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pearl31

Fall 2016 Applicants

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I know this is way too soon!  However, I was wondering if there are fellow neurotic future applicants who are biding their time for the 2016-2017 application season?

 

I will be applying to PhD programs (mostly social/ cultural types of programs).  Almost all of the programs will be long-shots.  I figure I am at a point in my life (three young kids) that I'm all-in.  If it works, it works, and our family is off on an adventure, and if it doesn't, I will stay put and be happy anyway.  That's what I'm telling myself!  :-)

 

Applying to Harvard, Penn, Berkeley, Vanderbilt, Michigan, Michigan State, UVA, Washington, Wisconsin, Stanford, Colorado.

 

A bit about me:  English major from a state school (3.4, didn't care when I was a freshman and stupid), Master's in Education from an unknown private school (3.9).1 year teaching elementary, 3 years teaching community college, (4 years as a stay at home mom in between), GRE 165/150.  I never saw myself applying to any of these amazing schools, but teaching adults really gave me more purpose and opened my eyes.  I would have never imagined doing this in my twenties.  I think that no matter what happens, I'm glad that I am going for it!

 

Anybody else? 

Edited by pearl31

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Here! :-)

 

Been through this circus before, gonna do it this round with some social support.

 

I want to go into Educational Neuroscience, so my options for grad schools are pretty limited... On the other hand, I've got options with regards to mathematics instruction etc.

 

I'm 30 but it's been a long road to get where I'm at and to find what I wanted to do with my life. My undergrad record isn't the greatest (GPA 3.36, got an associates in vet technology, then changed my bachelors major 3 or 4 times) but since I discovered a big empty space intersecting education, psychology, and neuroscience I've been pushing to get into that gap, cause it is amazing! My GRE's are pretty okay v161/q157/w5.5 and I'm more than willing to do whatever it takes to get into research. Went through 2 application years right out of my undergrad and it went poorly, that combined with ending up in a lab with a mentor who thought giving feedback of any sort was unethical (not joking here, very Skinnerian), and I decided to take a couple years off and attempt a 9 to 5 like everyone else. This got to be problematic as I need to be working on meaningful projects and exercising my intellect on challenging problems.... Anyway, got into my master's program and haven't looked back...

 

Currently working on my Master's in Ed Psych with at minor in Statistics (and killing it all (in a good way)) also running 2 projects and working on a manuscript now, have one project that my name is on in the data analysis phase...  

 

It is so hard to be succinct on a SOP, cover my bases, and show off my research potential *sigh*

 

Pearl31 I wish you tons of luck and success! Look forward to seeing you around these parts over the next year or so :-)

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Nice to meet you!!  I think you will do so much better this time around!  You will have an MA, minor in stats, and work experience!  I hope you feel more confident!  It sounds like you will do great!

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Thanks Pearl! Since it is just the two of us so far; what do you plan on doing with your PhD? It sounds like you are interested in teaching adults, since I've focused heavily on research I don't really have any feel for what your target is. :-)

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I want to teach at a university.  I am full-time faculty at a community college teaching/ mentoring future teachers.  I'm really fortunate to have my current position (they are very rare these days).  That said, I just want to learn more and be in a position of growth (without the administrative track).  I'd love to learn how to do research and I'd like more of an intellectual challenge.  I work constantly due to the administrative aspect of my job with no help (in addition to 5/5 load).  I don't mind the workload, but I wish it was related to things that I was interested in rather than administrative work.  I can't complain- this has been an amazing experience that has opened my eyes.  That said, I want to see my possibilities!

 

Plus, with three kids born 3 years apart, free tuition for the kids sure would be nice!  ;-) 

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Hello pearl31 and EduNeuroGrl!

 

I'm also planning to apply to PhD programs for Fall 2016!  Nice to see a couple other fellow applicants on here.

 

My interests are in a couple different areas.  One is looking at student persistence in higher education and the other is in the biospychosocial aspects of education, particularly higher education (sounds like EduNeuroGrl and should talk shop at some point on the latter one).  It is a bit daunting looking at the programs out there, but I'm going to give it my best shot and hope it all works out.

