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2017-2018 Application Cycle


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Seek professional help. That goes for anyone that is expressing significant depression symptoms, and definitely suicidal thoughts.

Your mental health is way more important than god damn grad school applications.

And that goes for people that have received acceptances as well, trust me, get your mental health in order because grad school will destroy you if you are not of a sound mind. 

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I got into Maryland Holy shit I thought I was going to strike out. I'm so freaking happy right now. I actually don't have to go back to Japan now to do PhD work.

She said Yes!!! She is Yale. Claiming an admit, slightly hysterically.  Edit: notified by POI email. 

^ Seek professional help. That goes for anyone that is expressing significant depression symptoms, and definitely suicidal thoughts. Your mental health is way more important than god damn gr

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8 minutes ago, LosingHope said:

I've already gotten a MA to fix my undergraduate GPA. I've done research. I've even worked a bit. I don't know what else I'm supposed to do.

The more I think about this, the more I just wonder if it's better just to call it a day and just give up on it all. I have nothing else to turn to. Sometimes, I just question why I'm even still alive and why I even bother to keep trying. So much shit has gone wrong in my life, and I don't need the one thing that could take me away from all of this get cut off as well.

Hey! You matter! PM me. 

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23 minutes ago, Wiesbaden said:

I think some of them are not my abilities, but kinda "luck" or a "coincidence." Can we control LOR writers' abilities? How about a budget or a quota of prospective students? Although they can be Z variables, we cannot prove the causal mechanism with them. If so, I just recognize them as fatalism. If I start to consider them, my mentality is already broken and this criterion is my psychological line lol. A result of chance in the field of science may be contradictory, but maybe the scientific result of my accidental behaviors

Okay, that's a fair point. Isn't it equally fatalistic, though, to assume that the overall value of your abilities can be reflected within the outcome of a single situation and/or externality? (Getting into grad school, regardless of how much influence you have in the process, is indeed an external and relatively static event.) 

...Can we play for a bit? I haven't done so for a while. It's hard to read into tone online, so I want to emphasize that I'm not trying to be patronizing or 'win' an argument. And I dig conversations about chance, so have at it. 

Obviously if someone writes a horrible statement of purpose, gets wretched grades, or doesn't apply themselves well, they won't likely net positive results when applying for a PhD. So it isn't as though applicants themselves play no role in this process. However, in the same way that it's fatalistic to assume the outcome of your admission is entirely up to contingencies like budgeting, LOR writers, etc., it's just as fatalistic to assume that the enduring worth of your abilities can be gauged entirely by one outcome measure (acceptance or rejection) from the application process (part of which, like it or not, is contingent upon externalities). 

So I won't question your assertion that your abilities do play a role in whether or not you get into grad school, but I will question your assertion that whether or not you get into grad school is a verification or invalidation of your abilities writ large.  

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13 minutes ago, LosingHope said:

I've already gotten a MA to fix my undergraduate GPA. I've done research. I've even worked a bit. I don't know what else I'm supposed to do.

The more I think about this, the more I just wonder if it's better just to call it a day and just give up on it all. I have nothing else to turn to. Sometimes, I just question why I'm even still alive and why I even bother to keep trying. So much shit has gone wrong in my life, and I don't need the one thing that could take me away from all of this get cut off as well.

Hey man I'm really sorry to hear you're feeling this way. Setting aside the applications for a moment (which I recognize is very hard to do), the way you are feeling right now merits seeking professional help. Have you ever seen a doctor about the way you're feeling? If you haven't, it can take a while to get that set up, so consider reaching out to the suicide hotline or using their free web chat. 

I'm going to quote @toad1's post from the other day, because I thought it was excellent:

I've noticed that some people on this board have expressed some thoughts of depression after still not hearing back from any schools. Without sugarcoating anything, I'd like to remind you that it's not over until each school has rejected you. Each and every school reviews applicants with different eyes, and different eyes have a knack for seeing different things. Don't let one or even a few schools discourage your prospects at other places.

But in the case you don't get into any schools, please acknowledge that in the grand scheme of life, your story is not over here--far from it. Where one door closes another opens, so make sure you're looking for that next door too or you could miss it.

