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About hector549

  • Rank
    Double Shot

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  • Location
    The Middle West
  • Interests
    German Idealism, philosophy of mind
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program

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  1. hector549

    Changes to the GradCafe

    Changes to the GradCafe are apparently happening. See here. I'm not sure how this might affect the philosophy forum, but even if's just that the volunteer mods are gone, that's a shame. @TakeruK offered great advice here, and was always super helpful. It would also be a shame if old threads are lost or become otherwise inaccessible to future applicants. I can't tell you how many old threads in the phil forum I dug around in during my first application cycle, and I learned a lot doing so. There's a sense in which sites like this one help make the possibility of graduate school more accessible. Students who don't have top-notch support, guidance, or pre-existing familiarity with the application process can use GradCafe to make up for that deficit.
  2. It depends. It's better to get a letter from a philosopher if at all possible. However, if you need a third letter, and you have no other options, you could get a letter from someone outside the field. I had two letters from philosophers and one from an English professor. I got into all the MA programs to which I applied, and a 40ish-ranked PhD program with those letters, so it is possible to get a letter from a non-philosopher and be successful applicant. I suspect that having a letter from a non-philosopher is far less of an issue for MA programs than for PhD programs; they're used to people applying with atypical backgrounds. Do you have other options?
  3. hector549

    Pittsburgh GRE Recency Requirement

    I don't know about their specific requirement, but if I were in this situation, I think I'd consider getting in touch with whomever handles graduate admissions at Pitt, and inquire as to whether this is a hard requirement or not given the specifics of your situation. If your scores are, say, three years old, perhaps they'd be willing to accept them anyway. It might be worth a shot.
  4. hector549

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    I don't know much about SJSU, but I did notice that CSULB is now on Leiter's list of best MA programs for the first time, which is located here:
  5. hector549

    Scholarly Track-Record vs. Prior GPA (Grad)

    That sounds like a good strategy to me. Getting feedback from faculty on how much of your situation to discuss in your SOP sounds like a good idea.
  6. hector549

    Scholarly Track-Record vs. Prior GPA (Grad)

    I'm a current grad student; I haven't dealt with or known of a situation like yours, so take my advice for what it's worth. A conference or two can be nice for your CV if you're applying. Beyond that, I doubt they mean too much with respect to graduate admissions. I suppose it might show that you've been doing something, but I doubt that it would do much to address the main issues with your application. If I were in your situation, I think, first of all, I'd probably try to get my letter-writers to address the elephants in the room--you have a low GPA and you dropped out of your graduate program. Neither of those things look good, but perhaps if your letter-writers can explain the circumstances, it might help your case. If you want to show that you're serious about doing graduate work again, and that you can succeed in doing so, perhaps you could take a grad course or two somewhere as a non-degree student, and do well in those courses. I don't mean to sound disheartening, but I suspect it might be hard to get into another philosophy graduate program once you've left one (with the exception of transferring). I know of a few instances of people leaving programs, but they left philosophy entirely. In any case, is there a reason you're applying to PhD programs now instead of MAs again? Perhaps you'd stand a better chance of doing an MA first, particularly with your history. The bar for entry is usually lower.
  7. hector549

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    Yes! And that! And not everyone is on/wants to be on FB.
  8. hector549

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    I'd like to make a case for using this website's forum. There's a lot of useful information and discussion that I've found by searching and digging around in old threads. Discussion in a closed FB group won't be accessible to future philosophy applicants. I'm not saying don't use the FB group; one could use both the forum and the group of course! However, I do think there are distinct advantages to having discussion and the like on this forum rather than a FB group.
  9. hector549

    Grad Work Prior to Grad Application

    I didn't take grad courses in undergrad, but I know some people at my institution who did--though I think for most of them it was just a few courses. I seriously doubt that having done more extensive graduate work would count against you. If anything it should work in your favor, since you've further demonstrated your ability to handle graduate level work (assuming that you've done well in the graduate courses you've taken). If you're concerned about it, you could always have your letter-writers explain why you've done extensive graduate coursework at your undergrad institution, but without actually pursuing an MA.
  10. hector549

    B+ in PhilMind

    Yeah, don't sweat it too much. I had a B+ and an A- in philosophy courses on my undergrad transcript, and I got into good programs without a problem.
  11. hector549

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    I'm applying. Just finished the first year of my MA. Interests are mainly in German Idealism/phil of mind. Right now, I'm hoping to apply to a lotttt of programs. I have a working list, but need to start winnowing it down.
  12. hector549

    Hi. I'm in first year and sort of lost?

