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Olórin

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Olórin last won the day on September 24

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About Olórin

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    Philosophy PhD

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  1. Advice is: don't feel like you have to narrow down too soon. So you have two interest areas. Two is good, and three is sometimes recommended in SoP's by some people. By the time a dissertation starts you might not be interested in any of them. Also, if you show up with a dissertation ready to go, some faculty will perceive you as declaring that you do not intend to explore and evolve throughout the program.
  2. We can't give you what you want. Anyone's odds could always be better. People with better odds sometimes don't get in. People with worse odds sometimes do get in. You're rolling the dice, and nothing about how you describe yourself suggests it will be a bad roll. It is, however, still a roll.
  3. The advanced logic class probably wouldn't add anything to your app unless you write that you're interested in logics in your statement. And if you don' take the logic class, the adcoms will still see your app and think: "Okay, so this student has taken logic. Twice." Also: take the classes you want to take. Of all the things in an app, the particular spread of classes that you took in college are not going to make or break a decision. People will probably only pay attention to your particular classes once they're already sold that you're a competitive applicant anyway. Even then, this is probably not where the decision will get made. (At that point it will be about fit with faculty, program, and the other students they're considering admitting.) Last thing: don't take too much of what I suggest as the law. Adcoms work in mysterious ways and they are all different.
  4. I agree with @maxhgns, especially about that 10 pages a day thing. A lot of other humanities fields privilege reading widely and quickly--but philosophy for me slow and steady. For class readings, I always prioritize reading at my own pace and getting as far as I can at that pace (instead of flying through a book without knowing what's happening just for the sake of it). In the long run, this has ended up helping me, even if there are class periods when I obviously haven't done all the reading. Also, in philosophy (any text really), there's a million and one directions you can follow while reading--just follow what genuinely interests or puzzles you, and don't worry too much about some mythical single meaning that you're supposed to be able to distill from all the noise. Advice for Foucault: in HoS vol. 1 (if that's what you're reading), he's too good at mimicking other people's positions, good enough to trick you into thinking that they are his positions. Sometimes he doesn't let you know until after the fact he articulates the position so that he can critique it later.
  5. Just want to reiterate that age is not a good indicator of whether someone will be around or not, or whether they will be available to serve on dissertation committees. People get new jobs, they go on multi-year leaves of absence, they stop teaching because they get tired, they stop taking on new students because they're over-committed. All sorts of things happen that stop someone from taking on students. Once you get admitted somewhere (it's not worth asking before, it just isn't), then the only person who can tell you are the people you are interested in working with. Grad students don't know as much as they think they do, and they won't be able to predict what your working relationship with someone would be like. So, you should ask everyone directly about where they're at with respect to taking on students. It's part of their job for them to tell people this, they're the ones who signed up to work in PhD programs and be available to advise PhD students. It's also not impossible that someone who plans to retire would still like to serve on committees. Sidenote: if there is only one person in a program you think you'd want to work with, you are probably not a great fit for that program.
  6. Seems like a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. If you get admitted, then you can ask the faculty member if they plan to be around for the next couple years. You should also ask every faculty member this question. They move around a lot and for all sorts of reasons.
  7. Accepted applicants have until April 15 to say yes or no. After that, programs can rescind their offers if they haven’t heard back and give them to someone else. It is not unusual for programs to accept waitlisted applicants after April 15. Lots of programs over-admit on the assumption some will turn down. You’re right that you can’t swap your spot with someone else, you have no way of knowing you’d get an offer if some gradcafe person says they’ll turn down an offer. Even if an offer was made to someone, it might not be to you (same AOI doesn’t mean you have a claim to the spot). Bleak is the name of the game.
  8. 5 hours in class 6 hours of assistantship duties ~10 hours reading Sometimes some hours of writing Sometimes 6 hours of departmental obligations (job talks, workshops, prospective student visits) I used to work more but meh, not worth it most weeks.
  9. You stand a chance. Don’t worry about the gpa, it’s not going to be the thing that gets you rejected in most cases. Apply to PhD programs too.
  10. Re: adcoms: it's not just about how brilliant you seem to them. If they have a choice between two excellent candidates in an area, they might go with the one who seems more collegial to them, or the one who seems like a better fit with the other members of the new cohort. These adcoms are selecting people they'll be with for the better part of 6 years, and they're trying to create what they think is a well-balanced cohort. You might be a genius, but if you're a genius with an ego and it shows, that will get you rejected at some places. In other cases, adcoms will have decided to introduce different areas of interest into their program, and that might mean they select students with those interests even if they do not already seem like a polished genius. Also, lots of programs look for potential rather than genius or highly developed professional skills (and if you publish early, you're stuck with that publication for the rest of your life, and you might regret it one day). Basically, the quality of your application and all the accompanying details matter, but whether you get in or not cannot be reduced to how outstanding this or that application is. Other factors matter to them, too, and you can't guess what those are.
  11. I know someone who chose an MA program over a PhD program, then got rejected from every PhD program this year. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Don't overestimate your ability to navigate grad school admissions.
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