bioarch_fan

Fall 2015 Applicants

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I know this is a bit early to start a discussion on this, but I thought since some people are preparing for applications now it would be a great time to talk to other people drudging through the same thing.  I thought it would be nice to introduce ourselves talking about our area of interests, where we want to apply to, and where you're at in preparing for grad school.  Maybe this will give other people the ideas of what they should be preparing for as well.

 

I guess I'll start since I'm the one starting the thread.  :)

 

I've done quite a bit to prepare myself for grad school.  I've been on a research project with two of my department's professors, one of which is my advisor, but I've recently dropped out of doing it because I'm also starting my senior thesis this summer.  I am working on a thesis, by my own choosing, on a subject that is interesting to me.  I'm looking at prison records at two of our penitentiaries from the 1918 influenza pandemic and seeing how the flu affected the prison's population and hopefully how they differed since they are different types of prisons.

 

I am finishing my BA in the 2014-15 school year and will be graduating Spring 2015 with a major in anthropology and a double minor in classical civilizations and history.  My main area of interest is in Roman bioarchaeology.  I want to learn more about the health of the general population, not just the aristocracy.  I think gladiatorial health would be interesting to learn about because we mostly hear about how they died, mostly in combat, but we don't hear much about the diseases that some of them might have had.  But along with that, I'm also interested in a paleopathological analysis of the Mediterranean area as a whole.  Part of my interest lies in the bubonic plague/black death and I'm interested in how the Italian strain of it is different than the London strain, not just the 14th century plague, but also the plague of Justinian (6th century CE) as well.

 

I'm actually planning on applying to quite a few schools, approximately 10, so I'm hoping my recommenders don't mind.  :/  I just want to keep my options open and have a better chance of getting into a good program that offers funding.  Masters only schools: University of West Florida, University of Central Florida, and East Carolina University.  PhD schools: University of South Florida, University of South Carolina, Michigan State University, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Notre Dame, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Durham University, McMaster University, and Edinburgh University.  Told you a lot of schools.  :)

 

Currently, I'm just studying for the GRE, I plan on taking it in July or early August before fall semester starts.  This will give me time to retake it if I really need/want to.  I've already talked to a couple recommenders and asked if they'd be willing to write some when classes start up again and I told them I'd ask again once fall semester started.  I've also been in contact with a couple POIs, some via email and some at national conferences.  I plan on going to a total of 3 conferences this year so I can network a little more.  Starting next week I'm also going to start writing my SoPs.  I want to give myself time to work on them before classes start again so all I have to do is touch them up a little bit later.  

 

Sorry for such a long thread but I rarely post on here and thought it would be nice for us all to talk about our interests and where they are eventually leading us in our future endeavors.  :)

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You are not alone, friend! 

 

I'm preparing to apply to the same number of places, with the top on my list being U of Oregon, Missouri and Indiana. I plan to go into Folklore specifically, and really hoping to get into one of those three places -- preferably with funding!

 

Currently, I'm finishing up my major in history and my minor in English and will be graduating from Judson College in Spring 2015. I've already taken the GRE once (153V, 150Q, 4.5 AWA), but I'm really nervous about my scores, since I've been seeing people with scores a lot higher than my own. My GPA overall is a 3.5 but my major is a 3.86. I've got the recommenders notified about when I need letters by, which is super easy when you go to a college of 300 girls, so that's no stress.

 

My big stress is the SOP, mainly because I have no idea how to write one. That and my GRE scores are making me worry, mostly because my verbal was much lower than I had hoped for, but my writing is pretty decent. 

 

Anyways, that's my stress level right about now.

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I was initially going to apply to philosophy programs but I've decided theoretically inclined anthro programs are a better fit.  So far I've only decided on two programs: Anthro and Cultural Studies at UCDavis.  I've been thinking about the GREs and I think they are going to be a bummer.  I finished my anthro undergrad and started an interdisciplinary MA that I never finished years ago.  I went to a Canadian university and did pretty well but I have this fear that the competition for grad school in the States is cut throat and I don't have a chance in hell.

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How many programs are folks applying to?  As of today I have 8-ish, by next week there could be 2 or 20.  I keep on going back and forth about whether to apply to a small handful or a good spread. 

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Apply to a handful. Strong application SOPs are tailored to the program, singling out faculty members you'd like to work with or take courses with, facilities you would like to have access to, etc. They want to see that you've done your homework and really want to attend that school in particular, rather than just any ol' place. 

 

You'll go crazy if you try to write an essay like that for 8-10 schools. 

