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POSC undergrad with tons of questions

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Hey everyone, I’m currently a junior Undergraduate student studying political science with a concentration in theory. I have so many questions about where to apply for grad school/ what to consider, etc, but I guess I just want to get the conversation started. I’ve met with various professors to discuss this topic, so I have a general idea of what to look for in a grad program, but have no idea what schools are realistic to think about applying to. Michael Sandel is probably my favorite author at the moment, but I’m still refining my specific interest. Any help would be appreciated with this, and I’m sure the conversation will become more logistical as people continue to comment. (I have a 3.85 GPA with very solid LOR, good writing samples and a solid overall resume, but have not taken the GRE yet) 

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Going through the past 5 years or so of this forum will help. There are also a lot of good resources available (Duck of Minerva, Chris Blattman, etc.). There is also a pinned thread with advice from Professors that is useful. The biggest things to take away from everything are that 1) it can largely be a crapshoot and a lot of admissions is out of your hands, 2) ranking/funding is important, and 3) FIT MATTERS. 


As for preparing, go present at conferences (e.g. MPSA, university-held, other smaller regional ones), reach out to any former students from your institution that are in/graduate from PhD programs, and make a comprehensive document with rankings, advisors of interest, overall fit, cost of living, median GPA/GRE, etc. Speaking of the GRE, start prepping/taking it EARLY. 


Good luck! 

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Thanks so much for your response! I am definitely going to reach out to current PhD candidates at my university, as I haven't heard too much about any conference opportunities in my area. I've heard that publications can really set you aside from other applicants--any truth to this? In terms of creating a list of school rankings, I've had trouble doing this. My advisor gave me a list of schools to consider, but its pretty much just a replication of a "top 10 Phd programs in POSC" google search.

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