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    Hi

    I was wondering if somebody could give me some advice. I want to apply to either:

    Columbia (Slavic Studies)

    UPenn (History)

    Northwestern (Journalism)

    Stanford (Svalvic studies/history)

    Cornell (History)

    Michigan-Ann Arbor (History/Journo)

    Can anybody tell me if I have a hope in hell chance of getting into these places with just a 2:1? I haven't graduated yet but I dont think I really have any chance of getting a first. These places just have the best courses for me.

    Also, does anybody know if International students (I'm English) have to take the GRE?

    Thanks so much for your help

    xx
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    Grades are of relatively little use in determining whether you'll get in at the graduate level. A 2:1 makes you competitive, but the following factors are much more important:

    • Language preparation - This is a big one. Many humanities departments eliminate 50-75% of their applicants because those applicants have insufficient language training. For Slavic studies, you should have at least 3-4 years of training in your language. For history, you'd need at least 2 years of a primary language and reading knowledge of a secondary research language (e.g. French or German).
    • Research and/or travel experience - Graduate school is all about doing research and eventually getting published. They want to see that you are capable of producing high quality independent work. Any experience living, studying, or working in your country/countries of interest for Slavic studies would also be very relevant and helpful.
    • Recommendations - You need strong letters of recommendation from well-known scholars in your field.
    • Writing sample - Your writing sample needs to be revised again and again in order to be of sufficient quality. You only have about 20 pages to show them how you write and think, so choose a good paper!
    • Personal statement - This 1 or 2 page essay discusses your academic history, what you plan to study in the future, why you want to study at that particular institution, and with whom you plan to work. This is the single most important part of your application.
    • Fit - You must have a strong overlap of interests with at least two or three faculty members in the department you're applying for. Even if you are an amazing applicant, you will be immediately rejected if they do not focus on the aspect of the field you're going for (e.g. applying for Ottoman studies in a Middle Eastern studies department that focuses on Arabic and Persian).



    Be aware that graduate admissions is very, very selective these days. If you're extremely lucky, you may find a decent (but certainly not great) university with a 10% admit rate in history; most programs are admitting around 5%. Smaller and more poorly funded departments like Slavic studies will likely be admitting fewer applicants.


    I have a few concerns about you right now:

    1) Your applications are kind of all over the place. I can understand an overlap between history and Slavic studies, but adding journalism into the mix makes you look like you're all over the map in terms of interests. You may have good reasons for applying to those programs, but be sure you do.

    2) As a corollary to #1, you seem to be missing some of the strongest Slavics programs. Indiana, Princeton, Wisconsin, Bryn Mawr, Berkeley, Chicago, and Washington are just a few.

    3) All of your programs are impossibly difficult to get into even for applicants with impeccable applications. Add some funded master's programs unless you don't mind striking out everywhere.


    As a final note, yes, all applicants must take the GRE.
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    (Original post by devil09)
    Grades are of relatively little use in determining whether you'll get in at the graduate level. A 2:1 makes you competitive, but the following factors are much more important:

    • Language preparation - This is a big one. Many humanities departments eliminate 50-75% of their applicants because those applicants have insufficient language training. For Slavic studies, you should have at least 3-4 years of training in your language. For history, you'd need at least 2 years of a primary language and reading knowledge of a secondary research language (e.g. French or German).
    • Research and/or travel experience - Graduate school is all about doing research and eventually getting published. They want to see that you are capable of producing high quality independent work. Any experience living, studying, or working in your country/countries of interest for Slavic studies would also be very relevant and helpful.
    • Recommendations - You need strong letters of recommendation from well-known scholars in your field.
    • Writing sample - Your writing sample needs to be revised again and again in order to be of sufficient quality. You only have about 20 pages to show them how you write and think, so choose a good paper!
    • Personal statement - This 1 or 2 page essay discusses your academic history, what you plan to study in the future, why you want to study at that particular institution, and with whom you plan to work. This is the single most important part of your application.
    • Fit - You must have a strong overlap of interests with at least two or three faculty members in the department you're applying for. Even if you are an amazing applicant, you will be immediately rejected if they do not focus on the aspect of the field you're going for (e.g. applying for Ottoman studies in a Middle Eastern studies department that focuses on Arabic and Persian).



    Be aware that graduate admissions is very, very selective these days. If you're extremely lucky, you may find a decent (but certainly not great) university with a 10% admit rate in history; most programs are admitting around 5%. Smaller and more poorly funded departments like Slavic studies will likely be admitting fewer applicants.


    I have a few concerns about you right now:

    1) Your applications are kind of all over the place. I can understand an overlap between history and Slavic studies, but adding journalism into the mix makes you look like you're all over the map in terms of interests. You may have good reasons for applying to those programs, but be sure you do.

    2) As a corollary to #1, you seem to be missing some of the strongest Slavics programs. Indiana, Princeton, Wisconsin, Bryn Mawr, Berkeley, Chicago, and Washington are just a few.

    3) All of your programs are impossibly difficult to get into even for applicants with impeccable applications. Add some funded master's programs unless you don't mind striking out everywhere.


    As a final note, yes, all applicants must take the GRE.
    Thanks so much for your detailed reply. The reason why I havent chosen the other brilliant colleges (Ive looked at all of them) is because I don't have a slavic language. At my school/University there was no option to take one. I am self teaching myself Russian at the moment and I speak French almost fluently.

    In terms of a broad range of interests, I studied the IB (so 6 subjects instead of the usual UK 3) and I'm now doing Combined Honours in Arts (History, History of ARt and French) so I have a broad range. Last year too I studied International Relations and Psyhology so I guess I'm just interested in everything.

