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Final thoughts

Final thoughts  

71 members have voted

  1. 1. Did your application season pan out, roughly, as you had hoped?

    • Yes
      55
    • No
      16
    • Other
      0


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I know this is a hard question, and it is likely that most people's impression of their hopes "evolved", shall we say, in the last view months. Nonetheless, this might be an interesting poll. 

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I will answer from the vantage of how I went into the process. I didn't know what the market would be like, so when I applied I basically didn't have high hopes -- just that I would get into a PhD or at least an MA. Well, I got waitlisted at one PhD (but not accepted), and accepted at three MAs with funding. So, in that sense, I got what I was going for.

(I applied to two PhDs, one ranked top 30, the other not ranked; I applied to 4 MAs, each mentioned as good terminal ma's on PGR)

Edited by Turretin

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I gave it %50 chance to be accepted to at least 1 school out of the 10 that I applied. I was accepted into exactly one school, which would be my 5th or 6th priority (and also 6th school sorted with respect to the gourmet list). This school is no Ivy (I applied to 4 top ten programs), but a good school, a good city and the POI's are also among the top people in the department seems is very important.

 

I guess the outcome is far better than I expected.

Edited by Apathium

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I would say yes, considering my hope was just to get accepted to a PhD program. I probably applied to too many highly ranked schools (a result of following Leiter's "Where to go to study Nietzsche" posts), but I also applied to several lower ranked programs as safety schools. Out of 11, I was accepted at one with good funding, rejected outright at the other 10. I was accepted to my last resort safety school, though I've since realized that it has a better reputation than I'd thought, especially for my AOIs, and is in fact better than several of my higher-ranked safety schools. My prospective supervisor is well known and has a good reputation, and after visiting the campus and meeting with the department I think I'll be quite happy there. So no complaints here; even though NYU was my first choice (because of John Richardson), I knew it was an incredibly long shot. I'm just happy to have been accepted and to have the opportunity to continue my work. It really is a lottery, there's no doubt.

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This is a hard question to answer. First of all, if my hopes were to be accepted to at least 1 phd program, even though I was waitlisted when I first answered the poll, I still said it did not turn out as I had hoped. Since ultimately that waitlist did not turn into an offer, I definitely think it did not turn out as I had hoped.

Secondly, since this is our hopes, not our expectations, it seems that most people were hoping to get into their top choice. Based on these two criteria, the weak one and the strong one, it seems that the grad cafe users are not representative of the community of those who applied. The majority of applicants did not get accepted anywhere and even fewer presumably got into their top choice. If the question was framed to ask if this turned out as one had expected, then the numbers would make more sense.

A further and more interested question is: why the grad cafe seems to have met their hopes this application season? Was the site helpful in forming good applications? Are the majority of the users attending schools with good pedigrees? Are people who are more confident and with stronger applications using the website, and those who are not as sure in their applications not using it?

Anyway congratulations to all and I hope those who did not get what they hoped for, or even expected, have better luck next semester or with whatever they are pursuing now that application season is over.

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This is a hard question to answer. First of all, if my hopes were to be accepted to at least 1 phd program, even though I was waitlisted when I first answered the poll, I still said it did not turn out as I had hoped. Since ultimately that waitlist did not turn into an offer, I definitely think it did not turn out as I had hoped.

Secondly, since this is our hopes, not our expectations, it seems that most people were hoping to get into their top choice. Based on these two criteria, the weak one and the strong one, it seems that the grad cafe users are not representative of the community of those who applied. The majority of applicants did not get accepted anywhere and even fewer presumably got into their top choice. If the question was framed to ask if this turned out as one had expected, then the numbers would make more sense.

A further and more interested question is: why the grad cafe seems to have met their hopes this application season? Was the site helpful in forming good applications? Are the majority of the users attending schools with good pedigrees? Are people who are more confident and with stronger applications using the website, and those who are not as sure in their applications not using it?

Anyway congratulations to all and I hope those who did not get what they hoped for, or even expected, have better luck next semester or with whatever they are pursuing now that application season is over.

