Monday, March 17, 2008

Now I know that NAU's Anthropology Program is Selective

Here's what I have:
  • forty-two credit hours in Anthropology coursework, GPA: 3.97
  • A certificate that says I won the Undergraduate Research Assistantship award at ASU
  • 4 weeks of archaeological field school experience
  • 2 years of research work with a professor
  • Glowing recommendations from two professors
Here's what I don't have:
  • Acceptance in the graduate Anthropology program at Northern Arizona University.
I returned from a college-hunting trip (for my daughter) in Colorado to find two letters from NAU. The one from the Anthropology Department was somewhat friendly, stating that either my application was not competitive enough or that my research interests did not line up well with those of the professors in the department. The letter from the NAU Graduate College was much more blunt: "Your application was not competitive."

I've already asked the graduate coordinator to please explain to me the aspects of my application which failed to meet their standards, and hopefully this will be a productive thing. Right now, I'm still pretty depressed about the whole thing-- and I keep wondering which is true: 1. They just don't know me, or 2. I'm not good enough.

There are some good things I can take from this:
  1. NAU's program really is pretty competitive! If I'd been accepted, I would not have know for sure.
  2. You can always do a better job on your application. I've identified about twenty things I would do differently if I could (and I will do them for the next one).
  3. I can finish my B.A. in Anthropology. Having the B.A. is a good thing-- it means I'll finish my foreign language work, and have a minimum credential for moving on to graduate studies. Who knows-- this may have worked against me at NAU.
  4. I have plenty of time to finish my research with Dr. Martin. By May of next year, I'll have my B.A. and two publications.
  5. I can still choose something other than Archaeology. I've been having doubts about choosing Archaeology as my subdiscipline, so now I have time to reconsider.
  6. I have another year to pay off debt and save. If I'm planning to go part time at work, I better be as financially secure as I can be.
As depressing as this has been, I have to remember that I'm in the middle of a very demanding graduate seminar. Now I REALLY need to do well in this.

I couldn't help myself: I already registered for next semester at ASU. I'm taking the two remaining courses I need for my Anthro degree, except for the foreign language component. For Spanish, I'll take two summer sessions starting in June, and I'll have completed my four courses total by May of 2009. Yep, I should be able to graduate.

As for graduate school, I'll need to see what happens. I might still try the Online Masters in Applie dAnthropology at UNT, or I might commute to the U of A in Tucson. But for the next 15 months, I know I'll be right here at ASU.

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