I'm really a bit confused and I'd like some opinions about the situation I seem to be in, maybe a bit of a pickle.
I just got my MPH and decided to work for a year with the company I interned with over last summer. Because the company is sending me abroad, I decided to check in with PhD programs before I left the US.
I have a narrow field of research and found only one really good match. I emailed the professor I wanted to work with. He's since called me at least three times to discuss potential thesis topics that involve my job for this year as well, and arrange an appointment to "meet the guys" This is all without any application. It's an Ivy League school, and the program itself is highly ranked, so I don't think the professor is trolling for students. I meet all the requirements listed on the Web site- and have had another very positive contact with the professor working with admissions this year and encouraged me to send the appy immediately.
I assume this is a good sign?
Do I mention the work proposed by Professor XYZ in my SOP- as part of my reason for wanting to go to this school or is that too specific??
My other question, What can I do to not "mess" this up? I'm really nervous as none of the other programs seem to be a good fit at all.....
Yes, mention it, and don't be shy about it either. Don't just say "I'm interested in Prof. Smart's work etc etc." Mention explicitly that you've been in correspondence with him for 6 months, have discussed your thesis topics etc., and (if it applies) he's offered to supervise your work contingent on you being admitted. Also, take him up on his offer to host a visit if you can.
Compatability with the department's research interests is a huge deal - and nothing looks better than a faculty member endorsing you. Don't be concerned about it sounding too specific. A PhD involves specific studies. Also, the admissions panel is going to be all faculty, so don't worry about sounding too technical/esoteric in describing your proposed work. They know their stuff.
Useless fun fact: Some departments at Stanford don't allow their MS student to go on the PhD unless they've already found an advisor who's willing to supervise their work.
I guess you've joined TM today, however, I didn't see your mail in the introductions section.So welcome to the group..myself being a new member also!
Congratulations on getting your MPH! And I also agree with redbullguy. It's always better to be actively communicating for something u want..If you're good ..tell them all about it and make them want you!
Don't be nervous...just take life easy...if something doesn't work out now...something better will come up later ! I heard someone saying...'Remember that your best is good enough!' I really like this expression because then, I don't feel so pressured.
Any way i'd like to talk to you about your success to MPH. Did u get a scholarship? How much did u get in your GRE? How did u study and for how long ? You wrote to me today saying that u didnt really memorize that much...so did u have a good vocabulary from before? And by the way I really am not that bothered with ETS developments...i know there's no way out but to absorb as many words as possible, I was just letting out some steam about the hard-to-remember words of GRE
What's your real name and are u African? Just curious, don't need to say though!!
Actually I already like u because u gave me a sensible mail and I'm trying for MPH admissions next yr. Would u please reply to a mail I sent in the graduate admissions thread?
He's offerred to supervise the PhD, in fact, he's found a way for me to collect all the research before I go, and offerred me multiple contacts in the country where I'll be working.
That is reassuring to know that I can include it in SOP! Any other tips for SOP, or any tips in general?
Advice on SOPs... is an essay itself. There's plenty of resources on the web. Use google exhaustively, and you'll find more comprehensive advice than any one person can give you here.
Anyway, some things that you should definitely highlight:
- your proposed area of study and what attracts you to it
- your commitment to research
- compatability with department's research directions
- evidence that you've thought out your decision to apply well - in terms of career etc.
Try to stick to the specified word limit. 500-800 words is normal.
Apart from all that, re-emphasize the strongest points of you application, mention additional stuff that may not come though in transcripts etc, give explanations (if you have a genuine one) for weak points. Don't gush, or use cliches, or copy phrases from sample essays. Clear, sincere language is important - since this is also taken as an indication of your writing skills (and by extension - your ability to write publishable papers).
personal statement: I applied to science/engineering departments. Although I think this is broadly applicable, please don't take it as law - do your own research.
If this professor is really this keen on working with you - he should be able to help you get funding through a teaching/research assistantship. You may want to broach the topic with him at some point in the future.