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Deciding Not to Go?


Reinventing
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I applied knowing that if I didn't get some kind of funding, I wouldn't accept an offer. I would rather wait, or try to find a job with just my MA, or think about going into a different field than graduate with the debt that comes along with a PhD in English, considering the job prospects. The difficult job market after graduate is something I can deal with; I can fight harder, I can push myself to be better, and I would be happy working at a school like my undergrad, a little known state school in a beautiful town, in a vibrant part of the country. But I am not willing to do all of that AND graduate with a) tons of debt and B) without the teaching experience that comes with a funded offer. That's my line in the sand.

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hmm, so you have an MA? I'm in this crummy spot where I got rejected from everywhere as a PhD student and got accepted by three schools as an MA student with not real funding to speak of. Two of the admits are at sort of brand-name, top-tier institutions, but their MA programs look kind of suspect and I might run the risk of being a second-class citizen for a year or two there which is not appealing at all. The other program has no PhD program and so MA students are sort of the focus of the department. I'm leaning towards attending that school even though it doesn't seem to carry the weight of the other two in terms of name recognition. My other thought is to just say no to all of them and forget this altogether. Should I even bother getting an MA in something that's fairly useless in terms of a direct career path (i.e. it's not a professional program) if it means incurring debt? I have zero debt from undergrad so I wouldn't be digging myself further into a hole, but it just seems sort of pointless. Honestly I can't begin to think of going through the application process again next year.

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hmm, so you have an MA? I'm in this crummy spot where I got rejected from everywhere as a PhD student and got accepted by three schools as an MA student with not real funding to speak of. Two of the admits are at sort of brand-name, top-tier institutions, but their MA programs look kind of suspect and I might run the risk of being a second-class citizen for a year or two there which is not appealing at all. The other program has no PhD program and so MA students are sort of the focus of the department. I'm leaning towards attending that school even though it doesn't seem to carry the weight of the other two in terms of name recognition. My other thought is to just say no to all of them and forget this altogether. Should I even bother getting an MA in something that's fairly useless in terms of a direct career path (i.e. it's not a professional program) if it means incurring debt? I have zero debt from undergrad so I wouldn't be digging myself further into a hole, but it just seems sort of pointless. Honestly I can't begin to think of going through the application process again next year.

The advantage of going to one of the "big schools" is that the MA could segue into a PhD. The MA, is after all, a non-terminal research degree.

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Concerning the MA at "brand-name" universities, you both have valid points. Your best bet is to contact current students and ask what their experience has been. I would suggest contacting both the MA students and the Ph.D. students. In my experience, MA students may not necessary know that they're being undervalued/overlooked... and many times, they're reluctant to accept it.

Concerning the original question, I'm very close to giving up on graduate school altogether. So far, I've been accepted to one school with minimal funding. After crunching some numbers, I just don't think I can afford to accept the offer (even with external funding). I've been placed on the waiting list for two schools, only one of which guarantees full funding (the other is notoriously cheap).

Essentially, my future as a graduate student depends on whether I gain acceptance to that one school. Right now, I'm at the top of the waiting list, but it's a very prestigious program, so my odds of acceptance are anyone's guess. I really wish funding wasn't an issue :cry:

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Sorry, I only used the terms that both you all put inside quotations because that is the way a recommender of mine framed it when explaining things I might want to consider. I suppose my biggest concern has more to do with having valuable input from advisers available to me than anything else.

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I wish this weren't about funding, too, jferrier.

It's been a weird experience because I am a bit sad about saying goodbye to it, and this career trajectory I had in mind. But, on the other hand, I realize this could be a good thing. My field does not pay all that well. Going much into debt for it doesn't make sense. Honestly, I could probably go get an associate's degree in some medical field and make more. . .

This is a very weird place. Am I happy to have been saved the trouble? Or sad that I'm not going to get what I wanted?

fields&charts, I think it's good to think about this. Maybe it's just all those articles I read on Chronicle.com about the pitfalls of studying the humanities at the graduate level; but this former humanities and american studies enthusiast has decided to explore those pursuits in the library instead of the classroom. I don't know, I just can't bring myself to shell out that much money for it. Even when I had a great offer years back, I couldn't choose it over something with better financial prospects.

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I wish this weren't about funding, too, jferrier.

It's been a weird experience because I am a bit sad about saying goodbye to it, and this career trajectory I had in mind. But, on the other hand, I realize this could be a good thing. My field does not pay all that well. Going much into debt for it doesn't make sense. Honestly, I could probably go get an associate's degree in some medical field and make more. . .

This is a very weird place. Am I happy to have been saved the trouble? Or sad that I'm not going to get what I wanted?

fields&charts, I think it's good to think about this. Maybe it's just all those articles I read on Chronicle.com about the pitfalls of studying the humanities at the graduate level; but this former humanities and american studies enthusiast has decided to explore those pursuits in the library instead of the classroom. I don't know, I just can't bring myself to shell out that much money for it. Even when I had a great offer years back, I couldn't choose it over something with better financial prospects.

I think the question you have to ask yourself is the career path more important than the financial reward? For some people, the answer is yes.

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Is anyone thinking about not going with a funded offer? I am into a program fully funded and wondering if my interests will actually fully line up. I went for the program not a specific professor when I applied. I figure they accepted me knowing my interests, so I must fit in somewhere.

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Is anyone thinking about not going with a funded offer? I am into a program fully funded and wondering if my interests will actually fully line up. I went for the program not a specific professor when I applied. I figure they accepted me knowing my interests, so I must fit in somewhere.

I'm in the same position. I don't know how stupid it would be, and how much I'd regret it later on, to turn down a funded for a non-funded offer that's a better fit for my interests and goals.

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Very true, Stories. Sometimes I do wonder if I've given up on the things I like the most in exchange for slightly better finances. Awareness of the +/- is good--but even with that, it's really an individual decision.

Hmm, choosing between intellectual resources and full funding. Tough decision. Is it possible that you'll find research synergies that you're not aware of now? Can you dig more to find out?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anyone else sitting in front of their computer with response forms on their desk, finding it difficult to write "won't attend" (due to funding) on them.

I have a good alternative, perhaps a better alternative (a job); but it still feels wrong.

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Anyone else sitting in front of their computer with response forms on their desk, finding it difficult to write "won't attend" (due to funding) on them.

I have a good alternative, perhaps a better alternative (a job); but it still feels wrong.

Mine was easy. There was a button on mine that specifically said due to insufficient funding. I simply checked it off.

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