In our newest “how can we help you?” thread, a reader asks:
Why doesn’t anyone give honest grad school application advice? It’s pretty much common knowledge, and confirmed by accessible online data (programs’ grad student list that displays their background), that prestige simply matters more than anything else in applications. Despite this, it’s told as if one can write a brilliant writing sample and get in anywhere. People who get in everywhere are usually NOT people with brilliant samples; it seems neither necessary nor sufficient to have even a good writing sample. Most people get cut in the initial stages before their writing samples get a careful look. The so-called *elite* schools should just state on their website that they most likely won’t admit you if you’re not coming from another elite institution. Whatever they say, the statistics are obvious that that’s who they are admitting. Instead, everyone goes on and on about how important writing samples are, misleading, or even worse, stealing from and scamming hundreds of people every year. Why is that advisors, programs’ websites, etc. don’t make this extremely clear?
Fair questions. As unfortunate as it may be, I suspect that the data on this is not nearly as widely known as the OP assumes. Time and again, I’ve been surprised at things that many people in the profession aren’t all that aware of–in large part, or so it seems, because some people don’t appear to spend nearly as much time online (on blogs, etc.) as other people do. Of course, all of this is consistent with the fact that people advising undergrads and grad applicants should be aware of the relevant data, and be honest with grad applicants about their chances. But then one salient question is perhaps how to best incentivize this. Perhaps the APA could do more here? Any other ideas?
Originally appeared on The Philosophers’ Cocoon Read More