FaultyPowers

Anthropology Decisions 2015

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Hi guys!

 

It's about the time that we're all narrowing in on our choices and making final decisions. I'm curious where everyone is going so I figured I'd make a new thread. I'm 99% sure of my own choice right now, but I'm still waiting for financial info to come in for my other offers. If you've decided, let us know!

Edited by FaultyPowers

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I love how the acceptance and the financial info doesn't come together. Because of course one has nothing to do with the other and could never influence one's decisions in any way. Obviously.

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NAU is supposed to make their funding decisions tomorrow afternoon so hopefully I will know about that soon. At this point, after my rejection from UMass, I think the MA program at NAU is my only really smart choice. I'm a resident of AZ so the tuition is lower (so I hope that's attractive for funding), especially when comparing to unfunded schools in England!

 

My POI said that he really wanted to work on me and will be trying to get me at LEAST a tuition waiver...at best a GA, obviously. Crossing my fingers!

Edited by marxistglue

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I'm still clinging to hope that my one acceptance may be accompanied by one (two?) more. I, along with many others, are awaiting a decision from the University of Virginia (January interview) and UC Irvine (waitlist). Irvine is my top choice and I am bullish on UVA, but if I don't get accepted, I will accept my offer at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

 

UVA should happen soon!

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UNC is a great place to do med anthropology! I was seriously considering applying except that I was very financially strapped and not sure that their approach completely meshed with mine. are you funded there? Why Irvine over UNC?

 

congrats! 

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I dont understand Irvine over UNC either.  UNC has a great reputation and it seems like the UC system is seriously strapped for cash. 

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I'm still clinging to hope that my one acceptance may be accompanied by one (two?) more. I, along with many others, are awaiting a decision from the University of Virginia (January interview) and UC Irvine (waitlist). Irvine is my top choice and I am bullish on UVA, but if I don't get accepted, I will accept my offer at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

 

UVA should happen soon!

 

 

Count me among those who are curious about the Irvine decision.  I am particularly interested as an archaeologist I worked with in Cyprus went to UNC and told me about his choice between UNC and a top California school (I don't recall which school right now) but he said the UNC department was just so much more personable. Granted that was a few years back, but this same professor also warned me to stay away from the CA system as money problems were causing professors to look for other positions. He is a department chair at University in WA and said everytime they have an opening they get hundreds of applicants looking to leave the U of CA system. Wouldn't want to get stranded if your POI just up and left.  :/

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While I wade through my exciting and unexpected options I am wondering about others' criteria for accepting a program and deciding to move.

 

Mine include:

  • program structure and design
  • personality fit with faculty (I am treating this like accepting a job with a contract, so I'd better like my "bosses")
  • skills to be learned
  • number of faculty with shared interests
  • faculty relationships with each other, with students and with alumni
  • student culture
  • city, local culture, politics
  • walk-ability and public transportation 

 What are your decisions based on?

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*funding

*attrition rate

*job market placement

 

*mental health: students reported quality of life, support for the unexpected from faculty (location too- bonus point for not having to move away from my partner, cats, community)

 

*ability to access courses and research opportunities relevant to my interests, either inside the department or not

*quality of faculty AND student work. If I think the faculty are great but the students are not working anything I find interesting or cool, that's weird to me

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*funding

*job market placement

*structure of program to ENSURE job market placement (e.g. publications and conference papers built into program or am I on my own?)

 

*fit with department/POI (I had a bad experience with this, don't want to repeat it)

*do students ACTUALLY finish?  

*fit with my cohort, I've been lucky enough to meet with most of my prospective groups, and it has made a difference

 

*will my family be happy in the new place? Can my husband get work? Are there good schools for my kids? 

 

After that it gets into stuff that I could live with for a few years even if I hated it.  The weather has come up A LOT since I'm looking at a program in Minnesota.  So that might be more of a factor than I am admitting.

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The criteria should be as followed:

1. Prestige of advisor/fit

2. Job placement

3. The fit of the department (can they support your interest with classes)

4. Funding ( most anthro programs fund you three or at most four years)

5. Prestige of university

6. City life

7. Attrition rate ( almost all universities have a 50% chance graduating). I thought this was horrible until I went through it. In fact out of my cohort of 6 with my advisor I have received my phd, 2 have left, 1 has moved away unfinished but plans on finishing and 2 are still at the university trying to finish. I finish in four years which is almost unheard of.

