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How do you quell your expectations?

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I'm an optimist but I just know that when I don't get into my dream school, I'll be crushed. How do I pre-crush myself so when that rejection comes, I won't be as sad?

 

(kind of joking but also seriously how do I be more of a realist?)

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The advice my advisor gave me was to apply to 10-20 programs, with several of them being programs you could be really excited about. That way, you're bound to get into at least one of your favorites, and you won't have to deal with crushed expectations. :) 

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2 hours ago, TheHessianHistorian said:

The advice my advisor gave me was to apply to 10-20 programs, with several of them being programs you could be really excited about. That way, you're bound to get into at least one of your favorites, and you won't have to deal with crushed expectations. :) 

That's very reasonable advice, and I'm certainly excited at my schools, but I've totally fallen in love with one! :( It's UIUC, which I see is on your list as well! It's just hugely out of range for me which is a hard pill to swallow and realize :wacko:

 

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Something I would recommend is organizing something that makes you feel accomplished, useful - or even simply good. That means that bad news one day is partially offset by something positive. A few years ago, when I was going through a very hard time (where there were definitely more negatives than positives), I forced myself to write down three positive things about each day before I went to sleep. It helped to remember that even when bad things kept on happening, I was still lucky in many respects. 

More specifically to graduate schools - the best outcome from graduate school admissions isn't necessarily getting into a particular school, but is getting into a program where you can thrive, feel supported and feel like you belong. During applications for graduate school (and a few years earlier when I was looking for jobs), I kept on telling myself that if I wasn't accepted or hired, it didn't necessarily mean I wasn't capable. It just meant that I wasn't a good fit. Fit can be research interests, preparation, culture, expectations coming into the program... ultimately, even if a program sounds awesome on paper, if it's not a good fit, it's not somewhere you want to be. 

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I looked up the acceptance rates for my programs (which are obnoxiously low) and that made me feel a little better, honestly. Knowing how much of a crap shoot it is will lessen the blow if/when I get rejections. Until then, I'm going to try my hardest to be prepared to give great interviews and stay positive about the process - if I do everything I can do to reach the goal, then I know I'm an excellent candidate and if I get rejected, it's not because I didn't try hard enough.

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^^Same. The way I manage it is to reason through it all. I’ve looked at stats and even their past acceptance and rejections of each of the schools I applied to on the results page and then I tell myself “It happens”. Lots of great candidates get rejected/passed up and you can see that on the results page (some ppl post their stats and grades). It’s a humbling experience, truly. That in itself and reading articles about how difficult it is to get into PhD programs helps remind me of how BLESSED I would be if I got in but not necessarily worthless  bc a lot of articles drive home that sometimes accomplished folks get passed up. One article gave a story about a candidate who was rejected after doing “everything right” and being “exceptional” in her studies and scores but when she called to ask the department and her Potential advisor why she was passed up, no one could tell after reviewing her file. Ultimately her potential advisor thought her file was great and urged her to reapply bc he just wasn’t sure why she wasn’t accepted. It’s a f***ing crap shoot. Try to find (discomforting) comfort in that!

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3 hours ago, pataka said:

I looked up the acceptance rates for my programs (which are obnoxiously low) and that made me feel a little better, honestly. Knowing how much of a crap shoot it is will lessen the blow if/when I get rejections. Until then, I'm going to try my hardest to be prepared to give great interviews and stay positive about the process - if I do everything I can do to reach the goal, then I know I'm an excellent candidate and if I get rejected, it's not because I didn't try hard enough.

Where did you go to find acceptance rates?

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5 minutes ago, cindyboop said:

Where did you go to find acceptance rates?

For clinical psychology PhD programs, there's a database of universities and their acceptance rates from 2006-2011. I found it through Google, haha.

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1 hour ago, pataka said:

For clinical psychology PhD programs, there's a database of universities and their acceptance rates from 2006-2011. I found it through Google, haha.

Gotcha. Thanks!

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17 hours ago, TheHessianHistorian said:

The advice my advisor gave me was to apply to 10-20 programs, with several of them being programs you could be really excited about. That way, you're bound to get into at least one of your favorites, and you won't have to deal with crushed expectations. :) 

10-20, holy cow!! I cannot imagine dropping up to around $2k on applications and sending GRE scores to all those schools! I guess there are fee waivers and such but still, damn. Guess that definitely sets you up to get into at least one place you want to go, though!

