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Was this a crippling error?


TastyHiHatWork

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Okay, I am generally not one to open myself up to widespread criticism, but I've followed the discussions here the past few weeks, and I'm going to take that leap of faith.

 

I applied to George Mason's History MA program which breaks down into tracks (predoctoral, applied history, enrichment, and teaching).  I applied to enter through the enrichment track which is to "advance intellectual curiosity or for professional goals."  There is no thesis requirement (though it is an option) or language requirement. 

 

While I have been suffering the wait for a decision, I've browsed these forums quite a bit, and I am now wondering whether I have a chance.  I've been to graduate school to get my MAT in social studies education and have been teaching history for the past three years (the previous grad degree substitutes for GRE scores); my undergrad GPA is fine; and two colleagues wrote glowing recommendations.  The program doesn't ask for a writing sample.

 

What I see as my potential Achilles' Heel is my SoP (or Goals Statement, as they call it).  I've written one for my MAT program with the input of my undergrad faculty advisor, but I understand this is obviously a different program with a different focus.  My SoP talks about my academic credentials, professional experience, what I like about their department just fine, I think.  However, I did not speak at length about my research interests or a particular professor with whom I'd like to work.  I did mention what areas of history I pursued most during my undergrad career, but I know that's not the same.

 

So, my question is this: Keeping in mind the type of program track for which I've applied, do I stand a chance, or should I start thinking about next cycle?

 

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa...

Edited by TastyHiHatWork
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Were those colleagues who wrote you letters phds? That, in my uninformed opinion, might hurt you more than not mentioning a poi in your sop.

If your Ma program doesn't require you to write a thesis, i don't see why they would expect you to talk about research interests or professors, as the MA is not necessarily a research degree.

Still, as a perpetual pessimist, i'd say start preparing for the next cycle. It will help you not to obsess over this one.

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Those colleagues are not PhDs. The application requirements said that letters could come from professional colleagues who could speak to my intellectual and professional abilities. I'm about five years removed from my undergrad, and the history department (American U) has had a lot of turn over since then, so I thought--perhaps incorrectly--I would get better recs from colleagues in the history department in which I teach than from professors who may have a fuzzy or nonexistent memory of me.

I suppose my approach to this was that I wanted to expand my knowledge and skill base to become a better teacher at a college prep school without taking into account the bigger picture of how decisions are made within departments. I certainly have no illusions as to what it takes to BE a grad student but didn't think to put more effort into figuring out what it takes to BECOME a grad student.

I'm hoping the tcharacteristics of the track for which I've applied will save me, but alas, I too, am ever the pessimist. It doesn't help that GMU is on spring break this week.

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. It doesn't help that GMU is on spring break this week.

Don't get discouraged. Most departments don't make decisions when school is on break, and you sound like a strong candidate for their program.

 

This is not a "crippling error," in any case.

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Those colleagues are not PhDs. The application requirements said that letters could come from professional colleagues who could speak to my intellectual and professional abilities. I'm about five years removed from my undergrad, and the history department (American U) has had a lot of turn over since then, so I thought--perhaps incorrectly--I would get better recs from colleagues in the history department in which I teach than from professors who may have a fuzzy or nonexistent memory of me.

I suppose my approach to this was that I wanted to expand my knowledge and skill base to become a better teacher at a college prep school without taking into account the bigger picture of how decisions are made within departments. I certainly have no illusions as to what it takes to BE a grad student but didn't think to put more effort into figuring out what it takes to BECOME a grad student.

I'm hoping the tcharacteristics of the track for which I've applied will save me, but alas, I too, am ever the pessimist. It doesn't help that GMU is on spring break this week.

 

I don't think the lack of PhDs from your letter writers will hurt you too much, especially if you're applying for the "professional goal" stream. I also don't think not talking at length about research interests will hurt you that much either, since it won't involve a thesis.

 

I think you'll be fine. Best of luck.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Have you heard anything from GMU?  I applied to the MA program for a different track (Applied History).  I got an email around March 19th saying my application was forwarded to the program but nothing since.  My application was submitted back in February..the silence is frustrating

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I submitted and had my application forwarded back in February as well, and I haven't heard anything official.  I called the grad coordinator yesterday who looked up my status and said my app was with the committee.  She said I should be hearing back by the end of this week or next.  My guess is that you probably fall in the same category.  Hopefully it'll fall more in line with the sooner rather than later.  Good luck!

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