits.  And if I don't get into a really choice program that would be both better from a prospective job perspective as well as a better fit, then that's cool too.  

 

Plus, the 'dilemma' presented on these forums seems to assume too much with regards to how much professors really care about their advisees - especially before the ABD phase.  I've been in two master's programs and my general take away is that professors are only willing to invest so much time in students and away from their more pressing concerns (research, etc.).  Surely this is different in the latter stages of a PhD program, given that grad students become more of an investment than in MA degree-mills.  Yet, from their perspective, you probably aren't worth much effort until they can be reasonably certain you won't simply wash out (or transfer out).  

Edited by Chamberlain25
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Not to keep adding fuel to this particular fire (though, I suppose I am), but I'm finding myself in this situation right now.  I could take a lesser offer after getting 9 demoralizing rejections, but I'd be doing so with the idea that I would at least attempt to apply elsewhere next year.  I'd be content (even excited) to finish my degree at the first institution, I wouldn't move across the country if that wasn't the case.  However, it seems self-defeating and needlessly loyal to not at least attempt to better position myself for an academic job later on.  

 

Now, the alternative is to sit around for a year and take the risk of not getting in anywhere again.  But I then lose yet another year with no guarantee that I'll get in somewhere.  The idea of taking a fellowship for a year and jumping ship does seem somewhat jerkish, but I'm not sure it ought to.  I mean, my 'punishment' as it were, would be to essentially repeat a year of grad school since anywhere I'd apply to probably would be unlikely to accept transfer credits.  And if I don't get into a really choice program that would be both better from a prospective job perspective as well as a better fit, then that's cool too.  

 

Plus, the 'dilemma' presented on these forums seems to assume too much with regards to how much professors really care about their advisees - especially before the ABD phase.  I've been in two master's programs and my general take away is that professors are only willing to invest so much time in students and away from their more pressing concerns (research, etc.).  Surely this is different in the latter stages of a PhD program, given that grad students become more of an investment than in MA degree-mills.  Yet, from their perspective, you probably aren't worth much effort until they can be reasonably certain you won't simply wash out (or transfer out).  

 

A couple things...

 

1.) Why did you apply somewhere you wouldn't be happy completing your Ph.D.? I mean this seriously and friendly. I can 100% understand having second thoughts about somewhere you applied, but is there something seriously disconcerting about them? Have they never had an academic placement?

 

2.) Of course, it is in your interest and any programs' interest for you to be somewhere where you'll be happy and best set up for success. There's nothing wrong with accepting an offer now and looking elsewhere in the meantime, in case it so happens that you'd better fit and be better served elsewhere. I'd encourage you to keep an open mind, though.

 

3.) There's a difference, I think, between MA-degree mills and funded Ph.D. programs. What Ph.D. student is likely to move on to candidacy who has felt nothing but apathy from potential (who should be actual) advisers? It's in the professor's interest to invest in the funded MA, likely Ph.D. student, so that they remain in the program to begin with (and not - like you yourself may consider - transfer or drop out). Attrition affects rankings, which affects the pedigree of the professors' job. In MA programs that are designed mainly for income reasons, a one or two year program is less likely to face the potential attrition problems of a 5-7 year Ph.D. program, and thus would require less investment from the professors. Or does someone else think otherwise?

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Well personally, I don't see any reason why professors should invest a lot of time outside of ABD students. All things remaining equal, MA students typically aren't the top students nor do they have the methodological training required to actually conduct substantial research designs. Not saying MA theses are bad or anything, but when you compare a MA thesis and a dissertation, the difference is night and day. In fact, some of the best undergrads write better theses than average MA students. Lastly, MA theses by nature aren't meant to push methods in the field of political science.

 

On the other hand, ABD students have the methodological background and ability to actually push the boundaries of the field. This is where advising actually takes a substantially important role, because advisers can share their expertise and criticism skills to substantially improve a piece of work that is worthy of that time.

 

I just think the opportunity cost is too high for professors to devout a substantial amount of time to mentoring/advising MA or pre-ABD students. Besides, the vast majority of time spent by the students at these stages are taking classes, not conducing research.

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A couple things...

 

1.) Why did you apply somewhere you wouldn't be happy completing your Ph.D.? I mean this seriously and friendly. I can 100% understand having second thoughts about somewhere you applied, but is there something seriously disconcerting about them? Have they never had an academic placement?