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18 hours ago, TheHessianHistorian said:

The advice my advisor gave me was to apply to 10-20 programs, with several of them being programs you could be really excited about. That way, you're bound to get into at least one of your favorites, and you won't have to deal with crushed expectations. :) 

10-20?! That would drive me crazy, but mainly because I don't think I could name 10 programs with my concentration in history.  

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I was told to become very comfortable with my plan B. To be honest, at first I thought that sounded stupid, but once I thought realistically about what my backup plan is and how I can improve in between cycles if I don't get in, I became comfortable with the fact that I may not get accepted to grad school. Fingers crossed for your success, I am also anxiously waiting for an interview invite.

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18 hours ago, lemma said:

Something I would recommend is organizing something that makes you feel accomplished, useful - or even simply good. That means that bad news one day is partially offset by something positive. A few years ago, when I was going through a very hard time (where there were definitely more negatives than positives), I forced myself to write down three positive things about each day before I went to sleep. It helped to remember that even when bad things kept on happening, I was still lucky in many respects. 

More specifically to graduate schools - the best outcome from graduate school admissions isn't necessarily getting into a particular school, but is getting into a program where you can thrive, feel supported and feel like you belong. During applications for graduate school (and a few years earlier when I was looking for jobs), I kept on telling myself that if I wasn't accepted or hired, it didn't necessarily mean I wasn't capable. It just meant that I wasn't a good fit. Fit can be research interests, preparation, culture, expectations coming into the program... ultimately, even if a program sounds awesome on paper, if it's not a good fit, it's not somewhere you want to be. 

This is some nice advice! I'll try to keep to it; I think it's probably a nice exercise to try to get more positive, too! And I guess if I'm honest, my coping mechanisms tend to be.....nonexistant :lol:

I suppose it's extra hard since I visited my top choice for a conference; the campus, the research--i fell in love with it all, despite knowing it was pretty high out of my reach.

9 hours ago, pataka said:

I looked up the acceptance rates for my programs (which are obnoxiously low) and that made me feel a little better, honestly. Knowing how much of a crap shoot it is will lessen the blow if/when I get rejections. Until then, I'm going to try my hardest to be prepared to give great interviews and stay positive about the process - if I do everything I can do to reach the goal, then I know I'm an excellent candidate and if I get rejected, it's not because I didn't try hard enough.

I tried this immediately and it doesn't seem like there's any information on my program :unsure: but I do know that it's low

7 hours ago, LolJustAdmitMe said:

^^Same. The way I manage it is to reason through it all. I’ve looked at stats and even their past acceptance and rejections of each of the schools I applied to on the results page and then I tell myself “It happens”. Lots of great candidates get rejected/passed up and you can see that on the results page (some ppl post their stats and grades). It’s a humbling experience, truly. That in itself and reading articles about how difficult it is to get into PhD programs helps remind me of how BLESSED I would be if I got in but not necessarily worthless  bc a lot of articles drive home that sometimes accomplished folks get passed up. One article gave a story about a candidate who was rejected after doing “everything right” and being “exceptional” in her studies and scores but when she called to ask the department and her Potential advisor why she was passed up, no one could tell after reviewing her file. Ultimately her potential advisor thought her file was great and urged her to reapply bc he just wasn’t sure why she wasn’t accepted. It’s a f***ing crap shoot. Try to find (discomforting) comfort in that!

I hope that'll help later, but for now it just feels awful to hear that :P I have no idea why I'm counting myself out already since my writers seem to have faith in me but who knows

 

 

4 hours ago, Jacklynnve said:

I was told to become very comfortable with my plan B. To be honest, at first I thought that sounded stupid, but once I thought realistically about what my backup plan is and how I can improve in between cycles if I don't get in, I became comfortable with the fact that I may not get accepted to grad school. Fingers crossed for your success, I am also anxiously waiting for an interview invite.

ah... plan B......... yes, I should probably.... have one of those.............

but I do have some plans if I don't get in at all. It comes at a slight "damn, I should've done this BEFORE applying this cycle" but I can take that advice and do it as a plan B!

