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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Grad school application thread

   
Author Topic: Grad school application thread
Itsame
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In light of the GRE thread, it seems like it's time for this again.

As for me, I started my philosophy MA in August, but I'm not happy with where I am. I'm going to be applying to a few political science PhD programs in December. If I get in, good. If not, I still have another year of funding here.

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Aros
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I'm finishing my MBA up this year and looking toward my next degree (company funded).

I'm pretty interested in the Predictive Analytics program (Northwestern) and Logistics and Supply Chain Optimization program (Columbia) -- both online.

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Dr Strangelove
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Not really application, but on the grad school note, I finished my comprehensive exams yesterday and passed, so all that's left is that pesky dissertation. And let me tell you, it feels gooood.
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BlackBlade
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I'm in the midst of GRE prep, and trying to nail down just what in the heck I want a Master's in.
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Strider
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That sucks Jon. Having to go through the whole application process again won't be fun. But like you say, at least you have funding in a program as fallback.

I'm having the opposite experience. I was slightly worried about my program coming in, and have been really pleasantly surprised by it, and the faculty.

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Black Fox
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I feel for you all. I took the GRE and put together about 90% of what I needed to apply to grad school (history), but decided on attending law school. The market for history professors is pretty terrible and I am honestly more interested in the law anyhow.
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Itsame
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You're in history, Strider?

I also shouldn't have said I'm not happy here. It's a great program with brilliant people and I'm learning a ton. I just think I'd be happier at a place where I can focus on ancient and political philosophy. We don't have anyone who does either of those things at my program, except peripherally.

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Strider
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Philosophy Jon.

I was worried because the program is relatively new and so isn't highly regarded. And there was really only one professor whose interests seemed to align with mine. But they let me in AND gave me money, so the choice wasn't much of one.

But it turns out they had just hired another professor who works on issues I'm really interested in, and the faculty in general is great. So I've been really pleased.

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Itsame
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Seriously? Cool. How did I not know this?

Are you at Brandeis? I hear good things. What're your interests?

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Strider
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No, Brandeis rejected me, though I think that turned out to be good, because they only provided partial tuition reimbursement there and the loans would've been super hefty (though there was a really cool professor there I had been talking to). I'm at UTEP.

I'm broadly interested in philosophy of mind, agency, and ethics, and the intersections between them. There's a prof here who does a lot of work in philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaphysics. And they just hired someone who works in philosophy of action and ethics.

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Itsame
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I guess it's time to revive this. Done with my part of the applications.

I ended up applying to philosophy programs, too. All my profs but one have submitted their letters. The first schools start getting back to people in about a month. I'm trying to distract myself.

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Tinros
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I'll be starting a MA in Mental Health Counseling at Wright State (Dayton, OH) in January. Living with my parents for now.

I actually got very lucky, as they work on rolling admissions- one of my professors got the letter to them past their fall admissions date, but I was accepted for winter, so I don't have to wait a full year. I don't have funding beyond loans, at least not for the first year, but I have a decent job that I LOVE, so here's hoping they keep me beyond the seasonal that I am now.

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Jeff C.
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I'm starting my MFA in Creative Writing in February. Very excited to finally get back to school after three years of being out.
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Itsame
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First news: Waitlisted at Indiana for philosophy. I have to say, I was kind of expecting an acceptance there and the fact that it's a waitlist makes me highly pessimistic about my chances at other schools.

If I do get in off the waitlist, I would be absolutely ecstatic.

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Lyrhawn
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Ugh, I'm not looking forward to getting back on this merry-go-round in another year. I have to apply to a PhD program in a year or two, and I'm already pretty pessimistic about my chances. I think I could probably get in where I'm doing my MA right now, and it's a perfectly good school, and I even like my adviser, who is top notch and really knows his stuff...but the longer I'm out here, the more I think I should be back east somewhere, both for the ease of access to archives, and because, silly as this might sound, I'd really like to be closer to my family. I just think it's absolutely impossible to get into my dream school, which is the University of Michigan, for their PhD program. It's just too competitive, and I don't have the cred.

quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
I'm starting my MFA in Creative Writing in February. Very excited to finally get back to school after three years of being out.

Out of curiosity, where at, and what was the application process like? Where'd you apply, etc.

I'm not in the market for an MFA, but my best friend has been down for a couple years after a round of her own grad school applications was roundly rejected and most of her friends got in. I don't know what to tell her to get her interested in applying again.

Part of the problem is that it's hard to see what she'll get out of the degree. What are you planning on doing with it, writing more and getting published, and is an MFA really a route to getting published? Or do you want to teach writing?

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Strider
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I'm in a really interesting position right now. I just started my MA program in the fall and have a year and a half to go. I'm planning on applying to PhD programs this winter. The head of department here pulled me aside last week and told me that he's currently interviewing to take a position at another university and offered me the opportunity to go with him as his (or just "a") PhD student. I'd be cutting a year out of my MA work, cutting out whatever loans I was planning on taking out next year, and he even said they might be able to give me credit for what I've done so far. And I'd be skipping the entire PhD application process! He's a great guy and a great philosopher. On the other hand, the program is not a top rated program, and he seems pretty confident that I'd be able to get into a higher quality program on my own merits. I've sat down with him before and he's stressed the importance of going to certain programs for the sake of my job placement prospects after I graduate. So I'm struggling. I'm leaning towards turning down the offer, but I also recognize it's a quality opportunity. Sometimes good things create more havoc than you imagine!
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Dr Strangelove
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Lyr, there's no reason you can't get into University of Michigan. They've got to let someone in, and from what I know of your C.V. it's pretty impressive. Don't sell yourself short. Are you in contact with any of the professors there?
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Lyrhawn
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Not really. I've talked to one professor there before since I wrote an article to be published sometime this year on a subject she literally wrote the book on, but she has no control whatsoever over grad admissions, and seemed a little reluctant to develop any sort of extended rapport, which I found annoying.

