Affirmative Action in poli sci PhD programs?

<p>Hello, </p>

<p>U.C. Berkeley undergrad -- 3.8 GPA; Poli Sci major/Afro Am minor
Stanford Law School -- middle of my class (non traditional grades)</p>

<p>I am a second-year student at Stanford Law. I want to also do a PhD in Poli Sci, maybe at Harvard, and eventually become a prof. I have not taken the GRE but scored 177 (99th percentile) on the LSAT</p>

<p>I plan to focus on black political thought, and the intersection of race, politics, and law.</p>

<p>what programs should I be aiming for? will being a urm help at all? </p>

<p>Thank you all so much</p>

<p>Have you done research? Have you worked closely with a professor? Please read the grad school admissions thread. </p>

<p>Why do you want a research career? Are you prepared to spend 4-6 years on focused on your research? Do you know what it takes to become a professor in today's job market?</p>

<p>I'm asking these questions because these are important questions you need to ask yourself and find the answers to. </p>

<p>Being a URM from UCB will help (poli sci comes off as being very white), but what will make a difference in admission is research, publications, and faculty letters of recommendation/ faculty relationships. Especially for top schools that admit less than 10% of applicants. </p>

<p>Also, grad school is diff. in that backwater university may have all of the experts that deal with black political thought. Harvard may not have anybody (I doubt this). Don't pick schools based on names, but on the strength and reputation of the program and your faculty mentor.</p>

<p>Hope that helps.</p>

<p>The questions that appear in the first part of your reply are incredibly condescending, and in no way answer my question. However, if you must know, the answer is yes to all of the questions. As my credentials indicate, I am not some idiot who does things without thinking them through, especially not a lengthy graduate program. </p>

<p>I also have done research on Harvard's program and they have numerous scholars (in poli sci and other departments) who research, write, and teach on black political thought. See Tommie Shelby, Randal Kennedy, and Jennnifer Hochschild.</p>

<p>Please answer the question or do not reply. I do not need anyone's advice or analysis on whether I should do a PhD in poli sci, I have done that analysis on my own and have comfortably arrived at my own conclusion</p>

<p>Thanks.</p>

<p>woah...chill out. With that type of attitude, you won't make it in grad school. Please check your ego. Believe me, you ish stinks all the way from over here. </p>

<p>This forum gets ton "what does it take to get into grad school" or "what schools should I be aiming for" threads all the time. A simple search would have answered your question- No, being a URM doesn't really help you in the admissions process in the same way it does for law school. This question has been asked several times on this forum.</p>

<p>You provided no real information. We can't tell you what programs to be aiming for with an undergrad GPA, and an LSAT score. Had you done your research, you would know what it takes to get into grad school-and it's research. You didn't provide any info on your research background. I asked general questions to get a feel for where you are at in this process. No need to drop names, I'm not impressed. </p>

<p>Next time, I'll save my key strokes and let you figure it out.</p>

<p>
[quote]
The questions that appear in the first part of your reply are incredibly condescending, and in no way answer my question. However, if you must know, the answer is yes to all of the questions. As my credentials indicate, I am not some idiot who does things without thinking them through, especially not a lengthy graduate program.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Louis XIII's questions were fair (well, most of them). I don't think you'd be asking the questions you did if you really had a good idea of what a Ph.D student's life (and life after) is like. That has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with naivete (or ego).</p>

<p>As for your question, what you've provided looks nearly perfect, so without further information it would be really hard to say.</p>

<p>Name dropping professors who you haven't done research with doesn't impress anyone.</p>

<p>By the way you phrased your last post, it sounds like you construed Louis' questions regarding "research" as "have you researched programs", which isn't the questions he was asking at all. </p>

<p>Have you been involved in independent research outside the classroom with professors? Do you have any publications yourself? Have people who can speak on your ability to do pertinent research to Poli Sci? Being an excellent student (GPA-wise) doesn't necessarily mean one has the credentials to get into research. Many pre-law students have high GPA and high LSATs, but no research experience. Some talent undergraduate researchers have publications in high-impact journals and a myriad of research experience, but may not have high numbers.</p>

<p>Ph.D. admissions are only minimally numbers-based. AdComms actually care about "soft factors" that LS hopefuls tend to dismiss as useless.</p>

<p>The original question was whether being a URM affected admissions. The answer is: it depends. PhD programs are not like undergraduate institutions or even law schools in that they care about academic fit, not diversity; however, if your minority status has shaped your preparation in a uniquely positive way, then you'll have a better chance of being accepted -- provided that your research interests fit the programs'. </p>

<p>Affirmative action was created to provide opportunities for historically disadvantaged ethnic groups. Now that you have your college degree (and almost have a law degree), you no longer need that boost. You've proven yourself, and that's what graduate programs will care about: how well and what you've done.</p>

<p>Momwaitingfornew has put this perfectly.</p>

<p>Also, with only your GPA (and your LSAT scores, which really are irrelevant) we have no idea where you should be aiming for. In graduate school admissions, 3.8s are a dime a dozen. Everyone who is competitive for grad programs is an accomplished scholar from undergrad. As was already mentioned, we need a research history.</p>

<p>I'm sorry, but I have to agree that Louis XIII's question were very condescending and in no way answered the OP's questions.</p>

<p>being a URM does help, though of course there are no guarantees. Your law degree will also be a plus. Harvard would be an excellent place for you to pursue your interests. For other options, you'd do well to look at the top 25 programs and narrow down your options based on the quality of offerings in your special field of interest. But you want to go to an overall strong poli sci program, not a weaker one with a couple of faculty in black political thought.</p>

