A reader writes:
I am writing to inquire about a practice at one PhD program to see 1. what you think of it and 2. if you or any of your readers know how prevalant it is. One of my students is visiting a Philosophy PhD prgram to which she applied for a “prospective students” day. When she received the invitation, she asked whether she had been accepted. The reply was something along the lines of: well, no, not yet, they [PhD Program] have only X number of spots (I think 4?), but invite X number of students (I think 12?) who made it to the next to final list before they make offers. Mind you, these are not formal interviews, and the students are all invited to visit on the same day. My student aptly noted that it feels a bit like the Hunger Games. I wondered also about things like implicit bias and the empirical data on orchestra auditions using a curtain to anonymize the performer. What do you think? And do you know how common this practice is? I’ve never come across it before.