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PhD application question

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by Changemaker, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. Changemaker


    Mar 30, 2014
    Hi all,

    I am working on my PhD applications and came across a few questions. Would love the thoughts of members about these.

    1. Emory University is asking the list of the universities I am applying to. I was little surprised by the question. I have a mix of 8 schools: 3 top, 3 mid-ranked and 2 safe schools. Should I list down all of them or should I just select a few from them. Any idea what they are trying to assess from the answers of this question?

    2. Some universities don't ask for writing sample but show option of attaching writing sample. Is there any chance it might help if I add the sample?

    3. What is the standard Statement of Purpose word limit if they don't mention anything in the guideline?
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  3. Bolingbroke


    May 23, 2014
    I think your options are to honestly answer the question with all the schools you are applying to, or to simply decline to answer somehow.

    Probably most of it is marketing research for the school, they can collate the data and see what their top competitors are that year for the students they wanted to get.

    Sometimes it is to personally tailor what the program offers to a given student, if faculty member x knows that the student is going to schools a,b and c, they can talk up what their school does better than these other schools.

    I doubt that they'd have the time to sit down and try to decipher the tea leaves as far as which schools somebody is applying to.
  4. IntriguedStudent

    IntriguedStudent Oops 2+ Year Member

    Aug 20, 2014
    Chicago, IL
    1. I think it would look better for you to list all of them. I highly doubt they would deny you due to your applying to a different program, especially considering that Emory is likely up towards top-tier depending on the program you're looking at. They are probably just trying to get a better idea of your interests.

    2. Assuming you have a good piece, I think it can only help to add a writing sample. It's what helps to demonstrate your ability to succeed in the writing components of a PhD.

    3. I have no idea what the answer is to this one. I'd suggest looking at similar PhD programs and base your length around those.
  5. Spydra

    Spydra 2+ Year Member

    Aug 16, 2014
    1) Does the application say this question is mandatory or is there an (optional) at the end of it? Most of the applications for my intended field I've looked at have the (optional) and for me personally I would skip it since I don't think its any of their business. I recall the same question on applications for undergrad and every time I saw the (optional) I skipped it. Now if its mandatory or you just want to answer it then its up to you how much information you provide by listing all the schools, some of the schools, one other school, etc. This could be asked for market research purposes, maybe its used to make assumptions about your top choice school (and maybe they don't think theirs is it), or maybe its so schools can coordinate interview weekends with little overlap.

    2) If you have a really good writing sample and the application says you can include one if you like then go for it. It is one more thing that will allow them to see what kind of student/person you are. If you have published something then you definitely should include an excerpt of that as a writing sample.

    3) Each school probably has their own standard, so it might be best to contact the school and ask. Sometimes the key person is an Admissions rep and other times its a Graduate Student Coordinator.

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