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hector549

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hector549 last won the day on May 22

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About hector549

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    The Middle West
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    Philosophy

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  1. hector549

    CSULA vs SFSU MA Philosophy

    Congrats on your acceptances! I don't have personal experience with either program, so I can't speak to how well faculty work with students. However, a few thoughts: 1. I don't know if there's a difference in funding between the two for you, but even if SFSU is giving you more funding, cost-of-living in LA is going to be lower than SF (I'm assuming that you have funded offers from both. Is that the case?). LA is expensive, of course, but housing costs in SF are obscene. University-subsidized grad student housing can help, but is often not great in terms of quality of life. 2. SFSU is no longer listed on the the PGR's list of top MA's, though CSULA is (See link here). That's something to keep in mind in terms of assessing the comparative overall strength of the two programs. 3. With respect to placement, it's a bit hard to determine. SFSU only has 2019 placements listed. CSULA lists every student's placement by year, so it's a bit more transparent, but they haven't updated the website in several years. I'd email SFSU and ask for complete placement listed by year, and ask CSULA for the last few years' placements. That should give you a better idea of how their placements compare, which might help you make a decision. 4. Reach out to current students at both programs. SFSU has a grad student listing. Pick a few students, and email them. See what they think of the program/whether faculty are approachable/etc. In my experience, most people will be happy to help. It would be especially good if you could talk to some advisees of the faculty you hope to work with. Not all advisors are created equal. I didn't see a CSULA grad student directory, so you might have to email the department and ask for the emails of current students. Hope this helps!
  2. hector549

    2 Questions concerning the GRE

    It's hard to say precisely. Ask 10 people, and you'll get 10 different answers. I'd say thresholds you should try to hit would be: 50ish+ percentile for quant (which is about 153), unless you're aiming for some kind of logic-heavy program like CMU or the like, and 160+ verbal. It's not clear that anyone cares about the writing score, but I'd think it would be good to aim for 4.5. Some programs publish their supposed average scores; for example, Notre Dame claims 94th percentile for verbal, 84th quant, and 87th writing. UCSD claims average scores are: 168V/160Q/5.1AWA. I think it's tempting to be sucked into spending a lot of time/money working on the GRE because it gives you a quantitative score that is straightforward to interpret when other aspects of one's own application are harder to assess (How good is my WS really? Who knows what my letters contain?), but I think that this is largely a trap, as long as you're scoring above the thresholds I'm suggesting.
  3. hector549

    2 Questions concerning the GRE

    The writing sample is many orders of magnitude greater in importance than the GRE. Your quant score is perfectly fine. For verbal, I'd say anything over 160ish is probably fine (for optics reasons). Would it be better if it were a few points higher? Probably, but I wouldn't spend time studying to retake it, unless you have a lot of free time and the extra $$ lying around for the retake. Spend that time working on your sample.
  4. hector549

    Entering Academic Philosophy with a Non-Phi Major

    This is a good point, although there's always the option of having it as an AOC rather than an AOI, I suppose.
  5. hector549

    Entering Academic Philosophy with a Non-Phi Major

    Not sure about the claim that history's job market is better than philosophy's. I was under the impression that it was the other way around (though both are very difficult). I'd like to see some data that suggest otherwise. I agree that MAPSS/MAPH is a bad idea, but a terminal MA is certainly useful, especially for someone trying to enter from an adjacent discipline. It's just important to go to a fully-funded one with a good placement history, not something like those Chicago programs.
  6. hector549

    Entering Academic Philosophy with a Non-Phi Major

    Don't go to the MAPH/MAPSS programs; they're a colossal waste of money. Take some upper-level or grad courses at your current institution (since you work there). This will help you get letters, possibly give you a starting point for a writing sample, and give you some exposure to the discipline. Then apply to programs, with plenty of fully-funded MA programs on your list.
  7. hector549

    Dear 2020 applicants...

    This is useful info, but just an FYI, Boston U does offer fee waivers. See this website: http://www.bu.edu/cas/admissions/phd-mfa/apply/fee-waiver/
  8. hector549

    Another 'too old' thread... Apologies

    Look, going to grad school in any humanities field at any age is a risk. You’re investing a lot of your time and energy into something that’s not likely to give you a ready-made, stable career. This makes it worth warning someone who isn’t informed about the job market, but on its own isn’t reason to tell someone that they shouldn’t do it. After all, almost all of us in this forum are doing it. I’m not sure why being older changes this. @unclaimedata, you’re a bit older than most people who are going into programs, but who cares? It’s also less unusual than you probably think. Plenty of people in philosophy grad programs are in their 30’s. Before you decide that you’re set on grad school though, you should take some upper-level courses at a nearby institution. This will help you see if this is really a path you want to follow, and help you get some new letters so you can apply to MA programs and get re-seasoned.
  9. hector549

    Typical Week of Philosophy

    All the MA programs Leiter lists are good ones, but he does rank them in groups according to faculty strength.
  10. hector549