I can't even imagine how you're feeling right now, but please do not let this be the end of your story. The skills that you have earned, even if they may not have been recognized by some admissions committee somehwere (and let's take a moment to recognize the huge, huge levels of randomness that feed into all this) can be useful in so many different ways elsewhere in life and you still are a valuable member of our world. Perhaps your role to contribute is in a different way, and there's nothing wrong with that :) The powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

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Several people on this thread have expressed suicidal thoughts. If you are having these thoughts, it is important that you seek professional psychological attention. If you feel that you are in a state of extreme emotional distress or may be a danger to yourself or others, consider contacting loved ones and/or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). Developing resilience in the face of rejection or other difficult circumstances will be critical to our lives and our professional success, regardless of whether we ultimately pursue a PhD or not. That starts with developing healthy coping strategies. Please seek help from professionals who can help you to develop those strategies. Mental health comes first. Finally, please know that you are not alone. You are not a failure. Your life is not hopeless, and it is not meaningless.

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11 minutes ago, LosingHope said:

I've already gotten a MA to fix my undergraduate GPA. I've done research. I've even worked a bit. I don't know what else I'm supposed to do.

The more I think about this, the more I just wonder if it's better just to call it a day and just give up on it all. I have nothing else to turn to. Sometimes, I just question why I'm even still alive and why I even bother to keep trying. So much shit has gone wrong in my life, and I don't need the one thing that could take me away from all of this get cut off as well.

Hey -- while it's unfortunately pretty normal to feel directionless (and worse) in the event of total rejection (I want to make sure to normalize that piece), I also want to echo that if you're truly feeling like your life won't be worth living if you aren't admitted to a PhD program at the end of this particular cycle, it's really worth talking about with someone, face-to-face. 

 

This can be heartbreaking. And I believe you that a lot of shit has gone wrong in your life, and none of us knows your story or how that contributed to the feelings that you're having right now. You have triumphed, though, taking all that pain into account--you got an MA, you did research, you worked, and you put your heart into something that mattered so deeply to you with no guarantee of any type of reward. That's bold, and that indicates a real sense of meaning and power in spite of the dread and stagnation that you're feeling right now. No one can take that away from you. 

 

Do feel free to vent. And please be as good to yourself as you can right now. 

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Out of curiosity, should we be assuming UT-Austin and Indiana applicants to be rejected if they haven't heard back by now? I feel like these places have a "Round 2" for applicants who turn down the initial offer, but I'm not sure. My sister (who applied for both) is getting pretty anxious and keeps telling me, "I have a six-pack of Blue Moon, and I'm not afraid to use it."

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Hi everyone,

I finally decided to stop lurking and give some input on the application process. I will start off by telling you all what schools I've been admitted into, and what I believe has made me a very successful applicant, as well as my additional thoughts. 

I will start off by telling you all that so far this admissions cycle I've been admitted into Emory, Purdue, UCLA, Duke, and UMich (Public Policy and Poli sci joint) all with full funding. I'm still waiting to hear from a few others. So, that said, I've been admitted into two programs in the Top 5 - 10 (Duke and UMich) and the other schools also have good reputations. I'm interested in American Politics.

I think that would helped me tremendously in this process was the extensive amount of research experience I have. I am currently a senior in college at a Top 20 public university. I started doing research my sophomore year with a prof in the poli sci department. This led to an independent study, which eventually led to the opportunity for me to present on a panel at my first professional POLS conference as a sophomore (this is quite rare). Following this semester, I did a summer research program at a Big 10 school which resulted in my first empirical research paper. I later presented again at another major POLS conference (MPSA)- this was on another panel. Following that, I participated in another summer research program- this was at a Top 10 university in the U.S. which has a very well respected poli sci department and landed me two letters of rec from full professors at this school who are very well known in the field. Following this program, I presented my research again- this time it was APSA (again very rare for an undergraduate student to attend and present at). I am also in the midst of doing an honors thesis but I don't think this was entirely important in the process (I would have to think that admin committees would care more about the extensive work I had done previously).

Okay, so to wrap this all up, what I personally believe was helpful in this process were these factors :1) the fact that I presented at 3 major conferences of the field, 2) the fact that I did 2 residential summer research programs, 4) 3-4 letters of rec from very respectable profs in the field- 3 of which are full professors, 4) a very strong SOP which I worked on for months and gave to various people to edit (including some faculty at schools I applied to), 5) my writing sample which because I did two summer research programs allowed me to submit a writing sample that was empirical based(I think admin committees were impressed by this).

I also did a few internships- one was for the U.S. House of Reps in D.C. for a semester and due to the fact that I want to study American politics, this may have also helped. All in all, what I can tell you all is that what was probably most important in my admissions process was that I had extensive research experience, particularly as an undergrad and I had a number of faculty who could speak to this.

