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Just now, Danger_Zone said:

 

Thank you both. It's just difficult to accept that I'm probably automatically at a disadvantage because of my school's ranking. But I'm absolutely determined to do the best I possibly can, and I hope that takes me somewhere eventually.

Absolutely! Are you planning on enrolling at Purdue? If so, I have a faculty member in my current department who absolutely loved the experience he received at Purdue (and is also incredibly successful). 

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Holy shit. I just got into Michigan!!!!!

Just got accepted to Washington State! Full funding and stipend!  So nice not to be batting .000 this year.

Well, its official.  After the last result I was waiting for, I am going to be studying Religion in War in U.S. History at the University of Tennessee!

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9 minutes ago, Danger_Zone said:

Thank you both. It's just difficult to accept that I'm probably automatically at a disadvantage because of my school's ranking. But I'm absolutely determined to do the best I possibly can, and I hope that takes me somewhere eventually.

Some of us have obscure enough interests that there isn't any scholars/mentors at top programs.

A lot of us will be in this position. We'll be fine. :) 

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10 minutes ago, archersline said:

Absolutely! Are you planning on enrolling at Purdue? If so, I have a faculty member in my current department who absolutely loved the experience he received at Purdue (and is also incredibly successful). 

Yes, granted my campus visit goes well (I still need to do that in a few weeks!) But so far I've heard nothing but great things about the school from people who have attended or know people who have, and everyone I've contacted has been very friendly and helpful. My potential faculty advisor is also a really great fit for me. So I hope I don't end up hating the school when I visit (that probably won't happen though? :huh:)

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Ranking is one of many elements in a package: if you have it, it will be helpful. If you don't, it won't break your application. It doesn't hurt to be realistic about your chances, but at the same time, if you are certain you are taking an offer from a non top-10 school, the best you can do going forward is making the case why you'll be the best applicant on the job market. Don't dwell on what you can't control. 

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2 minutes ago, mvlchicago said:

Ranking is one of many elements in a package: if you have it, it will be helpful. If you don't, it won't break your application. It doesn't hurt to be realistic about your chances, but at the same time, if you are certain you are taking an offer from a non top-10 school, the best you can do going forward is making the case why you'll be the best applicant on the job market. Don't dwell on what you can't control. 

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11 minutes ago, Danger_Zone said:

Yes, granted my campus visit goes well (I still need to do that in a few weeks!) But so far I've heard nothing but great things about the school from people who have attended or know people who have, and everyone I've contacted has been very friendly and helpful. My potential faculty advisor is also a really great fit for me. So I hope I don't end up hating the school when I visit (that probably won't happen though? :huh:)

Yes, I'm sure it will go well! Best of luck to you! :)

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I've said it before and I'll say it again--ask for program placement records. Additionally, if your adviser is an established, respected scholar, that'll help you too. I truly believe program placement record + adviser's network centrality (obviously + you conducting excellent work in the PhD and external fellowships, teaching experience blah blah) are more important than rank if you want a TT job. Rank is sometimes useless in tiny subfields, and US News is most problematic, IMHO, because programs rank themselves (seriously? Who does that?). There is that list of "top" 20placement programs that sometimes correlates with US News, sometimes doesn't, and it's probably the best ranking list because it says which programs actually place the most people in TT jobs.

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10 minutes ago, ashiepoo72 said:

I've said it before and I'll say it again--ask for program placement records. Additionally, if your adviser is an established, respected scholar, that'll help you too. I truly believe program placement record + adviser's network centrality (obviously + you conducting excellent work in the PhD and external fellowships, teaching experience blah blah) are more important than rank if you want a TT job. Rank is sometimes useless in tiny subfields, and US News is most problematic, IMHO, because programs rank themselves (seriously? Who does that?). There is that list of "top" 20placement programs that sometimes correlates with US News, sometimes doesn't, and it's probably the best ranking list because it says which programs actually place the most people in TT jobs.

That's definitely good advice! I went on and e-mailed somebody from Purdue recently and he has been very helpful in discussing where graduates have ended up. I need to get more details but it sounded fairly positive.

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I'm also waiting to hear from UIUC! I only applied to 5 schools and haven't gotten into 4, so I'll probably be reapplying next cycle... But I want to have that final answer just as confirmation. I guess on the bright side, since I'll have to work for a year and actually make money I couldn't make as an MA student, I'll hopefully have $$ to apply to more programs :P 

On a random note, what did you guys think about the rejection letters? I think Harvard was the more pretentious sounding and Yale was the kindest of the ones I received. Also, not starting your rejection letter with "We regret to inform you..." and making you read a few sentences to get to the "you are rejected" part is just cruel.

