Here’s a minor point about how to approach selecting programs to apply to, and it revolves around making sure you have the power to say ‘no.’ It’s great to have an offer from your dream program, and it’s so much better to have an offer from your dream program and at least one other program. This is advice that’s worth heeding regardless of what situation you’re in and it revolves around one simple truth: if you don’t have the power to say ‘no,’ then you don’t have any power at all.

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This question looms large at the beginning of the process, and there are pros and cons to either route. Choosing whether to pursue an MA or a PhD depends on a host of factors from the cost to the workload to your intended career trajectory.

So here are some of your options:

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This is a broad outline of when things will be happening, by season and month. Just so you have a sense of what is going on and when. The timelines for PhD and MA programs are mostly the same, though many MA programs have slightly later deadlines and will require slightly different essays (i.e., you’re not describing your planned doctoral work to MA programs).

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This blog is all about applying to graduate school. The insights here will based both on my personal experiences with the application process and also on a lot of borrowed knowledge from experts along the way. What you’ll find here in the coming months will be a mixture of personal stories, general how-to’s for different parts of the process, (hopefully, some) interviews with professors and graduate directors, and examples to guide you through each step of finding and applying to graduate programs in the humanities and (soft) social sciences.

Some of the topics discussed here will include:

Applying to graduate school is a lot of (surprisingly expensive) work and it’s easy to get caught up in the sheer number of things you’ll have to do. Especially if you don’t fit in with the academy’s preferred population (that is, if you’re not a middle-class, straight, white, cisgender male), and you want to do radical and community-accountable teaching and research. The application process is all about being yourself in the ways that make it easiest for programs and universities to rationalize taking you on.

It can be a tricky game, but it’s doable nonetheless.

So check back periodically, as I’ll try to get a topic covered every week or so until I run out of either topic or steam.