View Full Version : other schools I have applied for? what does this mean?

11-03-2007, 03:30 AM
On all my applications they ask me where else I have applied. What shall I do? Do I need to list all of the schools or is there a strategy to pick and choose?.....:rolleyes:

Seriously, I don't know what sort of information they are trying to ellicit out of me, it sounds like a trick question to me. any ideas, suggestions on how I can answer this?

11-03-2007, 03:58 AM
Great question! I also want to know the answer. I'm applying to a lot of schools and I feel like listing every single one of them will make me look desperate or unfocused, rather than just risk minimizing.

Will they look at the schools and compare themselves to them? Seriously, what are we supposed to do?

Further complicating this, there are some schools who have a huge blank area for the list and others let you list only like 3.

Is it considered lying to omit schools when they leave space for all of them? If I include a huge complete list, how will they consider that when making an admission decision?

When they do only provide space for, say, three schools, what do we pick? Is there a strategy? Here's an example: Suppose schools are strictly ranked. The app for #15 wants to know what schools you're applying to. Is it better to put #14 and #16 or #5 and #25?

arghhhhhhhhh :mad:

11-03-2007, 05:10 AM
#14 and #16. you want to show them that you are applying to other schools of similar stature.

11-03-2007, 05:23 AM
yes put the competitors... that would be my strategy.

11-03-2007, 01:39 PM
I listed in alphabetical order as many as fit, but that's just cause I was petrified that selecting strategically might be called out and get me in trouble.

Given that it didn't, and I've never heard of it happening, if I did it again, I would probably do exactly as others have mentioned, and list several schools of a comparable ranking, as well as possibly a comparative safety and reach, to essentially give them an idea where you are aiming for. Optimally, that particular data on your application, I believe, is only supposed to be used internally as a sort of gauge of their relative ranking in our estimate, not as a factor in admissions. But *shrug*...

11-03-2007, 06:53 PM
I see it as a screening thing- they want to know how you valuate yourself by what schools you are targeting. If you say a couple of comparable schools then you aren't giving them any additional information, which is strategically your best bet. If you say your furthest reach and your safest safety then you have just given them a very clear picture of how strong a candidate you think you are, and where they fall in that spectrum.

11-03-2007, 08:05 PM
hmmm.... it does make sense. I guess they either don't look at it (?) or takes it as an information revealing process.:hmm: Thanks guys for all your responses!:)

11-03-2007, 08:35 PM
then you have just given them a very clear picture of how strong a candidate you think you are

I don't know about all of this, because it really shouldn't matter. What people think about themselves is often a horrible signal. I remember in my social psychology class we took surveys, about how intelligent, attractice, nice, etc. people think they are. Close to 100% of the people think they are well above average in all of these categories. You get these same results no matter who is polled (so it's not just a college student thing). Well guess what? 100% of the people can't be better looking than average, it's just impossible.

I think economists are completely aware of these personal biases. If someone was complaining about how they're "underpaid" and are "really worth" more than their boss pays them, the last person I would expect to agree is an economist. I just can't see econ adcoms placing much weight on how strong of an applicant one thinks they are. It's got to be a horrible signal, as many people are overly optimistic (and let's not forget about some people who are overly pessimistic). Besides people are applying to various schools for more reasons than just rankings. Some people have geographic preferences, or faculty preferences, or bad info on rankings, etc. that might really mess up this signal even more. Besides, it's so easy to lie in this situation.

11-03-2007, 11:58 PM
You're probably right, YoungEconomist, but since we don't know how they will interpret it, it's better to try to minimize what information you give them.