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SpYEsther

People who ALMOST applied to grad school (PhD)

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Hi everyone, 

Has anyone ever started preparing to apply to grad school (PhD more specifically) and then decided to not apply or decided to apply the next year? If so, what was the reason? 

 

 

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Lack of independent research and publications.  Postponing a year made a huge difference for me, but I was fortunate enough to join a lab that frequently publishes; had I not made any changes in the extra year off, it wouldn't have been worth it.  

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I was planning on applying in my final year of undergrad but decided to wait a year. I didn’t have enough research experience and wasn’t sure what area I wanted to focus on. During my year off, I was able to present/publish and refine my interests. I would not have been accepted straight out of undergrad so I’m glad I waited a year. 

My friend actually postponed twice. First, for the same reasons as me, and then again the following year because she had started a new, demanding job a few months before the application period. It worked out well, and she gained a lot of valuable experience that likely improved her applications. 

Edited by PsycUndergrad

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@kitcassidance and @PsychUndergrad Thank you both! I ask because I'm in the same predicament - I don't have that much research experience and am not sure if it's worth it to spend all that money on applying to grad schools and then be rejected. I'm not sure if if I should just go to a Masters' program - if I get accepted of course -- or just focus on getting research experience and then applying the next year. 

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I'm currently in a Master's program- the result of me applying to PhD programs for the 2017 cycle. I decided to put off applications until the 2020 cycle. The reasons: Due to illness I wasn't as productive in my research work as I would like to be. This gives me more time for pubs/presentations. The second is so I can actually finish my Master's and work to save money/have job options when I begin a PhD program. My goal is to be a psychologist but for now I am getting the LPC license for logistical reasons.

For me it boils down to life with chronic illness and doing what is best for me, health wise.

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I postponed applying, I will be applying this fall. Main reasons were to gain more research experience and get a publication out. I ended up joining a nationally funded study as research coordinator in January, so I would say it definitely was a good decision.

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I actually did apply in my last year of my Master's program and was accepted to a program and waitlisted at two more. I chose to decline my acceptance and withdrew myself from consideration for the other two programs. I really felt burned out after completing my Master's (I made my decision in March 2018 to not accept) and am glad that I went this route. I'm currently on the job market. I'm not sure if I'll go back in the future, so I am maintaining contact with my faculty I work with and am continuing to assist in conducting research remotely (consulting on research design and statistical analyses, and manuscript writing). 

 

I think if you know it isn't the right decision at the time, that you should honor your intuition and feelings and don't go just because you feel pressured to or feel that it's what you are "supposed" to do. 

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I took a year off between my Bachelor's and Master's. I wasn't sure if I really wanted to do research or more applied psych. So I honored my long-life dream of living abroad by becoming a visiting student at another uni. Took some more applied classes there and came to the conclusion I definitely want to do research.

Because my Master's thesis had a lot of drama (outside my control), I knew I was most likely gonna graduate late (during my PhD) or would have to basically work 24/7 to finish on time. So I again took a year off, also to prepare the GRE and the like. I also worked part-time as a research intern in a consultancy firm. All good experiences.

I'm now pretty rested and full of ideas to really go for that PhD. Everyone has his/her own path. For me, these diverse experiences have been incredibly helpful in both my research and just for my mental health :)

Just do what is best for you!

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