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Hi all!

I am sure I am not alone when it comes to feeling super anxious about waiting to hear back from schools after pressing that submit button. I know there is a Venting Thread, but I thought it would be nice to have a specific forum where people can talk about their worries while they wait. So, I am going to first talk about what I am worried about and then talk about what I am excited about if I get accepted in grad school.

Worries: I feel like I don't have enough research experience under my belt, especially since I haven't done any research in the fields that I want do pursue my graduate degree in. My GRE scores are mediocre, so that scares me as well. I think the fact that I am taking a gap year and I am not currently doing anything "resume/cv worthy" right now will make me look lazy to the admission committees. I am also worried about paying for moving to grad school. I really hope I can get a retail job next year so I can start saving money for that. Also, I want to pay off my loans during grad school, even though I know I can defer them while in school. I just am tired of my interest accumulating.

Excitement: Even though grad school will have plenty of hellish moments where I probably won't get enough sleep and be able to make meals for myself, I am ready to be back in school again. Despite the homework and stressful tests, I oddly like taking classes. I am even more excited to take graduate-level classes because I feel like I will be able to focus more on learning and less on getting an A on every single assignment. After doing that in undergrad and pretty much destroying my mental health, I am never going back to putting myself through that again. I am also ready to move to a new place and explore the area. Additionally, I can't wait to start researching something I am interested in. I am nervous that I might find out that I might not like it, but at least it will still be interesting enough that I can do it for 5-7 years.

So, go ahead and just type away your worries about waiting, grad school, and anything else. Also, talk about what your excited about when it comes to grad school. I feel like doing both will make you feel slightly better. 

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Worries: I submitted my applications early, but I think I could have made them much better if I had sat with them longer. I think I forgot to explain more clearly and precisely what I wanted to do in the future, and perhaps spent too much talking about what I've done in the past (with the assumption that my future will look similar to my past). I'm also trying to balance getting into a good school and ending up in a good location. After some bouts of burn out and depression, I'm afraid that grad school will only make my mental health worse. On top of that, I'm doubting my abilities to succeed in the field that I aim to go into, and I'm also doubtful that I'll definitely enjoy the work I plan to do. 

Excitement: Since I'm aiming to leave my undergrad institution, I'm excited to meet new professors and be in a new environment. I'm also excited for the possibility of changing my interests a little. I think I've gotten too deep into what I expect myself to be interested in rather than what I'm actually interested in, and a new environment might provide the motivation to take more risks and try new things. I thrive in collaborative environments and working closely with other students, so I'm excited to meet new colleagues as well. 

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42 minutes ago, peanutjellyfish said:

Worries: I submitted my applications early, but I think I could have made them much better if I had sat with them longer. I think I forgot to explain more clearly and precisely what I wanted to do in the future, and perhaps spent too much talking about what I've done in the past (with the assumption that my future will look similar to my past). I'm also trying to balance getting into a good school and ending up in a good location. After some bouts of burn out and depression, I'm afraid that grad school will only make my mental health worse. On top of that, I'm doubting my abilities to succeed in the field that I aim to go into, and I'm also doubtful that I'll definitely enjoy the work I plan to do.  

Oh my goodness, I relate to all of this so much. You are not alone in thinking these things. I can definitely relate to worrying about grad school making my mental health worse. I guess with that you just have to make sure that you get enough sleep, take breaks when doing research, hang out with friends, and have some "me-time" among all the chaos.
 

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Oof, everything everyone's said is so real.

Worries: Coming right out of undergrad and not having any publications, I'm concerned that I look inexperienced. I also found two minor typos in my writing sample after I already submitted my apps ? Also worried that I'll feel like I'll have wasted a lot of time and money if I don't get in, since apps ended up costing more than $700. Also worrying that if I get in, I'll feel/seem really inadequate and not as qualified as other grad students in the cohort.

Excitements: I love classes and academia, and if I get in I can't wait to interact with other students who are just as passionate as I am! Plus delving deeper into theory and getting the space to really pursue the research that interests me. 

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I love this thread! 

