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Old 03-10-2011, 11:23 PM   #301
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

about 2.5 weeks from Goldwater decisions, I usually don't get stressed by stuff like this but I am starting to obsess
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:34 PM   #302
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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Originally Posted by furyshade View Post
about 2.5 weeks from Goldwater decisions, I usually don't get stressed by stuff like this but I am starting to obsess
if it makes you feel better it's just a resume booster and not a ****load of money or anything.

it's definitely cool, but it's not *that* big of a deal.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:35 PM   #303
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

I'm waiting for DOE CSFG and NSF GRF decisions.
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:40 PM   #304
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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if it makes you feel better it's just a resume booster and not a ****load of money or anything.

it's definitely cool, but it's not *that* big of a deal.
yeah, but it seems like its a pretty big resume booster for grad programs. also its sort of one of those things where i feel it would give a sense of validation/motivation for putting so much time into school as opposed to drinking more the last few years. Its hard to keep an eye on long term goals for so long gets kind of tiring, need short term motivation
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:44 PM   #305
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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yeah, but it seems like its a pretty big resume booster for grad programs. also its sort of one of those things where i feel it would give a sense of validation/motivation for putting so much time into school as opposed to drinking more the last few years. Its hard to keep an eye on long term goals for so long gets kind of tiring, need short term motivation
yeah i understand. And if you get it you should be very proud, and it's a very nice resume booster.

Best of luck to both you and Cue!

PS - Drink more. There's plenty of time for being serious later. Enjoy college.
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Old 03-11-2011, 04:56 PM   #306
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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I see a lot of engineers around here. Are there any active thread members that are pursuing a PhD in a biology field? Right now I have strong interests in metabolism, immunology, and in general, molecular biology. I'm entertaining the idea of going for a masters, and reevaluating my goals after that before dedicating myself to a six year program as I seem to be in a bit of a funk right now.
currently doing it for neuroscience at uconn.
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Old 03-11-2011, 05:52 PM   #307
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Since there are a lot of smart people in this thread, I'm going to share something that may or may not happen to you when you graduate.

I graduated in May, last year. I went to have someone calculate my taxes with the 1098-T my school sent me. I received a substantial amount of money in scholarships and grants (box 5) as is accurate. Normally, they report the tuition and fees expenses and you have to subtract and you're left with your taxable income. Well, my school "cheats" and moves the whole year's tuition expenses to the fall semester. What this means was, I have to report a semesters of scholarships and grants as income without a deduction for the semester's tuition.

As a result, I was surprised when I had to pay in 2.5x the amount in taxes than I did last year.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:01 PM   #308
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Excerpt from a waitlist email from my top remaining choice

Quote:
Let me emphasize that we think highly of you and your credentials. We again had a record number of applicants, many of whom were highly qualified. Yet we are restricted to only a very small class of first-year students. We realize that this uncertainty is unpleasant, but we want to assure you that there is still a reasonable chance that you will be accepted into our program.
Any of you guys have exp with this being a std form email or does this indicate anything about my relative position on the waitlist? I'm hoping to make a decision soonish
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:02 PM   #309
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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Excerpt from a waitlist email from my top remaining choice
IME, standard.

Last edited by Wyman; 03-15-2011 at 02:02 PM. Reason: sry :(
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:16 PM   #310
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Yeah, standard. If you have identified a specific advisor, maybe e-mail to get an idea of what's up.

fwiw, I didn't hear back until like early April, emailed putative advisor, who said I was waitlisted, how many total slots they had available, and that he was pretty sure one of the rock stars they were recruiting was going elsewhere so I'd almost certainly get offered a spot (which was all true).
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:26 PM   #311
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Yeah I figured. Econ's a bit different than other fields there aren't generally advisers assigned or targeted entering the program. I would call but I'm assuming I'd get some cagey response.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:30 PM   #312
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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Yeah I figured. Econ's a bit different than other fields there aren't generally advisers assigned or targeted entering the program. I would call but I'm assuming I'd get some cagey response.
Assigned advisers are the exception, not the rule.

