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Paying for graduate school - History Graduate Students

About Paying for graduate school

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Hello, I have read and heard quite a few times, "don't get into debt going to graduate school". I applied to three graduate programs, have not heard back yet, so I don't know if I will get any assistance. But if I don't get an assistantship, what am I supposed to do? I do want to go to graduate school, even if I get in some debt. What are your opinions on this?...
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From:jak723
Date:February 24th, 2010 12:44 am (UTC)
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I am applying to a M.A. program, but have hopes of continuing into a Ph.d program. I know I don't want to go far in debt, but I am worried it may be the only way.
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From:latvianchick
Date:February 24th, 2010 01:34 am (UTC)
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MA degrees, unfortunately, are cash cows for universities. You probably will not get financial assistance, or at least not enough to make much difference.

I see you are posting this to a historygrads community. I hate to say this, but why are you even considering paying for an MA in history? It's not worth very much in the real world. If you want an academic career, just go straight to PhD - it's much more common to get funded at the PhD level. If you are not sure, do something else with your life for two years and think about it. This is an expensive way to try things out.
From:jak723
Date:February 24th, 2010 02:01 am (UTC)
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Thank you for the response, I know I want to get a Phd in history, I just dont think I have the grades and GRE scores to get directly into a doctoral program, so i figured I would get the MA, show I can do productive research and get into a phd program.
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From:x_patti_x
Date:February 24th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
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I did my ma in history and wasn't funded. I got enough money though... You just have to be creative and look for every source possible. I got a bursary that covered tuition multiple times from my local union( ppl with funding couldn't compete) also I had to do some searching (and begging) for a research job outside of my department. I worked in this other dept (that happened to be women's studies) every semester for my full 2 years- both researching and teaching. That ended up being even more than the ppl who were fully funded because they didn't get to work in the summer.
Basically, you can do it. You just have to be willing to go out of your comfort zone, get involved in other departments, make friends with profs and really love your project. All things that will help you develop useful skills for later on too!!!
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From:dreadpirateange
Date:February 24th, 2010 05:35 am (UTC)
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This depends on what you want to go to school for. If you are going to grad school because you really want to enjoy the experience of being there, then it might be worth it to you to pay.

If you are going for some kind of job prospects-- there really aren't many, and you may never get the money to pay off your debts from the degree.

Since you are going for the MA, think long and hard about your future plans. If you really desperately want a PhD, one of the best ways to better your chances of getting a fully-funded place is to get an MA and do stellar (like close to 4.0 stellar) and collect some wonderful references. If you think you can do that, then it may be worth it to take out some loans and pay for it.

But don't pay for a PhD. Just never ever do. Not in history.
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From:saralinds
Date:February 24th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
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+1

Well, you don't have to get 4.0 exactly... just buff up your languages and research.
From:jak723
Date:February 25th, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
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I know what you are saying, I do continue my language skills, I took as much as I could as an undergraduate student, and I am taking the University of Pittsburgh summer language program.
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From:_theargument_
Date:March 27th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
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I am currently in the MA program at George Mason near DC. There are so many MA students that an assistanceship was impossible. I'm on loans. Period. Luckily I didn't have any undergraduate debt though.

But endlessly search for scholarships, school website and others. That is probably the best thing to do to alleviate debt.
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From:super_anna
Date:July 17th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
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I'm starting my MA in History this fall and I recieved a state grant which covered all of my fees. The only thing I'll be paying for is my textbooks which won't be hard as I'm working part-time. What I would suggest is look at your school's financial aid website and check to see if they've listed any school wide scholarships. I know a few people who managed to have most of their undergrad career paid for by school scholarships and all they did was write a little essay and turn in a letter of recommendation.
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