poli sci grad school

<p>Hi guys</p>

<p>I'm in my junior year of undergrad at an ok school in the mid-east. As of now I have an overall GPA of 3.81 and a major GPA of 3.86. I have minors in French and international relations. I took the GRE last weekend and got Verbal 720, Quant 770, still waiting on AW but expect it's good. I spent last semester abroad and will be spending this coming fall semester at an internship in DC. On campus I'm not involved much except for a weekly community service thing, which I stopped in my junior year, due to the swine flu scare and then being abroad. I can get good LORs, though I fear not as good as others since I'll have been away from the university two semesters elsewhere. I also do not have any publications, and won't be doing a senior thesis until the spring after i send my applications. I do have internship experience, one with the office of a US senator, one with a member of the European parliament, and another coming this september. </p>

<p>I'm looking to get a PhD in poli sci, specifically the field of international politics.</p>

<p>My questions are: Do I have a good shot at getting accepted to a top 5, specifically Harvard or Princeton? If not, or even if so, which schools would I have a solid chance for acceptance and funding?</p>

<p>Thanks</p>

<p>PhD is EXTREMELY competitive, especially at top schools. Less than 10% get accepted.</p>

<p>You also need to do some more legwork in your research for PhD programs. You mentioned that you're interested in international (maybe comparative?) politics so seek out those departments that have strengths in those areas. You certainly don't want or will be accepted in a program that does a lot of American politics, right? Look up where professors teach whose work you admire and check out their department. </p>

<p>Given that you won't really get a chance to write your senior thesis until your final semester, I would put off PhD for another year. Most students in PhD programs will say that doing their senior theses was a big factor in deciding whether going to graduate school was for them or not. If you didn't enjoy any aspect of your senior thesis project, then graduate school is not for you. Also, you'll be able to showcase your talents and skills better with a more polished and original senior thesis for a writing sample.</p>

<p>I've got a number of schools picked out with programs of interest and good rep. I've sorted some out according to relevance, reputation, funding availability, and geography for post-grad and expense reasons. Obviously I'll shoot for the best ones and hope for the best, but I'm also lining up fall-back schools in case things don't work out. What I'm wondering is how far down the tier I have to go to classify a school into the fall-back category. Are we talking top 20, 50, or 100, less? </p>

<p>Also, I did in my sophomore year take a research course that I had to write a decent size paper for. I was fine with the research and writing in and of itself, the only problem was that it was a topic not ideal for me because it was US instead of international. Would this be comparable, not in intensity but in type of work, to the senior thesis, or at least good enough to judge how suited my temperament is to years of research?</p>

<p>and thanks by the way!</p>

<p>To put a measuring stick up, for serious history applicants, they will go as far as top 100 programs. A few years ago, anything in the top 50 was considered safety and now it's just as competitive as a top 10 because of serious funding issues. When you get down past top 30, the adviser becomes even MORE important and should be the deciding factor come decision time. Ultimately, it's the adviser who is going to get you the academic job, not the program. It's all about gaining connections over time and of course, high quality professors, regardless of their program's ranking, are going to have TONS of connections. It's just that if you go to a higher ranking program, you do stand a better chance of making really good connections as you'd be with more than one "high-quality" professor to look out for you.</p>

<p>I would try to put together about 8 or so applications.</p>

<p>And treat each school as equally as you can because times are tough and competition is insane and you should be happy to receive an acceptance letter at all, whether it's from Harvard or American University or some PhD program out there...</p>

<p>thanks again for the insight</p>