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I don't quite know what 1-1 etc. are. You teach 2 sections of a course principally thaught by a professor. I.E. 2hrs/week you attend the prof's lecture + 2hrs/week you teach a "section" of the undergrads. It's basically a TAship. This is half of the total teaching req; the other half consists of teaching a themed composition course that the grad student designs himself/herself.

 

By the option to tag along I mean that if you don't finish your dissertation by the end of the 5th year, you can stay on for a 6th year as a registered student while being paid to teach (presumably a heavier load than within the 5 years of guaranteed funding).

Thanks for clarifying, and sorry for using obtuse language! 1-1 refers to how many sections you teach in a semester of a year. For example, I don't teach this year, but next year, I teach a 1-1 (one section in the Fall and one section in the Spring). The year after, I teach a 2-1 (two sections in the fall, one section in the Spring). 

 

I'm still baffled; you'll really only be teaching for one year at School B? The reason I ask is that when you apply for jobs, you'll want to be able to show that you have strong teaching experience. Many job applications requirements ask for a teaching statement, and it's hard for me to imagine how one year of teaching at the university-level will help you build a strong, convincing teaching philosophy. Some jobs will ask for a syllabus that you created; others will ask that you have experience teaching a certain type of class. Since Top-10 and Top-5 are really in the same tier, based only on the info presented, I would choose School A, mainly because I'd get more varied teaching experience and the opportunity to grow as a college educator. 

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In defense of decisions based on relationships with potential advisors: while getting my Master's, I worked as a research assistant and had an AWFUL experience. I want to ensure that going forward, I

Thanks for clarifying, and sorry for using obtuse language! 1-1 refers to how many sections you teach in a semester of a year. For example, I don't teach this year, but next year, I teach a 1-1 (one s

What are the job placement rates at each? I have a lot of debt so that was a big consideration for me. Also, even if there's only a few professors at each who do work you're interested in, are there

It's hard to give advice without knowing the specifics of each school, your area of interest (poetry, no?), and eventual career goals. I understand though wanting to maintain some privacy on GC and I'm actually quite certain of the two schools you are talking about. 

 

I have gotten two strains of advice relating to this, but it mostly boils down to this: go where you get the most possible time in fellowship (i.e. without teaching responsibilities) because you will be able to make the most of graduate school as a period of uninterrupted intellectual growth and you will have the time to publish and become the best researcher/scholar you can be. The only exception to this is if you have your heart set on a small teaching-focused university for eventual employment in which case an argument could be made for more teaching. In this case though, you might be better off in a program where you designed and taught your own courses which doesn't (to my knowledge) happen in the top 10. Regardless, with these options, you can't make a wrong choice (everyone keeps reminding me this and it is strangely calming). 

 

What I've said is an argument for School B. Proflorax is right, of course, that less teaching could potentially be a liability on the job market although I don't think it is at this particular school because of the more robust support structure and the history the graduates have with getting jobs.  Best of luck with your decision! 

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Thank you guys for chiming in. It's helpful to have this kind of sounding board.

 

Proflorax, I'll be able to create a syllabus of my own in one of the courses. The school's on a quarter system, so I'll be teaching a comparable number of courses, but the general class time will be just shorter. And thanks for decoding the numerical lingo!

 

Zabka, my eventual goal is to write and teach at a good university with a good graduate program in English. School B has a strong placement record, and you have the option to teach more classes even within the 5 years (1 yr of teaching is the minimum), so I don't think lack of teachign experience will be a problem on the job market.

 

I'll add the names of the schools to my signature but would be grateful if, in responding, people would refer to them as school A & B still.

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Hello again. Thanks for including the real identities of the schools. I was actually mistaken about the identity of school B and I definitely understand your caution. 

 

Unless you feel like school B couldn't support your project, then I would absolutely urge you to take the offer with more fellowship time, especially since you do get to create a syllabus of your own and get three quarters of teaching experience. This is nothing against school A. In fact, i think it is a wonderful school and program as well. But the way I see it, if your goal is becoming a professor at a school with a quality graduate program then much of your career will be spent trying to balance responsibilities of teaching, research, and service. While one could argue that you might learn how to balance them better at School A, I think nothing is as invaluable as uninterrupted research time to better yourself as a writer/scholar. Indeed, later in your career you will most certainly be applying for external or internal awards (e.g. guggenheim fellowships) so that you can be released from your teaching/service obligations in order to focus on your research. I'm sure some will disagree and I don't think this advice is applicable to students across tiers, but it rings true for me in your case. Good luck!

