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Grad School Thread

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by Teger, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Joenobody0

    Joenobody0 Well-Known Member

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    I've called them and basically the answer was 'that's great for you, and we'd love to offer you funding, but we simply do not have the funds available to offer anyone funding, let alone you.'

    I just thought of something new.. should I call Tech and be like blah blah UVA, and see if they bump the offer? Or why fuck with a good thing?

    I don't know if they even can bump their offer.


    Call them and tell them you have an unfunded offer from UVA. Ask for more money and see what they say. I'd bet this will be an awkward conversation.
     
  2. SirGrotius

    SirGrotius Well-Known Member

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    I have an MA in History from a top-five school. Not the most practical decision in the world, but it opened a TON of doors for me and the debt I accrued was a total joke compared to the ROI. Do what interests you and you'll turn out well.

    One caveat, I went Ivy League. Even if UVA is top-notch for English it may not have the name recognition to other folks.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. Gibonius

    Gibonius Well-Known Member

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    There are people at top institutions (Harvard, Stanford, CMU, etc. etc.) that got an MS/ME from an institution different than their PhD/SciD institution. That is, they got their MS and then were accepted into PhD/SciD programs. If you're a qualified applicant, programs won't necessarily disqualify you for having been in a masters program first. This is purely skeptical, but I would guess that a large number of colleges realize that people often go back for their MS / PhD while working, so they may not do it all at once. I do know for a fact that engineering firms will pay for their top employees to go back and get Master's degrees, apply that knowledge at work for a while, and then will often pay for a 3-5 year hiatus for PhD work. Those programs offer lots of real-world knowledge or utility, much of which can aid in the research these firms do.

    Engineering and the sciences are somewhat different. In many top science PhD programs, they'll actually hold getting a job after undergrad against you. They want people with 100% dedication to research, and they tend to think that people who got a job first are just second guessing their career track, not that they're really dedicated to PhD level research. A lot of times they're right.
     
  4. Gradstudent78

    Gradstudent78 Well-Known Member

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    He can try, but I doubt that they'll do anything. Unless he was their top applicant, they'll just go "whatever, get one of the waitlist kids that would DIE to get into here on the phone."

    I've known a couple people who have gotten more money this way, although it is a long shot and the amount they got wasn't exactly that great in most cases. However, all the people I know who have done it were accepted to PhD programs, not masters programs.
     
  5. brimley

    brimley Well-Known Member

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    I don't see how it's that big a decision:

    1) You need the PhD long term, right?

    2) The teaching experience you'll get at VT will be worth more than the name "UVA" on your master's. Add in some conference submissions or whatever.

    3) If you get a PhD, nobody cares where your MS came from.

    That's justification that doesn't include $70K.
     
  6. Joffrey

    Joffrey Well-Known Member

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    One question, why are you split between an advanced degree in History and English? Isn't that like being split between an advanced degree in physics and biology? My point being these are two totally different paths.

    Teger, it really shouldn't take five pages for you to get that option 2 is better. You don't want to be saddled with $35k/year in debt with an MA in english just so you can go to your "dream" school. There are no jobs that will make it possible to comfortably pay the debt payments.

    When you're 40, that you didn't go to your "dream" school will mean nothing to you. That you have no student loans to pay for will mean much more.

    I have a friend in a phd program for neuro biology. The thought of going to an unfunded program didn't cross his mind. He's in his 4th choice school in UNC because the big dogs wouldn't take him but is having a blast boning his 21 year old girl friend, living like a king in a college town on 10-15k in funding, and gets to get drunk once or twice a week again. Oh yeah and is pursuing what he worked tooth and nail for in College and M.A.
     
  7. Connemara

    Connemara Well-Known Member

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    The only reason I'm tempted to even accept the UVA offer is - a. it's my dream school, and b. where I live, a degree from UVA, any degree, really opens doors. People talk about UVA like it is Harvard, and even if it's not justified (I don't think it is), there's still that perception.
    So you're basing your decision on a.) a gut feeling and b.) anecdotal perception. [​IMG]
     
  8. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    It is amazing how well you can live in grad school on practically nothing. I was never so rich as I was then.

    A full prof said to me at the time "I was never so rich as was in grad school" and I was dismissive but I later came to understand.
     
  9. Connemara

    Connemara Well-Known Member

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    when choosing this kind of grad degree, is important to look at the big picture: which will net you the 30k job you want at 30 years old?
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  10. Joenobody0

    Joenobody0 Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I was waiting for someone to catch that. Very witty [​IMG]
     
  11. Teger

    Teger Well-Known Member

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    It is amazing how well you can live in grad school on practically nothing. I was never so rich as I was then.

    A full prof said to me at the time "I was never so rich as was in grad school" and I was dismissive but I later came to understand.


    every time one of my 23 year old friends who is struggling at some terrible job calls me to complain, i open another beer and post on SF.
     
  12. Gibonius

    Gibonius Well-Known Member

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    Note: I have a science PhD. This somewhat colors my opinion here.

