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  1. Congratulations! I'm no expert, just a fellow applicant, but my impression is that Oxford is seen as a great school and offers you similar chances at postdocs and faculty positions as top US programs. I don't think you need to worry about seeming too UK-centric, if that is your worry. 2) sounds quite bad to me. I think 3) only makes sense if you will do something in the meantime that will make you significantly more competitive, and I can't really assess that factor without more information.
  2. If you have an undergraduate degree from a top university and an otherwise competitive application for top programs, can a year of full-time lab manager or research assistant work at a low-ranked university (say, 20-40) hurt your chances? Could adcomms see you, consciously or unconsciously, as a low-tier applicant? Or is all experience good experience?
  3. GRE scores indicate competitiveness in that a person with, say, a 165Q would be seen as having stellar scores in some disciplines (e.g. sociology) and mediocre scores in others (e.g. economics). It's definitely an indicator in that sense, unless I'm missing something. Again, I know fit/match/etc matter a lot, perhaps more than anything else. I'm just discussing competitiveness for the sake of argument and deeper understanding.
  4. Yes, that's one factor. Though since applicant quality varies, it's not a perfect one. I think another useful data point here is average GRE scores.
  5. There still has to be an answer, an overall difference in competitiveness, even if there tends to be a lot of individual variation. I thought we were scientists here 😉
  6. Thanks, PsyDGrad90. I know it's a theoretical question, but I think it's informative. So I'm still curious which programs are easiest (or, least difficult, if you prefer) for a generic applicant.
  7. Sorry, I meant to post this in the general social sciences section, not specifically in psychology.
  8. As I'm planning my graduate school applications for this winter, I'm having trouble deciding between social science disciplines. Obviously there are important personal factors involved, but I'm also wondering about the overall competitiveness of different PhD program admissions. So for which social science (especially sociology, psychology, economics, and organizational behavior) is it easiest to get into a top program? I'm also wondering: Which social sciences have the best job market? Assume the candidate is generic with good qualifications for all of these disciplines. Just for the sake of isolating the variables of interest!
  9. Thanks. That makes sense and is very useful. I do think these jobs could also just give me normal sociological research experience, even if they aren't top names. So that could complement my unconventional/non-sociological research experience so far.
  10. Thanks for the positivity! I'd still like to strengthen my profile if possible, especially given my research experience is unorthodox. The think tanks are niche and not well-known. Do you have a list of think tanks like Urban Institute and MDRC? Or similar organizations that are common workplaces for pre-doctoral sociologists?
  11. I graduated in 2015 with my Bachelor's neuroscience. I've been doing social science research for think tanks since then, and I'd like to make a transition into a sociology PhD program. I have a good GPA (3.9) and GREs (166V, 167Q) and lots of sociological research experience. However, I don't have any letters of recommendation from sociologists (I work mostly with psychologists and economists) and didn't take any sociology courses in undergrad. I'm wondering if there are any full-time jobs I could work at (or maybe a Master's, but those are expensive) that would improve my chances of getting into a top-tier sociology PhD program for entry in Fall 2020 or Fall 2021. I know there are a lot of Research Assistant, Lab Manager, and even Predoctoral Fellow positions in psychology, economics, and other disciplines. But I haven't been able to find many for sociology per se. Any ideas?
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