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(I applied to 4 schools, and was accepted at 2).

 

If you don't mind telling where did you apply, where did you get in, what kind of funding packages did you receive and what does your undergrad background look like?  It's helpful to know what a successful applicant looks like in the digital flesh. 

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How many programs are folks applying to?  As of today I have 8-ish, by next week there could be 2 or 20.  I keep on going back and forth about whether to apply to a small handful or a good spread. 

 

Personally, I have about 15 schools that I am choosing from.  Once I finish narrowing it down, which i plan to do this week, then I'll have no more than hopefully 10 schools to apply to.  All of them I have done pretty decent research on and need to do a little more to see what the prospects are for post-doc work.  But I know some people say to not apply to more than 5, but I disagree with this statement.  I would rather cast my net wider and have a better chance of getting into a good program with funding than not getting in at all or getting into a place w/o funding.  That's why I'm doubling the amount of schools I'm applying too.  Plus, I'm also thinking about applying to a couple history or classics MA programs as well, which will lead to me getting my PhD in anthropology.

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I don't think you're early - I've been thinking about this since December!  I'm a bit unusual: I've been working as a teacher of one kind or another for several years, I have a BA in German Studies and Theater (Production/Design), minor in Art History, and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from SOAS (so, if you have questions about attending programs in the UK, message me - I have OPINIONS).  It only just occurred to me in the past year that Cultural Anthropology was the best umbrella for all my interests.  Based on strong reputations, good language offerings, and multiple faculty specializing in the Middle East, my current list is: UC Berkeley, NYU, Stanford, Columbia, Harvard, Duke, and University of Arizona.  I know I'm aiming high.  In terms of theory, I'm interested in ethnic identity, performing arts, religion and cultural contact/interactions.  

 

If anybody knows of any programs I'm overlooking that align with my research interests, I'd love to hear it.  I'm trying to finalize the list by the time I take the GRE at the end of September.

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How many programs are folks applying to?  As of today I have 8-ish, by next week there could be 2 or 20.  I keep on going back and forth about whether to apply to a small handful or a good spread. 

 

 I didn't find this website until after I sent my applications out. I only applied to four programs. I thought that was the perfect number, until I came on here and noticed people were applying to like 7 or 10 programs. I got accepted to 3 out of 4....I'm with the opinion that if you choose the programs that are best suited to you...I mean BEST suited, as in you researched it, spoke with professors and looked at their studies...then you can devote a good amount of time to your overall application and relationships with the professors there and that is the best route.

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 I didn't find this website until after I sent my applications out. I only applied to four programs. I thought that was the perfect number, until I came on here and noticed people were applying to like 7 or 10 programs. I got accepted to 3 out of 4....I'm with the opinion that if you choose the programs that are best suited to you...I mean BEST suited, as in you researched it, spoke with professors and looked at their studies...then you can devote a good amount of time to your overall application and relationships with the professors there and that is the best route.

 

Hey! I'm from Boston and I can hook you up with the City Archaeologist to work in the Archaeology Labs, I did that for a summer and he's great! 

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Hello Everyone! 

 

I will be finishing up my degree next spring and will be applying to schools for next fall. Right now, I'm a Anthropology major, bioanth track with special focus on Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology, and minors in Biology, Public Health, Environmental Studies, and Archaeology. I am the assistant to the City Archaeologist of Boston when I am in Massachusetts as well as a research assistant intern at University of Tennessee - Knoxville, Forensic Anthropology Center. I also have been on projects in the Majes Valley, Peru for Bioarchaeology and Palaeopathology. 

 

I'm planning on applying to about 6 schools, may less, but around there. They are: Tulane, Vanderbilt (Maybe),NYU (Maybe), Sheffield, Bradford, and Durham. My main focus is Bioarcheaology of South America and Forensic Anthropology. I'll be taking the GRE's in the fall though and have been preparing myself for the exam. 

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 I didn't find this website until after I sent my applications out. I only applied to four programs. I thought that was the perfect number, until I came on here and noticed people were applying to like 7 or 10 programs. I got accepted to 3 out of 4....I'm with the opinion that if you choose the programs that are best suited to you...I mean BEST suited, as in you researched it, spoke with professors and looked at their studies...then you can devote a good amount of time to your overall application and relationships with the professors there and that is the best route.

 

That makes sense.  I will probably shoot for four programs.  The more I articulate what I want to do the more schools get crossed off my list. 

