Sponsored Ad:
See the top rated post in this thread. Click here

Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Applying to both RA positions and PhD programs

  1. #1
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Posts
    1
    Rep Power
    1


    Good post? Yes | No

    Applying to both RA positions and PhD programs

    Sponsored Ad:
    Hey all,

    I'm wondering what is the way to handle RA offers while waiting for PhD results? I've applied to some RA positions and expecting to hear back most likely before PhD results come in. My current mindset is that I would prefer to get into a top choice PhD program over doing a year or two of RA work but I would prefer to take the RA position over a "safety school". However, there's no way of me knowing what programs I get into before I have to (most likely) decide whether I take certain RA positions. Does anybody know what the standard convention is when it comes to handling these dilemmas? Thanks a ton!

  2. #2
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Posts
    9
    Rep Power
    1


    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Applying to both RA positions and PhD programs

    I'm an RA right now at a "pre-doc" type place. When we interview people we expect that they may (and probably do) have PhD applications pending and that's totally fine for us. The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to just be honest and say that you have some applications pending.

  3. #3
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    2
    Rep Power
    6


    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful. Good post? Yes | No

    Re: Applying to both RA positions and PhD programs

    This is the advice given to me by a very close advisor from undergrad when I was deciding between doing a predoc or applying my senior fall of undergrad (from a top 10 LAC). The question my advisor asked was this: "Just because you can get into a good grad school doesn't necessarily mean you should go immediately." Based on all observables, my profile would likely have gotten me into a top 5 program at the time. My advisor then went into more detail explaining why they thought that, unless you have personal non-career related reasons for going to grad school early (e.g. a long-time significant other), then there is a lot to gain from waiting a few years.

    If your goal is to become an academic (as was mine), then two goals you may have are achieving

    1. Tenure
    2. An impactful research agenda

    If either of these two goals are the case, then taking 1-2 extra years as a predoc can further refine your research skills; develop a broader and wider sense of the literature; and to learn how academics work on long-term research projects (as opposed to projects you either work on for a summer or part-time during the semester). To some extent, the best way to learn how to do research is by doing it, and coursework in grad school isn't really going to get you there. Having the intellectual maturity developed by an extra few years spent diving deep into research may go a long way in being able to "hit the ground running" when you switch from coursework to research. Further, having a sense of the literature before taking coursework will also help contextualize why you are learning the material that you are learning.

    Once you start grad school, you essentially have 5-6 years + tenure clock to achieve a good enough body of research that merits you tenure. A predoc will help guarantee that you don't waste months learning how to set up an efficient workflow, and it'll help condition you into treating grad school as a job rather than just a continuation of undergrad. At the end of the day, going straight from undergrad versus waiting two years means you graduate at 27 vs. 29. Everyone's different, but I would guess that being 29 is not that much different from 27.

    As you may have surmised, I did take a predoc, and I can attest that I was very pleased with the experience and do not regret waiting two years before applying. It gave me time to complete two papers I had been writing with my advisor as well as start on two new research projects. My research interests also changed, and I have a much better grip on the "big ideas" in the fields in which I am interested.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Applying to Different Programs
    By LittleWing in forum PhD in Economics
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 08-23-2020, 08:29 PM
  2. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-05-2019, 12:14 AM
  3. Applying to PhD Programs
    By ConfusedPhd in forum PhD in Business
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-17-2011, 08:55 AM
  4. Applying to MSW programs.
    By anif in forum Graduate Admissions
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-26-2010, 09:16 AM
  5. Applying to MBA programs?
    By dugcanfly in forum GMAT
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-10-2007, 10:28 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •