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Found 69 results

  1. I realize the application season is far from over for many of you, but I felt it's a good time to be retrospective. I wanted to share some of my anecdotes and qualitative data in hopes that it will help those in the future. Before I begin: this is based on my subjective experience and is not meant to be interpreted as prescriptive. I applied to a combination of I/O Psych and Measurement programs, thus this may be less relevant to some of you- I don't think that will be the case. Here are some thoughts looking back: Grad Cafe The beauty of Grad Cafe (though cliché) is the journey. Many applicants will not visit this place, many will avoid it like the plague, many will lurk. The exceptions provide invaluable information, they empathize, and even sympathize. This process is one that validates and demeans, it's not clean, knowing that you're not alone does so much. You learn about your "competition"- that they are just as smart and accomplished as you; they also are kind and helpful, I found solace in the fact that a deserving person was accepted when I was not. You start building your network here. These people may be in your cohort, may see you at a conference, or may score you a job in the future, so make it count. Clean the Results Survey... I did a project a while back trying to crowd-source some data to help those applying. I quickly realized that the results survey is a garbage-fire. All of the open-ended text boxes (i.e., program, school) are very unclean. It does have a predictive component but if someone types something incorrectly others will start getting that as a predictive option. It is also hard to find particular hybrid programs, so I think a tagging taxonomy would bode well. I've emailed the admins about this. The benefit of Grad Cafe can be improved by cleaning the user-experience. This would be a good place for sourcing how grad students deal with rejection or giving particular programs a profile in terms of when they respond to students. You'd need to control for self-selection, but I see this providing a huge benefit to society. Admins clean up the response strings and make the tag structure more defined....constructive feedback, don't delete this post. Initial Email -The most underestimated part of the application process Most of us are highly conscientious so bugging a person we don't know may be excruciating. Funding is the name of the game for many programs. If you apply to the wrong lab it doesn't matter how strong of an applicant you are. Take the time to send an email to figure out who is planning on taking students. I also find that emailing the current students is both less intimidating and more insightful so do not shy away from this. Another thing this will help is your personal statement. I spent so much time specifying advisers just to find out that some of the programs don't want you working with just one person. The program websites are always filled with obsolete information, get current information from those living it. GRE/GPA - A perfect GRE/GPA score will not guarantee your acceptance If this was the case no program would have an interview portion nor would you have to submit CVs and Personal Statements. Obviously, programs will use the quantitative metrics (GPA and GRE) when convenient, so in the beginning when the pool is large. Programs may get 300 applicants so selecting 30 to interview would be tedious without a common scale. The first filter will be a quantitative metric and if you aren't above average...none of your other qualifications is going to fix that. You can't change your GPA but you can improve your GRE. I've heard all sorts of metrics: (Quant + Verbal) * GPA, sometimes programs will weigh verbal more or quant more, you never know. You want to make the first cut, so don't think you need the highest score because chances are you won't have it. Shoot for that 75th-80th percentile. Some of you may think that it is impossible but it's not, this is coming from someone that increased their GRE score by 20 points in a short amount of time. If you're struggling go here. The GRE is based upon adaptive Item Response Theory (IRT) so focus on increasing your mastery of the more difficult questions. Personal Statement - Don't overthink it I spent most of my time doing these. I'm a terrible writer. There is no special sauce, no formula. Just don't tell a 2-page story about your grandma dying. I do suggest demonstrating that you know how to craft a research idea relevant to your person of interest. Also if you see research that they've done where the findings relate to an experience you've had....golden. I asked over 20 professors (from different programs) if they had to choose just one: GPA/GRE, Personal Statement & Recommendations, or CV and Research experience to select a candidate, which would they choose? No one said personal statement. Once again I'm in the area of I/O, so other areas may differ but none of us are in Creative Writing. Research/CV -You do research in a PhD program, so research experience is critical This is the area I lack. My estimation is that it is why I got rejected from places, and is what sets apart the candidates after the GRE/GPA hurdle. I would really love to see the stats for applicants that got 75th percentile on the GRE with publications versus an applicant that is in the 99th percentile without research experience. A vast majority of the professors I spoke to said if they had to select a candidate based on 1 metric that they would choose CV and Research experience. It makes sense because students will be doing research. Don't underestimate how you layout your research experience on your CV. If you can get on MTurk and code someone's data or if you can present to a small clinic or non-profit, do it. Interviews & Recruitment Days - It's all about the questions. Don't be vanilla. I didn't dress the best. I'm sure I creeped out all the current students and applicants, but they remembered me. Ask good questions, I can't emphasize this enough. 