Worries: I only applied to two PhD School Psychology programs because they were the only ones I was really interested in and it’s all I could afford. My GRE scores aren’t amazing and I don’t have a lot of research. Will I even get invited for an interview? Will I be able to move out of my parents’ house and be financially okay?

 

Excitements: I am proud of myself for even trying and applying. I know that my strength in my application is my work/volunteer experience. I have had some really good conversations with some professors and a grad student at one of the schools I applied to. I will graduate with my bachelor’s in May!!! If I end up getting accepted somewhere, I will begin a new adventure in a new place and work toward my passion of helping children.

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Worries: My GPA is so ugly that I don't think any place I love will take me. This is the biggest issue. I am applying straight out of undergrad from a prestigious institution, but I don't think that's going to help my case that much. I only have a few poster presentations -- no publications. My GRE scores are fine but not excellent. My parents did not attend college and know nothing about higher education, so it's been tough to navigate how this all works and approach professors during this long process. I'm dumb and didn't apply for NSF. My mom always tells me that everything will work out and I will get in, and the fact that she belittles how competitive these programs are worries me even more. Another big fear of mine, even though it is entirely out of my control at this point, is that my letters of recommendation are mediocre at best. And finally, not getting any interviews at my dream schools while I think about all of the time and money I wasted...

Excitements: My undergraduate research was not in my field of interest. But I have taken several classes in the area, so I am thrilled to potentially finally work on a project I adore. I am proud of myself for asking advice from my professors. I had a professor who is famous in my field help me out a lot and offer to write me a letter of recommendation without me asking, and that was one of the happiest moments of my year. I adore my undergraduate institution, but I have lived in the same region of the country nearly my entire life, so the chance to move elsewhere is also exciting. I think I have articulated my research interests in my SOP well.

/endrant

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I'll throw mine in!

Worries: I'm coming straight out of undergrad, and I don't nearly as much experience as some already do - I've only done a couple semesters' worth of research, and I have no presentation experience. I have one authorship credit...but I'm seventh in line, so not exactly going to knock any socks off. My GRE definitely could have been better (anyone else find that their Powerpreps didn't give an accurate expectation for the real thing?). I only applied to three programs due to narrow interests and familial restrictions; this won't change much, if at all, for future admissions cycles. I'm concerned that I did not articulate well enough why I chose my particular interests and goals. It's basically guaranteed that I'll get rejected this cycle, and due to my narrow range of possible schools and the competitiveness of my chosen programs, I'm concerned I'll ultimately never make it into a program..

Excitements: My GPA is actually pretty decent, especially my major GPA. I'm also graduating in a week and a half! 2/3 of my letter writers actually volunteered to write my recommendations, and the third was more than happy to oblige. I'm looking forward to focusing on getting practical experience next year - I have an internship lined up starting next month, and I'm looking to join another lab (interviewing for one tomorrow!). I'm genuinely interested in my field (clinical psych), I've heard encouraging things from professors, and feel that I actually have the potential to do well. So...time will tell.

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Worries: This is my second year, and I'm really stressed out. I've been keeping asking myself what I'm going to do if I didn't get in again? Try a third time? I'm not sure I can handle the stress one more time. I'm also worried about my references if I didn't get in again. Who will be willing to write me recommendation letters three years in a row? I couldn't ask any of my professors/supervisors to do that for me. 

Excitements: I know this is my passion and I really want to do it. I'm not afraid of anything that's waiting for me in grad school. I also have contacted some POIs in my field and had  relatively good email exchange with them (I think), and they were being really encouraging. I have decent GPA and TOEFL (as an international student), and some pubs. I truly hope I can get in one program and hope everyone who's been trying and working hard for it finally get in the programs they want. Fingers crossed! 

Edited by northie

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Worries: This is my third cycle applying. It's been draining every single time. I am an international student and the acceptances for international students seem really low over the past 2 years. I did graduate from an American university, but with only a magna cum laude. There seem to be so many applying with much higher gpa than mine. Though my verbal and quant scores on the gres were pretty solid, my written score was only a 4.0. In short, I'm afraid a meh gpa, and a shitty 4.0 on written, coupled with my international student status will hurt me real bad. I have about 4yrs of research experience but only a few posters, presentations and publications to show for it. I am already 30 this year and feel like the rest of my life has been put on hold while I have focused on this. Being a first-generation college grad, my family understand the value of higher education, but don't quite get the point of pursuing a PhD instead of settling for an undergrad degree. I could really do with a win.

