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It's hard to believe it's that time already, but I'm guessing I'm not alone in planning for the 2017 application cycle this fall.

Barring any unforeseen bumps in the road, I'll be finishing my M.A. at UMD next spring, meaning I will only be applying to Ph.D. programs. I'm hoping the M.A. will give me a better outcome than last time (even though I will always contend that this M.A. path has helped FAR more than hindered).

I'm an early modernist, and plan to apply to about a dozen programs. UMD will be one. Johns Hopkins will probably be another. George Washington will be a third. Princeton and Yale are almost certainties for me too. I'm dithering on whether I want to keep a relatively tight geographic tether on where I apply (within eight hours of where I currently live, for instance). I'll figure that out over the summer.

Anyhow, good luck to those of you applying for fall 2017 -- especially those of you who will be taking another kick at the can!

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5 hours ago, Wyatt's Terps said:

I'm guessing I'm not alone in planning for the 2017 application cycle this fall.

You guessed right! Somewhere amid thesis stuff, summer funding (yay!) stuff, conference stuff, and grading stuff, I'm fitting PhD program stuff in somewhere.

I really like my school's PhD program, but I'll apply to a few others. I'm looking at the writing and rhetoric programs, as well as programs in professional/technical communication. If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them. 

It's nice to share another application season with you, WT! I'm looking forward to this fall (probably because it's six months away, and that doesn't even register on my panic-o-meter yet). 

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6 hours ago, empress-marmot said:

It's nice to share another application season with you, WT! I'm looking forward to this fall (probably because it's six months away, and that doesn't even register on my panic-o-meter yet). 

Huzzah! And likewise, EM (or Em? Or Emp? Or Marm? Hmm...)

I wouldn't say I'm looking forward to the process, but I definitely feel like I know what I'm doing a bit better. That might still have zero bearing on what certain adcoms decide, but as the old AlAnon adage goes, you need to be able to accept the things you cannot change and change the things you can...

(I've never been an alcoholic, by the way...but it's a nifty adage!)

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Hello! I'll be applying this fall as well (probably to about a dozen programs).

I've spent some of my downtime over the last few months putting together a list of about 75 programs (some with faculty members that I'm familiar with, others that have been recommended to me, and some that I've just heard good things about and want to investigate further), and then going through their English Department faculty lists to find which ones seem to be producing good work in my field. I've narrowed it down to a 'shortlist' of about 20, and plan to specify further from there based on broader considerations of fit / conversations with advisors.

So yeah. Evidently I'm still in the part of the process that is exciting. I'm sure the harrowing part will kick in soon enough — but I am happy to be tackling it alongside you both!

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On 3/18/2016 at 0:01 PM, erosanddust said:

Hello! I'll be applying this fall as well (probably to about a dozen programs).

I've spent some of my downtime over the last few months putting together a list of about 75 programs (some with faculty members that I'm familiar with, others that have been recommended to me, and some that I've just heard good things about and want to investigate further), and then going through their English Department faculty lists to find which ones seem to be producing good work in my field. I've narrowed it down to a 'shortlist' of about 20, and plan to specify further from there based on broader considerations of fit / conversations with advisors.

Wow, it's amazing that you researched programs so thoroughly!

I've worked my way down to 10 schools.

I'm worried that 10 is both too many and not enough. Does anyone have any advice on this?

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55 minutes ago, mullcj15 said:

Wow, it's amazing that you researched programs so thoroughly!

I've worked my way down to 10 schools.

I'm worried that 10 is both too many and not enough. Does anyone have any advice on this?

Well, I'll just say that in my first cycle, I applied to seventeen programs. Some were certainly stretches, and in retrospect I probably could have made better choices...but by that same token, I might not have applied to the program I'm in now had I reduced my list. If you can justify the financial aspect to yourself, and think you can make a strong case for why you are a good fit for a particular program (and why they are a good fit for you), then I say the more the merrier. But there are so many variables (usually personalized) that it is hard to give you general advice on the number of programs you should apply to. I have it in my mind to apply to twelve this fall, but if I come across more, and I can justify the expense, I'll apply to more. I don't think I would apply to fewer than twelve, however, simply because the application process is so darn competitive, and a few proverbial coin tosses can make or break your application season.

