Got into Grad School. Oh no?

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Elahrairah
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Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby Elahrairah » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:43 pm

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Last edited by Elahrairah on Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nutella3000
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby nutella3000 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:54 pm

You ought to clarify with yourself whether you want a law degree or a philosophy graduate degree because the MA won't help in law school admissions. In addition, MA programs are usually expensive (they are cash cows for the school).

Don't do the MA if you want to go into law. I don't think adcomms care about MA degrees.

nigelfrost
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby nigelfrost » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:11 pm

Do the MA.

(1) It will give you time to think over law school.
(2) You're interested in it. Law school is not interesting. At all.
(3) Nutella is wrong. MA is a good soft. Won't balance out a 140, but the upper-end of the T14 likes postsecondary of any sort. Read the Yale admin blog. Nuff said.
(4) If you decide to clerk/pursue academia in any form, it's becoming a must to have another degree besides the JD.

I could go on, but I think that's clear enough.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:08 pm

There are only two reasons for getting a philosophy MA: (1) to get into a PhD program; or (2) personal edification. There is no job a philosophy MA will help you get. It is not worth paying for an MA for either reason, so - whatever you do - do not pay for a philosophy MA.

It might help a little with admissions at some schools (like Yale and Chicago), but not much, and not at all at other schools. At all schools, good work experience would help you more.

In academia, there is a BIG, BIG distinction between MAs and PhDs. A philosophy MA is not going to help you much at all if you want academia from law school, especially if it is from a school with little prestige (i.e., not an Ivy or Ivy-equivalent).

tl;dr: there is no good reason for you to get a philosophy MA. If it is free and you would get a great amount of personal satisfaction from it, then perhaps that would make it okay, but even then, there are significant opportunity costs.

bdole2
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby bdole2 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:18 pm

nigelfrost wrote:Do the MA.
(3) MA is a good okay soft.


A soft is still a soft. It's not a soft worth taking out debt and extra year for.

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NR3C1
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby NR3C1 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:23 pm

An MA in Philosophy is a total waste of time and money. Instead, you should work or study something useful, in-demand. Work experience (even working at Starbucks) would teach you more than an MA in Philosophy.

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Elahrairah
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby Elahrairah » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:58 pm

I'm surprised at the diversity of opinion here. I had thought there'd be some TLS received wisdom about MAs.

To clarify, my ultimate career goal involves teaching philosophy of law (or equivalently "jurisprudence") in either a law school or philosophy department. If the academic market doesn't pick me up, I would be happy to practice law. (A PhD or joint JD/PhD is definitely in the cards; I'll be applying to PhD programs in the fall along with law schools.) What I want to avoid is having just a PhD and poor academic job prospects. I would like to be able to punch out of academia and practice law if necessary.

Also, one nice feature of my program is that tuition and financial aid carry over from undergrad — which for me means the MA is free.

Does this change anyone's analysis?

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:30 am

I have a PhD in philosophy and have applied for jobs teaching philosophy of law. Because it's a small and specialized field, it is very hard to get a job without both a JD and a PhD (although not impossible - an MA with a JD from YSH and great publications might be enough).

If you're applying to joint JD/PhD programs, you should finish the MA before starting the JD/PhD program. It would look bad to leave the MA program without a degree, and trying to finish an MA while enrolled in a JD/PhD program sounds like a nightmare.

Openly stating that you plan to defer for a year when applying to JD/PhD programs sounds to me like something admissions reps would frown upon, and applying without stating that you plan to defer would probably lead admissions reps to suspect that you're going to abandon the MA, which they would certainly view negatively (what if you change your mind again and abandon the JD?).

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Elahrairah
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby Elahrairah » Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:54 am

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Last edited by Elahrairah on Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Br3v
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby Br3v » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:06 am

OL take as worth.

Go to LS if you k ow your going to do it anyway. Only real reason you should postpone is if better last or gpa or interesting WE

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:15 am

Elahrairah wrote:Well damn. If all that is the case, it looks like I've actually managed to set back my interests by getting into the MA. Would you recommend leaving the MA off of any applications to law school/PhD programs this coming fall or just declining my own school's MA offer right now?

If it's free, you haven't set back your interests at all, just wait a year to apply. With good grades, your MA should help you get into a better PhD program, and might help a small amount for law school. Your MA coursework will also help you succeed in a PhD program, and might help you do a little better on the LSAT.

To summarize and flesh-out my thoughts a bit:

Good idea

1) Waiting another year to apply to law schools, giving you enough time to finish the MA before starting a JD or PhD/JD program.

