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Online Apps: "Other Schools"


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I was wondering: why do online applications ask you to enter the names of the other schools to which you're applying? Since I haven't submitted anything yet, I just left the spaces blank. It seems weird to me....will it affect their decision if they think that you fit better with another school, or that they can't compete?

Are other people filling this section out? Thoughts?

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It's a self-check for the program--they want to know which schools they are considered similar to/equal with (or, alternately, which schools they serve as a "backup" to, insofar as there are "backup" schools in PhD admissions). The general claim is that whatever you write down has zero impact on the outcome.

I would like to believe that. But on the other hand, I definitely went the "write down only this school" route.

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is that really advisable, though? most schools probably won't actually believe that's the only place you're applying to...

I usually list a few schools (not all 10 of them), and I list only the ones that are of the same stature. E.g. for a top-20 school, I'll list the other top-20 schools I'm applying to, but for a middle-ranking school, I'll list other middle-ranking schools because I don't want them to think I'm not serious in applying there. That's my logic anyway :) but yeah, I do think it's unfair of them to ask.

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I usually list a few schools (not all 10 of them), and I list only the ones that are of the same stature. E.g. for a top-20 school, I'll list the other top-20 schools I'm applying to, but for a middle-ranking school, I'll list other middle-ranking schools because I don't want them to think I'm not serious in applying there. That's my logic anyway :) but yeah, I do think it's unfair of them to ask.

My logic too - I'm doing something similar:

Not listing all the schools, but mostly those in a similar rankings range, and those that have a similar approach - so, i.e. Chicago and Toronto are together in my mind for some reason for being very "intellectual". ...I've just realised how goofy my logic is on this topic, lol....

Edited by vallensvelvet
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is that really advisable, though? most schools probably won't actually believe that's the only place you're applying to...

It didn't seem to hurt. ;) (There was only one school where I was not able to submit the app without filling in at least one blank; this is the school I currently attend :) ).I believe my thought process at the time was less "Will this hurt my chances" and more "who do you think you are?!".

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It's not supposed to hurt you and it should only be for the school to compare themselves with other schools as others have mentioned. But I wonder what would happen if you apply to a lower ranked school and then list the higher ranked schools you have applied to on your application form. Will they then think that you just applied to them as a 'safe school' and that you are not likely to attend?

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