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5.3 Weird Questions

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Some schools ask unexpected questions on the application that will take extensive thought or research on your part to answer. MIT, for example, has an infamous section in which you must list every course you have taken, the number of hours you spent in that class, and the textbook you used. Yes, that’s right, every course. Not every linguistics course. We have a feeling that they’re only interested in the linguistics courses, but whatever.

UC Berkeley and some other schools ask you to list the professors in their department who you would be interested in working with. This in itself isn’t so crazy, but Berkeley goes further, requiring that you rank the professors, and then justify each of your rankings in a comments section.

A few schools want you to send them a copy of your resume or CV. My, what a wonderful opportunity to write a resume or CV! Some schools want to know on the application if you want to apply to particular fellowships at the school. If you do, then you will probably find yourself writing additional essays on how you’ve helped minorities in your community, or why you want to study the languages of Southeastern Asia. A smattering of schools seem to split up the statement of purpose into different bits requesting a statement of purpose, personal statement, statement of research interests and so forth.

Each school will give you different page and size limits. Follow these closely as you may not get a chance to upload your document into the application. You may have to cut and paste it and it’s 10 words or 20 characters too many, your rhetorical flourish just may be snipped at the bud. For example, Stanford only allows two-page personal statements. It’s not easy cramming all of yourself into two pages.


Written by applelinguist

January 7, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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