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AdCom requires thesis, but I think it sucks


EvelynD
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One of the schools I'm applying at requires me to send a copy of my MA thesis with my app. The thing is that I don't like my thesis. I got a 7/10 for it, which means it's an ok thesis (but not superb). I wrote it about 2,5 years ago when my command of the English language was worse than it is now. I didn't get a lot of help from my advisor so this document does not represent the best of my abilities! Obviously I'm afraid the committee will read it and think this is the best I can do (when in fact it isn't)

Do you guys think I can send them an edited copy of my thesis? I don't mind if I can't change the content but I just have to change my English, reading it even makes me cringe  ;)

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On 9/13/2017 at 2:53 PM, EvelynD said:

You guys don't think it's ok to update my grammar? Without changing the content?

I don't see a problem with that. In academia, it is expected that you will continue to edit and proofread your own work, especially as a graduate student.

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On 9/13/2017 at 11:53 AM, EvelynD said:

You guys don't think it's ok to update my grammar? Without changing the content?

Updating the grammar would be changing the content.

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7 hours ago, Tigla said:

I don't see a problem with that. In academia, it is expected that you will continue to edit and proofread your own work, especially as a graduate student.

But that's not sending them the thesis. That's sending them new work based on the thesis, which isn't really what was asked for.

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10 hours ago, Eigen said:

But that's not sending them the thesis. That's sending them new work based on the thesis, which isn't really what was asked for.

That is true, but my thesis is 2,5 years old and my writing skills no longer represent me. I don't know, I think I'm just gonna ask my PoI. 

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On 9/16/2017 at 12:12 PM, Tigla said:

I don't see a problem with that. In academia, it is expected that you will continue to edit and proofread your own work, especially as a graduate student.

Yes, but if asked to submit the thesis, that has a very clear meaning. It's not a polished and edited version three years after the fact, but the submitted version. I think it's totally fair to ask to submit a revised version given the time that's elapsed and the OP's language skills improvement (as was already stated above several times), but otherwise I don't think you get to submit a new version and pretend it's the old one. If you submit a revised version and declare it as such, you risk pissing off the committee for bending the rules. Might as well get permission. 

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On 9/17/2017 at 3:49 AM, EvelynD said:

That is true, but my thesis is 2,5 years old and my writing skills no longer represent me. I don't know, I think I'm just gonna ask my PoI. 

The POI may not know the correct policy; she may say "Yes" but others with equal (or greater) knowledge of the process may say "FTFSI." Or worse, your revised thesis may fall into a grey area that leads to a scrum among faculty members and your application gets sacrificed to keep the peace.

So if you ask, make sure you ask the right people the right questions. (And if you're applying to a public university--like Cal--you may want to ask twice.)

Edited by Sigaba
Removed potty mouth talk.
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7 hours ago, fuzzylogician said:

Yes, but if asked to submit the thesis, that has a very clear meaning. It's not a polished and edited version three years after the fact, but the submitted version. I think it's totally fair to ask to submit a revised version given the time that's elapsed and the OP's language skills improvement (as was already stated above several times), but otherwise I don't think you get to submit a new version and pretend it's the old one. If you submit a revised version and declare it as such, you risk pissing off the committee for bending the rules. Might as well get permission. 

 

Of course, but I'm assuming the OP is meaning language. It might be a difference between Europe and the US, but I have been able to resubmit papers in a foreign language if I can demonstrate that language was my issue, not content.

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 @EvelynD definitely ask if you can update it...if you can, great! If not, I would just put the year of submission on the first page and assume that anybody who is interested enough to read parts of your thesis will also be able to tell that your research interests and abilities have changed and progressed since you wrote the thesis. If they won't let you update it, they won't let you submit any other writing, and they say it's seriously required—not just "it's university policy that we collect copies of all theses, even if we never read or discuss them" but "this is one of the major criteria by which we as a department judge students' abilities and fit for this program"—then and only then would I be really alarmed. If that's the case, please write back. People apply to anthropology PhDs after ten year gaps since their last degree all the time. Every academic has papers they're not proud of from their early graduate work. As long as you, in your SOP, don't describe your thesis as a masterwork and the ultimate expression of your academic goals, I would trust your readers' ability to see that you've made progress since you wrote it.

PS Does this university also require or let you provide an optional writing sample? I would also feel better if it let me do give a more up-to-date snapshot of my work. When I applied, I believe I had to submit my whole undergraduate thesis to one university. Personally, I didn't stress about it particularly because a) it was many multiples of that department's maximum writing length sample: by that point, didn't care enough to re-read the whole thing, so I assumed the admissions committee wouldn't care enough either. I also didn't stress because b ) at this university, I could submit a writing sample, too, so I knew the committee members would be reading something a lot more current a representation of my abilities. A lot of my undergraduate thesis was pretty silly! I never asked, but I always assumed that the "whole-thesis" requirement was a bureaucratic thing the university (not the department) had instituted, or maybe that department readers asked for it because some of them were often to curious enough to dip into 2-3 pages of it and then compare it to your more current research

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