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what my application looks like


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#1 dfindley

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 12:21 AM

Hi,

Of course these applications mean life to us, and we would bleed for acceptance -- maybe looking at our fellow submissions will ease our minds a bit?

I have a 3.4 gpa , even worse major gpa, average gre, (80% 50% 50%), but I've also self published my book "metaphysics of being and nothingness" which you can find on amazon.com.

I'm hoping that my book will illustrate my potential as a philosopher. My metaphysics are awesome, my physics (or natural philosophy) really has a lot of hope, and I incorporate a spirituality that I look forward to expressing in the phenomenological tradition.

Really has lots of potential.


But obviously my poor grades, poor gpa, and lack of recommending letters (I only have one) make me uneasy.

But how many 4.0 students they accept end up with a poor dissertation about something trivial, inconsequential, or even just lame or stupid?


I can only afford to apply to 4-5 schools. Most ( almost all) won't even consider my application without three recommending letters.



So.... what does your application look like?
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#2 dfindley

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 12:46 AM

I'm applying to Yale, mit, nyu, Hong Kong, Hopkins, michigan, and ucla. I can't afford to apply to nyu or mit, so I just sent my book with a cover letter and am going to see if they 'encourage' me to go through with the application process/fee.

I've seen some mean applications from others, though they must have been masters students.

Think these schools might be receptive to my work?

...
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#3 bar_scene_gambler

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 05:13 AM

I'm going to be honest with you, unless you're book is really good, and I mean really good, the chances of you getting into any of the schools that you've listed are almost non-existent. You may be right that many of the 4.0 students that they admit end up with a poor dissertation, but the capability to write a good dissertation isn't the only thing that departments are looking for. They're also looking for someone who will be capable of doing the required coursework, someone who is going to be able to make it through the 7-8 years that it takes to get out with your PhD. Programs are investing a lot of time, money, and resources into their graduate students' educations, and they aren't doing it for the sake of charity. You need to reflect well on the department, academically and otherwise. 

With that said, what does your application say about you? From an unbiased perspective, as someone who has never heard of you or read your book and knows nothing about your particular circumstances, I can tell you several things. Your low cumulative GPA tells me that maybe you don't do so well in non-philosophy courses, which wouldn't normally be such a red-flag, except that it's a fairly low cumulative GPA, which might indicate to me that you aren't a very good student (either you don't study or don't do your work or some combination of both).

Your low philosophy GPA is an even bigger red-flag. It tells me that you haven't done good work in your courses, which could mean a number of things. It might mean that you don't write well, it might mean that you don't participate, or it might mean that you don't put effort into your courses.

This is corroborated by the fact that you only have one faculty member at your university who is willing to write a recommendation for you. It tells me that you might not have done very well in your classes, and that there is a distinct reason why only one faculty member is willing to recommend you. It could also mean other things. Best case scenario, you don't actively participate in the departmental culture, worst case tells me that you don't get along well with the faculty at your institution (another important factor in the application process).

Your average GRE score, along with the other negative factors, tells me that you probably don't study. This is a major red-flag, because you're going to have to do some coursework at the graduate level before you even get to your dissertation. Will he even be able to make it past your comps?

These are the sorts of things that will go through the committee's mind as they review your application. The reason why GPA, GRE, recommendations, and other such materials matter is because they can get a sense of the type of student that you are. They aren't worried about admitting someone who can dedicate the time to write a dissertation. That's what they teach you when you get there. What they're looking for is someone who can think innovatively, while still being able to do coursework and do what it takes to get to the point where they can even begin their dissertation. The GPA, GRE, and recommendations are metrics used to figure out what kind of student you are, not what kind of philosopher you might become.

So, if your book is good, and I mean really good, then you might try applying to the schools that you listed. But they are, for the most part, the best of the best, and they're looking for the all-around best candidate, not the candidate who excels in writing but is a poor student. You need to get through your comps before you can even begin writing. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, I'm not trying to be. I just think you should be realistic about your application materials. Maybe you should try an MA program before applying to some PhD programs. There are many great MA's that fund. 