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On 3/8/2016 at 4:29 PM, Danger_Zone said:

That's definitely good advice! I went on and e-mailed somebody from Purdue recently and he has been very helpful in discussing where graduates have ended up. I need to get more details but it sounded fairly positive.

I think it's also good strategy to contact some of the grads if you can find them (LinkedIn is a good resource for this and will clue you in on where they end up by itself). The grads themselves might have a completely different POV than the people at the University. Prof might say, "outcomes are good, recent grads landed at X, Y and Z" and grads themselves might say "This isn't the position I wanted or I was aiming for" or "There is more to the story of how I got here and I'm not really happy." etc etc 

A prestigious name/professor with good contacts is probably good, but there are variables to that, too. If it's a person who is 4-5 years away from retirement, they might be "mailing it in" a lot more versus someone who is in their 40s-50s and still has a lot of ground to cover. 

The best person in your subfield might be an 72-year-old on her way out, and that may either work against you (mailing it in) or for you (last, best thing they do). It's hard to say and I don't think there are any hard-and-fast rules. 

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9 hours ago, sixgunguerilla said:

I think it's also good strategy to contact some of the grads if you can find them (LinkedIn is a good resource for this and will clue you in on where they end up by itself). The grads themselves might have a completely different POV than the people at the University. Prof might say, "outcomes are good, recent grads landed at X, Y and Z" and grads themselves might say "This isn't the position I wanted or I was aiming for" or "There is more to the story of how I got here and I'm not really happy." etc etc 

A prestigious name/professor with good contacts is probably good, but there are variables to that, too. If it's a person who is 4-5 years away from retirement, they might be "mailing it in" a lot more versus someone who is in their 40s-50s and still has a lot of ground to cover. 

The best person in your subfield might be an 72-year-old on her way out, and that may either work against you (mailing it in) or for you (last, best thing they do). It's hard to say and I don't think there are any hard-and-fast rules. 

I too was warned to keep in mind a given faculty member's age. I have several POIs who are at the latter end of their careers and it is certainly a factor in my decision process. 

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So I'm facing a conundrum that I'm hoping you all can help me with. I've received several offers from a few places. One place, school A, is a powerhouse in my chosen historical field, and another isn't, school B. However, school B has offered a prestigious fellowship that doubles my funding for the first year. But, school A guaranteed 5 years of funding and school B guaranteed 3. I should also say that School A has given me two separate research scholarships that I can choose when I want to use them. They also have a better placement rate. 

Any thoughts? I'm torn because of the better money up-front but School A is so great and well known. 

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29 minutes ago, HinH said:

So I'm facing a conundrum that I'm hoping you all can help me with. I've received several offers from a few places. One place, school A, is a powerhouse in my chosen historical field, and another isn't, school B. However, school B has offered a prestigious fellowship that doubles my funding for the first year. But, school A guaranteed 5 years of funding and school B guaranteed 3. I should also say that School A has given me two separate research scholarships that I can choose when I want to use them. They also have a better placement rate. 

Any thoughts? I'm torn because of the better money up-front but School A is so great and well known. 

Sounds like school A is a slam dunk. Aside from the first year, school B doesn't seem to offer nearly as much. Are there other considerations involved? Location, faculty, etc? 

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36 minutes ago, HinH said:

So I'm facing a conundrum that I'm hoping you all can help me with. I've received several offers from a few places. One place, school A, is a powerhouse in my chosen historical field, and another isn't, school B. However, school B has offered a prestigious fellowship that doubles my funding for the first year. But, school A guaranteed 5 years of funding and school B guaranteed 3. I should also say that School A has given me two separate research scholarships that I can choose when I want to use them. They also have a better placement rate. 

Any thoughts? I'm torn because of the better money up-front but School A is so great and well known. 

Take School A.

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34 minutes ago, HinH said:

So I'm facing a conundrum that I'm hoping you all can help me with. I've received several offers from a few places. One place, school A, is a powerhouse in my chosen historical field, and another isn't, school B. However, school B has offered a prestigious fellowship that doubles my funding for the first year. But, school A guaranteed 5 years of funding and school B guaranteed 3. I should also say that School A has given me two separate research scholarships that I can choose when I want to use them. They also have a better placement rate. 

