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Thread: Faculty dynamics

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    Faculty dynamics

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    How much do you think program-specific admission matters in regards to whose "turn" it is on the faculty to get grad students? If this is the case, then is trying to target specific researchers somewhat of a crapshoot? Demands kind of a lot of an applicant to be ready for a particular application/matriculation cycle, or have to wait around an extra year or two to get with the "right" advisors.

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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.

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    A long long time ago XanthusARES's Avatar
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    Re: Faculty dynamics

    Sometimes it matters a whole lot, sometimes it doesn't matter at all. For applicants there is really nothing that you can do about it, so I wouldn't worry about it.

    The truth is that a lot of schools like to match you up with a potential advisor. If that potential advisor wants a student you have a chance of being accepted. If you they don't want a student or if you don't fit in with any of the faculty, you likely won't be accepted. You can't really know unless you have an intimate knowledge of the department beforehand. So my above advice remains. Try not to worry too much about it (that being said I know that you will and that's cool, we all did).
    Til now I always got by on my own
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    Re: Faculty dynamics

    Quote Originally Posted by XanthusARES View Post
    Sometimes it matters a whole lot, sometimes it doesn't matter at all. For applicants there is really nothing that you can do about it, so I wouldn't worry about it.

    The truth is that a lot of schools like to match you up with a potential advisor. If that potential advisor wants a student you have a chance of being accepted. If you they don't want a student or if you don't fit in with any of the faculty, you likely won't be accepted. You can't really know unless you have an intimate knowledge of the department beforehand. So my above advice remains. Try not to worry too much about it (that being said I know that you will and that's cool, we all did).
    Thanks, I appreciate the empathy and wisdom (in that order, ha). It's just somewhat disturbing how much of this process, which is forged by so much personal sacrifice, seems subject to fortuity.

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    Re: Faculty dynamics

    Quote Originally Posted by collegedropout View Post
    Thanks, I appreciate the empathy and wisdom (in that order, ha). It's just somewhat disturbing how much of this process, which is forged by so much personal sacrifice, seems subject to fortuity.
    And that, my friend, is academia.
    Til now I always got by on my own
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    Re: Faculty dynamics

    Quote Originally Posted by collegedropout View Post
    Thanks, I appreciate the empathy and wisdom (in that order, ha). It's just somewhat disturbing how much of this process, which is forged by so much personal sacrifice, seems subject to fortuity.
    As someone going through the faculty recruiting process, YOU. HAVE. NO. IDEA.
    This is hard work

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    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: Faculty dynamics

    While focusing on one specific professor is generally a good idea, what you want to study when you begin your doctoral program is not necessarily what you will study by the time you leave your doctoral program. I think you may find isolated cases where needs are filled based on some merit system, but generally what i have observed is that schools fill their program with the best candidates available to them. I applied to programs with the intent of never studying banks. But now I am working on a bank failure paper. Go figure!

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    Re: Faculty dynamics

    Quote Originally Posted by Algo View Post
    While focusing on one specific professor is generally a good idea, what you want to study when you begin your doctoral program is not necessarily what you will study by the time you leave your doctoral program. I think you may find isolated cases where needs are filled based on some merit system, but generally what i have observed is that schools fill their program with the best candidates available to them. I applied to programs with the intent of never studying banks. But now I am working on a bank failure paper. Go figure!
    What I fear most in this case is that while I'm stuck in this holding pattern, that the students who do get in under the premise of studying with other researchers who are taking students, that while they're in the program pivot to projects with the faculty whom I want to study with, and then my intended advisors perpetually have too many students, leaving me trapped on the outside looking in. How irrational am I being here?
    Last edited by collegedropout; 01-31-2018 at 09:11 AM.

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    Re: Faculty dynamics

    Quote Originally Posted by collegedropout View Post
    What I fear most in this case is that while I'm stuck in this holding pattern, that the students who do get in under the premise of studying with other researchers who are taking students, that while they're in the program pivot to projects with the faculty whom I want to study with, and then my intended advisors perpetually have too many students, leaving me trapped on the outside looking in. How irrational am I being here?
    I have been there. The stuff that your brain comes up with while it's waiting is truly remarkable. There are a lot of what ifs in the admission process and way too many unknowns to be able to predict anything with accuracy. So how irrational are you being? Very! But that doesn't invalidate your thoughts. The situation you mention is possible, but not likely. More importantly it is extremely (and I do mean extremely) unlikely that this is the situation at every program you apply to. That's why you cast a wide net. Finally trust me when I say that there is no way to know any of this unless you have a thorough knowledge of the department. So try (and again I realize that it may be impossible) to not worry about it. At this point there is nothing that you can do. You can, however, use your logic to justify why school X didn't accept you. That way you can feel good because it wasn't about you, it was about those other people who took your potential advisor's spot.

    It's really hard this time of year, and nothing anyone says will make it any easier. Just try to catch you breath. Good luck!
    Til now I always got by on my own
    I never really cared until I met you...

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    Re: Faculty dynamics

    Quote Originally Posted by Algo View Post
    While focusing on one specific professor is generally a good idea, what you want to study when you begin your doctoral program is not necessarily what you will study by the time you leave your doctoral program. I think you may find isolated cases where needs are filled based on some merit system, but generally what i have observed is that schools fill their program with the best candidates available to them. I applied to programs with the intent of never studying banks. But now I am working on a bank failure paper. Go figure!

    I definitely agree with this, in part. However I think we may disagree on what constitutes best available to them. From what I've seen (being in interviews) and heard (from my friends) best available to them, at minimum, implies a research fit with a certain faculty member. Maybe this isn't the way it's done everywhere, and obviously nothing is set in stone (everyone changes their research from what they wrote on their application), but most schools make a determination about who you would fit with as part of the decision. If that person doesn't want students, you won't be accepted.
    Til now I always got by on my own
    I never really cared until I met you...

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