Amanda Libby

Rangel Fellowship 2018

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Hello @Amanda Libby,

I'm also an applicant this year! It'll be my second time applying to the Rangel, and still no real clue as to how to go about it. I'm working mostly on my essay right now, how about you?

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@mrs12 Thank you for the response. This is my first time applying; I'm working on my essay, and letters of recommendation. We still have time. Did you reach the interview last year?

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Hey Guys, I'll be applying to the Rangel as well. Does anyone actually have concrete acceptance rates surrounding the fellowship? I know the USAID Payne fellowship is 275 applicants and 5 chosen fellows. Are the odds equally uber competitive?

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Hmmm hmm. I had some statistics last year, let me go try and dig them up. Welcome @satan1993!

Payne is the most difficult, so Rangel/Pickering have better odds, but let me go find more specifics for you.

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Hey Hey Hey,

I am in dire need of a support group. I guess I'm so used to there being so much anecdotal data available on the internet (especially with the FS in general) and have gotten so used to using that data to compile the best (and often successful) applications for my pursuits, that the relative radio silence on the internet re: Pickering/Rangel is leaving me in the middle of the ocean with half a life jacket. I have no idea where to start or how to know if I'm doing this right. There are very few successful applicants sharing their wealth of knowledge with us on the internet haha.

I also come from a design background (from what most people consider the most elite design school in the USA but still), not an IR/PolSci/Econ/what have you that everyone else seems to have, so I feel this will be an uphill battle that may take me a few application cycles. I know they "welcome all majors" and they naturally generate a particular applicant pool, but the list of past and present fellows is publicly available for me to read through so I can be forgiven for thinking that there's an unofficial list of prerequisite undergraduate majors. My GRE scores are good, but I can't shake the feeling they need to be better to prove that I can learn anything in an academic setting, especially since I do want to apply to grad programs at top tier schools.

At any rate, I am here, I am applying, I am done venting out my insecurities for now, and I am not as pessimistic about this as I probably sound.
 

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@ayasofaya Don't worry much about your background. As long as your Graduate degree has to do with International Affairs, you should be ok. In addition, if your work experience covers the  Dimensions required to be FSO you will be fine. Google the dimensions is a total of 13 of them. 

Edited by Amanda Libby

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@satan1993 So I somehow misplaced my specific info, but the basics are that the Rangel/Pickering usually receive around 400 applicants though there's been an up-tick in the past few years. Of those, 60 are chosen to interview and 30 become finalists. For the Pickering they chose 40 graduates/20 undergraduates for the interview and then 20 graduates/10 undergraduates become finalists. Payne has always been more competitive, but it's also a much more focused program. You can bet that most Rangel applicants will also apply to the Pickering, but not all will want to or be eligible for the Payne.

@ayasofaya I wouldn't worry much about your undergraduate degree. So long as you took difficult courses, plan on taking a pertinent masters, and can highlight yourself and the skills you have it's not a big deal at all. I don't come from an IR background either, and I know of several previous finalists who came from many other degree programs. It's less about the name of your program and more about the details, I'd say. So if you have all the intangibles that won't hold you back. 

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Of course.

How are all of your applications going? Do any of you need anything? I'm pretty much just tinkering trying to edit things at this point.

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I'm struggling with the word limit. I was hoping to get my SOP closer to 600 before I really start having people read it but I'm stuck at 722 and I'm thinking others may be able to give me guidance on what to cut.

My recommenders are making me nervously check my watch. My GRE official score report is making me nervously check my watch.

Financial statement is exactly 400 and I'm confident it's a good mix of what the numbers currently are, what they means to me currently, what they would be with and without (Yikes!) the fellowship, and what that would mean in each of those instances. A lot of numbers. That's good right? Numbers?

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@ayasofaya Yup! From what I've been told it's important to include concrete numbers in the financial statement because it's intended to be less of a sob story so to speak and more of a responsible financial planning essay. 

