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Applying to famous labs -- lower probability of acceptance?


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Say you're applying to a psychology department somewhere, and you state your wish to work in a particular lab whose PI happens to be a "superstar". I think it's obvious that well-known names are going to entail higher competition, but do you think this will this reduce your probability of being accepted into the program itself?

To tell you the truth, I don't really understand how the whole thing works. Is it possible that you're accepted, but the PI whose name you stated is taking another student instead of you? Or does the department accept you only if the PI who you want to work with has an open spot?

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Is it possible that you're accepted, but the PI whose name you stated is taking another student instead of you? Or does the department accept you only if the PI who you want to work with has an open spot?

It's the latter from what I understand. But you can list more than one lab in your statement of purpose. So to answer your original question - if you only apply to that one lab with the famous person, then by sheer deductive reasoning, the probability of acceptance is lower. But if you apply to other labs with not-so-famous people, then no it isn't (the effect is wiped out).

But the problem with deductive logic is that it ignores the context of your situation, e.g. how well do you fit in that lab? So don't be discouraged by that.

Edited by Arcadian
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It's the latter from what I understand. But you can list more than one lab in your statement of purpose. So to answer your original question - if you only apply to that one lab with the famous person, then by sheer deductive reasoning, the probability of acceptance is lower. But if you apply to other labs with not-so-famous people, then no it isn't (the effect is wiped out).

But the problem with deductive logic is that it ignores the context of your situation, e.g. how well do you fit in that lab? So don't be discouraged by that.

Thanks!

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