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First Gen Student - unsure of my chances



Hi Grad Cafe!

I am the first person in my family to have graduated from college and I'm (obviously) the first to apply to grad school. So, I'm feeling a bit lost. I graduated from a small liberal arts college in May with a double major in Spanish & Psychology (both BAs) and I'm now applying to PhD and MA programs for Spanish. My stats are below:

GPA: 3.89 

Spanish GPA: 3.93

GRE Scores: verbal 160 (85%); quant. 154 (55%); writing 4.5 (82%)

LORs: 2 great letters from previous research advisers and 1 average letter from the head of the dept. 

I believe I have strong SOPs (I have asked everyone to read them, from professors to friends to career counselors, etc. etc.). The writing sample that I'm submitting is an improved version of my undergraduate thesis, which I also think is strong (I'm comparing to my peers who wrote Spanish theses even though none of them are applying to graduate school for Spanish). 

I also did a semester in Ecuador in which I also participated in a month long internship (only with Ecuadorians, only speaking Spanish) and much of my internship/work history in the US consists of "Latino Outreach" type of positions. Also my partner is from El Salvador, so I'm pretty confident that I actually know the language. 

I sometimes feel confident about my applications and my Spanish, but then I look at admissions stats and get really discouraged. So, do I have a shot? 

(I'm applying to PhD Programs at UNC, UVA, and Duke, and MA Programs at NCSU and UNCG. I'm trying to stay close to family.) 


Thanks so much!

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I was not a Spanish major, nor did I apply to Spanish graduate programs, but my stats were very similar to yours, as is my background. I can only comment anecdotally given my experiences, but I managed to get into a reasonably competitive program with funding (only two of the applicants were awarded funding at my program).

It's difficult to predict the whims of an admissions committee, but I think you might have a shot. :) However, if you don't get into a program this round, accept that might very well be due to reasons other than your qualifications. Admissions into programs are a complicated, weird process, and all sorts of things might stop a person from being accepted.

Edited by Neist
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