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To be clear, my strong vote for 'professor' is because this would be the second interaction with this person--someone that you have never met in person and know nothing about their working style/preference--so I vote for the safer choice.

 

NOT because I think there is only one 'right' way to interact with professors.

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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.

I'm mostly a lurker, but I felt the need to come out and post something.  This is my second cycle.  I got rejected across the board last time - except for an MA program that I couldn't afford.  I put everything into applying again.  My GRE quant score really hurt me last time, and doubled I down this year on my efforts to improve it.  Unfortunately, I never reached the scores most of the admits seem to have (163+), and ended up topping out at 158.

 

I didn't get e-mails from Duke or Berkeley, which pretty much means I'm finished with both of them.  The Berkeley one really hurt.  I visited the campus last fall and fell in love.  I genuinely wanted to go there and am crushed.  I cannot bear the thought of not getting in anywhere again this cycle because it basically means I'm finished with most of the schools I would want to go to.

 

There is really no point to this post other than just getting these feelings off my chest.  No on in real life understands how stressful this is.  All I hear from my family and friends is "of course you'll get in!"  If only they knew the truth of how things really are :(.

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Xanthe, I understand what you are going through. I know that it is tough and it sucks. It also sucks that everyone has to deal with it himself/herself . Even when there are people around you who care about you and trying to console you, they will likely have no idea how it really feels. 

 

That said, you are not alone in this. Many people, including a number of the members of this community, have gone through the same phases and felt the same pain. You are not the first or -unfortunately- the last one who has to handle such emotions. I am not saying this should necessarily alleviate the pain, but it is something. 

 

I am sorry about the (presumed) rejections. Sorry that you had to relive the disappointment. Unfortunately my -or anyone's- words are not going to help you mend the wounds, it is you who has to find a way to move on. Still, there are three important things that you (and everyone) should be reminded of:

 

1) Hang in there, the cycle isn't over. You only need one. Postpone the pain until the end of the cycle. 

 

2) Not getting into grad school is not the end of the world. It sure as hell not. In fact, even in the worst case scenario, there is a pretty high probability that you will be really glad you didn't have to live through the long and impoverished years of grad school, the abysmal job market, and the tenure marathon. Life goes on, and no one apart from the academics, grad students and us hopefuls gives a damn about this process and what comes out of it. 

 

3) Hang in there, the cycle isn't over. You only need one. Postpone the pain until the end of the cycle. 

 

Chin up!

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I'm mostly a lurker, but I felt the need to come out and post something.  This is my second cycle.  I got rejected across the board last time - except for an MA program that I couldn't afford.  I put everything into applying again.  My GRE quant score really hurt me last time, and doubled I down this year on my efforts to improve it.  Unfortunately, I never reached the scores most of the admits seem to have (163+), and ended up topping out at 158.

 

I didn't get e-mails from Duke or Berkeley, which pretty much means I'm finished with both of them.  The Berkeley one really hurt.  I visited the campus last fall and fell in love.  I genuinely wanted to go there and am crushed.  I cannot bear the thought of not getting in anywhere again this cycle because it basically means I'm finished with most of the schools I would want to go to.

 

There is really no point to this post other than just getting these feelings off my chest.  No on in real life understands how stressful this is.  All I hear from my family and friends is "of course you'll get in!"  If only they knew the truth of how things really are :(.

 

I'm really sorry. It's rough. In the end, you only need one place to let you in. The cycle is just beginning - we've still got time left. And even if you didn't get into Duke or Berkeley, there are still a number of great programs that you could get into that produce fantastic scholars.

 

Hang in there!

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Hey everyone, I've been lurking here for awhile and I finally decided to just join.  This is my first cycle. I applied to all PhD programs in Political Science.  I feel like it is sort of a shot in the dark. There are a lot of glaring weaknesses in my application. I have a low quantitative score on my GRE, little research experience, and my undergraduate university isn't particularly well known. I applied to Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Suny Stony Brook, and Suny Binghamton. I am now toying around with the idea of applying to master's programs in case I get across the board rejections from the PhD programs. It's just very frustrating. I'm pretty much out of steam after doing the PhD apps. 

 

It doesn't seem like anyone has heard from the schools I applied to, so I can at least take solace in that I guess?