Excitement: There is little I can think of that would be as exciting as doing research in topics I find interesting. I contacted a number of POIs and some seemed interested in working with me. Regardless of how this plays out, I'm sure I'll eventually find myself doing research in topics that excite me so I'll just hold on to that hahaha

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Worries : I have applied for Doctoral Degree since 2015. I got into Brown for a Master degree in 2017. Reapplying again for 2019 hopefully I can get into a doctoral program. I was an international student, and my undergrad GPA was not good so I didn't get in any school for Dr program until Brown offered me a Master program which I accepted. Before that, I worked in a cancer research institute for 4 years instead of focusing on what I really wanted to research, so it may hurt my chances of getting into research group I want. ( I want some research to deal with bones.) I took the chance for my master's degree to work with bones as well but 2 year degree not much can be achieved. I am currently applying to MIT and Columbia and this nerve wrecking.

 

Excitement : I just met up with a professor I want to work with in MIT and I am very grateful for the people who showed me around and the professor for giving his 15 min of time to talk to me. I have hopes but I'm trying to not get it too high because I dont want to deal with bad disappointments later! :P I also emailed Professor in Columbia and he said he is also lookin forward to my application because my skill set is more of a biological side instead of engineering side. So cross finger, getting into both would mean alot to me! 

Edited by StHoly

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Worries: I didn't do enough to reach out to POI before applying. I applied too soon and could have had more accomplishments on my CV if I waited until the deadline. It's been 3 weeks since I applied and no one has contacted me. I keep looking at past posts here and on other forums and comparing my stats to others who have been admitted or rejected from the programs I applied to. I don't stack up well on stats-- my quant GRE is low and my undergrad experience was mediocre. I haven't worked in the field I'm applying to for very long. I'm in a Master's program now, but I just finished my last final for the semester and my thesis. I don't have anything to do over winter break except refresh. those. portals. Ughhhh. I feel like this is my only chance at PhD programs because I'm not going to have the time/resources/support I had this year to go through the whole application process again next year.

Excitement: I'm starting a new research project with a research organization outside of my university. So if grad school falls through, I can probably get a job with them?  

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Worries: I didn't mention my language experience on my apps because even though I took 8 years of German, I haven't used it in about 6 years, so I don't think I can be considered as knowledgeable with it anymore. But I feel now like this is going to majorly hurt me.

Excitement: I remain super excited about my prospective research project for grad school. I also know that if I don't get in anywhere, I have an awesome backup plan that I could also be very excited for. Trying to be realistic and optimistic at the same time!

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On 12/11/2018 at 6:26 AM, loffire said:

Worries: This is my third cycle applying. It's been draining every single time. I am an international student and the acceptances for international students seem really low over the past 2 years. I did graduate from an American university, but with only a magna cum laude. There seem to be so many applying with much higher gpa than mine. Though my verbal and quant scores on the gres were pretty solid, my written score was only a 4.0. In short, I'm afraid a meh gpa, and a shitty 4.0 on written, coupled with my international student status will hurt me real bad. I have about 4yrs of research experience but only a few posters, presentations and publications to show for it. I am already 30 this year and feel like the rest of my life has been put on hold while I have focused on this. Being a first-generation college grad, my family understand the value of higher education, but don't quite get the point of pursuing a PhD instead of settling for an undergrad degree. I could really do with a win.

Excitement: There is little I can think of that would be as exciting as doing research in topics I find interesting. I contacted a number of POIs and some seemed interested in working with me. Regardless of how this plays out, I'm sure I'll eventually find myself doing research in topics that excite me so I'll just hold on to that hahaha

I definitely understand how you feel. It was hard for me the past 3 times I applied for graduate school. I was an international student back in 2015 and  I had shitty GPA and couldnt' get into any school until Brown offered me a Master program in 2017 (meaning I have to pay for it) I took this chance to brush up my GPA and get into research I really want. Hopefully this 4th round will be better. 