100% of the interview/recruitment days I went to accepted me afterwards. I definitely wasn't the smartest person there, but I asked good questions. Don't ask things you can learn from a follow-up email or on the website. Act like you're about to marry them, or that you're on a Tinder date 4 glasses of wine in. Some examples (all of which I've used): For students: What would you improve about your program? What class was a waste of time? What are 3 things your adviser can do better? If you had to punish someone deeply, what professor would you handcuff them to? How much time have you spend off-campus with those in your cohort? How much of your weekend is spent doing work? My favorite: If all of the faculty participated in the Amazing Race with a clone of a generic student, who would you put your money on? Who would drop out? For faculty: What are three adjectives your students would use to describe you? What is a unique skill you offer that the other faculty do not? If you could add a course from the core-curriculum, which would you pick? In your opinion what proportion of a PhD student's time should be spent in the following areas: Assistantship, Coursework, Research, Personal Life? From your perspective what is the biggest social challenge? emotional challenge? and financial challenge? a student faces in grad school. One love... Thank you all,
  2. I am stuck in an airport with nothing else to do and not enough WiFi for Netflix so I figured I would start an advice thread on all things Statistics PhD admissions that I have learned from the process. I wanted to share all the things I wish I knew when I was applying. Anyone else feel free to add to it. I wrote this from a general statistics perspective but some of this probably will be similar in biostats and perhaps even math. Admissions - Where to apply The best indicator of how you will do is looking at the past profiles that are most similar to you. You will unlikely find a perfect match, but try to look at similar applicants first and then see what kind of programs they got into. Expect a lot of randomness and try to have a more balanced list than I did. Also know that safety programs really don’t exist and lower ranked programs (particularly smaller ones) can be just as hard to get into as large high ranked programs. There are programs that you have a higher probability of getting admitted at then others. Also research fit is very important so consider that if you have known interests. Admissions - What to Expect When you are Expecting to go to Graduate School TL;DR Expect a lot of waiting. I am going to be totally and completely honest with you about my experience applying for graduate school. For undergrad I was admitted two weeks after I applied and had an departmental scholarship two months after that. I knew I was going there because it was my first choice and I had automatic acceptance. So I have never not know what I was doing next. This whole process of not knowing where I am going to be in Fall 2018 for over a year now has been hard. I still don’t know where I will go. I have watched results tell me that I was waitlisted and rejected before I knew officially and checked admissions portals multiple times a day. To protect my sanity and prevent me for spending my entire life on the gradcafe I blocked it from 9-5 every day on my laptop. I highly recommend it. I have cried more than I ever have in my life and have questioned myself almost daily. My impostor syndrome has been awful. I have doubted whether or not I am ready to jump into a PhD program at 21. I have questioned why programs admitted me and felt intimidated by the people at visits who already have masters degrees. I have read all the profiles dozens of times and knew that most domestic students with my level of research experience typically do well but I didn’t think I would do as well as I did. I have questioned if I really do know what I want to do and whether or not being able to pursue my research is a deal breaker. I have struggled over how to decide and what qualifies as a deal breaker. If you had/have any of these feeling you are not alone. Interviews I interviewed two times (three if you count Baylor) so thought I would share my experience. For Duke the interview was very informal and was more about me as a person than me as a prospective admit. I was asked what my hobbies were (which totally threw me off) and we talked about life at Duke and in the research triangle. It was about 20 minutes long and with a single assistant professor on the AdComm who was the original reviewer for my application. I was asked for more technical details on my research but that was the only thing application related we talked about. For Virginia Tech, they just asked if I had any questions and I asked about funding and their completion rate. It was implied that funding was competitive and I was told the completion rate was “around 30%” because a majority of people fail quals. They were definitely trying to court me calling me their “top applicant” and “favorite application” and I really though I had gotten the fellowship. I had an single semester of support with the possible option of renewing but it didn’t have the language that my other offers did which offered more security. I mainly applied for the fellowship so when I didn’t get it I wasn’t very interested. Baylor was a causal