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Completed Applications:

U Chicago (Philosophy), U Chicago (Social Thought), Loyola University Chicago, Northern Illinois University, U Arizona, Penn State, Emory, Vanderbilt, UT Austin, U Warwick, Georgia State, U Houston

Accepted:
U Warwick MA in Continental Philosophy (conditional), U Chicago MAPH (declined), Georgia State (Off Waitlist)


Waitlisted: U Houston (No Funding/Declined)

 

Rejected:
U Arizona, U Chicago (Philosophy), Loyola U Chicago, Emory, Penn State, U Chicago (Social Thought), Vanderbilt, UT Austin

Attending: Georgia State!!!!

Interests:
Nietzsche, Chinese Philosophy, Philosophy of Language (Mainly OLP), Heidegger

Undergrad GPA: 3.9

Writing Sample: Comparative Ethics: Laozi and Kant

Other Info: Applying for Fulbright (UK), 2 conference presentations (one award), one paper published.


#4 Cottagecheeseman

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 07:23 PM

Honestly, I feel like unless your low GPA, the fact that you don't have any more than one letter of recommendation, and very poor GRE scores, reflect some kind of extenuating circumstances that kept you from applying yourself as a student, philosophy isn't for you. I glanced at your book, at least what was on Amazon, and in the first few paragraphs I found grammatical errors, although I can't gauge it philosophically because I didn't read much and I don't know anything about continental philosophy. (which isn't typically done at a lot of the programs you are applying too)

Your best bet, find a small Philosophy MA program to apply too. Ones that are easy to get in (ie: not Tufts, Georgia State, VA tech, Northern Illinois) and just go there.

Or go do something else, keep self-publishing works and maybe one day people will realize how brilliant you think you are, and you can do it. But honestly man, your stats are going to worry a lot of people and you’re not even applying to continental schools. I think everything Bar_scene_gambler says is right on the money. So you really are better off putting your time and effort into something more worthwhile and possible for you.


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#5 maxhgns

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 10:30 PM

I don't think this is for real, friends.


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#6 Cottagecheeseman

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:02 PM

I know people like him that are for real, plus who self-publishes two books of weird philosophy? Like, there was this guy at university who went on and on about how smart he was and argued for the weirdest shit but his GPA was horrible mainly because teachers would fail him for his horrible ramblings. He seriously thought he was going to get into NYU because (and I quote) "NYU knows real promise when they see it, they will realize how big of a mistake (insert prof who failed him) made."

But if this isn't real it's a really good troll...


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#7 dfindley

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:04 PM

[Edited for vulgar content]

 

Hmm : O)

 

I wonder why most schools seem to emphasize the writing sample over the GPA? I wonder, at bottom, which is more important?


Edited by dfindley, 25 November 2013 - 11:41 PM.

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#8 dfindley

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:12 PM

[edited for vulgar content]


Edited by dfindley, 25 November 2013 - 11:41 PM.

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#9 dfindley

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:25 PM

I have a diamond in my bowels.


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#10 bar_scene_gambler

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 12:19 AM

dfindley, of course writing ability is important in any graduate program, I don't think anyone would argue that that isn't the case. But the reality is that any application will be judged based upon content other than just the writing sample. While a good writing sample might save your application in some cases, it can only do so much, and I'm simply not convinced that, unless you have some incredible extenuating circumstances, it will save yours. That is because your other stats do not instill a sense of confidence in your ability to do the necessary grinding that it takes to get your PhD.

Graduate school is about more than just research and dissertation work. It's also about teaching, coursework, and other forms of training, in most cases both pedagogical and linguistic. All of those things require an applicant who is capable of doing the grind, the hours of studying and working with faculty and other students, and that requires a tremendous amount of physical and intellectual stamina, things which the GRE, GPA, and faculty recommendations are supposed to help gauge.

