Jump to content

Prospects for elite schools


Recommended Posts

I am about to finish up my Masters in History at a decent program (Temple U), and I am looking to apply to Ph.D. programs. I know the job market is tight, so I've been placing a lot of pressure to get admitted into an elite, top 25 school. I just wanted to come on here and see what you guys thought. Heres my info.

I will be graduating with a MA in history with a 3.89 GPA. During my tenure at grad school, I also took two political theory courses in the political science department, and earned A's in both.

As an undergrad, I graduated with a BS in economics, and a minor in Philosophy. Unfortunately, due to poor performance in the first two years of undergrad, my cumulative GPA when I graduated was 3.1, although in economics it was considerably higher, 3.57. My last two years were much better, and I also took a heavy workload in order to finish on time.

In terms of GRE's, I received a 650 V, 740 Q, and 5.5 in the writing.

I will be applying for history programs that study the modern middle east, and by the time I graduate will have formal training in Arabic.

Here are my questions. Is my undergraduate gpa going to seriously harm me? Will this be balanced by my interdisciplinary interest and skills in philosophy, economics, and poly sci? Anyone else out there have any experience going from a decent, even fairly good school like Temple University to an elite, top 25 program? What are your thoughts? :?:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I'm sure you know, there are numerous other things besides scores that admissions committees look at in terms of offering you a place. For example, how your interests match up with the professors in the department.

I believe I was in a situation not unlike yours, in that I went to a small liberal arts school in the mid-west for my BA and am now getting a Ph.D. studying the modern Middle East at an Ivy league school. Scores aren't as important as you think - although you should be aware that if you are applying to a history department instead of a Middle Eastern Studies or Near Eastern Studies department your chances will be much reduced. Some schools - NYU and Harvard - have joint programs for History and Middle Eastern Studies, with students getting spots in both departments, while funding comes from one. This is nice, but can be competitive. I've heard through the grapevine that NYU had 150 + applicants for 5 spots. Other schools like Princeton, Arizona, or Michigan have Near Eastern studies departments.

In the end, getting into schools is a fairly opaque process, but I can say that scores at this level matter less than one might think, or at least that is my impression. How your research interests match with those of a professor, work you have produced so far, languages you know, research time, fellowships received and a host of other things are just if not more important. But, in my opinion, the most important thing is to have a professor that is willing to go to bat for you on the admissions committee.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I agree, I an an undergrad right now and have just been accepted to all teh grad programs I applied to. For what its worth, I applied to the design field, so it is a little bit different. I had a decent GPA, 3.5, but what made me stand out where amazing letters of intents and an outstanding portfolio, well given that I have had no formal trainging in art. I never even took the GREs but went ahead and applied to programs that required it, and they accepted me without the scores. In the end, a decent GPA, killer portfolio and no GREs got me into five schools, one of which is Ivy League and the other is the top art schoot in the nation (risd), which I have since accpeted.

Also, dont limit your options, if you have a dream to apply to harvard, apply, sont assume anyhting is out of your range, otherwise you will regret it and always wonder what if. the worst they can say is no

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.