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FALL 2015 APPLICATONS


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After 4 rejections and a countless number of sleepless nights with my name on a waitlist, now at the dawn of the week of April 15th,   I must have been on the edge because I was still accessible to

I had an interview with UPenn in 2009. I'm still waiting to hear back. Never give up hope! 

For those of you who have attended both interviews (in person) at prospective universities and post-admit visits, how do they compare? I'm not sure what to expect when I go for my visits in the following weeks.

I've been to three "interview" visits, and I'm going to a post-acceptance one on Tuesday so I can update more then! But I will say that the interview visits didn't really feel like interviews. Yes, there were tons of other prospective students but it didn't feel competitive or anything. And when I met with professors we just chatted about research for half an hour and it was totally laid-back and fun. So I can only imagine that post-acceptance visits are even more laid back.

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UCLA has been an extremely frustrating visit :( it's the first place where I felt like I really really clicked with my POI, we had great discussion, he's full of interesting ideas, he was interested in my ideas, our personalities were similar. It was awesome. On top of that the campus is gorgeous, there are good resources, LA is a great place to live, my boyfriend is taking a job there this summer. All awesome stuff. But I just felt like I did not fit in with the rest of the department at all. The other faculty I talked to are great people, but research-wise we just approach things in entirely different ways. Not that that's a bad thing obviously, I need different viewpoints, but I mean they approach things in a way that I fundamentally disagree with. I don't see myself being happy and productive there and it's so frustrating because there were many great things about it.....ugh :(

Sorry to hear that. Fit with your adviser is important, but I think collaboration with other people in the department is also extremely important. In general, I just don't think it's a good idea to work with just one person in the department for all five years...So I'd definitely think twice if I wanted to go to UCLA... This is a tough decision, especially when your boyfriend is there :( Good luck!

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Would you mind elaborating more on how your approaches/viewpoints differ? I'm just curious because I know I should take the same sort of things into consideration when I make my decision.

 

 

On the bright side, it would be way too difficult to decide if every single place is a great fit, right?  :lol:

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Well, I think I might have been exaggerating a little bit in that most of the faculty were just interested in issues orthogonal to my research, so not necessarily a clash but more of being interested in questions that I'm not interested in, which isn't a problem. However, I'm fairly strongly anti-UG, which seemed to be the stance of most of the psycholinguistics faculty/grad students. Even this might not result in big problems if I went there because I'm not going to be doing acquisition, but it's still a pretty big ideological divide. But coming from a cognitive science background, I put huge emphasis on methodology and experimental design. I think everything about how you design your experiment has an effect on what you can infer from your results, but the faculty didn't seem to place much emphasis on rigorous experimentation. I'm not trying to put the faculty down, I'm just saying I have different priorities than them. They were all wonderful people, but I just didn't feel like I would fit in at all.

It's very interesting to know that UCLA is pro-UG...I was expecting the opposite!

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Nice, did you contact them before asking when they would announce decisions?

I did not. I know some people there, so I knew that they are hiring a new professor this semester, which I think is why decisions are out so late. I was contacted by them in late January asking me to apply for a TA position, so I think that's part of the reason they sent me that follow up email. I did get the official email last night that I'm in, so that was exciting!

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Well, I think I might have been exaggerating a little bit in that most of the faculty were just interested in issues orthogonal to my research, so not necessarily a clash but more of being interested in questions that I'm not interested in, which isn't a problem. However, I'm fairly strongly anti-UG, which seemed to be the stance of most of the psycholinguistics faculty/grad students. Even this might not result in big problems if I went there because I'm not going to be doing acquisition, but it's still a pretty big ideological divide. But coming from a cognitive science background, I put huge emphasis on methodology and experimental design. I think everything about how you design your experiment has an effect on what you can infer from your results, but the faculty didn't seem to place much emphasis on rigorous experimentation. I'm not trying to put the faculty down, I'm just saying I have different priorities than them. They were all wonderful people, but I just didn't feel like I would fit in at all.

 

I am derailing this thread somewhat, but there is a tendency for people to throw around terms like pro-UG and anti-UG without specifying i) what exactly about UG-type hypotheses they take issue with, and ii) how much the answers to that question has direct ramifications to the work they do. I think considering both is important to your decision, and I am also interested in hearing more about it.

 

My two cents. Re: (i) it simply cannot be that you disagree with everything UG!  E.g., everybody--nativists and empiricists alike--agree that there is something innate, a hypothesis space, i.e. there are "priors" if we are talking in Bayesian terms. Re: (ii), I am of the belief that your personal beliefs about e.g. UG does not and should not constrain who you work with. It's often informative and sometimes more constructive to be around people who don't share these beliefs, as long as they are interested in arguing with you. Good advisors are able to work with and support even those students who are making claims that go directly against them. This happens all the time in my department. 

