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Is it a self-fulfilling prophecy?


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As I get ready for my second round of applications this year, I cannot help but wonder if someone who attended a small unknown State school [with no known faculty] is doomed for the rest of his/her life when applying to the top graduate programs.


I was told by professors from some of those top schools to pursue a "top" MA before reapplying [if 

I can get in one]. Yet, now that I am checking the profile of the students attending these "top" MAs, I realize that these students are also coming from mid/top tier undergraduate schools.


Is this a self-fulfilling prophecy? Am I doomed? If there is a way around it, what would it be? Do you share my concerns?

Edited by brazilianbuddy
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I went to a *very* modestly ranked small liberal arts college. I then did my MA at UChicago. So I would say that that was the major jump, and that going from Chicago to (now) Yale is a much shorter jump.


However, I do want to note that such a jump is in the minority. Like you, I've also observed that the students who end up in leading programs tend to come from other leading programs. I'm sure there is an obvious momentum here--clearly, the best programs desire students vetted by other comparable programs. Yet, this is not an absolute. It can be overcome. It's just unusual and, therefore, less frequent. 

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