visit and I meet with everyone at the department that was there. It wasn’t really an interview. Visits I have completed three visits so far and I wanted to help answer the what do I wear question that I had. On both my prospective student weekends there was a range from button down and tie for men and nice blouse and heels for women to tee shirts and jeans. The average was around business causal and that’s what I would recommend you do. Don’t worry about knowing anyone research interests and memorizing CVs if they aren’t your POIs. All my meetings with professors started with a basic explaination of their research and since you will likely be supported by a TA ship your first year you don’t need to find an advisor right off the bat. I didn’t really take notes and made a list of people I liked. You will have information overload and it takes time to fully realize the pros and cons after visiting. Program Impressions Next I wanted to share my impressions of programs based on my interactions with them. Baylor Baylor is my favorite program so I am biased. Demographically it is a majority domestic program (~75%) with about 40-50% women. Waco is very much a college town but it still has a lot of things to do. They told me 82% of their students graduate in four years with almost all of them finishing by year 5. Their placements are mainly in industry with a lot of people at Eli Lilly which is huge supporter of the program and has funded RA positions and grants for the faculty. It has 3 Bayesian statisticians and 5 other faculty members doing different things. The main fields of application are biostats and environmental statistics. They have a nice bank of computers for faculty and students to use to run simulations on. I think it is severely underrated. On the Academic side of placements they occur mainly at state universities and liberal arts colleges. They offered to buy me a plane ticket but instead they reimbursed me for mileage which was over $300 plus a nice hotel room. It’s a great department that is totally underrated. UT Austin It may be a young department but it is growing fast. They have a ton of people doing Nonparametric Bayesian statistics with some machine learning and hierarchical modeling mixed in. It is entirely Bayesian to the point of the visitors being told that if you want to be a frequentist don’t come here. A lot of the faculty is double appointed in both stats and the business school but they are committed to the Stats PhD program. It seemed to be about 40% female and a slight international majority but the domestic and international students were really integrated with each other which doesn’t always happen. Austin is a very expensive city (at least for Texas) and most of the graduate students I talked to spend around $700-1000 on housing a month, my stipend offer was $2000 a month so that seemed expensive. They also have a lot of computing resources for research. They are very proud that their first graduate got a job (post doc I think?) at Berkeley straight out of a PhD (who wouldn’t be) My visit was completely funded. University of Missouri - Columbia Also know as Mizzou, the University of Missouri is state university in a college town. Columbia’s airport is awful (I have been stuck here for 5 hours since there are only like 5 flights a day), but Columbia is a nice city that is bikeable and the bus system is apparently good. The department has a wide variety of research but it probably more Bayesian than classical and more focused on environmental statistics than most programs. Demographically it appeared to be about half and half domestic and international but not a single international student did anything at the visit until the free dinner where they didn’t sit with the prospective students. A grad student made a comment that they never want anything to do with us (referring to the domestic students). This is a lot different than UT and Baylor where all the graduate students knew each other pretty well. The faculty do seem nice and hierarchical modeling was a common theme from the research presentations. Their placement was a mix of academic and industry and generally good for a mid tier program. My visit was completely funded. Virginia Tech I never actually visited but it I didn’t like the completion rate and the potentially unstable funding package. The professors seemed nice but I am kinda bitter about how they called me their top applicant and then didn’t even give me two semesters of funding. I am sure it is not a bad place but I was no longer interested when I began to get my other packages. Their academic placements aren’t great as well. I personally wasn’t interested in visiting given my concerns but they offered to fly me out on a paid visit. I talk about TAMU when after my visit.
  3. Does anyone have advice for preparing for interviews with the MIT-Harvard HST MEMP program? I know that they are technical and serious compared to other programs but I am wondering if there is anything I should prepare beyond having solid technical knowledge/understanding of my research experiences and being prepared to explain and defend my research proposal. Thanks for your help!
  4. Hey everyone! I got my first interview offer and I'm soooo excited!! Please feel free to post your interview offers, updates, and acceptances when they arrive! Optional info you may want to include in your post: What schools you applied to in California Schools you've received interview offers from and when they arrived Feedback on your interview and questions they asked you Any other info you want to add
  5. Has anyone heard back from any of their School Psych Masters programs? I've applied to Appalachian State and also University of Denver.
