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mif249

How much do rankings matter?

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Hello all,

In going through the interview/admission process, I keep going back to this question. For anthropology, how much do rankings matter and/or predict securing a permanent position after graduation?

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It's going to depend on your field and subfield plus any interdisciplinary/complementary fields you may have... But, if you're really curious, look at the placement record for the programs you're interested in.

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On 2/5/2018 at 3:41 PM, mif249 said:

Hello all,

In going through the interview/admission process, I keep going back to this question. For anthropology, how much do rankings matter and/or predict securing a permanent position after graduation?

Well, it depends on if you're trying to go into academia, or the private sector. Also, are you trying to get a tenure track position at a high ranked school post doc? If that's the case, then ranking does matter for us, unfortunately. That's not to say you can't do it, but having a degree from a high ranked school will make the search much easier. 

Honestly, focus on finding the school with the best fit for you, and be outstanding. That's going to look much more favorably in the long run than doing mediocre at a better ranked school. 

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Instead of focusing on rank as much (although it can be important in anthro), focus on the opportunities the school gives you and placement of recent grads. Do recent grads land more teaching or industry positions? They should also list their percentages (grads with jobs in the field, grads with jobs overall, etc). Does the program pay for you to attend national or international conferences? Are they set up so that you can get multiple publications out while attending? Do they invite visiting scholars and arrange some kind of time for students to mingle with these scholars? Do they have you TA? Are TAs mainly graders or could you become an Instructor of Record after a year or two? 

Networking is an important aspect of landing a job in the future (as are publications, conference presentations, and other things to beef up your CV) so programs that incorporate these opportunities may be better for your career interests (which you can then back up with their job placement data).

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15 minutes ago, GreenEyedTrombonist said:

Instead of focusing on rank as much (although it can be important in anthro), focus on the opportunities the school gives you and placement of recent grads. Do recent grads land more teaching or industry positions? They should also list their percentages (grads with jobs in the field, grads with jobs overall, etc). Does the program pay for you to attend national or international conferences? Are they set up so that you can get multiple publications out while attending? Do they invite visiting scholars and arrange some kind of time for students to mingle with these scholars? Do they have you TA? Are TAs mainly graders or could you become an Instructor of Record after a year or two? 

Networking is an important aspect of landing a job in the future (as are publications, conference presentations, and other things to beef up your CV) so programs that incorporate these opportunities may be better for your career interests (which you can then back up with their job placement data).

Thank you so much, truly. I just received an offer so I'm going to make sure to ask these questions before I accept.

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36 minutes ago, phyanth said:

Well, it depends on if you're trying to go into academia, or the private sector. Also, are you trying to get a tenure track position at a high ranked school post doc? If that's the case, then ranking does matter for us, unfortunately. That's not to say you can't do it, but having a degree from a high ranked school will make the search much easier. 

Honestly, focus on finding the school with the best fit for you, and be outstanding. That's going to look much more favorably in the long run than doing mediocre at a better ranked school. 

I didn't come from an anthro background so another issue I'm having is simply determining the rankings, and the reputations of the different departments/how they're perceived in the field. Is there any value in NRC rankings? Or another resource?

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I'm going to say that rankings do not matter too much.. it's more about what you do, what initative you've taken to learn more skills and network. You don't need to go to the number 1 school to be able to be just as successful as someone who went to a lower ranked school. 

I imagine that a student who was accepted to both the number 1 ranked university and the 30th ranked university in thier field will be just as successful at either. That student would probably be very active in obtaining new skills, networking, doing kick ass research and writing quality papers at either university. Another student with the application strength deserving of a lower ranked program may not be as successful as the aforementioned student when attending the top ranked program, only because they may not work as hard. So in my opinion, its about the student. There are opportunities everywhere, you have to be hungry and get it. 

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4 hours ago, WhyTry said:

I'm going to say that rankings do not matter too much.. it's more about what you do, what initative you've taken to learn more skills and network. You don't need to go to the number 1 school to be able to be just as successful as someone who went to a lower ranked school. 

While this is true, that doesn't mean that hiring committees don't perceive students differently based on the institution they attended and its rank.

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