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Hey!

Thanks for starting the thread, it feels good to be back again! Seeing all these familiar IDs made me very happy!

After being rejected from all 8 super phd programs, and after my grad cafe friends told me that I have to improve my English skills, I decided to be realistic and do a second Master in English. I think that after an English MA program I would be more competitive when I reapply for a phd in Comparative Literature, 2016.

Now I got waitlisted at Emerson College and I was accepted to Loyola Marymount University. I am still waiting for the decision of  City College of New York.

The thing is, there are no fundings for international students, and normally no scholarships for the first year. So I have to do several part time jobs to survive. My parents are going to pay the whole tuition and support my living costs for the first year, and then I have to work hard.

My questions are, do you guys know how the reputation of these 3 schools are? I think I would go to Loyola, because the program seems great! City College's English program seems appealing too, but the living cost would be so much more in New York, I guess.

Can anybody help to give out some suggestions?

Thanks!

 

Cheers!

Wendy

 

I have a friend currently doing her M.A. at Loyola, albeit on the creative writing track. She really likes it there, although I don't know if her experience would transfer over to someone doing literary studies.

 

I don't think the reputation of the program matters quite as much on the M.A. level. You may find yourself with more faculty attention and mentorship at a place like Loyola, which doesn't have a PhD program, in comparison to CUNY. Before making such a large financial commitment, however, be sure to ask all the programs for information on which PhD programs their students typically are admitted to. 

 

Congratulations on your admits! :)

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WendyWonderland, I would echo the above comments about the reputation of the MA program being less important than the attention and support you get while there.  The cost of CUNY + living in New York would be prohibitive for me, whereas at Loyola or Emerson (I don't know the program) you'd probably get more attention because they don't have a Ph.D. program.  For the MA, follow the money, I think.  Your application, language skills, and knowledge of the process will be superior when you re-apply no matter what program you attend for the MA, so if you like Loyola and it seems like you've got a good chance for funding there during the second year, I'd definitely think strongly about their offer.  Good luck!

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Is anybody else deciding between English and Comp Lit? 

 

My sense from the schools I'm considering is that I'll be able to do interdisciplinary, comparative work in either program. My fear is the job market. I've been told totally opposite things by professors about whether Comp Lit helps or hurts in terms of getting hired.

 

I'd love to hear from anyone else who is struggling with this, as I'm totally lost and have only a week to figure this out!

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I didn't apply to comp lit programs, but I work on theory and with English, French, and Italian so I can understand your situation to some extent.  My favorite French professor did comp lit, and her recommendation was to do all the language work that you would do in a stand-alone language program, so for her, that was French.  She was hired in a French department with her comp lit background, which was an advantage because she could do French but also Latin, Old Occitan, Old French, and Catalan.  Basically, there are more English positions then there are comp lit, so if you go comp lit, you'll apply for both comp lit and English positions, I would assume (or other language positions).  Your comp lit background may make you more competitive for the English/lang positions if you have all the normal coursework for those positions plus your comp lit-y uniqueness.  Without the broad coverage, though, you'll just be competitive for the comp lit positions, and there aren't many of those positions and the people competing for them tend to all be very strong candidates.  Good luck with your decision!

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Anyone else finding it impossible to decide? I'm torn between Brown and Cornell, so I'd be interested to hear if anyone has any particular views on/experience of those two programs. The fit at both is excellent for my interests (modernism, critical theory, aesthetics). Accessibility from/to NYC is a big consideration for me, so Brown would edge it on that, but there isn't much in it...

now I'm wondering if I met you at the Cornell visit....I don't have much info on Brown other than what is available online but I absolutely loved Cornell. The professors, the incoming cohort, and the currently grad students all blew my mind. Everyone was so friendly and wonderful and I got to meet two professors who are big in what I'm interested in. Do you have any specific misgivings or is it just that they are both great schools and having to choose between them?

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I have a friend currently doing her M.A. at Loyola, albeit on the creative writing track. She really likes it there, although I don't know if her experience would transfer over to someone doing literary studies.

 

I don't think the reputation of the program matters quite as much on the M.A. level. You may find yourself with more faculty attention and mentorship at a place like Loyola, which doesn't have a PhD program, in comparison to CUNY. Before making such a large financial commitment, however, be sure to ask all the programs for information on which PhD programs their students typically are admitted to. 

