Preparing & Writing PhD Applications CGU Writing Center
Why the PhD? What are your goals? What makes you happy? Is this right for you?
TIMELINE FOLLOW THE PHD PREPARATION PATH Summer Research Schools Research Rankings Research Programs Research Contacts Research Awards/Scholarships/Fellowships Create a Preliminary List September Contact Recommenders Contact Grad Advisors Complete Draft 1 Complete Entry Exams (GRE, TOEFL, etc.) October Finalize List Begin Online Applications Complete Draft 2 Set up Interfolio Account November Input Recommendations Request Transcripts Retake Entry Exams (if needed) Complete Draft 3 December/January Submit Applications Confirm Receipt January-March/April Waiting Game
Choosing Your Recommenders How familiar are they with your work? With you? Are they invested in you as a student? Will they write you a strong letter? Are they well-connected? Can they open doors for you?
Statement of Purpose Things to Consider: Page Limitation Aesthetic Value Academese Honesty WHAT do you want to do? WHY do you want to do it? WHY are you a good FIT? Field of Study Dissertation Ideas Faculty Programs, Seminars, or Centers Experiences Goals Responsibilities as a graduate student Expertise
Words of Advice Remember your statement of purpose should portray you as (1) passionately interested in the field; (2) intelligent; (3) well-prepared academically and personally; (4) able to take on the challenges of grad school; (5) able to have rapport with professors and fellow grad students in other words, collegial; (6) able to finish the graduate degree in a timely fashion; and (7) a potentially outstanding representative of that grad school in your future career. –University of Northern Iowa
Ideal Organization Adopted from V.Gotera (UNI) (1) passionate hook; (2) segué to your background in the field; (3) specific classes by title and professors you have had (especially if well-known in the field); (4) related extracurricular activities (especially if they hint at some personal quality you want to convey); (5) any publications or other professional accomplishments in the field (perhaps conference presentations or public readings); (6) explanations about problems in your background (if needed); (7) why you have chosen this grad school (name one or two professors and what you know of their specific areas or some feature of the program which specifically attracts you).
Lets Get Personal WHO are you? HOW have you become this person? HOW have your experiences molded this identity? HOW does this identity FIT with the school? HOW does this identity contribute to the school? Concise Explanatory Not saccharine sweet
Writing Sample Dos: Field & Subject Specific Know Your Audience Have Several Versions (10pg, 15pg, 20pg) Conform to Style/Field Restrictions Edit, Review, & Share Citations & References Donts Be Controversial Be Arrogant/Facetious Be Off-topic Make Assumptions Send more than requested