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    bubbles1 reacted to tkid86 in Where to apply   
    I would like to respond to this constructively, but to be frank, you seem kind of all over the place. Part of your profile reads like you want to go into politics — your mention of "very prestigious moot court program", your internship at the state legislature, and your work with political campaigns. The other part seems like a lackadaisical approach to academia. You like research because you think you have an aptitude for it, but you still would not mind ending up teaching at a community college. If you do get your PhD, it is because you want to try your hand at finding a tenure track job at a four-year top program. It seems as if teaching to you is simply whimsy — and that is okay; there are some PhDs who are interested in straight research and not particularly interested in teaching. But you are giving very mixed signals here.
    You want to apply to T-30 schools, but you want to use placement record rankings (assuming you are referring to Table 1: Placement of Oprisko 2013). But as noted even within the abstract, "We find that as one’s prestige rank decreases, their ability to place diminishes." The only school that is listed in the top twenty-five of the placement record that isn't a top twenty-five ranked school is Hopkins, which recognizably has significant symbolic capital even outside of the political science discipline. (If you go to the top thirty of that list, you do add in Iowa, Michigan State, UVA, Syracuse, and FSU, all of which are not ranked in the top thirty of the program ranking cited.) Yet, you still mention UCLA (10/9), Harvard (1/1), Princeton (2/8), and Northwestern (21/19).
    I suppose my other trouble with your posts here is that you posted very similar ones in the past, and I do wonder why you have not learned from that experience — from searching for a MA program — how to figure out which schools you should even begin researching and considering. As I mentioned above, you start with people whose work encourages you and interests you and then you look at the broader department, especially if the only reason you are drawn to a university is for the big names. Are more people doing things you like than just the big names? Or is it just them and their prestige? We all have our scholastic idols, but you look for the people and then you stay for the department. Do you like UCLA as a whole or is it just Zollar and Mann? Are you interested in Harvard beyond the name or Fukuyama and Skocpol? Do you see where I'm going with all this?
    From my observation, you seem ill-prepared for what you are getting yourself into with a PhD (which is why I pointed you to that other thread of some words of caution in my earlier post).
    Edit: It seems that you've already received a very long and thorough list of schools to consider.
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