In any case, if & when you need to give another school an answer, you should feel free to call the graduate chair, explain your situation, ask him/her where you are on the waiting list, and, ask him/her whether you should accept the other offer.
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:32 PM   #313
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Just got rejected by MIT's CEE program. First academic rejection I have every really received. Don't really know how to react...
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Old 03-17-2011, 08:28 AM   #314
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Standard. Move on. No big deal. People get rejected for all sorts of random reasons, and you shouldn't read anything into it. Sometimes whoever's making the decisions is just wrong, sometimes they see something that makes them think it's not a good fit, and other times they just run out of room.
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:31 AM   #315
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

^^^Agreed. I've known folks who got into Ivy League and multiple top-10 schools in their field only to be rejected by second-tier schools. Grad school has an extraordinarily random selection process.
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Old 03-17-2011, 09:47 AM   #316
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Don't get me wrong; if you got rejected from all 10 of the top 10 schools, I'd wager that you're just not top 10 caliber. This is nothing to be ashamed of, btw -- lots of fine scientists/whatever come out of top 25 and even top 50 schools. 1 rejection doesn't mean anything, though.

If it makes you feel better (unlikely) I got rejected from 5 of the 9 schools I applied to for grad school, and admitted with no funding at one of the 4 I did get into (might as well be a rejection). I applied to 4 of the top 5 (all rejections -- clearly I'm not that caliber), 7 of the top 10, and all 9 were top 20 or very close, depending on who's ranking. I got into 2 of the top 10 and went to the one that admitted and funded me. Only takes one. That's why you're encouraged to spam applications to "reach" schools, apply to a couple of targets, and maybe one safety. My list was like 3 super-reach (Princeton, Harvard, MIT), 2 borderline reach (Caltech, Berkeley), 3 target (NYU, Michigan, Wisconsin), and 1 safety (Ohio State). I got into the Big 10 schools and NYU.

Oh, and I'm doing great now, PhD in hand, good job, etc. So rejections really, really don't matter as long as you get admitted to at least one place that you'll enjoy spending the next 5-6 years of your life.
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Old 03-17-2011, 10:00 AM   #317
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

I'm gonna brag: 1 for 1, top-ranked school (i.e. #1 ranked) in that field. (Even if I was wait-listed.)

Then again, I was pretty much the biggest idiot on campus once I got there.
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Old 03-17-2011, 12:37 PM   #318
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

I applied to 14 schools and have been admitted to exactly 4. Earlier this week I got admitted to the ~5th ranked department where I was 100% convinced I would be rejected based on how the others have gone.

Like everyone said, it's at least a little random. Beyond that it seems like the number of applicants has been really high at every place I applied this year.
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Old 03-17-2011, 06:37 PM   #319
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

I was accepted to UIUC and Purdue, which I think are ranked 2 and 3 for CE grad schools. MIT is ranked 7 in that category, they don't really have a strong Structures department either from what I've heard. They definitely weren't my top choice, so not super upset.
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Old 03-17-2011, 06:54 PM   #320
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

I'd appreciate any advice you faculty folk might be able to give me in my "Negotiating for a spousal hire" thread over in SMP!
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Old 03-18-2011, 11:53 AM   #321
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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Originally Posted by ProBoyMagic View Post
for Pyschology Phds:

my girlfriend is going to be applying to PhD programs next year and while she has stellar results in labs and gpa etc, her GREs aren't that great. she's been hearing that this isn't that big of a problem, if a researcher wants her in bad enough, it'll happen regardless of scores but i wanted to ask around to get some other opinions. ty.
I can't speak for everywhere, but it seems like GREs are typically most important in getting you past the "first round." Many psych programs receive so many applications that the professors can't possibly review them all. As a result, applications are often graded quantitatively based on GREs/letters of rec/GPA/etc and narrowed down significantly (i.e. from 300 to 50) before going to the professors.

After that, standards become much more eclectic. Individual professors have vastly different preferences in terms of research/clinical experience, personal statements, and scores.

Being a good "fit" with a target professor and having significant research/clinical internship experience (depending on program) seem to be the most important factors, in my experience.

Tell your girlfriend to make it clear that she interested in (and educated about) a target professor's research. Professors are typically very enthusiastic about their work, and they want to know that they will be working with someone who shares a similar passion. This assumes that the program uses a mentorship model, but that is almost universal among psych programs.

FWIW I am starting at my #1 choice and a top-10 program next fall.

Hope this helps, good luck to your gf.
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:04 PM   #322
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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I applied to 14 schools and have been admitted to exactly 4. Earlier this week I got admitted to the ~5th ranked department where I was 100% convinced I would be rejected based on how the others have gone.

