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Hi everybody,

I have a problem. And since many of you are much more experienced, I was hoping you could help. I applied to several PhD programs and have, so far, received multiple rejections and one wait list. I was just notified today that I was accepted to NYU's unfuded MA program. I still have two more programs to hear from, one that offers funding, but is highly competitive, and the other that is lower ranked, but has flaky funding packages.

I'm not sure how funding issues work out for wait-listed applicants should they be accepted.

So, should I take the offer? This would mean I would have to quickly search and apply for external funding, which, hopefully, the university would match, or should I wait for other options? If I do not receive funding, I'll have to take out loans for tuition and living expenses...in New York.

Any feedback would be most appreciated.

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I'm not that experienced with this (it's my first application season) but I have sought tons of advice from professors about this issue. It is their recommendation, and mine, that you should NEVER pay for a graduate degree in English. The reasons for this are 1) You will never get the "take-back" from an English degree that would make your debt "worth it." I'm sure the job market is no secret to you, and even though so many of us are still willing to go "all in" and see what happens, we should NOT be going into debt trying to do it. 2) There are so many programs that will pay for your degree. You might have to wait a until next year, but it would still be worth it because of the funding.

 

Not to mention, NYU is very pricey, and living in the city is excruciatingly expensive.

Edited by ke6904
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It might be a good idea to apply for other funded MA programs. Some deadlines are still pretty fresh for places like Truman State (the deadline was the 15th, but they're flexible for funding). I've received similar advice that you should never pay for a graduate degree in English. I did, admittedly, pay for my first semester, before securing an out-of-department assistantship, but that was only because I applied sooooo late in the cycle.

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I did an unfunded MA in New York and I know plenty of people who did as well. The debt sucks but you should have a lot of success getting into PhD programs. It really depends on your circumstance. I couldn't afford to take a year off, so the unfunded MA at a good school seemed like a good opportunity and I was told by my professors that it's not that uncommon. This application season, I have 2 funded offers and a wait list, so it seems to have helped me.

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You are still waiting to hear about 2 more schools.  Whatever you decide to do, do *not* commit to that unfunded degree before you know where everything will land with your other choices.  You have until April to make your final decisions, so don't rush into anything.  At 98% of schools, they give you until April 15, unless they are very strange.  So there's no point in rushing into it.

 

And if the unfunded MA would be a good thing for you, great.  If you adore the program and really want to be at that school more than anything.  But my advice is not to do it unless you are truly in love with the program.  If it's just that you want to be in *somewhere* just because, it's not worth the cost.  If you're like some others here, and can't take a year off, or think it will drastically help your chances, then it may be the perfect decision for you.  But there is also nothing wrong with working to improve your application and applying next year.  Plenty of folks participate in two or more application cycles.

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It might be a good idea to apply for other funded MA programs. Some deadlines are still pretty fresh for places like Truman State (the deadline was the 15th, but they're flexible for funding). I've received similar advice that you should never pay for a graduate degree in English. I did, admittedly, pay for my first semester, before securing an out-of-department assistantship, but that was only because I applied sooooo late in the cycle.

Good advice. I was rejected at 11 PhD programs and then got into an MA program applying in mid-late March. Mr protagonist can I ask what fields you are interested in? I know of some good (but not really strong in name) MA programs but they are only relevant if your field aligns well with them. 

Edited by arober6912
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I would not do an unfunded MA for two reasons:

 

-the prospect of getting a well paid job with a graduate degree in English is relatively low

 

-funding begets funding. i would recommend against doing any MA (even a funded one) that doesn't give you teaching experience. If you were unable to get into a well-ranked PhD right out of undergrad, your chances of landing a job at a research university or ivy or whatever are not good, and you're going to have to rely on teaching experience to get work after your degree.

 

$.02

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I'm going to chime in with those who have been told by our professors to avoid unpaid grad programs. My post might come off as harsh and brutally honest, so I apologize for that in advance.

 

No, you should never pay a cent for grad school. Even if you got your degree from a high ranked program and that helps you to get into a high ranked PhD program, remember that your debt will not go away the moment you start a new program. The fellowships you may and should receive for the PhD program you enter won't pay off the debt you collected while doing your MA. And we all know what the job market situation looks like. If not, buy a copy of Semenza's Graduate Study for the 21st Century and educate yourself by reading The Chronicle of Higher Education.