 

I guess my post didn't really have a point, but it's nice to jump in on the discussion with people who "get it." :)

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Hey everyone, I've been lurking here for awhile and I finally decided to just join.  This is my first cycle. I applied to all PhD programs in Political Science.  I feel like it is sort of a shot in the dark. There are a lot of glaring weaknesses in my application. I have a low quantitative score on my GRE, little research experience, and my undergraduate university isn't particularly well known. I applied to Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Suny Stony Brook, and Suny Binghamton. I am now toying around with the idea of applying to master's programs in case I get across the board rejections from the PhD programs. It's just very frustrating. I'm pretty much out of steam after doing the PhD apps. 

 

It doesn't seem like anyone has heard from the schools I applied to, so I can at least take solace in that I guess?

 

I guess my post didn't really have a point, but it's nice to jump in on the discussion with people who "get it." :)

Well best of luck to you! I'm staring down the barrel of 3 likely rejections from Chicago, UCLA, and Berkeley, so I imagine we're feeling similarly lol.

Your username wouldn't happen to be from The Velvet Underground would it?

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Well best of luck to you! I'm staring down the barrel of 3 likely rejections from Chicago, UCLA, and Berkeley, so I imagine we're feeling similarly lol.

Your username wouldn't happen to be from The Velvet Underground would it?

 

Best of luck to you too!

 

And yes, my username is from the VU. :)

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Hey guys,

 

I'm also mostly a lurker, but I saw a video today that I thought I'd share. I haven't gotten any replies from schools yet, but I think anyone (i.e. all of us) who will face rejection over the next two months or so could probably use a preemptive pep talk. In short, if what you want is to become a professional researcher/professor/any other job for which a PhD or MA serves as preparation, you will get there, but not without a hefty load of failure. If one, or even all, schools reject you, you've got to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, embrace the failure, and keep at it. I hope this helps a bit.

 

 

 

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Bummer! May I ask when you got your fourth email/sent in the docs for review?

 

To be perfectly honest, I found their whole online system pretty dodgy. They claimed to have only received a "cover sheet" from my primary recommender as opposed to an actual letter, and that my research proposal hadn't uploaded (obviously I had triple checked before submitting my application). They confirmed reception after I and my recommender resubmitted only a week ago, and I got my rejection last night.

 

Given that these two things are central to my application, it leaves me wondering whether they actually considered my app as a whole or just ruled it out before receiving those re-submissions. But hey, that's probably just me rationalizing a rejection, LSE is a fantastic school and I know most of their students come in with sky-high GPAs. Good luck to you, in any case! 

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To be perfectly honest, I found their whole online system pretty dodgy. They claimed to have only received a "cover sheet" from my primary recommender as opposed to an actual letter, and that my research proposal hadn't uploaded (obviously I had triple checked before submitting my application). They confirmed reception after I and my recommender resubmitted only a week ago, and I got my rejection last night.

 

Given that these two things are central to my application, it leaves me wondering whether they actually considered my app as a whole or just ruled it out before receiving those re-submissions. But hey, that's probably just me rationalizing a rejection, LSE is a fantastic school and I know most of their students come in with sky-high GPAs. Good luck to you, in any case! 

 

The LSE system was a mess for me, too.  I spent 10 $ on the phone with them because they could not figure out that a person that I entered as Professor Dr. (the German title) might be an academic reference, and also couldn't find the writing sample. I got it all sorted out, though, and am waiting for results on the PhD in IR now! Good luck with all your other schools!

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The LSE system was a mess for me, too.  I spent 10 $ on the phone with them because they could not figure out that a person that I entered as Professor Dr. (the German title) might be an academic reference, and also couldn't find the writing sample. I got it all sorted out, though, and am waiting for results on the PhD in IR now! Good luck with all your other schools!

Man I had an interview with them last year... a 5 am Skype interview, which I'll forever remember as The Big Freeze Up *sigh* 

 

P.S. gee I'm really generally not good with Skype interviews. They always go so awkward for me. 

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Man I had an interview with them last year... a 5 am Skype interview, which I'll forever remember as The Big Freeze Up *sigh* 

 

P.S. gee I'm really generally not good with Skype interviews. They always go so awkward for me. 

 

I haven't even gotten an interview yet. Here's to hoping for some good news soon! Sorry about your experience!

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I haven't even gotten an interview yet. Here's to hoping for some good news soon! Sorry about your experience!

 

Thank you, and it's fine! I really hope you get good news from them soon, and that it will go excellent for you! 