    A 3.7 is a decent GPA, and you can still get into good programs. Of course, anything you can do to make your application stronger is a good thing, but a 3.7 is not going to sink you. Furthermore, your grades for philosophy courses, particularly upper-level philosophy courses, will matter more. Here's a relevant thread: These days, getting a TT job in philosophy is hard for anyone, even from a top program. Is going to a program outside the top 20 or top 50 worth it? I suppose it depends on what outcome you're looking for. There are good programs with very smart people that aren't in the top 20, or even in the top 50. I'm friends with some of those people, and they're happily doing interesting work in those programs. Job placement outcomes can vary for unranked programs as well. If you go somewhere unranked, you're probably not going to end up teaching at a ranked school, but the job market is bad enough that it's going to be hard to find a TT job no matter who you are. If you're considering a PhD in philosophy, think hard about how you'll feel if you don't/can't get a job after you finish. Take a look at job placements on department websites. That should give you a rough indicator of what the market is like. Also, you're in your first year, so my advice is to enjoy learning, explore your interests, and see how things go for the next few years. Aim to do well, certainly, but there's no need to commit yourself to going to grad school just yet. Unfortunately, this isn't a great way to figure out where to go to school. Current professors started programs 5-30+ years ago, and the job market for academic philosophy has changed quite a bit. Furthermore, the strengths and composition of departments also change as people retire or leave and get replaced. You're better off looking at current rankings for departments which have people working on your areas of interest, and seeing where they've placed people in the past several years. That will give you a better idea. Also, here's a good resource for info about applying to PhD programs in philosophy: http://schwitzsplinters.blogspot.com/search/label/applying to grad school
  13. hector549


    My advice? Take the offer from the US school. It's a bad idea to go to an unfunded MA in philosophy, especially when you have a funded offer elsewhere. Particularly when the funded program has a better placement record. Also, UK COL is significantly more expensive than the US. AOI doesn't matter as much for an MA. Your interests will probably change anyway. MAs are also quick. It'll be over before you know it. UK programs are generally only a year, and that isn't really enough time to do research anyway.
  14. hector549

    Ohio state program

    It's not uncommon for recent graduates to continue on at their university as visiting lecturers for a year or so after successfully defending. That's not a bad thing, as it gives graduates more teaching experience and lets them earn some money during their initial period on the academic job market. Academic hiring also happens in cycles, so if you didn't get a job while you were wrapping up your dissertation in the spring, you'll need something to do until the next hiring cycle the following year. I have friends at a top-ten school who count themselves lucky to have an inital VL position at their university. They're usually contingent positions (i.e. year-to-year, and generally not infinitely renewable) but it saves them from having to scrape together adjuncting work at other area universities, or from having to move somewhere to find adjuncting work quickly if they didn't get a job offer right away the first time out (which these days is not so common). As for OSU's overall job placement--it's not any worse than I'd expect, from a quick look at their page. One or two people from each cohort get TT jobs, one or two leave academia, and the rest get temporary/adjunct/postdoc positions and try again the next year. That's about the best outcome anyone can expect, even from a very good program, to be honest.
  15. This is a post meant to serve as some unsolicited advice for those of you who were admitted to both a PhD program and an MA, and are considering turning down the PhD offer in favor of the MA, to try to get into a higher-ranked PhD program the second time around. I decided to go one of the top MAs last year, rather than a PhD program ranked around 40, and I learned some things after being in an MA for (almost) a year that I wish I would have known about and taken into consideration at the time: 1. My MA program is fully-funded, I live in a low COL town, and I’m a frugal person. However, my MA stipend is really only enough to cover very basic living expenses. Consequently, I’ve had to borrow money to move, to make a trip or two out of town, and next year I’ll have to borrow more for application fees, to retake the GRE, and to pay for various student fees that my stipend won’t cover. I wish I’d considered how much further the PhD stipend I was offered would have gone for me. 2. There’s a cost in terms of stress involved in reapplying from an MA that I very much underestimated. There’s a lot of pressure to do well, since my future is riding on how well I’ll do at my MA. The first time around was stressful, but I also had MA apps as a backup plan. This time, when I apply out, I won’t have that luxury. I may have still made the choice that I ended up making; I’m not sure. I'm certainly getting the chance to develop my interests, and to get better at philosophy. It may also pay off next year—who knows! However, I wish I had known about these issues when I made my decision. I just thought I’d share these things I’ve learned as you make your admission decisions. Good luck!

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