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Second Chances

NOWAYNOHOW

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After putting it off for months, I'm finally getting back into the process of applying for the PhD. Last year went so poorly that I almost feel sick when I think about going through it all again, but I know I can't enter a program without at the very least applying. I think many of us who are second (or even third) time applicants might know these feelings well: fear, shame, self-defeat.

On top of it all, I'm way overloaded with work: full-time university research position, teaching a class and editing on the side has left me with no time at all to work on things or even volunteer with the community I want to study. Not exactly how I had planned things to go, but I suppose it could be worse--research and teaching are both good signs of my engagement as a scholar.

Are you trying again this year? How is it going for you?

I feel as if I could end up in one of two positions: my fear and regret over a bad first cycle causes me to screw up this year (self-sabotage!) or I move past what was an admittedly very traumatic experience and just get my head in the game.



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This is my third time applying to grad school.  Last time I got in nowhere and I dropped out of a MA program almost a decade ago.  Today I'm feeling pretty negative about the whole thing.  I'm more serious and committed this time around which only makes it worse.  Also my past just reared it's ugly head and kicked my ass.   I've got ancient student loans that I need to deal with pronto.  Fear, shame, self-defeat; thats the name of the game.  I wish I had a smoke.  If it doesnt work out this year I'm going to give up the ghost and go raise hogs and make moonshine. 

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This is going to be my second time.  I was not too bummed out after I had received my final rejection letter, actually I found it rather comical.  I thought I did everything right from day one but in the end realized I made many mistakes.   I went into it blind, that is no help from an academic advisor, family member, etc. but I thought I knew everything.  I was more humbled than bummed and thought of all the great things I was now going to do right.  

 

Well, I did not accomplish much since last year.  At least not as much as I had wanted to.  Even though I am in a better position this year I feel somehow sorely inadequate. I am still going to apply this year, sure.  

 

Feeling lucky.  

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Oh totally in the same boat! I re-read my SOP from last year and I'm not surprised I didn't get in. I didn't try hard enough with all the departments I applied to and I did a lot of things wrong. Like Crucial BBQ, I went into the season without any advice or guidance and definitely got my butt kicked. I'm still not feeling extremely confident for this season, but at least I have a better idea of what to do and what my programs are looking for. I'll be bummed if I get rejected again this year, but I'll definitely try again. We'll see how this year goes for us! Good luck!

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This will be my second time as well. I applied previously to one school, that's right ONE, with no prerequisites, scores and poorly written SOP, and underestimated the competitiveness of my field. Looking back, I was not ready.I'm being realistic this time and researched schools that fit my interests. I've since discovered other aspects of myself as a learner and saw many areas worth exploring in the field that I never knew.

 

As cliche as it sounds, everything really happens for a reason. I think if you step back and reflect at where you've come and where it is leading up to, the right path will show. I hope you have found meaning in this. Keep hope friends :)

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I got into my MA program on my third try and I think, as Articklish said, it definitely happened for a reason. Very happy where I am now but also hoping not to go through the same for my Ph.D career...

 

Best of luck to all second and third timers :)

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I applied for an Ma and got into an MA program that I wasn't all that excited about, but I took it because I got a tuition waiver and it gave me time to figure out what to do next. Now I'm finishing the degree and applying to a PhD in a field that I'm super excited about. Really, I'm not surprised I didn't get into a program that I wanted before since I didn't put as much effort as I should have into my application.

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I am applying for the second time this year! I think it is very usual to not get accepted from the first time. However, it is sure that all of us have gained some experience and now oriented with weaknesses and mistakes that should be avoided this time.

 

All successful and inspiring people failed several times. But we should never give up! Try again and again and learn from the mistakes. 

 

I cannot deny the bad feelings I got from the last time I applied for PhD but this does not mean I am a failure or stupid. It only means that I was not aware of how to prepare a winning application. I will try again and continue learning more and more until get accepted!