If you have good people editing, I would send your essay to them! You never know, it might turn out that there's a lot that can be cut. The first edit is often where you pare down to your core argument. Just let them know you're trying to cut down and see what they say.

Also, out of curiosity, what's your username stand for if you don't mind me asking? It makes me think of Ayasofya in Turkey. :3

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42 minutes ago, mrs12 said:

Also, out of curiosity, what's your username stand for if you don't mind me asking? It makes me think of Ayasofya in Turkey. :3

I try to use the same handle on all of my social media profiles for the #brand, and I actually didn't know that Hagia Sofia was also spelled Ayasofya until after I started using it. It's actually completely unrelated! Some people call me by my full first name, and some people call me by the shortened version, so I just smushed both of them together into one so that when I add people on social media, they know who it is regardless of what they normally call me.

To be honest, I don't know who I'm going to have read my SoP. I reached out to the writing center of my UG school with no response. My plan was to also reach out to the DIR but I know not to hold my breath for that either. My UG school has a huge Fulbright presence so I've had a lot of support for that this year from a designated faculty member whose actual job it is to polish Fulbright proposals, so now that I know what it's like, I'm really missing that support with the other Fellowship applications! 

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I've got the same issue. Once out of school you suddenly realize how wonderful it was to have all those people ready to read things. For me I've settled for grammar/cohesive checks from people I know have a strong grasp on the language. That's my best bet for where I'm located right now. If you can find some other students that could be helpful, especially someone who tangentially knows something about the field. But as stated before, this essay is kind of a hit or miss, no one is very sure what exactly is being looked for. So write the best you can and hope for the best!

Haha, I realized after I asked that it could be a name. Ayasofya is the Turkish name for Hagia Sofia, it's actually difficult for me to remember there's an English alternative. It was just such a coincidence I couldn't stop myself!

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It'll only get worse from here, sad to say. From my experience at least. Haha. Waiting for the response is terrible.

That being said, there's not much we can do! So remember that you've tried your best and that's sort of that. Come here to complain or worry-post or excited-post and we'll try to keep each other together!

On that note, do you all have an idea for which cone you're most interested in? How about grad school interests?

For me, I am applying mostly to area studies programs for Eurasian/Central Asian studies. I focus on the Turkic world in particular. I'm most interested in Consular because of a lot of reasons but it probably boils down to having the most one-on-one human interactions with host country nationals. Consular is a bit more granular from what I know, and I appreciate that, on top of the language focus.

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Because of my niche academic background I'm going International Affairs to get a generalist widespread education that touches on a variety of subjects. I'm deeeeeefinitely a Public Diplomacy as I have a background in public speaking and a bit of non-scripted television, and just from going to design school. Imagine if every time you drew a line on a piece of paper you had to explain to your professors and your peers why you drew it at that length, that weight, that color, on that type of paper, etc. Also in design when you deal with a lot of branding, you become hyper-aware of public perception and how to influence it to advance your interests. So it's a strong PD for me. 

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Also: I got a Poli-Sci graduate who worked in copy editing to read my statement and we cut it down to 619! Yay! I'm very verbose (if you hadn't noticed) so this is huge lol. I'm trying to get those last 19 words out now, then I'll be done. 

...until my reccommenders get their acts together anyway.....

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Congratulations!

I'm sitting okay at 600, but I can't get rid of the vague sense of unease about the level of polish on this essay. It's just so different having someone you trust is good at editing and who understands the topic and the process looking things over.

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5 minutes ago, mrs12 said:

It's just so different having someone you trust is good at editing and who understands the topic and the process looking things over.

Right. This guy is the closest I will likely get to that without talking to the DIR. He was going to go the FS route before finding work he liked enough to put the FS on hold, so I at least can feel confident that he knows the 13 dimensions lol.

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@ayasofaya @mrs12 are your recommendations complete? 

I'm still polishing the Financial Statement, and have all my attachments good to go. @mrs12 I agree with you the real stress/nervousness will come once all is submitted. Glad we have each other. 

 

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