 

Congratulations on your admits! :)

 

 

WendyWonderland, I would echo the above comments about the reputation of the MA program being less important than the attention and support you get while there.  The cost of CUNY + living in New York would be prohibitive for me, whereas at Loyola or Emerson (I don't know the program) you'd probably get more attention because they don't have a Ph.D. program.  For the MA, follow the money, I think.  Your application, language skills, and knowledge of the process will be superior when you re-apply no matter what program you attend for the MA, so if you like Loyola and it seems like you've got a good chance for funding there during the second year, I'd definitely think strongly about their offer.  Good luck!

Thank you guys very much!

Sorry for my late reply, the last week I was so busy dealing with decisions and quitting my job etc.

I am accepted to CCNY of CUNY and the program includes a foreign study semester in Europe which really makes me love the program.

Moreover CCNY is so much cheaper in tuition. But of course living cost in New York is extremely expensive, so at the end, the money is pretty much the same. It is hard to follow the money, because there are only minor differences.

 

Loyola is a private school, and CCNY is public. I don't know if this could be a factor if I apply afterwards for my PHD. The program of Loyola is very interesting according to the course booklet. It is so hard to chose that it almost drives me insane. I would really appreciate comments since I really do not know which one is better. They both do not have PHD programs.

 

Thank you guys very much again!

 

Wendy

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The decision making process is heartwrenching. I'm torn between staying in the Northeast or heading to a Midwest city. Both are relatively similar in rankings and have funding within a couple thousand of each other, but the less-funded program would be in the city, thus no car insurance or gas issues. (I'm spending roughly 150/month on gas in MA as it is, so I'm not really that upset there. I also hate cars.) The Midwest program doesn't require teaching in the first year and instead focuses on training graduate faculty first and easing them into teaching, while the Northeast program has students begin teaching right away. I already have college adjunct experience so I was not exactly fearing teaching like some others might, but I would love to have more training and feedback on what is expected of me and how to proceed in the classroom. That said, I thoroughly enjoy teaching and would be thrilled to get to continue doing it this fall.  I also found out in conversation with dept. chairs today that my POI at the NE school no longer teaches at that campus and that many of the other profs in AmLit are not necessarily in my field (religion & lit and trauma studies, post WWI).  The MW program however also has a theology program and the dept chair there said I would be fully able to take courses in that dept. Both schools seem to have a wide variety in their job placement, from several well known universities to a couple community colleges. UGH. I feel like I'm playing volleyball against myself. 

 

I think my main concerns are A. the guilt from friends & family for leaving the NE and B. the somewhat real fear of not being able to afford living in the city/not "making friends" (I recognize and fully admit how much I sound like a kid on the first day of school & I'm not dating anyone at the moment who'll be tagging along for the ride).Is anyone else considering making a cross country change without a SO and if so, how are you approaching this decision? I feel like I can't make the change solely on the anxiety of potentially being lonely. Almost no one in my life is in academia so I think I'm just looking for feedback other than, "but you'll be able to come home for Thanksgiving!"

 

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The decision making process is heartwrenching. I'm torn between staying in the Northeast or heading to a Midwest city. Both are relatively similar in rankings and have funding within a couple thousand of each other, but the less-funded program would be in the city, thus no car insurance or gas issues. (I'm spending roughly 150/month on gas in MA as it is, so I'm not really that upset there. I also hate cars.) The Midwest program doesn't require teaching in the first year and instead focuses on training graduate faculty first and easing them into teaching, while the Northeast program has students begin teaching right away. I already have college adjunct experience so I was not exactly fearing teaching like some others might, but I would love to have more training and feedback on what is expected of me and how to proceed in the classroom. That said, I thoroughly enjoy teaching and would be thrilled to get to continue doing it this fall.  I also found out in conversation with dept. chairs today that my POI at the NE school no longer teaches at that campus and that many of the other profs in AmLit are not necessarily in my field (religion & lit and trauma studies, post WWI).  The MW program however also has a theology program and the dept chair there said I would be fully able to take courses in that dept. Both schools seem to have a wide variety in their job placement, from several well known universities to a couple community colleges. UGH. I feel like I'm playing volleyball against myself. 

