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I am in the process of filling out PhD/ThD applications and I was wondering if anyone else had any thoughts on some of the questions they ask you. I know this has been discussed before, but what are people's thoughts on responding to the question about children. It seems to me that responding to this question in the affirmative could only hurt one's chances. But maybe not. Do you think it makes a difference what type of program one is applying to (e.g., I am applying to three seminaries/divinity schools)?


Also, what about responding to the question about where else you are applying? Again, I know this has been discussed, but I'm just curious about current perspectives.

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I did not apply to any programs (PhD) that asked about children.  If there were questions and it was not optional I would not answer it personally.  It is kind of like a job in that regards that they have no business knowing if you are single or married etc.  

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Honestly, I wouldn't worry about those questions too much. Divulging that you're married and have kids isn't going to be what keeps you from getting into a program. Adcoms are far more interested in your writing sample, statement of purpose, etc.


With regard to the question about the other schools, I think that's mostly so they know what their competition potentially is should they admit you. I don't think it can hinder you either. If a program truly wants you, it's going to be based upon your potential as a scholar which is derived from the application materials, and they're only going to care about the other schools you're applying to insofar as they have to recruit you away from them.


I can't imagine an adcom being really excited about you as a candidate but then turned off once they saw you were married with kids or applying to schools X, Y, and Z.

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If you're speaking about interview questions, they would NEVER ask such a specific and potentially biased question. 

In an application, I can't remember if 'marital status' is listed. If it would be, it would be for administrative purposes and like ethnicity, be in a portion of the application which is withheld from the adcom. Believe me, any potentially bias provoking question or detail has been removed from the admiss. process.

If your statement of purpose involves an incident which reveals you have or don't have children, you would not earn any points of sympathy. Applicants want to mention irrelevant facts in their statement of purpose (interest in LGBT, social justice, prison reform, the care of little animals, etc etc) thinking it will help paint a favorable picture of themselves. Read the university's instructions for the SOP very carefully - and do what it says.

Your status of a parent has NO bearing on your admission.

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