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Don't Go to Grad School - Page 4

post #46 of 165
Thread Starter 
It's not so much brain washing (though that, or some low grade version does go on) as it is vigorous self-selection and an even more vigorous discouragement of dissenters from even trying to enter the field.

And, yes, I am aware that certain war horse professors, when they get older, tend to get a little unorthodox. They are eminent enough that they can get away with it. But from what I can see, this has no effect whatsoever on the mainstream of their discipline and no effect at all on their institutions. All the lower-down people are less smart and have more to lose. They stay on message. Also, these schools are by now 50% admin or more, and in my experience "staff" is more ideologically pure and full of zeal than faculty.

Also, funny that you mention Fish. Yeah, I appreciate to some small degree the extent to which he has become a bit iconoclastic, not to say moved right. But I can't forget the much larger extent to which he was an absolute Titan and Dynamo and Vanguard of the effort to radicalize and politicize literature throughout the 1980s and beyond. Thing is, 90% of the MLA types revere and follow the old Fish (some without even realizing it) and most don't even know that he has changed a little. Many of those who do know think the changes amount to selling out and they resent him for it and still much prefer the old Fish.
post #47 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post


Also, funny that you mention Fish. Yeah, I appreciate to some small degree the extent to which he has become a bit iconoclastic, not to say moved right. But I can't forget the much larger extent to which he was an absolute Titan and Dynamo and Vanguard of the effort to radicalize and politicize literature throughout the 1980s and beyond. Thing is, 90% of the MLA types revere and follow the old Fish (some without even realizing it) and most don't even know that he has changed a little. Many of those who do know think the changes amount to selling out and they resent him for it and still much prefer the old Fish.

Heh, in my very tiny nook within academia, Fish is like the oedipal father we revere and/or want to topple.
post #48 of 165
FWIW, Harvard is not the most selective undergraduate college. A couple service academies, Julliard, and Cooper Union were more selective last time I saw.
post #49 of 165
Thread Starter 
Cooper Union? No way.

Julliard, maybe, actually it makes sense, but that's not what we are talking about here.

I know something about the service academies and while they are very selective the admission process is so different that it's not really comparable. Grades and SAT scores are lower -- and more than a little lower -- than at the Ivies because the government is looking at other things that Ivies care very little about. Also, of course, employers cannot recruit those kids out of school.
post #50 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post

Cooper Union? No way.

Julliard, maybe, actually it makes sense, but that's not what we are talking about here.

I know something about the service academies and while they are very selective the admission process is so different that it's not really comparable. Grades and SAT scores are lower -- and more than a little lower -- than at the Ivies because the government is looking at other things that Ivies care very little about. Also, of course, employers cannot recruit those kids out of school.

I wouldn't be surprised if Cooper Union had one of the absolute lowest admissions rates in the country because it's awesome at what it does and it's free.
post #51 of 165
post #52 of 165
Thread Starter 
wow, sorry edina
post #53 of 165
Depends on the field and such, I suppose. I largely agree with what has been said, but if you get a doctorate in clinical psychology for instance (and psych is usually considered a humanity), then making well for yourself shouldn't be too difficult.
post #54 of 165
manton - i think that one of your central premises, that most students getting into humanities graduate schools aren't aware of what a racket the institutions they attend are, is off. every professor i talked to about going to graduate school opened the conversation with 'don't do it.'
post #55 of 165
Thread Starter 
Maybe the professors say that, but do the admins? Bursars?

It is said, but the way that Vegas or the state lotto says "Of course, not everyone wins." It's not a genuine attempt to discourage but rather a way of covering one's ass and assuaging the conscience.
post #56 of 165
it's true - even a public university is a business, and the administration needs warm bodies to either work as slave labor or pay tuition, so they always have a vested incentive to bring more people in, regardless of what happens to those people after they graduate. that said, when I was interested in graduate school I didn't talk to the administration - I talked to my professors - and they painted a sobering and realistic picture. that said, is there anything that wrong with my plan? I get to go to graduate school for free, and I look at it at as a good opportunity: I can either transition into a PhD program (if I can get into a top one/if I even want to), or I can use the resources available to segue into a good job where an MA is a requirement - something I've basically already done. graduate school to me is like life in small: it's not a guarantor of success, but an opportunity you can use to help or hurt you. if people think it is, they're probably stupid.
post #57 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post

Maybe the professors say that, but do the admins? Bursars?

It is said, but the way that Vegas or the state lotto says "Of course, not everyone wins." It's not a genuine attempt to discourage but rather a way of covering one's ass and assuaging the conscience.

What I tell students is probably closer to this. But virtually all the professors I know--and most of my professors when I was an undergrad--genuinely and seriously discouraged students from pursuing a Ph.D. in the humanities.

Not sure that any of my students go around asking admins if they should go into academia.
post #58 of 165
Thread Starter 
Well, it's the admins more than the profs who benefit from the system. I guess it is dumb to ask admins whether you should go but admins are responsible for "marketing" (and don't think they don't market) and their marketing encourages people to go.

Profs should be aware of the way the system now works and should, if they are being decent, tell students how the system is rigged against them. I don't think they do this to the extent and in the detail that they should.
post #59 of 165
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post

Profs should be aware of the way the system now works and should, if they are being decent, tell students how the system is rigged against them. I don't think they do this to the extent and in the detail that they should.

A lot of professor try to have this conversation, but it's a shitty conversation to have (and it doesn't make you popular). You're basically killing a student's dream by telling her that s/he can't become what sitting in front of him/her. The other problems is that for every professor that has 'the conversation' the student can and will easily find a professor who will encourage him/her to go.
post #60 of 165
Thread Starter 
Yes, Benton says that. Students just move on until they find someone who will tell them what they want to hear.

I know the conversation can be difficult. Not that I have many of them but occasionally people will ask me "How can I do this, that or the other career thing?" And I always tell the truth to the best of my ability.
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