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ResilientDreams

Anybody else applying to a PhD straight out of undergrad?

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2 hours ago, kaimcc22520 said:

@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! 

Thank you for the reminder. It certainly is tough when you have no support in your personal background. I find that my opinion changes often, but over the past few months I have found that I enjoy academia, even if I feel like I was "thrown" into my situation. And the funny thing is that I did not think that much of this my first two years or so, but then the differences between my peers and me hit hard. If I get into just one school I love for a PhD, I will be overjoyed. Best of luck to you, too.

2 hours ago, ResilientDreams said:

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

I think the waiting is worse than working on the apps. I will admit that studying for the GRE and talking to professors about letters of recommendation were not my idea of fun, but it was sort of neat and scary (in a good way) when writing personal statements to start "imagining" myself at different institutions. But after submission? The self-doubt is even worse. It keeps me up at night sometimes, as pathetic as that sounds.

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I'm also applying to PhD programs straight out of undergrad! Most of the programs I'm applying to are a combined MA/PhD program or they allow PhD students to apply for an en route MA once they've completed a certain amount of requirements. My professors have told me I have a good shot at getting into the programs I've applied to but as I'm sure all of you are experiencing there's that voice in the back of my head that reminds me a BA applicant faces an uphill battle.

I'm with you Bopie and Nuclear the waiting is already stressing me and we're barely into the consideration period!

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I'm applying for admission straight after undergrad for Ph.D. programs. It's a bit disheartening that the majority of those at my University say over and over that almost nobody gets in straight out of undergrad. Luckily, I've found 3 RA positions (2 volunteer positions that I joined in February 2018, 1 paid position) that I hope is going to help. 

I'm willing to take the chance.

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Hello! I've applied to both M.A. and Ph.D. programs straight from undergrad (see my sig). I had originally set my eyes on applying only to M.A. programs, but my advisors were shocked when I told them and they informed me that my goal should be to apply for Ph.D.'s and to only do an M.A. as a backup. I didn't know this was common within the humanities (my boyfriend is in the sciences so I am well aware of the "stigma" of getting a M.S. versus going straight to a Ph.D.). Then again, not many students are really "taught" the ins-and-outs of graduate degrees, so I can't be too shocked that I didn't "know" going to a Ph.D. should have been the default for me.

Though I and all my advisors and mentors think my applications, experience, and written materials are superb, I'm not setting my hopes too high for the Ph.D. because I think I'd grow more and have more time to experiment with my research within an M.A. program. A few of my mentors "inside" the world of my research have even concluded that even if I did  get into Ph.D. programs, I should strongly consider one specific M.A. pathway as it would allow me to network with specific faculty at a specific place within a very specific field, and that doing this would widen my social capital and benefit me later in my career... 

It's been weird, actually, because a lot of my advisors and mentors (I'm very, very lucky to have quite a lot of cheerleaders) have such different opinions about what I should do. Yet each one tells me to "follow my heart" at the end of the day! 

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Hi all! I applied to a bunch of PhD programs this fall (and one school that requires you to complete their masters before going on to the doctoral level *eyeroll*). I'm at the point in the process where I'm questioning if materials were actually any good and am so very much enjoying the waiting. Plus, it's super hard to be motivated for my last semester when I'm so focused on what comes next. Has anyone else had this experience? 

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((waves)) Me too!

I'm currently in my fourth and final year in my undergrad (Yeah, I rushed my undergrad aha, uncommon for psychology nowadays). I'm applying to Canadian Clinical Psych programs that are MA/PhD or MSc/PhD, and it has def been nerve-wracking hearing that most people don't get in straight out of undergrad. I've been VERY fortunate as I've already been accepted to a program and am interviewing for 2 others. It CAN be done!! :) 

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On 1/28/2019 at 5:21 PM, hardatwork said:

Hi all! I applied to a bunch of PhD programs this fall (and one school that requires you to complete their masters before going on to the doctoral level *eyeroll*). I'm at the point in the process where I'm questioning if materials were actually any good and am so very much enjoying the waiting. Plus, it's super hard to be motivated for my last semester when I'm so focused on what comes next. Has anyone else had this experience? 

