I’m in the final throes of deciding which graduate school to attend–and in my rubric for comparing offers there are several categories: potential advisors, funding, program reputation, placement record, etc. But the last category is probably the most tricky–I call it the creep factor. For a few of the schools, I’ve heard that there’s a certain professor tends to take a non-philosophical interest in female students. So then I have to try and guess, how likely is it that these rumors are true? How serious is the issue? Is it bad enough to outweigh other benefits of the program? Are there other folks there I would want to work with if it turns out to be a problem?
It’s the most difficult category because I far prefer to make decisions based on solid, substantiated, information. I don’t know if these rumors are true. But, unfortunately, I think it’s one of the categories that I think has the most power over what my graduate school experience will be like, whether or not I’m able to flourish, and hence, whether or not I’m ultimately able to be successful.