GL551 Posted March 28, 2017 Share Posted March 28, 2017 (edited) At a certain point in time, like anything else, the industry of academia is going to let you know if you're a good fit or not. After two years of applying (with extremely limited success) I'm debating on whether to apply next year or not. With that in mind, I'd like some general advice as to what might be some critical problems that I've overlooked or what my mindset should be going into next year's application cycle. Preliminary background: I'm applying to programs in the social sciences and humanities. I have three B.S.'s from a smaller to medium sized state school, and over the past two years I've spread my applications across upper mid-range to top-tier PhD programs (essentially choosing to forgo a terminal MA program due to a lack of funding). Here's my stat breakdown thus far: GPA: 3.4 (admittedly some shoddy spots here - a couple F's my junior year, and my major GPA is only slightly better at 3.5) GRE: 165/155/6 LoR's: Four solid ones from professor's I worked with on and off throughout my undergrad SoP: Solid - I should think - it's been through numerous revisions. I've had five different professors read it and two friends who are current grad students. Conferences presentations: I'm well into the double digits at this point. I've presented research at numerous conferences both as an undergrad and a post-bacc and conferences have ranged from professional academic conferences to smaller undergraduate/graduate conferences. Academic Publications: Three, with two more under review. One publication is in a higher impact journal, two are in undergraduate journals. My two under review are currently with a mid-impact journal and an undergrad/post-bacc journal. Teaching Experience: I've taught a class with a professor, currently teach inner-city students through a program with my department, and have been a tutor in my field on and off for two years. Misc Items: I've served as a president for various clubs, was on my student government, volunteered a lot over several years with various academic bodies, received a few minor grants and awards for my papers and conference presentations, have been a grader for two professors, and was an editor for my school news paper for a year. Now it's possible I'm just overestimating my application competitiveness. Whenever I look at my application packet (certainly relative to my peers at my alma mater) I think it looks competitive enough to apply to upper mid level to higher level programs. After two years of applications - I'm willing to just chalk up my long string of rejections (18 applications total, 15 rejections, 3 "acceptances" after filtering my app to the MA level with no funding to speak of) to either poor fit, not being cut out for better programs, or just a weak GPA compared to what others are bringing to the table. But who knows - maybe I'm falling victim to some classic mistake that I just haven't caught on to yet. My former professors haven't been able to offer any serious advice. My mentor has repeatedly stated that I should get in and essentially encourages me to keep applying until something works out. My department chair has suggested that maybe I'm aiming to high and should look toward mid to lower tier PhD programs or simply apply to an MA. My other professors have expressed some level of shock that I haven't gotten into a decent PhD program yet, and essentially repeat that it's all "fit" and maybe I just didn't "fit" as well as other candidates did these past two years. Needless to say I'm putting all this out there in the off chance that maybe it's not just luck, but that I've missed something. Any advice or notes on potential red flags would be appreciated. Edited March 28, 2017 by GL551 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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