A PhD application is an essential process; however, you can do numerous things to make the process easier. The effort and time you put in can have significant benefits. Here, I am going to explain a checklist for students who are thinking of applying for a PhD.
If you have finished a Master’s or Bachelors’s over the summer, it could be the right time to consider applying for PhD.
It may appear like an intense and daunting process (mainly if you are working hard on the current degree). However, there is some stuff you can do to make your life super easy!
Here are the top 10 tips to prepare your PhD application that help you make the process easier!
Tip # 1: An Early Start!
Though many deadlines for PhD application are not till late autumn (and there are yet different opportunities that accept application in the spring), it is a great idea to begin thinking about your PhD application before term initiates.
Make sure you know different doctorate types on offer. After that, take the benefit of any down-time to research various PhD programs and places (summer, Easter, and Christmas holidays are best for this). Soon, your brain will start producing ideas about the kind of work you need to do!
Many tops in this article undertake that you have started thinking about the PhD application early. You cannot complete all the work at once; thus, give yourself sufficient time.
Tip # 2: Decide Your Area of Specialization
If you consider a PhD, you are passionate about the subject you choose and dedicated to making a difference. Thus, make sure you spend some weeks zeroing in on that area you like to specialize in. Keep in mind that it could be your bread-and-butter for your next life.
Make sure you think not only how exciting you see the theory of a particular subject but also the practical knowledge of researching it.
If you are an Engineering or Science student, consider whether you would instead get the hands dirty in the workshop or lab or work on conceptual or theoretical principles. And will you like to stay on campus, or do you need to utilize more time on the fieldwork?
If you are in Social Sciences, Humanities, or Arts, you will yet need to decide how to balance practice with theory. Do you need to focus more on creative work? Will you like to relate directly with individuals to inspect their experiences and views or work on existing materials or records?
Tip # 3: Spend Time to Research Potential Supervisors
The essential decision you need to make at this stage is deciding your supervisor to who to do your PhD with. Therefore, spend enough time searching for the people (or person) who can supervise you.
Do they have any publication records? Have they started their research group? Are they an established academic? Do they supervise numerous other PhD students, or will you be on your own? Can you talk to any of their future or current students? Can you talk to the supervisor and speak about your plan in advance?
It can be easy to research the supervisors if you apply to a set project (as expected in Engineering and Science subjects). However, Humanities and Arts students can find potential supervisors at their favorite university and possibly talk to them to discuss their ideas. Well! It can be more significant for these types of projects. After all, it does not matter how best a university is if no one can supervise you.
Now, it is a great time to consider what you will expect from your PhD supervisor and the type of support you think your project requires.
Tip # 4: Consider Your Non-Academic Life as Well
A PhD is the best time to pursue your passions, be aware of other academics, and begin thinking about a possible career in your field (if it is your intention).
However, you can be doing other stuff during 3 – 4 years of PhD that is not relevant to your project. Bear this in your mind as you decide that it will affect other aspects of your life as a PhD scholar.
For instance, if you think of moving to a new place for your PhD program, make sure you can enjoy living there! Never take considerable changes to your routine and social life lightly. All you need is to be stable and happy for the duration of your PhD. The sacrifices are comprehensible; so are compromises.
Tip # 5: Do Reconnaissance
Unless you stay at the same campus, starting your PhD possibly means adopting a new house as well as an excellent place to work. It means you want to enjoy your new home city and university on a professional and personal level. A perfect way to make sure is to check them out!
It is easy to do (unless you study abroad). In numerous cases, you can take substantial advantage of postgraduate events and open days.
However, never settle for a walk around the center of the city or visit the university place. If possible, email the university you are thinking about working with and inquire if you can see the workspace or lab informally.
Numerous supervisors will be glad to meet with you! On the opposite side, if you visit and decide to apply, having met your future supervisor already can give you the benefit while applying to highly competitive programs.
Tip # 6: Never Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
Well! You have found the best place. You like the town; the university is excellent, and you find the work both exciting and stimulating. You have gone to see, and you feel terrific chemistry with your supervisor and the rest of the people.
The enticement to put all the eggs in one basket and only prepare two or one PhD application is vital. Resist that allure!
Apply to as numerous places as possible. It will consume most of your time; however, having many backup options will give you confidence.
Alternatively, make sure you do not apply anywhere you would not prefer to go. You do not need to find yourself in a state where you have multiple offers you do not care about and feel stressed to accept one of them.
Tip # 7: Ask Yourself What Kind of Program You are Interested in
There are several PhD options available – and things can differ quite a bit in different subject zones.
The Humanities or Arts research can take a lot of time spent doing archival work or be concerned with re-assessing renowned materials.
An Engineering or Science project can be pretty flexible, with the ease to continue with your particular project. Or it can be highly structured, with the need to complete particular ‘rotation’ periods researching in numerous laboratories (or different sections of the same lab).
Some research will include formal teaching duties; others can treat this type of work as an elective professional development prospect. Some campuses will set particular guidelines for their PhD students, including the way they work with supervisors and the goals they need to fulfill. Others can be more flexible.
Make sure you know what you apply for!
Tip # 8: Make Sure You are Ready
Your prior degrees must qualify you academically for your PhD; however, an advanced project may need more thorough training. It is a great idea to see what type of prior experience is predictable for candidates in your project area.
For instance, life sciences students are occasionally expected to have completed a minimum of 3 months of laboratory experience before applying. You may have got this an essential part of MSc (mainly if you have done the laboratory work as a part of the dissertation). However, if you have no necessary preparation, see how to get it!
It cannot be a wrong idea to defer the PhD application unless you are prepared in some situations.
Tip # 9: Ask as Many Question as Possible
There are numerous people involved in the process of a PhD application. Your current lecturers and advisors, other academics you have met during the lab work experience, supervisor you hope to work with, the school principal or the research field you apply to, the admission staff, and much more.
Many people will be happy to help you put a successful PhD application. Make sure to ask as many questions as possible, particularly before making an essential decision like accepting the offer or deferring your application!
Tip # 10: Spend Adequate Time on Your Actual PhD Application!
It appears clear; however, it is possible the essential piece of advice anyone can give you!
If you initiate the process early, you must have sufficient time to consider your PhD application and take advantage of the extra preparation and research you are doing.
Have you taken sufficient time to meet your research supervisor and visit your campus? Use different examples to describe why you are the best fit for the field and its work.
Have you found extra opportunities to prepare yourself for your PhD research? If yes, mention them all.
Have you wisely compared different programs and projects? Never be afraid to show that you have put some thoughts into the process: defend your decision to apply to PhD, at this campus.
Primarily, make sure to spend enough time writing your research proposal and personal statement, along with updating the CV. When you have done, ask some people to read them!
Get feedback from numerous people you trust and apply it to your research. Make sure you prefer the right individuals as your referees and allow them to know with further notices so they can prepare roughly in advance.
Well! If you are invited to the PhD interview, consider the question you can be asked, and never be afraid to practice! Practice makes a man perfect!
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And you might also be interested in Helpful Resume Tips for PhDs and Did You Already Pass an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?