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Anyone else doing some extra reading and research for their upcoming applications? I just ordered some books and am working my way through a PhD thesis this afternoon--Consuming Flesh: The Biopolitics of Beef Consumption.  I've been out of school for 7 years so I need to play catch up. 

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Hello Everyone! 

 

I will be finishing up my degree next spring and will be applying to schools for next fall. Right now, I'm a Anthropology major, bioanth track with special focus on Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology, and minors in Biology, Public Health, Environmental Studies, and Archaeology. I am the assistant to the City Archaeologist of Boston when I am in Massachusetts as well as a research assistant intern at University of Tennessee - Knoxville, Forensic Anthropology Center. I also have been on projects in the Majes Valley, Peru for Bioarchaeology and Palaeopathology. 

 

I'm planning on applying to about 6 schools, may less, but around there. They are: Tulane, Vanderbilt (Maybe),NYU (Maybe), Sheffield, Bradford, and Durham. My main focus is Bioarcheaology of South America and Forensic Anthropology. I'll be taking the GRE's in the fall though and have been preparing myself for the exam. 

 

Looks like our interests are very similar.  But I'm not as interested in South American bioarchaeology.  My main area is Ancient Roman and Medieval bioarchaeology.  Looks like we're also applying to at least 1 school similar, Durham.  But I'm also looking a little more into Tulane.  Not sold on it yet though.

 

I'm taking my GRE next month, so good luck when you take yours as well.  :)

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If you don't mind telling where did you apply, where did you get in, what kind of funding packages did you receive and what does your undergrad background look like?  It's helpful to know what a successful applicant looks like in the digital flesh. 

 

Sorry to be so long responding, I was out of pocket for a while.

 

I applied to Boston University, Brown, Harvard, and Tulane. All offer comparable funding packages, with stipends in the $20k/year range. I was accepted at BU and Tulane; between those two there wasn't really even a choice. Tulane has a far larger and more diverse program and emphasizes Mesoamerica, which is my specialty. And a comparable stipend goes about half again as far in NOLA as it does in Boston.

 

However, just as an important note to people who get all spun out about getting into "prestigious programs": my application was declined at Harvard and Brown (incidentally the two places where I had a hard time connecting with the Mesoamericanist faculty), but I was successful in applying for the NSF GRFP, which is also highly competitive and prestigious. The point is that when it comes to applying for grad school, departmental fit and good relationships with POIs are everything. 

 

As for my undergrad background, I have a BA in anthropology from Penn (which is very 4-field, or was then), and I'll be the first to admit that my letter writers helped me out immensely because they were knowledgeable about the programs I was applying to and tailored their letters accordingly.

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If anybody knows of any programs I'm overlooking that align with my research interests, I'd love to hear it.  I'm trying to finalize the list by the time I take the GRE at the end of September.

 

What are your interests more specifically? I gather the Middle East and maybe something to do with performance, theatre, art, etc.? 

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Sorry to be so long responding, I was out of pocket for a while.

 

I applied to Boston University, Brown, Harvard, and Tulane. All offer comparable funding packages, with stipends in the $20k/year range. I was accepted at BU and Tulane; between those two there wasn't really even a choice. Tulane has a far larger and more diverse program and emphasizes Mesoamerica, which is my specialty. And a comparable stipend goes about half again as far in NOLA as it does in Boston.

 

However, just as an important note to people who get all spun out about getting into "prestigious programs": my application was declined at Harvard and Brown (incidentally the two places where I had a hard time connecting with the Mesoamericanist faculty), but I was successful in applying for the NSF GRFP, which is also highly competitive and prestigious. The point is that when it comes to applying for grad school, departmental fit and good relationships with POIs are everything. 

 

As for my undergrad background, I have a BA in anthropology from Penn (which is very 4-field, or was then), and I'll be the first to admit that my letter writers helped me out immensely because they were knowledgeable about the programs I was applying to and tailored their letters accordingly.

 

Based on my gut and what folks on gradcafe are saying I might not even bother applying to anywhere I haven't successfully dialogued with a POI or 2.  It seems like a waste of money, time and energy to send off applications to schools that don't fit and don't write back.  Plus I'm going to need someone in my corner to overlook a patchy past. 

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Based on my gut and what folks on gradcafe are saying I might not even bother applying to anywhere I haven't successfully dialogued with a POI or 2.  It seems like a waste of money, time and energy to send off applications to schools that don't fit and don't write back.  Plus I'm going to need someone in my corner to overlook a patchy past. 