 

 

Well, like I said, I'd be happy to complete my PhD at this program - it's an exciting opportunity in many ways.  Not to mention, unlike anywhere else, they seem to really want me.  The program is just not highly ranked; and their placements are good if you take that into consideration but certainly not at the level of a top 10 school.  Consequently, I simply think that it would be in my best interest to attempt to apply again to some of those higher ranked programs that a) I believe I might fit better at; and b ) have demonstrably higher/better placement histories.  However, it's not a guarantee that I'll be able to get into those programs and, if not, I would just complete my PhD where I'm at.  It's not a cynical decision, it's just an honest one.  I don't think anyone who got into a program ranked 20+ would necessarily pass up the opportunity to go to a HYPS-level program, except in very idiosyncratic circumstances - i.e. you're already working with your dream advisor.  Or maybe that's just me.  The TT job market already seems like such a huge risk - even with a top 10 PhD - that I owe it to my future self to attend the best program that I can get into that best suits my interests.  Essentially I just want to reserve the right to try if I feel I ought to in a year, and I think that's fair.    

 

With regards to PhD vs. Master's advisors, I agree with what's been said.  There are surely good reasons why MA students shouldn't expect anywhere near the same attention as PhD students.  That said, my point was that a first year PhD student probably doesn't rate much higher- and shouldn't expect to.  Accordingly, I don't see it as some huge betrayal and waste of my future advisor's time to transfer at such an early stage.  It's simply the student doing what's best for themselves at a stage in their development that is justifiably (in my eyes) individually-focused.  

Edited by Chamberlain25
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Well, like I said, I'd be happy to complete my PhD at this program - it's an exciting opportunity in many ways.  Not to mention, unlike anywhere else, they seem to really want me.  The program is just not highly ranked; and their placements are good if you take that into consideration but certainly not at the level of a top 10 school.  Consequently, I simply think that it would be in my best interest to attempt to apply again to some of those higher ranked programs that a) I believe I might fit better at; and b ) have demonstrably higher/better placement histories.  However, it's not a guarantee that I'll be able to get into those programs and, if not, I would just complete my PhD where I'm at.  It's not a cynical decision, it's just an honest one.  I don't think anyone who got into a program ranked 20+ would necessarily pass up the opportunity to go to a HYPS-level program, except in very idiosyncratic circumstances - i.e. you're already working with your dream advisor.  Or maybe that's just me.  The TT job market already seems like such a huge risk - even with a top 10 PhD - that I owe it to my future self to attend the best program that I can get into that best suits my interests.  Essentially I just want to reserve the right to try if I feel I ought to in a year, and I think that's fair.    

 

With regards to PhD vs. Master's advisors, I agree with what's been said.  There are surely good reasons why MA students shouldn't expect anywhere near the same attention as PhD students.  That said, my point was that a first year PhD student probably doesn't rate much higher- and shouldn't expect to.  Accordingly, I don't see it as some huge betrayal and waste of my future advisor's time to transfer at such an early stage.  It's simply the student doing what's best for themselves at a stage in their development that is justifiably (in my eyes) individually-focused.  

 

I did precisely what you are considering. My first round of applications was not very successful. One acceptance off the waitlist at a school ranked 25+. I accepted the place because being somewhere was better than being nowhere. I retook the GRE over the summer before I started grad school, reapplied in the fall, and now am at a top 10.

 

You need to think about what is best for you in the long term, given your academic goals. The market is tough. I knew if I stayed at my original program, I was going to struggle to get a job. Even now, being at a top 10, the market is still going to be tough, but I'm in a better position. I'm getting much better training and my interests are a better fit.

 

I wouldn't worry too much about betraying any future advisor by leaving. First, it's not uncommon for a student or two to leave the program, for whatever reason, after one year. Second, most faculty are not going to invest heavily in a first year student...it's not like the sciences where you are working in their lab for them. In fact, when I told my assigned advisor at my old program that I had been accepted to a top ten and would be leaving he was super supportive. (I hadn't told him about my applications until I got the acceptance).

