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GENERAL ADVICE PLEASE

sfpotter22sfpotter22 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member

Hi everyone! I desperately need some advice, guidance, ideas, etc. I'm really torn as to what my next move is academically and life-wise.

I will be graduating in the spring of 2017 with an overall GPA of 3.2, my degree will be a BA in Political Science with a French minor. I want to go on to get an MA & PhD. The two fields I am leaning towards are History and English/Writing. Clearly I don't have a high enough GPA to get into an upper-level school, so to speak. However, I really want to get my PhD from a top 20 school. My GRE scores were: 148 quant, 162 verbal, 5 writing. I plan to retake the GRE in the spring to see if I can get higher scores. So, what next steps would you recommend? Here is what I've considered.

-Go home, work for a year (maybe two) and attend a local university to take one or two graduate courses to make a firm decision on what to get my degrees in. Then apply for an MA/PhD program or just an MA and then my PhD at another school.

-Begin an MA program at my state school (a good one) and get that degree, then go on to a top 20 school for my PhD.

Basically what I'm wondering is this:

-With my current academic standing, would it be beneficial for me to take a few grad courses at my local school, excel in them and then attend a matriculating MA program somewhere that better suits my interests?

-Is it frowned upon to get an MA at one university and go to a different one for a PhD?

-Would working for a year or two while taking classes (and getting the best grades possible) improve my application package for programs?

-Should I take some extra undergrad classes at my local university in history or english since those fields weren't my major field?

-Is there any chance, if I excel in an MA program and prove to be a valuable asset, I could be fully funded for a PhD program/get assistantships, etc?

-Is there a chance I could go to a lower-ranking school for my MA and potentially get funding if my GRE scores were fantastic?

-Is it bad to take a few years away from my undergrad, work and such, and then formally apply for an MA program? I'm dead set on getting a PhD so I know I will go back to school no matter what.

-I'm pretty sure the answer is a hard no on this, but do I need to even consider going back and getting another bachelor's in history or english?

I'm leaning towards going home to work, save money, and try a grad class or two to confirm it's what I want to pursue. However, what is realistic for me to pursue after I take those classes and excel? Thank you so much for your time and thoughts!

Any and all advice is welcome.

Replies to: GENERAL ADVICE PLEASE

  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 12,713 Super Moderator
    With my current academic standing, would it be beneficial for me to take a few grad courses at my local school, excel in them and then attend a matriculating MA program somewhere that better suits my interests?

    Yes, it would. It would behoove you to try to get an MA first to prove that you are capable of excelling in graduate-level work. Starting by taking a few grad courses to confirm your field is a good idea.
    Is it frowned upon to get an MA at one university and go to a different one for a PhD?

    No. This is very common.
    Would working for a year or two while taking classes (and getting the best grades possible) improve my application package for programs?

    The working won't, necessarily. It would depend on what you did - you'd have to do something very relevant to scholarship in the humanities for the work to matter. But the classes you take and getting good grades will improve your application.
    Should I take some extra undergrad classes at my local university in history or english since those fields weren't my major field?

    Yes. Lots, actually. If you did not major in English, you are not a competitive candidate for a PhD program in English. Ditto history. So you will definitely need an MA then. In the mean time, you should try to earn at least the equivalent of a minor (5-7 classes) in the field you want your PhD in, to prepare for the MA. History majors also usually need reading knowledge of at least one language, usually two.
    Is there any chance, if I excel in an MA program and prove to be a valuable asset, I could be fully funded for a PhD program/get assistantships, etc?

    Yes, this happens quite often.
    Is there a chance I could go to a lower-ranking school for my MA and potentially get funding if my GRE scores were fantastic?

    Perhaps. Funding for MA programs in the humanities is pretty uncommon, even at lower-ranking programs. And even then, the best funding goes to students with top grades.
    Is it bad to take a few years away from my undergrad, work and such, and then formally apply for an MA program? I'm dead set on getting a PhD so I know I will go back to school no matter what.

    No, it's not bad. It's good, and common.
    I'm pretty sure the answer is a hard no on this, but do I need to even consider going back and getting another bachelor's in history or english?

    No. You just need the coursework.
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