I hope you get into a school that you applied to! In my 4 years of experience in industry, I did't even get any posters/ presentations to show! So I think you're in a good shape overall! Don't feel dejected because of your age! I am also 30 now and still applying! Don't give up! :) 

However if you dont' see the point of pursuing PhD, I think it's better not. Never listen to what others say, listen to yourself. You'll thank yourself in the future! 

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Worries: got my first two replies today - both rejections. I'm super worried that it's just not going to work out :(

Excitement: not much at the moment. Will try and get my mind off of things, spending time with friends and family. Hopefully a new week brings better news.

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Worries: 

I am waiting for UW Madison iPiB, it's my top choice (kinda). It's a hard school to get in, due to my low-tier undergrads, not so much research experience and low verbal (I have good quant) on GRE. I am worried about the nomination process for my U of Arkansas apps, worried about interview for MSU. I am also worried about the future, the prospect of work after Grad school although I am not even a grad student, the relating status of the school I apply/have been admitted to,  the current level of passion for research (not critically alarmed, but totally not 100% sure), the interpersonal aspects of academia, the relationship between me, my PI, and colleagues, the academia itself, my teaching skill, the lack of knowledge for certain stuff, my affiliation for perfectionism, mental states, preparedness for grad school, the imminent mental breakdown, etc.

Excitement: 

The current research I am doing, and will be doing. The papers I will read, the tests I will run, the focus I will have for research once I get into grad school. The fact that I am already admitted to one is an ease of my mind. And the health of my pets (is not related at all but still)

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On 12/14/2018 at 11:06 AM, apex45 said:

I don't stack up well on stats-- my quant GRE is low and my undergrad experience was mediocre.

If it makes you feel better, all your GRE scores are higher than mine. I only have a little over one year of research experience during my undergraduate. I definitely feel inadequate when I compare myself to others on here. I also haven't done any work related to my research interests. But I am trying to stay confident anyway. It's hard, but I am hoping at least one school will see my potential. The fact that you are doing a Master's is good! I think you should be proud of getting that experience.

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5 hours ago, MephsitoShaw said:

I am also worried about the future, the prospect of work after Grad school although I am not even a grad student, the relating status of the school I apply/have been admitted to,  the current level of passion for research (not critically alarmed, but totally not 100% sure), the interpersonal aspects of academia, the relationship between me, my PI, and colleagues, the academia itself, my teaching skill, the lack of knowledge for certain stuff, my affiliation for perfectionism, mental states, preparedness for grad school, the imminent mental breakdown, etc.

Oh my goodness. I can relate to this so much.

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Worries: My training and the vast majority of my experiences are in a related field (special education) but not directly in the field I am applying to (school and clinical psych). I sometimes feel this could work in my favor and give me an edge but, most often than not, I feel worried that I will be overlooked. My GRE scores are solidly average (and I worked very hard for the meager scores I got!). I, too, am 30 and I have a lot pending on this decision in this stage of my life. I applied only to out of state programs in an effort to diversify my education as all my degrees as from the same university. I often worry that my application is not good enough and that all of the hard work I've put forth the last few years, including changing careers, would have been for nothing. 

Excitement: I have quite a bit of experience in research (8 years total, the last 3 full-time) and all of my professional experience has been in my area of interest (autism). My husband has been extremely supportive and has graciously agreed to move wherever I am accepted. I had the opportunity to speak over the phone and exchange emails with some of the POIs, who showed interest in my experiences and potential. I am definitely (cautiously) hopeful!!

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This thread is a great idea! It's comforting to know that you are not the only one who hasn't everything figured out..

WorriesMy first application that I have sent out so far (to my top choice, no less) could have been better than it was – I'm not sure if I struck the right tone in my SOP, as I'm naturally bad at writing those, and on top of that it contains a silly mistake. It's so small that you wouldn't notice it if you are not in the field, and even then only if you read it very carefully, but I'm afraid that it completely damages my credibility if they figure it out. Also, I have no clue how to finance my studies if I get accepted without a scholarship; the prospect of having to reject my dream programs for lack of funding worries me a lot and is a very real possibility. Sometimes, I even wonder why I bother applying in the first place...Finally, I have done quite okay so far academically, but I often fear that I will never be able to fulfill my family and friend's expectations this has created and that they will end up seeing me as a failure even if I end up in a position I'm happy with. 