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I'm applying for the second time too, and honestly I did (and still do) feel defeated from last year's insanity. I was so off the mark last time. I did the bare minimum and expected to get into very competitive schools because I didn't even realize that I wasn't doing enough. But you live and you learn (to laugh at your old statement of purpose), and hopefully this time I get it right :)

Don't be disheartened! You got this !!!

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Second time around here, and I do realize how clueless I was, so I don't feel so bad about being rejected.  I would have rejected me also.

 

Slightly different field (genetic epidemiology rather than genetics, a better fit since I have an MPH)

 

Started way early, and am really working hard on the SOP, I think I'm up to version 11.  Retook the GRE's and actually practiced the writing this time, went up 40 percentage points, and 10 on the math, giving me pretty good scores. What helped me most for the writing was reading the BS essays that got high scores and practice writing my own BS essays.  They want a lot of examples and so for the ones where it appeared they wanted some sort of reference to a work (which can be completely made up) I practiced making up research done by the dwarves in the Hobbit.  As in

 

"In the seminal research by Oakenshield et al it was clearly demonstrated that school age children respond to learning environments differently"

 

It made it a lot more fun to practice and in one essay I think I got in all 12 dwarves and Mr. Baggins.

 

Still not having much luck getting researchers in the programs I'm applying to to talk to me, but I'm not going to sweat it, I think it might be better not to have any contacts than to piss someone off prematurely.

 

Anyway, good luck to all.  I know it's a cliche, but the most successful people in the world are lifelong failures. No one succeeds at everything, but if you continue to try, you can't help but rack up a bunch of failures.  And you won't get anywhere unless you actually try.

 

D

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My first two app cycles, I id pretty well: accepted at 3 out of 4 MA programs and two years later 2 out of 3 PhD programs. Mostly Canadian schools, and competitive levels were not as bad as more recent efforts. 

 

Once I realized I was in the wrong PhD program for me, I made five more apps (technically over two cycles, but to me it was one) and five rejections. Three were top-tier US schools, very competitive, one Canadian U was taking far fewer foreign students, and one was an overseas long-shot. 

 

So I entered this cycle discouraged, but good interactions with POS at a couple different schools leave me cautiously optimistic. And I have good feedback on my last app ant one of the aforementioned top-tier schools to try again. 

Good luck, all!

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I am a 3rd time applicant. The first time I applied I was still an undergraduate in college- oh how naive I was.

The second time, I was working in a lab and applied to the neuroscience program the lab was in and was not accepted. That was seriously one of those "it happened for a reason" scenarios. The lab was toxic, the program was toxic and the students in the lab I was in were miserable and hated each other. 

 

I've gotten older and smarter over the past years- I joined a new lab (same university but different lab) whose interests matched mine worked there for 4 years, got 2 publications, numerous abstracts, and presentations at conferences, and I am applying again to smaller programs which all fit my true interests. I also had an excellent mentor who served on the PhD admissions committee who helped tailor my work in the lab to the expectations of a graduate student. I was held to the same hours, conditions, and expectations as a grad student so I am ready!

 

Good luck to all 2nd and 3rd round applicants. It is seriously not an easy process and I have great respect for people who are not willing to give up just because one obstacle gets in the way of their goals!

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I guess this would technically be my first cycle (though the first one doesn't really count; I only applied to three, and I was admitted, but I decided to do a terminal MA... like many others, right out of grad).

 

My last app cycle was to start in Fall 2013. I was completely shut out from PhD programs, but was accepted to three MAs. I ended up getting a TAship at one, so that's where I am.

 

Last semester was honestly the worst I've ever had. I taught two classes, took three, presented at two conferences, and applied to 15 programs--seven of the apps were due during finals! Anyway, I survived, but I'm not feeling super-confident about the whole thing given the chaos that was last semester. I spent all summer looking at every English program in the country to find the best fit, so if I don't make it this cycle I'm not sure what I could do differently. Basically, it will be a lot of stress until this whole thing is over (and then maybe later if I'm shut out again; I'm running out of MAs to get!).

 

Good luck to everyone. I hope we all get good news in the coming months!

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