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Curious...is anyone else approaching these decisions from the perspective of someone with only 50% faith in getting an academic job? 

 

Don't get me wrong, tenured professor is my dream job; but that's the thing. I'm not so confident that a tenure-track job will be that easy for any of us to find. Stuck in adjunct hell for less than minimum wage is not something I'm going to do to myself. So my decision-making process has incorporated not only job placement within academia but also prospects external to the university system that the program would position me well for.

 

Just wondering whether anyone else was thinking along these lines...

Edited by FaultyPowers

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Curious...is anyone else approaching these decisions from the perspective of someone with only 50% faith in getting an academic job? 

 

Don't get me wrong, tenured professor is my dream job; but that's the thing. I'm not so confident that a tenure-track job will be that easy for any of us to find. Stuck in adjunct hell for less than minimum wage is not something I'm going to do to myself. So my decision-making process has incorporated not only job placement within academia but also prospects external to the university system that the program would position me well for.

 

Just wondering whether anyone else was thinking along these lines...

 

Absolutely thinking of this. Part of the reason I have a professional, not academic, MA was because I know how unlikely the chances are on the academic job market. But, I'm also still hoping so both sides matter.

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Decision making should be easy for my case, since I have no choice. Still waiting for news from one left school (UT Austin), but I guess that's no as well. More than grateful that the only admission was offered from my top choice...

 

Meanwhile, I have been waitlisted at Toronto. I'm going to decline the waitlist offer, and any advice on wording?

Thanks in advance.

 

However you do it, I would plant the idea in your POIs head that they might like to work with you in some capacity in the future. Granted I was not waitlisted by Berkeley but rejected (wiping away a single tear), but I wrote my POI to say "...thank you for reviewing my application materials, and for help during this process. I hope that we can stay in touch and I look forward to the possibility of working with you in the future". She got back to me and said that she hoped we could and that she'd see me at the SAA conference that's coming up. I like to minimize the downer element (turning down the waitlist, being rejected, etc.) and play up the "hope for the future" angle.

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Curious...is anyone else approaching these decisions from the perspective of someone with only 50% faith in getting an academic job? 

 

Don't get me wrong, tenured professor is my dream job; but that's the thing. I'm not so confident that a tenure-track job will be that easy for any of us to find. Stuck in adjunct hell for less than minimum wage is not something I'm going to do to myself. So my decision-making process has incorporated not only job placement within academia but also prospects external to the university system that the program would position me well for.

 

Just wondering whether anyone else was thinking along these lines...

 

I know the chances of a good academic gig coming at the end of all this is pretty slim.  Worst case scenario I spent the next 5+ years reading interesting books and doing cool research.  Best case scenario the same plus middle class employment with some sweet perks.  I'm cynical about the academic job market but I'm also cynical about there being meaningful work that pays a living wage at all shit I'm cynical about finding meaningless wage slavery that pays a living wage.  We're fucked! I might as well get a PhD before the whole edifice comes crashing down. 

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I know the chances of a good academic gig coming at the end of all this is pretty slim.  Worst case scenario I spent the next 5+ years reading interesting books and doing cool research.  Best case scenario the same plus middle class employment with some sweet perks.  I'm cynical about the academic job market but I'm also cynical about there being meaningful work that pays a living wage at all shit I'm cynical about finding meaningless wage slavery that pays a living wage.  We're fucked! I might as well get a PhD before the whole edifice comes crashing down. 

 

I think you just epitomized my thought process better than I could have done. I'm just going to assume that a PhD in bioarchaeology, cool-ass research that stimulates my brain, and experience in the writing and editorial fields will come to my aid in some capacity at some point in the future. 

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I'm not sure how to think about this application season, it's been such an emotional rollercoaster ride...At this point, I have accepted an MSc program at Durham in England, so at least I know what I am doing next year!   ;) 
I did get a place in a PhD program Stateside and have emailed my POI about deferring entry for a year,  but at this point I am torn, since they are offering no 1st year funding, so I may end up doing applications again next year as well...

