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My situation


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Hello everyone!

I've browsed this forum over the past few days and have found the commentary here very informative.

I'm a Sociology, Poli Sci double major from a good public research university. I'm in the process of applying to Sociology PhD programs.

I have a 3.4 cum gpa, not stellar I know, and a 3.8 major GPA (sociology.) I'm finishing up my senior thesis now, and have taken independent studies with a few professors. My letter of recs should be fairly strong. I will take the GRE in a few weeks; later than when I wanted to take it, but I had a family emergency to deal with this past month and thought it would be better to take it after that event.

I'm a bit confused on how many schools to apply to. I know the more the better, but I worry about the costs of application fees. I have clearly defined research interests. Yet, it appears my best fits with departments research wise are at the top 10 "ranked" Sociology PhD programs. My statement of purpose is being finalized after having a few profs have read over it, and I feel that the SOP will be strong. My qualms are with my GPA. Do I bother applying to a school like UC Berkeley or UCLA? They are my 'dream' schools- but not only for the prestige. I simply would love to work with a few profs there and they are the strongest schools for the field of research I want to do and am so passionate about.

Sorry for the rambling, but I'd love to hear any general suggestions or input.

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I say go for it. There is no reason not to apply to a school that would be a great fit. You never know! Your sociology GPA is high and if the rest of your app is strong, you're not out of the running because of a 3.4 overall GPA, which still is a fine GPA. But, just to make sure, you also may want to see if there are some other programs not ranked as highly to also add to your list that might be a good fit also.

Not really sure what to tell you about how many schools to apply to--I'm at the lower end, only applying to 5. Seems at least 7 is a good minimum to aim for though, and a range of schools (i.e. top programs vs. other good programs that might not get as many applicants). Not sure how competitive sociology programs are though, as that could dictate how many you apply to as well, and also how many programs there are that you're genuinely interested in.

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