 

I think my main concerns are A. the guilt from friends & family for leaving the NE and B. the somewhat real fear of not being able to afford living in the city/not "making friends" (I recognize and fully admit how much I sound like a kid on the first day of school & I'm not dating anyone at the moment who'll be tagging along for the ride).Is anyone else considering making a cross country change without a SO and if so, how are you approaching this decision? I feel like I can't make the change solely on the anxiety of potentially being lonely. Almost no one in my life is in academia so I think I'm just looking for feedback other than, "but you'll be able to come home for Thanksgiving!"

 

 

I think the academic things are up to your decision: run with the strongest topical support you can find. You are committing to an education that informs the rest of your careers fall-back teaching assignments (in theory, if you have taken a graduate class in it and its near your specialty area, you should be able to teach a lower division undergrad class in the topic). 

 

However, for moving across the country: for my masters I moved from the DC area to Kansas. Because the department facilitated a very welcoming and collegial environment amongst the grad students (no competition really), with a significant number of social events on top of the academic events, the friend making was almost too easy for me. That being said, my partner had a harder time making friends: she was working from home, and only getting out when I dragged her to events. Joining organizations that are non-academic also help to: I joined a home-brewing group and a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship to get to know the community. A mentor at my undergrad suggested talking to graduate students about these kinds of socialization issues, instead of relying the departmental contacts to guide you. Most people are adaptable enough, however, to find colleagues and communities to feel grounded, especially if your job meaningfully contributes to your socialization.

 

Now if the MW school is Iowa: I am on the waitlist there, so, in a biased way, I am going to recommend you not going there  ;) Kidding aside, you should go where you feel you belong academically, and trust your colleagues to be sympathetic and enjoyable people (if that is how other grad students feel about the department). 

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What are the job placement rates at each? I have a lot of debt so that was a big consideration for me.

Also, even if there's only a few professors at each who do work you're interested in, are there any who, even if they're not in your area, would be interested in your work? What I mean is this: I have a very specific interest that isn't always represented even in my sub fields/time period. So I went with a department that had people in my sub fields who were interested in what I was doing and taking that journey with me and one faculty member who explicitly does work I'm interested in/would like to do. Does that make sense? Basically, is the faculty willing to meet you halfway in terms of interests

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I'm not sure if anyone is still looking at this thread, as we're nearly upon April 15, but I still need to make a decision.  I'm trying to decide between Loyola University Chicago and University of Illinois Chicago (UIC).  UIC only contacted me on Friday to let me know I've been admitted off of their wait list, which gives me very little time to think this over.  (I had been wait listed at UIC, and had assumed they had already notified wait listed students; it turns out that they started the process of admitting wait listed students very late this year, or so they say.)  

 

Both programs are fully-funded with almost the exact same stipend for teaching.  UIC requires a 2:1 teaching load every year except the first and fourth years, when it's 0:2.  Loyola requires far less teaching, I believe 1:1 (not positive about that, though) every year except the first and fourth, which require working in the writing center rather than teaching.  

 

At UIC there are two potential professors I could work with, one of whom seems more interested in me than the other; however, I'm more interested in the work of the other one.  There is one professor I'd like to work with at Loyola, though I'm not crazy about this professor's work.  There are two other professors I could work with, but I'm not keen to, as their areas are not exactly what I'd like to be doing, and one of them--I know this individual--is not really a fit personality-wise.  

 

While I'm nervous about the heavier workload at UIC, and the feeling that Loyola is a cushier deal--and the knowledge that I'll get more attention at Loyola, where they only take 4-5 Ph.D. students a year--I'm really attracted to UIC's program because they offer far more classes in the areas I'm interested in, and it seems like their department is more "exciting" intellectually.  Also, and not sure this even matters a great deal, I'd rather be at a secular, rather than a Jesuit, institution.  

 

Does anyone have any thoughts?  I hate having to make a decision so quickly, and of course I'm frightened of choosing the wrong option!

 

Thanks so much in advance!

 

From the way you talk about the two schools, you sound much more interested in UIC than Loyola. The red flag is that there's only one person you're vaguely interested in working with at Loyola; based on that fact alone, I would be considering UIC's offer more strongly. Finally, while rankings really aren't that important, I feel that UIC is a more recognized institution than Loyola.

 

Regardless of which you choose, those are great options to have. Congrats!

