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Claire Wang

Why do you come (What keeps you coming back) to the Grad Cafe?

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I used to be a grad school applicant struggling with the whole application process, then I was lucky enough to get into the program I like and I've been studying here for a year. However, thinking about my life back in the day when I was using forums like The Grad Cafe, I still feel overwhelmed. 

1. There are large amount of disorganized information here and you need to sort it out by yourself, which always spends a lot of time and energy.

2. There is a specified section for people to post admission result there. Going there and checking out people's admission status doesn't make it easier / faster for you to get your result. 

3. Maybe emotional support for each other is important along the application road?

Anyone want to say something about the reason why you come to the Grad Cafe and what information you found super helpful in here? :huh:

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I like forums. I enjoy being able to ask a question and get different opinions (or trolling through archives to find the answers). I've made connections on this site that lead to external group formation and yeah, being able to talk to others in the process makes it feel a bit less lonely. 

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I was not on Grad Cafe when I applied because I didn't know about it. I only found out about it when I encountered a difficult situation with my advisors, so I started posting to get advice. I then shared my stress of writing my thesis but I didn't get a lot of replies though. Still, it's better than nobody responded. Grad school seems like a totally different world, and someone who has never been in there will never understand how difficult it is. They just know it is difficult and wish you good luck, but they don't know how to support you emotionally. It is terrible when your friends all ask when you will graduate but you don't know. 

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I came to help out future applicants. Didn't join until after I started, and have stayed around to help out now that I'm out. 

I'm betting everyone is here for a lot of different reasons. A lot of people only come in for one or two posts, some stay for years because they make friends and want to give back. 

Some fields are also a lot more active here than others. 

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I came to GradCafe when I was applying for graduate school, back in late 2007/early 2008. I had heard from someone that there was a place where you could see people's stats and whether or not they were accepted to the same programs you applied to. I (correctly) guessed that there wouldn't be many for my program, and the information wasn't super useful to me anyway, but I did find the forums (apparently in late 2008) and have been here ever since.

For me, it's about the community. I've been a member and more or less active on the forums since 2008 when I joined...in the beginning it was connecting with other nervous new grad students and learning about grad school from advanced students; as I got more advanced myself, I wanted to give more advice - about applying, about navigating graduate school, about finding funding, about surviving to the end. I remember when I searched the Internet for each of these topics it was really hard to find that information provided by anyone else and so I wanted to connect with others who could use at least one perspective.

Now I've finished my PhD and a postdoc and work as an industry scientist, but I'm still drawn to come back. Part of it is the same - providing that support and advice for students and those making the transition. I've got a new perspective as someone who has successfully secured both a postdoc and a job, and I've got a less common perspective as an industry scientist who has made the jump from academia to industry (which is not as uncommon as people might think! There are tons of us!) Sometimes in advice forums and communities the ones who have "made it" tend to leave and I wanted to be a presence along with some of the other old heads who are done and working in our careers.

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I joined back in 2012, but knew about it since 2008-2009. In 2008-9 I had graduated from UGrad and knew I wanted to pursue a Grad degree. But I needed to wait. I found a lot of resources discussing grad school, but Grad cafe seemed to give the most consistent and candid response.

In 2012, when I was finally starting to apply, I realized that we didn't have a lot of "adult learners" on here. By that I mean, most of the advice givers were direct UGrad to Grad and the advice was geared towards that population. So I started to ask more questions and gave insight as a young professional going back to further my current career.

I've stayed ever since because I like the community, and I feel like I can give a different perspective that helps different types of applicants. 

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I've only been a member for a few months, but have found this place very helpful as I navigate through the PhD application process.  As others have stated, I really like the spirit of the community here, where the advice is generally direct and well-meaning.  Members do provide support and guidance that are beneficial to nervous applicants.  Having earned an MPA earlier in my life, I found that I could offer advice to those who haven't entered into graduate school yet, while receiving advice on doctoral studies.  Moreover, I believe in give and take.  So I plan to continue coming back here even if I'm admitted and finished with PhD to help others. 

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I found this forum last year through another forum. I was looking up info about doing a PhD in the States, and I came across a post on a forum for America enthusiasts (anything from vacationing to emigration). The post mentioned this forum so of course I checked it out,...Being from Europe and not knowing anyone who applied in the US , you guys are often my only source of help. Somethimes the gradcafé can be a bit overwheling since there is just so much stuff on here, and posts can be contradicting each other. But without if I wouldn't stand a chance.

After I got rejected from all the schools I applied at last year I didn't visit this site for a while. It was too difficult to see everybody succeeding (trying not to sound like a baby here ;) ).
But now I'm back fro round two. Like someone said, other people might say they know what you are going through, but its not the same. 

 

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I just love learning from everyone here. I am a MSW student, I am considering applying for a PhD and this forum is gold to me. Also, in my MSW, I am one of two students who have chosen the thesis option and I feel like people here can understand me better in regards to this program choice. 

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Anecdotal data is often more helpful than "official" data. If you ask a school what their minimums or averages fare for GRE, GPA, what have you, they will very often lowball you on metrics and tell you they have a holistic review process. This is to keep their application numbers high (resulting in an artificially elite-looking low acceptance rate), and for fear of scaring off the unicorn with low stats who would still get into the program because of their other, unicorn-like qualities.  A forum like this not only puts your competition in front of you so you know what you're up against, but you can look at a (very imperfect but still useful) sampling of candidates who actually did get into your program, so you can see what you aim for and set realistic goals and plans to reach them.
 

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I had lurked for a year prior to joining (2012-ish).  I was drawn to the discussions and results section.  I wound up pursuing a non-traditional path.  And, I've gathered a lot of advice along the way--from folks in real life and on this site (some of whom have posted in this thread).  Having officially finished school, I'm job searching now.  But, I still pop in sometimes and add my two cents when I see posts that remind me of my own (circa 2012-2014)... posts of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed prospectives/first-years who want to hear as many opinions as possible.  I was grateful when people responded to my threads and helped me out. 

So, I guess, I'm hoping my cameo appearances here can help someone else.  At least, some of the time.

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Just got back after a hiatus for quite a few months! I guess I'm here to see what I can learn from current/former grad students about academic life, etc.

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I was browsing this forum while considering whether grad school was right for me. I just applied to my dream program a week ago and now I'm back to just take a look, see how others are doing, join in the misery that is waiting for decisions haha.

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