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I want to pursue a PhD in History and am applying this month for the Fall of 2017. 

My Application:


  • Writing Sample
  • LORs
  • SOP

Uncertain parts:

  • GPA [3.18 cumulative, 3.48 at current institution (I was a transfer and screwed up on some Psych courses, which was my major at the time, during freshman year), and a 3.900 in History]
  • GRE (I take it on Tuesday so don't yet have my scores. I'm anticipating good marks on the Verbal and Writing sections. At least 160 for V and 4.0 for Writing. *knocks on wood*)

Certain Weaknesses:

  • No Publications
  • No Conferences
  • No Advanced Degree
  • No Relevant Work Experiences.

What I Hope to Compensate for the Weaknesses:

  • Independent Study course relevant to my field which taught me how to present on research, how to do research itself, and the paper resulting from it is my writing sample. 
  • Background in French language (relevant for an Africa and African Diaspora historian). 
  • Training in archive and work with handling antique documents
  • Attended at least 5 seminars (not conferences, I know, but still) on campus led by my History professors
  • Participating in the Appalachian Student Research Forum this year (though not officially until after I've already sent my applications out)


  • Dean's List 3x in my most recent semesters and on track for 5 semesters by May.
  • Member of Phi Alpha Theta: History Honor Society.
  • Member of multiple organizations and hold leadership positions in a few.
  • Have also done several hours of volunteer work with a few causes. 

Applying to:

  • Northwestern University
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • UNC-Chapel Hill
  • The College of William and Mary
  • University of Memphis
  • Howard University
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3.18 GPA is very low for direct entry PhD programs. Usually students overcome this by performing substantial research or completing a major thesis project in their area of interest prior to graduation. Have you considered maybe a MA program and then go on to the PhD? - selectiveadmissions.com


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