Amanda Libby

Rangel Fellowship 2018

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@Amanda Libby The GRE component makes sense though, for the Pickering, because at that point you've likely applied or are finishing applying to grad schools and would need the GRE anyway, right? Whereas the Rangel is still pretty early, though some applicants may already have taken the GRE.

I got the same e-mail, yup! Week of the 27th is such vague wording, I know that means it'll be the 27th with my luck. :3

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The info video they posted on the website for this application cycle said they would be sending Finalist notifications on the 26th of October. It also mentioned that they will be holding interviews on the 15th and 16th of November and announcing fellowship recipients on the 17th of November. 

 

How are the grad school applications going? 

 

I've started a few, but haven't worked on the personal statements yet. I'm looking into MPP and MPA programs. 

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@KarakoyI keep thinking I'm missing something about grad-school applications. This happened to me too last year when I decided to post-pone my application cycle. I just know going into undergrad I'd wished so badly that someone had been able to explain schools to me because I'd done a lot of research but still had the first-gen curse that impacted a lot of my knowledge. If I could go back I would have gone for a degree I'd never even heard about until three years in, and taken other classes too. So that feeling still remains as I look at the schools on my grad-school list, and I keep wondering whether I'm missing a degree or type or program or what else I don't know.

It's a bit tricky too because my academic field is interdisciplinary, and even where it's not it's on the fringe of things so I can never quite find the right people to ask advice of. As it stands, I'm looking to apply to professional area studies programs for Central Eurasia, by which I mean programs that let me study more language and culture but also keep up with my interest in statistics and Data Science or GIS, etc.

Edited by mrs12

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On 10/8/2017 at 12:42 AM, mrs12 said:

 I'd done a lot of research but still had the first-gen curse that impacted a lot of my knowledge.

What do you mean by the first-gen curse?

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Obviously every first generation student has different experiences, but there's a commonly shared "curse" so to speak of coming from a background where your parents and/or +grandparents haven't gone on to higher education, and for some coming from a community where it's uncommon to do so. It leads to a lot of misinformation about the process. In my situation College was like the white horse and no one around me had any knowledge or advice to give me that could have helped me prepare for applying or my time there. Which is not to say that you can't research on your own, but it doesn't wholly make up for the breadth of common knowledge that would have helped me better navigate and plan the whole process.

Edited by mrs12

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@mrs12 @Amanda Libby Right. As a first-gen American (which is why I asked for clarification to which kind of first-gen we're talking about here) I can relate to a lot of this. While my parents have degrees they got here, they really didn't go any kind of traditional route with it, nor are they super familiar with American college culture. It was me and google, it's still me and google, and they basically just trust that I know what I'm doing. It's a curse that turned into a blessing though, as since high school I've really mastered the art and science of opportunity research, and it's lead to a lot of interesting experience that I wouldn't have found otherwise if I didn't have to start from scratch and actively dig around what's out there.

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It certainly comes with advantages like you say, Ayasofya! I am always finding new opportunities no one else has heard about. Like the Rangel, for example. :3

The day is getting closer! How are you all feeling? 

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I'm trying to come up with short-term plans for if I get rejected. I'm mainly struggling with whether or not to retake the GRE for Pickering/Grad apps in due in January. Ideally I would love to retake to aim for 320+ but I don't know if it's worth it for a 4 point increase, considering that if I don't get either fellowship I'm passing off grad school altogether to retry next year. I've already taken the test once so should I get denied from both fellowships that's $400+ wasted . More actually, as I will likely splurge this time on a paid study plan to increase the chances of reaching my target scores. Even after paying all that, it's still not guaranteed.

On the small chance that I do get Rangel, retaking is definitely worth it, since at that point I would know that I'm going to school and I would want to get into the best programs. The Pickering timeline would have me paying for the test (not to mention all those application fees) without knowing if I'm going to school or not. Actually @mrs12 you applied multiple years. Did you run into these challenges? I'm curious to know how you handled this. Application fees are $$$ when you have a list.

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@ayasofaya Yeah, I ran into that last year. So, because of time/money constraints I didn't apply to the Pickering last year as by then I had decided not to apply to grad school that application cycle. I applied two years ago to their undergraduate Fellowship, which was the same process, and then last year to Rangel, and then this year is the first year I'll apply to both at the same time. It's certainly something to think about. 

Honestly, I'm not sure how much the GRE impacts the Pickering. I think there was a time when they didn't ask for it, though I may be making that up. Obviously a very low score would be disconcerting, but from what I know you have a good score. I imagine it's used more to see if you're grad school ready rather than a bracket system. I.E. a good score implies you have the ability to get into grad school.

I know that's not very helpful, sorry!