 

I have, however, had experiences where people have been actively disinterested in the kind of questions I find interesting and important, and some that don't even want to give me the time of day because of their preconceived assumptions about my theoretical beliefs. Now that, I would find to be a toxic environment to be in as a graduate student. From my experience, people at UCLA don't strike me as falling into this category. Take Carson Schutze for example-- I am sure he disagrees with some or most "anti-UG" claims, yet, from my reading of his work, he takes seriously the authors making these claims. 

 

Anyway, while the "ideological divide" you describe is a perfectly reasonable thing to be worried about, I am not sure it deserves as much weight as you seem to be giving it. Take all this with a grain of salt, of course-- just thought I'd share my opinion as a psycholinguist/acquisitionist who people might characterize pro-UG :)

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Rejected from UIUC. :lol: It's okay because it doesn't rank high on my list, but I had this "schools in the Midwest and Canada seem to like me" thing going on, and now it's ruined.

I kind of have that going on! Except Michigan did not seem to like me. The schools I've been accepted to are less than 3 hours (driving) apart, though.  :lol:

 

Sorry about UIUC, but you don't seem too upset about it, so that's good! :)

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So, my rejection from Yale came in.

It was expected, of course. But still, it hurts! Don't know if it is just my ego/pride talking.

 

Anyway, life goes on, and I already got the admission I wanted so... Congrats to those who got in!! Yale is a great school. :D

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I kind of have that going on! Except Michigan did not seem to like me. The schools I've been accepted to are less than 3 hours (driving) apart, though.  :lol:

 

Sorry about UIUC, but you don't seem too upset about it, so that's good! :)

It's kind of nice to see how someone can be accepted to one school and not another, while another person can get the opposite results with the same two schools. When you see a somewhat random mix of acceptances and rejections from schools that are overall great it reaffirms the whole idea about how so many different factors determine whether you'd get accepted or not. :lol:

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It's kind of nice to see how someone can be accepted to one school and not another, while another person can get the opposite results with the same two schools. When you see a somewhat random mix of acceptances and rejections from schools that are overall great it reaffirms the whole idea about how so many different factors determine whether you'd get accepted or not. :lol:

I was just thinking the same thing! What a strange and (sort of?) wonderful process.  :P

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I just saw that a bunch of people received rejections from Michigan the past few days, either by email or website. I still have yet to receive any notification and have checked my application status through the rackham website multiple times. Any thoughts?

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Hey Scarecrow-

 

When you submitted the application, it should have prompted you to make a Wolverine Access account.  If you check your application status there, you should see a link that says "view decision."

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So I did not get accepted to Michigan, but they said it was pretty much a matter of research interests at that point (among the short-listed candidates). I'm not super attached to my research interests and was ready to explore some new things, but I can definitely see how I was not the best fit, especially compared to some of the other candidates I met. For example, I'm a phonetics/phonology person but not into articulatory phonetics/phonology at all, and that's a big thing they do there. During one of my meetings, I slipped out the fact that I like experimental phonology a lot and how phonetics can inform phonology, but for me there's really a point where things get too "phoneticky".

 

I'm not hurt by it because I am leaning towards going to UChicago anyway and I got nice emails from the professors, and I met the department so I know how awesome they are, and I'm looking forward to meeting Michigan people again in conferences and whatnot.

 

In case people are interested in numbers: They've received 144 applications, and 15 applicants were short-listed. I don't know how many actually got accepted.

Edited by rainbowpink
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Hey Scarecrow-

 

When you submitted the application, it should have prompted you to make a Wolverine Access account.  If you check your application status there, you should see a link that says "view decision."

 

Ah, when I submitted the application back in November I received an email notifying me that "Rackham Graduate School will send you an acknowledgement email to confirm the program," but they never did! I received email when each recommender submitted their letter, but nothing about the wolverine access. How should I proceed?  

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The most cathartic aspect of this whole process is when rejections don't even phase you anymore. 

I got my NYU rejection while at another open house, shortly after talking with another prospie about how we hadn't heard anything from them and had probably been rejected. When I saw the email, I laughed and gave the other guy a high-five.

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The most cathartic aspect of this whole process is when rejections don't even phase you anymore.

It's actually my first rejection, luckily I got an acceptance already to a program I'm really excited about, so I'm genuinely not even phased.

But Oregon was a really good fit for my interests. C'est la vie.

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Yeah, at this point it doesn't affect me anymore, although I only have the schools I'm on the waiting list at to hear back from about a final decision (sometime in April). I'm not really counting on those, especially since it's probably going to be too late by the time I hear back.

 

In hindsight, this has been fun. There were parts of the process I wouldn't want to experience again though. 

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Yeah, at this point it doesn't affect me anymore, although I only have the schools I'm on the waiting list at to hear back from about a final decision (sometime in April). I'm not really counting on those, especially since it's probably going to be too late by the time I hear back.

In hindsight, this has been fun. There were parts of the process I wouldn't want to experience again though.

I only applied to MA programs rather than Ph. D. since my BA wasn't in linguistics and my GPA was fairly middling due to some issues from a lack of maturity and depression early in my college experience; I get to look forward to doing it all again in a year or two if I decide to finish out the doctorate.

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