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Undergraduate grades, the writing sample, and AOS


jc177
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Hi all,

I'm in a bit of a dilemma: I got an A- in a class (metaphysics), and I really wanted to specialize in metaphysics. To what extent does getting an A- in an area of specialization matter to admissions committees? If it even matters to a small degree, would it be advisable to choose a different AOS? I actually enjoy many different fields, so it shouldn't be too hard to pick a different AOS. However, this is still very troubling for me because the topic of my best writing is metaphysics, and I've heard that the topic of the writing sample should be tailored to one's AOS. Any help is appreciated! 

Thank you!

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19 minutes ago, jc177 said:

Hi all,

I'm in a bit of a dilemma: I got an A- in a class (metaphysics), and I really wanted to specialize in metaphysics. To what extent does getting an A- in an area of specialization matter to admissions committees? If it even matters to a small degree, would it be advisable to choose a different AOS? I actually enjoy many different fields, so it shouldn't be too hard to pick a different AOS. However, this is still very troubling for me because the topic of my best writing is metaphysics, and I've heard that the topic of the writing sample should be tailored to one's AOS. Any help is appreciated! 

Thank you!

Well, I'll defer to other opinions here, but I think you're fine!. One A- won't give adcoms pause, especially if you kill a writing sample in that area.

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13 minutes ago, Goonasabi said:

Well, I'll defer to other opinions here, but I think you're fine!. One A- won't give adcoms pause, especially if you kill a writing sample in that area.

Thanks! I'm not too worried about getting an A-. What I'm worried about is the A- being in my AOI/AOS. Do you think this matters?

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5 minutes ago, jc177 said:

Thanks! I'm not too worried about getting an A-. What I'm worried about is the A- being in my AOI/AOS. Do you think this matters?

I don't think so. A good writing sample in Metaphysics will cover a multitude of sins.

Also, you could always ask directors of ad coms what they think.

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5 minutes ago, Goonasabi said:

I don't think so. A good writing sample in Metaphysics will cover a multitude of sins.

Also, you could always ask directors of ad coms what they think.

I see. Thanks so much!

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30 minutes ago, Goonasabi said:

I don't think so. A good writing sample in Metaphysics will cover a multitude of sins.

Also, you could always ask directors of ad coms what they think.

I agree as well! I was accepted for a masters program in philosophical theology at Oxford despite getting an A- in the phil theology course I took at my institution (though it was during my sophomore year before I took a significant amount of philosophy courses) 

Edited by incredulous_stare
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Forget about it. It doesn't matter.

What you perhaps should worry about is that there are no jobs in metaphysics, that the trend looks likely to continue, and that it's basically impossible to compete in that subfield if your PhD isn't from one of the three or four "right" programs.

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2 hours ago, incredulous_stare said:

I agree as well! I was accepted for a masters program in philosophical theology at Oxford despite getting an A- in the phil theology course I took at my institution (though it was during my sophomore year before I took a significant amount of philosophy courses) 

 

11 minutes ago, maxhgns said:

Forget about it. It doesn't matter.

What you perhaps should worry about is that there are no jobs in metaphysics, that the trend looks likely to continue, and that it's basically impossible to compete in that subfield if your PhD isn't from one of the three or four "right" programs.

Thank you for your response! 

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I had an A- in my AOI and got into 5 phd programs, a couple pretty top tier (I am continental philosophy, though). I had a thesis (talked about in my letters of recommendation) and writing sample that showed my abilities much more than coursework. I think grades matter, but I dont' think they are picking apart transcripts that closely. If GPA and GRE makes the cut, it all comes down to the letters and writing sample.

Edited by Neither Here Nor There
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I do logic, had a logic writing sample. But I got a B in a logic course. I was accepted to 17 really great programs. It definitely won't be a thing to get your application thrown in the trash. (Though because I was worried about it, I did ask the professor who gave me a B to write me a letter of rec after taking another class of his and doing well). 

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