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Columbia for English?


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Does anyone have info, tips, advise, warnings, anecdotes, or anything of the kind concerning Columbia's English program, its faculty members, or the grad students there? I'd particularly love to hear from current grad students. How do you like it at Columbia?

 

I was admitted and will most likely accept their offer, but I still really wanna know the dirt. 

 

Thank you in advance! 

 

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I wanna know the dirt on how you got accepted ; ) ...but seriously, is there anything you could share about your profile that you think made you particularly competitive? I'm just curious how people get accepted to these big name places. Columbia was my number 1 choice, and sadly I didn't make the cut. 

 

Sorry to hijack your thread. You're welcome to just ignore me ; )

 

Edit: sorry, I just noticed that people were discussing this in a different thread, so if you answered there then no worries. 

Edited by BunnyWantsaPhD
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I wanna know the dirt on how you got accepted ; ) ...but seriously, is there anything you could share about your profile that you think made you particularly competitive? I'm just curious how people get accepted to these big name places. Columbia was my number 1 choice, and sadly I didn't make the cut. 

 

Sorry to hijack your thread. You're welcome to just ignore me ; )

 

Edit: sorry, I just noticed that people were discussing this in a different thread, so if you answered there then no worries. 

 

LOL no worries at all! No I didn't answer there (I'll check it out now, though). In reply to your question, I'm not quite sure since I haven't met personally with any of my POIs, or attended open houses yet. My POI at the CUNY grad center did complement my writing.

 

I guess if I had to think of things that made me competitive I'd say that:

 

1) I participated in two summer research program, so I gained a decent amount of independent research experience. Also, both of those programs required me to present my research in conferences, so I had that experience as well.

 

2) Per the advice of a couple of my undergraduate mentors, I tried very hard to show a wide range of research interests while at the same time showing that I was focused and committed to a particular field. I don't know if this makes sense, but what I mean is that though I specialize in the X Century and in a particular type of literature within that century, I nonetheless tried to show in my SoP that I could relate those interests to more relevant, contemporary topics.

 

3) I had amazing recommendation letters. I really do think these are very important. 

 

Also, I gotta say that my GRE scores were not the best. My verbal score was so so, my quant score was pitiful, and my English subject score was atrocious (I am not exaggerating here). So I don't think GRE scores matter as much as we think they do.  

 

 

Sorry to hijack this as well, but do you know if they're still making decisions? I haven't heard, and I know they've given out acceptances and a bunch of rejections, so perhaps I'm wait listed? also: CONGRATS!!!!

 

No problem, and thank you! I am fairly certain that they've made their decisions. My undergraduate mentor knows someone at Columbia and she told me this year's English cohort would be extremely small (I could update you with the actual size once I visit next week). But yeah, if you haven't received any word from them then maybe you are on the wait list!! Maybe you could call them at this point? 

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Sorry to hijack this as well, but do you know if they're still making decisions? I haven't heard, and I know they've given out acceptances and a bunch of rejections, so perhaps I'm wait listed? also: CONGRATS!!!!

 

I'm in the same boat as you-- no news from Columbia (where my dream POI is). On another board, I noticed a third person, in addition to the two of us, who had not heard anything either. I don't know if rejections are going out in waves, but I will continue to hope we'll all get good news.

 

I already have a MA, so I wouldn't have put in contention for that, only the PhD; I don't know if that would affect when my rejection/waitlist would go out? 

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LOL no worries at all! No I didn't answer there (I'll check it out now, though). In reply to your question, I'm not quite sure since I haven't met personally with any of my POIs, or attended open houses yet. My POI at the CUNY grad center did complement my writing.

 

I guess if I had to think of things that made me competitive I'd say that:

 

1) I participated in two summer research program, so I gained a decent amount of independent research experience. Also, both of those programs required me to present my research in conferences, so I had that experience as well.

 

2) Per the advice of a couple of my undergraduate mentors, I tried very hard to show a wide range of research interests while at the same time showing that I was focused and committed to a particular field. I don't know if this makes sense, but what I mean is that though I specialize in the X Century and in a particular type of literature within that century, I nonetheless tried to show in my SoP that I could relate those interests to more relevant, contemporary topics.

 

3) I had amazing recommendation letters. I really do think these are very important. 

 

Also, I gotta say that my GRE scores were not the best. My verbal score was so so, my quant score was pitiful, and my English subject score was atrocious (I am not exaggerating here). So I don't think GRE scores matter as much as we think they do.  

 

 

 

No problem, and thank you! I am fairly certain that they've made their decisions. My undergraduate mentor knows someone at Columbia and she told me this year's English cohort would be extremely small (I could update you with the actual size once I visit next week). But yeah, if you haven't received any word from them then maybe you are on the wait list!! Maybe you could call them at this point? 

 

 

Thanks for the information! Gah, I thought that I demonstrated similar aspects as well. It's so hard to know how they make these decisions. Do you mind sharing why you think your LOR are particularly excellent? I guess I don't understand how to gauge that. I mean, my letter writers knew me really well, said positive things, and one of them was from Oxford, so that has to mean something. Also, I'm curious what type of undergrad institution you went to because maybe that is a factor. 

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I'm in the same boat as you-- no news from Columbia (where my dream POI is). On another board, I noticed a third person, in addition to the two of us, who had not heard anything either. I don't know if rejections are going out in waves, but I will continue to hope we'll all get good news.

 

I already have a MA, so I wouldn't have put in contention for that, only the PhD; I don't know if that would affect when my rejection/waitlist would go out?

 

I'm trying not to get any hopes up, but I'm so hoping we're on a waiting list!!! Or, like you said, maybe they're just cruel and rejecting people in waves; though, I don't see the logic to that, but I'm sure there's a method to the madness!

