Ever since I submitted my applications, I've been having flashbacks to last year. Watching the ball drop on New Years Eve thinking that 2009 was going to be the year, getting my first rejection letter, the heartfelt conversations I had with my profs about being rejected, conferences, etc. In a way, I feel like this year is a do-over. While things have changed, while I have changed, here it is Jan 14 and I am (once again) waiting to hear back from grad schools. It's almost like last year never happened, as crazy as that sounds.
Now of course last year happened, and while there were bad parts about it, there were also good things. But when we all look at our applications, there are things we don't like, little blemishes of whatever nature, we would like to fix. Well I was given the chance. I didn't see it that way at first, but now I do.
So what did I do differently? Well I don't want to get into specifics, as I am a private person (well as private as a person with a blog can be), however, since some people asked I will disclose some basic information.
Last year my application was relatively solid. My GPA was high. My GREs were borderline. I had 1.5 years of research experience + a honors thesis in progress + a research setting internship. One conference presentation, with 2 abstracts submitted (and later approved). I was involved in several student orgs/honor societies, including my chapter's Psi Chi president for two years. And my LORs were strong. I ended up applying to 5 schools.
This year I applied to 8 schools (4 I reapplied to, 4 "new"). I improved my GREs, and while they aren't amazing, they are still strong. I now work in 3 labs and have accumulated approx 4 years of research experience between the three. My honors thesis is complete. I have four conference presentations done, with 4 coming up. I'm in the process of getting a publication. My LORs are once again strong (I did change one of my writers, to one who now knows me better than the previous writer). I have a job in a research setting. And my personal statement is one of the best things I have ever written.
We'll have to wait and see what happens. But no one can say that I didn't go out fighting.