I don't notice many questions about history PhDs on here, maybe this means not so many people apply for them, hence increasing my own chances? Here's hoping!
I am from Australia and hence very out of the loop in the whole American graduate school business - I want to be a professional historian however and know that the US would be the best place to do my PhD. Also, US schools happen to have the best scholars and best programs in my field.
In Australia I would be a very competitive candidate for a PhD scholarship - Im a University medallist in my BA which was in History (this means I was top in my program), so have a high First class honours degree. I am reasonably confident that my letters of recommendation will be good, although in Aus we rarely have much to do with our teachers except our supervisors, so I am a little concerned that some of the people I will ask will not know me well.
My GRE scores are V: 800, Q: 780 and Analytical 6.0
I want to go to a top school, specifically Yale, Harvard, Princeton, NYU, Columbia or Johns Hopkins. I know this obviously means they are very hard to get into and have read all the usual stuff about writing a good Personal Statement etc. How confident should I be however, considering I come from far away, know no one in the States and have grades that can't be converted into a US GPA? ie Should I apply to lots of second tier schools for PhD as well, ie Indiana or Penn - or would I better to just go for the hard ones and then, if rejected, try to do a Masters at a good school and try for a PhD again?
Does anyone know good resources for writing good personal statements? Ive tried to start a million times and its hard!