Questions tagged [graduate-admissions]

On strategies, procedures, and problems related to getting admitted to, or selecting students to be admitted to, a graduate degree program. Please click on “info” before asking a question.

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141
votes
9answers
24k views

Will ISIS attacks hurt my PhD application as a Muslim?

I'm a dedicated person, very passionate about physics and pursuing my PhD at a good school is crucial to my life. I've been preparing my application documents for a while now. GPA is almost 4 and ...
123
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3answers
61k views

How does the admissions process work for Ph.D. programs in the US, particularly for weak or borderline students?

When applying to a PhD program in the US, how does the admissions process work? If an applicant is weak in a particular area, is it possible to offset that by being strong in a different area? Note ...
109
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9answers
141k views

How do you get a bad transcript past Ph.D. admissions?

I have a master's degree in International Studies, and a double major with Computer Science from undergrad. My transcripts suck. There's no other way to dress it up. I have pretty good teaching ...
104
votes
2answers
16k views

My admission is revoked after accepting the admission offer

I applied to PhD program and gladly received official admission offer on the 29th of March. They guaranteed me four-year funding. I accepted the admission offer and was preparing for obtaining student ...
102
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7answers
17k views

Will my cancer ruin my chances of going to graduate school in math?

I commenced my bachelor of math 8 years ago and at the same time I was diagnosed to have cancer. Because of the treatment process and the emotional state that I was in, I only completed 3 subjects in ...
94
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7answers
28k views

The GRE: Why does this still exist?

I did my undergraduate degree in the US and am heading to graduate school here in less than a month, so I myself have taken the Graduate Record Examinations (the general as well as two subjects tests) ...
89
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5answers
8k views

Should I explain to the graduate admission committee why I am older than most prospective PhD students?

Firstly, I know that there are plenty of questions here like this one but hopefully this is not a duplicate. I was born and grown up in Iran and belong to a religious minority (Bahai faith). As you ...
82
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11answers
23k views

I am a PhD student and hate it here. How can I warn prospective students during admit weekend without ruining my reputation?

On the one hand, I want to warn students not to come to my program. On the other hand, I don't want to be "that one," and I also don't want to tarnish the reputation of the specific people I worked ...
76
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11answers
17k views

Should I answer this question about diversity?

There is an optional prompt on my PhD application: censoredSchoolName University regards the diversity of its graduate student body as an important factor in serving the educational mission of ...
75
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5answers
32k views

Can I legally omit the fact I hold a Ph.D. degree?

I am about to complete a Ph.D. in Hong Kong and would like to study in the United States. I hold a first class B.Eng. degree in Electrical Engineering. I have a CGPA of 3.67 out of 4 in my current PhD ...
70
votes
8answers
17k views

How honest should I be in disclosing not-so-exciting results?

I'm a sociology undegrad working on an essay for a methods class. I'm also planning on submitting it as a sample for my application to grad school. I don't want to be too specific, but I believe that ...
68
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7answers
18k views

Etiquette question: is there such a thing as accepting an offer 'too early'?

TLDR: Got a PhD offer at top choice, all details checked out, and I want to accept now (much earlier than the April 15th deadline). A colleague (at the professor level) I mentioned this to said I ...
67
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5answers
3k views

I was sexually assaulted by a professor writing me a LOR for grad-school applications. What should I do?

I’m a foreign student currently applying to extremely competitive doctoral programs in the US. Recently, one of the professors writing a letter of recommendation sexually assaulted me. I live in a ...
64
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1answer
18k views

Choosing research ideas to include in a statement of purpose

The internet is littered with information on what makes a good SOP, but I would like to ask a specific question regarding mentioning one's research interests in SOP. What points should a student keep ...
63
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14answers
16k views

I got accepted into a math PhD program but I don't feel adequate enough to attend

I got accepted into a school that I really wanted to go to for a math PhD. I finished my masters and I love math very much. It's something that I've always been extremely passionate about. I used to ...
63
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10answers
20k views

A life of PhD: is it feasible?

