Jump to content
ResilientDreams

Anybody else applying to a PhD straight out of undergrad?

Recommended Posts

Hi everybody!

I'm currently a senior in undergrad and I'm applying to PhD programs in developmental psychology and some in linguistics. I just wanted to reach out and see if there's anyone else here who is also applying straight out of undergrad...I feel like a lot of people here already have a master's or have been working for a few years and I would love to talk to someone who's in the same situation as me. :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I applied and did my PhD straight out of undergrad (now a postdoc). Yes, many students have been working in the lab as research assistants for a while, which means they have more research experiences, but you will catch up eventually. Don't worry about being younger than most students. Doing a PhD requires a lot of time commitment and it can be challenging to fit that in when you also have family commitments like young children. So it is actually an advantage to do a PhD earlier in your life. 

I am happy to talk more about my experience if you are interested :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Hope.for.the.best said:

I applied and did my PhD straight out of undergrad (now a postdoc). Yes, many students have been working in the lab as research assistants for a while, which means they have more research experiences, but you will catch up eventually. Don't worry about being younger than most students. Doing a PhD requires a lot of time commitment and it can be challenging to fit that in when you also have family commitments like young children. So it is actually an advantage to do a PhD earlier in your life. 

I am happy to talk more about my experience if you are interested :)

Thank you so much! I sent you a PM. :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm applying to a neuroscience PhD right out of undergrad, so I'm in the same boat as you :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, mcfc2018 said:

I'm applying to a neuroscience PhD right out of undergrad, so I'm in the same boat as you :)

Yay!! Glad to know there are others. I'm a little intimidated by some of the people on this site because I feel like they have a lot of publications and experience, and my biggest contribution was that I co-authored a rejected manuscript. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I applied to and am starting a neuroscience PhD program this fall after graduating this spring!! I don't regret going straight in from undergrad ... yet :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, eevee said:

I applied to and am starting a neuroscience PhD program this fall after graduating this spring!! I don't regret going straight in from undergrad ... yet :P

Oh good, so it doesn't seem to be completely overwhelming so far?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just started my PhD right out of undergrad. I do think that those who have done a masters are slightly ahead, but only by a little. People say the difference evens out after the first couple years.

But I have some advice for applications. Look at the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program. If you're competitive and have good advisors now, I would try to apply now (it's due the week of Oct 22), and if you don't get it, you can apply again once you're in a program.

Best of luck!

Edited by SwelSeal
clarification

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, SwelSeal said:

I just started my PhD right out of undergrad. I do think that those who have done a masters are slightly ahead, but only by a little. People say the difference evens out after the first couple years.

But I have some advice for applications. Look at the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program. If you're competitive and have good advisors now, I would try to apply now (it's due the week of Oct 22), and if you don't get it, you can apply again once you're in a program.

Best of luck!

Oh wow, I didn't even think of looking at that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It had appeared to me that applying straight from undergrad was more common.  Also, many (around here) do Masters programs first as way to mitigate low uGPA, pick up more research experience, and so on in effort to make themselves stronger candidates for Ph.D. programs. 

I did apply to Ph.D. programs during my senior year but I did not first step foot onto a college campus until age 23 and that was at a community college taking random courses to get a feel for what college was all about.  I already knew I wanted to study Biology, though, and I certainly did not graduate within 4 years. 

Edited by Crucial BBQ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It really depends on your area/field, the schools you're shooting at (i.e., ranking), how you did during undergrad, etc. I know people who immediately got in, and there are people who failed to get a PhD even after doing a Master's at a prestigious school. There's so much more to getting into a program than your status.

I personally decided to a Master's (this is also faaaaaaaaar more common in Europe - you need a Master's before even applying to a PhD in Europe). Partly to really narrow down my research interests (happy I did) and to enjoy travelling and the like a little bit more :)

It is very very personal I'd say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone! This thread is making me feel a lot better. I have a high undergraduate GPA and a pretty well refined research interest, so hopefully it's enough to make me stand out from the competition!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Resilient! I'm in the exact same boat--in my senior year, looking to hopefully move right into an English PhD program out of undergrad. I'm totally with you on feeling intimidated by everyone's publications and such! I've won a few small awards at my university, but I'm not published at all, and I'm getting nervous for sure...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/19/2018 at 11:13 AM, Bopie5 said:

Hi Resilient! I'm in the exact same boat--in my senior year, looking to hopefully move right into an English PhD program out of undergrad. I'm totally with you on feeling intimidated by everyone's publications and such! I've won a few small awards at my university, but I'm not published at all, and I'm getting nervous for sure...

