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How many years have you applied?


euges429
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It's pretty usual that most people apply to PhD programs two or three years. It's hard to get into one, it just is. I got in this year, after 3 years of trying to do so. What about you guys? From the grad school notice list on thegradcafe.com, I've read that most people are like me too -- this year is their 2nd or 3rd attempt.

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This is my first year, and I can see why people need two, three years or more to get into their dream programs. I was lucky enough to be admitted by a good program even though nearly all my top choices turned me down, so no need to go through that ordeal again until graduation and job-hunt, but looking back on the application process I now see trillions of flaws that could've been avoided, and in some other cases I should have been more aggressive etc.

Hats off to those that never gave up and congrats to everyone who ultimately succeeded :D

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I find the most common one is the Personal Statement! Most people seem to say this. GRE's scores and GPA's are set, but it's the personal statement that is very subjective and can really sway a committee towards admitting you or rejecting you

In your Personal Statement don't re-write your CV (that was one of my mistakes), emphasize your research interests and how they fit with particular faculty in the department and spelling errors are a kiss of death (literally they take that very seriously!)

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But honestly to me it doesn't seem like a lot of people apply multiple times. That seems like more the exception than the rule. I think this may be because people who are re-applying only applied to very few programs their first time around and maybe very few the second, then mix that up with very competitive admissions and possibly a beginners personal statement then you end up re-applying.

I personally am applying for a second year and I noticed other than revising my personal statement a very important part is to verify that the faculty at the program you want to attend are accepting students that year. The programs that rejected me all had faculty who didn't respond to my email asking if they were taking students, yet I applied anyway just in case, and it turned out none of them accepted students.

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Hi, could you share a bit of "the flaws that could've been avoided"?

I'm not sure if this pertains to the topic, but to put it simply, I decided to apply for PhD very very late in the game--namely, in July of 07--took my TOEFL (I'm an international) in August and GRE in October, did okay on the TOEFL (117) but GRE verbal was a disastrous 590(83%)!!! I also spent most of October organizing an international conference for my current institute, began hastily putting together my applications in November with earliest deadlines of 15, Dec. It's no small wonder that such rushed app files would contain a myriad of typos, not to say much less than perfect SOPs--I simply couldn't do thorough enough research on all the programs I was interested in, but I did manage to match my research interests with faculty and program orientations just barely. I had 2 different writing samples that I sent out according to my impressions of what they were looking for, but I'm still not sure that was a good move--probably not. My advisor and recommenders were wonderful giving me time and advice out of their own busy schedules, but they did kindly prep me for re-app next year if denied admission everywhere. I'm really grateful for the results (probably heading to UM-AA in the fall), but I do hope nobody else would do as I did! :lol:

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This was my first year applying for PhD programs, and I went 3/3. I actually wasn't feeling confident that I would get in anywhere at all, and had already begun preparing for round II when I started getting good news. I suppose that I got lucky; looking around these forums, I seem to have done very little similarly to other posters.

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Second here. I did get a Master's first and primarily spent my second year finishing my thesis, taking classes and comps, working under a variety of professors (one of which who gave me twice as much work as my scheduled hours), running a worship ministry with a friend we started and doing other ministry leadership activities. So, I didn't have time to apply to schools--only two--and they were late deadlines.

This year I'm teaching my first year at a full load at a small private college. So, Both times were rushed, both at the last minute w/a single PS draft nobody checked. I had a typo, but only on my CV for some schools. My GPA was great, but I also had no time to study for the GRE beforehand for my Master's (I got the same verbal score) and didn't have time to take it again. Everyone I asked in my field told me it was fine though.

The difference was the number of schools (eight) and a tiny bit more experience & advice received. Glad it worked because I despise the app process.

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i applied to 3 PhD programs and 1 MA program overseas my senior year of college. Looking back on it I can't believe I was so cavalier about the process- I picked some really tough schools and was just convinced I was going to get in. So, I didn't get into any of the PhD programs- one of them accepted me for MA only, the other 2 rejected me. I did get into the MA program overseas but decided against it. So I went to the MA program in the US thinking I would continue on there to the PhD. But, my interests changed fairly dramatically and I also wanted to get into a higher ranked school if possible that had more people working on my interests... So, I completed the MA program, then took 2 years off, worked for a non-profit, and reapplied- this time to 6 PhD programs. Also all incredibly hard to get into, but this time I got into one, fully funded! I think it depends on your field- but it does seem like in my field people are prepared to go 2 rounds. Or- at least to get into an MA only program then re-apply for the PhD.

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well I hear places like Berkeley don't usually accept you the first time, as they want to really know if you want to go to Berekely.. thus you might have better chances when you reapply a second time..

This sounds like a vicious rumor.

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