Like everyone said, it's at least a little random. Beyond that it seems like the number of applicants has been really high at every place I applied this year.
The reason the number of applicants is high everywhere is due to the economy being bad still.
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:16 PM   #323
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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The reason the number of applicants is high everywhere is due to the economy being bad still.
This. I applied to a number of schools with 300-500 applicants for 5-10 available spots. Everyone is dodging the recession atm. The professors I spoke to were amazed at the number of applicants.
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:20 PM   #324
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Hey guys, grunching because my question is kinda different from most of the discussion here.

I have a BA in French (with a Linguistics slant, I also speak a couple of other languages to varying standards) and an MA in Transnational Studies from one of the UK's leading research universities.

I'm looking into the possibility of doing a PhD in sociolinguistics or cultural studies somewhere in the US - the first department that's caught my eye is the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at NYU, but really I'd be open to anywhere and I'm only just starting to look into options.

Any advice for those in the humanities or those coming from abroad? What about funding? I'm guessing I'm gonna have to ship a few donkaments to pay for it...
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:30 AM   #325
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Okay, so here is my situation for the summer. I am currently working with a professor on a project that is in the field I am interested in for grad school (multi-agent systems), though the project isn't exactly the sort of thing I'm interested in. He is pretty big/well connected in the area and would be a great rec letter I think.

I started working with him this year, only really got going on project this semester but even that has been slow because the funding for the project doesn't come through until the summer. I feel if I worked for him this summer, even though I'm not super interested in the project, I'd get a very helpful rec letter.

The dilemma comes in because of another summer program, an applied math REU at UCLA. There is a project I'm very interested in that is closer to my specific area of interest. The deadline isn't until end of month but I emailed a professor ahead of time and got a response today.

Quote:
Dear Furyshade,

Thanks for your interest in the REU program in robotics.

At this time, I confess that it is difficult for me to answer precisely to your question as I'm at UCLA since few month and Prof. Bertozzi proposed me to mentor this project few weeks ago. The consequence is that, today, I'm not completely up to date about the capabilities of the testbed available in the department (I currently read the available documentations).

But I think, the main topic which will be cover is the implementation of control laws for multi-robots in a cooperative multi-agents environment for specific tasks.

Depending on what the hardware is able to do, it could be also interesting to try some vision algorithms to help the robots to take some decisions, but I will discuss this with Prof. Bertozzi.

Then, I think your background in multi-agents systems and robotics will be of great interest for this project.
This seems really cool, but he is a new professor and from France so probably doesn't have huge connections in the field yet. Is it worth it if i get accepted to do a program like that (I did another REU in a similar field last summer) or should I stick with my current project for the better relationship with professor? Right now the current professor seems to like me but I just haven't had much opportunity yet to show him what I am capable of. I have 2 other good rec letters so this would be the 3rd.

If I missed some details let me know, I think that sort of covers it.
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:47 PM   #326
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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Originally Posted by ProBoyMagic View Post
for Pyschology Phds:

my girlfriend is going to be applying to PhD programs next year and while she has stellar results in labs and gpa etc, her GREs aren't that great. she's been hearing that this isn't that big of a problem, if a researcher wants her in bad enough, it'll happen regardless of scores but i wanted to ask around to get some other opinions. ty.
It is true that poor GRE scores can be overruled by faculty if they really want her. But it's all school and advisor dependent. There's no fixed rule.
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:50 AM   #327
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Earlier in the thread, someone was asking about PhD programs in biology-related fields - if anyone is still interested, I'd be happy to answer questions. I finished mine in 2007 and having been working in a non-academic, non-research career since that time.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:26 PM   #328
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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Just got rejected by MIT's CEE program. First academic rejection I have every really received. Don't really know how to react...
I've bricked out about 8 or so of the 11 schools I applied to and other than my waitlist I strictly prefer a dual masters than attending the remaining choices. Tbh I actually feel good about being rejected from all these places. At first I was pretty insulted and felt bad given quite a bit of my self worth was wrapped up in being an academic all star. I'm a competitive person who needs someone to show up to really get after it. Unfortunately I don't intrinsically motivate well and tend to get complacent when too many people tell me how great I am. I'm looking forward to getting back to the grind.

