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Philosophy Graduate Entrants 2020


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7 hours ago, TheCarbWhisperer said:

Maybe this is a silly question, but do most PhD phil programs have interviews? I keep looking at the results page and r/gradadmissions and there are just a lotta people talking about interviews. 

Some of the Continental programs have interviews, though not all. Villanova certainly does, I think DePaul and Penn State do too. Check the master list for confirmation.

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On 11/19/2019 at 12:49 PM, Olórin said:

Sigh, it's hard to say. Every department has a unique admissions process, and the people on the admissions committee tend to change frequently. One year someone may care about quant scores more, another year someone else might not. I know it's frustrating to have to deal with that uncertainty, and my take on programs publishing average scores is that they do it to allay some of that frustration. Even so, an average is still an average; it says something, but not very much.

 

I'd say quant scores usually only obviously matter if you declare an interest in philosophy of mathematics. Anything short of that, and it is the more common position to look past them. Think about this: the faculty evaluating quant scores probably don't study math, and they won't know exactly what a quant score assesses in the first place. So, it's not a great metric for those people to use when assessing applicants. Those people will be more interested in other parts of the application. Like your writing sample.

At the end of the day, I wish we could say the score (which by the way is like, not a bad score), I wish we could say it doesn't matter. But it might, and few if any of us will ever know how it mattered, even if we get accepted. (My quant score was 158 if it helps, and I got accepted.)

Just an update: I've been accepted to UCSB (which is just about a PGR top 50) but rejected from Wisc. (which doesn't even require the GRE). Still waiting to hear back from the rest. 

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On 2/13/2020 at 4:59 AM, Prob said:

Just an update: I've been accepted to UCSB (which is just about a PGR top 50) but rejected from Wisc. (which doesn't even require the GRE). Still waiting to hear back from the rest. 

Very glad to hear you’ve had good news!

Admissions season is such a gauntlet. 

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On 1/30/2020 at 9:33 PM, HootyHoo said:

Hey guys! I just found the forum (have been using the Results page for a while) -- I can claim the PSU rejection and the BC acceptance. If the person who was wondering about the BC email is still wondering, it was a prompt to check the portal, not a personalized email. Nice to meet y'all! :)

Hey HootyHoo,

I've made an account just to ask you about your UBC experience! Can you tell us a bit more about what happened?

A few related questions: did you apply for SSHRC? Did you apply in the STS stream? What are your research interests?

Thanks for any information, I'm starting to accept that I may just not be getting into UBC this round and will need to re-apply next year :(

AB

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Just now, Mischief said:

Hey HootyHoo,

I've made an account just to ask you about your UBC experience! Can you tell us a bit more about what happened?

A few related questions: did you apply for SSHRC? Did you apply in the STS stream? What are your research interests?

Thanks for any information, I'm starting to accept that I may just not be getting into UBC this round and will need to re-apply next year :(

AB

Hi Mischief!

To be clear, I'm talking about Boston College and not the University of British Columbia. Sorry for the mix-up, and I hope someone on here will be able to speak more to the UBC process! Best of luck, boss.

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Just now, HootyHoo said:

Hi Mischief!

To be clear, I'm talking about Boston College and not the University of British Columbia. Sorry for the mix-up, and I hope someone on here will be able to speak more to the UBC process! Best of luck, boss.

Woops! Well, I suppose I have an account on this cursed website now so I can ask if anything comes up :)

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Hi all.

I graduated in August 2019 with a BA in philosophy (GPA 3.85, major GPA 3.87) from a top public college in NYC, as Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Sigma Tau --in all of these instances of receiving honors, my university's philosophy department nominated me. I have applied to 16 PhD programs. I have a stellar/very original/extremely polished writing sample comparing Spinoza and Heidegger, using the latter to interpret the former, and asserting that the former interprets the latter. My GRE scores were 149 Q 152 V and 5.5 AW (the particularly less desireable GRE, can be implicitly explained in my statement of purpose, whereby I explain the fact that I had little to no real education until I was 17 and entered into university, where, I only took 1 math course). My letter writers all know me very well, like me a lot and one of them even teaches at a school I have applied to and is the chair of the department of my undergrad university. My top Choices are Columbia, NYU and the CUNY Grad Center because they are close to home.

