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Re: Faculty dynamics
I can only speak from my very limited experience with what I was told by a professor in a top-tier program about faculty advisors.
In order to get accepted they need to find a faculty member (there it's the younger faculty members) to agree to mentor you. This has to do with availability, sure, but a lot to do with research fit as well. Not all programs do this, not all use just young faculty members. Stating specific faculty you want to work with doesn't necessarily prevent other faculty members from working with you, and if done in an integrative way, you can show that you did your research, and that you can think in complex ways of connections between various scholarships, which is a good sign.