    I'm worried about specialising on journalism because I'm unsure how robust a qualification it is and whether my career would be furthered because I have adequate experience in history rather than an arbitrary journo degree.

    Anyway. As you can see, I'm a little confused and Im just reaching the end of the my 2nd year undergrad, so still have a few more months to sort it out. Im just testing the water and looking into possibilities at the moment to be honest.

    If you have any other comments, they would be really very much appreciated.
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    (Original post by ellie_flower)
    I don't have a slavic language. At my school/University there was no option to take one. I am self teaching myself Russian at the moment and I speak French almost fluently.
    Then it is highly unlikely you will secure admission to any Slavic studies program. Such programs demand graduate-level work that presupposes undergraduate coursework. Although some departments may say they are willing to consider applicants from other fields, the sheer number of applicants but limited number of spots makes it extremely unlikely that any successful applicants would be less than fluent in at least one Slavic language. For the MA program at Stanford (much less selective than the PhD), for example:

    The department does not ordinarily consider applications from students who have not had at least three years of college Russian and some undergraduate training in Russian literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.

    You MAY be able to get into history programs with only French if you focus on general European history and try to pick up Russian later. Attempting to get into history programs with the express intention of studying Slavic history would not, I think, be successful.

    (Original post by ellie_flower)
    In terms of a broad range of interests, I studied the IB (so 6 subjects instead of the usual UK 3) and I'm now doing Combined Honours in Arts (History, History of ARt and French) so I have a broad range. Last year too I studied International Relations and Psyhology so I guess I'm just interested in everything.
    The entire point of graduate school is to specialize. You are expected to know fairly specifically what you want to study. Within history, for example, you are expected to choose a time period (e.g. Early Modern) and either a geographic area (e.g. Germany) or thematic focus (e.g. intellectual history).

    One of the most common reasons applicants are rejected is that they appear vague and unfocused in their personal statements.

    (Original post by ellie_flower)
    I'm worried about specialising on journalism because I'm unsure how robust a qualification it is and whether my career would be furthered because I have adequate experience in history rather than an arbitrary journo degree
    Unless you plan to teach college, a PhD in history should be strongly reconsidered. A MA in history is, sadly, increasingly useless.

    Read these:
    http://chronicle.com/article/So-You-...-to-Grad/45239
    http://chronicle.com/article/Graduat...l-in-the/44846

    Watch this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obTNwPJvOI8

    Some people do secure jobs in international relations by studying much-needed languages, however. I don't know how great the demand for Russian is.

    I'd recommend IR for you, personally, rather than area studies or history. International relations is an immensely interdisciplinary and practical field and pays well if you get into a decent program.
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    As someone who is in graduate school right now, each school is going to have different requirements. Go to the schools admissions requirement page to see what they are looking for, and definately call and email them if you can. That's what I did. There's no point in getting nervous if you don't even know what you have to do.
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    Thanks for your replies. IR is teh subject I most want to study, but all of the websites in the US seem to suggest I need 2 years development experience. Who are these people who get two years of development experience WHILST AT UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL?!
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    (Original post by ellie_flower)
    Thanks for your replies. IR is teh subject I most want to study, but all of the websites in the US seem to suggest I need 2 years development experience. Who are these people who get two years of development experience WHILST AT UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL?!
    It is possible. By the time I have started my masters I will have 2 years development experience.

    Lots of the positions available to undergraduates are only advertised locally. Many people I have met in my work have relocated and just searched for work when they arrived in the country.
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    (Original post by beefmaster)
    It is possible. By the time I have started my masters I will have 2 years development experience.

    Lots of the positions available to undergraduates are only advertised locally. Many people I have met in my work have relocated and just searched for work when they arrived in the country.
    sut surely that means id have to take time out of my degree to go to a country and search for 'development experience'? Im part way into my undergrad, 21 and unless i randomly took a few years out ebery year to go to a place where there was a development program I wouldn't be able to do my MA until I was about 27?!
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    (Original post by ellie_flower)
    sut surely that means id have to take time out of my degree to go to a country and search for 'development experience'? Im part way into my undergrad, 21 and unless i randomly took a few years out ebery year to go to a place where there was a development program I wouldn't be able to do my MA until I was about 27?!
    I didn't take any time out of my undergraduate degree I went after I had graduated. 27 isn't too old to do a masters degree. I will be 25 when I start and I will graduate when I am 27.
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    I don't quite understand 2:1... You do have to take GRE if you apply to a graduate program. Actually being admitted by an Ivy League university is not that difficult.
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    (Original post by SpringZhang)
    I don't quite understand 2:1... You do have to take GRE if you apply to a graduate program. Actually being admitted by an Ivy League university is not that difficult.
    Depends on the field and the degree. Using Yale as an example, psychology had a 1.5% admit rate this year, which is terrifyingly low (and also why clinical psych applicants apply to 12+ programs). Slavic languages, on the other hand, admitted about 23% -- much more favorable odds.
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    (Original post by beefmaster)
    It is possible. By the time I have started my masters I will have 2 years development experience.

    Lots of the positions available to undergraduates are only advertised locally. Many people I have met in my work have relocated and just searched for work when they arrived in the country.
    I'm an undergrad wanting to eventually go on and do a Masters in IR, after travelling and gaining development experience during summers and when I graduate, and I'm curious as to what kind of organisations you volunteered/worked with to gain experience?
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    (Original post by dookessa)
    I'm an undergrad wanting to eventually go on and do a Masters in IR, after travelling and gaining development experience during summers and when I graduate, and I'm curious as to what kind of organisations you volunteered/worked with to gain experience?
    The organisation I work for now is working in local community development.

    As I said I just relocated to Egypt and got work once I was out here. It is basically impossible to apply from abroad.

    What else do you want to know?
 
 
 
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