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FALL 2016 Applicants!

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On 11/25/2015, 11:18:53, MelSoc said:

Hi gingin6789, thanks for the reply. I've been spending less time on the Internet lately - getting ready for the GRE. I got 162 on verbal (around what I expected) and 164 on quant, which is surprisingly good. TOEFL is also fine (113/120) so I'm more or less ready to apply now, all I need to do is work on revising SOPs. I've added a few more schools to my list and decided to give up on Stony Brook (they require an evaluation of my transcripts which would cost me a huge lot) and include Notre Dame, possibly Emory and Columbia (though my chances seem pretty slim). How are you (and others) doing with the application process?

So, I'm assuming those GRE scores are for practice tests?  Those scores are AMAZING.  Keep it up!  

Revising SOPs takes a while, but you'll get through it!  Besides Notre Dame and (maybe) Emory and Columbia, which places are you applying to?

I'm doing ok with the application process.  Trying to keep ahead of the deadlines.  UC Davis/Brandeis deadline is the 15th, so I want to finish those applications before this Friday, since I'm having surgery, and I don't want to worry about those applications during recovery.

I'm also kind of upset with myself because I've already submitted three applications, and I noticed a few typos/a missing Works Cited entry in my writing sample! Grr! At least I noticed those mistakes before submitting ALL the applications though!

Keep us updated with your application process, MelSoc =)

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On 12/4/2015, 1:05:15, isthisagoodidea said:

when do we begin to hear back?

February/March 2016, depending on the school.

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On 12/3/2015, 8:05:15, isthisagoodidea said:

when do we begin to hear back?

Actually, UCLA sends acceptances during the first week or so in January. Last year the first acceptances went out on January 8th. The bulk of offers come in the last week of January and all throughout February.

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20 hours ago, iemons said:

From the UCLA sociology FAQ: "When are decisions made?  Usually by the middle of February.  The department will notify you unofficially via email a few days after decisions have been made.  Official notifications will be sent by the Graduate Admissions Office via email notification somewhat later."

Programs generally send out notifications in February/March. I'm not, of course, saying that a school could not possibly notify students at an earlier date.

Well, you're a sociologist, you should know that there is what people/organizations say they do, and what they actually do. Go look up "UCLA sociology" in the Results Search and look at the dates for admits over the past few years. Always the first few weeks of January. 

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On 12/4/2015, 1:05:15, isthisagoodidea said:

when do we begin to hear back?

Modified response: Typically you'll start hearing back at the end of January and get responses throughout February, sometimes as late as March.

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Anyone applying to McGill/know anything about the competitiveness of the department, for an MA? Also, how hard is it generally to switch from anthropology to sociology? My interests are in sociopolitical movements and health, but I'm interested in mainly ethnography. 

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On 12/7/2015 at 8:30 PM, MaxWeberHasAPosse said:

Actually, UCLA sends acceptances during the first week or so in January. Last year the first acceptances went out on January 8th. The bulk of offers come in the last week of January and all throughout February.

They sometimes accept in waves. I was "unofficial" waitlisted last year, meaning I didn't hear until about march when most people heard in january.

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In terms of "when will I hear back?" I've looked at last year's acceptances/rejections thread, and I've also checked searched the Results page.  Now, I have a nice little timeline of when I *might* hear back from the programs I've applied to.

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Hi, I'm a fall 2016 applicant as well! 

I'm hoping I get into Wisc-Madison - my no.1 dream school! I'm an international applicant tho and it looks like my chances are limited for it. Would anyone evaluate my profile?

Undergrad: 2 undergrad degrees, 1 from top Asia institution (in political science) and 1 LLB. Horrible GPA for 1st degree (no legitimate reason, just having too much fun, but it was almost a decade ago). 2:1 for LLB

Master: High merit from a top 5 UK university. LLM (but legal sociology)

GRE: 166 V 155 Q 5 AW/ IELTS: 8.5

Publication: no academic publication but I published two books. Rich media experience (columns, TV show host, news commentator etc), and many many many public talks at Universities etc. Extensive international journalistic experience. 

Work exp: Researcher in a public organization, 3 yrs + a few others

I am sure my SOP is kick-ass. LORs should be fine as well. Writing sample is a bit tricky as I am still doing last-minute polish here....

My interest is in critical theory & com-hist sociology. I think I should fit into "niche" places.