 

I'm currently enrolled in a master's program, and have been fortunate enough to get some research going since starting the program last fall (one already underway, the other just getting off the ground).  I am hoping to get the PhD in order to be able to eventually work as a professor and be able to both teach and do research.

 

Looking forward to getting through this journey with you two and the other great folks out there!

Edited by mrsmithut

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Hi mrsmithut!  That sounds really interesting!  My interests center around access to quality education and advocacy. 

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So is it MrSmithUT? 'cause when I first read it I read MrsMithut... LOL Just curious ;-)

 

What are your specific research interests? What do you mean the "biospychosocial aspects of education" In the College of Ed here we have a lot of people into exercise science and they do all sorts of biological measures along with motivation interventions etc... anything like that? What are you doing your master's in?

 

Also Pearl what sort of advocacy do you have in mind? I have a bit of background in Special Ed so when I hear advocacy I think of disability advocates who help navigate IEP meetings and the like.

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Haha!  It is MrSmithUT.  I was just too lazy to put it all in there that way when I created the account. ;-)

 

I'm kind of all over the place on the biopsychosocial aspects.  It could be something like use/abuse of drug among students (be it "hard drugs", alcohol, prescription stimulants, or others)......or looking to see how prevalent those struggling due to an educational issue cope with what I'm sure is increased depression (though would have to determine if this population has more depression than the "average" student in higher education)......or like you said, looking at exercise or yoga or other activities to see how they impact students ability to learn and overall well-being.  As you mentioned, there doesn't seem to be a lot of people in this niche yet, and it excites me thinking about all there is to learn/study here.

 

My master's is in Counseling with an Emphasis in Student Affairs Administration.  I've also previously done a master's in the biological sciences, and worked a bit in clinical research in the medical field before coming back to school.  Just feels like I'm settling into a groove here that feels right for me, and I'm excited to get more into it. :-)

 

What are you looking into in terms of Educational Neuroscience?  Anything in particular that you're itching to delve deeper into?

Edited by mrsmithut

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"use/abuse of drug among students (be it "hard drugs", alcohol, prescription stimulants, or others)"

 

So are you making any consideration of doing a more substance/abuse focus in psychology directly? One of my profs has a background in education but she is in the Psych department and does alcoholism and addiction research. It is quite interesting.

 

"struggling due to an educational issue cope with what I'm sure is increased depression (though would have to determine if this population has more depression than the "average" student in higher education"

 

 

Students with LD's commonly have some sort of maladaptive behaviors and emotional responses, although, this has been really poorly studied in adult/college students. It would be an interesting way to go, have you considered special education research? It may be a good space for this topic :-)

 

Also it sounds like your background would fit really well into Exercise Science type research :-)

 

As for myself, in the perfect world where I get to do exactly what I want to do... I want to learn about how people (and brains) learn formal math, to clarify, I want to understand how the requisite naive-skills (number sense, spatial reasoning, verbal ability) interact with educational processes (both in school and social [friends/family]) to result in a person who can use formal mathematics to solve problems. To add to that, I want to study both typical and atypical developmental processes.

 

In the mean time, for grad school/doing a PhD, I will be more than happy to study the methods and skills that I will need to get into doing the above.

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I've haven't really thought about the special ed research route. It is something I'll have to stew on as I gear up for this.  And it is definitely an angle to consider when looking for people to collaborate with down the road.

 

I think your research thread sounds very interesting.  Is there a specific population you're looking to study this is?  I'd be curious to see if it differs in some populations.

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I suspect that most of my work will be with kids in the US, and ethnicity distribution will likely depend on where-ever the imaging gets done. I think there is a lot to be learned from both typically developing kids as well as those with known cognitive differences. :-)

 

I hope that answers your question, I'm not positive which direction you were going with the question.

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I am thinking I apply for 2017 but I may just decide to do 2016. I won't finish my masters till the end of summer 2016 so it probably would be a bit too much. I have yet to take the GRE and I will also be writing a thesis.

