Tufts Syndrome at the PhD level?

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Catria
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Tufts Syndrome at the PhD level?

Postby Catria » Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:42 pm

I understand that some schools have designated spaces where applicants can enter other schools they are applying to (often a limited number of spaces: Tufts have 3, Notre Dame has 4) and these schools use that information to gauge their competition for a student, and, sometimes, to see whether a student has put some thought into the process.

I understand if a student was rejected because the people of interest didn't have the money to take on another student, a lack of research experience, and so on, so forth. But is it possible that students can be rejected by a PhD program because they were, say, overqualified for the program? That practice happens for undergrad and, to a lesser extent, for law school.

Programs that use likelihood of matriculation as a criterion claim that the challenges of a program include their peers.

Are there schools that are suspected to suffer from Tufts Syndrome?

tsymmetry
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:59 pm

Re: Tufts Syndrome at the PhD level?

Postby tsymmetry » Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:25 pm

Yes, there are definitely schools that assume that if you are at the very top end of their application pool you are unlikely to attend and may choose to reject you based on that. I know of at least one school that does this sometimes.

bfollinprm
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Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 11:44 am

Re: Tufts Syndrome at the PhD level?

Postby bfollinprm » Tue Oct 14, 2014 2:10 am

I highly doubt this is in any way endemic. They'd just accept you, plus someone else for when you inevitably decline. If you somehow accept their offer, they'll make it work--no school is so strapped they can't find money for one more student, if that student is worth it.

TakeruK
Posts: 812
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Tufts Syndrome at the PhD level?

Postby TakeruK » Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:50 am

In addition, the school might do things like check with you if you are still interested before making an offer. Also, I found that top tier schools usually make decisions earlier in the season while lower ranked schools tend to make decisions later on. I think they do this because the best students who apply to the lower ranked school as a "safety" will have been accepted to a higher choice school by then so they would ideally decline the offer as soon as they get it, and the only students still interested in visiting are the ones genuinely interested in the school.

Catria
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Tufts Syndrome at the PhD level?

Postby Catria » Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:12 pm

tsymmetry wrote:Yes, there are definitely schools that assume that if you are at the very top end of their application pool you are unlikely to attend and may choose to reject you based on that. I know of at least one school that does this sometimes.


Sorry to sound indiscrete, but what school is it?

One would think that more competitive subfields (e.g. HEP-TH, theoretical cosmology, string theory) are less likely to tuft students...

Catria
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:14 pm

Re: Tufts Syndrome at the PhD level?

Postby Catria » Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:46 pm

Disclaimer: all ranks mentioned here are from US News, 2014 edition.

I applied to a sizeable number of small-ish departments and I applied perhaps too broadly for my own good. Managed to get 2 acceptances and 2 waitlists from schools ranked #20-55 (not sure about UPenn or Columbia, they are painfully slow to process the remaining applications) but rejected from the low-tier programs (Tufts, Dartmouth) outright.

I understand that top-10 schools (and Michigan as well, and likely will UPenn and Columbia) reject hundreds of students that would otherwise be able to succeed once there, and, for this reason, I am not bitter about my top-10 rejections at all.

That said, I may also think that it's because I didn't publish, the professors I was interested in did not have the funding or otherwise the ability to take a student next year that I got rejected. The small size of Tufts and Dartmouth didn't help either. But, for some reason, I can't shake the feeling that their estimate of the likelihood of attendance has hurt me.

Finally, I think that, while departments may talk to each other regarding admissions, they primarily do so through their research collaborations.

Offers:

#26 Minnesota
#54 Notre Dame

Waitlists:

#36 Carnegie Mellon
#44 WUSTL

Rejections:

#2 Princeton
#7 UChicago
#11 Michigan
#54 Vanderbilt
#70 Dartmouth
#77 Tufts




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