In the next year I will (hopefully successfully) graduate from a PhD programme in pure mathematics. The location is (continental) Western Europe, the topic of the thesis is arithmetic geometry, if it ...
60
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5answers
17k views

University I rejected is asking which other one I chose over them; should I tell?

I got PhD admission offers from 2 Universities (say A and B) and yesterday decided to accept one of them (University A). Today I decided to let University B know that I would not be able to join them....
60
votes
7answers
31k views

Is it acceptable to write a reference letter for yourself?

If a student needs a reference letter for graduate admissions or that sort of thing, some profs will ask the student to write a reference letter for themself before sending it off to the prof for ...
60
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2answers
116k views

What is a “TV-L 13” position?

I just received a PhD invitation letter from a German University which mentions that my remuneration will be 2/3 of full TV-L 13 position. I do not know what a TV-L 13 position is (Google is of no ...
59
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2answers
7k views

How to clarify that supervisor writing a reference is not related to me even though we have the same last name?

By chance, I have the same last name as one of the supervisors of a project I worked on. If I ask him to write me a recommendation letter, will the admission committee misconstrue that we are related ...
59
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3answers
4k views

How to evaluate potential advisers on grounds other than their research/publications?

While accepting an offer to grad school, one is basically entering into a lasting relationship with one's adviser - most likely, someone whom the applicant has never met before, and the only exposure ...
56
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8answers
8k views

How to politely respond to generic emails requesting a PhD/job in my lab? Without wasting too much time

As I transition to faculty, I have increasingly gotten requests from people who want to do PhD's with me or want postdocs in my lab. Often these emails are extremely generic and don't suggest they ...
55
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10answers
7k views

Age and Graduate school

I am 33. I live in the US. I am a neither a US citizen, nor a green card holder. I have worked in various jobs as a research assistant (physics, biology, economics) usually involving programming, ...
54
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16answers
17k views

How do so many people here on Academia.SE, and in general, afford lavish higher education programs?

I graduated last year with a BS in Computer Science. I do not come from a particularly wealthy family, (very low middle class), and was only able to afford my education via school loans/scholarships ...
52
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6answers
14k views

Writing ads to attract female PhD candidates

As a researcher in computing science in Western Europe, I get depressed seeing the number of female students in our department. (Hint: near-zero.) I recently heard that certain words in a PhD ...
52
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5answers
11k views

Will flat earth society membership affect my graduate school application?

Just to be clear: no, I don't believe in the flat earth theory. However, a few years ago, I thought that the flat earth society forum is a good place to practice my debating skills and to have fun. ...
52
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4answers
24k views

How to contact professors for PhD vacancies?

I know many master's students who get an opportunity to talk to their potential PhD advisors well before applying. In most cases this opportunity is available by the professors with whom they worked ...
49
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8answers
24k views

Cheated on an exam when I was eight years old. Should I tell graduate admissions?

I cheated at a language exam when I was eight years old. I finished early and noticed that I had accidentally left a dictionary in my drawer. I double-checked my answers and promptly got caught. The ...
49
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5answers
31k views

How to find a good topic for a PhD research proposal?

In many countries an application for a PhD position includes a written research proposal, so my questions is what are some advises/strategies to come up with a good topic/idea for a PhD research ...
48
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10answers
16k views

Accused of cheating on masters final; afraid that appeal will bring retaliation (ruining PhD applications)

A friend of mine is finishing up a masters program and has applied to PhD programs around the nation last fall, as well as within the existing college. She had received several glowing letters of ...
47
votes
6answers
14k views

Dressing etiquette for interviews in academia

Are there expected dressing norms at faculty interviews? Will a casual tee-jeans be discouraged? In the same vein, what is expected when a student visits the campus for an interview?
47
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9answers
6k views

How can our department solicit more (good) PhD applications?

Our department is awesome. But every year, I think: "why aren't we getting more awesome applicants? They could be super happy here, and we could do a great job of jump-starting their careers." Well, ...
47
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6answers
10k views

I've been admitted to multiple PhD programs, how should I choose between them?

I've been admitted to more than one PhD program, and I'm having a very hard time making a decision. The programs I'm accepted to have advantages and disadvantages with respect to one another. How do ...
46
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9answers
26k views

How old is too old for a PhD?

