The Hermit Poet

November 19, 2006

Shooting Myself in the Foot

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 8:15 pm

I apparently missed the fine print on most of the PhD programs I had intended on applying to for next Fall. It seems that my GRE Literature scores will arrive too late (January 3rd) for my applications to be considered (most have moved to a December 15th or January 1st deadline).

This unfortunately drops me out of the running of the programs I felt I had the best chance with (or least the strongest desire to explore): University of Southern California (USC), University of Houston, and University of Utah.

What remains are the ones I know little about: University of Denver, University of North Texas, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. From what I’ve read, University of Denver’s program seems quite intriguing and a good fit overall for what I want. University of North Texas and University of Nebraska-Lincoln are both home to fine literary journals, so if that’s any indication of things, they might also be good places to explore.

The foreign language requirement at most of these schools is a bit worrisome to me. Whereas most people will fill it with Spanish, French or German, I’m stuck with my intermediate Mandarin and a bad memory for characters (I used to know 2700 characters, now I might have 700 still in my head, and most on slow recall). Proving fluency or competency usually requires either a timed translation exercise of an unfamiliar text or a written exam where you are asked to read a text in that language and write critically about that text in the same language. Which, given the complexity of academic Chinese, is not an easy task unless you’ve spent 4-5 years working on it.

That said, I’ll still be applying for a Stegner Fellowship (and really crossing my fingers this time) — which may be the best thing I can hope for now.

Not ruling out teaching positions either, despite the fierce competition.

One Response to “Shooting Myself in the Foot”

  1. Walter N. Says:

    Bummer, bro…You would have liked it here at U of H.

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