Friday, October 25, 2013

Confidential to the grad school applicant who just e-mailed me...

...and to any others who are thinking of doing so.

First of all, thanks for reading! This blog is a combination of open diary, unsolicited advice, half-baked and vaguely presented thoughts on my new research project, and the occasional random thing that comes flying through my brain. I take long leaves from blogging, but when I come back, I find that people are still around, and it sort of amazes me.

Second, I'm glad you appreciated the post on what not to do in your grad school application. I meant for that to be a semi-humorous, semi-venting piece, but with a bit  of a serious overtone. Historiann's piece is even better, but I assume you've seen it already -- in fact, it's the major source of traffic to my own piece. She actually attempts to be helpful (she's excellent like that), where I'm just sort of banging my head on the desk.

Third, I'm flattered that you think enough of me, not even knowing anything about me, that you would ask for advice on how you should pitch the specifics of your proposal. But here's where we come to the issue: I don't know anything about you, and almost nothing about your field. Yes, I offer unsolicited advice all the time, but it's in a general vein. So here's one piece of that: Your best bet is to look at what you wrote to me, and use it to draft a statement of application, then take it to one of your undergraduate professors in your field. They know the genre, they know your field, they know your work. That is where your best help will come from.

And best of luck with your application process.

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