I am sure the review process varies by school. I know that another model is having assistant profs/senior phd students review a few packets each and pass along any that are worth looking into. The admissions committee then looks at the handful of applications that make this first cut.
Let me throw my opinion in here....
1. Having connections may be helpful in schools taking a look at your overall profile, particularly if the letter of recommendation writer is known to send good students before or if professors at the institution you are applying to have actually worked with you before, thus can speak towards your work ethic, etc. Simply being 'connected', i.e., "I have emailed you before" does not imply a 'connection'. It is better to go with your lack of connections and just play to your strengths, than to attempt to feign a connection in your app package, even though you have perhaps only exchanged two emails with the faculty member.
2. not having 'connections' is not necessarily bad... It means the adcom will look over you package for what it is... your test scores, your gpa, etc. Generally, initial cuts are made from these, where the faculty determine that you may meet the cutoff for what they deem acceptable. Then they look at each applicant more carefully to determine their rank... i.e., who is the top picks, etc.... If two applicants are on par with each other (i.e., very comparable), then if someone they know can 'vouch' for one individual, they may lean more towards ranking them higher on their short-list. So essentially, this may work for you if you are neck and neck with another applicant.
Last edited by tm_associate; 09-21-2015 at 02:47 PM.
Thanks for the answers to my previous post! This forum has been incredibly helpful to me and I really appreciate all the feedback.
I do have another question though.
Has anyone attended the DocNet recruiting events before and can share their experience? I am planning to attend the Chicago event in November. I have seen posts on here before about these events but I am just curious what you all have to say.
I know a lot of people who have gone to these. They seem to be helpful in that they can get you in front of some adcoms. More importantly it gives you a chance to check out what programs are accepting applicants and make some decisions about where you want to apply. Good luck!
Til now I always got by on my own
I never really cared until I met you...
Are the first 2 years harder than the next 3-4 years doing research and preparing your dissertation?
Some people suggest that the first 2 years are more like a Graduate Program completing exams and classes and the rest is kind of preparing your dissertation and research which is much harder. I was just curios about your experiences.
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