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Hello,

I have some research experience, but not a whole lot. But I do have a good amount of work experience, extracurricular activities, and volunteer experience that's related to my major and the field I want to study in a PhD program. Are there any tips on how to incorporate everything and make me look like a good candidate even though I may not have as much research experience but a ton of everything of everything else that can translate to good research experience? Through my work experience I definitely have some research interests in mind by the way. 

Thanks in advance! 

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You're describing a fairly standard situation: you have some strengths and some deficiencies in your application. Play to your strengths. Define your research interests, as they have developed based on [course X, work experience Y, volunteer activity Z, etc] and support your readiness to pursue them by expanding on the experience(s) you have, regardless of where they came from. Choose schools that are a good fit for those interests and explain why that is the case. Pick about 2-3 such interests/experiences to discuss to show breadth but also focus. There is no reason to play down experiences that come from unusual sources (if that's actually true, I'd bet that lots of applicants have such volunteer/other experiences that shape their grad school choices). If you wrote/will write a thesis, that goes under "research experience", too, and should be discussed as well. Remember that experience is different from publications or presentations; at this stage, the former matters much more. It's about showing your potential and convincing the school that you're a good investment. The rest can come later. 

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Your statement is where you explain what your goals are and how the school fits into those goals. You want to create a narrative of how everything you've done and the opportunities at that specific university (POI, practicum sites, etc) will help you achieve that goal. 

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