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Not Sure Where I'd Fit or How I Stack Up



Hello everybody! I'm an undergraduate senior in the early stages of trying to figure out where I might want to go for grad school. One of the issues that I am coming up against is that I am not sure where to apply as well as how many applications to make overall. I'm also not sure of what quality of school I have a chance of getting in to. I'm currently an English / Comparative Literature double major at Rutgers (NB) and I would be looking to get into a graduate English program. Ideally I would like to stay at Rutgers (the program is good), but I have been informed that they very rarely take their own undergrads into their graduate programs. That being said, I don't want to apply for a school that has too much of a weaker ranking than Rutgers because that would almost feel like a step down for me. Unfortunately, most of the schools that have equal or superior ratings to Rutgers in my range of area are top schools like NYU, Columbia, and U Penn. Obviously those schools are very competitive. I'll lay down a few of my pertinent stats and additional questions:

1. GPA: 3.62 overall, 4.0 within major. My first two semesters at Rutgers were very bad because I dealt with a lot of bullying in my dorm and sort of became a hermit and never went to classes. Every semester after that time period I have gotten a 4.0. Do people who look at transcripts take patterns like that into account at all? Is that the sort of thing I should maybe briefly gloss in the personal statement? Also, if I graduated from a community college in addition to a four year university do I need to include that on grad school apps? If so, does that hurt my chances?

2. GRE's: I still have to take them, but I did well on my SATs as well as the PRAXIS test. I generally scored in the top 90th percentile or above for English/writing and around the 80th percentile for math. I know the GREs are harder, and the math section worries me especially. What is -generally- considered a respectable score for the GRE's?

3. Letters: I should be able to get very good letters of recommendation from the professors who advised me while I wrote my honors thesis.

4. I doubt extracurricular stuff counts for much, but I am an officer in both the National English Honors Society as well as an Academic Honors frat.

I'd love some opinions if anyone has the time! I can also provide more information if necessary.

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