Edited by Cicero
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Well personally, I don't see any reason why professors should invest a lot of time outside of ABD students. All things remaining equal, MA students typically aren't the top students nor do they have the methodological training required to actually conduct substantial research designs. Not saying MA theses are bad or anything, but when you compare a MA thesis and a dissertation, the difference is night and day. In fact, some of the best undergrads write better theses than average MA students. Lastly, MA theses by nature aren't meant to push methods in the field of political science.

 

On the other hand, ABD students have the methodological background and ability to actually push the boundaries of the field. This is where advising actually takes a substantially important role, because advisers can share their expertise and criticism skills to substantially improve a piece of work that is worthy of that time.

 

I just think the opportunity cost is too high for professors to devout a substantial amount of time to mentoring/advising MA or pre-ABD students. Besides, the vast majority of time spent by the students at these stages are taking classes, not conducing research.

 

Sure, but that's no reason, maybe outside of the top-10, for faculty to ignore their future ABDs. The opportunity cost? They stand to lose a lot if their program slips in the rankings because of bad attrition and discontent MA students (who, even if they move on to ABD level, may not perform as well as they otherwise might have because of bad advisement until their 3rd or 4th years). Absolutely the ABD deserve and need more attention.

 

Well, like I said, I'd be happy to complete my PhD at this program - it's an exciting opportunity in many ways.  Not to mention, unlike anywhere else, they seem to really want me.  The program is just not highly ranked; and their placements are good if you take that into consideration but certainly not at the level of a top 10 school.  Consequently, I simply think that it would be in my best interest to attempt to apply again to some of those higher ranked programs that a) I believe I might fit better at; and b ) have demonstrably higher/better placement histories.  However, it's not a guarantee that I'll be able to get into those programs and, if not, I would just complete my PhD where I'm at.  It's not a cynical decision, it's just an honest one.  I don't think anyone who got into a program ranked 20+ would necessarily pass up the opportunity to go to a HYPS-level program, except in very idiosyncratic circumstances - i.e. you're already working with your dream advisor.  Or maybe that's just me.  The TT job market already seems like such a huge risk - even with a top 10 PhD - that I owe it to my future self to attend the best program that I can get into that best suits my interests.  Essentially I just want to reserve the right to try if I feel I ought to in a year, and I think that's fair.    

 

With regards to PhD vs. Master's advisors, I agree with what's been said.  There are surely good reasons why MA students shouldn't expect anywhere near the same attention as PhD students.  That said, my point was that a first year PhD student probably doesn't rate much higher- and shouldn't expect to.  Accordingly, I don't see it as some huge betrayal and waste of my future advisor's time to transfer at such an early stage.  It's simply the student doing what's best for themselves at a stage in their development that is justifiably (in my eyes) individually-focused.  

 

I don't think it's cynical, I was just problematizing it. You seem to have a good idea of what you want and how to do this. If I were in your shoes and wanted the same things as you, I'd probably accept the current offer and take it from there, rather than wait and cross my fingers that I end up somewhere in the following year.

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Sure, but that's no reason, maybe outside of the top-10, for faculty to ignore their future ABDs. The opportunity cost? They stand to lose a lot if their program slips in the rankings because of bad attrition and discontent MA students (who, even if they move on to ABD level, may not perform as well as they otherwise might have because of bad advisement until their 3rd or 4th years). Absolutely the ABD deserve and need more attention.

 

I don't disagree with this. I think of course professors should devout time to all students, ie. being welcoming during office hours or outside of it, willing to go through material again to understand it fully, give advice when asked, ect. But I think these are just normal duties of professors for any students, whether undergrad or Ph.D.

 

That being said, to expect any more than that is kind of foolhardy. Of course, some profs are just much more supportive of their students, but many are not. Depends on the situation.

 

I also think an important factor is developing relationships with profs. The better your relationship with professors, the more they are willing to help; at least that has been my experience. If you show you are a hardworking, interested, and driven student, then your mentor ship from them will be greater.

 

------

 

Regarding the transfer thing: I don't think it as big of a deal as people make it out to be. Leaving after a year to go to a program that is a better fit and is better ranked isn't going to rustle too many feathers, if any at all.

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I did. I was stuck between American and George Washington. Decided on American!

All of my offers are fully funded, but they vary greatly in amount. Trying to decide whether to go for a fully funded great fit or for an even better funding package with less "fit." 

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All of my offers are fully funded, but they vary greatly in amount. Trying to decide whether to go for a fully funded great fit or for an even better funding package with less "fit."

