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  1. #1
    Senior Member ZiL's Avatar
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    Default Seek 3rd Major or Grad School or.....?

    Why hello there. I am at a point in my educational career in which I have no idea where to go next. I'm about to start my 4th year of college. I've already earned an Anthropology degree, and am working on a German/Spanish degree, with a minor in Linguistics. My eventual goal is to go to Grad school to study one of these topics in more depth, but I'm not sure which to choose. One of my old Spanish professors says I should consider applying to do a Spanish M.A., my German professors have advice for me about how to keep doing German after college, and I talked to an Anthro professor and he tells me with my grades I should be applying to top programs, the only issue being that I need to figure out a theoretical focus (in the sphere of Cultural/Linguistic Anthro, to be specific). Bottom line is, I really don't know what to do. I enjoy Anthropology a lot, but as of now I'm lost on matters of theoretical focus, and I've had no experience outside of classes (I'm only now beginning to volunteer at a local living history museum/archeological site), so applying to grad schools at this moment really freaks me out. I know I'd have the ability to do the Spanish M.A., but I don't know that I like Spanish enough to persue it as a career focus (the main reason I kept doing it in college is because I learned so much in middle school and high school that I thought dropping it would be a waste). I have a similar issue with German. I enjoy learning it, and I might enjoy teaching it (more than Spanish), but I've only taken 2 years of it, so I'm not sure if my proficiency is up there enough to persue it seriously at the moment. I feel I have a lot of options, but need to put a lot of eggs in one or two baskets quickly before I loose control of all of it. Another option I've been throwing around is applying for a Fulbright to teach English and do a little independent research in Germany for a school year.... That's certainly nothing guaranteed, but if I apply for it, the assumption would be that I'd be graduating next spring for sure.

    Additionally, I could stay on for one more semester after this year and split my German/Spanish co-major into 2 separate majors. Why would I do this? Well, it might look better to grad schools I might apply to if I have a full degree in the language I'm applying for, and it would buy me some time to figure out what I really want. But what would I do Spring semester of 2011?

    Other option is to just look for random jobs that are semi-related to what I studied after graduation (museums, state/national parks come to mind first). I'd still want to go to grad school down the road though.

    What do you guys think?

    (Also, I guess I'd need to take the GRE this summer or fall - can anyone tell me about where/when to do that? I think we have a testing center on campus, but I'm not sure about the best time to take it for applying for 2010-2011, and I'd also be interested in hearing about practicing for the exam....)


    Signed,
    ZiL the Undecided and Confused
    ALL AROUND THE WORLD PEOPLE EATIN' GUMBO

  2. #2
    Supreme Allied Commander Take Five's Avatar
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    I'm starting my third year of undergrad. I'm a French minor so I know a little about the foreign language drill. If you have any overseas experience with your laguage I think you would do fine. Personally, I would def go to grad school. Plus there's the chance that if you don't keep using your foreign language, you will forget most of it. That's actually why I take it in college. Why bother learning if you're not going to go as far as you can(fluency)?

    Just a thought: there are always federal government agencies and other organizations looking for translators.
    Johari Nohari

    "If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. "--Niccolo Machiavelli

  3. #3
    No me digas, che! Recoleta's Avatar
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    Hmm, I was somewhat in the same-ish boat as you 2 yrs. ago...Spanish major, had studied abroad a couple of times, not sure exactly what I wanted to do, etc. I ended up going for an MA in English as a Second Language Education -- I'm still trying to figure out if that was the best thing. If I was going to do an ESL program again, I probably would have gone through an applied linguistics program rather than a teaching program (I mean, the teaching program was great in a lot of ways b/c I am now certified to teach ESL/Spanish in public schools in my state...and can add on other subject areas to teach by taking tests, but I feel like from an academic POV the applied linguistics program would have been more rigorous and better-suited for higher-level learning). I'm now considering doing the Fulbright Scholarship thing....or a couple other programs.

    IMO, I doubt it'd be worth it to split the Spanish/German major into 2 diff. ones. I doubt it'd make that much of a difference on grad school applications...your grades, GRE scores, and references will do the talking for you. Plus, based on the background you've provided I'm sure you will have no trouble getting into a very respectable school. As for the GRE, I took mine in March of my senior year in college. That was fine, but perhaps was cutting it close for some of the early deadlines (some programs start in the summer). I guess Jan. of your senior year would probably be a fine time to take it if applying for fall programs. It'd probably be a good idea to look at the programs you want to apply to and look at their application deadlines and plan accordingly. As for preparation, I borrowed the book written by Kaplan and went through one of the practice tests...that was about it. I briefly brushed up on the math formulas, and for verbal I didn't do anything. I think the verbal part was harder than the math part.

