Currently ignoring my PhD apps and trying not to feel guilty…

Today was supposed to be my day off anyway, but my original plans fell through. So I slept in extra late for me (10am – woot woot) and have been poking around, avoiding my application files, and feeling guilty ever since.

To be honest, I only feel guilty because I know how frustrated I will be later if I don't make good use of this week. I have plans all day Friday and Saturday, so they are out. That leaves today, tomorrow and Sunday to make some good progress. Once normal life kicks back in next Monday I know I will have a hard time dedicating much time or energy – physical or mental – to the process.

So, maybe some realistic goals will help…

Let's see…

Today I want to:
1) Compile the instructions for all the personal statements into one place;
2) See how much overlap there is and start a rough draft; and
3) Drum up 2-3 people to read and provide good criticism for my personal statement.

Hmmm… I think I can do that.
Go team!

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Doctoring my Vacation Away

No, I'm not sick.

Perhaps sick in the head, but that's a different story.

I am on vacation this week and have officially started the PhD application process. Yesterday I spent quite a few hours in organizational preparation. Digging through old files to find dusty copies of ancient transcripts. Collecting a variety of office supplies such as file folders, stickies, and a label maker. Finding and bookmarking the online application websites and program application checklist sites. Digging through the kitchen junk drawer to find the GRE report sheet from 6 months ago. Collecting contact information for jobs and folks writing recommendations.

Today I had my GRE scores sent to all the schools I'm applying to and have been busily filling out the online applications. I found a few things online that were very helpful that I thought I'd share…

First, a GPA calculator. The one linked below from Iowa State will calculate your overall and major GPAs for your whole college experience and/or for the last two years. I had to do all four calculations for various applications.

Second, a tool that counts both the number of words and characters. I misread one application section thinking I had 320 words to explain my various jobs. Nope… 320 characters. Do you have any idea how hard it is to narrow something down that far? Of course you do. You've already been there.

Tomorrow I plan to get transcripts ordered and get a good start on my personal statement. After that I need to revise my resume, tinker with my writing sample, and get packets together for the people writing my recommendations.

Wow. Written in a list like that it does not seem so bad. I'll come back and revisit that statement in a few days as I'm using the word count tool to revise and revise and revise my personal statement for each school. Fun!

From my good friends at I Can Has Cheeseburger Plz…


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I’m with You, Skittlefish

Your post does not give me much confidence! Yikes! I'm applying to grad school this semester too. So far I've taken the GRE's, selected my references, and finalized the list of schools to apply to. I am actually planning to take vacation the week of October 8-12 to start writing personal statements and plunge into the applications. I think most of my schools have most of their process online <fingers crossed> but I expect to be doing some head banging by the end of the week.

Comfort in numbers? Misery loves company? Either way, I'm glad there are others out there to talk to about it. Good luck with yours!

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