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Thread: 2016 Ask a Current Ph.D. Student Thread

  1. #11
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    Re: 2016 Ask a Current Ph.D. Student Thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by XanthusARES View Post
    What the others have said. Most schools do not begin reviewing until the deadline, but you should submit the applications whenever you are done with them. Sitting around tinkering with them is not going to make them any better, but waiting for the last minute can have a significant impact, if you forget something.

    Two other quick points, I believe that the schools who interview before their deadlines probably had a prior connection with the students (i.e. they were waiting for the application to make it official, but they knew they were going to interview that person anyhow). The exception for this is the schools who have deadlines in February. Almost all schools will begin review in January before the semester gets going too hard. Second point, I think (meaning I'm not positive) the department doesn't see each individual application. The grad school (which is outside of the specific department) generally gets first crack at the applications. They have arbitrary cut-offs for things like GPA, GMAT etc... Only once you pass this threshold are you passed on to the department for review in a large batch, so there is no way to know who was first, last etc...

    Continuing this point, even if the department gets all of the applications, they will use these arbitrary cutoffs to decide which applications to read. There isn't enough time to read all the applications, so the departments generally look for specific numbers or LOR writers who are known. This allows them to decrease the number of applications substantially.
    You are probably right about prior connections. They matter a lot.

    I am sure the review process varies by school. I know that another model is having assistant profs/senior phd students review a few packets each and pass along any that are worth looking into. The admissions committee then looks at the handful of applications that make this first cut.

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    Re: 2016 Ask a Current Ph.D. Student Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by globalcitizen15 View Post
    In my conversations with several PhD students/PhD graduates/professors, I hear repeatedly that he/she got in through a direct recommendation from his/her professor to a professor at the target school, he/she had a direct discussion with his/her intended advisor at the target school through someone who connected them, or each person who got in to the program has some sort of ties to some faculty member in the school. My serious question is - do people who don't have such connections get in? Are some schools known to be more about such connections? Also, for people who don't have such connections, what can they do to up the chance to getting themselves on the radar screen (assuming the person is a strong candidate) to the relevant faculty members?

    Thanks!
    I didn't have any connections to my program (top 5), and I'm under the impression that this is fairly common. It's certainly possible to be considered/admitted as a strong candidate without connections.

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    Re: 2016 Ask a Current Ph.D. Student Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by PhDPlease View Post
    I didn't have any connections to my program (top 5), and I'm under the impression that this is fairly common. It's certainly possible to be considered/admitted as a strong candidate without connections.
    I didn't have any connection with any professor in any US school at the time of application.

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    Re: 2016 Ask a Current Ph.D. Student Thread

    Let me throw my opinion in here....

    1. Having connections may be helpful in schools taking a look at your overall profile, particularly if the LOR writer is known to send good students before or if professors at the institution you are applying to have actually worked with you before, thus can speak towards your work ethic, etc. Simply being 'connected', i.e., "I have emailed you before" does not imply a 'connection'. It is better to go with your lack of connections and just play to your strengths, than to attempt to feign a connection in your app package, even though you have perhaps only exchanged two emails with the faculty member.

    2. not having 'connections' is not necessarily bad... It means the adcom will look over you package for what it is... your test scores, your gpa, etc. Generally, initial cuts are made from these, where the faculty determine that you may meet the cutoff for what they deem acceptable. Then they look at each applicant more carefully to determine their rank... i.e., who is the top picks, etc.... If two applicants are on par with each other (i.e., very comparable), then if someone they know can 'vouch' for one individual, they may lean more towards ranking them higher on their short-list. So essentially, this may work for you if you are neck and neck with another applicant.
    Last edited by tm_associate; 09-21-2015 at 02:47 PM.

  5. #15
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    Re: 2016 Ask a Current Ph.D. Student Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by tm_associate View Post
    Let me throw my opinion in here....

    1. Having connections may be helpful in schools taking a look at your overall profile, particularly if the LOR writer is known to send good students before or if professors at the institution you are applying to have actually worked with you before, thus can speak towards your work ethic, etc. Simply being 'connected', i.e., "I have emailed you before" does not imply a 'connection'. It is better to go with your lack of connections and just play to your strengths, than to attempt to feign a connection in your app package, even though you have perhaps only exchanged two emails with the faculty member.

    2. not having 'connections' is not necessarily bad... It means the adcom will look over you package for what it is... your test scores, your gpa, etc. Generally, initial cuts are made from these, where the faculty determine that you may meet the cutoff for what they deem acceptable. Then they look at each applicant more carefully to determine their rank... i.e., who is the top picks, etc.... If two applicants are on par with each other (i.e., very comparable), then if someone they know can 'vouch' for one individual, they may lean more towards ranking them higher on their short-list. So essentially, this may work for you if you are neck and neck with another applicant.
    As a rule I would say it reduces noise in the application process and that adcoms are risk averse, so it increases how much they value you.
    Last edited by tm_associate; 09-21-2015 at 02:47 PM.

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    Re: 2016 Ask a Current Ph.D. Student Thread

    Thanks for the answers to my previous post! This forum has been incredibly helpful to me and I really appreciate all the feedback.

    I do have another question though.

    Has anyone attended the DocNet recruiting events before and can share their experience? I am planning to attend the Chicago event in November. I have seen posts on here before about these events but I am just curious what you all have to say.

    Thanks again!

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    Re: 2016 Ask a Current Ph.D. Student Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by obhrphd16 View Post
    Thanks for the answers to my previous post! This forum has been incredibly helpful to me and I really appreciate all the feedback.

    I do have another question though.

    Has anyone attended the DocNet recruiting events before and can share their experience? I am planning to attend the Chicago event in November. I have seen posts on here before about these events but I am just curious what you all have to say.

    Thanks again!

    I know a lot of people who have gone to these. They seem to be helpful in that they can get you in front of some adcoms. More importantly it gives you a chance to check out what programs are accepting applicants and make some decisions about where you want to apply. Good luck!
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    Re: 2016 Ask a Current Ph.D. Student Thread

    How about the work in progress?
    I have a couple of projects that I am working on. One of them I might have something to write about, the another one just collecting data.

    Should I mention these in my CV?

    Thanks!

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    Re: 2016 Ask a Current Ph.D. Student Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by kyungshinie View Post
    How about the work in progress?
    I have a couple of projects that I am working on. One of them I might have something to write about, the another one just collecting data.

    Should I mention these in my CV?

    Thanks!
    Yes, definitely.
    If you have research projects in the works, you should definitely mention them on your cv.

  10. #20
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    Re: 2016 Ask a Current Ph.D. Student Thread

    Are the first 2 years harder than the next 3-4 years doing research and preparing your dissertation?
    Some people suggest that the first 2 years are more like a Graduate Program completing exams and classes and the rest is kind of preparing your dissertation and research which is much harder. I was just curios about your experiences.

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