I might go for the better fit. If you feel the better fit better prepares you for the job market, taking the small pay cut over 5 years for a better long-term outcome might be worth it.

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All of my offers are fully funded, but they vary greatly in amount. Trying to decide whether to go for a fully funded great fit or for an even better funding package with less "fit." 

I picked best fit, which then agreed to become best funded. Of course, I had schools of, "No way in Hell"; "I could do this" and finally, "Yes. This is where I'm going." So my visits made it easy. Again, the one I decided, "Yes, absolutely," also directly asked me, "Did any other department offer more money?" after I had already decided. I'm pleased to say the least.

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I picked best fit, which then agreed to become best funded. Of course, I had schools of, "No way in Hell"; "I could do this" and finally, "Yes. This is where I'm going." So my visits made it easy. Again, the one I decided, "Yes, absolutely," also directly asked me, "Did any other department offer more money?" after I had already decided. I'm pleased to say the least.

 

Okay....  Where are you going?

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I might go for the better fit. If you feel the better fit better prepares you for the job market, taking the small pay cut over 5 years for a better long-term outcome might be worth it.

I agree with the thought of taking a small paycut, but in my case one school is offering X and the other 3.5X (have an external fellowship that is tied to this one school), so the pay cut is not that small. 

 

I picked best fit, which then agreed to become best funded. Of course, I had schools of, "No way in Hell"; "I could do this" and finally, "Yes. This is where I'm going." So my visits made it easy. Again, the one I decided, "Yes, absolutely," also directly asked me, "Did any other department offer more money?" after I had already decided. I'm pleased to say the least.

Glad it worked out for you! I hate asking for more money. The visits did not help me that much. There were some schools where I was like "No way in Hell," but I hate basing a decision on one weekend, so I am still considering them because they are all fantastic programs. In fact, I am still considering all of my schools. :/

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I've got offers from University of Utah, University of Florida and Claremont Graduate University. I have 50% tuition scholarship from Claremont, no scholarships from the other 2. Utah is much more cheaper than the others.

 

I am an international student and have not visited any of the schools but I definitely want to choose the one with best education quality rather than the city or the cost. Any reviews on CGU?  What would your advice be?

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Claiming Chapel Hill post. First admission, seccond cycle! American subfield. Thanks to everyone who has been suportive throughout the process!

 

CONGRATS!

 

 

 

I've got offers from University of Utah, University of Florida and Claremont Graduate University. I have 50% tuition scholarship from Claremont, no scholarships from the other 2. Utah is much more cheaper than the others.

 

I am an international student and have not visited any of the schools but I definitely want to choose the one with best education quality rather than the city or the cost. Any reviews on CGU?  What would your advice be?

 

Going to a PhD without funding is a terrible idea. My advice would be to work on your application and try again next year. If you're going to do this, pick the better fit between Florida and Claremont (unless there is a big difference in cost, in which case I would go with the cheaper one). But seriously, reapply next year. Doing a PhD without funding is a terrible idea.

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CONGRATS!

 

 
 

 

Going to a PhD without funding is a terrible idea. My advice would be to work on your application and try again next year. If you're going to do this, pick the better fit between Florida and Claremont (unless there is a big difference in cost, in which case I would go with the cheaper one). But seriously, reapply next year. Doing a PhD without funding is a terrible idea.

 

I just need to know more about CGU. It does not show in the rankings but I read some good reviews about the politics division. There are professor I'd like to work with. I want to work in US after graduation and I am hesitant whether I should go with public universities like Florida or Utah. Any advice on the reputation of CGU?

Edited by 117109
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Going to a PhD without funding is a terrible idea. My advice would be to work on your application and try again next year. If you're going to do this, pick the better fit between Florida and Claremont (unless there is a big difference in cost, in which case I would go with the cheaper one). But seriously, reapply next year. Doing a PhD without funding is a terrible idea.

Seconded. Going into debt over a Ph.D. is a terrible decision. 

 

I just need to know more about CGU. It does not show in the rankings but I read some good reviews about the politics division. There are professor I'd like to work with. I want to work in US after graduation and I am hesitant whether I should go with public universities like Florida or Utah. Any advice on the reputation of CGU?

Whether you get a job in the US has nothing to do with whether you attend a public or private university. 

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