Applying To Programs That Previously Rejected You

A reader writes in with a question about applying to graduate programs in philosophy:

I applied to several Masters programs and PhD programs in philosophy last year, and got into a Masters program. I was wondering if you and/or your readers could answer the following question for me: when it comes time for me to apply to PhD programs again, is it alright for me to reapply to the programs which I have been rejected from? Or will my application money be wasted in doing so?

You should only reapply if your qualifications have changed for the better in the meantime. Even then, if you were rejected from not just your “reach” programs but also ones that you considered safe bets, then I would suspect that even with some improvements (unless they are rather substantial improvements), you are probably not likely to gain admission to the “reach” programs from which you were previously rejected. But for the rest, given those improvements, I don’t think it’s a waste of time or money to reapply. It would be worth emphasizing in your personal statement what these recent improvements are.

Perhaps some readers have a different view, or further advice?

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