Julie Posselt: How Graduate Admissions really works

Julie’s work explores how Graduate Admissions really works in the United States

I have been following Julie Posselt for some time, particularly because of her observational studies and insights into US higher education.

Along with recent books like “The Tyranny of Merit” by Michael Sandel and “The Meritocracy Trap” by Daniel Markovits, her book “Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping”, throws a lot of light into socio-economic implications of existing perceptions about merit and equity in the US Higher ed.

Her work specifically digs into the nature of grad school admissions in elite US institutions?. Tries to find for whom(which social group) does the system work + Varying perception of merit, Legacy admissions, Homophily, Faculty gatekeeping, etc?

Based on firsthand observations of admission committees and interviews with faculty in top 10 doctoral programs in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, she shows admissions from decision makers’ point of view, including interesting episodes of committees debating the process, interviewing applicants, and grappling with borderline cases.

To her, more equitable outcomes occur when admission committees are themselves diverse and when members take a fresh look at inherited meritocratic assumptions that affect their judgment.

A few of her interesting papers are the following.

  1. Trust networks: A new perspective on pedigree and the ambiguities of admissions
  2. Equity Efforts as Boundary Work: How Symbolic and Social Boundaries Shape Access and Inclusion in Graduate Education
  3. Disciplinary Logics in Doctoral Admissions: Understanding Patterns of Faculty Evaluation
  4. Why are Women Underrepresented in Elite Colleges and Universities?
  5. Typical physics Ph.D. admissions criteria limit access to underrepresented groups but fail to predict doctoral completion
  6. Toward inclusive excellence in graduate education: Constructing merit and diversity in PhD admissions

Following are a few interesting videos of her discussing the topic

1)What Phd aspirants need to know

2) Same Idea, different presentation.

3) In the following video Julie Posselt discusses her new(another) book “Equity in Science”

The video

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