Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Why Do You Need To Know?

I have now filled out, in part or in total, ten different applications. I have decided not to finish three of them for various reasons, so in the end I will be applying to seven schools for my doctorate. I have not found the part on any form where I get to ask "why do you need to know?"

Yes, I'm being silly, I realize, but there are some truly strange questions on some of these applications. I fail to see why any answer should affect the quality of my application, so I wonder why a school would ask.

Joking aside, I have genuinely enjoyed most of the applications. I think each school I have decided to send an application to has made a genuine effort to get to know me through what I can say about myself or through those who would recommend me. They offer various ways to explain my research interests, my education, my work life, and my extracurricular activities. I can imagine the process of sifting through hundreds of these applications can become somewhat tiresome, but it would be interesting to read the essays. I got to read some of the applications by undergraduates to the leadership program I worked with in grad school, and I was amazed by the variety and the quality of people so young. I can only imagine what doctoral applications would bring.

Here's hoping mine somehow rise above the fray.

-- Robert


Melissa said...

I always felt for some things like this you should be able to ask more questions. Especially since you are going to be their indentured servant for a few years.

I remember when I applied to Rice, I was totally convinced that one of the questions on the app was just to give the committee something to laugh about. And it turns out I was right. But Rice is just that kind of school.

Robert said...

One of the questions on a school I'll leave unnamed (who knows that all the schools aren't seeking out my blog as we speak, right?) asked a question that I just felt was ridiculous. It had nothing to do with the ability to be a quality researcher. I decided not to apply there, since I really had not gotten a good feeling about that school anyway, but it just shocked me they'd ask something so unrelated. It may have been part of a generic application for all graduate programs, and that question might seem relevant to other areas, but it had nothing to do with business.

It's funny to laugh about for me now. I just felt like writing a post on it.