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French MA/PhD program responses


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I thought I'd start a thread for us to update when we hear responses (good or not so good) from French MA and PhD programs. (If this already exists elsewhere, please let me know!) It's still a bit early for most institutions, but I know some are calling for interviews already and based on past years' threads it should ramp up soon! 

So where has everyone applied? Who have you heard from so far? Top choices? So excited to hear everyone's experiences. Thanks!

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I guess I should start with my response. I applied to French PhD programs at Indiana University, Harvard, Duke, Princeton, Emory, Brown, and Yale. I did hear back from Emory the other day for their interview weekend in early February, and based on others' experiences it seems that Emory is really on the ball with getting back to everyone. All quiet otherwise. My top choice shifts back and forth between Emory and Brown, but it's a waiting game now anyway. 

Anyone hearing from their schools yet?

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I applied to PhD programs at UC Berkeley, UCLA, Princeton, NYU, Brown, Duke, University of Chicago, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Indiana University Bloomington. I've only heard back from the University of Washington so far and the news weren't good. I have a pretty weird application though, and it could be interpreted in any number of directions. I have talked to friends who are PhD students at Berkeley, NYU, and Cornell right now who had gotten into 5/6, 4/5, and 2/4 schools that they applied to, respectively. These were exceptional candidates, though, who were double literature majors with near-perfect GPA, honors theses, and great recommendations. One even had two honors theses, so even though they've gotten into a lot of schools, it still makes me nervous. I'm just hoping for the best right now. Top choices among the ten I applied to would be Berkeley (my alma mater), Princeton, NYU, or the University of Chicago. Good luck to everyone! I'm so glad to find this thread. French majors don't seem to be a big community.

Edited by ThousandsHardships
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@pepeletaylor  The only thing new is a rejection from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. No other notifications. But don't go by me...I'm starting to doubt my ability to get accepted at all since UW-Madison seems to have a higher acceptance rate than most other schools I applied to and I was still rejected. As I said, I have a weird application, and the positive aspects may not outweigh the negatives, especially if compared to candidates with no negatives.

If you look in the results search of this website, you'll see approximately which dates these schools tend to notify students. I don't know about Harvard or Emory, but I'm pretty sure none of the other schools you applied to typically start sending admissions decisions until around mid-February. From this site, I see that Princeton often starts sending interview notifications at the end of January. I haven't heard from them though.

Edited by ThousandsHardships
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Update: just got an email that I've been admitted to IU Bloomington! It's my first acceptance and I am over the moon (still waiting on the official offer letter). Hopefully this will ease my nerves a little bit before the interview at Emory this weekend. From the looks of the results board, people are just starting to hear about interviews from Brown, but not much other activity. 

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@pepeletaylor Me too! IUB was my first acceptance and I got an interview notification from Brown on the same day! Ironically I was expecting UCLA to get back to me before either of these because they seem to have historically notified applicants earlier...but I guess anything can happen. It definitely sets my mind at ease that I'll actually be allowed to do my PhD and that nothing went horribly, horribly wrong on my recommenders' side.

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Hello all,

As far as i can tell, Princeton and Duke have already sent out their interview requests to their most desired applicants. I was accepted to Penn two weeks ago (as well as to Pittsburgh and Michigan last week) and had my interview with Brown today. Brown's interview was really nerve wracking and only lasted about 10 minutes on Skype. It was really difficult to gauge how it went, so we shall see! 

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@gardensgrey Good to know! And I now see what you mean about the Skype interview with Brown! I asked good questions and expressed decent interest in the faculty's works (two of the interviewers were in my domain), but I couldn't manage to talk about my own interests very well. I guess we'll see what they think...

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@gardensgrey About ten minutes as well. I have a somewhat unconventional academic background and I was surprised they weren't more curious about that. In retrospect, maybe I should have brought it up myself, because I'd have been better prepared to talk about it. I assumed that when they asked me to talk about myself, that they simply wanted to hear about my research interests, so I went off of what I thought they wanted instead of using the opportunity to try to steer the conversation in a direction that I was more comfortable with. Big mistake.

Edited by ThousandsHardships
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  • 2 weeks later...

@gardensgrey I'm starting to not want to talk about it. Last night, I just received the most devastating rejection of the season. I had applied to this school because a professor in my M.A. program (who works in my intended subfield) had suggested it as a good match, and I mentioned this in my application. It was one of the only two schools where I'd contacted faculty to talk about research interests. The professor I talked to was super positive and even CC'd the director of the program in his replies. I talked to him on Skype, and he told me that with my background, he was sure I'd get in.

Two schools (one waitlist with a very kind email) with positive attitude tell me that my writing sample was held in very high esteem, and that my statements were fascinating to many and suggest above adequate preparation. Almost everyone I know in the field had gotten into at least half of the schools they applied to, indicating that competition isn't too bad. Honestly, I just hate the idea that my rejections might have nothing to do with competence or competition. I wish I could be judged by my future potential and not on decisions made in the past.

Edited by fuzzylogician
Edited for privacy at poster's request
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  • 2 weeks later...

I applied to University of Iowa, Florida State University, University of North Carolina, University of Michigan, University of Maine, University of Kentucky and University of Virginia. 

I've heard back from the first four (three acceptances, one rejection) but I haven't heard from the last three.

On 2/11/2017 at 11:31 AM, ThousandsHardships said:

Honestly, I just hate the idea that my rejections might have nothing to do with competence or competition. I wish I could be judged by my future potential and not on decisions made in the past.

I wound up being accepted by a program I wasn't expecting, and rejected from a program I was expecting an acceptance from (after talking with a professor and what I thought was a good fit). One of the programs I haven't heard back from (and I'm not expecting good news from) was one where a professor really liked my research interests and even planned out ways for us to work together in the fall semester. I really think that even if the fit seems good and you are competent and a competitive applicant, the school can reject you based on gut feelings or just having other applicants who are somehow an even better fit. Even if you would be a great fit, they could have found many students who would be great and had to pick the best fits out of a pool of amazing applicants. Please don't be discouraged or take it personally!

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@haselnuss Thank you for your kind words! I completely understand. I agree that it sometimes takes very little to get rejected. Regret can be hard to contend with, and it's simply been difficult not to think of all the things that I could have done differently to make myself a less questionable candidate, things that for me have very little to do with academic competence. But the important thing now is that I really do get to do this PhD. :)

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  • 1 month later...

I understand that this thread is targeted more towards US applicants but I applied to three universities in Australia for the French PhD. Got rejected right away from Melbourne Uni. I had an interview with the supervisor at UNSW but the faculty rejected me. But I got an unconditional offer from Sydney Uni! Just need to hear back about funding.

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