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Seeking Chinese History Network


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I'm looking for a few people off which to bounce some ideas regarding my applications.


In particular, I'd like my list of potential schools and advisors to be reviewed. I currently have 12 MA and PhD programs to which I'm applying, but I'd like to add some more.


I'm taking a shotgun approach to applications this cycle to ensure I get accepted by at least one.


Having someone to bounce ideas off would help a lot.


While this wouldn't benefit potential mentors, I'd be happy to return to the favor to future cohorts, assuming, of course, I get in. :)



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I'm actually Japanese history, more so focused on cultural and media, but pop into Interdisciplinary Studies, there is an Asian Studies thread each application year, if you want to chat with people interested in similar programs. Maybe they can be more useful.


As for a review, since I'm interested in Japanese history, I really don't have the know how for Chinese history programs off the top of my head. However, this is how I've gauged programs from a Japanese history prospective. 


Compare faculty (how many in your field? what are their primary interests? 17th century or earlier?) and comparing program strengths (smaller classes? diverse courses? more language options? strong, competitive in Asian history?). A lot of schools have a page full of "what they are looking for" or "what the program is." Those can tell if you pretty easily if you would fit with the program or if the program even matches what your goals are. I scratched University of Michigan, University of Chicago, and Duke off my list that way. No wasted money on programs that just would not have faculty or programs suited to me. 


Another great way to get your schools shortened is by talking to your People of Interest (POI). Send an email, set up a phone call, and talk about the program. I scratched three off last year, because faculty member was moving/full/retiring. Another two I scratched after a phone call.


As for competitive programs, well, in Asian fields, I find it is normally bigger schools that most people know the names of, i.e. Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Berkeley, etc. that have these kinds of programs. Smaller schools you can rank based off of faculty. If there's only one or two Asian historians, then maybe the program is not good. Be honest when you contact your POI about your goals, because half of the people you talk to will give you the "don't go into history" speech and a POI will tell you if your goals won't be met by going to his program. (It happened to me. xd)


Lastly, I saw that you want to apply to a lot of places, which I understand spreading the net far. Just remember to stay organized and personalized. You don't want School X to hear about how you love qualities A, B & C, which are at another school. Ya know? 

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Thanks for your reply.


Most of the schools I've chosen have been chosen not only because they're good programs, but also because they have faculty with whom I share research interests. I'll be reaching out to these POIs over the next month or so, thus, I suppose, taking the screening process to the next step.


Princeton, while on my list, does not have a faculty member with shared interests, so that may be stricken. I've also already stricken The Ohio State University simply because the POI with whom I'd work with seems to have a really bad reputation of working with students. I'd need a hands-on advsior, or at the very least someone who is approachable.


The purpose of the post was to see if anyone out there would be open to looking over my list and seeing whether or not I'm over looking some good options.

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OP, I would be cautious about sticking too closely to the 'famous school' paradigm - several of the powerhouse programs of the past decade+ have NOT been a household names (in that they are not, say, Yale - actually, I'd run screaming from several of those Big Name Schools for a variety of reasons). They are, however, household names in the field & among non-China faculty that's going to be hiring you eventually, which is the important thing.


I'm a recently finished PhD in the field would be happy to look over your list if you'd like a set of eyes that's pretty familiar with the options out there - just send me a PM.

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