 

Sorry to hear that the waitlist didn't work out. Will you be submitting more apps next year? (edit - sorry, didn't see your other post where you say you probably won't be.)

 

Also, are you sure that the bolded claim is true? From what I remember of the survey results from last year, the majority of applicants got in somewhere (although this might include both PhD and MA, and you seem to be only talking about MA). Feel free to correct me on this.

Edited by isostheneia

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Sorry to hear that the waitlist didn't work out. Will you be submitting more apps next year? (edit - sorry, didn't see your other post where you say you probably won't be.)

Also, are you sure that the bolded claim is true? From what I remember of the survey results from last year, the majority of applicants got in somewhere (although this might include both PhD and MA, and you seem to be only talking about MA). Feel free to correct me on this.

I think he means overall, not just TGC users, whom I assume the survey would be biased toward. It seems accurate to say that most people overall get in nowhere, probabilistically based on acceptance rates.

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Thanks. Well, the majority being 50% plus one and I'll assume even the places that extend the most offers don't exceed 12% of applicants get accepted (e.g. Oregon sites that after it reaches into its waitlist it still only extends offers to 11%). It's hard to say that if those odds would be compounded with the odds of applying at other schools. Without knowing where everyone applied, and the overall acceptance of all schools put together, I think it still would be safe to say that 50% of applicants did not get accepted anywhere.

Some people only applied to a small number of schools, others applied to maybe 12 with a decent range of rankings across their interests (e.g. in my case I applied to 2 top 10 pgr schools, 1 top 25 and 1 top 50, the rest were continental schools of varying prestige, and I was waitlist at the top 50 school). Also I am strictly considering PhD spaces and the spaces with funding.

You are right in pointing out that it is hard to say clearly that a majority of applicants did not get at least one funded phd offer, but then again the odds in any single instance is usually less than 10 percent. It seems extremely unlikely that those odds go up beyond 50 percent after applying to several schools.

(Also congrats on going to Pitt. I was extremely happy to see you got in off the waitlist after you had visited and felt at home there.)

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I think he means overall, not just TGC users, whom I assume the survey would be biased toward. It seems accurate to say that most people overall get in nowhere, probabilistically based on acceptance rates.

 

Yeah that makes sense. Seems plausible enough on second thought.

 

Thanks. Well, the majority being 50% plus one and I'll assume even the places that extend the most offers don't exceed 12% of applicants get accepted (e.g. Oregon sites that after it reaches into its waitlist it still only extends offers to 11%). It's hard to say that if those odds would be compounded with the odds of applying at other schools. Without knowing where everyone applied, and the overall acceptance of all schools put together, I think it still would be safe to say that 50% of applicants did not get accepted anywhere.

Some people only applied to a small number of schools, others applied to maybe 12 with a decent range of rankings across their interests (e.g. in my case I applied to 2 top 10 pgr schools, 1 top 25 and 1 top 50, the rest were continental schools of varying prestige, and I was waitlist at the top 50 school). Also I am strictly considering PhD spaces and the spaces with funding.

You are right in pointing out that it is hard to say clearly that a majority of applicants did not get at least one funded phd offer, but then again the odds in any single instance is usually less than 10 percent. It seems extremely unlikely that those odds go up beyond 50 percent after applying to several schools.

(Also congrats on going to Pitt. I was extremely happy to see you got in off the waitlist after you had visited and felt at home there.)

 

That makes sense, good points. Makes me realize how lucky I've been. And thanks as well for the kind words, I really appreciate it. 

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Secondly, since this is our hopes, not our expectations, it seems that most people were hoping to get into their top choice. Based on these two criteria, the weak one and the strong one, it seems that the grad cafe users are not representative of the community of those who applied. The majority of applicants did not get accepted anywhere and even fewer presumably got into their top choice. If the question was framed to ask if this turned out as one had expected, then the numbers would make more sense.