 

Does everyone applying to phd programs have a research topic? Is it as necessary that you have a topic in american phd programs as it is in UK phd programs?

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I won't finish my masters till the end of summer 2016 so it probably would be a bit too much.

 

 

I would agree if you are working on a thesis track rather than a comps track... However, since application season starts Fall 2015 it shouldn't be too much in your way of getting your thesis done... you could pull it off, especially if you worked on your GRE's this summer rather than putting them off till the last minute. If you know you are wanting to do research and get into a PhD program then you should go for it... If you don't make it or if you don't try you're going to have to find something to do with yourself for a whole year either way so you may as well try :-)

 

 

 

Does everyone applying to phd programs have a research topic? Is it as necessary that you have a topic in american phd programs as it is in UK phd programs?

 

I would say, as a general rule of thumb, yes. PhD in education at least, carries with it the assumption that you intend to be doing research of some sort. There are some exceptions, and particularly with smaller programs, there is less of an expectation that you come in knowing exactly what you want to research. The bigger and more well-known programs will base much of their admission decision on your potential as a researcher... I don't think that is much of a departure from the UK programs...

 

BTW welcome to the insanely-early thread ;-)

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It totally answers my question.  Thank you :-)

 

And sorry my question was a bit vague.  That's what I get typing it up at the end of a long day.

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EduNeuroGrl- To clarify, my focus is access to high quality education and advocacy in closing the gap.  Equality in education- that sort of thing!  My focus is mostly on early childhood education, but I am really interested in everything, (including higher ed) related to this idea.  I work in higher ed teaching early childhood with elementary roots, so I am pretty wide ranging interests that I will tailor for different schools.  It all just boils down to the fact that I am on a silly, idealistic mission to fix the world.  haha!  I am mostly applying to social/ cultural programs with a couple policy programs thrown in, depending on the school. 

 

Glad to see others are thinking about this as much as I have been, even though we are still so early!  One could call us obsessive, but I prefer passionate!  :-)

Edited by pearl31

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Hello!

 

I'm also planning on applying for programs this fall.

 

Here's my background:

 

I graduated from a Research One university with an Honors BA in Linguistics and a BA in International Studies, Cum Laude in 2013. The Honors degree involved two semesters of research with a professor that culminated in a presentation at a conference and a publication of my abstract.

 

I will have had two years of work experience as a college access adviser, which involves helping low-income, first generation, and/or students who are traditionally underrepresented in higher education decide on their post-secondary plans. I help with ACT prep and registration, college applications, scholarship applications, and FAFSA. My senior year, I also interned in the President's office and got a lot of insight into issues in higher education at the administrative level. I am now interested in continuing my education by pursuing a PhD in Higher Education and studying college access and equity, as well as the transition from high school to college, and how to retain these students and help them succeed once they get there.

 

I haven't taken the GRE yet, but plan to early this summer.

 

I guess my biggest worry is that I won't be accepted into a PhD program without a Masters degree first. Any thoughts on this? Some of the programs I'm looking into specifically state that a Masters degree is not necessary to be admitted to the PhD. I'm mostly looking into schools on the west coast FYI.

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"It all just boils down to the fact that I am on a silly, idealistic mission to fix the world."

Isn't this a unifying characteristic we all share? I mean we are all in education after all ;)

Welcome outgoingintrovert!

"I guess my biggest worry is that I won't be accepted into a PhD program without a Masters degree first. Any thoughts on this? Some of the programs I'm looking into specifically state that a Masters degree is not necessary to be admitted to the PhD. I'm mostly looking into schools on the west coast FYI."

I hear you on that concern. I had a big problem with this (hence my being mid masters) and I have some thoughts for sure... First you are waaaay more competitive than I was and as long as you prep well for your GRES and have a solid SOP you'll likely be gold. Second, I am usually competing against psychology and neuroscience students rather than just education students so the get noticed bar is much higher.

In education it seems to me those who go for a master's fall in a handful of general situations. The big one is that they are trying for a certification of some sort so they can teach. Another is that they want to go into educational research but their interests are still very broad and require focusing down. Some have spent a long time away from academia and need to get used to the saddle again first. In education I have met very few other master's students who want to do PhD but need a Masters in order to be a competitive applicant.