In another sense, I would be a bit concerned about your attachment to your work. The visceral reaction that you've had towards criticism (I can only guess because your posts have been edited for vulgar language) and that fact that you honestly believe that a department will 'encourage' you to apply tells me that you have a bit of an ego, and though we like to think that philosophy is just a whole group of egos battling it out, the truth is that you'll need to detach yourself from your ego and your work in order to mentally survive graduate school. Whether you like it or not, you'll be working in an environment where people will inevitably disagree with you, and quite often will be highly critical of the work you are doing. You'll have to work with faculty and other graduate students who will be critical of your opinions, especially at the highly analytic environments which you plan on applying to. 

So I would take seriously the suggestions that we've made and think about applying to an MA program first. Of course, in the end this is just advice from some random stranger on the internet, so take it for what it is, but I only say these things because it is in your best interest to be aware of them. I am not personally attached to the success of your applications, but you should be aware that you will, in all likelihood, be wasting a large sum of money by applying with the stats that you have.


  • 0

Completed Applications:

U Chicago (Philosophy), U Chicago (Social Thought), Loyola University Chicago, Northern Illinois University, U Arizona, Penn State, Emory, Vanderbilt, UT Austin, U Warwick, Georgia State, U Houston

Accepted:
U Warwick MA in Continental Philosophy (conditional), U Chicago MAPH (declined), Georgia State (Off Waitlist)


Waitlisted: U Houston (No Funding/Declined)

 

Rejected:
U Arizona, U Chicago (Philosophy), Loyola U Chicago, Emory, Penn State, U Chicago (Social Thought), Vanderbilt, UT Austin

Attending: Georgia State!!!!

Interests:
Nietzsche, Chinese Philosophy, Philosophy of Language (Mainly OLP), Heidegger

Undergrad GPA: 3.9

Writing Sample: Comparative Ethics: Laozi and Kant

Other Info: Applying for Fulbright (UK), 2 conference presentations (one award), one paper published.


#11 dfindley

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 12:50 AM

How is it you can speak with so much authority?

 

And then, further, how has it come about that graduate school for philosophy has become a job-- instead of an opportunity for blossoming philosophers to study, research, and refine their craft?

 

How reliable are stats, really? Because I hated my medieval ethics professor, because my modern philosophy professor was a complete fuck-ass, are the 'scores' that they gave really a reflection of either my capacity or my work ethic?

 

What you're telling me is that committees evaluate you as a professional student less an actual philosopher. In fact, you're telling me that no matter how decent your work in philosophy is looking, it won't matter at all unless you're an exceptional student.

 

 

I hope the authority with which you speak and the values that you project as standard give you a big boner as it inflates your sense of self

 

You're corrupt and you make me sick

 

so give the fellowship to the kid comparing Daoist and Kantian ethics you crooked hack


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#12 dfindley

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 03:00 AM

Anyways, (not that it matters, apparently,) this was my statement;

 

For the Admissions Committee;

 

I’m presenting my application in hopes of earning an academic proficiency in the history of philosophy with your department. The centerpiece of the application is my book, Metaphysics of Being and Nothingness, which stands as the culmination of my philosophical endeavors as an undergraduate student from the University of Memphis.

 

However proud I am to have developed a novel system that, I believe, carries the tradition of German philosophy forward into the contemporary period, it lacks the strength that an otherwise well-educated doctor of philosophy could breathe into it. The fundamental structure of the system is entirely coherent, but needs to be substantiated further with greater academic expertise.

 

I begin the book by drawing 'Being' and 'Nothingness' (phenomenal, noumenal,) out in respect to Schelling's logical dynamism A / -A , as the most rational approach towards the noumena. I then use Parmenides' work to outline the contrast of the duality. The result is an effective 'sublimation' of 'Nothingness', that it earns its positive interpretation in contrast to the nihilist's negative interpretation.