Now, here comes the big shocker that you all will be VERY surprised by. My GRE quant score was a 149, my verbal score was a 152, and AW was 4.5(these scores are all very low and do not meet any minimum qualifications at any of the schools I applied to). I did have a high GPA- 3.8 in the honors program at my school (But I really don't think a high GPA offsets low GREs that much). BUT,  I'm sure overlooked admin committees overlooked this because they saw that I had research experience directly tied to my research interests and that I basically demonstrated I had an idea of what I was getting myself into. That being said, I would advise that admin committees care most about if you have research experience, whether you can express your interests well in your SOP, and how well you can demonstrate you know or at least think you know what your getting yourself into. That being said, how well you can calculate the y=mx+b formula on the GRE is basically irrelevant when the rest of your application is solid (this is my opinion).

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Anyone waiting for Columbia? Given the records of 2017 and 2016, it may announce today or tmr.

Plus, what happened to the school's reputation? I heard some of my profs discounted  it (one told me that if I get in both of Columbia anf NYU, I "definitely" should select NYU - fyi, he is not from NYU) which I think a great institution and having prominent faculties such as Jon Elster and Michael Doyle. (I dont want to start a stupid debate on which is better between the two - both are great. NYU is just an example here.)

Furthermore, I see not much of Columbia applicants here. Is it 'unpopular' at least among the cohort of here? If that's the case, why?

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14 minutes ago, Albert01 said:

Anyone waiting for Columbia? Given the records of 2017 and 2016, it may announce today or tmr.

Plus, what happened to the school's reputation? I heard some of my profs discounted  it (one told me that if I get in both of Columbia anf NYU, I "definitely" should select NYU - fyi, he is not from NYU) which I think a great institution and having prominent faculties such as Jon Elster and Michael Doyle. (I dont want to start a stupid debate on which is better between the two - both are great. NYU is just an example.)

Furthermore, I see not much of Columbia applicants here. Is it 'unpopular' at least among the cohort of here? If that's the case, why?

I'm waiting to hear from them. I wasn't going to say anything about waiting because I didn't want to hint to the trolls, but they probably know the timing anyway. I'm certainly not expecting to be admitted and am operating under likely rejection, but I would be thrilled.

I haven't really heard that much of Columbia's demise. Regarding the NYU comment, could it be due to the quantitative background of the school? From looking at past threads I've gotten the feeling that NYU is one of the "hotter" programs because of the quant focus of the field the last number of years, but that's just a guess. Columbia is in that awkward position where they don't qualify for the "CHYMPS or bust" crowd, but their prestige and location still make them an incredibly competitive school to get into. So maybe that explains why?

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11 minutes ago, Albert01 said:

Anyone waiting for Columbia? Given the records of 2017 and 2016, it may announce today or tmr.

Plus, what happened to the school's reputation? I heard some of my profs discounted  it (one told me that if I get in both of Columbia anf NYU, I "definitely" should select NYU - fyi, he is not from NYU) which I think a great institution and having prominent faculties such as Jon Elster and Michael Doyle. (I dont want to start a stupid debate on which is better between the two - both are great. NYU is just an example here.)

Furthermore, I see not much of Columbia applicants here. Is it 'unpopular' at least among the cohort of here? If that's the case, why?

Also waiting to hear back from them. I hope they announce soon! I still think its a great program. Its definitely the quant that gives NYU the upper hand though. 

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On 2/6/2018 at 11:07 AM, apolloscreed said:

Long time lurker here.

Just received an email from the American University SIS DGS informing me that I was waitlisted. I am relatively surprised by this in a good way actually--my research is not exactly the best fit and their cohort is generally quite small. They received over 200 applications for 8 slots and expect 4-5 people to be accepted off of the relatively short waitlist. 

After being rejected from GW, this is not the news I was necessarily hoping for, but there are still 8 more results to come!

 

Edit: I should add some info to my results post. I am a few years removed from undergrad and recently completed an MA in IR with a 4.0 GPA. I have relatively extensive research experience within my area of interest. The good thing is that it displays a level of research and professional experience within the field. The bad thing is that it paints a distinct picture of my focus and interests, thus making it easy for adcomms to say "well that's just not a good fit."

This is probably a reach, but did they give you any details about the admissions timeline?  I'm still waiting on a decision.  I assume at this point that it's going to be a rejection, but I can't figure out why they would wait to send out rejections if they have already emailed those who are accepted or wait-listed and are no longer considering anyone else.

