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About Scoots

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  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
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  1. Scoots

    MA AOI and PhD Admissions

    I produced a writing sample in X and wrote in my SOP that my main interest was Y, and one department explicitly told me that was a major factor in denying me a place: apparently it was difficult to know who to assign to read my application. (They said they liked the application otherwise, and told me to reapply next year with a sample in my stated area of interest)
  2. Scoots

    Typical Week of Philosophy

    I really wonder what kind of work/study people are talking about. I spend most waking hours thinking about philosophy, but I couldn’t really call that work. I’ve been out of the academy for a few years now, but even when I was studying for my degree, I doubt I could manage more than about 10 hours of productive reading each week, on top of a few lectures. It didn’t hurt my grades, or—it seems—my chances w.r.t. PhD admissions. Talking to my undergrad professors (at a top 10 Phil. Gourmet department) this seems to capture their experience as well. If you’re spending 70 waking hours reading papers and engaging in directed academic study each week, I imagine you’ll produce beautifully polished academic work, and be up to the minute on all the latest fads... but will it really be interesting, creative philosophy? (—I mean, perhaps you can make that work, but I feel it would hinder more than help?) Wittgenstein was mentioned as an example of a hard worker. As far as I can tell from biographies etc., that meant open-ended pondering of philosophical questions, reading detective fiction, and discussing philosophy with his friends and students. I can’t imagine that’s the kind of study under discussion here.
  3. Scoots

    Declining Offers/Withdrawing Applications Thread

    Declined Brandeis.
  4. Scoots

    UCL and the Mphil stud

    How do you go about doing that? Is there a separate application?
  5. Scoots

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    Probably best not to quote real names on here!
  6. Scoots

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    I’m interested in Japanese philosophy (mainly Nishida) and Chinese philosophy (mainly Zhuangzi)! I’ve also studied some Indian Buddhist metaphysics, but only at an introductory level.
  7. Scoots

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    Ooh same! What kind of non-Western things?
  8. Scoots

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    One of my recommenders is torturing me by sending every recommendation within an hour of the respective deadline.
  9. Scoots

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    Anyone having difficulty with USC recommendations? I just got a very irate email from one of my recommenders who has spent the last two days making no headway with uploading the recommendation.
  10. Scoots

    Statement of Purpose

    How did you make it so long?? I’ve been merrily sending out 300 word statements... what are you including?
  11. One thing people’s GRE scores do correlate very well with is their belief in the utility of the GRE.
  12. Scoots

    2019 Graduate Entrants

    Just got my first acceptance! Rather a surprise to get something so soon. (UK masters degree, details posted on gradcafe results page)
  13. Scoots

    Writing samples

    Hey folks! Would any successful applicants from previous years be happy to share their writing samples? There’s some useful advice online, but it’s fairly basic, and it would be interesting to see the kind of samples that do well. I’m particularly interested in samples that tackle more unusual topics. Thanks in advance!
  14. Scoots

    Shut Out Discussion Thread

    Great advice on this thread. I applied with a writing sample on an unusual topic that didn’t align particularly closely with my stated interests on my statement of purpose. I also had pretty wide-ranging interests expressed on my statement of purpose. Reading this thread, it appears I committed all the cardinal sins of applications! I’ll try again next year, but I’m taking up a place in law school in the meantime. If I’m successful next year, I’ll try to combine the two; if not, at least I’ll have a career in something I’m almost as interested in as philosophy...
  15. Scoots

    Rants, Venting, and Speculation

    It’s quite difficult to know what I should do differently next time. I have a perfect GRE; great grades from a top undergrad; a writing sample that was called ‘interesting’, ‘original’ and ‘eye-catching’ by the professors who looked at it (from top institutions in the US and elsewhere), some of whom gave comments over multiple drafts, all of whom recommended submitting it; and I applied to a lot of schools. All of which rejected me. I guess I should just write a new writing sample, but it’s beginning to feel rather like a very expensive lottery... Ah well. It’s springtime. Good luck everyone!

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