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10 hours ago, TheScienceHoney said:

10-20, holy cow!! I cannot imagine dropping up to around $2k on applications and sending GRE scores to all those schools! I guess there are fee waivers and such but still, damn. Guess that definitely sets you up to get into at least one place you want to go, though!

 

9 hours ago, khigh said:

10-20?! That would drive me crazy, but mainly because I don't think I could name 10 programs with my concentration in history.  

 

It is a lot of money, yes. Only a couple (Yale and UC-Davis) have application fees over $100, though. Most programs have application fees in the $50-70 range. Two of the programs I applied to have zero application fees (Vanderbilt and Texas Tech). It also does cost $27 per school to send your GRE scores, but keep in mind that when you get done taking your GRE, you can send your GRE scores to 4 schools for free. Also, schools only require you to upload unofficial transcripts, and you don't have to have official transcripts sent to the school until after you're accepted. My entire application season cost came out to $1,569.

It's a hefty chunk of change, but when you think of it in terms of finding the very best program with the very best funding offering, it's so worth it. This is a several-year proposition. If it makes the difference between ending up at a school with a $10,000 stipend and a 2/3rds tuition waiver versus ending up at a school with a $30,000 stipend and a full tuition waiver, spending a measly $1500 is so worth it. You just have to make sure that money is set aside. I spent 1 year before application season setting aside $125-150 of my paycheck every month into a separate bank account solely for grad school applications because I knew I wanted to go all out and apply to over a dozen programs.

Edited by TheHessianHistorian

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6 hours ago, scientific said:

I suppose it's extra hard since I visited my top choice for a conference; the campus, the research--i fell in love with it all, despite knowing it was pretty high out of my reach.

Ah, it's definitely hard once you've seen where you want to end up! What has helped me in the past is thinking of how everyday life would look in a granular manner if it wasn't a good fit. What it would be like to choose a less interesting project because my top choice professors were too busy already. What it would be like if I wasn't adequately prepared for the coursework, and I was up all night, struggling in class, and felt too self conscious to ask my classmates for help. What it would be like if I found out that there weren't enough professors with interests that aligned with mine. How grocery shopping, rent, dental and medical bills would look if I was on the lowest-tier scholarship because I had been ranked towards the bottom of the admitted cohort. What if the department didn't have enough travel money to go around because they admitted too many students and I couldn't go to my top choice conferences. This may sound pessimistic, but for me it reminds me that things can go wrong if it's not the right place for me. 

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9 hours ago, TheHessianHistorian said:

It is a lot of money, yes. Only a couple (Yale and UC-Davis) have application fees over $100, though. Most programs have application fees in the $50-70 range. Two of the programs I applied to have zero application fees (Vanderbilt and Texas Tech). It also does cost $27 per school to send your GRE scores, but keep in mind that when you get done taking your GRE, you can send your GRE scores to 4 schools for free. Also, schools only require you to upload unofficial transcripts, and you don't have to have official transcripts sent to the school until after you're accepted. My entire application season cost came out to $1,569.

Yeah, I applied to two schools that had app fees more than $100 (they were both UC schools- what a surprise), and the rest were between $75 and $90. My problem was I took the GRE months before I actually applied and wasted my free scores on schools I didn't end up applying to because my priorities changed (found professors at other universities I wanted to work with, learned more about programs that ended up deterring me, etc.) That's awesome that Vanderbilt didn't charge a fee for your program, they definitely had a fee for my program though, I think it was $95? So far I've spent around $750 on my application process and I haven't sent any official transcripts yet (I think my undergrad institution charges $15 per, but I took a single class at a community college so I have to pay the $15 fee to have that sent as well, ugh.) It's an expensive process, no doubt about that.

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On 12/11/2017 at 6:02 PM, scientific said:

I'm an optimist but I just know that when I don't get into my dream school, I'll be crushed. How do I pre-crush myself so when that rejection comes, I won't be as sad?

 

(kind of joking but also seriously how do I be more of a realist?)

I have been asking myself the same question for the last week. 

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I started a positivity journal in which I write all the positive things that happened at the end of each day. That way, I won't feel so depressed if/when I get rejected and I can find positivity in the little things.

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