What do you guys think my chances are? I am applying to Wisc-Madison, Northwestern, Brown, Washington...and a few others.

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4 hours ago, redhillgirl said:

Hi, I'm a fall 2016 applicant as well! 

I'm hoping I get into Wisc-Madison - my no.1 dream school! I'm an international applicant tho and it looks like my chances are limited for it. Would anyone evaluate my profile?

Undergrad: 2 undergrad degrees, 1 from top Asia institution (in political science) and 1 LLB. Horrible GPA for 1st degree (no legitimate reason, just having too much fun, but it was almost a decade ago). 2:1 for LLB

Master: High merit from a top 5 UK university. LLM (but legal sociology)

GRE: 166 V 155 Q 5 AW/ IELTS: 8.5

Publication: no academic publication but I published two books. Rich media experience (columns, TV show host, news commentator etc), and many many many public talks at Universities etc. Extensive international journalistic experience. 

Work exp: Researcher in a public organization, 3 yrs + a few others

I am sure my SOP is kick-ass. LORs should be fine as well. Writing sample is a bit tricky as I am still doing last-minute polish here....

My interest is in critical theory & com-hist sociology. I think I should fit into "niche" places.

What do you guys think my chances are? I am applying to Wisc-Madison, Northwestern, Brown, Washington...and a few others.

Your application sounds solid - though I am not familiar with the U.K system/grading system. You also don't specify whether your LORs are from sociology professors (which are definitely preferred by ACs, all things being equal).

The main suggestion I would make is to be careful not to overplay your media and journalism experiences. While it's certainly not a "negative" per se, top sociology programs tend to want to invest their time training future academic sociologists. If you signal, inadvertently, that you have eyes on other things, like journalism, or a career as a writer, or becoming a public sociologist, then that may count against you.

Of course, you should take this advice with a grain of salt. Not all sociology programs take this position, and individual professors within a program can and will have very different stances. (I'm sure some will look upon your experiences as a very big positive.) Likewise, I'm not suggesting to completely avoid mentioning your media/journalism interests - just be careful not to make it a centerpiece of, say, your Statement of Purpose.

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3 minutes ago, iemons said:

Your application sounds solid - though I am not familiar with the U.K system/grading system. You also don't specify whether your LORs are from sociology professors (which are definitely preferred by ACs, all things being equal).

The main suggestion I would make is to be careful not to overplay your media and journalism experiences. While it's certainly not a "negative" per se, top sociology programs tend to want to invest their time training future academic sociologists. If you signal, inadvertently, that you have eyes on other things, like journalism, or a career as a writer, or becoming a public sociologist, then that may count against you.

Of course, you should take this advice with a grain of salt. Not all sociology programs take this position, and individual professors within a program can and will have very different stances. (I'm sure some will look upon your experiences as a very big positive.) Likewise, I'm not suggesting to completely avoid mentioning your media/journalism interests - just be careful not to make it a centerpiece of, say, your Statement of Purpose.

Thanks for your reply, that is my concern as well. I did mention it in my SOP but only in passing. I'm also getting all the conflicting advice on whether or not I should explain my undergrad GPA situation, some say no given it's too long ago, some say I should still write sth about it. Any thots?

I used the WES GPA converter and my master GPA should be around 3.7+. Not sure if it's enough to overcome my abysmal undergrad GPA (2.5).

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4 minutes ago, redhillgirl said:

Thanks for your reply, that is my concern as well. I did mention it in my SOP but only in passing. I'm also getting all the conflicting advice on whether or not I should explain my undergrad GPA situation, some say no given it's too long ago, some say I should still write sth about it. Any thots?

I used the WES GPA converter and my master GPA should be around 3.7+. Not sure if it's enough to overcome my abysmal undergrad GPA (2.5).

You should not explain your undergraduate GPA situation, especially if your reasoning, as you stated, is "just having too much fun." Definitely, definitely do not mention those words. And given that it's been a decade since your undergrad years, I don't think a full-fledged "explanation" is necessary.

That doesn't mean you can't "acknowledge" your low undergrad GPA somewhere in your SOP. I'm sure it can be done very briefly, in passing, in some sentence or another where you're going over your your academic history.

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1 hour ago, gingin6789 said:

All solid advice from @iemons. I don't have anything to add -- just wanted to wish good luck to @redhillgirl!