I just wanted to say that I really relate to it being hard to stay motivated for the last semester....I more or less finished all my degree requirements already so I'm taking a lot of elective classes and while they're interesting it's kind of hard to stay focused on them when I have interviews coming up.

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3 hours ago, ResilientDreams said:

I just wanted to say that I really relate to it being hard to stay motivated for the last semester....I more or less finished all my degree requirements already so I'm taking a lot of elective classes and while they're interesting it's kind of hard to stay focused on them when I have interviews coming up.

Yeah, I fulfilled my last graduation requirements last semester. I’m definitely in a weird space trying to remind myself I have to work ahead so I can actually enjoy my interviews and visit days!

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On 2/1/2019 at 12:03 AM, ResilientDreams said:

I just wanted to say that I really relate to it being hard to stay motivated for the last semester....I more or less finished all my degree requirements already so I'm taking a lot of elective classes and while they're interesting it's kind of hard to stay focused on them when I have interviews coming up.

Same here! I'm also applying straight out of undergrad to PhD programs in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering. I'm starting to think "senioritis" is just code for "overwhelmed student who can't focus on classes". Lol.

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Bad thing about starting a PhD when you're 20 yrs old is that you can't drink at graduation/welcome party ?

(Started primary school 1 yr earlier and finishing undergrad in 3 yrs. Proud of myself but not a genius?)

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Hi everyone! I'm applying for a PhD straight after my undergrad as well and the constant sense of not being worthy of being accepted anywhere is something that has haunted me for the last few months. Almost everywhere I go to look for profiles of fellow applicants have only further added to my misery. Lack of publications, significantly less "cool" research projects, etc., just seemed too much for me to convince myself that I'd ever have a fair shot at the colleges I'm applying to. That tied along with the fact that I'm an international applicant just made matters worse. Considering the significant amount  of money required for application fees, GRE, TOEFL, etc., I felt extremely guilty that I was merely wasting my parent's money on a stupid dream. However, the last few weeks have been helpful. I've gotten some (what atleast appears to be) good news from surprisingly the more competitive programs I had applied to. I guess the take back from all this is that it's not very productive to stress yourself on comparisons you make between yourself and applicants who have had more time to build their profile. While the admissions process is not perfect, I've found that most committees take into serious consideration the amount of time and the resources you've had at your disposal for pursuing research before you've filled the application form. The feeling of uncertainty and nervousness hasn't completely gone yet (and probably never will =P ) but I've found it easier to cope with this stress and the acads of my final semester now that I've heard back from the programs I applied to and come to terms with whatever work I've done as an undergrad. I hope someone can relate to this and best of luck to all you guys! Ace it!

Edited by bloops

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I’m late to this thread, but I’m applying straight out of undergrad. I am also late to undergrad though, so a little different in that I’m older. I was feeling similarly to @bloops but then I got accepted to a top school with a merit fellowship and so now I’m suffering from impostor syndrome instead. After seeing the amount of research and publications that people who’ve been out of school are applying with, I really feel out of my depth in some ways. But I try to remember that admissions committees have been doing this for a long time, and if they see something in my it must be there. (Right?) Right now my big fear is that with I will fail the last class I need to graduate and end up not getting in after all!

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I've been pretty absent from Grad Cafe for a while butI wanted to share this experience with all of you. One night I was talking with a friend who is also applying to grad school and we were both lamenting how difficult it is to get into a program straight out of undergrad and worrying about anything and everything related to the process. That night I convinced myself that I should just assume that I wasn't going to get in anywhere and build a backup plan from there. Better to be prepared for the worst than devastated at a surprise right? The very next day I got an offer of admission and full funding from a PhD program (which came way earlier than expected).

I know this time can be beyond stressful for so many reasons but in all of the stress and worry don't lose sight of the fact that you are capable of great things.

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I also applied to PhD programs right out of undergrad. I graduated in December, though, so I've had this semester off to obsess over everything. When I met with a professor early last fall to discuss applying to PhD programs, he said he usually discourages people from applying right out of undergrad but that I could try and see how it goes. I'm both shocked and extremely pleased to have been admitted to a top choice PhD program with full funding. I kept having Imposter Syndrome throughout the application process (especially when I left the "Publications" and "TA experience" portions of the application blank). Now that I've been admitted, I've been trying to remind myself that clearly if the graduate committee read my app, interviewed me, and invited me to attend, then I must be qualified. 