A further and more interested question is: why the grad cafe seems to have met their hopes this application season? Was the site helpful in forming good applications? Are the majority of the users attending schools with good pedigrees? Are people who are more confident and with stronger applications using the website, and those who are not as sure in their applications not using it?

 

Well, the results would make as much if not more sense if you were making the completely wrong assumptions:

1. I wouldn't say people's hopes were exclusively reserved for their single top choice; I imagine most, like myself, just hoped to get in anywhere (or mostly anywhere). This is because...

2. If TGF were comprised of what I'll tactlessly call "the losers" (but you know what I mean—underdogs), by communicating and sympathizing with other "losers", the general standards here for what is hoped for could be pretty low—namely, "pretty much anything". (Again, I'll wholeheartedly admit I'm projecting here; I'll leave it to you to take it or leave it.)

 

Basically flip everything about your explanation/speculation on its head and I think it comes out aright, with no interesting questions leftover. 

 

P.S. Seriously congratulations isostheneia. Fingers crossed I'll be joining you there in a couple years.

Edited by Dumbnamechange

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To the point about people on TGC doing better than the general applicant population, this is an interesting question. For me, I enjoy having the ability to know who released when, what the profiles of successful students are like, what programs are well liked and which have poor (non-academic) reputations. I've learned a lot on this site about these kinds of things. I have also learned a lot about what makes a good applicant. The bottom line of course is you just have to be a damn good philosopher and then maybe you'll get a bite somewhere, but I have learned a lot about the Xs and Os of the application that will make me a better applicant in the future. 

 

Ask me again on this day next year and we will see what I think of grad cafe then. 

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1. I wouldn't say people's hopes were exclusively reserved for their single top choice; I imagine most, like myself, just hoped to get in anywhere (or mostly anywhere). This is because...

2. If TGF were comprised of what I'll tactlessly call "the losers" (but you know what I mean—underdogs), by communicating and sympathizing with other "losers", the general standards here for what is hoped for could be pretty low—namely, "pretty much anything". (Again, I'll wholeheartedly admit I'm projecting here; I'll leave it to you to take it or leave it.)

I think these are right. The application process is lonely and obscure, and chances of getting in are low, even for those lucky ones that manage to put together an ideal application. I think most of us here are aware of this, so I think many people merely hoped to get in--genuinely expecting to get in seems excessively optimistic.

I didn't even hope to get into what I called my 'pipe dream, you had to at least try' schools. I was hoping for UCSD--really good fit, and I know multiple faculty members, all of whom encouraged me to apply there.

But I didn't get into UCSD. And I was crushed. I was starting to make plans to do my PhD in my home country. I thought the American option was over.

And then I got into Pitt. Also great fit, and all the faculty members I've spoken to have pointed to my WS as the reason. But I'm from a nowhere school, with sub-par GRE scores, and no GPA (we don't have that). Hoping for Pitt would have been ridiculous.

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Well, the results would make as much if not more sense if you were making the completely wrong assumptions:

1. I wouldn't say people's hopes were exclusively reserved for their single top choice; I imagine most, like myself, just hoped to get in anywhere (or mostly anywhere). This is because...

2. If TGF were comprised of what I'll tactlessly call "the losers" (but you know what I mean—underdogs), by communicating and sympathizing with other "losers", the general standards here for what is hoped for could be pretty low—namely, "pretty much anything". (Again, I'll wholeheartedly admit I'm projecting here; I'll leave it to you to take it or leave it.)

 

Basically flip everything about your explanation/speculation on its head and I think it comes out aright, with no interesting questions leftover. 

 

P.S. Seriously congratulations isostheneia. Fingers crossed I'll be joining you there in a couple years.

 

I agree my speculation was a bit wide. Presumably, if everyone on here is an underdog then being accepted is what they hoped for (this also could just be the case for the vast majority of applicants). I still think there are interesting questions, with the results we have. I will bring these up at the end of this post, because I'd first like to address a couple points that we haven't mentioned.