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Any Indiana-Bloomington Comparativist admits? In my email communication with the graduate program coordinator, she told me the committee was going to meet later during the week (that email was the same day some people posted admittance letters which is weird). I guess it may be done by field, so any Comparativists who were admitted?

 

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2 hours ago, LosingHope said:

Guys, I've been lurking for a bit and I really don't know where else to say this. I applied to UT-Austin, Northwestern, Indiana, Berkeley, Wisconsin, Georgia, and UCSD. I haven't heard back from anyone except for UCSD and Wisconsin who rejected me. Reading this, I can heavily assume I've been rejected from everywhere as many people are getting Indiana and UT-Austin admits, on top of Northwestern and Berkeley having already sent out letters to their applicants. 

Honestly, I've been feeling depressed and somewhat suicidal lately. I have nothing else to look to after this. I worked so hard to do all of these things, and it just makes me so angry and sad that I haven't been able to get into anywhere. I know people like to joke about, "Oh, you've struckout" but I honestly believe this is a real possibility at this point. I have no one to talk to, no one to speak with, and nothing else to pursue in life. 

If I can't even get into one program, I feel like everything I've done so far in my life has been pointless. I'm sorry for the rant here. I really don't know where else to put it.

A lot of political science people with completed PhDs from top schools complain about how hard it is to get a job in academia (a full-time TT role). If you think you feel bad now, imagine putting in 5-8 years of work (including some initial teaching experience) and feeling like it was all for nothing - no job, and you've wasted almost a decade of your life.

Without knowing anything about your background, I'd say you should cut and run and get a job in industry. Barely getting into a top 40 program is not necessarily a recipe for success.

I might be wrong, for example, if you actually had a strong application (strong GRE scores, high GPA from a top school, good letters of rec, good writing sample) and got denied either due to chance or due to some slight mis-calibration of your application (i.e. picking a research interest that was too niche or including something that offended the sensibilities of the admissions committee), it might be worth fixing the apps up and trying again.

I would take your materials, go to a trusted advisor, and try to get the cold hard truth from them. And do a lot of thinking. Do you really want to be a political scientist? Why? Are you really suited to doing that as opposed to the plethora of other options? I know reinventing yourself seems difficult, but it's definitely doable. Your world is not going to crumble just because one of your short-intermediate term goals didn't pan out. There's always a way forward.

Good luck.

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40 minutes ago, Albert01 said:

Anyone waiting for Columbia? Given the records of 2017 and 2016, it may announce today or tmr.

Plus, what happened to the school's reputation? I heard some of my profs discounted  it (one told me that if I get in both of Columbia anf NYU, I "definitely" should select NYU - fyi, he is not from NYU) which I think a great institution and having prominent faculties such as Jon Elster and Michael Doyle. (I dont want to start a stupid debate on which is better between the two - both are great. NYU is just an example here.)

Furthermore, I see not much of Columbia applicants here. Is it 'unpopular' at least among the cohort of here? If that's the case, why?

I heard from an internal source that Columbia will announce decisions end of February (later than in previous years).

I also applied there and in my personal opinion, it is the best school outside CHYMPS. But it's just my opinion :)

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16 minutes ago, ArtVandalay said:

I would take your materials, go to a trusted advisor, and try to get the cold hard truth from them. And do a lot of thinking. Do you really want to be a political scientist? Why? Are you really suited to doing that as opposed to the plethora of other options? I know reinventing yourself seems difficult, but it's definitely doable. Your world is not going to crumble just because one of your short-intermediate term goals didn't pan out. There's always a way forward.

I completely agree. I see a few people losing hope and frankly, I completely understand. I have applied to 9 schools this year but with the rejections I've already received, I'm expecting to get rejected from the rest.

I know it feels hopeless and the whole admissions process is extremely draining and kind of makes you want to give up, but honestly if political science is your dream, then a few rejections during a cycle (or even two!) shouldn't hold you back. I already know where I need to improve and I'm already preparing to beef up my application for the upcoming cycle next year. If you don't know your weaknesses, I agree with ArtVandalay, go see a trusted advisor and figure out where the flaw is.

If this is your dream, don't give up. Don't let the randomness and specificity of grad admissions get you to give up. But also, life isn't all about a PhD, there are definitely other options and your career is not worth depression and suicidal thoughts. If this is really too overwhelming, take a break for a year. Go work, gain research experience, hell, go traveling and explore the world even. Life's too short to let a stupid generic rejection letter from however-many universities get to you.

