Monday, June 25, 2007

Just Tell Me the Truth Now

Let me pick up a thread of the discussion we were having last week. I was talking about the lack of clarity in thinking about the job market on the part of undergrads heading to grad school as well as junior grad students. There's no doubt that profs play a role in giving students those fuzzy ideas. Maybe some do it by talking too optimistically about the job market. I bet most do it by just not talking pessemistically enough. There's some real bad faith involved in the way some profs talk about their students and the market, and that's something I want to come back to sooner or later.

But for now, I want give propers to someone who's more honest than a lot on these issues. Look at this disclaimer Leiter has at the bottom of his rankings:
There are, by almost everyone's admission, too many PhD programs, perhaps especially in the United States; students should think very carefully before enrolling in the programs that are not well-ranked overall, though some have, to be sure, particular niches of excellence, that are reflected in the specialty rankings later in this Report. For those specialty niches, programs not well-ranked overall may be a good choice. Be sure, in any event, to get a complete report on job placement from these programs before enrolling: some have better records than others.

As far as honesty about the job market goes, that's probably not as brutal as I'd be. But it's a hell of a lot more honest than anything anyone ever told me when I was heading to grad school. So good for Leiter.

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