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Hi everyone,

I have been reading grad school related stuff for a long time and finally decided to take the plunge. My main concern however is to be seen as too weak a candidate for admission to a phd program in education. The main reason I'm asking this is experience. My understanding is that to be accepted to phd or EdD program you need a long teaching career. I will have taught for 3 years before I begin grad school. I have a Master's degree in an unrelated field and worked for two years in a university library for 2 years before teaching. I will be 28 when I begin.

It looks like I have absolutely no chance at places like Harvard, Upenn or other top schools with 10%-20% acceptance rates. Would you agree with this? What was your profile like that got you in?

Thanks for the answers.

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I don't think that's true at all. You may need something else to make your application stand out: high GRE scores, good undergrad or Masters institution and GPA, etc.

I was accepted to many programs, including some top-ranked ones and I don't really have a long-term teaching background (I have lots of short assignments in varied subjects).

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For "research" doctoral programs, either EdD or PhD, your "research experience or skills," along with impressive GRE & GPA, should be more helpful for you doctoral admission than teaching experiences, because, once you are in the program, you would have to go through extensive research training and produce original research results for your dissertation.

If you are interested in a "practitioner's" doctorate such as Ed.LD, your "teaching or administrative experiences" would be more important for your application.

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FWIW, I did get an undergraduate in Agricultural Education and am certified to teach high school agriculture in Texas. However, I never actually took a job in the classroom and spent 8 years working in state government as an instructional designer and later continuing ed administrator. I'll be starting a PhD in Instructional Technology this fall and was accepted to all three programs I applied (NCSU, IU, and UGA). At no point was my lack of teaching in the classroom ever brought up or an issue.

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  • 6 months later...

Hi everyone,

I have been reading grad school related stuff for a long time and finally decided to take the plunge. My main concern however is to be seen as too weak a candidate for admission to a phd program in education. The main reason I'm asking this is experience. My understanding is that to be accepted to phd or EdD program you need a long teaching career. I will have taught for 3 years before I begin grad school. I have a Master's degree in an unrelated field and worked for two years in a university library for 2 years before teaching. I will be 28 when I begin.

It looks like I have absolutely no chance at places like Harvard, Upenn or other top schools with 10%-20% acceptance rates. Would you agree with this? What was your profile like that got you in?

Thanks for the answers.

I have the same concerns as you.Cos I am young, for a PhD in Education maybe (I think!Hope I'm wrong), and have one year plus four months teaching experience.I did some teaching during the summer when I was in my undergrad, like internships & stuff.I wonder if that counts.The only thing I am able to rely on are my GPAs, Personal statement and recommendations.I am also an international applicant.I wonder if that is an advantage or disadvantage...

Edited by aditi123
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So in my humble opinion as I was lucky enough to gain acceptance to Upenn GSE Phd program is that research experience, GRE and GPA are the most important things. The top schools particularly for PhD want to train people to become professors at research 1 universities--thats it. SO if you have 1 year of experience but it is heavy on research along with 1300+ gre scores 3.8+ gpa and maybe a masters degree 3.85+ gpa than you have a shot. Since there are a good number of folks who meet this threshold then it becomes a matter of fit with the departmental research interests. As someone said earlier, teaching experience only matter in terms of icing on the cake or if you are interested in a practictioners ED.D. program. One way to know what the program is looking for is to look at the faculty in the program you are interested in. If all of the professors have PhD's from research 1 universities than you should know their leanings. Hope this helps

Edited by khalif54
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