Excitement: At least on paper, I'm a very competitive candidate: Strong grades with relevant coursework, strong results in the GRE, famous letter writers (moderately famous in the discipline, at least), relevant internship experience and so on. So at the very least, I hope I'm not completely deluding myself when I believe that I have shot at being accepted and getting some kind of funding. I'm also excited about the prospect of further studies: I love my field and I couldn't imagine doing anything else with myself, even if I don't end up at one of my top choices. I'm also looking forward to study in another country, meet new people and begin a new phase of my life.

 

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Potemkin, you should check prodigy finance platform. They give loans to international students with no cosigner to top schools in the world.

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4 hours ago, cozielny93 said:

Potemkin, you should check prodigy finance platform. They give loans to international students with no cosigner to top schools in the world.

Thanks, I will! 

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Worries: I have no publications, and this makes me feel like there's no reason for PIs to want me... I can't shake the nagging suspicion that I won't get in anywhere, whether it's because of the publications thing, my GPA not being high enough (3.65, good in my opinion because I really worked for it but I know some people manage to get higher), PIs not knowing me, or my letters not being good enough. Also, I realized I made the stupidest mistake ever and didn't put my name on most of my statements of purpose before submitting.... Does anyone know if this is the end of the world? Some of the schools showed me the PDF to look over before submitting and those had my name etc in the corner automatically, and I caught the error before submitting the last 2.....

Excitement: I go to a top 5 school for my field. I've been told that this, combined with 2 years of research experience in 2 labs, should be enough to get me in at least a few places. I'll be so so happy if I do get in anywhere, because all I want is to keep doing research in my field and learning more

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45 minutes ago, eggsalads said:

Worries: I have no publications, and this makes me feel like there's no reason for PIs to want me... I can't shake the nagging suspicion that I won't get in anywhere, whether it's because of the publications thing, my GPA not being high enough (3.65, good in my opinion because I really worked for it but I know some people manage to get higher), PIs not knowing me, or my letters not being good enough. Also, I realized I made the stupidest mistake ever and didn't put my name on most of my statements of purpose before submitting.... Does anyone know if this is the end of the world? Some of the schools showed me the PDF to look over before submitting and those had my name etc in the corner automatically, and I caught the error before submitting the last 2.....

Excitement: I go to a top 5 school for my field. I've been told that this, combined with 2 years of research experience in 2 labs, should be enough to get me in at least a few places. I'll be so so happy if I do get in anywhere, because all I want is to keep doing research in my field and learning more

I totally relate! My GPA is 6.63, and I had no clue that so many people applying would have publications until started reading this forum. I wouldn't worry about the name on the personal statement; I think it gets attached to your application such that they know whose it is. I only put my name in the file name of mine.

My worries: I attend a school no one has heard of, and my science GPA is low. I also haven't had the opportunity to work in labs except during the summer. Just got rejected by my top choice...

Excitement: I have three invitations for interviews. :)

 

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Worries: I'm afraid I'll tank my interviews and that I was too ambitious with my school selections. I was rejected from my top choice and now I'm afraid I'll fare the same with the other schools I haven't heard back from (even though I know they send out interview notifications in January). 

Excitement: I have 3 interviews! There is still a good chance I'll get into grad school at a good institution. 

 

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4 hours ago, pepperpop said:

I totally relate! My GPA is 6.63, and I had no clue that so many people applying would have publications until started reading this forum. I wouldn't worry about the name on the personal statement; I think it gets attached to your application such that they know whose it is. I only put my name in the file name of mine.

My worries: I attend a school no one has heard of, and my science GPA is low. I also haven't had the opportunity to work in labs except during the summer. Just got rejected by my top choice...

Excitement: I have three invitations for interviews. :)

 

I'm glad someone else feels the same way! Sorry about your top choice but hey, 3 interviews is great! Good luck! 

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