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How many schools are you applying to?


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I only applied to two last year, and feel like this was one of my bigger mistakes in the application process due to the current economic climate, and other factors that I could have been unaware of - ie the program just couldn't admit that many, no funding, etc. So I plan on applying to more. What's the number you are thinking about applying to this year?

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I applied to 3 and got in at all 3, but apparently my blood offering to the admissions gods was accepted. From my reading here and talking to others, it's more common to apply to at least 5 unless you have prior experience with the program.

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I applied to 3 and got in at all 3, but apparently my blood offering to the admissions gods was accepted. From my reading here and talking to others, it's more common to apply to at least 5 unless you have prior experience with the program.

Similar story here- I applied to four and got in at all four. Since Canada has fewer PhD granting institutions, Canadians who want to stay at home seem to normally apply to three to six schools.

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I'm applying to 3 because I have to stay within this area. While I believe I would be happy at any of the three I'm applying to, I wish I could apply to more to give myself a better chance of being accepted somewhere!

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I applied to 7.

I was also advised only to apply to my top choices -- to only apply to schools I would absolutely want to attend. OTherwise, it wouldn't really be worth the money; even if such a school were the only to accept me, why go somewhere that would make me miserable, give me 0 funding, not be supportive of my project, etc?

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I applied to 7.

I was also advised only to apply to my top choices -- to only apply to schools I would absolutely want to attend. OTherwise, it wouldn't really be worth the money; even if such a school were the only to accept me, why go somewhere that would make me miserable, give me 0 funding, not be supportive of my project, etc?

I got the same advice, and after a year and a half of mulling it over, I think I agree with it. And, turns out, I'm applying to 7, too!

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I'm trying to get my list to 8-10 schools, but it's around 14 now, which strikes me as a bit too many. Did anyone else start using somewhat arbitrary factors (like geography or rumors about funding) to whittle their lists?

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My list is huge right now, I really need to whittle... I'm thinking about using things like how many professors the dept. has in my area (the more the better in case someone leaves), geography ( a bit arbitrary... but being somewhere I like will only make grad school better), etc. I think though, before I make it too small, I want to contact the professors and see which ones get back to me, how interested they seem, etc. I'm hoping to get it somewhere under 10 as well.

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Three. However, I am applying to a rather obscure field in education where the competition is less than intense (~40-50% acceptance rate). Applying to ten programs would basically mean applying to every decent program in my field in existence which would be overkill in my opinion.

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I was going to apply to 10 but I got it down to 7. 10 just felt too overwhelming to keep track of and too expensive. I will be moving with my hubby and kids, and hubby is in school as well. So wherever I am applying to, I also have to think about lifestyle, schools and cost of living for my kids and my hubby will have to apply to schools as well.

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Did anyone else start using somewhat arbitrary factors (like geography or rumors about funding) to whittle their lists?

There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a school and geography is important. I thought about it when applying. I want to have a life outside of my PhD program. Getting a PhD isn't my #1 priority. Living a regular life is for me. I'm applying to schools in locations I know I will like because I know my surroundings affect who I am and what I do and will even affect my studies. I got my MA from NYU. I hated NYC. Living there while doing my thesis was horrible. I couldn't concentrate on anything other than how that city made me miserable. Working on my thesis under these conditions was tough. I also did some studying in Southen California and felt so much more calm and focused there. The sun and light and being able to see the sky really made my days and studying better.

As far as rumors go, apply anyways and see what happens. Rumors are rumors and you never know what you could be missing out on and what you could change at that school. It's always cool to turn down an offer later if you find out the rumor is true, but to not apply and find out the school gives tons of $...ouch.

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I'm pretty terrified of not getting in somewhere, so I'm applying to 17-ish. Philosophy PhDs, a few MAs. They're all places I would actually like to go, though.

neoreeldancer: why did you hate NYC? I'm curious because I'm applying to several programs there. Just too big/busy etc.?

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I was only going to apply to two. I need to stay within the area. But I have broadened my ideas of what is in the area, and if I can scrape together the money, it looks now like I will apply to four: two I would be THRILLED to get into, one slightly more than the other, and two that have an equal number of pros and cons but that would both work well for me for many reasons. Two offer a good chance that I'll get the financial aid I'll need, though they might also require me to quit a job I am not ready to quit. Two offer a lesser chance of good financial aid, but would allow me to continue working.

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There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a school and geography is important. I thought about it when applying. I want to have a life outside of my PhD program. Getting a PhD isn't my #1 priority. Living a regular life is for me. I'm applying to schools in locations I know I will like because I know my surroundings affect who I am and what I do and will even affect my studies.

This is true. My first priority anywhere is academics (read: I am a freak), but even still, geography is so important--it's not just a random factor. I can't make it through a year without a good fierce winter, so I'm not sending applications to any place that doesn't get bitterly cold for part of the year, no matter how fabulous those schools are.

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I didn't really consider geography in my list. I was in central Texas and applied to schools in Indiana, North Carolina, and Georgia; the closest one was 900 miles away. I looked a little at rankings of the programs, faculty members, and current research. The biggest factor was advice from my committee members from my master's degree (even though I graduated almost 10 years ago). I cleared all schools through them before applying to make sure I was making good choices.

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Although academics was my number one factor in choosing a school, I will admit geography did play a fairly important role in narrowing down the list of schools I'd look into. Although geography's not THE most important factor, I'd say that it will affect everybody to some extent. Regardless of academics, if somebody HATED snow, a program in Michigan--regardless of how attractive it may be--may prove problematic when you have to deal with 5+ years of heavy snow.

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