so, i was surfing the university of chicago's website last night (one of the grad schools i'm thinking of applying to), and found out that their history department accepts about 35 grad students a year. now, having no experience with grad school, i'm not sure how that number compares to other programs/schools, but it seems very small.

also, as i read more into it, i'm thinking it may be a good idea to get my MA somewhere else first. UC is a straight-up PhD program, though they do award MA's to folks working towards the doctorate. i think the main bit that scared me off was the writing sample required with the application. several of my professors at whitworth told me i was a good writer, but i'm very tempted to think that i was relatively good rather than absolutely good. there were definitely some students in the department i considered good writers (nick fox and j-coe, for example), but a lot of what i read (which was not everybody, of course... there could have been quite a few more good writers out there that i just never knew about) was not that great. plus, there's this (from the Application FAQ):

The Department of History considers the writing sample the most important part of your application. Please select a sample that you consider to be your best work. It should be self-contained, that is, includes a beginning, a middle and an end of an argument. Generally, 25 double-spaced pages (including footnotes) is sufficient, but do not feel bound by length should your best paper is longer. If possible, the work should be a piece of original research and in the specific field of history you hope to study at Chicago. The writing sample must include your name and the class/publication for which it was created.

the longest paper i had to do at whitworth was 18 pages long (got a B, i think, and i'm not even sure it deserved that), and the one that i considered my best (got an A, and it was used as an example of a good paper) was only 6 pages long... probably closer to 5 without all the footnotes. that's especially unfortunate because it was on an area that i am very interested in, byzantine history and the crusading orders (the paper was on the siege of rhodes in 1522; i argued that it was the quantity rather than the quality of ottoman troops that won the battle for them).

but who knows? i was just a few classes away from having another BA in political studies. i plan on finishing that up at some point, and maybe i'll end up doing something in that area instead, go for a job in the state department or something. that's the wonderful thing about being young... i've still got some time to make up my mind. and/or win the lotto.