Good or bad idea

2) Getting a year's work experience instead of an MA. This would be a bad idea if you need the MA to get into a good PhD program (because your grades are weak in philosophy, or you haven't taken enough philosophy courses). Otherwise, this would be a good idea.

Bad ideas

3) Abandoning the MA after a year. Even if you don't put it on your CV when you apply (which might be deceptive), it would look bad to future employers - especially in academia.

4) Admitting that you plan to defer for a year when applying to law schools. Two reasons why I think this might be a bad idea: (a) I suspect they will worry about yield - students who defer are probably less likely to attend; and (b) law schools are looking to fill the next year's class, not the class after that - they would have much less incentive to admit you. Of course, I don't know that this would be a bad idea, but since I doubt admissions reps have said anything about this, all we can do here is guess.

5) Leaving the MA off your CV and applying to law schools planning to defer a year to finish the MA after getting accepted. Two potential negatives: (a) if you have started the MA when you apply to law schools, which you will have, not listing it on your CV would be deceptive - you might want to look into that, but it sounds to me as if that might get you in trouble; and (b) law schools will want to know what you are doing when you apply - looking unemployed would be bad.

You might also consider finishing one degree before starting the other. Contrary to what people sometimes say on TLS, a PhD from a good school helps a great deal when applying to law schools (it certainly helped me). This takes longer, but that also gives you more time to hone your skills and produce publishable material.

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Elahrairah
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby Elahrairah » Fri Apr 13, 2012 3:43 am

Thanks, I'm really appreciating the feedback, even if it is confirming all my worst fears about the way that admissions work. (I cannot understand why taking one year of graduate classes hurts me, but two or zero would be fine.)

What if we just stipulated that applying in the 2012-2013 cycle had to happen? For uninteresting personal reasons, that appears to be the boat I'm in.

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TTTLS
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby TTTLS » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:17 am

Political philosophy is so credited. As a big Leo Strauss fan, I would say go with it. Law school can wait awhile. Also, once you got that MA and that JD, no one will wanna argue with you. :D

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Elahrairah
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby Elahrairah » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:50 am

As for leaving the MA off, it didn't really cross my mind that it'd be deceptive. I saw it on analogy with the way that someone might not include their community college summer classes in the "Education" section of a CV: the (community college or graduate) classes taken are obvious on reported transcripts, but there is no intention of actually finishing a degree. In fact it might be confusing and mistaken to say that I was pursuing an MA, with completion expected by a certain date. (In this particular program, formal grad student status isn't actually conferred until the 5th year — I'm a kind of probationary grad student till I get my BA, further muddying my status.)

It's perfectly possible that all this is a shameless rationalization for my deep immorality, however. :P

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kwais
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby kwais » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:25 am

dude, do the MA if you are interested in it. If you do it, put it on the resume, because...you did it. If you can talk intellegently about why you did it, then it helps, of course moderately, in admissions. If you can't then its probably neutral. Don't overthink this shit and don't listen to fucking idiots who tell you that admissions officers are spending a single moment of their lives penalizing applicants for studying an extra year of philosophy. It's TLS collective idiocy at its finest.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:18 am

dude, no one is saying graduate study is bad in itself. It is usually good, and neutral at worst.

But it is bad to indicate that you will be abandoning one graduate degree halfway through to start another. Admissions reps want to admit people that will finish the JD - students dropping out looks bad for a school. Dropping out of one program makes it look more likely you will drop out of a second. It is not overthinking to suppose they will actually read your application and see that you would have to drop out of your graduate program to attend their law school.

Yeah, it's not going to doom your application, but it can't help.

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NR3C1
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby NR3C1 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:37 am

Seriously, stop wasting time and money and do something useful. IMO, you should work, but if you wanna study, OSU is now offering an online CS degree. Programming is a far more useful skill than Philosophy, and it would open many more doors in the legal IP sector. Worse case scenario, you just work as programmer and earn abut 100K per year by working from home.

http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/online-d ... r-science/

bdole2
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby bdole2 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:43 am

NR3C1 wrote:Seriously, stop wasting time and money and do something useful. IMO, you should work, but if you wanna study, OSU is now offering an online CS degree. Programming is a far more useful skill than Philosophy, and it would open many more doors in the legal IP sector. Worse case scenario, you just work as programmer and earn abut 100K per year by working from home.

http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/online-d ... r-science/



Lol. This guy must work for Oregon State. If you truly think you can make 100k per year from home with an online CS degree then you are either delusional or stupid.

Also, where did OP ever say he was interested in programming / IP?

Get your spam out of here.

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Doorkeeper
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby Doorkeeper » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:52 am

I think AntipodeanPhil has hit on most of the main points here.

