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Please somebody answer! Should I wait another year to reapply?


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Somebody please give me some sound advice! I'm going insane....

I got rejected from 12 out of the 13 PhD English programs I applied to. I got accepted to Temple, but with no funding.

I'm an MA student from NYU who will be graduating in a month. I don't want to go to Temple. I feel like I shouldn't pay for my PhD, and to be honest, I feel like I can do better than Temple.

But what if I reject Temple now, reapply for more PhD programs next fall, and don't get accepted anywhere? Should I just suck it up and go to Philly? I reaaaally don't want to! :(

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I wouldn't do something you don't want too...do you have any jobs lined up or do you really need a PhD for the field you want to work in?

 

Also what is your plan to improve your application package from this season to next season?

Edited by justinmcummings
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The poster above gives sound advice. Do you have another job lined up right now or some other opportunity lined up that will help improve your chances next cycle?

If the answer to that is no, then you need to think hard about what exactly was the weakness with your application. Maybe email a POI at a top choice or two and see if they can shed some light on that. Perhaps it was something small or specific which you can address.

Finally, I'm a big proponent for NOT paying for a PhD. To top that off it seems you really don't want to go to Temple. Is there a way to defer your acceptance until next year? In all honestly, I don't think you should pay for PhD especially if that's not a top program or the POI isn't going to open any doors post-graduation. If I were you I would try to figure out what the weaknesses are in my application and try to address those. Worst case get a job that is relevant or do a MS.

Just my $0.02. Best wishes! :)

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The poster above gives sound advice. Do you have another job lined up right now or some other opportunity lined up that will help improve your chances next cycle?

If the answer to that is no, then you need to think hard about what exactly was the weakness with your application. Maybe email a POI at a top choice or two and see if they can shed some light on that. Perhaps it was something small or specific which you can address.

Finally, I'm a big proponent for NOT paying for a PhD. To top that off it seems you really don't want to go to Temple. Is there a way to defer your acceptance until next year? In all honestly, I don't think you should pay for PhD especially if that's not a top program or the POI isn't going to open any doors post-graduation. If I were you I would try to figure out what the weaknesses are in my application and try to address those. Worst case get a job that is relevant or do a MS.

Just my $0.02. Best wishes! :)

 

Thanks man! :)

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Jeff,

 

DO NOT GO TO A PHD PROGRAM WITHOUT FUNDING. Do not do it. There are a number of very good reasons to decline your unfunded offer:

 

First, you may not finish your degree at all. 50% of all PhD students don't, and often they leave the university without their degree after spending more than 3 years in their program. http://chronicle.com/article/PhD-Attrition-How-Much-Is/140045/ Attrition isn't a thing that gets talked about much around here, but it's real and it happens to a lot of people, and not having funding makes it more likely. Second, if you do manage to finish, you're unlikely to find the kind of academic job you want. Tenure-line professorships are disappearing, and the academic job market in the humanities, is dismal. There are plenty of folks with degrees from top programs who can't find jobs and who are scraping by adjuncting for less than minimum wage. Grad school is a gamble that is unlikely to pay off, and the more debt you need to take on to get though, the riskier it is. Cf http://chronicle.com/article/Graduate-School-in-the/44846 and http://chronicle.com/article/Just-Don-t-Go-Part-2/44786

 

Have your mentors at NYU been talking to you about this? About how often people don't finish? About how bad the job market is? If not, they are failing you as a student, and you should be mad about that.

 

You might be able to revamp your application for next year, but I don't have any specific advice for you about that (although, looking at the list of schools you applied to, I'm wondering if you were choosing schools based more on location than on best fit with professors, which, if so, is something you could fix). You're worried about what might happen if you don't get in anywhere next year, and I can see how that would be a scary thought. Here's the thing, though--it might be the best thing that ever happened to you. Academia is a mess, and it's going to get worse. The world is a big place, and there are many many jobs you might enjoy and many kinds of satisfying things you could do with yourself. Not getting a PhD doesn't have to be about closing a door, it can be aboout opening a hundred different ones.

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I think you know the answer to this.  You've said it in your original post.  You don't want to go.  It seems crazy to me to pay shedloads of money for a program you are not overly excited about.  So don't do it. 

Take the one acceptance as a sign that you CAN get in and try again.  If you're really concerned, definitely see if you can defer and do that.  

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Jeff,

 

DO NOT GO TO A PHD PROGRAM WITHOUT FUNDING. Do not do it. There are a number of very good reasons to decline your unfunded offer:

 

First, you may not finish your degree at all. 50% of all PhD students don't, and often they leave the university without their degree after spending more than 3 years in their program. http://chronicle.com/article/PhD-Attrition-How-Much-Is/140045/ Attrition isn't a thing that gets talked about much around here, but it's real and it happens to a lot of people, and not having funding makes it more likely. Second, if you do manage to finish, you're unlikely to find the kind of academic job you want. Tenure-line professorships are disappearing, and the academic job market in the humanities, is dismal. There are plenty of folks with degrees from top programs who can't find jobs and who are scraping by adjuncting for less than minimum wage. Grad school is a gamble that is unlikely to pay off, and the more debt you need to take on to get though, the riskier it is. Cf http://chronicle.com/article/Graduate-School-in-the/44846 and http://chronicle.com/article/Just-Don-t-Go-Part-2/44786

 

Have your mentors at NYU been talking to you about this? About how often people don't finish? About how bad the job market is? If not, they are failing you as a student, and you should be mad about that.

 

You might be able to revamp your application for next year, but I don't have any specific advice for you about that (although, looking at the list of schools you applied to, I'm wondering if you were choosing schools based more on location than on best fit with professors, which, if so, is something you could fix). You're worried about what might happen if you don't get in anywhere next year, and I can see how that would be a scary thought. Here's the thing, though--it might be the best thing that ever happened to you. Academia is a mess, and it's going to get worse. The world is a big place, and there are many many jobs you might enjoy and many kinds of satisfying things you could do with yourself. Not getting a PhD doesn't have to be about closing a door, it can be aboout opening a hundred different ones.

 

Damn, I didn't know that. You're totally right. It's not worth all that debt.

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I think you know the answer to this.  You've said it in your original post.  You don't want to go.  It seems crazy to me to pay shedloads of money for a program you are not overly excited about.  So don't do it. 

Take the one acceptance as a sign that you CAN get in and try again.  If you're really concerned, definitely see if you can defer and do that.  

 

Thank you so much. Gotta have self-confidence now! :)

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