Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Stable_disposition

  • Rank

Profile Information

  • Location
  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Stable_disposition

    Declining Offers/Withdrawing Applications Thread

    Just declined an offer off the UT Austin waitlist and took myself off the list.
  2. Stable_disposition

    Declining Offers/Withdrawing Applications Thread

    Just declined VT—I was next in line for funding, so hopefully this helps someone.
  3. Stable_disposition

    Dear 2020 applicants...

    Well, i’d agree somewhat, but it seems like what they’re weighing, especially at higher levels, is not just your flaws but also your strengths. Presumably people who got into Princeton but not Harvard or Rutgers but not Berkeley have few flaws. I would imagine (and of course, this is all supposition) that top adcoms, faced with a ton of extremely strong candidates, look for traits and accomplishments they particularly value and decide based on that (in the final cut). Whatever the case, you’re right that in the end it is quite mysterious. There are always good writing samples and weak ones, and good candidates and weak ones. You can probably generally rank candidates into tiers corresponding to the tier of program they’re competitive for. However, among the good/competitive ones, a lot of whether a given candidate gets into x program they’re competitive for probably depends on how they strike the adcom, how well they stand out and how much the people there want to work with them. One can usually say if a sample is good or bad in an objective way, but whether someone really falls for it is much more subjective
  4. Stable_disposition

    Dear 2020 applicants...

    There’s something to this. Some people do consistently better than others, and you can pick out some of the factors that make for successful applicants and make decent predictions based on that and the PGR rankings. Still, there’s a lot of stuff that’s difficult to explain. I know people who got rejected from programs I got into, and accepted to programs I got rejected to. I’ve been accepted at top 20 PGR schools and waitlisted at 20-40 ranked schools. This is obviously because despite the fact that there really are factors that make for a good candidate, each school weighs these factors differently given the kind of students they want. This high level of idiosyncrasy is further magnified by the fact that there really are a lot of very good applicants out there, and adcoms can afford to (and in fact have to) be very picky. I think this is what people mean when they talk about the almost mystical process—understanding individual decisions is very difficult. Still, you’re right that it’s not a lottery. In general, There are clearly things that work for people, and things that don’t, and adcoms aren’t just flipping coins.
  5. Stable_disposition

    Dear 2020 applicants...

    A lower GPA, at least outside of philosophy, is not a death sentence. This something a lot of people tend to stress over, and there’s a) no point to doing so once you’re applying and b) at least anecdotal evidence that some adcoms will forgive a weaker transcript. I have a 3.69 (3.89 in phil) from an unranked (in phil) undergrad institution and I got into Pitt, UNC, Arizona, and Georgetown, and was waitlisted at UT Austin, UVA, and Wisconsin. I was also rejected from UCSD, Toronto, Cornell, and Chicago. All this is just to say that I did quite respectably and got into some of the best schools I applied too, in terms of rankings, despite my 3.69. Of course, I don’t want to say it doesn’t matter—i’m sure it does, and probably more for some schools. By all means, excel as much as you can in undergrad, especially in philosophy classes. However, don’t count yourself out just because of your poor grades. Also, i’ll repeat what’s been said: take a year off. I did, and it helped me realize that I really did want to go to grad school, because I really missed the intellectual stimulation of college and found my life a little empty without it. It also gave me the time to really work on my sample, though I probably did still less than some of the people on here (you guys are incredible!)
  6. Stable_disposition

    Declining Offers/Withdrawing Applications Thread

    Just declined UVAs waitlist. Will probably decline an acceptance at Georgetown and a waitlist at UW Madison soon.
  7. Stable_disposition


    I’ll join in on the Pitt acceptance party-really exciting!
  8. Stable_disposition


    Congrats! I just graduated from UF (undergrad). Obviously not a famous program but I had good experiences there. What’s you AOI and who do you want to work with?
  9. Stable_disposition


    Waitlisted at UW-MADISON. Almost certainly going to decline tonight since i’m in at chapel hill. Out of curiousity, what did everyone’s waitlist email look like? Mine said they were impressed by my application but couldn’t offer me a spot, but I remain under serious consideration. Also asked me to tell them if I get any other offers and to reach out if I need. I assume it was the same for everyone but I was just curious.
  10. Stable_disposition

    3.7 GPA or lower acceptances

    Anecdotally, I just got accepted to UNC, which seems to me like a program worth going to, with a GPA of 3.69 (albeit a philosophy gpa of 3.9~). For context, I am coming from a well regarded but not elite public university without a ranked program in philosophy. I took a year off after graduating but I have no MA. I have strong GRE scores (160/170/5.5) and I can only assume my sample and letters were very good. I’m posting this mainly to give people in a similar situation some hope, since I felt pretty hopeless at times going into this. People can and do get into top twenty programs with weaker GPAs (though weak philosophy GPAs may be another matter). Of course, what Prose seems to be saying probably has some truth to it: it may only be people whose applications are otherwise particularly excellent can get into highly ranked programs (especially top 10) with low GPAs. However, I’m not entirely sure about this. Grades must matter to some extent, but do committees actually disqualify applications that would otherwise be competitive because of low GPA and only look seriously at low-gpa applications if they are really exceptional?Are the person who got into Harvard’s materials, sans grades, better than the rest of his cohort? It seems to me most Harvard grad students, regardless of GPA, have prestige, strong letters and a near-publishable sample. I doubt my sample and letters are “better” than those of people who got into UNC with high gpas. Now, a low philosophy GPA probably is a serious blow against an applicant, but I doubt many adcoms will, looking at two applicants with strong samples and letters, decide to admit the one who didn’t get a c- in freshman organic chem or b’s in his gen-Ed requirements as an underclassman on that basis. Indeed, it may be that GPA doesn’t matter very much at all and that, like the GRE, the correlation between acceptance and GPA is mostly due to the fact that good students will likely be able to produce a good sample and letters. still, this whole process is such a mystery to me that I can’t make any definite statements. Ultimately, all I can say is that it seems unlikely to me that a low non-philosophy GPA will be a serious roadblock for an otherwise competitive applicant, and that it’s at least possible to get in as a low gpa-applicant (relatively speaking, since 3.7 is still above average at all but a few very generous private schools). Of course, the whole process is still incredibly competitive so don’t feel too reassured. Apply widely and consider MA programs. This may apply even more for lower-GPA, as i’ve heard people might see you as more of gamble and applying to many places may allow you to get seen by someone who’s willing to take that gamble. Who knows? I wouldn’t be incredibly surprised if UNC was the only place to accept me- so far I have an acceptance from them and a rejection from Chicago. I’ll return to this thread when this harrowing is complete and give the final verdict, but give the nature of this process, we’ll never know for sure.

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.