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I was accepted to UIUC and Purdue, which I think are ranked 2 and 3 for CE grad schools. MIT is ranked 7 in that category, they don't really have a strong Structures department either from what I've heard. They definitely weren't my top choice, so not super upset.
As a UIUC student let me say (if you haven't visited yet) the CS/CE facilities are fantastic. If you have any questions about campus life in general shoot me a PM and I'll recruit you harder than Bruce gets after those chi town ballers.
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:10 PM   #329
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

As a UIUC alumni, i can say that it's an awesome place to do grad school.
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Old 03-22-2011, 01:33 AM   #330
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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Earlier in the thread, someone was asking about PhD programs in biology-related fields - if anyone is still interested, I'd be happy to answer questions. I finished mine in 2007 and having been working in a non-academic, non-research career since that time.
My field isn't biology but I would be curious if anyone else who has a PhD works in non-academia.

I'm only my first year but I'd be interested in hearing if anyone has been able to successfully juggle an academic position along with something on the side like consulting?
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:29 AM   #331
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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My field isn't biology but I would be curious if anyone else who has a PhD works in non-academia.

I'm only my first year but I'd be interested in hearing if anyone has been able to successfully juggle an academic position along with something on the side like consulting?
yes, pure math PhD, working at hedge fund. Never took a business or "financial math" course.

Did this as a grad student. This destroyed me, and I was way underproductive at both. I would recommend you not take something like this on until you're tenured.
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Old 03-26-2011, 04:42 PM   #332
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Just got a funding offer from UIUC's CEE - Structures program!!! Super pumped, it was my #1 choice .
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:17 PM   #333
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

gratz
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:00 PM   #334
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Crossposting from the low content thread, but it's probably more appropriate here:
Sending out some e-mails for possible internships I want to do next academic year for my Master's degree.
I specified 'academic year 2011/2012' explicitly in the e-mail.
My top choice mailed back within ~5 hours 'Unfortunately I don't have space at the moment'.
Did he misread my timeframe specification or does he just phrase it nonchalantly?
Can I follow up here with another mail saying something like 'Thank you for your quick reply, I am sorry you do not have any space the entire year.'?
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Old 03-27-2011, 01:26 PM   #335
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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Can I follow up here with another mail saying something like 'Thank you for your quick reply, I am sorry you do not have any space the entire year.'?
It doesn't have to sound as snarky as that. You can ask him if he has any sense of when the earliest available slots might be opening up and you have an extreme amount of flexibility for the next school year.
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Old 03-27-2011, 02:23 PM   #336
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Oh yeah I'd rephrase it before sending a mail again.
I was just wondering if I could follow up on this with something like you suggested, OR that it's just his way of phrasing and that I should accept defeat?
But you think I should just be persistent and ask again and show my flexibility? Which is real btw, if I get in there I don't care at all when in the year it is.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:35 AM   #337
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Academics can be terse. Also, he might just have several students at early stages and is pretty certain he can't fund/provide time for any more students.
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:34 AM   #338
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

I might have made a big mistake.

There is one particular school I sort of had to be admitted to for a bunch of reasons (it was a good match, close to home, good dept) so I originally applied as a Masters applicant instead of a PhD applicant because they explicitly say that Masters admissions are much less competitive. I'm 95% sure I want to complete a PhD now. Obviously, I need to have a chat with the GPC about how I go about changing from one to the other. They say that it is a fairly easy matter but it is still something I want to get straightened out right away.

First year funding isn't a huge concern although it would obviously be nice if I had it. Are there any non-obvious things I need to talk to the GPC about to get this changed?
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:46 AM   #339
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

No, I think you just need to ask the questions. I wouldn't expect that they can do much at this point, although you've still got a week or two before schools are rounding out their classes, so I guess lightning could strike.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:44 PM   #340
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Goldwater comes out this week, the whole not giving an actual date tilts me.
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:21 PM   #341
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

All good, called the GPC today and got it changed.
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:25 PM   #342
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

Feels good to have finally made my decision. I will be heading to UIUC in the fall! At this point I'm just freerolling for the NSF GRFP, haha.
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:27 PM   #343
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

gratz and gl

edit: @ ijs & i_m
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:57 PM   #344
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

no luck on goldwater
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Old 03-30-2011, 07:59 PM   #345
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

ul man. Let's have 2p2 ship an NSF one time though!
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Old 03-31-2011, 03:26 PM   #346
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

I just got an interview about a phone interview with SIG (i randomly filled out an application a month or so ago). As of now I've talked to a professor about doing research this summer and was fairly certain I'd be doing that. I figure I may as well do the phone interview and be straight-forward with them.