  6. Hi all, I was wondering if any of you had any experience with interviews for philosophy PhD programs? Thoughts on how they serve the admissions committee? I had a strange one last week and got my rejection letter today. I was actually looking forward to it since it seemed like the only interpersonal interaction I'd get with a school, which I took meant they were interested. The program didn't say on its site that it would interview students, and my interview email told me to save the date for a campus visit, so it seemed very eager. I expected it to be rather informal but it was in fact very formal. Four professors in a board room asked me precise questions about my paper, one related to his field of study... I now wonder if this was a chance to "redeem" myself but the whole procedure was very unclear. They mostly wanted to know where I was applying-- this is where they really pricked their ears and put their pens to paper. I told them the few schools, and they were surprised about how selective I was and made clear that they wanted me to inform them ASAP about those other schools. I didn't want to be dishonest so I told them I already had an offer from another (much better) school-- but the grilling didn't seem fair. What's more, it seems like that's all they wanted to know. They read my paper but asked me about my language skills and coursework in a way that seems like they didn't look at the application (I did an MA at a francophone institution and had to remind this of them). I would have been happy to attend the program, but the interview seemed surprisingly shady.
  7. Hi folks, Does anyone have any good tips or advice for how to make the most out of an open house weekend and potential interviews with faculty and grad students? I currently have different files on the faculty im supposed to meet, with their main research, publications, and interests. I plan on famiarlizing myself with all of them and preparing some questions. Any help or advice would be much appreciated! Im currently heading up to boston for northeastern's sociology phd open house. Thanks in advance
  8. Hi folks, Does anyone have any good tips or advice for how to make the most out of an open house weekend and potential interviews with faculty and grad students? I currently have different files on the faculty im supposed to meet, with their main research, publications, and interests. I plan on famiarlizing myself with all of them and preparing some questions. Any help or advice would be much appreciated! Im currently heading up to boston for northeastern's open house.
  9. Interviews

    I was wondering if interviews are needed for acceptance. I see in the results search that many people have had interviews and I have not. Can you still get into a Ph.D. program without having an interview? Also, are emails to check decisions sent throughout the day or do the only get sent out at certain times?
  10. Post-interview

    Hope interviews are going well for everybody! Those who have had interviews- did you reach out to faculty afterwards to thank them? I had some really good interviews with some of my faculty meetings and would like to thank them/talk more about some of the things that came up, but I'm not sure if this is standard or would be out of place.
  11. POI not mentioned in interview email?

    Hi all, I had a quick question for anyone who has been invited to interviews. I recently got invited to an interview by the assistant of a counseling psychology program. The invite email was super generic, and my POI wasn’t even mentioned (even though the email was specifically for me). I haven’t had any contact with the POI since applying either. Is this normal? Am I just stressing out for no reason? Thanks in advance!
  12. A place to check on decisions, share excitement, and commiserate on bad news.
  13. I have an upcoming interview and the program has provided me with the names of faculty I'll be meeting with. I'm SUPER stoked about some of them, or at least interested in their research, but one of them does research in sometime I'm not so sure I'll be able to have a conversation about. We have some similar interests, applying molecular biology to neuroscience, but only at a really broad level. I don't really find myself interested in the types of questions he's asking in his research. How can I make the conversation go smoothly?
  14. One school invited me for a visit, but I'm picking the date. Does at least one day need to be a weekday? Should both be? Neither? I'm not sure what's typical but I want to make sure I'm taking full advantage of the visit and also limiting the amount of classes I miss this semester for undergrad.
  15. In my professional life, I've been both on the giving and receiving end of many, many interviews. But I also imagine that an academic-admission interview does not start out with, "Tell me about a time when you..." So what's it like? For those of you who have already had your interviews, what kinds of questions did they ask, how did you prepare, and how should you have prepared?
