As any student applying to a PhD program will tell you, applications are STRESSFUL. I've been very nervous and immensely excited by all of it. I have pretty much limited my top schools to two: UCLA and Berkeley. Yep, Cali. They would provide me with the rigorous and theory-based archaeology I hope to master, along with study in the ancient near eastern languages and cultures. They are very strong and competitive programs, but I have been in contact with a few faculty members I intend to work with while I'm there. That should give me a leg-up while I'm there.
University of Chicago is still on my list, but I'm very wary of their program. It is so intense that it takes an average of 9 years to complete the degree. NINE YEARS, and students are only provided funding for the first five! I thought that maybe applying to the Anthro department rather than the Near Eastern Studies department would cut short my 4 years of coursework, but no such luck. Since I will not have a Master's in something related to anthropology, I will need to get a master's through their program before moving on to the PhD. I would therefore need to study for the same number of years regardless. That is far too long, but I think I'm going to apply anyway.
I've also started to realize how much I absolutely love NYC and I don't feel ready to leave it. So I am also looking at NYU right now. Their Institute for the Study of the Ancient World sounds intriguing! I would only take one seminar course per "semester" (they don't really have semesters...) for 3 years. The rest is independently-based study. This could give me the flexibility to explore more theory and take advantage of all that the east coast can provide me (Boston to DC - think of all the universities I could still take advantage of!), all while still living in this fantastic city.
I also need to reach out again to Johns Hopkins, I think. I don't want to cut out options. Baltimore wouldn't be bad; I'd still be on the east coast! Notice how the programs I'm seriously considering go up and down the north east, across the northern mid-west, and settle on the west coast. Yep.
Alright, back to reading for my 20 page paper due Monday. I also plan to do my statement of purpose this weekend...