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Engineer pursuing a Graduate degree in English-FALL 2018 (interests in Modernism/Postmodernism/Surrealism)

Kehinde Alonge


Hello all,

I  just wanted to get some feedback on my chances of admission into PhD programs for English - FALL 2018 (concentration in Modernism/Avant-garde poetic studies).


My case is unique (or perhaps that might just be my perception) considering that my bachelors degree is in Civil Engineering (Georgia Tech, Class of 2016).

I have been working full time as a transportation Engineer for approximately a year and half (internships throughout college).

I graduated with a 3.35 GPA (higher honors and Dean's list all semesters)

Undergraduate Engineering Research Experience (4-5 semesters)

Taken two poetry courses at Emory University and a online course through UPENN (ModPo)

I'm involved in local poetry events in Atlanta 

GRE Cumulative score: 320  (Verbal: mid 70 percentile, Quant: high 80 percentile, AW: 4.5 )   

Writing Sample (approximately 17 pages) topic : The importance of the subjectivity in the logic of language in varying experimental modes of poetry

Letters of recommendation from my Supervisor (Current engineering job), the Creative Writing Director of a prestigious university, and a published poet/teacher at the same University 



If anyone has any suggestions on the universities that one should apply to if they are interested in Surrealism, Modernism (ex. Stein and Hart Crane), or the Language school, please let me know :) 

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You have a very interesting profile.

The first thing I would do if I were you: Check to see the requirements for grad schools you might be interested in. Some schools require a 3.0 overall. Some require a 3.5 overall for admission.

Was ModPO for official UPenn credit? Or is it a platform similar to Coursera? If the latter, I'm not sure if it would count for anything.

Were the Emory courses taken for credit? Did you get a letter grade on them? Can you provide a transcript to schools?

How many credits (excluding first-year writing) do you have in English? Was it your minor? A lot of colleges prefer that you have 15-18 credits of English if it wasn't your major. This varies by school but most of them do have minimums.

Sadly, poetry events won't count much for PHD admissions in English. If the poems were your original work, they might count more if you were interested in obtaining an MFA in Creative Writing.

Quant scores don't matter to the great majority of schools. But sometimes, funding is based on your combined score.

The schools that I've looked it have stated that they prefer letters from professors. Some require it. Some say that anything else is useless. Is there a chance you can get additional letters from previous Professors in English?

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The Verbal GRE score will likely be lower than most program averages in the field, and that (unfortunately) counts more than the combined 320.  It's hard to judge how competitive you are without knowing what programs you're looking at, but that score, combined with a GPA of under 3.5, will mean that you will have to compensate with other compelling reasons for admission.

Perhaps you're very interested in a topic that fits perfectly with the interests of a specific professor in that program, or you can bring a unique perspective to discussions of poetry because of your engineering background.  Use whatever you can and think about what sets you apart.

(Former English/Philosophy major who is also switching fields, but to Music.)

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