 

Agreed...there's no point to waste time, energy and money on applying to a program just to be safe. This is grad school. You want to get the most bang for your buck, and the best education possible. I personally feel like the committees toss any application when it seems like their program isn't the best suited for their research area to begin with...

 

I'll be honest. I simply Googled "historical archaeology grad programs" and went down the list...and even visited the list of higher education on the society of historical archaeology's webiste: http://www.sha.org/index.php/view/page/higher_education

 

and clicked every link, went straight to the faculty and looked over their areas of research...crossed off any that were of no interest to me and then I made contact with the professors and went from there...

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Agreed...there's no point to waste time, energy and money on applying to a program just to be safe. This is grad school. You want to get the most bang for your buck, and the best education possible. I personally feel like the committees toss any application when it seems like their program isn't the best suited for their research area to begin with...

 

I'll be honest. I simply Googled "historical archaeology grad programs" and went down the list...and even visited the list of higher education on the society of historical archaeology's webiste: http://www.sha.org/index.php/view/page/higher_education

 

and clicked every link, went straight to the faculty and looked over their areas of research...crossed off any that were of no interest to me and then I made contact with the professors and went from there...

 

That sounds like what I'm doing.  I think I'v settled on UCDavis, UC Santa Barbara and Washington U St Louis and I'm looking for one more school and one or two more POI.  Then I can just focus on the SOP, GRE, GRFP, LOR and work full time.  Easy.  Hopefully they toss applications that don't fit before they toss applications with shitty GRE scores.  I don't really want to go through the application process a third time.  I ain't getting any younger. 

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I keep stressing that you can contact the department and ask what GRE scores are associated with those who they have accepted in the past...but I'll be honest, when I contacted the programs I applied to they said it didn't really matter...they're more focused on your GPA, which is indicative of your overall behavior throughout your college career, rather than an example of you sitting in front of a screen for 4 hours and how well you performed in that environment.

 

Not lying...everyone said GRE scores were not their deciding factor...but again, just my experience. And my GRE scores were low...

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I keep stressing that you can contact the department and ask what GRE scores are associated with those who they have accepted in the past...but I'll be honest, when I contacted the programs I applied to they said it didn't really matter...they're more focused on your GPA, which is indicative of your overall behavior throughout your college career, rather than an example of you sitting in front of a screen for 4 hours and how well you performed in that environment.

 

Not lying...everyone said GRE scores were not their deciding factor...but again, just my experience. And my GRE scores were low...

 

I'm stoked to hear that.  The GREs are my biggest concern.  The rest I'm not worried about.  I have a 3.8 GPA.  I have a bunch of research experience-- dozens of hours of interviewing.  Good LORs.  A descent writing sample that I'll update.   POI's who seem positive. There is just something so god damn terrible about a 4 hour multiple choice test that has nothing to do with my research annihilating the integrity of my applications.  Its weighs on my mind day and night.  I'm f'ing indignant about the whole damn thing. 

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Maybe this is a question that someone in here can answer for me.  I have most of my schools narrowed down, I'm applying to more than what people say I should because I want to cast my net wider, but all of the schools I have chosen so far have professors that work in my area of interest.  But the question is, I am doing primarily Roman bioarchaeology, but there aren't many Roman bioarchaeologists out there.  Does the specific region of interest have to be spot on with your POI or does the specific area of interest have to coincide with your POI's research area?  For instance, there's a professor that I know from Tulane that does Incan bioarchaeology, but I have no interest in Incan bioarchaeology.  Should my region of interest match up with his?  I have heard conflicting things from different people.  Haven't had a chance to ask my advisor yet because she's out of the country right now and I wanted to have my schools picked out by the end of this week.

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Maybe this is a question that someone in here can answer for me.  I have most of my schools narrowed down, I'm applying to more than what people say I should because I want to cast my net wider, but all of the schools I have chosen so far have professors that work in my area of interest.  But the question is, I am doing primarily Roman bioarchaeology, but there aren't many Roman bioarchaeologists out there.  Does the specific region of interest have to be spot on with your POI or does the specific area of interest have to coincide with your POI's research area?  For instance, there's a professor that I know from Tulane that does Incan bioarchaeology, but I have no interest in Incan bioarchaeology.  Should my region of interest match up with his?  I have heard conflicting things from different people.  Haven't had a chance to ask my advisor yet because she's out of the country right now and I wanted to have my schools picked out by the end of this week.

 

I think your region of interest doesnt have to match up exactly if your other interests are spot on.  Two of my POI's are Latin Americanists I'm not but they are both interested in human-cattle relations which is what is key for my proposed project. 

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