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LOL no worries at all! No I didn't answer there (I'll check it out now, though). In reply to your question, I'm not quite sure since I haven't met personally with any of my POIs, or attended open houses yet. My POI at the CUNY grad center did complement my writing.

 

I guess if I had to think of things that made me competitive I'd say that:

 

1) I participated in two summer research program, so I gained a decent amount of independent research experience. Also, both of those programs required me to present my research in conferences, so I had that experience as well.

 

2) Per the advice of a couple of my undergraduate mentors, I tried very hard to show a wide range of research interests while at the same time showing that I was focused and committed to a particular field. I don't know if this makes sense, but what I mean is that though I specialize in the X Century and in a particular type of literature within that century, I nonetheless tried to show in my SoP that I could relate those interests to more relevant, contemporary topics.

 

3) I had amazing recommendation letters. I really do think these are very important. 

 

Also, I gotta say that my GRE scores were not the best. My verbal score was so so, my quant score was pitiful, and my English subject score was atrocious (I am not exaggerating here). So I don't think GRE scores matter as much as we think they do.  

 

 

 

No problem, and thank you! I am fairly certain that they've made their decisions. My undergraduate mentor knows someone at Columbia and she told me this year's English cohort would be extremely small (I could update you with the actual size once I visit next week). But yeah, if you haven't received any word from them then maybe you are on the wait list!! Maybe you could call them at this point? 

And yeah, I might shoot them an email if I haven't heard anything by Monday! GAAH the agony of waiting, lol!

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Thanks for the information! Gah, I thought that I demonstrated similar aspects as well. It's so hard to know how they make these decisions. Do you mind sharing why you think your LOR are particularly excellent? I guess I don't understand how to gauge that. I mean, my letter writers knew me really well, said positive things, and one of them was from Oxford, so that has to mean something. Also, I'm curious what type of undergrad institution you went to because maybe that is a factor. 

 

 

Well, I guess I don't know for sure. All three of the professors who wrote me letters know me very well and were able to bouche for my hard work, and all that. They're on different stages of their career and from different disciplines (1 full English prof., 1 assistant English prof., and 1 associate History prof.), I don't know if that made a big difference, but maybe having a History professor recommend me shows my range?

 

I did read one of the letters and I thought it was amazingly written, and really showed why I'm "great" instead of just going on about how great I am. You get me? 

 

 

In the end, though, this whole process is so unpredictable so there's no telling what departments want. I know several cases where people get into the top Ivy League schools, but don't make it into the CUNY Grad Center...

 

 

As for my undergrad institution, I went to a very unimpressive public school. Nothing fancy at all. 

Edited by ReadingLisa
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Hmm. Interesting. Sounds like maybe your SOP, writing sample, and letters were just awesome. Though, it's hard to know what awesome looks like when we all probably think that we write pretty well. If you're ever willing to share your documents in a private message or anything, that would be cool. No pressure ; ) 

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I'm trying not to get any hopes up, but I'm so hoping we're on a waiting list!!! Or, like you said, maybe they're just cruel and rejecting people in waves; though, I don't see the logic to that, but I'm sure there's a method to the madness!

Well, I just got my rejection; oh well.

I hope you didn't get one!

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I also didn't get into Columbia, but for those who do get in--first, congratulations! And also, I've talked to a few of the graduate students in the program and they're all such lovely people. Really. What a supportive environment!!

 

I only live 2 hours away from NYC, so I went to campus to talk to a few of the students that had similar research interests as me. Unlike English departments in other Ivies, I think Columbia has a really dynamic program that very much engages with literatures from other parts of the world. I think this is a function of being combined with Comparative Literature. If you're looking to study literature outside the British and American canons--Columbia is a great place for it! Best of luck to the rest of you!

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I read on their website that they didn't want MAs to apply (so I didn't), so maybe that was a factor?

Who knows? I do have a friend from my MA program pursuing her PhD there, so I do know they accept people with MAs. But there isn't necessarily rhyme or reason to this process, haha.

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  • 1 month later...

Hey guys, sorry to hijack this thread. I was admitted to Columbia's PhD program in philosophy (interests in continental philosophy) and I would love to draw on the resources from the English department. I am thinking of Butler and Spivak, in particular. Do you know if Butler is going to stay at least one more year in Columbia or how active is Spivak is in the department? If anyone here is interested in theory, would you recommend me other professors in the English dpt. working on theory at Columbia? Thanks!

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Hey guys, sorry to hijack this thread. I was admitted to Columbia's PhD program in philosophy (interests in continental philosophy) and I would love to draw on the resources from the English department. I am thinking of Butler and Spivak, in particular. Do you know if Butler is going to stay at least one more year in Columbia or how active is Spivak is in the department? If anyone here is interested in theory, would you recommend me other professors in the English dpt. working on theory at Columbia? Thanks!

 

I would love to hear the answers to these questions as well!

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Hey guys, sorry to hijack this thread. I was admitted to Columbia's PhD program in philosophy (interests in continental philosophy) and I would love to draw on the resources from the English department. I am thinking of Butler and Spivak, in particular. Do you know if Butler is going to stay at least one more year in Columbia or how active is Spivak is in the department? If anyone here is interested in theory, would you recommend me other professors in the English dpt. working on theory at Columbia? Thanks!

Judith Butler is teaching at Berkeley again this coming fall semester, so who knows if she'll be teaching at Columbia anytime soon. 

Edited by poliscar
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I've heard that some professors are mainly lecture only people (Butler and Spivak, for example) so other than course work people don't interact with them as much as the other professors. 

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