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On 3/27/2016 at 7:33 PM, Wyatt's Terps said:

Well, I'll just say that in my first cycle, I applied to seventeen programs. Some were certainly stretches, and in retrospect I probably could have made better choices...but by that same token, I might not have applied to the program I'm in now had I reduced my list. If you can justify the financial aspect to yourself, and think you can make a strong case for why you are a good fit for a particular program (and why they are a good fit for you), then I say the more the merrier. But there are so many variables (usually personalized) that it is hard to give you general advice on the number of programs you should apply to. I have it in my mind to apply to twelve this fall, but if I come across more, and I can justify the expense, I'll apply to more. I don't think I would apply to fewer than twelve, however, simply because the application process is so darn competitive, and a few proverbial coin tosses can make or break your application season.

I'm in Rhet/Comp, and I've specialized my research interests to the point where not many programs do what I do. I'll be applying to about five programs, including my current university's PhD. It's probably less stressful for me, because MA students applying to my university's PhD program tend to be admitted. I'm not too worried about acceptances/rejections, though that could always change...

But I'm still happy to cheer you folks onward!

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Hi all,

I, too, am applying for PhD programs in the fall. I complete my MA program next April, so I'm looking into several universities with strong eighteenth-century faculty. I currently only have about eight programs on my list, so I hope to get that to ten by the summer. 

I look forward another application process with my future looming in the distance like a faint, desolate mirage. 

 

image.jpeg

Edited by TeaOverCoffee

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On 3/17/2016 at 2:46 PM, Wyatt's Terps said:

It's hard to believe it's that time already, but I'm guessing I'm not alone in planning for the 2017 application cycle this fall.

Barring any unforeseen bumps in the road, I'll be finishing my M.A. at UMD next spring, meaning I will only be applying to Ph.D. programs. I'm hoping the M.A. will give me a better outcome than last time (even though I will always contend that this M.A. path has helped FAR more than hindered).

I'm an early modernist, and plan to apply to about a dozen programs. UMD will be one. Johns Hopkins will probably be another. George Washington will be a third. Princeton and Yale are almost certainties for me too. I'm dithering on whether I want to keep a relatively tight geographic tether on where I apply (within eight hours of where I currently live, for instance). I'll figure that out over the summer.

Anyhow, good luck to those of you applying for fall 2017 -- especially those of you who will be taking another kick at the can!

If I were you, I would apply to more than 10 unless you are certain you're going to get into at least one and with good funding.

Good luck to you! :)

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14 minutes ago, KappaRoss said:

If I were you, I would apply to more than 10 unless you are certain you're going to get into at least one and with good funding.

Good luck to you! :)

Most definitely. As I mentioned, I'll apply to around a dozen, if not more.

I met with one of the early modernist professors in my program yesterday to talk about Ph.D. programs, and he made a few good suggestions about where to apply (and told me he'd write me a LOR), so my list is definitely growing.

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Thanks for the advice, everyone! I expanded my list from 8 programs to 10, and I think I have a good 'range' now- some top programs, some near the middle, some less well-ranked but still respectable. Before I felt like I was lacking in the middle.

 I hope we all have good luck next application cycle!

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On 3/18/2016 at 11:20 PM, empress-marmot said:

You guessed right! Somewhere amid thesis stuff, summer funding (yay!) stuff, conference stuff, and grading stuff, I'm fitting PhD program stuff in somewhere.

I really like my school's PhD program, but I'll apply to a few others. I'm looking at the writing and rhetoric programs, as well as programs in professional/technical communication. If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them. 

It's nice to share another application season with you, WT! I'm looking forward to this fall (probably because it's six months away, and that doesn't even register on my panic-o-meter yet). 

Indiana just launched a program this year that you should look at. It's going to be small for the first few years, but that comes with lots of benefits, plus the B1G in general is where most of the top R/C programs are, so there are lots of connections. Not that USF is a bad program, by any means.

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So, no luck this round. I was 0 for 7, but that's okay. After a few days weeks of feeling dejected, I think I've finally accepted my fate for the next year or so.

I graduate with my MA in a month, and have applied for several jobs around my current institution. I've been accepted to several conferences this year, and I'll be chairing panels at each of them, so hopefully that will look even better for the next round of apps. I'll be working with people from my MA program to strengthen my materials, reaching out to professors in my area (19th century British, Irish, and American) from US and EU schools, retaking the GRE as many times as I need to (I saved up several hundred dollars so I could retake at least twice). My only problem is I cannot seem to get a high score on the verbal. Does anyone have any suggestions on strengthening this part? 

