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Vanderbilt and ?

tyuiopltyuiopl 4 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
I am having a hard time finding the right school. I am planning on majoring in English with the intent of going to graduate school and eventually teaching. I prefer going to a southern school. Where should I look? For background purposes, I am in the top 5 percent of my class with a 1590 on SAT.
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Replies to: Vanderbilt and ?

  • collegemom9collegemom9 783 replies29 postsRegistered User Member
    Emory.
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  • PrdMomto1PrdMomto1 79 replies5 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Rice
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  • 2VU06092VU0609 3502 replies59 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    One of D's friends from elementary school on was a year ahead of her at Vandy. They were sorority sisters. She majored in English and then moved on to a well respected university for graduate studies in English. Top grades at all levels and writing awards from elementary - high school. Probably some recognition at Vandy as well. She took the exit ramp at masters level, concluding that PhD with teaching aspirations was not economically feasible. It's a rough market for those pursuing doctoral studies in the humanities these days.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3848 replies84 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Duke
    WUSTL
    Wake Forest
    Tulane
    UT-Austin
    North Carolina
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  • northwestynorthwesty 3415 replies9 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 27
    Vandy's a pretty good choice -- southern, Peabody is a top education school and the English department is strong.
    For strong education and English and southern, UVA would probably be very high, maybe the highest. Plus all the other usual southern Ivy suspects -- UNC, Duke, Emory, Texas, Tulane. Maybe Rice, even though it has a pretty strong STEM focus.
    edited June 27
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  • elena13elena13 827 replies15 postsRegistered User Member
    For a smaller school check out Davidson.
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  • tyuiopltyuiopl 4 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you all!
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  • DefensorDefensor 332 replies8 postsRegistered User Member
    Duke
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  • happy1happy1 22659 replies2223 postsVerified Member Senior Member
    What can you afford? What is your home state? Have you run net price calculators for any schools?

    I would also suggest you get your hands on a Fiske and/or Princeton Review guide to colleges and read up on options.
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  • rickle1rickle1 1815 replies14 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    W&M
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  • tyuiopltyuiopl 4 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    If I expand my search beyond the south what are the top five schools you would recommend for someone hoping to pursue a teaching position in English literature? Thank you for your comments.
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 2811 replies36 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Teaching at what level and with what budget?
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  • tyuiopltyuiopl 4 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    My goal is to one day teach at the college level.
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  • northwestynorthwesty 3415 replies9 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    To teach college english, what will matter most is where you get your PhD from. There's hundreds of colleges where you could study undergrad english and from which you could get into a good grad school program (if you do well). So your question is really isn't a strong differentiator for selecting your undergrad school.

    The more relevant questions are ones like: where can you get admitted; what school can you financially afford; do you want a big/medium/small school; do you want to be close to home or far away; city, suburban or rural campus; what region of the country?

    FWIW, USNWR says these are the top english grad school programs: Cal, Chi, Columbia, Stanford, Penn, UCLA, UVA, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, Mich, Yale, Brown, Duke. I'm sure the people in those grad school programs come from many dozens of different undergrad schools.

    Good luck.
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  • tyuiopltyuiopl 4 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you for your encouraging words. My fear is that a top tier school will not consider my graduate school app unless I obtain an undergraduate degree from a like-kind school. I am preparing my applications now but I have yet to decide where I am applying early decision. This is hard! Thanks again.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28771 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Are you going to need financial aid? Are you eligible for it? This an important factor in your college search.

    You are wide open in terms of possibilities. You have the stats to be a contender for admissions to any school. It’s what interests YOU that drives the list.

    If prestige is important, HPY et al are right up there as the best schools in the country. There are no shortages of best colleges lists.

    I suggest adding some less selective schools as well to the list as well.

    It’s always great to get a school in the bag, Early Action so then you can apply to the reaches with wild abandon. The hardest part of all of this is finding that safety school that is affordable and has the curriculum and amenities you want.
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  • bernie12bernie12 5428 replies10 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @tyuiopl : Your grad. school and how they train will matter far more than this (choosing an undergrad), but going somewhere with a strong and intellectually activated (as in a place that gets you to engage in writing/poetry related events on campus and to go beyond the classroom in showcasing your writing development) English program can help you before graduate . I went to Emory and know it is excellent at that and often, WUSTL, JHU, and some other liberal arts colleges are cited. in various lists. Maybe look for these lists as a starting point (please don't take these as actual rankings. View them as lists of schools that the author felt strongly about. Do not split hairs when comparing programs between schools on the lists. Instead go on their English and Creative writing departmental websites and check out what they offer and what events they target to undergrads. Check out university and college webpages to see if faculty and students in these departments are being spotlighted. Many things you can do!)

    *Generally do not be overly concerned about getting into a "name-brand" college/university. Find out how the school will help you achieve goals during your tenure at the school. The endpoint of graduate school does not happen in absence of that. They don't just go "well, they completed a degree at a name brand school". They'll want to see evidence that you actively tried to develop (and maybe disseminate) your writing, and produced a major academic oriented project that show cases your writing. They wanna see if you've been already achieving/aiming to achieve goals that align with the graduate program (which is not course work). Wherever you do this is up to you, and name-brand schools do not monopolize those key development opportunities.
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  • northwestynorthwesty 3415 replies9 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 8
    "My fear is that a top tier school will not consider my graduate school app unless I obtain an undergraduate degree from a like-kind school."