A big thing that will help you if you're aiming at a research career is to get in on a few more research presentations. :)

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I guess my biggest worry is that I won't be accepted into a PhD program without a Masters degree first. Any thoughts on this? Some of the programs I'm looking into specifically state that a Masters degree is not necessary to be admitted to the PhD. I'm mostly looking into schools on the west coast FYI.

 

In my program - a top 10 PhD program in Higher Ed -- it is not technically necessary to do a master's before the PhD - it is just that people who haven't done a master's don't tend to be that competitive in the application pool.  I sat on the admissions committee this year - and the people that didn't have master's that applied for the PhD got referred to the Master's admissions pool.  We do have a couple students in the program currently that didn't do a master's before the PhD, but they had a lot of research experience (2+ years) in higher ed with known higher ed scholars during college.  So it is definitely possible - but I would say difficult if you are looking to enroll in a selective program.

 

The two typically pathways* that you will see for higher ed PhD students: (1) work - master's - work - PhD or (2) work - master's - PhD.  There are some variations, of course, but this is generally the two trajectories.

 

*You need to realize that higher ed PhD students tend to be older (late 20s - early 40s) than the typical social science PhD students and definitely science PhD students.  Science PhD students don't tend to do master's degrees unless their credentials are not strong enough to do the PhD right away - this is not the case for most competitive higher education programs especially since there is no undergraduate degrees in higher ed.

 

This assumes you want to do a selective higher ed PhD.  There are a bunch of non-selective programs that you would definitely be able to get in w/o a master's.

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In my program - a top 10 PhD program in Higher Ed -- it is not technically necessary to do a master's before the PhD - it is just that people who haven't done a master's don't tend to be that competitive in the application pool.  I sat on the admissions committee this year - and the people that didn't have master's that applied for the PhD got referred to the Master's admissions pool.  We do have a couple students in the program currently that didn't do a master's before the PhD, but they had a lot of research experience (2+ years) in higher ed with known higher ed scholars during college.  So it is definitely possible - but I would say difficult if you are looking to enroll in a selective program.

 

Well, my dream program is the SHIPS in Education at Stanford with the emphasis in Higher Education. So, I'm definitely looking into more competitive programs. What draws me to SHIPS is the interdisciplinary nature of the program, plus faculty that are already doing research in the areas I am interested in pursuing.

Do you know of which master's programs would prime me to be a great candidate for more competitive programs? I'm still mostly in the research phase, so any suggestions would be appreciated. I'm definitely not opposed to getting a Master's first, I just prefer not to go into a great amount of debt because I know that I ultimately want to continue my schooling and get a PhD. I like the idea of being paid to continue my education. However, I do not want to go to a non-selective program.

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 I'm definitely not opposed to getting a Master's first, I just prefer not to go into a great amount of debt because I know that I ultimately want to continue my schooling and get a PhD. I like the idea of being paid to continue my education. However, I do not want to go to a non-selective program.

 

Actually, higher ed is one of those great fields where there are a good number of quality programs that fully funded their master's students by offering them assistantships.  These assistantships* are (usually) part-time staff member positions in an office on campus.  A good assistantship offers you tuition remission, guaranteed salary, and healthcare.  It is been over 10 years (!) since I applied to master's programs, but when I was going through the process the places that fully funded their master's students were: University of Connecticut, University of Vermont, Ohio State, University of Maryland, Bowling Green, Penn State, and Michigan State.  And I am sure a bunch others -- I was only looking at East coast and Midwest schools at the time.

 

*It gets a little bit confusing because some programs call a part-time job on campus - an "assistantship" when they are not offering any of the benefits of an assistantship i.e. no tuition remission, healthcare, or guaranteed salary.  Instead, I like to think of these part-time jobs as paid "internships" because they only offer an hourly wage that can range a fair amount depending on the job.  So you will get the experience which is great, but you won't get the great financial benefits of a true assistantship which is unfortunate.  

