January 20, 2012

Mea Culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa.

In the Corps, the part of my job that consisted of actual work on things was about 30% unscheduled repairs and 70% scheduled maintenance. Dealing with all that scheduled maintenance required careful checklists of when things were due.

Thus, when I was applying to multiple MA programs, I created a long and complex checklist on a spreadsheet. It had every school I was applying to and what materials each school needed and when they needed them. I would check off each subtask and note when I had completed it. ("Statement of purpose to Drew: Due 1 Mar. Sent 14 Feb.")

Last semester was a stressful one, so I just reused the document. Most things were the same, in fact– they all still needed GREs, three letters of reference, etc. The only major change was a longer writing sample, but I already know what I was going to use: the paper I'd produced in my most recent research seminar.

However, I made an inexcusable mistake. The kind of mistake that, had this been in fact a maintenance checklist, could have resulted in serious consequences.

I failed to update the deadlines.

You see, MA programs tend to have admission deadlines of either March 1st or March 15th. PhD programs, however, have deadlines of either Dec 1st or Dec 15th. One reason is that some marginal candidates are not accepted into PhD programs but are offered MA slots. Another reason is that the two programs have very different funding implications for the university.

So, to summarize, I had chosen to work on my PhD admission once the new year started. Here it is, and I discover I am too late. I will be applying now for admission into the classes that start in September 2013.

I do have several different options.

  1. I can take my MA and get a real job, skipping on a PhD that hardly offers a guarantee of success anyway. (I'm not sufficiently arrogant to simply assume that I'm a shoo-in for admission.)
  2. I can work for a year, then restart school in September 2013.
  3. PhD students are required to do one more semester of classwork beyond MAs. I could take that semester as a non-admitted student, and spend the next semester working on the language skills I will need for the PhD. Basically, I would be investing a year of time in the hopes of getting admitted. The downside of this is that the classwork semester is only useful if I continue my studies at UB. If I join a program elsewhere, graduate schools are not very big on transfer credits. The language skills, however, would always be useful.

"Adapt and overcome." I've got to remember that mantra. "Adapt and overcome."

UDPATE: I have scheduled meetings with two professors to talk about paths going forward. And before I discovered my problem, I heard good things from two other professors about my proposed project. Having interesting work will make one attractive to admission committees.

Posted by: Boviate at 04:28 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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January 06, 2012

A Third Party I Can Support

Posted by: Boviate at 05:32 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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