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1 hour ago, victoriansimpkins said:

My only problem is I cannot seem to get a high score on the verbal. Does anyone have any suggestions on strengthening this part? 

I was shocked at how low I was scoring on the verbal in my practice tests (reading comprehension and vocabulary should be my strong suits, as an English scholar!). I ended up buying a set of the Manhattan Prep GRE books to help boost my score (and shared them with a few friends to help offset the cost). They have a whole book dedicated just to the verbal test, and it helped me see how essential it is to understand how to answer GRE reading comp questions, specifically -- once I did that, I scored very highly with no problem.

So for the verbal, I recommend finding or borrowing a good guide to testing strategies to get a sense of what is wanted from GRE reading comp questions, and then running through as many sample GRE problems as possible (many of their questions are structured very similarly, so it helps to get a hang of their methods). Being familiar with GRE vocab is also really important. I used a set of Manhattan Prep flash cards, but many websites have lists of words that commonly appear on the test, too. I carried about 20 word cards in my bag every day, and whenever I had a moment (waiting in line, idling on my lunch break, etc), I would run through them.

Edited by erosanddust
typo~

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I second the Manhattan Prep verbal GRE materials. I was a longtime Princeton Review guy, but I switched to Manhattan Prep for my first crack at the GRE in more than a decade, and I felt so prepared for test day, a feeling seconded by my test score. Please note, MP's program is harder than the actual test--they even tell you that--so you can be sure you're ready. Just a great experience. 

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I'm toying with the idea of NOT retaking the GRE Subject Test and NOT applying to any schools that require it this cycle. This would be a major decision for me, as I've traditionally held Yale and Princeton as my top choices, but I'm starting to wonder if it's worthwhile, given the sizeable number of programs that also look good to me. I didn't have a competitive score the first time around, which surprised me at the time, as I felt good coming out of the test (though my decision to make educated guesses on every question I didn't know probably backfired)...but do I want to put myself through that again? I suppose I've got a couple of months to decide.

Anyone else making a conscious decision to skip the lit test this time around?

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9 hours ago, victoriansimpkins said:

My only problem is I cannot seem to get a high score on the verbal. Does anyone have any suggestions on strengthening this part? 

I really found that the GRE verbal flashcards were very useful, especially if you know some others who are going to be studying. There were a good number of words from the flashcards that came up on my exam that I wouldn't have learned otherwise.

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10 hours ago, victoriansimpkins said:

My only problem is I cannot seem to get a high score on the verbal. Does anyone have any suggestions on strengthening this part? 

 

49 minutes ago, kurayamino said:

I really found that the GRE verbal flashcards were very useful, especially if you know some others who are going to be studying. There were a good number of words from the flashcards that came up on my exam that I wouldn't have learned otherwise.

Yup, this. If you have a smartphone, check out the free magoosh vocab apps; I found them really useful. If no phone, I think they have a list of the words on their website, also for free. Other than that, I'd suggest taking as many practice tests as you can find, and drilling on any words you don't know. If you have a bit of time 'til the test, reading a few Atlantic/New Yorker articles a day, and keeping a list of words you don't know/need to learn, helps too (and, you know, also fun/useful otherwise)--those sorts of publications are pretty good (bad?) about using GRE-type vocab here and there.

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13 hours ago, Wyatt's Terps said:

I'm toying with the idea of NOT retaking the GRE Subject Test and NOT applying to any schools that require it this cycle. This would be a major decision for me, as I've traditionally held Yale and Princeton as my top choices, but I'm starting to wonder if it's worthwhile, given the sizeable number of programs that also look good to me. I didn't have a competitive score the first time around, which surprised me at the time, as I felt good coming out of the test (though my decision to make educated guesses on every question I didn't know probably backfired)...but do I want to put myself through that again? I suppose I've got a couple of months to decide.

Anyone else making a conscious decision to skip the lit test this time around?

I took my GREs back in 2013, and I certainly don't plan on retaking. Now, Rhet/Comp-ers in general care less about testing (I think), and there is no reason for me to take the literature test. Still, WT, I think I remember you writing somewhere that your GRE scores were respectable? You shouldn't need to retake.

You have it right when you write about programs that look good to you, and finding fit. Given respectable-enough GRE scores, fit is way more important. 