Yay! Welcome to the club. :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Friends, I have a 3.5 undergrad CGPA (with a 3.6 for senior and junior year); went to a small school with a liberal arts program. I don't have research and work experience in my field of interest (sociology). What kinds of schools should I be applying to? Yale is #22 in Sociology. Is it worth a shot paying the application fee for it, or is it still a long shot?

Edited by purpleatheart1994

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey @ResilientDreams, I totally know how you feel as I'm applying directly from undergrad, for clinical psychology doctorate programs, as well. I've seen your posts over on the Clinical Psychology Fall 2019 applications thread! I think the only difference between us is that I completed my Honours thesis last year and am just about to finish up a last "half" year to finish up outstanding course credits. It's sometimes pretty scary being on these forums as everyone seems way more qualified than I do. Hopefully it works out for us!! I'd love to chat more about the process, I'm pretty sure everyone around me tired of hearing about the clinical psych application process about two months ago, haha. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm applying to CS PhD programs, but some Masters programs as a backup. I have only a few months of research experience, but no papers to speak of. Fingers crossed!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a fourth year undergrad applying for biomedical engineering PhD programs. I'm incredibly nervous. I'm also a first generation college student, so it's been a journey to learn how everything works. I'm very grateful for professors at my school who have helped me out, but my imposter syndrome makes me doubt I will get anywhere. Just hoping something works out...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm currently in my first semester as a grad student, and I applied straight as an undergrad. 

Overall, MS students don't have many differences with undergrads. They may have more experience in the field (although you could do research in your undergrad) and their thesis is considered a publication (you could also have a publication in your undergrad). The biggest differences is MS students have gone through the same process that a PhD student has gone through (thesis defense, lit presentations, etc.), so the assumption is if they are going to continue to a PhD, they know what they're getting themselves into (the idea is it's a safer bet for the school). All that being said, there is a loooot to an application, more than just pubs or research experience. Looking around on this site will give you a really good idea as to all the various factors schools take into account when considering applications. 

That being said, you'll be fine. There will definitely be a lot of catching up to do, and it'll be hard work, but you have plenty of time in grad school. You take one or two classes, and the classes or a lot more laidback and less work than undergrad classes. So you have plenty of time to read read read. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/4/2018 at 8:31 PM, sgaw10 said:

I am a fourth year undergrad applying for biomedical engineering PhD programs. I'm incredibly nervous. I'm also a first generation college student, so it's been a journey to learn how everything works. I'm very grateful for professors at my school who have helped me out, but my imposter syndrome makes me doubt I will get anywhere. Just hoping something works out...

@sgaw10 Glad to see another first generation student! I am first generation everything (high school graduate, college graduate, Ph.D. applicant). I so relate to the imposter syndrome! I finished my undergrad in 3 years and now I'm applying to Ph.D. programs with only a B.S. It's good to acknowledge the accomplishments we have made so far. It's no little thing to be a first generation student, especially if your background is anything like mine (i.e. little support, financially or otherwise). It says a lot about your determination and motivation. Don't forget the benefit of your experiences as a first generation student. Good luck! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ResilientDreams said:

How is everyone feeling now that we've submitted most of our apps?

To be honest, somehow even more stressed? It feels really out of my control now, and I know everyone else is so qualified and worked so hard. I feel happy with how my apps turned out, but I feel like I have no way of assessing whether or not I'm likely to get accepted to any program, which adds a lot of nervousness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all! I'm in the same boat, applying to Molecular/Systems Biology PhD programs right out of undergrad. 

Honestly it's super nerve-wracking having no idea what I'm going to be doing at this time next year or where I'll be... I purposefully didn't apply to many schools and the ones that I did apply to tend to be very selective. So I might not get in anywhere and end up looking for lab tech jobs if nothing in this app cycle pans out. 

Also, I feel you Bopie, I hate waiting to hear back, with no idea when I'll hear something and worrying about it being bad news. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.