Graduate Schoolgraduate admissions

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Applying to clinical psychology PhD programs: the post-baccalaureate research job
There’s really no way around it: getting into a PhD program in clinical psychology is hard. And it’s not just the application process itself that’s challenging – gaining admission to a well-regarded and funded program can take years of preparation before the application cycle even begins. But there are real things you can do in those key years ...
Decisions, decisions…how to pick a graduate program in science
If you’ve decided to apply to graduate school, you’ve probably found yourself in a labyrinth of endless choices, with each path branching into a maze of research labs, publications, patents, and scientific breakthroughs. As an aspiring scientist, choosing the right graduate program can open a world of possibilities, but navigating the application ...
Finding your voice to write a statement of purpose
We all know that we need to distinguish ourselves on our graduate school applications and that the statement of purpose is a crucial space for doing so. I think of this challenge as a matter of “finding your voice.” As I see it, finding your voice is not only a matter of learning how to write in a stylish, distinctive way, important as that may ...
The difference between pursuing a graduate degree in the United States and the United Kingdom
I earned both my undergraduate degree and master's degree in the United States. Once I decided that I wanted to stay in academia and a PhD, I struggled to see myself sitting in the classroom for hours repeating coursework, quizzes, and examination for three or four years and then conducting research on my speciality, which would then take another ...
How to write an effective “Reasons for Applying” supplement for Oxbridge
If you’re reading this post, you’re probably thinking about applying to the University of Cambridge or Oxford in the UK. Your grades are stellar and you have plenty of out-of-school experiences to talk about, but unfortunately, they’ve only given you 1000 characters to prove your interest in the program. Moreover, this is your only chance to sneak ...
What they won’t tell you about choosing the right graduate institution
If you're reading this post, you are probably an experienced student. You’ve overcome standardized tests, have had plenty of extracurricular experience, and perhaps even mastered your interview skills. However, one seemingly challenge awaits: choosing the right graduate institution for you. While this challenge seems innocent enough, there is the ...
So, you've decided to pursue a PhD...
You’ve come this far! And if you have asked yourself the important questions—and more critically, if you have responded with honest and intentional answers—you are ready. I don’t suggest going down the PhD path if you think you should, or if you feel like it would be a waste of your past work not to follow through. Your journey has yet to be ...
Tips for crafting art portfolios for Art & Design schools
It’s been a little over ten years now since I applied for design school, and in the time since, I’ve gone from student to teacher in my own right. As a lecturer at the Rhode Island School of Design, I’ve learned firsthand how effective a portfolio can be for your creativity, skills, and unique perspective. More so than your application essays, art ...
How to approach biology and biomedical graduate school interviews
The graduate school application process is exhausting. Tailoring multiple applications for each school is a daunting task. A sigh of relief finally arrives when invitations to interview for graduate programs arrive. However, as part of the application process, interviews carry a lot of weight, and most students don’t get a blueprint for what to ...
Getting started on a graduate school personal statement
You’re applying to graduate school. You have to write a personal statement. If that blank page is looking a little daunting, here are a few ways to jumpstart your process.
You can always change your mind: getting a PhD in a field you didn't major in
Everyone has a story about how they ended up in graduate school. Some people know in high school, or maybe as early as middle school, that a PhD in a certain field is their goal. Most people, however, make this decision while in undergrad. The majority of people pursue their PhD in the same discipline as their major in undergrad, which makes a ton ...
Going shopping: how to make your list of target PhD programs
You just won a shopping spree to your favorite clothing brand. Elated, you spend your Saturday trying on the entire store (if you hate shopping, stay with me). You try on a shirt. It looks decent. You try on another. Now that looks good on you. After trying on 100 items you like, you buy 15 you love. This is how generating your list of target PhD ...
Tips for virtual graduate school interviews
Congratulations! You successfully made it through your courses, submitted your graduate school application, got your references submitted, and completed the multitude of personal statements and the research experience essay. Time to think about one of the last and crucial stages of the graduate school application process: graduate school ...
How to write a personal statement if you’re changing fields
Your personal statement must answer the crucial question of any graduate school application: Why are you a perfect fit for a program? To demonstrate that fit, many students craft an academic arc that traces their undergraduate experiences to their current application. But what if your path is more jagged? After switching from an undergraduate ...
How to write a personal statement for doctoral/masters programs in the arts and sciences
Writing an academic personal statement for a doctoral or masters program in the arts and sciences is different than writing a college personal statement. Departments will assume that anyone interested enough to apply to graduate school (and spend, for a doctoral program, five to seven-plus years studying) is sufficiently enthusiastic about the ...
The draft-drain-refine approach for personal statements (and other writing)
When I worked at Boston Consulting Group, my teams often produced 300-slide presentations within a few weeks of a client engagement. BCG had a mantra for producing detailed analysis efficiently that I find useful for all forms of writing:
Overwhelmed by the graduate school application process? Here are five tips to help you get started.