Thanks @iemons & @gingin6789! Solid advice indeed. I completed my writing sample the minute before I submitted the applications so I guess I can only hope for the best.

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35 minutes ago, redhillgirl said:

yeah, hopefully waiting is the worst part - not the rejections.

Amen to that!! When applying for MA programs two years ago, I found that the worst part was definitely the waiting. I had one rejection (only applied to three programs though) and by that point, I wasn't even mad because I was so happy that the waiting was finally over!

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30 minutes ago, redhillgirl said:

Hey I dunno if I need to open a new thread for this: but I'm skyping with my POI at my top choice grad school next week, what should I expect? 

Congrats! That's a great sign.

I found the Skype interviews I did unnecessarily nerve-wracking. From my experience, they were trying to ascertain whether my research interests would be a good fit with their own, and what skills I could bring as their RA. I was so unfocused that I was trying to adapt my research interests to whoever I was talking with -- in hindsight, that was not an ideal gambit since it can lead to a program where you're not actually a good fit. But it is a good idea to try to really research their recent work (though it sounds like you already have). One other thought -- a very smart friend of mine with a very impressive CV and GREs only got into a very low-tier program because her research interests were TOO focused, and most of the programs were like, uh we don't have anyone doing EXACTLY that tiny area. Like, she told me that only three scholars were working on this area, and one was at Berkeley, one at Harvard. So that was not a great strategy…  

If I had it to do all over again, I would recommend 1) sincerity, 2) somewhat focused but not overly narrow research interests, 3) making sure that you're truly compatible with specific faculty at the programs you are applying to. 

It sounds like you have already anticipated all these recs, but maybe it could be helpful for others reading...

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2 minutes ago, Pennywise said:

If I had it to do all over again, I would recommend 1) sincerity, 2) somewhat focused but not overly narrow research interests, 3) making sure that you're truly compatible with specific faculty at the programs you are applying to. 

It sounds like you have already anticipated all these recs, but maybe it could be helpful for others reading...

I agree with @Pennywise and would add that no matter how casual/informal the conversation may seem, treat all discussions with POIs as if they are formal interviews. Any correspondence (chats, emails, and so on) with a POI may be reported or forwarded to an admissions committee. But I think if you're sincere (like Pennywise said), if you're simply yourself, and if you don't let your nerves get to you too much, you'll be just fine.

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On October 29, 2015 at 6:55 PM, yomamabf said:

Yes I'm Asian but I was in a multi-racial gang. It actually has helped me see and understand things that other sociology majors were not able to catch during my undergrad. If I decide to add that to my SOP I'll most likely explain how it helped me sociologically. 

I garnered over 80 members consisting of both undergrad and grad students and we actually did a lot. We co-sponsored a lecture event with our Sociology Department and flew in a professor from UMASS, held PhD workshops for students interested in doctoral programs, study sessions, sociology discussions with grad students about a wide range of topics like social change(this was really fun and lasted hours), out-of-campus events, games, BBQ, etc. It was definitely the highlight of my undergrad career. I became one of the most prominent students in my department. 

I would just chime in to 100% encourage you to discuss how your personal expertise and rich qualitative experiences as a gangbanger inform your sociological interests and skills, helping you ask questions nobody else would think of and explore assumptions nobody else is even aware they're making. If you can translate those life experiences into scholarly expertise in a convincing, sophisticated way, then there are many programs that would LOVE to have someone with that kind of background. And would you really want to be in a program where they didn't appreciate how valuable your experiences are, anyhow?

Also, I personally think the discipline needs more young scholars with backgrounds like that. 

One other thought -- have you thought about applying to any related disciplines, such as American Studies or Asian-American Studies? If there's someone doing closely related research in a program like that, that person could be your biggest ally on the admissions committee (and in your career as a scholar). 

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11 minutes ago, SocIsCool said:

I agree with @Pennywise and would add that no matter how casual/informal the conversation may seem, treat all discussions with POIs as if they are formal interviews. Any correspondence (chats, emails, and so on) with a POI may be reported or forwarded to an admissions committee. But I think if you're sincere (like Pennywise said), if you're simply yourself, and if you don't let your nerves get to you too much, you'll be just fine.

Is an interview (skype or whatever) a pre-requisite for everybody at this program, or only for some applicants? If you don't get a skype request does it mean you're out?

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