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Should I apply to Yale, Harvard, NYU, William and Mary?


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I just took the GRE for the second time, and had a slight improvement, with my verbal at 159 and quantitative at 145. I am still waiting on the writing score(I got a 4.5 last time, hoping for a 5). I'm applying to many schools as is, and initially I hadn't really considered applying to Yale or Harvard feeling they were out of reach. My focus would be in Early American History. Among other things, my overall GPA is just under a 3.5(3.48) and my GPA in history is 3.83. Among other things, I have worked on a few research projects with my professors, interned in records management and am currently the President of the History Honors society. 


I am applying to a lot of schools and the applications do get expensive, so to put it bluntly, based off what I have here, would I have a chance at any of these schools or should I pass by applying there?


And also, does anyone know if there is such a thing as a common application for grad schools? 

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There are no such things as safety schools in PhD apps. The corollary to this is that there's no such thing as reach schools in PhD apps. On PhD student at Harvard told me that out of the 5 schools he applied to, Harvard was the only one he got in at. YMMV.


I really have no idea what your app looks like, but would suggest applying to some MA programs; a list of funded ones is somewhere in this forum. The other common bit of advice is to take some time off. In some other threads on this forum, people have noted the increasing infrequency of PhD admits straight from ugrad.


And, no. Which sucks a lot.

Edited by telkanuru
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Agreed with what telkanuru wrote. Being president of an honors society is well and good, but if I were a faculty member, I'd prefer someone with a demonstrable understanding of what graduate coursework (and maybe teaching) demands, who has a demonstrated track record of living and working on his/her own and taking care of him/herself outside of college, etc. - think of the factors that would make training a graduate student easier and less likely to consume endless years of funding. It's not hard to see why admissions committees are leaning toward older admits with MAs.


Beyond that, I think a better question you have to ask yourself is whether you're a good fit for the scholars you want to work with at the above schools. Maybe (and this is unfortunate but it's how the game is played) whether any of your LOR writers are connected with them). This really isn't that much of a numbers game.

Edited by czesc
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