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I think the academic things are up to your decision: run with the strongest topical support you can find. You are committing to an education that informs the rest of your careers fall-back teaching assignments (in theory, if you have taken a graduate class in it and its near your specialty area, you should be able to teach a lower division undergrad class in the topic). 

 

However, for moving across the country: for my masters I moved from the DC area to Kansas. Because the department facilitated a very welcoming and collegial environment amongst the grad students (no competition really), with a significant number of social events on top of the academic events, the friend making was almost too easy for me. That being said, my partner had a harder time making friends: she was working from home, and only getting out when I dragged her to events. Joining organizations that are non-academic also help to: I joined a home-brewing group and a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship to get to know the community. A mentor at my undergrad suggested talking to graduate students about these kinds of socialization issues, instead of relying the departmental contacts to guide you. Most people are adaptable enough, however, to find colleagues and communities to feel grounded, especially if your job meaningfully contributes to your socialization.

 

Now if the MW school is Iowa: I am on the waitlist there, so, in a biased way, I am going to recommend you not going there  ;) Kidding aside, you should go where you feel you belong academically, and trust your colleagues to be sympathetic and enjoyable people (if that is how other grad students feel about the department). 

 

 

What are the job placement rates at each? I have a lot of debt so that was a big consideration for me.

Also, even if there's only a few professors at each who do work you're interested in, are there any who, even if they're not in your area, would be interested in your work? What I mean is this: I have a very specific interest that isn't always represented even in my sub fields/time period. So I went with a department that had people in my sub fields who were interested in what I was doing and taking that journey with me and one faculty member who explicitly does work I'm interested in/would like to do. Does that make sense? Basically, is the faculty willing to meet you halfway in terms of interests

Alex Stinson & Shortstack, thank you thank you. For the most part, the placement records on each seem pretty good (the NE school is UCONN which I'm pretty sure you just accepted Shortstack?- the MW school is not Iowa, sorry I can't help there!) There are a few subfields being studied at UCONN that I could dabble in. I've looked at the classes for the fall and there are definitely some I'm interested in, despite their not being a perfect match to my research interests. I'm going for a short visit tomorrow, since mine was a late acceptance of the waitlist and my teaching/work schedule is restricting my ability to get to Storrs, and I'm hoping that will help influence my decision so that I can get a vibe for the people I'd be working with and how amenable they are to working with me. 

 

Side note: a home-brewing group? That sounds magical. 

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I did indeed accept an offer at UCONN. They're in the top 5 in the country for placement, if that helps (I work in academic administration and saw their note on their website about it, so I double-checked the findings through my boss's subscription to the Chronicle). Also, the USNR rankings aren't always the be-all-end-all. They certainly do indicate what schools you should go to if you want to end up teaching at an R1, but the way USNR conducts their rankings is actually statistically untenable (from my rudimentary understanding of statistics). They rely entirely on self-reporting based on 5 questions. I personally prefer the somewhat labyrinthine method of the National Research Council (since, you know, statistics are their thing!), though perhaps that's just because the schools I was seriously considering were further up the rankings according to that method. ;)

 

Anyway, I hope your visit goes well! Were you able to visit the school in the midwest at all?

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Thank you! :) Statistically speaking, UCONN has a much better standing than the other school, which I unfortunately have not been able to visit. I know that that should count for a lot more in my deliberation process given the job market, but I think part of me has been holding on to the desire to move to somewhere with a bit more excitement than Storrs and to be able to work with the other school's theology department. The offers were both late, and because I teach now and work a part time job elsewhere, I haven't been able to travel. Part of me is irrationally nervous for this meeting, as if they're going to take one look at me and/or listen to me speak one sentence and decide they shouldn't have extended me an offer. I know I'm being crazy, but it's still there. 

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From the way you talk about the two schools, you sound much more interested in UIC than Loyola. The red flag is that there's only one person you're vaguely interested in working with at Loyola; based on that fact alone, I would be considering UIC's offer more strongly. Finally, while rankings really aren't that important, I feel that UIC is a more recognized institution than Loyola.

 

Regardless of which you choose, those are great options to have. Congrats!

Thank you for your thoughts, hj2012.  I forgot to mention it in my post, but rank is definitely part of the appeal of UIC.  Asking for help with the decision, both here and from friends, has helped me realize that I'd like to go to UIC.  I'm not 100% there yet, but I think I'm on my way to that decision.  Thanks again!

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