 

Besides, think about where you will be attending grad school at least for a couple years (or more if you got your PhD at NYU). New York isn't cheap. The cost of living is high. Do you really want to juggle your coursework, research, possible teaching opportunities with other jobs just to survive off of ramen soup every night? I don't know where you're from, but the winters back east are severe. I wouldn't want to imagine how much heating costs in the winter while I'm trying to find some extra cash to pay rent. Coming from CA and moving to the Midwest for grad school, I have to say it was quite the culture shock. I needed a full blast of AC in the summer and the heater on all throughout the winter, and luckily I have the means to pay for it without losing sleep.

 

Since I assume you've never attended grad school, it's probably hard for you to imagine how much work it is to juggle all the different responsibilities you have to your coursework and research while trying to remain sane. As much as my mentors prepared me for it as an undergrad, I was still shocked at how quickly time flew by whether I was ready for it or not. There's already so many things to worry about while in a grad program like taking the right classes, meeting the right professors, getting along with your peers, contributing to scholarship, etc. that you shouldn't let something like debt distract you from doing what you're supposed to be doing.

 

I would suggest taking the year off to do something outside of academia. Do an internship. Do volunteer work. Do something that you love as well as something that will make your applications stronger even if it means just studying for the GRE. Do research on funded MA programs if you think a year off without classes won't help make your app stronger for a PhD program. Learn a foreign language because it will help fulfill one of the requirements for practically all doctoral programs.

 

Of course, you're going to do what you want. And if you think attending an unfunded MA program at NYU is a viable option, go for it. Just do your research. Consider all your options. Imagine the worst case scenarios and decide for yourself if you can live with them. Just don't go into any program blindly.

Edited by Gauche
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 If you were unable to get into a well-ranked PhD right out of undergrad, your chances of landing a job at a research university or ivy or whatever are not good, and you're going to have to rely on teaching experience to get work after your degree.

 

I’m no expert on all matters placement, but I’m going to respectfully disagree with this on a a couple of points. This is NOT a flame post, so please don’t take it that way:

  • Plenty of students get into Ivy and First-Tier PhD programs after completing an Master’s degree rather than just applying with a Bachelors. Perhaps I’m wrong, but the implied sentiment here is that if don’t get in right off the bat, you’re somehow not good enough to hack it in academia. That’s simply not true. As the anecdotes from the boards indicate, some people are completely shut out one year and get into three or four top schools the next. 
  • It isn’t everyone’s goal is to teach at an R1 or an Ivy. Even if that is the goal, bear in mind that most candidates--even those who graduate from top schools after a straight BA-PHD route--will likely not get these positions. There are currently recent Harvard and Penn State grads who are working at liberal-arts colleges ranked in the 120s and below. 
  • I agree with the idea that your MA should absolutely provide teaching experience. Everyone is going to have to rely on teaching experience to get their work, even those who come from top schools. As mentioned in my previous bullet point, most candidates will end up working at teaching universities, not R1 universities. 
  • You don’t have to graduate from a first-tier program to get a job. Baylor is ranked 121 and their placement records for tenure-track positions are almost unmatched. 

 

That being said, I agree with the sentiments by several posters that unfunded MA’s typically aren’t worth it. I understand, though, that some people do them and it propels them into a great position. You really just have to decide what is best for you. 

 

Edit: grammar issue

Edited by Kamisha
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To echo:

 

I have always been told not to pay for grad school. If they offered full-funding, then I'd say take it if you want to. There are some schools that don't like to take MA students, but plenty that do. I'd be more concerned with the debt. As someone who has over 60K in undergrad debt, it wouldn't even be an option for me. It all depends if you think you can afford it. 

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To echo:

 

I have always been told not to pay for grad school. If they offered full-funding, then I'd say take it if you want to. There are some schools that don't like to take MA students, but plenty that do. I'd be more concerned with the debt. As someone who has over 60K in undergrad debt, it wouldn't even be an option for me. It all depends if you think you can afford it. 

 

 

Horb has a great point about the debt question. To piggyback on a couple of the other sentiments shared on this thread, you could look into other options for your gap year. I did AmeriCorps during the time between my BA and MA, and it was a great experience. I learned to live on a budget, gained some cool connections and experience in the non-profit field, and paid down a sizable portion of my student loans through the educational grant. There really are plenty of benefits to taking a vacation from academia by getting a 9-5.

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As a different sort of response to this question (and I too am against the notion of unfunded MAs): take into consideration that a lot of students get offered this consolation prize. That is to say, unlike funded MAs, that read your application and accept you as a student who they, the program and the professors, want to work with, an unfunded MA accepts you as "someone who might pay for this." 