    Check out this link.

    You'd think Harvard Law School is into prestigiosity as much as any institution is. They enroll 560 students per year. Their last class came from 173 different colleges!!

    I'm sure Princeton and Stanford have strong contingents in that HLS class. But Northwest Missouri State is in there too! HLS and other top tier grad programs knows that smart kids go to all kinds of colleges.

    https://hls.harvard.edu/dept/jdadmissions/apply-to-harvard-law-school/undergraduate-colleges/
    edited August 8
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  • bud123bud123 699 replies6 postsRegistered User Member
    VU (Peabody) is consistently ranked as one of the top U's for education in the US. You also need to consider financial issues. As an English teacher, your income is limited so you CAN NOT afford much debt or student loans. Grad school must be budgeted for too. Limiting debt is more important than a brand name for students planning on careers in education. Explore all aid issues and follow the money. Do not become a teacher making $80,000/yr with $160,000 in student loans.
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  • MWolfMWolf 1287 replies8 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 13
    @tyuiopl wrote:
    My goal is to one day teach at the college level.

    I am sorry to be the one to tell you this, but that goal is, in this day and age, practically unobtainable, unless you want to join the growing army of underpaid contingent labor, with almost zero job security. The majority of people who have done their PhDs or MAs in English for the purpose of teaching English at the college level are working as adjuncts for a paycheck of about $20,000-$25,000 a year, while paying back student loans.

    As for the ones who actually get tenure-track jobs - most are teaching for about $45,000-$60,000 a year (after spending 12 years as poverty-stricken graduate students), and are not teaching in one of the "top-200" colleges and universities out there, but in one of the 2,000 lower ranked or unranked four year colleges and universities, or in one of the 800 or so two year community or junior colleges. There is a very good chance that your college will be shut down or have positions cancelled because of dropping enrollment and loss of government funding and/or because of a disappearing endowment.

    You will most likely not be teaching the kids you know from Honors English or AP English Lit, but the kids who took the regular track classes or lower. You will likely be teaching kids who find high school level English challenging, and be teaching English at that level. You will be dealing with administrators who are more interested in enrollment numbers than in maintaining any educational standards. You will likely be teaching 4 or 5 classes a semester, and possibly a summer course as well, which includes prepping the class, and grading assays and assignments, office hours, committee meeting, student advising, and administrative duties (unlike high schools, most colleges departments no longer have secretarial staff).

    On top of that full time job, you may have a dean or provost who decides that faculty also need to engage in research, and you will be expected to produce research articles and/or a book.

    Simply put - despite the fact that populist politicians and articles written by people who have no idea what they are talking about claim that there are plentiful cushy jobs teaching in college, this is absolutely not true, even in the most limited sense.

    Read the archives of the Forums of the Chronicles of Higher Education about the travails of academic job searching for people with PhDs in English, and the experience of those who are actually working in the field, first hand.

    The best advice that I can give you is Just Don't Do It.

    If you, after learning about this, still want to go for an academic career, a couple of important pieces of advice:

    A. Despite what is generally believed, academia IS prestige-ridden, and Humanities are the worst of all. So, to be considered for a real faculty position in English at most colleges which will pay a living wage, you will need to get your PhD in a university which is considered to be a top-25 graduate program in English. Ivies will almost ONLY hire faculty who did their PhDs in an Ivy, or a foreign equivalent (like Oxbridge).

    Prestige is not the the same as the rankings from non-professional media, though, for humanities, there is a large overlap. To figure out which are the "best", one should look at the undergraduate schools of PhD students at top graduate programs, and at the undergraduates schools and the PhD programs of faculty at different universities.

    B. To be accepted to one of these programs, the best route is an undergraduate degree in a top-25 research university or a top 30 LAC. In fact, well regarded Liberal Arts Colleges are probably the best place to do your BA, if your ultimate goal is a humanities PhD.

    C. Be skeptical of advice from people who have never been academics. Unless a person has done a PhD and has been on the academic job market, they have little understanding of how academia works.

    D. Be skeptical of advice from people who have not been on the academic job market in the past 30 years. The academic job market has changed drastically in the past 30 years.

    @northwesty A PhD program in English is NOT Law School, and the fact that Harvard Law accepts kids with undergraduate degrees from all sorts of places tells you nothing about the acceptance practices of PhD programs at Harvard. To begin with, Law students pay their own way. Not only do PhD students NOT pay tuition, they also get stipends or paid jobs. So Harvard will be a bit more selective in choosing students which cost them over $50,000 a year than they will be for students who are paying $50,000 a year. Also, faculty personally choose one or two graduate students a year at most, and a faculty member with an Ivy-league BA and and Ivy League PhD is not likely to choose a graduate student from Northwest Missouri State over one from Williams or Princeton. I will not bore everybody in a further three page explanation about the differences between a professional degree and a PhD.

    @bud123 To teach English at college level, does not require an education degree but a PhD in English. There are some exceptions, such as teaching creative writing with an MFA, or many adjuncts who have MAs in English. However, an education degree is for teaching at the K-12 level, not college level.

    PS. There are a wide array of careers available for people with English degrees, or even an English PhDs, aside from teaching English at college, so doing an English PhD is not a guarantee of a miserable existence even for those who do not get top-paying faculty positions.

    PPS. Vanderbilt is a good place for an undergraduate if one's ultimate goal is an English PhD.
    edited August 13
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