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Autistic Archaeology Applicant...questions...


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Hi All - I am the parent of a current senior anthro major who is autistic.  If you know anything about autism, you know that there are issues where just the question "what grad schools?" is so overwhelming it throws them into a panic or turns them into a zombie.  So, Ye Olde 'Rent has to look.  No big deal, Kid trusts my judgment when it comes to the looking.  He got into 6-7 undergrad schools and is on the Five Year Plan.  I find, he picks, we're good.   But I have questions...all opinions welcome!

1) He has had a state museum internship, as well as done field school at a federal historic site.  May try and get another internship this summer, I am hoping that beefing up this part of the resume will help more - I know it's who you know, so maybe he should visit some of the schools?  He does drive, so that sort of thing is not an issue.

2) Kid has never done well on a standardized test in his life.  Thinks concretely when having to think on his feet.  Can think outside the box, but not when test anxiety is in the room.   I'm having a hard time finding master's programs that either don't require a GRE or seem to look more at experience.  And I'm not being picky as to the school.  He doesn't need a whole lot of accommodations, just a quiet room for testing, so that's not an issue, either.  

3) What is it with these programs that require two different languages....???

4) What about schools out of the country?  We have family in the UK and Sweden... Any issues with those?  


Thanks - I'm sure I'll think of some more - 



Edited by IzzyZig
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I'm not sure how common it is for schools to not require the GRE, but I've found two for sure.  The first one, of which I am applying to even, is at George Mason University.  They only have a MA program, so if he's wanting to get his PhD then he'll have to do the application process again in 2-3 years (after getting his MA).  The other program is at University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  They do have an MA and PhD program and I don't see anything on their website that says GRE scores are a requirement.  The best thing to do in that situation is have him contact the school and check with them on the requirements.

Most programs that I have come across only require one other language besides English.  Some schools that do state that two foreign languages are required, usually has a note that if you're doing archaeology or biological anthropology then you can replace one of the foreign languages with another specialty, i.e. statistics, computer programming, or something else that would be beneficial for the student in the long run.

Foreign schools are good and it wholly depends on the student's interest.  If he's interested in North American archaeology, then staying in North America would look better for jobs later.  Look at schools in Canada because they don't require the GRE.  At least there it's a wider range of regions that they specialize in.  Some schools have North American archaeology, some have South American, European, Asian, etc.  And many programs specialize in numerous regions.

So the first thing I would suggest, is to have him decide on what exactly he's interested in doing in the long run.  Is he wanting to teach?  Is he wanting to do CRM (Cultural Resource Management)?  Is he wanting to work at a museum?  Then figure out what type of archaeology he's interested in.  North American?  Southwest North America?  Southeast North America?  Mesoamerican?  Andean?  Ancient Roman?  Medieval?  And then finally he should figure out what types of techniques he's looking at specializing in.  This could be regular excavation, dating techniques, paleobotany, etc.  From there it would be easier to find programs that plays to his strengths and would help him narrow down the choices.  After choices are made he should contact the professors at each of the programs he's looking at applying to.  He should ask them if they're accepting students for when he's wanting to start.  He should define his interests and maybe ask if they think he would make a great addition to their program.

Something else to think about is that not all schools weigh heavily on the GRE.  Most schools that I've seen look at the GPA, letters of recommendation, and the statement of purpose (which is definitely the most important part of the application).  They'll only mostly use the GRE to help decide between students or to help decide on funding.  Just tell him not to stress too much with the GRE and he'll do fine.  If he doesn't do as well as he had hoped, he can try again after 3 weeks.

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British schools typically don't care about the GRE, I believe--except in a few fields.  May want to check that out.  Boston University is willing to wave GRE requirements if "it is absolutely impossible to take the test." I'm not sure what that exactly means relating to your situation though.  Good luck!

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