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@mrs12 No this is helpful. If I don't get Rangel and I retake the test, it would be more for the actual grad applications than for Pickering, as they have similar deadlines anyway. My end goal from the Fellowship process is to be an FSO, not necessarily to get a Master's Degree, so even if I get into all of my top programs, I'm not going to attend unless/until I get the fellowship (especially since funding is involved). I would only get the degree on my own if i was very very confident that I would never get the fellowship. I don't know too many other applicants but I imagine their aims are similar. Applications are a lot of work and money and I just wish Pickering was on the Rangel timeline so I can know final decisions in time to plan my months in a way that's efficient.

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@ayasofaya You should also consider taking the FSO test if you can. The fellowships are not the only way into the FS and I know some previous applicants got pretty far in both processes at the same time, which is to say it's possible. 

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@mrs12 Oh for sure. I've been going to regular route and only added the fellowships into the mix this year since I'm ready for grad school now. That said, I do more likely see myself getting the fellowship than the regular application process, from a numbers standpoint, but also when they throw words around like "historically underrepresented minorities are encouraged to apply." Also most FSOs who come off the register already have master's degrees and are not trying to get another one, so the competition is a contrasting pool of applicants.

And it's key: three candidacies per year is better than one haha. Aren't we lucky this is a good fit for our current life situations, huh.

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@ayasofaya I already told @mrs12 about this, but if you know another language you can also look into the Consular Fellow program from the state department, google it there is ton of information out there. 

I actually don't have another plan if I don't get the Rangel. I might not be able to do Pickering due to the same reasons @ayasofaya mentioned. Maybe, I will go ahead and take the FSOT. 

 

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I wish the FSOT was closer to where I live. :3

Also, I've been scouring the internet and look what I found for all our anxious-needs:

http://foreignserviceproblems.tumblr.com/

Uh-huh, it's Foreign Service meme's and other jokes~ There's a ton of them, too. I've been browsing when I get too concerned and it's a nice reminder of how normal/silly/strange many of these experiences are. 

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If you don't read the FSO Hopeful Subreddit daily, you should. I live in there primarily. It's typically very active but it was absolutely LIT circa Jan-July of this year with the way events in Washington were unfolding and how that affected the FS in particular. It's like a soap opera and every day I logged in to read the next chapter. Just use the search bar before you make a post asking a question. Claws have (rightfully) been out lately about question repeaters.

https://www.reddit.com/r/foreignservice/

Edited by ayasofaya
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Thanks @ayasofaya, I hadn't heard anything about the current Rangel/Pickering Fellows being asked to consider a Consular Fellowship position due to hiring freezes/no A-100 courses for the time being. It's an interesting concept, I wonder what they intend to do with all the fellows who don't have a 3/3 in the specific languages of the CF program. Or those who don't take the offer. It makes some sense though, since from what I understand you'd do a two-year tour, which any fellow would do anyway for their Consular obligation, and then have the chance of moving to an A-100 course if one was available. 

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Right. Well they actually un-cancelled two A-100s so the fellows all squeezed in this year. A handful of non-fellows from the register accepted the Consular Fellows position and it really just means they have a higher ratio of English Language Officers. The general understanding is that we're not holding our breath for A-100s for next year but State/Tillerson keeps asserting that the Fellows will get their entry as promised. We'll just have to see how it plays out.

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@ayasofaya I think normally this would be disconcerting but it seems to have been handled as well as possible. I've been reading some press briefings and Sec Tillerson's comments and it's clear there's still a really strong commitment to the Fellows.

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Much to the annoyance to folks on the register, because if there are 90 spots on a rare A-100 and 60 Fellows.....

And it's an interesting situation for State to find itself in, because the seemingly obvious solution would be to reduce the number of fellows invited to A-100 at a proportionate rate to the reduction of general invitees, but there isn't a way to do so that makes sense given the long-term fellowship timeline. Reducing the Fellows hired into the FS in the present is in bad faith since they were promised employment two years ago, and reducing the fellowship awards granted now only affects hiring in two years (or three, really) and does nothing about the hiring situation right now. So those currently waiting to be pulled off the register (especially in cones that are popular with Fellows, PD, Pol, and some Econ,) are getting hit twofold, because not only is State expecting fewer A-100s per year, but the ratio of Fellows to Non-Fellows gets skewed since the Non-Fellow count is the only one that's reduced. 

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@ayasofaya That is an unfortunate situation. There's always been a lot of chatter about the unfairness of the Fellowships (not just the R/P) for normal applicants off the register. I completely understand that frustration, but part of me also wonders -- if we keep having hiring freezes, what would the FS look like with several years of cohorts where there is such a focus on diversity? Would we finally end up with more than just a smattering of ELO's coming from different backgrounds and could this result in a more balanced FS later on down the line? It's been a priority of pretty much all the SOS for a while now, but it's so hard to implement. I should hope that there's some positive benefits from all this, even if unintended.

@Karakoy I'm trying not to think about it! These last few weeks/days always seem the worst in hindsight because you're so hopeful, beginning to truly imagine what life could be like and plan things, and then inevitably the answer comes and reality comes back down no matter the response. It's odd to go from that height to a no, or to suddenly frantically trying to figure out the interview process. How're you doing lately?

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