I'm going to be doing a PhD in French Literature, so I've been trying to read some of the texts from my program's first year reading list (which is 80 texts long!) to get ahead. 

I hope everyone's application season is going well! 

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Hello, I've found my people! I'm applying straight out of undergrad too, but only to one program that I really adore. If I don't get in this year, I'm planning on working in industry for a year and applying again. The application process has been going pretty well, I've had a few interviews with the program so far and they seem to like me and my application! The problem is, admissions are super competitive, even after interviews.

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Hello again! Finally received my first acceptance from one of my top priority programs! Phew, the anxiety is finally going away and I've finally found some hope and inspiration in life again XD. Best of luck to you guys. Just hold on. The end is near and good news awaits you all! 😃

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On 2/6/2019 at 7:34 PM, Camillalxy said:

Bad thing about starting a PhD when you're 20 yrs old is that you can't drink at graduation/welcome party ?

(Started primary school 1 yr earlier and finishing undergrad in 3 yrs. Proud of myself but not a genius?)

Ahhh yes I feel this!!! I’m also applying to PhD programs straight out of undergrad when I finished my undergrad in 3 years and have a late birthday. So I’ll be turning 21 about three weeks into the start of the semester. I had a LOT of negativity that I wasn’t going to get into a PhD program because of age and the assumption that people make about the maturity levels of 20 year olds. It was especially scary because many of the PhD programs I applied to don’t do interviews, so I didn’t have anything to prove myself in person really. But I’ve managed to get accepted to one PhD program already (awaiting funding) and I also applied to a couple MS programs just in case. I’m really glad I found you all in a similar boat :)

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On 2/16/2019 at 11:51 PM, LOiseauRouge said:

Now that I've been admitted, I've been trying to remind myself that clearly if the graduate committee read my app, interviewed me, and invited me to attend, then I must be qualified.

THIS. This is so important to remember! Even after I got accepted I had people tell me I was too young. Clearly, the adcomm disagrees, and it’s pretty obvious who has more authority on that decision 

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14 hours ago, literalturtle said:

THIS. This is so important to remember! Even after I got accepted I had people tell me I was too young. Clearly, the adcomm disagrees, and it’s pretty obvious who has more authority on that decision 

Exactly. Finally getting accepted gives back a lot of self-respect.

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Late to the party but I'll share my tale so far :) I'm a BA-only applicant but took a gap year (senior year was just too chaotic). I wanted to do it directly out of undergrad, but there was something in me that told me that wasn't the right idea for my personal circumstances. Plus, my letter writers all supported a gap year (one told me to take two to three years).

I did a gap year mostly to rest and to have a chance to exist without school on me 24/7. I wanted to apply to MA programs alongside PhD, but I didn't quite plan out that part of my application that well so I applied to solely PhD programs. Happy to say I'll be attending a PhD program in the fall and to a university I've been eyeing since I was in high school.

I can't deny I feel bouts of cold feet. There are moments where I feel either confident about my chances or I feel like I'm way in over my head (or sometimes both at once, and the imposter syndrome gets real bad). I haven't really had much of a chance to expose myself to anything that isn't an academic life/context (my gap year was basically an application year, didn't do much outside of that), so I'm feeling kinda paranoid entering a program now. At the moment it's slowly sinking in for me why people wait until they're older to undertake graduate study and simultaneously, I'm also excited to start too.

Edited by Ranmaag

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I lurked on this thread but never posted, because I've graduated already and took a gap between graduation and applying, so I wasn't sure if I counted! Sorry if I still don't count haha. I had some life circumstances keep me from applying for a few years, even though I had wanted to apply straight out of undergrad. It's weird being in this sort of in-between group where I'm not currently enrolled as an undergrad, but I don't have an MA. People seem to assume that I got distracted by job prospects in the "real world" and decided to come back, but that isn't the case at all. 

I'm happy with my results so far, and I know I'll get to go to grad school for a PhD this upcoming year! I was honestly surprised by how many current grad students at my visits had an MA coming into their PhD, and I feel like despite the rejections this year, I've done well applying with just the BA. 

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