One thing that the OP might want to consider is whether the MA would help you in Philosophy PhD admissions. Did you major in philosophy as an undergraduate? Can you get letters of recommendation from three good faculty members in the philosophy department? Is your writing sample of very, very good quality? These are things you need to have already locked and loaded before you apply to the PhD. If the MA will help you get one or all of these things done, I say do the MA then apply for JD and PhD in the same year.

Also, since I'm applying for PhDs in Philosophy for Political/Legal Philosophy, I'm wondering what school you're from...

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FantasticMrFox
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby FantasticMrFox » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:29 am

EL-AHRAIRAH!! hraka
ETA: As others have said, forego MA if you know law is the end.

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dingbat
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby dingbat » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:28 pm

Elahrairah wrote:Well damn. If all that is the case, it looks like I've actually managed to set back my interests by getting into the MA. Would you recommend leaving the MA off of any applications to law school/PhD programs this coming fall or just declining my own school's MA offer right now?

You are required to send transcripts of all academic institutions you attend, including your MA.
By not mentioning it in your application you risk 2 things:
1) they question your honesty - what else have you left off?
2) they question why you left it off - is it a bullshit degree? Were you subject to disciplinary action? Etc.
These questions might be the difference between an acceptance and a ding.
You do yourself no favors by hiding something that may work in your favor and at worst is application-neutral

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Elahrairah
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby Elahrairah » Sat Apr 14, 2012 12:27 am

dingbat wrote:
Elahrairah wrote:Well damn. If all that is the case, it looks like I've actually managed to set back my interests by getting into the MA. Would you recommend leaving the MA off of any applications to law school/PhD programs this coming fall or just declining my own school's MA offer right now?

You are required to send transcripts of all academic institutions you attend, including your MA.
By not mentioning it in your application you risk 2 things:
1) they question your honesty - what else have you left off?
2) they question why you left it off - is it a bullshit degree? Were you subject to disciplinary action? Etc.
These questions might be the difference between an acceptance and a ding.
You do yourself no favors by hiding something that may work in your favor and at worst is application-neutral


Let me be really clear, I wasn't suggesting not sending in transcripts to LSAC. I know that that is not optional. I was suggesting not putting "Philosophy MA, expected 2014" at the top of my CV, because it's not really true, even if I am admitted to an MA program.

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BVest
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby BVest » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:13 am

Elahrairah wrote:What if we just stipulated that applying in the 2012-2013 cycle had to happen? For uninteresting personal reasons, that appears to be the boat I'm in.


The underlying reasons may truly be uninteresting, however I find this rigidity surrounding the 2012-13 cycle to be the most interesting part of the question.

That said, if you don't expect to complete your MA in 2014 without some special deal worked with the law school, then why would you put the expected date on your cv? That is the traditional way of including a program in which you're currently enrolled, however that only applies when you have the intent and expectation to complete it at that time (without having to seek special dispensation to do so).

Include the program without the expectation of the degree (and if it's an accelerated program, then it may make sense for it to be subsidiary to your undergraduate experience anyway). If, once you've done that, you don't feel that you've provided full disclosure, include an addendum on your law school application which explains your situation, possibly even your uninteresting personal reasons if necessary.

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dingbat
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby dingbat » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:24 am

Elahrairah wrote:
dingbat wrote:
Elahrairah wrote:Well damn. If all that is the case, it looks like I've actually managed to set back my interests by getting into the MA. Would you recommend leaving the MA off of any applications to law school/PhD programs this coming fall or just declining my own school's MA offer right now?

You are required to send transcripts of all academic institutions you attend, including your MA.
By not mentioning it in your application you risk 2 things:
1) they question your honesty - what else have you left off?
2) they question why you left it off - is it a bullshit degree? Were you subject to disciplinary action? Etc.
These questions might be the difference between an acceptance and a ding.
You do yourself no favors by hiding something that may work in your favor and at worst is application-neutral


Let me be really clear, I wasn't suggesting not sending in transcripts to LSAC. I know that that is not optional. I was suggesting not putting "Philosophy MA, expected 2014" at the top of my CV, because it's not really true, even if I am admitted to an MA program.

I don't get it. Do you not plan on finishing your MA? Because if you don't plan on finishing, why start? If you plan on finishing, you should put it on your resume

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Got into Grad School. Oh no?

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:29 am

I find it impossible to imagine that you can afford to defer LS for a year, but can't afford to defer applying for a year. It makes no sense. [Hmmm, unless it's about you LSAT score expiring, but I feel like you would have just said that.] And if you really want the master's JUST WAIT A YEAR to apply. And if you really really have to apply next year for whatever bizarre reason JUST DON'T DO THE MASTER'S.




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