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Advice?


academiccricket
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I was rejected from a Ph.D. program and accepted into the M.A. (which I would like to complete in one year, because of the $40,000 tuition)...I was wondering what I should do (besides obviously do excellent work) to help my chances of getting into the Ph.D. program. Thoughts? Advice?

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Try to do research with professors while working on your MA, especially ones you'd like to work with long term (assuming you want to continue at this school).

Personally, I'd hesitate to rack up $40K in debt for a one-year master's program and would consider just waiting this year out and trying again next year for a funded Ph.D. But then again, I've become a real cheapskate in this economy.

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Personally, I'd hesitate to rack up $40K in debt for a one-year master's program and would consider just waiting this year out and trying again next year for a funded Ph.D. But then again, I've become a real cheapskate in this economy.

I agree.

Also, there's the possibility that this program might just be trying to "string you along." They might be thinking that since you're willing to rack up debt for the first year, then perhaps you'd be willing to rack up even more debt and take up an offer for an unfunded PhD with the supposed 'possibility' of funding later on? And if that ends up being your only option, and you didn't bother applying to any additional PhD programs during your masters, then you've just screwed yourself over. You'd either have to take the plunge and borrow even more, or wait a year and apply elsewhere. And since the thought of waiting a whole nother year and applying elsewhere can be so unappealing to many, borrowing more right now with the possibility of funding somewhere down the road is the only immediately encouraging option. Meanwhile the financial consequences from these actions are ignored by most because they won't be felt for another 3-6 years from now.

I know it can be a real downer to have to wait another year right now, but it would almost certainly be for the best. Apply to a broader range of programs next year, particularly ones that typically fund their students. And in the meantime, try to do something to beef up your applications for next year.

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I already have one M.A., but from a school that didn't have as good of a reputation, so people don't seem to take it (or my high gpa from there) seriously. I've already been through two admission cycles--applying to both M.A.'s and Ph.D's where I thought certain I would have a fighting chance (9 schools total) and only receiving an unfunded Ph.D. offer (which I declined) at one school and partially funded M.A. offer (where I am now). I've already "waited" essentially for a year (during the 2007-2008 admissions cycle), and during that time have published and presented, taught two college classes (not that it made a difference in terms of my application), etc. This next cycle is really "it" for me, because I can't keep putting my life on hold, and the other options just aren't good enough.

The problem with my application, as I've been told so many times, is that my undergraduate GPA is too low (I was working full-time and trying to balance double-majoring). I'm now in a top M.A. program for my field, and am hoping that at least this will help balance how I've screwed up in the past. For what it is worth, I'm not just applying to this school, but for numerous reasons this one would be favorable for me and my fiance--especially if they can see that my work now is not a reflection of what my ugpa is.

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I already have one M.A., but from a school that didn't have as good of a reputation, so people don't seem to take it (or my high gpa from there) seriously. I've already been through two admission cycles--applying to both M.A.'s and Ph.D's where I thought certain I would have a fighting chance (9 schools total) and only receiving an unfunded Ph.D. offer (which I declined) at one school and partially funded M.A. offer (where I am now). I've already "waited" essentially for a year (during the 2007-2008 admissions cycle), and during that time have published and presented, taught two college classes (not that it made a difference in terms of my application), etc. This next cycle is really "it" for me, because I can't keep putting my life on hold, and the other options just aren't good enough.

The problem with my application, as I've been told so many times, is that my undergraduate GPA is too low (I was working full-time and trying to balance double-majoring). I'm now in a top M.A. program for my field, and am hoping that at least this will help balance how I've screwed up in the past. For what it is worth, I'm not just applying to this school, but for numerous reasons this one would be favorable for me and my fiance--especially if they can see that my work now is not a reflection of what my ugpa is.

Here's the thing, if you've already demonstrated that you can shine in a grad program (your other MA), even if the school doesn't have a solid rep, it's not only your uGPA that's holding you back from PhD offers. I really don't see how an ADDITIONAL master's is going to change that, particularly since it's not going to change your uGPA.

You've done everything else that makes a good PhD applicant, published work, presentations, teaching experience, a MA degree with solid grades, etc.

If you're really at the "edge", I would seriously spurn this new MA offer (what does it do for you, honestly?), and move on beyond academics. It's not worth this kind of BS. Especially considering the state of jobs in the humanities.

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