Applying to graduate school can seem very overwhelming. When I decided to go back to school, I remember feeling slightly paralyzed by all of the work that I needed to do in order to submit a competitive application, and I wondered how I was going to get everything done while working full time. If you find yourself in a similar position, here are ...
Making your personal statement stand out in just the first two lines
A personal statement is the best (and sometimes only) chance you have to make your application jump off the page. Even if you have outstanding test scores, those scores alone do not guarantee you admission. Which brings us to the personal statement, your chance to show your readers how engaging you are, how you are a future leader in your field, ...
How to answer the 'Tell Me About Yourself' question during interviews
Whether you’re interviewing for graduate school or employment, you may fear being asked this open-ended question: “Tell me about yourself.” For many, this question invokes anxiety, as it’s too vague for there to be a “right way” to answer it. This can leave the interviewee scrambling to think of an impromptu good response. However, with some ...
How to “find your voice”
You will often hear writers talk about “finding their voice.” It sounds like a simple task, but honing one’s voice can take years of practice, study, and trial and error. When you are putting together your applications for college or graduate school, you are likely facing a fast-approaching deadline—so time is a luxury you don’t have.
5 tips for authentic interviewing
There’s something comical about reading articles that coach you on how to be yourself. If you Google “authentic interview tips,” you’ll find articles titled “How to Sound Authentic” and “How to Be Yourself,” which evoke truisms like Oscar Wilde’s “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” and Shakespeare’s “To thine own self be true.” But what ...
How to write the statement of purpose for humanities and social science PhD programs
Sometimes also referred to as a personal statement or statement of objectives, this 1,000-2,000-word document is a key part of your application to PhD programs. The faculty reads hundreds of these essays, so, for their benefit and yours, keep your statement clear and simple. There are three essential questions that need to be answered in this ...
Finding patterns in exponent problems on the GRE Quantitative section
One thing about GRE quant questions and standardized test math questions more broadly: if a question seems impossible or like it will take a ridiculously long amount of time to complete… It isn’t as difficult as it seems! Let’s dive right into a practice problem to see an example. Take the following numeric entry problem:
Is getting a PhD in science or engineering right for me?
Before you apply to graduate school in science or engineering, it’s important to take a moment to ask yourself WHY. Many people apply to STEM grad programs because they were excellent students through their undergraduate education, not realizing that graduate school is a very different beast.
The grad school recommendations roadmap: everything you need to know
This blog post outlines key strategies, tips, and suggestions for ensuring you get a recommendation for graduate school that sets you apart. Before the Ask Plan Ahead Start thinking of whom you might want to ask to write your recommendations as far in advance as you can – at least six months, but preferably more. This timeline will give you plenty ...
Eight essential tips for the GRE mathematics section
I want to give you a few more GRE quant power tips. There are 8. (8 also happens to be my favorite number. I like that it is so symmetric. I like that when I push it over, it is the infinity sign or a pair of glasses or the two wheels of my bike). Anyways…
How to decide if you should pursue a gap year before graduate school
It might be hard to imagine remaining a student after graduating from college, yet as the working field becomes more selective and applicants more experienced, advanced degrees are becoming increasingly popular. Although most students are confident in their decision to pursue graduate school, they often face uncertainty when deciding whether to ...
How to address your weaknesses in a high-sakes interview
The interview for any job or graduate school can be the gateway to success. Employers want to see potential in their applicants, and how we respond to interview questions reveals a lot about our creativity and ability to think on our feet. Common questions ask us to talk about ourselves, explain why we are pursuing our respective fields and ...
What no one told me about grad school: long-distance means far away
To say that I underestimated moving across the United States is an understatement. I grew up in a small-ish town in Southern California and went to college a short 50-minute drive away. I thought this meant that I had “moved out,” like a real adult. But I would soon learn that going to your childhood home every other weekend to do laundry doesn’t ...
Five elements of a killer graduate school essay
So you’ve taken the GRE/GMAT/TOEFL, got your recommendations lined up, and picked your list of top schools. Now comes the part some people get really nervous about: translating your story into a really powerful application essay that convinces the admissions committee that they just have to have you. Below are five key elements of a strong ...
How to ace interview weekend for PhD Biomedical Science programs
If you read my previous post, “What to expect during interview weekend for PhD Biomedical programs” you know exactly what you are in for during interview weekend. Now the question is, how do you prepare? You have two goals during interview weekend: 1) Convince the graduate students and faculty members that you would be an excellent fit for their ...
What to expect during interview weekend for PhD Biomedical programs
Congratulations! If you have been selected to interview at a Biomedical PhD program (e.g. Biology, Neuroscience, Biophysics) that means you were selected from a pile of hundreds of applicants. The program is willing to fly you in for interview weekend and take the time to show off its program and city. Let that act as a confidence booster, but you ...
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