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1 hour ago, empress-marmot said:

I took my GREs back in 2013, and I certainly don't plan on retaking. Now, Rhet/Comp-ers in general care less about testing (I think), and there is no reason for me to take the literature test. Still, WT, I think I remember you writing somewhere that your GRE scores were respectable? You shouldn't need to retake.

You have it right when you write about programs that look good to you, and finding fit. Given respectable-enough GRE scores, fit is way more important. 

Yeah, I'm on the fence about retaking the regular GRE, but probably WILL give it another shot. My verbal was 162 / 89th percentile. Not great for an English major, but not bad either. Passable, but also probably improvable?

As for the GRE Lit test, however, my performance was the very definition of mediocre: 50th percentile. Oof. I really wished (and still wish) I could have seen the graded version, because I felt quite strongly that I did "well." Nonetheless, I'm debating whether to retake it or cross all subject-test-requiring schools off my list. I honestly don't know what I'll decide yet. I suspect that once my current semester is over, I'll get into some deeper research about programs and see how many of them need the lit test. If it's just two or three out of, say, fifteen, then I'll just nix those programs. If it's more than that, I'll probably have to bite the bullet and retake it. I still feel, however (and many disagree), that it's a test that you can't really study for. You can cram for it a bit, but you either have a general knowledge of a wide range of the literature and theory that will be on any given test, or you don't. There are certainly tips and tricks, but the field of literature and criticism is so broad that even whittling it down to "likely" and "unlikely" testable material is haphazard at best...

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God, is it time to apply again? I'm soooo glad I was admitted to a consecutive MA/PhD program since I don't have a degree in my field and my university only takes people whose goal is a PhD. I sooo feel for you guys that are getting ready to reapply! I never want to go through that again!

I used magoosh for the gre and liked it. I managed to get 168 verbal which is shocking.

Edited by xolo

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15 hours ago, Wyatt's Terps said:

Yeah, I'm on the fence about retaking the regular GRE, but probably WILL give it another shot. My verbal was 162 / 89th percentile. Not great for an English major, but not bad either. Passable, but also probably improvable?

As for the GRE Lit test, however, my performance was the very definition of mediocre: 50th percentile. Oof. I really wished (and still wish) I could have seen the graded version, because I felt quite strongly that I did "well." Nonetheless, I'm debating whether to retake it or cross all subject-test-requiring schools off my list. I honestly don't know what I'll decide yet. I suspect that once my current semester is over, I'll get into some deeper research about programs and see how many of them need the lit test. If it's just two or three out of, say, fifteen, then I'll just nix those programs. If it's more than that, I'll probably have to bite the bullet and retake it. I still feel, however (and many disagree), that it's a test that you can't really study for. You can cram for it a bit, but you either have a general knowledge of a wide range of the literature and theory that will be on any given test, or you don't. There are certainly tips and tricks, but the field of literature and criticism is so broad that even whittling it down to "likely" and "unlikely" testable material is haphazard at best...

I still have my list from last season about which schools require the subject test. Would you like the list of schools?

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51 minutes ago, Warelin said:

I still have my list from last season about which schools require the subject test. Would you like the list of schools?

Ooh, that would be great! Thanks in advance!

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Even though I won't be applying to PhD programs until 2018, I think I'm also going to be retaking the GRE soon... I scored so, so mediocre (like omg) because I went in cold. I was just being ridiculous and didn't have my life together. It wasn't a big deal because I only applied to MA programs, but I know it's different for PhD programs and that fellowships are often tied to GRE scores.

Donc allez-y!! Not looking forward to it, but it's a rite of passage, I guess.

Good luck to all of you for this upcoming application season! I'll be watching and learning!

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15 hours ago, klader said:

Even though I won't be applying to PhD programs until 2018, I think I'm also going to be retaking the GRE soon... I scored so, so mediocre (like omg) because I went in cold. I was just being ridiculous and didn't have my life together. It wasn't a big deal because I only applied to MA programs, but I know it's different for PhD programs and that fellowships are often tied to GRE scores.

Donc allez-y!! Not looking forward to it, but it's a rite of passage, I guess.

Good luck to all of you for this upcoming application season! I'll be watching and learning!

I would hold off a bit. Washington State C/R just dropped the GRE, and I would expect to see some other top programs join the bandwagon soon.

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