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MA (@BU) and Reapplication: Help or Harm? And How?


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Okay, so I am going to Boston University in the fall for the MA in English. I've been told by the department that almost all of the internal applicant to continue from MA to PhD are accepted. But, barring it being absolutely awesome, I don't think I want to get my PhD at BU. This means I'm probably going to start reapplying in the fall for other PhD programs. My questions are several: Will having an MA from BU make any measurable difference (positive or negative) on my application for PhD programs? For my PhD apps, should I rely on the same (undergrad) recommenders that I used for my MA app or try to get new ones from the BU program, despite the fact that I'll only have been at BU a few months by the time I need the reccs? Does it look flaky to start a program at one place and then transfer? Does anyone have a real idea of how much impact getting published can have on your admissions chances? How about getting in touch with professors at your dream schools...and how does one go about that? Is it a ridiculous dream to think I can reapply whilst in the midst of what promises to be a fairly intense 1-year MA? I don't think I can handle another gap year. Please, guys, help me out here. I think I was more than a little naive about the whole application process the first time around--and lucky to get into any program, really--but I'd like to do things correctly the next time around. I've asked all these questions of my undergrad advisor, as well, but I figure the advice of a horde of people who have just been through this is pretty valuable. So, advise me!

P.S. Anyone else out there going to BU in the fall? Say hullo!

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If it's a one-year program, and you are completely set against staying at BU for your PhD (I'm not really sure why, if you are willing to do your MA there?), I would take a year off between your MA and your PhD. Use that year to apply AFTER your MA is finished with, and really put together kickass PhD applications. Get recs from your MA program (though I'm sure some could be from your BA, people in your MA will be able to say how you actually did in graduate school).

I don't know why you can't "handle" another gap year, but if you go straight through, you are putting yourself at a serious disadvantage. You will essentially have the same application profile as you did this year, but you will be judged to a higher standard as an applicant with an MA. You get the negatives of having an MA (some programs prefer you not do this, all programs expect your work to be at a higher level and basically perfect grades in your MA), without any of the positives.

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Okay, so I am going to Boston University in the fall for the MA in English. I've been told by the department that almost all of the internal applicant to continue from MA to PhD are accepted. But, barring it being absolutely awesome, I don't think I want to get my PhD at BU. This means I'm probably going to start reapplying in the fall for other PhD programs. My questions are several: Will having an MA from BU make any measurable difference (positive or negative) on my application for PhD programs? For my PhD apps, should I rely on the same (undergrad) recommenders that I used for my MA app or try to get new ones from the BU program, despite the fact that I'll only have been at BU a few months by the time I need the reccs? Does it look flaky to start a program at one place and then transfer? Does anyone have a real idea of how much impact getting published can have on your admissions chances? How about getting in touch with professors at your dream schools...and how does one go about that? Is it a ridiculous dream to think I can reapply whilst in the midst of what promises to be a fairly intense 1-year MA? I don't think I can handle another gap year. Please, guys, help me out here. I think I was more than a little naive about the whole application process the first time around--and lucky to get into any program, really--but I'd like to do things correctly the next time around. I've asked all these questions of my undergrad advisor, as well, but I figure the advice of a horde of people who have just been through this is pretty valuable. So, advise me!

P.S. Anyone else out there going to BU in the fall? Say hullo!

So, I only have one thing to add to what teaganc wrote--s/he mentioned that some programs prefer that you not have an MA in English Lit, but it might be worth mentioning that some programs actually require you not to have one. Just keep that in mind in your search for a PhD program.

I also second the suggestion for a gap year. It'll give you more time to make severely awesome applications, and, moreover, it'll give your possible LOR writers more time to get to know you.

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