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School lists, and statements, and letters, oh my!

psychdork

3,337 views

So I want to start this entry by thanking everyone who left a comment on my last entry. I was touched to see how many of you wrote such positive things, so thank you! It really meant a lot to read your encouraging words.

I haven't forgotten about this blog, in fact I've been trying to come up with an idea for an entry for the past few weeks. I always try to write an entry with either a pensive or funny message, or sometimes both, but recently I haven't been able to come up with anything. So this entry might be more of me rambling than actually something insightful, but oh well. I really haven't made a lot of progress on this round of applications, mostly because I've been too busy TAing, tutoring, working on my thesis, and studying for the GRE. I did take the GRE a little more than a week ago, and even though I thought I had bombed one of the sections I ended up raising my overall score by 100 points (old scores). To be honest, I was hoping for a little bit more, but I will take it. I really didn't need that much of an improvement anyway so any improvement would have been fine, but I was excited when I saw my scores. My school list has been basically finalized for weeks, with the exception of one or two schools, so that is another thing to check off my list.

So now I've moved on to asking my professors for LORs and writing my personal statement. I already know which profs I'm going to ask, as they were the ones who wrote letters for me last year, I just have to actually ask them. So here's the thing, I know I shouldn't complain because I know they will say "yes", but I always find it so awkward to ask them. Especially my main advisor for some reason. It always ends up being one of those cases where I know he will write a letter, and he knows I'm going to ask him (and if I didn't he would be seriously upset...he's my strongest LOR anyway), but it's still the formality that makes it awkward somehow. Did anyone else find this to be the case too? I will ask my advisor to buy something for the lab without a second thought, and yet for this it is just weird.

As far as my personal statement, ugh. I haven't even started on it and yet that's how I feel about it. I hate writing personal statements with a passion. I would rather resit the GRE two more times than write a personal statement. I think the thing that gets me the most is that, usually I'm a good writer (though don't use this particular blog entry as proof!) but when it comes to my personal statement I just can't get anything to flow together. I either come across as too humble, or too arrogant. It's the balancing act I have trouble finding. I go through 7-8 drafts before I let anyone even see it, and then it goes through a few more after that. I know I need to start working on it but ugh that's all I can say right now.




13 Comments


I feel your pain -- I had an awful time with my personal statement. One person who read a first-ish draft asked why I wrote those things. . . The thing is, I knew it was awful, but I couldn't work through it on my own, so I let other people read it, even though just thinking about it makes me cringe. Good luck!

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Personal statements are so, so painful. I've never heard anyone say otherwise. I'm a good writer too, but personal statements are all about striking the right tone and balance, which is just inherently difficult. Congratulations on the new GRE scores! That's great! And I feel the same way about letters of recommendation. When you think about what you're really asking, it is a bit awkward. "Can you spend some time writing about why I'm awesome and send it to some other people?" Academia is strange.

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Hope it is going well. I've literally rewritten my entire letter about four times since September and am hoping I got it down this time!

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It is always so awkward asking for LORs. I had put off asking anyone for almost two weeks! Lol, I have no idea why... I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Anyway, good luck to you, and I'm sure your personal statement will be great!

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I hear you, I just re-took the GRE as well. One of the professor's who I asked for a LOR is currently on sabbatical so trying to pass on appropriate information to him while respecting his time off (aka being patient about a lack of response) has been "FUN" (*Sarcasm*).

But yeah I am sitting down to try and write my Statement of Purpose and I am stuck. It's that first sentence that I feel has so much weight. Wanting to grab the readers attention, and be original, but don't want to cross the "cheesy" or "predictable" line. What to do? What to do...

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omg how much I understand you. Writing the personal statement/statement of purpose can be the most awkward things in the world!!!

I have so many ideas but I have no idea how to start....

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After weeks, I finally got my SOP down and sent it to my advisor. Her reply - "I'd like you to give this another go." WHAT?! But I spent WEEKS on this one!

After I calmed down a bit, I read over her comments and tried to implement them (even though they could be so vague at times) as best I could.

I just sent her the revised SOP. We'll see what she says, but I'm not expecting an answer until after the holiday weekend. It's killing me.

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Wow... as someone also applying to social psych doctoral programs, I definitely feel for you about the confusion and anxiety. Just sent mine in on Saturday, so it's in others' hands now.

Having gone through this experience multiple times, do you have any advice for someone just starting out?

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I hope you update this blog! I'm really excited to hear how everything turned out once you hear back :)

I will definitely update this blog.  There really hasn't been anything to report yet, but hopefully soon I will hear something (or if I don't I will have the anxiety to write about lol).  I will PM you about your other question (I wasn't ignoring you, or anyone else I just noticed that people had commented on this post).

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After weeks, I finally got my SOP down and sent it to my advisor. Her reply - "I'd like you to give this another go." WHAT?! But I spent WEEKS on this one!

After I calmed down a bit, I read over her comments and tried to implement them (even though they could be so vague at times) as best I could.

I just sent her the revised SOP. We'll see what she says, but I'm not expecting an answer until after the holiday weekend. It's killing me.

I saw your comment and had to laugh...I basically ended up having the same conversation with my advisor.  I gave it to him, figured he might make a few corrections, and instead he sent it back covered in red ink.  I made the corrections and sent it to him again.  When he returned that revision, he ended up hating the parts he originally liked (ahhh!!!) so one more round and then finally got a draft he agreed with.

 

I hope your advisor ended up liking your latest draft.

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