    Typical Week of Philosophy

    I think I've already made my position clear in this thread, but I wanted to directly answer @DoodleBob's initial question based on my experience, and in a bit more detail. My guess is that I spend an average of about 50 hrs/wk doing grad school work over the course of the semester. During busy times in the semester, it's more like 60, but at the beginning of the term when things are more chill, it's closer to 40. During most of the semester, I work 8 or 9 hours a day during the week, and on the weekends, put in perhaps 5 hours each day. During busy times, I'll work something closer to a full day on the weekends, and a bit more each day through the week. For most of the semester, this leaves me with a bit of time daily to do things like unwind and watch a bit of TV, prepare meals, work out, etc. FWIW, I'm at one of the top 5 "Leiter-ific" MA programs. I'd say I work more than most people do in my program. I know of no one in my program who works anything like 70+ hours on a regular basis. My hours estimates are inclusive of teaching duties (perhaps 6 hrs/wk) and the time sitting in seminars (about 7.5 hours/wk), but not of time going to colloquia, times when I'm chatting with my classmates, nor times during the day when I get distracted and do things like replying to GradCafe threads. Edit: I should also add that during the summer between the first and second years of my MA, I spent about 30 or so hrs/wk on grad-school related work (prepping to teach a course, studying to re-take the GRE, working on my writing sample). I didn't do any work the first several weeks of the break, and I took off a few days during the course of the summer, but otherwise I did at least some grad-school work every day, all summer.
  11. hector549

    Typical Week of Philosophy

    I meant total working time to be inclusive of TA duties, seminars, and the like, so I do think that we disagree on this point. While sustained reading and writing differs in some respects from teaching/seminar time, all these things take time, energy, and the use of one's intellectual faculties, so I wouldn't make a distinction between them when thinking about working-hours. As @VentralStream suggests (and I think we'd at least agree on this @brookspn!), it's important for prospective students to find out what TAing loads look like at prospective programs--you don't want teaching to take up too much of your available time and energy, leaving you with insufficient time for your own work and downtime. I would also add one clarification to my earlier position--of course things do get crazy at certain points in an academic term, and during those periods one's working hours increase (though I think there are still hard limits to how many hours we can work and still do good work, even in these circumstances). But I meant my position to primarily concern sustained work practices over the course of a semester, and I took yours to concern the same, @brookspn. On my view, 50ish hours is an average over the term.
  12. hector549

    Typical Week of Philosophy

    I meant to make two related but separate points. I meant to point out that work/life balance is important, and that that is in itself a good reason not to hold oneself to extraordinarily long hours. I meant to also communicate my skepticism about the effectiveness of working very long hours, and that that's also a reason not to hold oneself to such hours--it's unlikely to work. I'm not convinced that working, say, 70+ hours/wk will make one a better/more productive philosopher than, say, 50 or so hours/wk. To the contrary, it might be detrimental to one's ability to be productive to try to push through to 70+. Even if it works in the short term (and that's a big if--studies suggest otherwise), it won't in the long term if one ends up with health problems from overwork that prevent one from working effectively. I don't see, then, that the two options are having a work/life balance though being less effective, or working extraordinarily long hours but being more effective.
  13. hector549

    Typical Week of Philosophy

    Well yeah, but you're not going to spend those 42 hours doing whatever. You'll need to make food and eat it. Let's assume you spend 2 hrs/day doing that. That's 14 hrs/wk. Let's also say that you spend 3 hrs/wk commuting (being conservative here), 3 hrs/wk doing laundry/getting groceries/running errands, 7hrs/wk doing things like bathing, brushing your teeth, and going to the bathroom, and 3 hrs/wk exercising. That's a total of 30 hours. Now you're down to 12 hours of "free time" a week. That's less than 2 hrs/day. This of course isn't taking into consideration the time it takes to transition between tasks, nor the time for all the other minutiae that make up a human life. If you're working 70 hrs/week or more, you're not giving yourself any real downtime, or you're cutting corners on all the other stuff I listed, which is neither healthy nor sustainable (and it's unlikely that all those 70 hrs are actually spent working!). When are you going to hang out with friends and/or a significant other? Look, I think philosophy is great, and getting to study it in grad school is awesome, but we're not machines. We need rest and a balanced life. Perpetuating this culture of "you need to work inhuman hours to be good at philosophy" isn't doing anyone any good.
  14. hector549

    Typical Week of Philosophy

    There are a lot of studies that show that productivity drops significantly above 50 hours a week or so. Here is one. My advice is this: take your work seriously and work hard, but recognize that trying to work all the time will result in diminishing returns. Sounds obvious maybe, but don't sacrifice your physical or mental health. It's not worth it, and it's not going to magically make you a super-philosopher anyway. Exercise regularly, sleep 7 or 8 hours a night, cook healthy meals, go out for drinks with friends every now and then, bullshit with your classmates from time to time, go for a walk, whatever. You'll feel better, and you'll do better work.
  15. hector549

    Deferring

    If you're thinking you might need to defer, then I'd suggest you should talk to the DGA/DGS ASAP about your situation. Don't wait until after the 15th.
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