Congratulations to everyone!  It's so great to see so many people getting into programs and being so excited about the beginning of their academic careers!   :D

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I'll almost certainly be at UCLA, though I'm sort of toying with some waitlist options. I was wildly surprised at how much I loved the city of LA (as a lifetime resident of the Northeast) and really liked how supportive the faculty was of my proposed research. The biggest hurdle in finalizing my decision has been my partner's options and coping with the idea of long distance (he's one of those rare folks who got into nearly every program he applied to with great funding). Wherever he ends up, I'm really excited about joining this sociocultural cohort!

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Hi, everyone! A friend recently referred me to this site, and I'm hoping you lovely people can shed some light on one particular aspect of the decision-making process. Specifically, do you think theoretical/topical fit or ethnographic/regional fit is more important when choosing a program? Ideally, you'd have both, but I think in my case I have to privilege one over the other given the project that I want to do and the options I've been given. My current supervisor (I'm finishing up a master's) told me to emphasize the former, but I'd be grateful for additional perspectives.

 

trogdorburninator, I have no idea how to tag you in this, but I'd love to swap PMs -- I wasn't able to make the visiting weekend for Northwestern, so it'd be great to get your impressions.

 

Thank you all so much for any thoughts you can spare!

Edited by mmmcheese

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Hi, everyone! A friend recently referred me to this site, and I'm hoping you lovely people can shed some light on one particular aspect of the decision-making process. Specifically, do you think theoretical/topical fit or ethnographic/regional fit is more important when choosing a program? Ideally, you'd have both, but I think in my case I have to privilege one over the other given the project that I want to do and the options I've been given. My current supervisor (I'm finishing up a master's) told me to emphasize the former, but I'd be grateful for additional perspectives.

 

trogdorburninator, I have no idea how to tag you in this, but I'd love to swap PMs -- I wasn't able to make the visiting weekend for Northwestern, so it'd be great to get your impressions.

 

Thank you all so much for any thoughts you can spare!

oh hey! sure. hit me up. 

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Hi, everyone! A friend recently referred me to this site, and I'm hoping you lovely people can shed some light on one particular aspect of the decision-making process. Specifically, do you think theoretical/topical fit or ethnographic/regional fit is more important when choosing a program? Ideally, you'd have both, but I think in my case I have to privilege one over the other given the project that I want to do and the options I've been given. My current supervisor (I'm finishing up a master's) told me to emphasize the former, but I'd be grateful for additional perspectives.

 

trogdorburninator, I have no idea how to tag you in this, but I'd love to swap PMs -- I wasn't able to make the visiting weekend for Northwestern, so it'd be great to get your impressions.

 

Thank you all so much for any thoughts you can spare!

 

Mmmcheese I don't think their there is an abstract rule you can follow.  If I was in your position I would touch base with the faculty you want to work with and get a taste of what they are all about.  Your theoretical/topical and ethnographical/regional interests are likely to mutate and morph as you begin your research so at this point in the game I'd suggest making a decision that takes the personality and feeling of the department as seriously, or maybe even more seriously than the previously mentioned factors.  Who would you go out for a beer or a cup of coffee with? 

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Thanks, smg! By this point, I've been able to Skype/email/trade phone calls with all of my potential supervisors, and while they've all been gracious and enthusiastic, I also think it's hard to really gauge personality over the course of a few interactions. I'm not in the US, so unfortunately I can't afford to visit most of these places in-person (only one program so far has been able to fly me out on their dime). So while I've been in contact with people of interest, current grad students, etc, almost every interaction I've had has been rosy and upbeat -- that's definitely better than the alternative, of course, but it also leaves me wondering to what extent this is a fair reflection of program dynamics, and to what extent this is just the nature of the post-admission sell.

 

Would love to hear others' thoughts on topical v. regional fit! (though I definitely see how these things can change over the course of a PhD) 

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Academic fit is most important since if you can't do what interest you your drop out. Seen it many times. As for regional fit, in reality you should be off doing research every summer, and you should only have 2 years of classes so you technically only have to be in that city 18 months and then a week here and a week there

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