Coconuts&Chloroform Posted August 26, 2015 Share Posted August 26, 2015 Hi all, So, I suppose I should start by giving you a bit of info about my academic background. I'm a senior at a fairly large private university that's well-ranked in the large national rankings of universities, but isn't elite or even top-tier by any means (a good school to compare mine to would be BU, or something similar). Our philosophy department isn't particularly well-known, and is largely continental (I say this only because my interests are squarely on the analytic side of things, in phil. mind and phil. lang). So, I'm not coming from any sort of prestigious institution.My academic career has been mixed. I started out majoring in something entirely unrelated to philosophy. I finished my freshman year with about a 2.8 GPA, which only got lower in the Fall semester of my sophomore year, in which I failed a class. During my freshman year, I took one philosophy course and got a B-. During the Spring of my sophomore year, however, I turned things around a bit and switched my major to philosophy. Since then I've taken about 17 classes and received 15 As and 2 A-s. Only one A- was in Philosophy. So, I've gotten my overall GPA up to 3.5, and my phil GPA up to 3.88. I've become sort of a top student in my department, so I've also received a few awards and interesting positions: I won a department fellowship, a university-wide internal fellowship (both for projects in phil mind), and am scheduled to TA two classes in the fall. I'm also the president of the philosophy club. However, because I've gotten a bit of a late start in philosophy, one thing I lack is a strong writing sample. I have a few papers that were extremely well-received by professors, but that I consider to be deeply flawed. I'm not sure how strong or polished the papers I'll be competing with will be - they, too, will be undergrad papers, after all - but I certainly don't consider any paper I currently have to be strong enough to submit as a writing sample. At least, not without extensive revision which will require extensive research. I also haven't taken or really prepared for the GRE. I'm not too worried about this, but I will have to do quite a bit of review in math, as I haven't taken a math course in college other than the one I failed. I did well in two semesters of Calculus in high school, however, so I'm sure I'll pick it back up. So, my question is this: is it even worth applying to any sort of graduate programs this Fall? Given that I lack a strong writing sample and that I haven't taken the GRE, I'd have to devote a lot of time in the Fall to preparing my application. This spreads my efforts pretty thin, as I'll be working on my thesis, taking a few courses, and TA'ing two other courses at the same time. On the other hand, if I don't apply this Fall, I can devote even more time to my thesis (read: eventual source of writing sample), and can prepare for the GRE over the course of the coming year.So, viewed in this way, it seems that I should wait another year to apply. But I'm not sure that's the right move. Perhaps waiting a year looks fishy to admissions committees, or might otherwise detract from the strength of my application. I also don't know what I'd do during the 2016-2017 school year. Ideally, I'd like to find some sort of philosophy-related job (perhaps my department could help here; I'm not sure). If not, lack of money will not be an issue for me, but I wouldn't like to spend a year outside of the academy. There's always travel and such, but I doubt this will be conducive to my preparing for grad applications in Fall 2016. Any advice? Much appreciated. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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