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"Application costs are a part of life."

I applied to several non-academic jobs the other day. Guess how many charged me to submit an application.

I agree with your suggestions. A similar article appeared here a few months ago about ways to reduce costs for students applying to graduate programs. For whatever reason, such proposals seem to fall on deaf ears. Too much is handled by unaccountable administrators and no one in the department knows what's going on, i.e. how expensive various services (GRE submission or Interfolio) have become. The APA needs to step in and work towards a serious overhaul of both processes. As a centralized power, the APA could do a lot of good in streamlining and cutting costs for applicants in our profession.


Interfolio by Committee is another low cost option -- it is free for search committees, and free for applicants (although I guess the applicant needs to have an Interfolio account to use it). It also makes it super easy to apply. I just don't know why more SCs don't use it. Well, I do. When I tried to get my SC to use it last year, they were forced by HR to use some other, suckier online platform. (I do not work for Interfolio, and was not paid to endorse this service.)


I've applied to quite a few jobs and none charged me. How is it I've missed this?

recent grad


If your grad department doesn't send your letters for you or upload them, then you have to pay to do it yourself, via interfolio or something.


Oh, I see. No my referees have been sending the letters themselves.

Isn't that a solution?

recent grad


I think that would be a solution if we could depend on referees sending the letters in a timely manner. But I'm guessing this is false in many cases. In my department, the administrative assistants upload all the letters. That also would be a solution.

As a side note, though I think it would be impractical to expect professors to upload letters, I do kind of like the idea for the following reason. If a professor is forced to upload hundreds of letters a year, s/he will likely become more aware of the state of the job market and maybe s/he will think twice about his or her role in that market.

broke fellow

Nice idea, Blaarg. In my department, however, the professors argue it's not an efficient use of their time to have to repetitively upload letters one by one for all their different recommendees. Of course they're right, but it's not an efficient use of my time to have to do it for them via Interfolio (and pay for it, too, in many cases), either. They win the argument because while I need their letters of recommendation, they don't need my need for their letters of recommendation. They're aware of how dismal the market is and the response seems to be to ignore it (or sugar-coat it, e.g., always have ready at hand a few stories of recent success as exemplars, or overstate placement by deceptively including temporary adjunct work as successful employment) as much as possible while devoting themselves to their own projects. We should be grateful they recommend us at all, I suppose (after all, there's more where we came from, every year). I've had the privilege of spending several hundred dollars on application fees over the past two years. Kind of reminds me of when I was an undergrad and had to borrow money to apply to grad programs. But that investment paid off when I had numerous programs later trying to recruit me. Somehow I don't think it will be quite the same on the philosophy job 'market'.


Search committees should stop asking for letters of recommendation during the initial application. It's a needless and pointless expense for applicants. When I was on a search committee last year, the majority of applicants were eliminated based on the CV alone (they didn't meet the AOS/AOC criteria, didn't have the required teaching experience, etc.) Their letters didn't even get read. Other search committees have other elimination factors (prestige, etc.) that will rule out many applicants, and make their letters irrelevant.
Narrow your list of applicants down to the top 20 or 30, and get letters from them, not from the other 100 who have no realistic shot.

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