And honestly, just try again. I know that's what I'll be doing and if anything, this terrible cycle has proved to me how badly I want this and how much I'm willing to try. I've already applied to 3+ conferences, attempting to get my MSc thesis published somewhere, and signed up to online courses to improve my GRE score. 

Good luck to all, and congratulations to all who've been accepted! 

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12 minutes ago, politicalScience said:

I heard from an internal source that Columbia will announce decisions end of February (later than in previous years).

I also applied there and in my personal opinion, it is the best school outside CHYMPS. But it's just my opinion :)

Thanks for the precious info and I also agree with your opinion on program's greatness but still, why why why do they delay the decision? Ahhhhbbcchhchcndk8g:angry: 

It drives me nuts! End of feb?

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15 minutes ago, PoliSci45889 said:

I completely agree. I see a few people losing hope and frankly, I completely understand. I have applied to 9 schools this year but with the rejections I've already received, I'm expecting to get rejected from the rest.

I know it feels hopeless and the whole admissions process is extremely draining and kind of makes you want to give up, but honestly if political science is your dream, then a few rejections during a cycle (or even two!) shouldn't hold you back. I already know where I need to improve and I'm already preparing to beef up my application for the upcoming cycle next year. If you don't know your weaknesses, I agree with ArtVandalay, go see a trusted advisor and figure out where the flaw is.

If this is your dream, don't give up. Don't let the randomness and specificity of grad admissions get you to give up. But also, life isn't all about a PhD, there are definitely other options and your career is not worth depression and suicidal thoughts. If this is really too overwhelming, take a break for a year. Go work, gain research experience, hell, go traveling and explore the world even. Life's too short to let a stupid generic rejection letter from however-many universities get to you.

And honestly, just try again. I know that's what I'll be doing and if anything, this terrible cycle has proved to me how badly I want this and how much I'm willing to try. I've already applied to 3+ conferences, attempting to get my MSc thesis published somewhere, and signed up to online courses to improve my GRE score. 

Good luck to all, and congratulations to all who've been accepted! 

I wouldn't give up hope so easily. I got rejected from the University of Washington, Texas A&M, and Syracuse yet I still got into Harvard. The Ph.D. process makes no real sense in terms of how decisions are made, so you never know!

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27 minutes ago, ArtVandalay said:

A lot of political science people with completed PhDs from top schools complain about how hard it is to get a job in academia (a full-time TT role). If you think you feel bad now, imagine putting in 5-8 years of work (including some initial teaching experience) and feeling like it was all for nothing - no job, and you've wasted almost a decade of your life.

 

3 hours ago, LosingHope said:

Honestly, I've been feeling depressed and somewhat suicidal lately. I have nothing else to look to after this. I worked so hard to do all of these things, and it just makes me so angry and sad that I haven't been able to get into anywhere. I know people like to joke about, "Oh, you've struckout" but I honestly believe this is a real possibility at this point. I have no one to talk to, no one to speak with, and nothing else to pursue in life. 

If I can't even get into one program, I feel like everything I've done so far in my life has been pointless. I'm sorry for the rant here. I really don't know where else to put it.

I have felt this way before, and while I think seeking treatment is absolutely the right answer, which you should absolutely follow through on, it can also feel like a very unsatisfactory, cookie-cutter response to your quite legitimate feelings. So I just want to take a moment to respond to the content of what you have written as honestly as I can.

One really pivotal philosophical move which it seems like you're making--which is then getting fed into the nature of the responses which you are receiving (e.g. from ArtVandelay)--is to think of the meaning and purpose of your life in terms of efficiency and productiveness. It is at least worth remarking that this way of thinking has only really became dominant with the rise of capitalism, and the sense that our minds and bodies are themselves resources to be maximized. It's precisely the phenomenon which gives way to modern alienation. Just because your efforts have failed to be recognized by a few committees in this very overwhelming and difficult process absolutely does not make any aspect of your life pointless.

The problem, it seems, gleaning from your post, is that you have no one to discuss these matters with. And that really is troubling. It seems like you were hoping that getting into a graduate program would deliver you into a community of equals with whom you could discuss these things, which you feel that you currently lack. But I just want to say--I hope that the responses from so many on this board have shown you just how many people there are out there who do care, who are willing to discuss, who do wish you every success. And that is why you would do well to seek treatment, so that you can consult with a professional who can help you manage and organize this aspect of your life, so that you can get back on track.

Anyway, I really hope that was helpful, and I'm sorry if it's not. Please PM me any time! I'm genuinely rooting for you.

 

 

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