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Application as an international student


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Hello everyone,

I have decided that I would like to pursue a PhD in Sociology in the US, and would like some help in estimating how high I can realistically aim. Also, how many universities (within reasonable bounds) would you advise me to apply to in order to ensure that I get accepted somewhere?


My qualifications (note that neither of my degrees are American and so don't have GPA's. They are from a well-respected European university, however, and would generally be considered good):

- Bachelor's degree in Economics/Political science (close to perfect marks) 

- Master's degree in Economics (good marks)

- Exchange year in the US: GPA 4.0/4.0 (Dean's list Fall & Spring semester)

- GRE: Verbal: 163 Quantitative: 157 Analytical: 4.0

- IELTS: 9.0/9.0

- Currently enrolled in another PhD program that I am not happy with and wish to drop out out. Working as a TA/RA here at the moment.


I have spoken to a professor at one of the top 10 universities, and he assured me that I have a good background for a PhD in Sociology at that institution and encouraged me to apply and mention that we have been in touch and that he has read my thesis. This is surely good news, right? Based on all of this; should I aim for top 10 schools or am I better off tempering my expectations? 


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