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rexnom
06-29-2008, 11:12 AM
Hello everyone, I'm applying to Ph.D. programs this fall (in Poli. Sci./Government).

I'm pretty much asking anyone and everyone I know for advice, so I thought I'd put some feelers out here as well.

Does anyone have any advice about the application process? How do I get on the good side of selection committees, etc.?

Any help would be much appreciated!

Cobol Sam
06-29-2008, 11:21 AM
Be gifted.

SoupIsGood
06-29-2008, 11:35 AM
Oy, good luck. I don't have anything to add, except that I'll be watching this thread closely, as it's something I may be doing too in two years.

Ideally how many years are you wanting to spend on it?

rexnom
06-29-2008, 02:42 PM
Oy, good luck. I don't have anything to add, except that I'll be watching this thread closely, as it's something I may be doing too in two years.

Ideally how many years are you wanting to spend on it?
However long it takes, haha. Probably 5-7 years.

Slick Pinkham
06-29-2008, 08:21 PM
For a Ph.D. program, the identity and reputation of the faculty advisor is as important as the school itself. Look into departments having multiple faculty whose research and technical writings interest you.

I assume that there are GRE's in your field? Do well on those.

Lining up very good recommendations from undergrad profs is as important as anything, particularly someone who can emphasize that you are independent and creative.

Grad school is tough and people have to be self-motivated to get by. The attrition rate is high in many fields, so admissions people like to see evidence that someone has a lot of energy and focus.

JayRedd
06-29-2008, 10:08 PM
I will not call you Dr.

rexnom
06-30-2008, 10:14 AM
I will not call you Dr.
Sir will do just fine, boy!

For a Ph.D. program, the identity and reputation of the faculty advisor is as important as the school itself. Look into departments having multiple faculty whose research and technical writings interest you.

I assume that there are GRE's in your field? Do well on those.

Lining up very good recommendations from undergrad profs is as important as anything, particularly someone who can emphasize that you are independent and creative.

Grad school is tough and people have to be self-motivated to get by. The attrition rate is high in many fields, so admissions people like to see evidence that someone has a lot of energy and focus.
I've heard this is especially crucial.

idioteque
06-30-2008, 11:22 AM
Good luck. Do you want to be a prof.?

I am thinking of going to law school in a couple of years, but right now I am still not that motivated after finishing GW. I am getting by on my crappy job just fine, for now!

But I am also thinking of doing a Ph.D. in history and morphing into a grumpy old Marxist at Berkley, so I'll be watching this thread closely as well.

But I know that Brazinsky, the U.S. Diplomatic History professor that almost everyone in the Elliott School or doing Polisci has, writes excellent recommendations if you know him. He takes a lot of time on them and tailors them to your needs. He was a big part in me getting accepted into an intensive Arabic language program. So if you know him, that would be a source I would use. In short, he really cared about helping me get into the program, where some other professors I knew didn't take the rec as seriously or didn't have the time to write an excellent one.

Are you looking at DC area schools or trying to get out of town?

DisplacedKnick
06-30-2008, 11:40 AM
I was accepted into a doctorate program in 1990 (Educational Administration) but decided to go into the real world and make a living.

Others have had good suggestions - particularly have an undergrad/masters level prof you've worked with closely provide a reference.

One other suggestion - if you've narrowed down your school choices, check the research interests of the graduate faculty and make some calls to the ones whose specialties and your interests mesh with. Nothing too formal - just call, say you're thinking of applying, you saw his/her research and would like to talk to them about it. Are you looking for an assistanship/fellowship? Good chance to ask.

If you can make a personal visit, that's even better. Never hurts to have someone who's met you and is impressed, especially since you'll be competing with MA/MS students from that school - people the faculty will already be familiar with. Most have some guidelines re how many doctorate students they take from within and outside but it never hurts for them to be able to add a face to paper.