While I agree to some extent with the above, I'm going to propose an alternate explanation. I really don't think the "Do you think I can get in x place with y profile?" is really a literal question. And so I think a big portion of the point is just missed. Going through the application process is terrifying, we are putting money and our lives in the air with a huge degree of uncertainty. We also know that MOST people who apply don't get in. We don't know if in less than a year we are going to be moving and leaving friends and family to pursue our dreams or if we will be desperately seeking some job to help us pay rent. And to top that off, we are often alone in this application process. Yes we have professors who are supporting us, and yes often we have family who are supporting us, but I don't know of many people who already have friends going through the same process. Particularly friends who are looking at similar programs. Hasn't nearly everyone gotten done with a test and then talked to all our friends and classmates about the test, that is DONE. What's the point of this? Ultimately we have done whatever we have done and there is no changing that. I would say that this behavior serves more as a social reassurance that this unknown thing is a shared concern. Most people are quite social and need that sort of support. There are tons of reasons people don't just come into the forum and be like "Hi I need a friend who is also dealing with this stuff." Just like you don't go up to a perfect stranger and hold their hand (unless you're this guy). It is safer and more acceptable to put something of yourself out there and see who is interested and cares, who actually may be dealing with the same thing. It is also something I doubt most people are really conscious of, they are worried and they want to share it or seek some reassurance or perhaps redirect some of that anxiety.