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tmck3053

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About tmck3053

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    Decaf

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  • Gender
    Man
  • Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
  • Application Season
    2018 Fall
  • Program
    Philosophy

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  1. At some of the visits that I went to last year, the department had invited a couple of people from the waitlist to join as well. On some occasions these people received offers not long into the visit. The department I'm currently at is doing the same thing this year, in terms of inviting a small amount of top waitlisted applicants. PGR top 10 departments will likely have the budget to invite the amount of waitlisted applicants that they want. I can't imagine it would do any harm to ask if you'd be welcome to visit at some stage (though asking to come on their specified visit days might seem a bit presumptuous) but I don't imagine that it would do all that much to impact the outcome either -- I wouldn't inconvenience myself significantly to go visit, for instance.
  2. Hey sure, of course. I thought it was clear that I wasn't trying to encourage anyone to spend less time on their sample, and that I think it's obvious that each individual should spend as much time on their sample as they are able to manage. I suppose I was unclear on these points. My concern was this: peoples' circumstances are different and their paths to grad school are many and varied and it's just the case that some people, depending on timing, circumstance, income, living situations, etc. (especially if they are non-US applicants and perhaps not on the same academic calendar) might not be able to spend anywhere near the amount of time on their sample that some people in this thread were able to. My point was only to say that those people ought not to feel discouraged, as I can imagine some might. For context: I know a couple of people back home that almost shied away from applying for grad school in the US (and some that did) because of a perception that one needed to be able to dedicate hundreds of hours to one's sample in order to be even remotely competitive. Trusting that no one would, on my advice, put less work into their sample than they were able to, I simply thought it was helpful to point out to anyone having similar doubts that there are people in good programs that, for one reason or another, did not dedicate this amount of time to their sample.
  3. My writing sample was just a term paper I wrote for a 4th year Honours course back home in Sydney. After I got the feedback from the professor I originally submitted it to, I submitted it basically unchanged. I was fortunate enough to get a few pretty good offers to choose between, and now I'm a first year at Pittsburgh. It's great that some of the people that responded spent so much time on their samples and it's certainly something worth doing if you can. But you also shouldn't think that spending hundreds of hours with your sample is a prerequisite for getting good offers. I suppose all I'm offering is some anecdotal evidence for this, but I'd hate to think someone might read this thread and think that they won't get into grad school unless they can dedicate the better part of a couple of months to working on their sample. That's not to say, of course, that I think that was the intention of anyone posting above. Also, there are naturally some areas of philosophy where expectations of scholarship might higher for grad admissions (for instance, I imagine historical work might require a bit more thorough approach than my sample exhibited, etc.) But in any case, I thought it was worth pointing out that it's possible to do well with a variety of approaches.
  4. Also, if you are accepted or waitlisted somewhere you will almost certainly be put in touch with current grad students and will have a chance to ask them questions like that. If you are accepted outright you will likely be able to visit as well and will have even more time to follow up things like that.
  5. I'll see you at the Pitt visit also. For what it's worth I have been told by some people in the department that there is a huge emphasis on Kant and Hegel at Pittsburgh. That being said, by that I think they mean that many of the philosophers there take inspiration from Kant (McDowell, Ricketts, Wilson) and Hegel (Brandom) in their own work rather than necessarily meaning that they put a strong emphasis on Kant/Hegel scholarship in and of itself.
