An undergraduate philosophy student in Canada writes:
I am wondering, if you have some time to answer, whether you can suggest ways undergraduate students can get involved in philosophy outside of their classroom. Since graduate programs have become so competitive, there is a lot of fear among my peers that we will not be admitted into our schools of choice, particularly since the school we are doing our BAs in is not very well regarded, and is by no means at the top.
I have approached professors, inquiring whether I may help them out, but if they do offer such an opportunity it never involves doing actual philosophy. How can students co-author papers in top journals; that is, how should we approach our professors so that they will give
us such a chance? What should philosophy students do during the summers, when we are not taking classes? Aside from ensuring that we achieve top grades, what should we be doing to make ourselves attractive to prospective graduate schools? Also, how much do publications in undergraduate philosophy journals count?
Two quick thoughts: first, it is extraordinarily rare for faculty to co-author with undergraduates, so undergraduates should not waste time pursuing that possibility; second, publications in undergraduate philosophy journals are worthless as a credential. If it's a good piece of philosphical writing, great! That it appeared in an undergraduate philosophy journal counts for nought it seems to me, all that matters is the quality of the writing.
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