Jump to content

Am I ready?


Recommended Posts

Hi, everyone. I am new to this forum, so please forgive me if this topic has already been posted. I would like to apply for graduate school this Fall. I am enrolled in a newly established university.

GPA: 3.83. I am currently enrolled in a graduate course, so I am getting a taste of what graduate school would feel like. 

I am interested in medical anthropology and I have a research project in mind, but I keep thinking: Am I ready?

How did you know you were ready to go for a PhD? What credentials should you have to be a competitive applicant?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly, it didn't even occur to me to apply while I was still a senior! I knew I wasn't ready to apply the following fall, though, because of what happened when I sat down with one of my favorite professors to talk about it just after I graduated. Normally I am fairly confident and articulate, but my attempt to express graduate school plans came out as a garbled and insecure mess. I figured that if I couldn't talk about my plans at even a pretty vague level without getting frustrated and upset, I probably wasn't ready to write them down in a polished way. So I went away and worked for a couple years. When I got back to it, I could articulate my plans, a much better research project, and have an itch to get back to it, rather than feeling a vague dread of having to do more school without a break.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, knp! Thank you for responding, I really appreciate it! I will try to have a sit down with my professors and discuss what I would like to do. I just hope I can adequately express what I would like to study. 

Moreover, I went to a faculty luncheon earlier this week and most of the faculty members that spoke about their undergrad + grad experiences said "DO NOT GO RIGHT AWAY." Some of them went to grad school right after undergrad, others waited 5-15 years before even applying. I am just nervous because I know I would like to go into academia, but I am not sure if I am ready to go into rigorous training. Moreover, I am not sure if my undergrad school has prepared me well enough to succeed in grad school.

Many thanks~

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I knew that my undergrad had prepared me enough for the rigor of graduate school, although I definitely have huge weaknesses in my knowledge of my actual subject field (due to some major-switching shenanigans on my part). But I've always had a pretty good sense of how I think about things, and specifically, how long that often takes. I'm always bothering my friends to take breaks! This is in part selfish behavior on my part, because if I get stuck on an idea and go take a walk or get a drink with friends or even walk down to the break room to get coffee, I can feel ideas percolating away in the back of my head as I go, so when I come back, I'm usually not so stuck anymore. This process, but on a much larger scale, is why I took my couple years off—I could tell that my life plans were bubbling away in the back of my head, and I applied when they'd been working away for long enough that I could get a good read on what I wanted.

Your last sentence makes me think that a funded master's degree might be an option you should look into. It would give you more training and two years' more life experience (even if it's not the "real world", you'll still mature while you're there), without locking you into a longer degree while you're feeling unsure of some things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.