 

Now that might be a bit extreme, but I believe it's closer to reality: unfunded MAs look for students who meet less-personalized criteria, and that level of engagement with the faculty/program won't stop there. I know people who have had fine experiences in unfunded MAs, but I also know some who felt looked over, disregarded, and invisible – as if they had to fight for professor's time. 

 

Are you concerned you weren't accepted because of your stats? Stats take a back seat to your project, the specificity with which you can talk about it, and your writing sample. Those are things you can work on without more school. Do you not yet have a project/area of interest that is well defined? Apply for funded MAs, or even to some out-of-field programs (Middlebury offers a funded, summer-session only MA in their language school – if you have enough language experience and can write a 2 page essay in another language, it's a great puzzle piece to add to one's application and life). Or work a boring job and just read, constantly (see: Don DeLillo as a valet). 

 

My first round of applications, back in 2009, came up empty, and I was tempted by Chicago's MAPH and NYU's Humanities MA. I'm glad I did neither. I lived/taught in Egypt for a while, applied to MFAs in poetry (funded only), and now, as I finish up the MFA, am heading to a PhD in the fall. Those experiences all helped me define my interests, making me a more competitive applicant -- and they kept me from piling on the debt. You will have so many opportunities within your doctorate, and your career afterwards, to make risky financial decisions: that's the underwritten life of an aspiring academic. Don't start off that career already in the hole. 

Edited by TDazzle
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None of my professors even realized I was unfunded until I told them, as a note, but my program offered both funded and unfunded MAs discrete from PhDs, so it may be a totally different circumstance.

Also, re:loans, I was fortunate to have almost no loans from undergrad (yay scholarship!), so I could take on graduate loan debt with less angst. Most programs should have positions available on campus as GAs or tutors or something as part time positions as well, if you are worried about living costs. If you take tuition loans out of it, I actually make twice as much a month as my funded counterparts and I've managed to live in NYC for a couple years successfully. Also, you can wait to pay loans back until you're done with your degree (although graduate interest rates are soul sucking).

Of course, this really depends on the program. I would definitely think about it a while and do research. E-mail the department and ask what opportunities you might have job wise, etc. Do they have a writing center you could work in? Maybe for undergrad admissions? Etc.

Edited by shortstack51
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Thanks all -- really good advice. 

I was also told, by *every* faculty member I consulted, never to do an unfunded degree. I also have nearly $60,000 in undergraduate debt. So, realistically, I don't think I'll be taking the offer. I will think about it, but TDazzle, your points are very helpful. This also makes me skeptical of such an offer. And I am in contact with faculty in the department about funding opportunities, etc. 

arober6912 -- my areas of interest are international modernism, American post-modernism, theory, and linguistics.

shortstack51 -- your posts are very uplifting (much thanks), but I think our circumstances are different. However, I would think NYU would offer some student jobs, work study, etc.

This is tough! 

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Mr protagonist, if you are just coming out of a BA and didn't get in anywhere this round, I would certainly not rule out an MA if there is funding, but you probably know that. My suggestion, from my experience, is to look outside of the top schools and just get that MA in hand with funding. Even if that means applying to places that seem "crappy."  I got into Creighton, NIU, and Georgia Southern (where I go now) with some funding after getting rejected to the top tier PhD schools. It was terrifying making a big move for relatively little foreseeable payout, but it worked for me. Doing the MA at a small school with no name recognition allowed me to be a relative star in the department. I got the chance to teach in my second year, two sections of a world lit class, plus I had great access to faculty members who certainly changed my life. I know that I only got into the schools that I've gotten into this time around (UCONN, UC Riverside) simply because I did the MA, got teaching experience, got advice from faculty members, and was able to network/go to conferences. If anything, taking your "lumps" now and going to a less than stellar program will be like extra preparation for the solid PhD program you hope to/will get into once you are done with the MA. 

 

I would look into NIU and Ga. Southern, despite the academic address. Even though it doesn't seem too appealing, NIU has a good linguistics department and offers many opportunities (lots of conferences in the Chicago area--driving distance). Especially if they will give you some money. My school (Ga.Southern) is trying to grow their program and I can attest to the fantastic faculty/career prep. I hope this helps somewhat, I was utterly devastated when I was in your shoes a few years ago, and now I am soooo glad I made the choice to do an MA.

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You are still waiting to hear about 2 more schools.  Whatever you decide to do, do *not* commit to that unfunded degree before you know where everything will land with your other choices.  You have until April to make your final decisions, so don't rush into anything.  At 98% of schools, they give you until April 15, unless they are very strange.  So there's no point in rushing into it.

