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Reporting Other Schools You're Applying To?


gradpumpkin
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I've noticed that lots of applications give you the option to report other schools that you're applying to as part of their admissions process. Is doing this a bad idea? I'm not sure what they use it for, but it seems like a trap to me. For example, if a school gives you space to list 5 and I'm applying to more than 5, is it wiser to list my schools ranked higher than them, lower, or just not at all? I was planning on just notifying schools when I got offers/funding info to leverage and negotiate funding. Thoughts? 

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Having scrolled around to similar threads, I'll summarize what seems to be the consensus: "[it doesn't really matter. Schools are going to make their own assessment of where you stack up relative to the cycle's pool and will act accordingly. This is just for schools to collect data on general trends.]"

My personal take: I don't really see how they could use this data effectively on the scale with which they operate. At best, they MIGHT be able to glance at it if they're really on the fence, but what would it really tell them? Everyone has their own reasons that go into "the list" and its pretty hard to guess what they are unless its literally just the top 10 ranked schools, or all the schools in one particular state or city.

That being said, I put my top choices for most schools and then a more varied list for my quasi-safeties. I don't think it matters though.

Hope this helps.

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Just now, gradpumpkin said:

I've noticed that lots of applications give you the option to report other schools that you're applying to as part of their admissions process. Is doing this a bad idea? I'm not sure what they use it for, but it seems like a trap to me. For example, if a school gives you space to list 5 and I'm applying to more than 5, is it wiser to list my schools ranked higher than them, lower, or just not at all? I was planning on just notifying schools when I got offers/funding info to leverage and negotiate funding. Thoughts? 

When a department asks this kind of a question, it may be so that it can benchmark itself against peers as a way of meeting a KPI. If you're confident in your application materials, the list may work to your benefit. If you're less certain, you can list schools alphabetically or not at all. 

What kind of message does a newly admitted graduate student send by trying to "leverage" offers of support--especially during a deepening economic crisis that may be inflicting hardship on schools, departments, programs, salaries, and jobs? The obvious benefit of the successful implementation of such a tactic is a more lucrative funding package. But what are the challenges one might encounter of being "that person" in a department where members of the administrative staff took a hit or faculty members were denied promotions? (The possibility that the additional funds come from a different bucket may not matter.) 

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Thank you all for your input! That all makes sense. And @Sigabayou make valid points, but I've seen explicitly on department websites and directly from departments themselves saying that they want to be notified of your other offers once admitted, even this year. I did not mean at all that I'm hoping to take unnecessary funding away from a department. Negotiation of packages (to include more than just money) is a common practice in admissions to the best of my knowledge, especially from graduate schools themselves and not just departments. My assumption would be that departments will only accept students that they are capable of funding and that this money is already allocated, even if that means smaller cohorts. 

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53 minutes ago, gradpumpkin said:

Negotiation of packages (to include more than just money) is a common practice in admissions to the best of my knowledge, especially from graduate schools themselves and not just departments.

IME, there's a difference between negotiating and leveraging. 

Also, generally accepted practices are not always best practices and common practices may not be applicable during extraordinary circumstances.

If you need more money, by all means ask for it. If you want more money, maybe think twice...

$0.02

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8 hours ago, Sigaba said:

When a department asks this kind of a question, it may be so that it can benchmark itself against peers as a way of meeting a KPI. If you're confident in your application materials, the list may work to your benefit. If you're less certain, you can list schools alphabetically or not at all. 

What kind of message does a newly admitted graduate student send by trying to "leverage" offers of support--especially during a deepening economic crisis that may be inflicting hardship on schools, departments, programs, salaries, and jobs? The obvious benefit of the successful implementation of such a tactic is a more lucrative funding package. But what are the challenges one might encounter of being "that person" in a department where members of the administrative staff took a hit or faculty members were denied promotions? (The possibility that the additional funds come from a different bucket may not matter.) 

This isn’t how department funding works. In no world is someone denied promotions or administrative staff are not laid off so a grad student can come to a school with a few thousand dollars more. 

I don’t think there is any downside to list other schools. And you should use these other offers to leverage more funding (in a respectful way of course). Letting them know you are applying to other schools is beneficial in this process. 

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1 hour ago, munch22 said:

This isn’t how department funding works. In no world is someone denied promotions or administrative staff are not laid off so a grad student can come to a school with a few thousand dollars more. 

FWIW/ICYMI, I indicated as much in the very post to which you're replying-- as well as others on this BB this season about higher education finances. 😉

9 hours ago, Sigaba said:

 (The possibility that the additional funds come from a different bucket may not matter.) 

The point I was making is that when it comes to money and promotions, people can easily convince themselves (and each other) that they lost or didn't get what they think is rightly theirs because someone else worked the system or jumped the line or pulled some strings.

(There is a conversation among professors at the CHE successor fora about how money spent on X by another department could/should be reallocated to preserving jobs. This conversation persisted even after someone pointed out what I implied and you stated -- that's not how funding works.)

We're living in an age of trumped up grievance and victimization. The question I raised remains for those who want to "leverage" funding: Is getting extra money one doesn't necessarily absolutely need worth it given the conditions of the day?

Edited by Sigaba
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21 hours ago, Sigaba said:

FWIW/ICYMI, I indicated as much in the very post to which you're replying-- as well as others on this BB this season about higher education finances. 😉

The point I was making is that when it comes to money and promotions, people can easily convince themselves (and each other) that they lost or didn't get what they think is rightly theirs because someone else worked the system or jumped the line or pulled some strings.

(There is a conversation among professors at the CHE successor fora about how money spent on X by another department could/should be reallocated to preserving jobs. This conversation persisted even after someone pointed out what I implied and you stated -- that's not how funding works.)

We're living in an age of trumped up grievance and victimization. The question I raised remains for those who want to "leverage" funding: Is getting extra money one doesn't necessarily absolutely need worth it given the conditions of the day?

I apologize - I missed your last sentence there.

I do want to focus on your last point though, because it is a serious problem with applicants and academia in general: students should not feel bad getting paid more. Would you say the same thing to someone asking for a raise in the private sector?  Many PhD applicants are so grateful to have funding, they accept extremely low offers. Getting rid of the stigma in grad school about asking for more funding is really important. The real value of grad wages has gone down significantly over the last 20 years. Applicants should feel comfortable asking for money, even if they don’t “need it”. 

Edited by munch22
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