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Found 5 results

  1. I wanted to say THANK YOU to this great group of supportive people. I've been working on getting into a PhD program for the last two years, and I finally got in!!!!! Last year was incredibly deflating as rejection after rejection poured in. After wallowing for a little bit (but not too long, I have a family with one small kiddo at the time and another kiddo that was born right in the middle of the rejections, so I was quickly distracted by life), I made a plan to try again. As I told one of my recommenders "As with any setback, I am taking this as an opportunity to regroup, reassess, and improve." Below is a description of what I did, in case it's helpful to anyone else out there who finds themselves in the same position this year (if so, you can still do it!). I reached out to every school that had said no (all 13 of them), and bugged anyone who would pick up a phone or answer and email to figure out what happened. It was really two buckets: Bad fit of program with my research, or I was simply not in the top 2-5 applicants. So, I did three big things to close the gap and increase my odds: First I started from scratch on defining what my research interests actually are by constructing a realistic research topic I could dive into on day one, and then sticking with that in every conversation. This helped me rapidly filter programs that didn't match, and quickly gave me new leads in conversations ("We don't do that sort of behavioral operations work here, but Professor XYZ at school ABC is an expert. Let me send her an email") Next I did something very practical: I retook the GRE. And this time I really studied for it! I actually bought an online course (Magoosh if anyone is interested) and listened to every lecture and did every practice problem (all 1200+ of them). After three months of work on nights and over my lunch breaks, I went from 76th percentile in quantitative reasoning to 92nd percentile. I also improved my other scores (got a perfect verbal the second time), but that quant score came up during my interviews repeatedly. Will knowing how to quickly find the number of non-repeating diagonals in an arbitrary n-gon help me in my PhD studies? No. But I finally had a score that matched my ability to learn and it made an incredible difference this year in opening doors. Finally, I did something radical. I quit my job. Technically, I formed an independent consulting firm to work on non-traditional projects, which I really did do! It just also gave me the flexibility to physically drive to campuses around the East Coast and meet faculty and students in person. I was literally checking doors to see if they were locked and wandering into offices to introduce myself. Forming that company has been a terrible financial decision (man I miss corporate healthcare), but it gave me the flexibility to become a known face when my application came up for review. Face-Time = Name-Recognition = Success The result: Multiple acceptances, including to my absolute top choice, and incredible connections at many fine research institutions that I will be able to use in the years ahead! Plus no wallowing! The entire time, I was looking here at The Grad Cafe and reading about other's work and experiences applying, both failures and successes. The stories here, and genuine heartfelt support and advice was one of the things that kept me going. Thank you all for your support, and good luck to those still reaching for the dream!
  2. orange turtle

    Thank you to all of you...

    I just wanted to say I really appreciate what a great forum this is, and how much having a support network like this has made things so much better. This past academic year and a half has been exceptionally difficult for me. I entered my program full of beans and and have since felt like I've let my department and my supervisor down repeatedly. Life got in the way (changing doctors from moving, chronic medical condition deteriorating, spending weeks recuperating part of which was in the hospital, difficult supervisor, sexual harassment, death of a mentor, supporting mentally ill family member; you name it!) and it just spiralled out of control from there. I was / am the grad student department chairs cringe when they see because yet another something has happened. There are days I am convinced my department made a mistake and I just slipped in by mistake. (This is not a post asking everyone to reassure me I'm doing well and all that!) I could not have done it without all of you, taking time to respond, support, encourage, and give perspective to strangers on the Internet. Many of you support each other without judging. A special shout out to the ?admin? and / or just really smart people like @TakeruKand @fuzzylogician and @telkanuru and @rising_star and @Sigaba for replying to virtually every panic stricken, lost, and scared graduate student on this board. I am sure I've missed some people, but know I do appreciate you. My memory sucks from all my drugs, so I shamelessly blame that. If you ever feel like graduate school is just too much and feel like quitting (that's me very often lately), come here. You are not alone. This community will support you...or knock some sense into your head.
  3. Hey guys, was just wondering if it is customary to reach out to POI after receiving a general invitation to interview? I only applied to work with one professor, so I know that they are the one that had to invite me to interview. Please let me know!
  4. I just wanted to say how grateful I am that you guys manage this forum and have been so immensely helpful to me and everyone else here. I've been on here intermittently for the past few years (lurker), and I am always amazed at how thoughtful the answers are, how quickly users get responses, and just the overall management of the forum. Thanks guys for putting in the time and effort to help us grad school hopefuls (especially @TakeruK and @fuzzylogician for having answered my sometimes panicked questions).
  5. Looking4letters

    Info Request Email Etiquette

    Hi all, a quick question about "thank you" etiquette. I'm interested in applying to a grad program, so I wrote to a professor who was listed on its site as a contact for more information. The professor has replied (and very helpfully, too). Is a "thank you" email appropriate? My instinct is that yes, it is, but I'd like to hear your opinions, too. Thanks in advance!
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