I wish I got this email a week or two ago, I'd feel bad about dropping out of summer plans now with current research group. I figure I'll tell them exactly my situation and see if there is any way to split time, though I doubt this will be a possibility.
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Old 03-31-2011, 03:41 PM   #347
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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Originally Posted by furyshade View Post
I just got an interview about a phone interview with SIG (i randomly filled out an application a month or so ago). As of now I've talked to a professor about doing research this summer and was fairly certain I'd be doing that. I figure I may as well do the phone interview and be straight-forward with them.

I wish I got this email a week or two ago, I'd feel bad about dropping out of summer plans now with current research group. I figure I'll tell them exactly my situation and see if there is any way to split time, though I doubt this will be a possibility.
I would drop the research group and take the gig at SIG if it were offered. You've got a little research experience, and this is a great opportunity you have to see inside an industry you may later consider. Not to mention, you can always do research for credit next semester or something. And, if you go to grad school, trust me, you'll get a feel for whether you enjoy research. SIG and not close imo, unless you have a geographic reason not to come to Philly.

And if you do come east, lmk, and we'll grab a beer.
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:26 PM   #348
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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I would drop the research group and take the gig at SIG if it were offered. You've got a little research experience, and this is a great opportunity you have to see inside an industry you may later consider. Not to mention, you can always do research for credit next semester or something. And, if you go to grad school, trust me, you'll get a feel for whether you enjoy research. SIG and not close imo, unless you have a geographic reason not to come to Philly.

And if you do come east, lmk, and we'll grab a beer.
so here are my hangups, which have a variety of influences:

1) I now am president of my school's robotics team and we have a competition this summer. I may be able to make the competition but would not be able to help work on things over the summer

2) I currently have two overlapping leases for apartments over the summer. This means I would need to find 2 separate sub-letters (Hopefully not a huge issue but is something to consider).

3) If I do drop research I'm a bit afraid of damaging relationship with the professor I am working with. The one upshot here is the group I work with does behavioral game theory, so I may be able to convince him that this will help me contribute more later.

reasons I feel I should do it:

1) Everything I've heard about SIG is up my alley. It seems very much based in poker/game theory/math

2) I recent took a physics class in complex systems that was very focused on the stock market and I actually found it really interesting

3) The things Wyman said

4) The group I'm in now does quite a bit of collaboration remotely, so it may not be a huge issue to try to keep working with them over the summer from Philly.

I am the kind of person who really really hates the idea of breaking commitments once I have made them, this is probably the biggest reason I feel I shouldn't do it. I'll see how the phone interview goes though then make a more informed decision.
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:31 PM   #349
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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so here are my hangups, which have a variety of influences:

1) I now am president of my school's robotics team and we have a competition this summer. I may be able to make the competition but would not be able to help work on things over the summer

2) I currently have two overlapping leases for apartments over the summer. This means I would need to find 2 separate sub-letters (Hopefully not a huge issue but is something to consider).

3) If I do drop research I'm a bit afraid of damaging relationship with the professor I am working with. The one upshot here is the group I work with does behavioral game theory, so I may be able to convince him that this will help me contribute more later.

reasons I feel I should do it:

1) Everything I've heard about SIG is up my alley. It seems very much based in poker/game theory/math

2) I recent took a physics class in complex systems that was very focused on the stock market and I actually found it really interesting

3) The things Wyman said

4) The group I'm in now does quite a bit of collaboration remotely, so it may not be a huge issue to try to keep working with them over the summer from Philly.

I am the kind of person who really really hates the idea of breaking commitments once I have made them, this is probably the biggest reason I feel I shouldn't do it. I'll see how the phone interview goes though then make a more informed decision.
re: robotics. Sucks, but maybe you can skype in to team meetings one night a week or something just to get an update?

re: leases. But you haven't thought about your SIG megabucks!!!

re: prof. You won't damage your relationship with the prof. If you get the SIG job, go talk to him, and apologize but tell him you just got an offer from SIG, and you think it's a really great opportunity to experience something outside the academic world so you can make better decisions about your career path later. Then tell him you really were looking fwd to working with him and would love to still do so if he has any opportunities next semester. If you don't think you can pull it off f2f, then email him, but I think f2f is better.
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Old 03-31-2011, 05:10 PM   #350
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Re: Official Ph.D question/advice thread

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All good, called the GPC today and got it changed.
Shipped funding as well. Committed today!
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