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Q: I sent the info on my scholarship to various professors/assistants (depending on whether I had been in touch with them before etc.). Several of the professors wrote back using my first name, and then signing Luke or sth. like that (name obscured to keep their anonymity). If I was to send them another email (e.g. when they inform me of their decision to admit me and I'm replying to explain how insanely happy I am, and how I was weeping all over my keyboard, which is why my spelling sucks...), should I address them by their first name or stick to professor?

 

Someone signing just their first name is absolutely an invitation to call them by their first name. It's often a conscious choice to sign off using one's own name: they want you to use it. Honestly, I would do the same if anyone called me Mr. Quant.

 

Calling Profs by their first name is a strong norm in a lot of departments, one that this person was trying to politely inform you of.  On our orientation day, the department chair explicitly told us to call professors by their first names and it's a universally accepted norm. Any grad student that called someone Dr. Horrible or Prof. Farnsworth would be mocked and corrected.

 

You got an invitation to be on a first name basis.  Accept it!

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Judging from the debate, at least the first name/last name thing wasn't a stupid foreigner question displaying my ignorance of all things American. I will just play it by ear, if he does contact me again...

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It doesn't seem like anyone has heard from the schools I applied to, so I can at least take solace in that I guess?

 

There have definitely been some Rutgers admits from this cycle. A few came very early and a few more have trickled out recently. I know this news won't bring you much solace but as prospective doctoral students we can't believe that "ignorance is bliss"...

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I'm really struggling with my MA thesis now. Spent months convincing everyone and myself of why my dissertation topic is important/great etc., wrote a proposal of 10 pages, looked for literature etc., and now I need to do something else for my MA thesis. I really like my MA thesis topic, and I think it's important and interesting etc., but I haven't been able to find my way back into this topic yet. Any tips?

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I'm mostly a lurker, but I felt the need to come out and post something.  This is my second cycle.  I got rejected across the board last time - except for an MA program that I couldn't afford.  I put everything into applying again.  My GRE quant score really hurt me last time, and doubled I down this year on my efforts to improve it.  Unfortunately, I never reached the scores most of the admits seem to have (163+), and ended up topping out at 158.

 

I didn't get e-mails from Duke or Berkeley, which pretty much means I'm finished with both of them.  The Berkeley one really hurt.  I visited the campus last fall and fell in love.  I genuinely wanted to go there and am crushed.  I cannot bear the thought of not getting in anywhere again this cycle because it basically means I'm finished with most of the schools I would want to go to.

 

There is really no point to this post other than just getting these feelings off my chest.  No on in real life understands how stressful this is.  All I hear from my family and friends is "of course you'll get in!"  If only they knew the truth of how things really are :(.

 

I completely and utterly feel you. This is my third time. There's complicated reasons for why the first two didn't work but I had help from professors this time so I'm still hoping. But I really understand. The money put into it (and I'm an international student so it's abhorrent) and the work (on top of the 12 hour teaching days I already have), the stress of really not knowing whether to plan to leave this coming September or to completely change course with your life. But this is it. After this, I say screw you to academia.

 

There's a lot of problems within academia (issues of racism, classism etc) that really impact your chances that have nothing to do with you. The structure is supposed to support critical thinking, but it rarely really does. Many many academics publish on minute matters that have absolutely nothing to do with the real world. It's often a delusional, cyclical, self-referential, self-congratulating environment. My friend who has sat in on three ad comms at her grad school told me the one thing that gets people in.....is shamelessly sucking up to a POI. These people really like having their egos stroked and according to her, people who do that best get in. I refuse to do that. As I'm sure many people here don't. Some of those people get in, many of them don't. So please, in all reality, it has nothing to do with you. Schools lie constantly about why they didn't take you. They say it's a fit matter, when many times they are too poor to afford someone. But that's not something they can say out loud. There's a lot of secrecy and closed door dealings. That's why sites like gradcafe even exist. Because the process is so opaque and obfuscated that we depend on each other and the little things we've heard and experienced to give us some insight. But we're always on the less knowledgeable end on how these things work.

 

Point of the long rambling message is this: I understand. You're not alone. You is good. You is kind. How this goes is no reflection on you, only a reflection on them and the dubious process. I'm not gonna tell u there is life outside grad school and all that. That would be dismissive and more than a little presumptive. After all, I have no idea how much hope and faith you have put into this. The only thing I can say is, it's not you, it's them.

 

P.S This post comes off as quite negative about grad school, so I will add this one thing. That despite the egos and the bullshitting, I truly believe that outside of activism, academia is the place where change happens. Some people do miraculously change the way people think, and therefore act, by the things they publish. And that is what keeps me applying.

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