 

And if the unfunded MA would be a good thing for you, great.  If you adore the program and really want to be at that school more than anything.  But my advice is not to do it unless you are truly in love with the program.  If it's just that you want to be in *somewhere* just because, it's not worth the cost.  If you're like some others here, and can't take a year off, or think it will drastically help your chances, then it may be the perfect decision for you.  But there is also nothing wrong with working to improve your application and applying next year.  Plenty of folks participate in two or more application cycles.

Thanks for the tip, good advice. Although one program is UPenn, not expecting much there. The other is U Washington, and I've read they take a while to get back to students. Also, NYU needs an answer by March 27. 

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I didn't read all of these responses yet, so I apologize if I'm repeating something. 

 

I was in the same position last year. Out of a bunch of PhD, I ended up with only one acceptance from NYU, for their unfunded master's. I ended up accepting the offer, but then deferring for a year. 

 

I am still not sure if I will end up going or not. Everyone tells you not to pay for a master's in English or any humanities discipline, and I can see why. I've spent the past two years reading Chronicle and Higher Education and all sorts of articles and talking to professors. I've heard all the reasons why you shouldn't attend unfunded. Still, even though that is the opinion that is in vogue, I'm not entirely convinced. 

 

If you're aware of all the setbacks you will face, and still want to do it, I say go for it. I most likely will end up doing so... 

 

And hey, if we both end up at NYU next year, that would be pretty sweet.

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I'll share a very pertinent link: http://theprofessorisin.com/2012/03/22/dont-go-to-graduate-school-an-inadvertant-guest-post/

 

some excerpts:


This email is a follow-up to an email she had forwarded the week before, from a talented undergraduate English major who had been in her class.  The student had written to tell my friend excitedly about her plans to move across the country to start a terminal Masters degree in English at an elite East Coast institution, as a first step to getting a Ph.D. in English  She had received no funding from the institution, and was explaining that the cost of tuition alone would be $45,000 a year.

“But I’m absolutely committed to getting a Ph.D. in English!!!” her email affirmed. “I’ll do whatever it takes!!!”

...

To my eyes, what was most striking about the email from the student was her apparent belief that her single-minded fixation on obtaining the Ph.D. in English at any cost was a sure path to earning my friend’s approval.   It does make sense:  imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so naturally a naive and starry-eyed student would believe that an overriding life goal to get the Ph.D. in English would be the surest path to the approval of her former English professor.

I responded to my friend that the best intervention might be to communicate clearly that the life plan she APPROVES of is the one that does NOT include a ruinous and self-destructive plan for unfunded graduate school in English.

My friend didn’t tell me if she agreed with this advice or not, but this is the email that she wrote in response.

...

Grad school is a bad idea under the best of circumstances.  The job market is SO bad, and there is so little that grad study in literature can help you do beyond seeking jobs in the dismal academic job market that pursuing a grad degree in English only makes sense if the following conditions are met:

1.  You are fully funded (or at least have reason to expect to be after the initial year).

2.  You really, genuinely, honestly don’t care if you find yourself at 30 needing to start over again in an entirely new line of work having failed to find an academic job.

...

If, while you retool your application, you want to get more coursework under your belt (and make more professional contacts) by getting a terminal MA, then I would encourage you to do it as cheaply as you possibly can, and don’t take out loans unless you absolutely have to–particularly since an MA wouldn’t really fill in gaps in your current record (if, say, you were a business major and wanted to switch to English lit., a terminal MA might be helpful to show that you had the necessary skills–but that’s not your situation.) I repeat: no loans.

$45K is NUTS and suggests to me that [Elite Private University] sees its MA program as a cash cow, nothing more. Seriously, the added prestige of going somewhere particular or working with someone specific is simply not worth it.  (Terminal MA students are the last priority for professors’ time and energy.)  It’s not unusual for people to take a year or three out between college and grad school–and so long as you maintain contact with your recommenders and use the time to grow intellectually, I don’t think it would look bad NOT to be in a terminal MA program (but this is advice you might want to confirm with people who have more first-hand experience with grad admission).

...

I realize this is probably NOT the e-mail message you wanted to get from me at this stage.  I wish I could in good conscience urge you to take a leap of faith and move to [East Coast City] to suffer for a year before going on to a brilliant career.  But it just doesn’t work like that and it would be terrible if you found yourself a year from now with huge sunk costs and no better prospects of achieving this particular goal.  Especially when you have so much to offer the world.  I wish that academia was currently in a state to welcome you and make use of your gifts–but it just isn’t.

