Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0651.  Monday, 28 August 1995.
From:           Rebecca C Totaro <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Sunday, 27 Aug 1995 12:51:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0643  Re: Graduate Programs
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0643  Re: Graduate Programs
I agree with Don Foster's recommendation regarding your careful approach to a
narrowing of Grad Program choices with a particularly sharp eye to faculty
interests.  When it came time for me to decide among the acceptance letters, I
finally chose the place which gave me the most options in Ren studies.  I
wanted to leave room for myself in case I found that Professor Brilliant was
also  Professor Painful Personality. Please choose a school with at least 5
feasible options for dissertation director.  You'll *weed out* 2-3 based on
critical approach, personality, availability, etc and still have several among
which to bounce ideas off and correct nearsightedness.
Assessing $ is crucial.  Don't accept going $100,000 into debt for grad school.
 Many programs which do not offer grants do encourage and facilitate teaching
within the university. I think, in fact, that this is the best way to go
because it will show you immediately if you're in the right profession.  I knew
a few PhD students in a certain high caliber university (where I did my MA) who
voiced fear at the prospect of planning and teaching a full course themselves.
Certainly, they knew how to write an excellent paper.  Honestly, I was
dissappointed when I didn't get a *full ride* at UMass, but after having taught
2 classes on my own, I've not only covered my expenses (a full tuition waiver
plus stipend comes to those who teach), I've gained a sense of belonging to the
profession and I'm a better student.
I wish you all the best in this difficult decision.  I know what you're going
through and I did benefit from calling empathetic grad students who were
willing to tell me th good and the bad. Okay, here's an attempt at summation:
1) Do follow Don's suggestion and get names of profs at each university and
look at/read those that interest you, then leaving a margin of error for
personality and availability (will the prof you wish to study with be on
sabbatical, etc).
2) Do ask the admissions office if you can call English grad students enrolled
in their program.  I made my decision as much because of student responses.
When three students at a particular university told me that sometimes the felt
like they were in the inferno, I said forget it. There are programs (at least
one) which foster enthusiastic shared learning instead of a hierarchy of trials
and fears.  Your friends will most likely be your colleagues, so make sure that
the core sentiment is one of being in this together.
3) $
4) Location
All the best,
Rebecca Totaro
p.s. don't forget to fill us in on your decision

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