Any thoughts? I'm torn because of the better money up-front but School A is so great and well known. 

A prestigious fellowship is a big deal. I would recommend negotiating with school b. Yes, they offered you a great fellowship, but mention that powerhouse school A is offering you 5 years versus three. If they want you that badly, they should be able to offer you funding for a longer period of time. 

The school I'm accepting typically only offers 3-4 years of funding, but offered me 5 with a fellowship. If they had only offered me 3, it would have been a problem. But if they are offering you a fellowship, then they REALLY want you. And since you've got better funding offers, they will probably work to get you if you give them the chance.

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You want 5 years of funding at least, always. Because you said school A is stronger in your field, I would actually see if mentioning school B's first-year fellowship can get you better first-year funding at school A. They'll likely want to see the funding package you received and not give you additional funding because school B is only offering 3 years, but it's worth a shot.

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4 hours ago, archersline said:

Sounds like school A is a slam dunk. Aside from the first year, school B doesn't seem to offer nearly as much. Are there other considerations involved? Location, faculty, etc? 

The faculty thing is also a complicating factor. School A has well known faculty, with a consistent record of successful PhD students, who I really  connect with well. School B has a wide range of faculty that would provide minute but valuable guidance to my potential research. In other words, School A has more prestigious faculty, but School B faculty would more precisely fit my potential research but not by much. 

Thanks guys, this decision is slightly agonizing. In part because I want to stay in my field for the rest of my life, and don't want to make things awkward. 

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@Josh J. Congrats!!! For anyone waiting on UCSB, I emailed a POI there to ask about a timeline for decisions (we have a good relationship, so I'm not worried about it coming off badly), so I'll update when I know more, if anyone is curious. I would imagine it's bad news, if we haven't heard yet, but the only acceptances on the board are American history, so who knows? I've already committed to another program, but best of luck to those who are waiting! 

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Aside from the fact that most of the good news has already probably gone out, I was trying to think of why it's been so quiet on the boards.  Then I took solace in the fact that I could finally get caught up with grading and writing lectures over spring break... Then I came to the horrifying realization that admissions committees might be as happy as I am about getting a breather from all of the madness over spring break.  Good news or bad news I'm not expecting anything until the last week of March, and I'm gonna keep telling myself that until April 15th if it helps me keep my sanity and be at least mildly productive.  Hope y'all get some good news as well, and good luck making your decisions for those of you who are deciding.

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On 3/10/2016 at 4:35 PM, HinH said:

The faculty thing is also a complicating factor. School A has well known faculty, with a consistent record of successful PhD students, who I really  connect with well. School B has a wide range of faculty that would provide minute but valuable guidance to my potential research. In other words, School A has more prestigious faculty, but School B faculty would more precisely fit my potential research but not by much. 

Thanks guys, this decision is slightly agonizing. In part because I want to stay in my field for the rest of my life, and don't want to make things awkward. 

Which school do you want to go to more?

If School A-- mention that you have a first year fellowship at School B.  Do NOT say anything about the length of the funding package (School A will immediately point out that it has FIVE years of funding, which is more than half of your PhD program time).  If School A says no, it's likely that it already knows that school's funding package isn't as great as its own (Programs DO contact one another as part of their research to increase competition).  Nothing you can do going forward.

If School B-- mention that you have five solid years funding.  To push up from 3 to 5 will be a huge hurdle for that school and it may take a while for the department to find other fellowships and negotiate with the Graduate School for an additional year of TA/RAship.  At the end, the best it will be able to do is 4 years with a possible conditional 5th year funding.

As for "awkwardness," it passes.  Trust me on this.  I still interact with my POI and his graduate student from the program i turned down at conferences.  We're collegial, we say hello and check in.  We know that each of us have something to contribute to our field and we have a shared goal in making sure that the field grows.  It's much better to focus on the big picture.   I also keep in touch with the graduate student for advice as we do research in same archives/city and she's been great.

 It's also apparent as years go by as I develop and refine my research interests that my interests actually don't align with his research agenda.  While I made the right decision all around, I absolutely appreciated the wisdom he shared with me during the admissions/decisions process.  Know that you had the opportunities to meet with these people and get to know them (and yourself!).

Feel free to PM me with anything :)

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