Now, I have been rejected so far by 4 programs. What is the likelihood that I will actually get in somewhere given what I am bringing to the table?

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6 hours ago, cheesy_cheese said:

Hi all.

I graduated in August 2019 with a BA in philosophy (GPA 3.85, major GPA 3.87) from a top public college in NYC, as Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Sigma Tau --in all of these instances of receiving honors, my university's philosophy department nominated me. I have applied to 16 PhD programs. I have a stellar/very original/extremely polished writing sample comparing Spinoza and Heidegger, using the latter to interpret the former, and asserting that the former interprets the latter. My GRE scores were 149 Q 152 V and 5.5 AW (the particularly less desireable GRE, can be implicitly explained in my statement of purpose, whereby I explain the fact that I had little to no real education until I was 17 and entered into university, where, I only took 1 math course). My letter writers all know me very well, like me a lot and one of them even teaches at a school I have applied to and is the chair of the department of my undergrad university. My top Choices are Columbia, NYU and the CUNY Grad Center because they are close to home.

Now, I have been rejected so far by 4 programs. What is the likelihood that I will actually get in somewhere given what I am bringing to the table?

You've posted the same question in a few other places , but I'll throw in my two cents here.

Grad admissions are never a given--things can change drastically depending on who in the department wants new graduate students this cycle, if there are folks in the department that *don't* want graduate students or everyone knows they can never keep a student more than a year (this isn't always common knowledge), if the person who liked your file doesn't show up to a meeting (I actually know a case where this happened--the applicant was obviously quite annoyed after they found out), if a less than optimal person gets tasked with reading your sample, if there are worries that the people you might want to work with are going to leave/retire, if the committee woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning, etc. I know someone who got into Stanford just because a faculty member liked that they had a high GRE score in math and were interested in logic (and the prof hadn't had a grad student in a while). They were rejected from everywhere else and the only reason they got in other then merit (which others also had of equal quality) is because the person reading the file liked their file for an arbitraryish reason. I've known folks who get shut out one cycle but apply again with the same sample (though maybe they polished it up a bit) and same letters (with some tweaks) and then get into top 25 programs. 

No one on this forum can really chance your likelihood given just how many factors there are that go into admissions decisions each year. A number of the factors have nothing to do with GRE, GPA, or even writing sample and they aren't the sorts of things we can predict in this forum as we aren't on the committees looking at your file.

Edited by MtnDuck
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On 2/29/2020 at 11:24 AM, cheesy_cheese said:

Hi all.

I graduated in August 2019 with a BA in philosophy (GPA 3.85, major GPA 3.87) from a top public college in NYC, as Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Sigma Tau --in all of these instances of receiving honors, my university's philosophy department nominated me. I have applied to 16 PhD programs. I have a stellar/very original/extremely polished writing sample comparing Spinoza and Heidegger, using the latter to interpret the former, and asserting that the former interprets the latter. My GRE scores were 149 Q 152 V and 5.5 AW (the particularly less desireable GRE, can be implicitly explained in my statement of purpose, whereby I explain the fact that I had little to no real education until I was 17 and entered into university, where, I only took 1 math course). My letter writers all know me very well, like me a lot and one of them even teaches at a school I have applied to and is the chair of the department of my undergrad university. My top Choices are Columbia, NYU and the CUNY Grad Center because they are close to home.

Now, I have been rejected so far by 4 programs. What is the likelihood that I will actually get in somewhere given what I am bringing to the table?