  16. Hello, all. I just wanted to solicit your opinions on what may be my best option in a situation that isn't entirely unique, but I feel is unique enough to warrant me asking a question that has been asked many times already. So, I received an interview invite very early in the game from a school that is close to my home, moderately ranked, and has a somewhat decent research match, according to my own interests. More recently, I received an invite from a similarly ranked school with a much closer research fit. Both dates offered conflicted with previous interview invitations, so they offered me a Skype interview. However, I really want to visit this second school and I am worried that a Skype interview might be unfulfilling, for both the interviewers and myself. I also think that, given the choice, the second school would rank higher for me on a personal level. Now, I do not want to cut ties with this first school, but I know that they have multiple interview dates and that I am within driving distance, so they have not had to buy flight tickets. What I am currently debating is if it might be detrimental to my chances with the first school if I asked for either an alternate date or offered to visit the school and chat with faculty at an unofficial time, seeing as how I live very close by. I also wonder if it would look weird to the second school if I told them that, because I really want to visit in person, I have rearranged my schedule to allow me to attend one of the previously-offered dates. My other choice would be to simply go along with the Skype interview. However, I feel that if I did this and was eventually not accepted to this school, I would regret not making the prior choice. I know this question has been played out many times before, but I would appreciate any questions or advice that any of you might be able to send my way. Thank you all.
  17. Linguistics F18

    Hi everyone! Does anyone happen to know if UC Berkeley already sent out all interview invitations for Linguistics (PhD, 2018)? I'm guessing by now I'll be rejected, so I'd rather find out soon enough. If anyone reading this got an invite, what's your subfield? Also, when should we hear from UCLA, UMASS Amherst and Michigan Ann Arbor (same programme)? Thanks and best of luck to everyone!
  18. I have a dental problem that requires a course of two antibiotics for the next five days. One of these antibiotics interacts severely with alcohol, so I can't drink for 48 hours after I finish it. I have my first grad school interviews next week, and the first night is a social event at a bar with current students and other applicants. Will I be judged for just drinking water? I realize that I may be over reacting but would like some input.
  19. With interview weekends hopefully around the corner for those applying this cycle, does anyone have any advice on what kinds of questions to ask current graduate students as well as faculty? What are good expectations to have going into one of these weekends, and what should we aim to get out of it? I'm just trying to get an idea of things to ask so that I don't miss out on crucial information which I may end up needing when it comes to making final decisions.
  20. Skype vs In Person

    So I have a question regarding interviews for counseling psychology programs. I’ve received 3 interviews so far but two of these fall on the same day.. one of the programs is one of my top choices for academic and personal reasons (my partner would have a job in that city by transferring locations through their current job), the other program is also high on my list and provides better funding, Lower cost of living, etc. Both are great schools. School A has declined me any alternatives to the interview day but School B said I can do a skype interview as an alternative (school B is higher on my list though). My question is whether doing my interview via skype could hurt my admission chances at all as I really don’t want to do anything to automatically bump me down the list if that makes sense. This is the only way that I would be able to interview with both schools... but I’ve received conflicting advice on this from different people. Any advice is appreciated!!!
  21. I am leaving for my first interview this week and I'm starting to get pretty nervous . I have prepared for all of the things that are within my control, but I was wondering if anyone had tips or tricks they used to stay calm-ish during the formal interview days? Any other general tips are appreciated as well!
  22. What did your faculty, lab, or person of interest (POI) attribute to your success? If you don't have that information, what do you think did it? You don't have to be humble.
  23. Interview Expectations

    Due to my academic/career journey thus far I have a feeling I do not fit the typical mold for CS/ML PhD applicants. Given this non-traditional background I would not be surprised if I am the sort of applicant that gets an interview before acceptance/rejection. Thus, I would love to know what interviews tend to cover from those who have been asked to interview. From searching on the forums I do not have a clear picture. It seems interviews cover informal aspects like research fit. Though, since I come from industry, I have a very different notion of what topics may be covered in a interview. I'm wondering what aspects do these admissions interviews share with job interviews and how do they deviate from them?
  24. I thought I would start a thread for us that applied to developmental psych programs! I thought this would be a good space to air our stress and see what invites have been sent out! I applied to the following schools and so far got an invite to UCLA for their interview/campus visit weekend: UCLA (invite to interview weekend) Temple University (pending) NYU (pending) Northwestern (pending - Human Development and Social Policy) Where else have people heard :)? Sending good vibes and luck!
  25. How many get interviews?

    I know this is very general and will vary significantly from program to program, but does anyone have insight into how many people get interviewed for a particular PhD cohort? E.g. If a school has 10 spots, do they generally bring in 20? Or do some schools only interview people they already plan to admit? I'm just curious. Thanks!