 

Nothingness, approached via this specific A / -A logical dynamism, is then delivered in apotheosis. Understood in terms of Parmenides' 'True Being', it is the basis of my metaphysic, and is the foundation of a primordial duality 'Being' and 'Nothingness', from which I understand dialectic. Following the Hegelian template for doing genuine philosophy (i.e. as systemic philosophy,) I develop a novel philosophical model, including chapters on natural philosophy (physics,) consciousness and evolution, man and teleology, politics, ethics, and spirituality. However I believe my work is original enough to warrant its own independence as a system, I still need to continue to develop it in respect to the history of philosophy that lies before it, and fit it into greater context.

 

My second chapter, Physics, is the result of a considerable amount of meditation and layman’s study into the field of physics. I am particularly proud of my Foundational Principles (which are essentially Eleatic,) the decisive elaborations on the natures of Space and Time, and my notion of Space-Time Dialectics, from which I draw the conclusion (E=ST). I am eager to continue my study of natural philosophy, but with a focus on developing the more foundational aspects of the system. My interests in the philosophy of science, quantum physics, and theoretical systems (mathematics,) in general are something that I can continue to explore aside from my formal studies.

 

My third chapter, Man, reintroduces man as a culmination of material processes and metaphysical dialectic in respect to a general teleology, in the same spirit as Schelling or Hegel. It was also in large part inspired by Sartre’s thesis that the ontology of conscious has its root in Nothingness, (however our interpretations of Nothingness may differ.) Frankly, however having read many important books and articles and tutorials on this particular tradition, I am far from professionally competent. It is absolutely necessary that I rectify that -- and I will be happy to continue to explore the tradition alone or under the supervision of faculty members.

The fourth chapter, Politic, aims to establish a socio-political body in league with the dialectical developments outlined in previous chapters. Expressed in a more Nietzschean context, the role of government can be informally described in terms, ‘For the Overman’. Public education is prioritized as primary, and a fair socio-economic system is taken for granted as a matter of course. These premises stem naturally from the system – and have far-reaching implications – but the context in which I deliver them is less than adequate. I am very much looking forward to an expansive study into the history of political philosophy, as well as contemporary analyses of modern and historical structures, (social, political, cultural,) that I might present my work in a more impressive context. I’d also like to incorporate a central thesis that Liberal Democracy can only thrive when a vast abundance of resources are available to it – a thesis that will involve a study of the history of political systems, de facto, and for which the study of the history of political philosophy can only serve for peripheral context.

 

The fifth chapter, the Moral-Ethical, presents an original sort of dogmatic naturalism that stresses that true morality lie in cooperating with Nature’s design, and the dialectical movements implicit within it. It is directly inferred from the political philosophy that comes before it. The distinction between the moral, ethical, and political are all rendered asunder— ‘morality’ is disregarded as opportunism, and the political-ethical are consolidated.

 

The sixth chapter, Spirit, introduces an ‘experiential transformation’ that is a culmination of my experiences with Eastern philosophy. In a sense, perhaps it can be considered a phenomenological introduction to the immediacy of Being and Nothingness. I consider it the beginning of my work into, for lack of a better term, the ‘Phenomenology of Spirit’. I am hesitant to call it ‘transcendental phenomenology’. I have very, very little experience in the study of Phenomenology as a means of doing philosophy, and I am very much looking forward to delving into the work of historical masters of the Phenomenological approach. My work on the ‘Phenomenology of Spirit’ may perhaps be my most undeveloped, and I enjoy thinking about its potential.

 

Again, though, however proud I am of my work thus far, I still see it as in its infancy. The book is poorly written, poorly organized, and the arguments poorly substantiated. In complete earnestness am I sincere in my prospective studies, that after years’ worth professional study and research, I might have earned the proficiency I desire to deliver my magnum opus.

