how many school?

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how many school?

Postby TheSync » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:21 am

How many schools to people generally apply to? It seems like this may be an interesting thing to talk about...

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Postby quizivex » Thu Nov 15, 2007 11:26 am

Probaly 8... 5 top schools, 2 good ones and 1 hard core safety, the last which I've yet to determine.

That's probably pretty normal... except for people who, for one reason or another, are extremely confident.

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Postby schmit.paul » Thu Nov 15, 2007 2:05 pm

quizivex: I did about the same thing, I think something like 9 programs. Of course, the spread of schools based on their rankings will vary from person to person, but I believe everyone should apply to at least one or two top programs that they *truly* would kill to attend, and then beyond that pick a bunch of reputable programs that aren't longshots, but also are places you'd still enjoy going to.

A friend of mine asked about this, and in particular he asked about safe schools, and this is what I told him: the term "safe" school, in my opinion, has two different definitions. One set of safe schools is the one where your chances are good that you will gain admission, and the schools in this set will be determined in some part by your own perception of your academic standing, and also in part by things like your geographical preference, knowledge of the relative quality of the particular programs within the departments, etc. On the other hand, the other kind of "safe" school is the set of schools that have large departments and many different specializations offered. Not everyone applying to grad school knows exactly what they want to do, not just with regards to a particular project within a subfield, but also to the subfield itself. A good, "safe" school in this context is one in which you can go in and have a fair amount of freedom to choose amongst all of the disciplines and find a good adviser in each subfield, and also a school where they don't mind if you change your mind a year into it and switch subfields. Hopefully, if you've done your research, your safe schools that you apply to will lie within the intersection of these two sets. Some people know exactly what they want to do going into grad school, but from what i've seen as a grad student thus far, there are far more people who are waiting for a year or two before they truly settle into a particular focus for thesis study, and schools that allow you that flexibility can be a real godsend.

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Re: how many school?

Postby matonski » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:45 pm

I'm trying to figure out a good number myself so I thought I'd bump this for additional comments.

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Re: how many school?

Postby grae313 » Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:08 pm

matonski wrote:I'm trying to figure out a good number myself so I thought I'd bump this for additional comments.

have you browsed the profiles thread yet? That will at least show you what is typical. I'd suggest minimum two safeties, two "good fits" and two "reach" schools.

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