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Accepting an unfunded PhD offer, or taking a teaching job as a high school English teacher?


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Hi, all.

 

I think I might have posted something similar before.

 

I'm an NYU graduate of Humanities. I have my MA from their Draper school. I applied to some PhD programs in Comparative Literature last fall, and much to my dismay, I received no acceptances.

 

Last year, in August 2014, I was offered an admission to Temple University's PhD in English. However, it was an unfunded offer. They gave me no info on funding, nor did they even mention a TA-ship. Also, no enrolled student can be offered a TA-ship if he or she was not offered one upon admission. :o

 

I deferred their offer of admission last August in efforts to work harder on my application. But I was still denied admission to all the schools I applied. I think I was kind of ambitious. All the schools I applied to were Ivy Leagues or Top-10s, and I only applied to 7. Next time, it should be 70. ;)

 

Well, on the plus side, I'm now a licensed NY English teacher. I even have a job offering at a Catholic high school in Queens.

 

My mates are telling me to take the unfunded offer to Temple as I can get my PhD in 4 years or less. It will also give me the opportunity to move out and start my new life in Philly. I had a miserable time in New York. Broken engagement, broke as hell, etc. :(

 

I have three options, but I'm not sure where to start:

 

 

- Option 1: Take the unfunded offer to Temple, move to Philly, and get my PhD from a lower-ranked university.

 

- Option 2: Try to get a high school teaching job, take a break from this mess of graduate school applications, and settle down as an English teacher for a while.

 

- Option 3: GO TO TEMPLE FOR A TERMINAL M.A. and then apply to PhD programs elsewhere after completion.

 

 

You could literally save my life right now. Please help. :(

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Are you okay with the level of debt you would accrue taking the unfunded offer?  I assume you would have to take out loans, and please forgive me if I made a false assumption.  Would you be happy at the Catholic school?  I am a huge supporter of starting over someplace new when the opportunity presents itself.  There's no reason to stay where you have all the reminders of heartbreak, etc.

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Are you okay with the level of debt you would accrue taking the unfunded offer?  I assume you would have to take out loans, and please forgive me if I made a false assumption.  Would you be happy at the Catholic school?  I am a huge supporter of starting over someplace new when the opportunity presents itself.  There's no reason to stay where you have all the reminders of heartbreak, etc.

 

Oh no, you're absolutely right. I would have to take out loans. To be honest, I don't want my PhD to be something I go into debt for. It's not fair. :( I did everything I could to make my application better, but it was all in vain.

 

Right now, settling down as an English teacher would be my best bet. It sounds the most comfortable.

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I'd take the teacher job, that sounds like a great opportunity. Your school options right now don't sound great and I agree that they aren't worth going into debt for. That said, even if you didn't get into any top-10 schools the last two rounds, you may be able to get into some great top-20s or top-50s fully funded next time around if you're still set on the PhD. Take some time to do something different, make some money, learn to be a great teacher, and you'll return to the coming application seasons stronger. 

Edited by brown_eyed_girl
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I would strongly advise against going into debt for a PhD. The job market is in miserable shape and the last thing you want is to be in debt and have a degree that can't get you a good job. You should ONLY do a PhD if you are ok with not getting a job in academia after you graduate, and possibly not getting a job at all related to your education, and even then ONLY if it's funded. Do NOT take out loans for this, it will NOT be worth it. I can't stress this enough. I would also advise against getting an unfunded MA, for the same reason. It's less debt, but it's again a qualification that won't likely get you a job. If the only three options are the ones you listed above, then take the teaching job, regroup, apply again later if you still want the PhD. 

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I agree with the above posters - take some time out to work, especially if you are eligible for teaching jobs that you might enjoy doing. I have taken two years out from education to work (not in a row) and both times it has really helped me work out what my next step should be. It has also broadened my experiences and my interests and allowed me to meet a lot of people I would never have met in an academic setting.

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Thanks, mates. This is solid advice. I definitely would like to start teaching for a bit. Perhaps I can try delving more into English literature instead of Comp Lit. But I'd need high GRE scores on the English test. Oh boy... Here we go! 

 

 

Also, Don't you already have a MA? Why would you get another one?

 

 

Go teach. 

 

Yes, I do have an MA, but I have heard these awful posts about MA degrees in Humanities. I figured it would be best to get an MA in English. But it doesn't matter, right?

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