 

I do understand that my GPA and GRE are quite average, and I hope to prove an exception to typical admission standards, that perhaps the evaluating committee will see the same potential in my work as I do myself. Accompanying this letter, you will also find my current work re-tooling my Physics, (Foundational Principles,) which I have undertaken for re-submission to the Gravity Research Foundation.

 

Thank you,

David William Findley


Edited by dfindley, 26 November 2013 - 03:05 AM.

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#13 HansK2012

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 03:18 AM

What you're telling me is that committees evaluate you as a professional student less an actual philosopher. In fact, you're telling me that no matter how decent your work in philosophy is looking, it won't matter at all unless you're an exceptional student.

 

 

 

The top programs will have scores of applicants with both: great ideas and exceptional students. Why would they bother with someone lacking one or the other?


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#14 dfindley

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 04:04 AM

Right.

So I have been looking for other writing samples that I can gauge the quality of my competition.

Not like I amount to anything in the first place, anyways.

I'm encouraged by what I have seen, and I have a lot of confidence in my work besides, but I'm still curious.

What was yours?
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#15 philstudent1991

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 05:58 AM

dfindley,

 

I think it shows a lot of initiative that you have gone to the trouble to self publish a book, and that you are really committed to the material! I don't doubt your drive and potential. However, the graduate school process is about showcasing and packaging that potential. The GPA, GRE, letters and writing sample combine to do this. While you may feel that you have a very string writing sample, I'm not sure why you think these top programs should break their rules just for you. There are dozens if not scores of applicants coming from top schools with excellent GPAs, great letters, 95%+ GREs, AND great writing samples. I think you need to take a step back and work on improving your dossier. The GRE isn't for everyone, and GPAs can be deceiving. The thing that is most troubling to me about your application is why you only have one letter of recommendation. I can't imagine why that would be, unless perhaps you don't speak in class or perhaps you speak far too much in class. I'm not sure, and I'm in no position to judge you, but that to me is what the red flag in your application would be. I think you should consider applying to MAs, definitely, or just taking a year to see where life takes you. Best of luck friend!


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#16 dfindley

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 06:46 AM

... I just thought that my writing sample really was that good. I mean, it's a novel -system-of philosophy, with original concepts that don't just break the mold but might prove historically significant in a big way.

If you can develop original work that is potentially -historical- in context, how can you not expect to get your foot in the door?

and for that matter, what do you care for grades? Obviously they are no reflection of my potential.

I think that in order to garner a better appreciation for my application, you would need to evaluate the significance of my work as it stands for itself.

Notice that -philosophy- actual has never even entered into discussion here. All I hear are comments about 'stats'.

besides, I am somewhat skeptical that there are many -if any- exceptional students with work that will even remotely compare to mine in terms of potential and historical significance.

maybe others can take that as a challenge and show me otherwise? I really want to see.
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#17 Cottagecheeseman

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 11:39 AM

Guys, this has to be the most elaborate troll ever. Who asks for advice on the interwebs and then gets extremely angry because of it? Who really writes a book like that as an undergrad, then admits it is poorly written, and then just sends it to programs? Nobody! We're living in craaaazy land! Seriously, I can no longer believe this is real. Enjoy yourself guys.

 

And David Findley, if this is real, I hope you really don't act like this around people, because this is not in any way professional.


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#18 Cottagecheeseman

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 11:40 AM

Nobody give him a writing sample guys I'm 95% positive he will use it as his own...


Edited by zizeksucks, 26 November 2013 - 11:42 AM.

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#19 gatewayselect

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 03:29 PM

I'm confident that this guy is real given that he has posted his real name and the university he graduated from, not to mention the self-published book and the copy-pasted statement here are far too elaborate to be hoaxed.

 

This thread (and this person's mental illness) is delicious. I'm a terrible person.


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#20 Cottagecheeseman

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 03:38 PM

I guess I just choose to believe this is fake given that my  view of humanity would have to be severely lowered if it turned out to be true.

This thread IS delicious... and I'm a terrible person too...


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