 

In applying we all (hopefully) were picking schools that were a) good fits, and schools we would be happy in attending. Out of those schools, presumably we had a favorite, and I would think we were hoping to get into that school as equally as the others if not more. The point in highlighting a weaker set of hopes and a stronger one, was an attempt at highlighting the difficulty of answering the question without a bit of context as to what we were hoping for. I was hoping to get in at least one of the schools I applied to and I was hoping to get into my top choice. So either way for me I did not get what I had hoped for. Some people might even be extremely stoic and not had hoped nor expected to be accepted at all (which would raise questions about why they were applying in the first place). For me, I did not expect to get in anywhere, but I had hoped I would.

 

As to the interesting questions being leftover, of course there are! Just the results alone raise lots of questions, furthermore I do not know if my questions were legitmate or right, but I am interested in seeing what people on here think. A question I did not raise, and I thought of it today, is more fundamental; viz. What is the relation between using this site, applicants hopes and applicants preparations for their applications?

 

I think all of my questions fit under this larger and wider question. Hopefully the answer to the question is that Grad Cafe is good resource (I think it was even though I didn't get in anywhere) and that it appropriately informs its users of what to expect and what to hope. It is really difficult to get into any single PhD program. Grad cafe also allows people to ask questions about the difficult process and get good answers from those who have gone through the process or are more intimate with it in other ways. So the relation between the forums and users hopes is a good one that helps people form appropriate hopes and good applications. My fear is that there is another explanation of the relation between grad cafe users and their hopes. And that is those with weaker backgrounds and those who did not attend 'top' programs are not using the forum, and that this explains why everyone got what they hoped for. I sincerely do not think that this forum is full of privileged students who attended top schools (priveleged in this sense, not in wealth, that is a separate discussion), but it seems likely that a lot of users attended a PGR top 50 school or a top continental school.

 

However, I don't think that people attending top schools is why their hopes were met (surely there are plently who go to those schools and are not successful), it is just one more hurdle for those of us who didn't attend those schools to overcome. I think that the results are best explained in the informed nature of the forum users and them being informed because of this resource. Furthermore, it seems safe to assume that in actively searching for information here, they are also actively searching for information elsewhere. To sum up, the best take away from my points is to raise the question of the relation between the forum and its users' hopes, and that the best explanation is the helpful nature of this forum and its users.

Edited by TheJabberwock

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I expected to be shut out, but hoped to get at least one acceptance. I got two acceptances. Worked out!

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Unlike some in this thread, I did expect to get in somewhere, considering I applied to a range of programs from #1 in the U.S. (NYU) to some unranked Canadian schools. I hoped to get into NYU, but I certainly didn't expect to; however, I did expect to at least get in at one of the unranked programs, which I ultimately did. Having applied to 11 programs and been accepted at one, maybe it was overconfident to expect to get in anywhere. Sure glad I did though!

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I would say that the process did go better than I expected, because I am a worst-case scenario person and expected the worse. I applied to a very large variety of schools but I was worried that I would not be accepted to any, even the "safety" schools. I believe that what kept me out of most programs was, probably even more than my sub-par math gre, my undergrad institution, which is unknown and not prestigious in the slightest regard. My professors to me from the beginning that it would be the biggest hurdle. I do wish I hadn't waisted as much money as I did applying to as many "long shots", but I felt that it was worth the try! I was so thrilled and surpised that I actually got accepted into USF, because of the unranked programs, it was a top choice, and the full funding was more than joyous!! I was frankly even honored to have been waitlisted at certain schools, and chosen for some MA programs at schools at which I applied for a PhD. I went into the process with very realistic expectations so I feel that the outcome was fantastic. 

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I applied to 12+ programs. Mostly MA programs, from which I ended up withdrawing my application (I slightly regret this). Accepted to FSU, Umiami, UVa, UIC, and USF (and some more). It was a fairly successful season for me, and I kind of wish I applied to some dream schools or least more PhD programs, but oh well. I'm very grateful and happy I got into grad school, but I'm bummed about out how insidious and deterring climate and diversity issues can be. PM if you want any details.

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