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Practices of Admissions Committees from Elite Schools


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Leiter's blog linked to a very interesting book review on IHE. The book is coming out this month and is about practices of PhD admissions committees at some elite universities:


Granted there are some important caveats that must be taken into account that I think preclude any kind of conclusions about philosophy admissions committee behavior in general:

1. Posselt only conducted interviews at three research universities; a pretty small sample and the behavior admitted to in interviews may not be representative of adcom behavior at non-top departments, and may not even be representative of behavior outside of these three departments.

1a. We don't know which universities because Posselt had to offer complete anonymity in order to get the interviews.

2. Philosophy was one of six departments interviewed, so any behavior admitted to may not be typical of philosophy adcoms. (Leiter himself does not seem to give much credence to the GRE obsession, but he may not be in the best position to assess this.)

This being said, I was a bit (although not overly) surprised to see that behavior that I have in past posts chalked up to inordinate worries of very anxious and stressed out applicants actually goes on and seems to be commonplace: conservative and political committee appointments; GRE cutoffs; affirmative action that disfavors certain international applicants; prestige biases in favor of elite undergraduate schools and against some Christian institutions; not offering admission to highly qualified and minority applicants for fear that the offer would be turned down in favor of other (potentially more) prestigious schools to protect the yield; the list goes on.


Thoughts? Certainly makes me have a brief second thought about my GRE scores, haha.


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