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After receiving an acceptance to a partially-funded MA and an acceptance to an unfunded MA in Liberal Studies, this post is so relevant to me.

 

It's getting pretty clear I'm not going to be able to get into a PhD program coming from my BA, unfortunately. I think my application is relatively strong. My GPA is great, great GRE scores, interesting writing sample, etc, but I think what's holding me back is that I'm coming from such a low-ranked Location University of Nowhere institution. The education I received there was wonderful, but not a big name that stands out on a CV.

 

I want to be in academia, it's where my strengths and my passions are. I've taken a year off. Unfortunately, some of us can't afford to spend this sort of time traveling, or volunteering, or doing an unpaid internship to strengthen our applications. I'm working two terrible part time jobs that I hate, and god, I really, really don't want to do this for another year, only to make the application gamble again and not get in anywhere funded.

 

I think waiting a year, and reapplying is a viable option for people who have secure jobs that they do not loathe, that allow them to pay the bills, but I'm starting to feel like this isn't an option for me. I live in a small town, too, and I can't afford to relocate to a city that might allow me more opportunities for growth/employment/etc.

 

UGH MONEY.

 

Still hoping there's a slim chance I'll get in somewhere funded, though.

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After receiving an acceptance to a partially-funded MA and an acceptance to an unfunded MA in Liberal Studies, this post is so relevant to me.

 

It's getting pretty clear I'm not going to be able to get into a PhD program coming from my BA, unfortunately. I think my application is relatively strong. My GPA is great, great GRE scores, interesting writing sample, etc, but I think what's holding me back is that I'm coming from such a low-ranked Location University of Nowhere institution. The education I received there was wonderful, but not a big name that stands out on a CV.

 

I want to be in academia, it's where my strengths and my passions are. I've taken a year off. Unfortunately, some of us can't afford to spend this sort of time traveling, or volunteering, or doing an unpaid internship to strengthen our applications. I'm working two terrible part time jobs that I hate, and god, I really, really don't want to do this for another year, only to make the application gamble again and not get in anywhere funded.

 

I think waiting a year, and reapplying is a viable option for people who have secure jobs that they do not loathe, that allow them to pay the bills, but I'm starting to feel like this isn't an option for me. I live in a small town, too, and I can't afford to relocate to a city that might allow me more opportunities for growth/employment/etc.

 

UGH MONEY.

 

Still hoping there's a slim chance I'll get in somewhere funded, though.

Don't fear, I'm the king of nowhere schools and I did it. I didn't get into Ivies (I didn't apply) but I got into a top 50 with a fellowship and a fully funded program ranked 63. My undergrad school had 800 students! Anything is possible don't give up!

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After receiving an acceptance to a partially-funded MA and an acceptance to an unfunded MA in Liberal Studies, this post is so relevant to me.

 

It's getting pretty clear I'm not going to be able to get into a PhD program coming from my BA, unfortunately. I think my application is relatively strong. My GPA is great, great GRE scores, interesting writing sample, etc, but I think what's holding me back is that I'm coming from such a low-ranked Location University of Nowhere institution. The education I received there was wonderful, but not a big name that stands out on a CV.

 

I want to be in academia, it's where my strengths and my passions are. I've taken a year off. Unfortunately, some of us can't afford to spend this sort of time traveling, or volunteering, or doing an unpaid internship to strengthen our applications. I'm working two terrible part time jobs that I hate, and god, I really, really don't want to do this for another year, only to make the application gamble again and not get in anywhere funded.

 

I think waiting a year, and reapplying is a viable option for people who have secure jobs that they do not loathe, that allow them to pay the bills, but I'm starting to feel like this isn't an option for me. I live in a small town, too, and I can't afford to relocate to a city that might allow me more opportunities for growth/employment/etc.

 

UGH MONEY.

 

Still hoping there's a slim chance I'll get in somewhere funded, though.

 

Hi andromache – I wanted to reply to this since it fits with something I was discussing with a friend who is a PhD in English at Maryland. Your situation is certainly frustrating, and I totally resonate with your desire to be in academia and your feeling that that's where your strengths are, where your passions are, etc. 

 

But here's the important point: are you ready to return to this Exact position in 5-7 years? By which I mean, are you ready to work hard on something you love, and then, after graduating with a degree, not having a job in academia? Or will that be the absolute pits?