  6. I'm not sure how helpful this might be but I was very almost shut out this season and I feel I learned a couple of things from it. I was accepted at one PhD program that I applied to (along with the BPhil) out of about 9 that I applied for, and I happened to have a long chat about the process with the person that called me from the program at which I was accepted. What he said in short was that I had a sample that they liked, but that my statement of purpose made it reasonably clear that I didn't have a particular tight focus and that I had broad interests (for instance my sample was broadly in social epistemology while my SOP said I was interested in phil of maths and phil of language). As it happened for balance or whatever reason that is something that they found appealing but it could very easily not have been at another grad school. What I took out of that is that most schools are interested in someone that has a reasonably tight vision for the area that they want to work on, and they want to see (in the form of your sample) some evidence of your ability to work in that area. It might not be the case that having a sample that pulls in a slightly different direction to your stated AOI will explicitly hurt your application, but it doesn't seem as though it will help - given how unbelievably random and competitive the process is, it would seem that you would be giving up an opportunity to appear as a really 'tight' and 'streamlined' candidate. This is obviously reasonably speculative and all anecdotal, but it makes sense to me on some level. Imagine how many people have a statement saying that they are keen to work in area X and a great sample in X - those are the people against whom you are competing. I think I was, in retrospect, very lucky that my sample fell into the hands of someone who read it and liked it (they weren't the obvious choice in the faculty to read it) and that they were [a] in the right mood at the time to feel positively about it and willing to overlook the fact that I came across as a reasonably broad candidate. Anyway - this might not apply to many of you, but it's something I feel I learned over the course of my many rejections this season. I'd certainly done things differently if I had my time again.
  7. This is just a stab in the dark but I think much of it has to do with jumping through bureaucratic hoops. I got a phone call from one school to let me know I was accepted that was followed up by an email with the funding details etc. but none of the contact so far has constituted an 'official' acceptance. Apparently the official acceptance letters have to be approved by some office at a higher level and it takes a while. I suppose it would make sense not to formally reject everyone until this process had played out successfully, even if it is just a rubber stamp. That particular school got in touch with me almost two weeks ago now but hasn't yet sent out rejections.
  8. Hey cool! Well that makes a lot of sense and there's plenty there to weigh up. Looking at the list it doesn't seem that Pittsburgh has a particularly strong specialist history of philosophy bent. That being said there's a strong sense of engagement with the history of philosophy in many of the faculty even if they are not specialists (i.e. McDowell, Brandom, etc). Anyway, interesting to hear what is helping other people to make decisions - it tends to help when it comes time to reflect on your own. Will see you at the visit, in that case.
  9. Yeah I got the first informal email because I missed the original call, but still haven't got the official email. The application portal is a nightmare. Out of interest, what would be the factors influencing your decision? I'm still waiting to hear back from a bunch of places also and I'm trying to keep an open mind. Will you be headed to the Pittsburgh visit?
  10. I'm not sure if this helps, but it seems that what happens at some departments is that the original contact is a sort of informal acceptance, mostly saying that you are 'recommended for admission' rather than accepted officially, since there is some bureaucratic rubber stamp required higher up somewhere. It takes some time after this initial contact before the official letter is sent out, and so presumably rejections are sent at that same time. That is, best as I can tell, what is happening at Pitt. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I think that Pitt called those that were accepted over the weekend.
  11. Lovely! It is a long flight, but they said that would pay for the flights in full. I was very surprised. Do they do this for local students? AUS -> US flights are not cheap.
  12. Congrats guys - me too! Spoke with Mark Wilson on the phone. Time zones are a tricky thing so he attempted to call me at 4am Sydney time and I had to call him back in the morning. Will you guys be at the visit in mid-March? I'm planning on flying over.
  13. Hey I wouldn't worry about it too much at all! Congratulations on the offer you've received! Hopefully you're excited about it! As someone from Australia I was slightly surprised that so many people are reporting receiving offers by phone. Barely anything over here is conducted by phone when it comes to university stuff.
  14. Yes that's true - they both are quite old. That's what makes me hesitant about UPitt in the end. Plus Mark Wilson is getting quite old also.
  15. It's very true that Wittgenstein is not often so well-received in very analytic parts of the world - he was, after all, one of the strongest critics of analytic philosophy and would have completely derided many of their shining lights (Quine, Lewis, etc.) It does make it tough - it was nice for some of my applications to be able to be a bit more open about my interest in Wittgenstein - especially places like Chicago and Harvard. It's probably useless information for you now but Pittsburgh also has a huge interest in Wittgenstein what with McDowell and Brandom and co.
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