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talani_ai

Are my activities during a 3-year gap decent?

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Hello,

I'm an international future sociology applicant in my mid-twenties. It's been a year since I graduated in my country with an MA (Jul 2017) in English studies. I have financial problems and found myself forced to take another gap year or two. I've decided to apply next year's fall. The gap will be around 3 years.

During the years between my MA graduation and PhD applications, I was and will be working as an online freelance translator and author (Upwork platform) and part-time English language teacher in a private school. I'm also reading widely in my field and fine-tuning my PhD project and future research, generally related to my region.

I plan to list the first two activities under the 'work experience' CV segment (I'll also include the Upwork profile link to show work history and client feedback).

Assuming other elements of the application are fine, are my activities during these years decent?

Please help me. No one in my environment is going through the same experience; this forum is my only resort.

Thank you.

 

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Quick thoughts:

  • Are you applying to the US? If so, you're not expected to come with a fully fleshed out research project to begin with. You're obviously expected to have some ideas or interests, but people are generally expected to revise their plans or develop new ones as they learn about theory and research the first couple of years. From what I've heard, AdComms can even see it as a negative if you come with a very detailed proposal as they fear that there might only be very few potential advisors for such specific project ideas. Don't box yourself in too much by spending half a year refining your project.
  • Regarding your work experience. This isn't like an undergrad application. Nobody will care what you did during your gap year unless it directly relates to your research (abilities). They AdComm will not (/should not) judge you for having done other work in between. However, it is up to you to convince them that you have the motivation and ability to make it through a PhD (plus fitting research interests). While your jobs aren't necessarily a downside, it does not sound like they would particularly help in convincing any AdComms either. So your work experience is not going to break your application. It will depend on all the other things.

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8 hours ago, talani_ai said:

I highly appreciate your feedback. All I hope is that my work experience is not negative.

I would be glad to see other members' ideas.

Your work experience will not be seen as negative. Admissions committees understand that people need to work when they are not studying. What type of sociology program are you hoping to apply to? If you want to bolster your application you could try to become involved in a research project related to your area of interest with some professors local to you. This could improve your recommendation letters.

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On 7/9/2018 at 7:34 AM, talani_ai said:

I highly appreciate your feedback. All I hope is that my work experience is not negative.

I would be glad to see other members' ideas.

If your work informs your research interests at all, and you can tie that into your SOP, it seems to me that your work experience would be an asset. 

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@talani_ai I echo others' comments here: your work experience is not going to be a hindrance. Many people take gap years and do unrelated work to pay the bills. Because it's a non-issue, I wouldn't draw attention to the gap in the SOP unless it connects to your proposed doctoral work somehow.

Good luck! It's hard to apply to grad school as an international student and especially if you don't know any fellow applicants. Feel free to ask me more questions here or via pm.

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