Hi you all!
I'm applying this cycle and have a couple of questions regarding the writing sample:
1) Is it frowned upon to send a co-authored writing sample? I wrote an M.A. thesis that later developed into a joint paper with my former advisor. I could send the "thesis version" which is entirely written by me, but it's notoriously less polished and has just the main results so in terms of quality it would be clearly better to send the working paper version (though I should say we haven't released it publicly yet, as it still needs more work). Among the ~15 programs I'm applying to, only one states explicitly that the WS should be solo-authored.
2) Should I send the WS to programs in which it is optional to do so? Specially if it's better not to send the coauthored version, I'm not particularly proud of my thesis to be honest. It's a reasonably well written piece but the results are not really groundbreaking whatsoever (it's a theory paper btw).
If it helps, I have a strong profile and should be aiming at the top 10 with a reasonable chance at the top 5 (on a regular year, at least, no idea how things will work out with covid and all).
Thanks in advance!
I'm also applying this year, so I can only answer your questions based on the advice I received.
1. I think a co-authored WS doesn't make it a bad WS. If it's a good paper then you should definitely send it even if it's co-authored.
2. I'm no expert to comment, but I think most schools just skim through your WS and see whether you can write clearly your research. It's a writing sample after all, not a Nobel winning piece. So if the co-authored version is better, you can just send it.
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