My adviser knows a lot of people in our field, and has expressed a willingness to introduce me to whoever at whatever institution I want. I think a few months from now when it's really time to start thinking about PhD applications again I'll bring up the issue and see if he can arrange an introduction to the right people, rather than trying to cold email professors, which is what I did last time around.

If I can spend this summer doing some solid research and writing for my MA, and get some articles published, I think I'll stand a good chance. I have one article that I need to edit and resubmit, and two more than I need to edit and submit for a first time, but I think one of them is publishable in some form. If I can get all that done, then I think I'll have a shot at Michigan. Having a teaching assistantship on my CV this year and next will help fatten it up as well. And I started doing non-profit work in the last year with a high school college prep group, so that can't hurt.

I guess I have a shot, I just feel pretty burned after last year's applications only yielding one result, and getting bounced from all the PhD apps in favor of the one MA app I sent out.

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Itsame
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Well, unless Michigan or Yale (my top choices/dream schools) decide they want me, it looks like I won't be receiving even a waitlist from anywhere but Indiana. Everywhere that I had a realistic chance has sent out their acceptances and waitlists. I admit to being more surprised than I should be at this point. My writing sample was published in a journal that's ranked A* in political science, so I thought that would help me get into polisci schools. Apparently not. There are too many good applicants and my profile has too many flaws to be worth the risk even if someone found me to be interesting.

Given that this occurred in both polisci and philosophy, I think it is indicative of what will happen next year if I don't get off the waitlist. Maybe I'll just look for a non-academic job? Anyone have any job suggestions?

[ February 17, 2012, 11:06 PM: Message edited by: JonHecht ]

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TomDavidson
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What do you do?
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airmanfour
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
What do you do?

This question strikes at the root of what I think is wrong with higher education.
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Lyrhawn
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I don't know, I like to think I've gained a lot of valuable skills from higher education that make me employable in a variety of fields, I'm just not necessarily aware of what all of them are, because unlike, say, engineering, I haven't been training for years for a specific job, but that doesn't mean I'm not qualified for many others.
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airmanfour
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Jon was a convenient example of the graduated unprepared. You're different, not least because you haven't gone through the system and then asked the world, "What now?"

Although your situation, capabilities, and training are less questionable than Jon's, I'd still like to understand the specifics of your response. What skills and in what fields?

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Strider
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Actually, Jon was a philosophy major. Philosophy majors are in general really employable and end up in a variety of fields. It's only when philosophers get to the graduate level that they become completely useless outside the field of philosophy.
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airmanfour
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This was the most helpful breakdown of potential paths for Philosophy majors Google could help me find, and it looks like further professional education or having double-majored would be the best bet for gainful employment.
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Aros
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I just got in to Northwestern (though I was denied at Georgia Tech). Just waiting to hear back from Columbia.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by airmanfour:
Jon was a convenient example of the graduated unprepared. You're different, not least because you haven't gone through the system and then asked the world, "What now?"

Although your situation, capabilities, and training are less questionable than Jon's, I'd still like to understand the specifics of your response. What skills and in what fields?

Well, my training has been in history and English. I think I'm incredibly good at research, analysis and writing. I have training in archival research, close readings, interpreting all the data I've researched, forming conclusions through critical analysis, and writing cogent, readable responses that are easily understood.

I'd think those are skills that would make me employable in any number of jobs. I can't tell you how often I hear from both professors and business professionals how much they wish more people had those skills...but I'm not entirely aware of the specific jobs, which I imagine are varied and numerous, would best fit that skill set.

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Aros
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Whew, two out of three. I was just admitted into Columbia's Computer Science program. Woot!
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Dr Strangelove
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Congrats! That's awesome. I don't know much about Computer Science programs... How does Columbia rank? I would assume quite good.
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Aros
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Columbia is tied with Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania at 17th for Computer Science. It's 8th overall. It and Stanford are the best online programs in the field, and Columbia is cheaper.

I'm excited! They have an machine learning (AI) track that I want to incorporate into my MBA / Operations background to build predictive BI (Business Intelligence) software.

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EarlNMeyer-Flask
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When is the latest that they send acceptance letters?
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Strider
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Depends on the school. They usually have phases though. They'll send out a first round and see how many accept, and then send out a second round, and so on...till they fill their quota.
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anhui
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(Post removed by Janitor Blade. The MS stands for "More Spam".)

[ March 29, 2012, 09:29 AM: Message edited by: JanitorBlade ]

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Lyrhawn
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Congrats anhui! That's a major accomplishment!
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rivka
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Lyr, you just congratulated an ink-cartridge-shilling spammer. [Wink]
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Strider
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Maybe he was ironically congratulating anhui on fooling him so thoroughly? It's a pretty major accomplishment!
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Lyrhawn
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Drat.

I ignored the second part entirely. I see the words "comprehensive examination" and automatically get feelings of fear, jealousy, and congratulations.

And who the hell spams for ink cartridges? [Grumble]

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rivka
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You also missed that this is a bot that steals chunks of posts earlier in the thread. [Wink]
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Lyrhawn
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This doesn't bode well for my research and analysis skills.
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rivka
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Learning opportunity!
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Itsame
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I'll be attending Indiana Bloomington.
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CT
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Congratulations! [Smile]
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Lyrhawn
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Congrats, Jon!
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BlackBlade
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Congrats Jon. [Smile]
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Itsame
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Thanks. I'm quite relieved that the process is over. Four more years until I have to do it again--but maybe eleven if I really take my time.
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katdog42
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Congratulations! Bloomington's a great town. Hope you enjoy it.
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