Are there any age limits (formal, informal, or guidelines) that schools use when deciding to accept someone into a PhD program? I'm most curious about the upper age limits. For example, will most ...
44
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6answers
11k views

Is it normal to feel like I bought my way into graduate school after being rejected and then accepted when I was awarded an external fellowship?

I initially got rejected by the two schools I applied to (horrible pGRE scores, lackluster GRE scores, and only did research at my undergraduate institute), but then I got an NSF fellowship, and was ...
44
votes
12answers
9k views

Do résumés written in LaTeX show more promise when applying to graduate schools?

I am a computer science student from India. I noticed that most of the résumés and thesis papers etc. I see are written in LaTeX. If I write my résumé in Word (say) rather than LaTeX, will it have a ...
44
votes
4answers
9k views

Copied Letter of Recommendation?

I asked one of my professors whom I've known for 2 years to write a recommendation for me now that I'm planning for graduate school— about 3 years later after he left to another university. He asked ...
43
votes
6answers
17k views

Letter writer snapped at my reminder email. What can I do in the future to prevent this, and should I still accept his letter?

I sent a reminder email one day before the due date for a couple of my applications to grad school. It said something along the lines of This is just a reminder that first due dates are tomorrow: [...
43
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4answers
8k views

Dismissed from PhD program and reapplying; how to answer question about dismissal?

My story is that the research in my department did not match with my background. I worked hard and my GPA is 3.5+, but the research topic was hard to develop. Unfortunately, I was dismissed from the ...
43
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7answers
6k views

How to improve graduate student recruitment at a small, good, but non-elite department?

I am a mathematics professor in a small, good but non-elite department in the US. Several of my colleagues and I would like to work to improve our recruitment of strong prospective Ph.D. students. We ...
42
votes
3answers
11k views

What to do if a professor confused me with another student in a letter of reference?

Last year one of the recommendation letter writers wrote incorrect information about my character and this was the reason I was rejected when I applied to graduate school. After hearing about the ...
42
votes
3answers
2k views

Unsolicited CVs from grad school applicants - ignore or try to help?

I am a graduate student in physics and every other month or so I get an e-mail from someone who wants a grad school or even postdoc position. These e-mails often start out "Dear Professor (my name)," (...
42
votes
6answers
3k views

Reality check on advice for statement of purpose

I'm about to write a statement of purpose for graduate admission and my advisor passed along to me the following pieces of advice to keep in mind while writing (based on his style and experience in ...
42
votes
2answers
5k views

Graduate school admission with a degree in a different field

Can I be admitted to graduate school in a different field from my degree? Specific cases include: If I've taken plenty of advanced courses in field X in the process of completing a degree in another ...
41
votes
7answers
19k views

I regret declining a really good PhD offer. Can I ask if I can accept the offer after all?

I recently declined a really good PhD offer in the US for another offer from an American university and I'm terribly regretting it now. I made my decision on the 15th of April and it's past ...
41
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2answers
4k views

Do my articles published in local newspapers count as publications?

I'm applying to Columbia's journalism school and it asked me if I have any publications. Since I worked as a reporter before for the local newspaper, and I did write a few headline stories, I thought ...
41
votes
1answer
29k views

How does a graduate program's admissions committee operate?

How does a typical graduate program's admissions committee operate? (In the US --- I understand that in Europe admissions are often structured differently.) My mental model at the moment is several ...
40
votes
8answers
4k views

Is it ethical to apply different criteria for graduate admissions based on country of undergraduate study?

We have undertaken a small statistical study of M.S. students in our department, including their application information and their eventual performance in our program. The goal is to develop criteria ...
39
votes
6answers
15k views

Why is having multiple college majors seen as a bad thing when applying to graduate school?

I have been told that triple (or more) majoring and/or taking numerous minors is seen as a bad quality when applying to graduate school. Can anybody explain we why they do not want academically ...
39
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7answers
24k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages to completing a Masters program before applying to a Ph. D program?

I've been considering applying to graduate school of some form or another in Mathematics. During my undergraduate years, I did decently on my undergraduate coursework (mostly A-s, some As, a B) but ...