Chances at a Great Grad School for History?

App Strengths: My major GPA (3.95), my writing sample, and my recommendation letters.

App “Middle Ground/Go Either Way”: Likely, my GRE score which, given that it includes a Math section, will likely result in a slightly above average score.

The weak part of my app will be my cumulative GPA of 3.3. Based on experiences around here, what are my prospects?

Do you have any research experience?

You have another similar post where we gave you some advice already.

It’s actually really hard to “chance” people for graduate school, especially in the humanities. A lot of it comes down to a person’s fit with a specific department, and it also has a lot to do with who else is applying that year (and so who might be in your exact speciality), who the department already has in your speciality, and also the current state of the university (some universities accidentally take in too big of a cohort one year and so have to cut back the following year; some lose funding for various reasons and so have to cut back as well).

Generally speaking, though, high grades are expected, a good GRE is expected (although some programs are more lenient of this - as I mentioned before, I barely passed yet I got into 3/4 schools I applied to that required it and they’re all “good” programs), research experience (so, in your case, I’m thinking long research projects in undergrad or maybe even work done with a prof), conference presentations (this is supposed to look REALLY good, especially when you apply as a BA applicant), strong letters of rec from profs in your field (preferably ones that have a good reputation; one of the directors of my prospective programs came out and said they were really excited to see my letter from prof x because they admired their work), and, of course, a strong writing sample and strong personal statement.

I’ve heard numerous different advice for personal statements, but the one that I took and applied for my humanities program was to somehow demonstrate knowledge of my field THROUGH my personal statement; i.e, I was writing about my experiences, but I was doing it in a rhetorical way and was situating it within some of the issues and theories of my field. Ymmv on this, and it’s best to hear directly from history people.

The best people to ask in general are actually your professors who know you and your field best. I’m assuming you’re applying for the fall of 2017 since 2016 applicants are already getting notified, so hopefully this means you’ll have enough time to gather your letters of rec, take/retake the GRE, and rock the personal statement.

Good luck, and some friendly advice: don’t let this eat you up. Getting into any solid grad school program is amazing due to the heightened competition all around, and it’s really important to go with fit and with where you personally can flourish. That might be Columbia, or it might be some state’s flagship. There are tons of good programs out there and even the “best” of grad schools have applicants turn their offers down all the time because it’s really a matter of fit.