 

More than one professor sat me down during my senior year of undergrad and told me, "If you go into a PhD program for a job, you will leave it bitter and depressed and regretting your decisions. If you go because you want to be in the PhD itself, and afterwards you are fine returning to the workforce or doing something completely different, go for it." 

 

This is a repetition of the post above that quoted from "The Professor Is In"'s website. I get loathing one's jobs, but please don't make academia your only hope for happiness! Most of us who are lucky enough to have offers, and who follow through with them, won't have TT jobs afterwards. We'll be eking it out in the adjunct world or doing something else, moving into other fields, leaving the universities behind. And that's not a sign of failure (how much better would the world be if more businesspeople had PhD's in English?).  

 

(Also, there are a lot of good ways to travel AND make money! Well, maybe not a lot, but English teaching abroad is a great route before heading to a grad program. I taught in Egypt; my brother has taught in South Korea, where he made bank. Great way to spend a year if you decide to apply again to PhDs and funded MAs. And don't worry about timelines either – I ended up taking 2 years off and that was still on the low side.)

 

Underlying all of this: don't choose an unfunded MA because you think it's the only option left! Being backed into 1) taking on serious debt and 2) doing it in an unrewarding field will not help your overall worldview, even if it gets you into that school so prestigious none of us have even heard about it. 

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I would say there's nothing wrong with an unfunded MA, but it's the fact that it's in New York that is kind of tipping the scale.  Your costs are going to be insanely high just to live, and that is without taking into account the cost of school.

 

I say this without any founding, except in guesswork, but I also assume, with the number of unfunded MA positions NYU offers out, it...feels pretty likely that they will be using your money to fund others.  Again, I have no proof of this, but it's just not a great feeling.  Some people have talked about programs with later deadlines, and those might be worth looking at.

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My first round of applications, back in 2009, came up empty, and I was tempted by Chicago's MAPH and NYU's Humanities MA. I'm glad I did neither. I lived/taught in Egypt for a while, applied to MFAs in poetry (funded only), and now, as I finish up the MFA, am heading to a PhD in the fall. Those experiences all helped me define my interests, making me a more competitive applicant -- and they kept me from piling on the debt. You will have so many opportunities within your doctorate, and your career afterwards, to make risky financial decisions: that's the underwritten life of an aspiring academic. Don't start off that career already in the hole. 

 

I can't upvote this enough. The bottom line is that you have your whole life to get this PhD. I know that this point in the admissions game is the worst; you can start to feel desperate. You feel bad that you didn't get accepted anywhere, and to offset that bad feeling you just want to go somewhere, anywhere, to feel like you have a future. My first year out was the worst. It felt like everyone else was getting these incredible offers from high-ranked schools without any effort, and I was getting shut out everywhere.

 

However rough this time is, it's not the time to make a $60,000 decision. Life is long, and few people enjoy success right out of the gate. Tbh, a lot of people I know who got multiple top offers right out of the gate aren't happy in their programs. (Part of me wonders if it's because they didn't have to struggle as hard, but that's neither here nor there.)

 

Think about it this way: next year you might have a funded offer at this time, and then you'll be relieved that you didn't spend your (yet unearned) life savings on something that you can get for free.

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I think waiting a year, and reapplying is a viable option for people who have secure jobs that they do not loathe, that allow them to pay the bills, but I'm starting to feel like this isn't an option for me. I live in a small town, too, and I can't afford to relocate to a city that might allow me more opportunities for growth/employment/etc.

 

UGH MONEY.

 

Still hoping there's a slim chance I'll get in somewhere funded, though.

 

I see that you're in Ohio ... and there are tons of funded MA programs in Ohio. Kent State, Ohio U, Bowling Green State, Miami, maybe even others. I know that working a crappy job is miserable, but going into a bunch of debt isn't going to solve one's economic problems.

 

There are many options here. It's not like you HAVE to pay for a pricey MA in order to get into a PhD program. There is a world between "pay to play" and middle-of-nowhere job misery.

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I would say there's nothing wrong with an unfunded MA, but it's the fact that it's in New York that is kind of tipping the scale. Your costs are going to be insanely high just to live, and that is without taking into account the cost of school.

I say this without any founding, except in guesswork, but I also assume, with the number of unfunded MA positions NYU offers out, it...feels pretty likely that they will be using your money to fund others. Again, I have no proof of this, but it's just not a great feeling. Some people have talked about programs with later deadlines, and those might be worth looking at.

I'm going to second this; there are some good, respectable schools that fund MAs and have deadlines in March and some that have deadlines for students enrolling in the spring semester, also.

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