It doesn't matter that you took "only one math course". While that can explain a pretty low 149 Q score to the admission committees, it will not explain your 153 V score (which is just as bad) since you must have taken lots of philosophy courses. I would suggest retaking the GRE and reapplying, because schools usually have cutoffs for low GRE scores. A low GRE score can have a more significant bad effect than a high GRE score can have as a positive effect. This is why people on this forum mistakenly say that the GRE doesn't matter as much you think. The reason they think it doesn't matter as much is mainly because getting a 168 vs 162 doesn't make that much of a difference. But, getting a very low score can impact your application very badly, mainly because the whole point of requesting the GRE scores in the application is to make sure that good student records are also tested on a school independent and fairly-objective scale.

Otherwise, schools will be letting in a lot of people that get away with cherry picking their courses and befriending professors who give them inflated grades (and trust me I've seen this happen a lot) or people who pay others to write all their essays. Thus, I would say that if your application is solid, you should try to retake the GRE, get a respectable score, and you will definitely have better luck in the next application season.

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2 hours ago, legush said:

It doesn't matter that you took "only one math course". While that can explain a pretty low 149 Q score to the admission committees, it will not explain your 153 V score (which is just as bad) since you must have taken lots of philosophy courses. I would suggest retaking the GRE and reapplying, because schools usually have cutoffs for low GRE scores. A low GRE score can have a more significant bad effect than a high GRE score can have as a positive effect. This is why people on this forum mistakenly say that the GRE doesn't matter as much you think. The reason they think it doesn't matter as much is mainly because getting a 168 vs 162 doesn't make that much of a difference. But, getting a very low score can impact your application very badly, mainly because the whole point of requesting the GRE scores in the application is to make sure that good student records are also tested on a school independent and fairly-objective scale.

Otherwise, schools will be letting in a lot of people that get away with cherry picking their courses and befriending professors who give them inflated grades (and trust me I've seen this happen a lot) or people who pay others to write all their essays. Thus, I would say that if your application is solid, you should try to retake the GRE, get a respectable score, and you will definitely have better luck in the next application season.

Just a quick note about GREs since there are some additional reasons school request them. 1) after talking with a number of folks at various universities in the process of putting together the spreadsheet, an often stated reason for keeping the GRE is "the grad school requires it" or they need it for fellowship opportunities. 2) There are robust concerns that they aren't really objective. The worry is that much like the SAT they test your ability to take the test more than, well, a lot of things they are supposed to test and tend to reflect class/SES and access to preparatory programs to some extent (which is one reason a number of schools are ditching them in toto at this point). This isn't to say that what you said is incorrect per se (someone wanting to do phil math who scores badly on the Q section may be flagged as a less than ideal candidate, places do compare them to courses/GPA to see both if someone may have had an inflated GPA and also to see if maybe the GPA is reflective of capability, etc.). It is a bit more complex though fwiw and schools have different reasons that aren't easy to lump into one analysis 😐  

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2 hours ago, MtnDuck said:

Just a quick note about GREs since there are some additional reasons school request them. 1) after talking with a number of folks at various universities in the process of putting together the spreadsheet, an often stated reason for keeping the GRE is "the grad school requires it" or they need it for fellowship opportunities. 2) There are robust concerns that they aren't really objective. The worry is that much like the SAT they test your ability to take the test more than, well, a lot of things they are supposed to test and tend to reflect class/SES and access to preparatory programs to some extent (which is one reason a number of schools are ditching them in toto at this point). This isn't to say that what you said is incorrect per se (someone wanting to do phil math who scores badly on the Q section may be flagged as a less than ideal candidate, places do compare them to courses/GPA to see both if someone may have had an inflated GPA and also to see if maybe the GPA is reflective of capability, etc.). It is a bit more complex though fwiw and schools have different reasons that aren't easy to lump into one analysis 😐  

Yeah, and just some anecdotal evidence here but: my quant score is 140 and that has not gotten me straight rejected from every program. My other scores are 155 and 4.5 

Them grad schools know we low score-achieving freaks are out here & full of good ideas 🤘🤘

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