<p>I do think that Louis was asking sensilble questions, and for the OP to go off on him in his 2nd post as a total noob was out of order. I'm sure some people who might have good info will back away from that kind of ugliness.</p>

<p>Got to chime in here - those are standard questions for a new poster to receive - not meant to be condescending. Also, Oyama's comment "By the way you phrased your last post, it sounds like you construed Louis' questions regarding "research" as "have you researched programs", which isn't the questions he was asking at all." is spot on.</p>

<p>To the OP: you should follow Louis XIII's advice and read the Graduate Admissions 101 thread to get a better idea of what's important in PhD program admissions. I believe his questions were prompted by your emphasis on quantitative measures (grades, test scores) and not on the real factors that matter (research experience, working relationships with professors, specific interests within the field), the last of which give a much better idea of an applicant's strengths. Phd program admissions are very different than law school admissions, something you're probably just beginning to realize. The Grad Admissions 101 thread will help you get a better idea of what matters.</p>

<p>Black male with a high GPA in legitimate majors from a reputable school notorious for grade deflation. Throw in the 177, and it's a done deal (fewer than 30 black applicants score >170 every year). Median at Stanford Law, too.</p>

<p>It really doesn't matter what research experience he possesses or lacks--he's a shoe-in at every single program he applies to; the system will see him through.</p>

<p>To those with the helpful advice:
thanks.</p>

<p>To the others:
I know that the Louis XIII was asking if I did academic research, not research on poli sci programs. When I said that I researched Harvard’s program, I was obviously responding to his question on whether I looked into whether Harvard or other programs have profs that focus on black political thought. Yes, I said that I "researched" Harvard's program, it obviously does not follow that I was misunderstood and was answering to his "research" question.<br>
Also, I mentioned my 177 to show that I do well on standardized tests (also got a 1530 on the SAT), and yes, I know that the GRE is a lot diff than the LSAT (I'm taking a prep course right now), so don’t waste your time telling me this. I know that an awesome GRE score does not follow from my 177. However, the 177 actually is relevant, even if only minorly, because it provides some evidence that I could do well on the GRE.<br>
I have multiple publications on race and law in various law reviews. I have worked very closely with prof’s in undergrad and in law school, and was a research assistant to a prof at Stanford law who also has a PhD from Harvard’s school of government and has told me that a PhD in poli sci would provide me with great training for the type of scholarship I intend to produce. I was also published as an undergrad; this is all I will say to retain as much anonymity as possible
Furthermore, I was not dropping names to impress people. I was simply trying to show Louis XIII that I have done my research on Harvard’s program. Finally, for those of you who think that affirmative action is not big in Poli Sci PhD programs, you guys are just flat out wrong. I found an article after my original post written by 3 profs at Harvard’s school of government that says if your black, native America, or another URM, they will admit you if they think you can get through the program. To find the article, just google “Political science Harvard affirmative action.” The article is from the late 90s, but Harvard’s university-wide affirmative action program has not changed since then. The only thing that would eliminate or significantly decrease the role of AA in their admissions would be a drastic increase in the number of qualified URM candidates, which, sadly, has not occurred.</p>

<p>The article is called "the science of political science graduate admissions." It is not primarily about affirmative action, but addresses it when it says, "Then, according to departmental custom, we admit, in a separate Affirmative Action category, any minority applicant who we believe would complete the program if admitted"</p>

<p>Again, this article was written by profs at Harvard who served on the admissions committee. </p>

<p>For all of you who said it does not play a role, where did you get your false information? </p>

<p>Thanks</p>

<p>Hey,</p>

<p>most people here on the forums just want to help out, by sharing their own experiences or common knowledge. They are neither know-it-all experts nor do they maliciously want to spread misinformation. So, from your research here you might conclude that affirmative action does exist, but is very uncommon. Also, (and yes, this is just a guess) policies may have changed since 20 years ago, if only for financial reasons during the last few years.</p>

<p>Anyway, you also asked about which programs you should apply to; well, I am a bio person, so I can't help with specific programs, but the two best ways to find programs IN GENERAL are i) asking professors you are currently working with and ii) looking up the authors of research papers (or whatever they are called in your field) you find interesting and you'd like to work on and look up the authors. Both these ways will most likely give you far better lists of places to apply to than some people in an online forum. And, with your credentials you'll probably be a competitive applicant wherever you apply to.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>I get the feeling that many of you who responded are in the humanities... perhaps not even in a top 15 program? Please discuss, if you are not in a top 15 program for whatever your field is, please do not even attempt to answer my questions because I do not care about what you have to say (no offense). Yes, I know, I sound arrogant and what-not, but I am just being honest to save us all a little time. </p>

<p>Thanks.</p>

<p>"Then, according to departmental custom, we admit, in a separate Affirmative Action category, any minority applicant who we believe would complete the program if admitted"</p>

<p>Good--so, they would have admitted you even if your LSAT were a 157 and your GPA a 2.8.</p>

<p>Fortunately, your numbers are higher than that. So, what doubt remains for you?</p>

<p>Apply to Harvard and wait for your acceptance letter.</p>

<p>Kwu: That quote was from an article written on Harvard's poli sci PhD admissions. It does not follow that I would have been admitted to Stanford Law with a 157 (I do not think that Harvard's government dept. AA policy says anything about the AA policy at Stanford Law)</p>

<p>However, your central conclusion is correct -- I am essentially guaranteed admission. I only started this thread because I had not yet found that article. Thanks!</p>