    As for which kind of program to choose...if you're not passionate about Spanish, don't bother with it. From what I've seen you can either do a focus on Spanish linguistics or Spanish literature...but if your Spanish is really strong already, just bask in the fact that you're great at it. What I did was teach lower-level Spanish as a graduate teaching assistant at my university while doing my MA in ESOL...it was nice and kinda kept me in the loop (plus free tuition & paycheck...yeah!). If you really like anthropology, I'd say go for that. Spanish skills are desperately needed in tons of fields anyhow...you don't need an MA to translate (you can do a certificate program for that). Could you talk to an anthropology prof. about your specific interests and maybe the two of you could form an topic to research? Perhaps something in Hispanic populations...Spanglish, the mixing of cultures, the advantages Spanish/English bilingual children have in the US and how it will effect the future? Something like that?

    Good luck though in choosing! I know it's an overwhelming time...I just finished grad school, and am now looking for ESOL or Spanish teaching jobs...even that is not looking easy in this economy. Going abroad is looking more appealing every day!

  4. #4
    Senior Member avolkiteshvara's Avatar
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    Grad in Romance languages?

    Grad in Linguistics, which is part of Anth.

    Grad Cultural Anth, which would probably utilize some of your language skills.

    Actually most Grad programs in humanities and social science require at least one foreign language, sometimes two.

  5. #5
    Once Was Synarch's Avatar
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    Graduate school can sometimes be attractive as a means to avoid responsibility.
    "Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Synarch View Post
    Graduate school can sometimes be attractive as a means to avoid responsibility.
    Now, Synarch, how did you become so wise? I might reconsider joining your cult.

  7. #7
    Once Was Synarch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky is BLUE! View Post
    Now, Synarch, how did you become so wise? I might reconsider joining your cult.
    Funny. Mostly I'm just old.
    "Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave."

  8. #8
    Senior Member ZiL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Synarch View Post
    Graduate school can sometimes be attractive as a means to avoid responsibility.
    Ohp, you've caught me.


    Thanks for the anecdotes/advice, love to hear more.

    Ricoleta, that was especially interesting - I've considered doing a 1-year ESL teacher-training program in Spanish, but once again I haven't been sure about devoting so much time exclusively to Spanish. Probably shouldn't try to study in depth within Spanish further than I already am. I've had classes with people who absolutely adore the language and all elements of the cultures which fall under its scope, and I just don't feel that strongly about it myself, though I do enjoy learning about it and improving the ability. But that can be done without formal study.
    ALL AROUND THE WORLD PEOPLE EATIN' GUMBO

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiL View Post
    Ohp, you've caught me.


    Thanks for the anecdotes/advice, love to hear more.

    Ricoleta, that was especially interesting - I've considered doing a 1-year ESL teacher-training program in Spanish, but once again I haven't been sure about devoting so much time exclusively to Spanish. Probably shouldn't try to study in depth within Spanish further than I already am. I've had classes with people who absolutely adore the language and all elements of the cultures which fall under its scope, and I just don't feel that strongly about it myself, though I do enjoy learning about it and improving the ability. But that can be done without formal study.
    Does your school have a departmental honors program? If your grades are good and you want experience doing research you might check into this. Both of the honors programs I did required theses, which meant research both in the library and in the lab. Fortunately, the scale of your project is generally much smaller as an undergrad so you wont find yourself totally overwhelmed.

    As far as the GRE goes, it's not at all difficult. The math is just basic high school math and the verbal is mostly a matter of getting familiar with the vocabulary.

    Last thing, if you think you're going to be taking the easy route with this choice you might want to reconsider. Most of the folks around here who have actually gone to graduate school and successfully completed their programs will tell you this is not a choice you should make to get out of doing "real" work. You will get your ass kicked, royally, if that is the route you're intending to take.
    Last edited by juggernaut; 06-05-2009 at 11:27 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member ZiL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juggernaut View Post
    Does your school have a departmental honors program? If your grades are good and you want experience doing research you might check into this. Both of the honors programs I did required theses, which meant research both in the library and in the lab. Fortunately, the scale of your project is generally much smaller as an undergrad so you wont find yourself totally overwhelmed.

    As far as the GRE goes, it's not at all difficult. The math is just basic high school math and the verbal is mostly a matter of getting familiar with the vocabulary.

    Last thing, if you think you're going to be taking the easy route with this choice you might want to reconsider. Most of the folks around here who have actually gone to graduate school and successfully completed their programs will tell this is not a choice you should make to get out of doing "real" work. You will get your ass kicked, royally, if that is the route you're intending to take.
    My response to Synarch was sarcasm.


    I think that's a good idea, I'm considering doing an honors thesis in the fall actually - expanding on a directed individual study I'm about to begin right now.
    ALL AROUND THE WORLD PEOPLE EATIN' GUMBO

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