 

NASPA (an organization for student affairs professionals if you are not familiar) has a search feature on their website: http://apps.naspa.org/gradprograms/search.cfm  that you can click off master's program and "assistantships" under the financial aid options and it will give you a list of programs that meet your criteria.  That being said some programs say they have an "assistantship," but it is more of an internship (as mentioned above) so you'll want to independently verify the ones that are listed to make sure they are true assistantships.

 

 

Do you know of which master's programs would prime me to be a great candidate for more competitive programs? I'm still mostly in the research phase, so any suggestions would be appreciated. 

 

 

I think there are a lot of different pathways you can take to make you a competitive applicant. In terms of picking a good master's higher ed program that will prepare you -- I always like to first look at the curriculum to make sure you are at least being introduced to statistics and research methods.  Since PhD programs are all about the research, in your master's program -- you'll want to take ideally three classes: a class on statistics, a class on research design, and class on qualitative methods.  

 

You'll also want to know what is the culminating experience of the program.  Is it a comprehensive exam, a capstone paper, or a thesis?  Or is there no culminating experience?  Just classes, internship component, and you are done.  A comprehensive exam and/or a thesis/capstone paper are more aligned with what you'll do in a PhD program so you might want to lean towards those programs instead of just straight classes programs. 

 

Also -- since you know which area you want to study, go to programs where the faculty study the topics that you are interested in and try to get involved in research with them.  Some programs make it harder than others for their master's students to get involved in research -- but you can always reach out to current master's students and ask. 

 

Since SHIP is your dream school -- see if they have profiles of their PhD students so you can take a look at where these students did their master's.  I know in my program, we have some limited profiles of PhD students who chose to have their information displayed so prospective students can reach out to them.  If SHIP doesn't have profiles, you could also search LinkedIn for SHIP PhDs and read their pages to get a sense of their experience and where they went for their master's degree.  Also, you could always contact SHIP and ask what makes a competitive PhD applicant to their program and see what their recommendations are for good higher ed master's programs.

 

Good luck!

Edited by ZeChocMoose

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Hi all!

 

I am also applying for education programs for Fall 2016! However, unlike most of the posters so far, I'm aiming for a master's. 

 

A little about me: I'm applying right out of undergrad for Rehabilitation Counselor Education programs (which are housed in the Special Education Department at 90-95% of the schools that offer the program). I have an interest in the social model of disability, how this affects vocational and living outlooks for those with disabilities, and the transition from school to work/post-secondary education for people with disabilities. I'm seriously considering continuing on to get a PhD after my master's, especially since I'm finding that many master's programs for RCE are mostly concerned with teaching us how to be good practitioners with little emphasis on research.

 

Looking forward to getting to know you all and -oddly enough- going through this crazy process of applying!

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I considered doing my master's in SpEd but all the programs I could find were too much oriented toward licensure and not toward research into SpEd.... Which is how I ended up in Ed Psych. :-)

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AlwaysGetsTheShortEnd: That's what I've found as well. Most research in SpEd is left those with PhDs. :( I'm willing to go through the master's process to get there though; especially since to enter in the field of Rehabilitation Counseling you essentially have to have a master's.

 

How do you like Ed Psych? I actually don't know too much about that field. 

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I will join the crowd of "way too early" application talk.

 

I am looking into PhD work for Fall 2016, primarily in the area of religious/theological education. I want to look at the way we educate Pastors/Clergy in the professional graduate school (like a seminary or divinity school). I would ideally approach the topic from a historical perspective, so I am looking into History of Education programs. 

 

One of my biggest concern is my lack of education background. I have a bachelor and masters in biblical/theological studies but I have only a handful of education classes on my transcript. I have been told that having a background in the field may or may not be a big deal depending on the school. Any thoughts?

 

Since people normally share their "stats' here is a little of my resume. Undergrad GPA 3.8, Masters GPA 3.7, GRE V163 Q161 AW 5.0.

 

Current schools on the list: Michigan U, New York University, Stanford, and Harvard.

 

A couple clarifying newbie questions:

POI = professor of interest

SOP = Statement of purpose

Is that right? 

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