    I have heard from many people: if you have to pay for a PhD, you shouldn't be doing it. In the sciences, if you're not getting paid to work on your PhD, it's a sign you shouldn't be doing it.

    There's several levels to this: you don't want to be in debt up to your eyeballs, especially if you're going into a field with low pay (humanity academics). It's also a sign that you may not actually be an outstanding student. If you didn't excel in undergrad, you are quite probably deluding yourself to think that you'll be a rock star in a PhD program. If you are trying to get a faculty job, you need to be a rock star. It is not at all easy to be one of those rock stars, even if you're someone who killed it in undergrad.

    One question, why are you split between an advanced degree in History and English? Isn't that like being split between an advanced degree in physics and biology? My point being these are two totally different paths.
    This is also a pretty good point. You should be 100% balls-to-the-wall passionate about something to even consider getting a PhD. I'm not even talking "damn I like chemistry," but "Damn I like the chemistry of transition metal compounds and am tremendously interested in learning more about their quantum mechanical principles in the gas phase, because my previous research in solid-phase work was not fulfilling." Fill in something relevant for English/History. You might not have an exact topic in mind (I didn't know mine when I went to grad school), but you should be way into at least a subsection of your chosen field. If you can't even decide which field you want to study, maybe you should question why exactly you're going to grad school. "I wanna be a professor" probably isn't going to get you through.



    There's also the economic considerations, but you know that. Getting a PhD in the humanities actually lowers your lifetime earnings potential. You'd damn well better love it, especially to consider going into debt for it (even working for free for five+ years).
     
  13. JayJay

    JayJay Well-Known Member

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    If a program offers you funding, then that generally means they will be committed to making you successful. I wouldn't go to a program that wasn't willing to invest in me.
     
  14. Piobaire

    Piobaire Well-Known Member

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    every time one of my 23 year old friends who is struggling at some terrible job calls me to complain, i open another beer and post on SF.

    I do the same thing when my 40 year old friends with advanced humanities degrees call me to bitch about how their 20 year old Volvo needs a new part. I tell them they should just lease a new MB every three years.
     
  15. Connemara

    Connemara Well-Known Member

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    I do the same thing when my 40 year old friends with advanced humanities degrees call me to bitch about how their 20 year old Volvo needs a new part. I tell them they should just lease a new MB every three years.
    "B-but...you have nothing to show after a lease!" [​IMG]
     
  16. StephenHero

    StephenHero Well-Known Member

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    Better career move:

    A) Paying $40,000 for graduate degree in the humanities from slightly above average school.

    or

    B) Paying someone $40,000 to hire you now.


    ?
     
  17. Connemara

    Connemara Well-Known Member

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    My MA in African tribal art was sooooo worth it! I often use that knowledge when I am making lattes.
     
  18. forStyle

    forStyle Well-Known Member

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    Maybe get a job for a few years and reapply to better schools? Teaching high school may be fun.

    By then, you'll have more money and a better resume.

    Agree with the previous posters. You have to be a rock star in a top 5 university to be successful in english or history.
     
  19. bslo

    bslo Well-Known Member

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    I'm a professor, for whatever that's worth. You might want to post your question on the Chronicle of Higher Education boards, but they'll tell you the same thing that Manton told you. The conventional wisdom is that it is beyond foolish to take out loans for a humanities Ph.D., let alone a masters. You should absolutely go to Virginia Tech. The decision is not close. Do well at Virginia Tech and try to get into a top 10 Ph.D. program. If you don't get admitted to a top, TOP program, I encourage you to explore other options. Regardless of the program, you have four huge strikes against you: 1) you're white (not sure about this, obviously, I'm just guessing); 2) you're a male; 3) you are interested in either History or English, which have horrible, horrible job markets; and 4) your area of interest (British Lit or something similar) is not exactly in demand.

    Ask yourself if you would be happy getting a Ph.D. even if you couldn't get an academic job. BTW, phrasing the question as whether you're willing to move anywhere in the country for a job is foolishly optimistic. The proper question is whether you're willing to spend years working as an adjunct, juggling 5 different classes at 3 different universities and making $20,000 TOTAL. Are you prepared to live a live of poverty (after you've spent about 8 years getting the Ph.D.), while your "less intelligent" friends enjoy middle class lifestyles?

    The worst thing you can do is make plans under the assumption that you're likely to be an exception to the conventional wisdom.
     
  20. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    Ask yourself if you would be happy getting a Ph.D. even if you couldn't get an academic job. BTW, phrasing the question as whether you're willing to move anywhere in the country for a job is foolishly optimistic. The proper question is whether you're willing to spend years working as an adjunct, juggling 5 different classes at 3 different universities and making $20,000 TOTAL. Are you prepared to live a live of poverty (after you've spent about 8 years getting the Ph.D.), while your "less intelligent" friends enjoy middle class lifestyles?

    For the record, I am aware of this. My point about moving was not that, if you are willing to move, you will get a job. It was to debunk the notion that somehow a regional alumni network is in any way an advantage in the academic job market.

    I thought I had made the adjunct point above but you hit it a little harder. I don't disagree at all.
     

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