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There are many benefits to graduating with a PhD degree. The graduate has a higher chance of finding employment and earning better pay. However, typically it’s quite difficult to get accepted into a doctoral program mainly because schools accept a few applicants each year. To increase the chances of receiving an admission letter, here is a guide on applying for a PhD program.
PhD Program Essentials
Do Your Research
There are many universities where you can apply for a PhD program. However, some schools have a lower acceptance and graduation rate than others. You may want to go to a specific institution, but they may not have professors willing to take you on or may not be carrying out projects in your area of interest.
Furthermore, people who want to pursue a graduate course will not just be accepted by the school unless they have a project or the applicant has found a grant or salary to live on. And even when the few slots open up, they will be sought by many applicants. So, when doing research, expand your search to other geographical locations and seek advice from professors where you completed your undergraduate course.
Look For Openings
You will be required to pay a nonrefundable application fee even if you don’t get an admission letter. So before making payment, first ensure that the faculty members or supervisors are taking on new students. Most schools will post openings and procedures for the application process on their website. So make it a habit to check the official site of your favorite grad school frequently.
Gather All Application Material
It’s important to start preparing early for your PhD program application to avoid the last-minute rush. That means gathering all required materials. Each university will have its own unique requirements and procedure for applying. However, the most common documents requested by most schools are:
- Academic curriculum vitae
- Statement of purpose
- Letters of recommendation
- A writing sample
- A completed application form
International students from a country that doesn’t speak English as a first language are often required to submit scores from a language exam such as TOEFL. Others will ask for GRE test scores.
It’s mandatory to submit all the necessary documents before the deadline, and the admissions board will use the material to evaluate the applicants. Therefore, start the application process early. That way, you will have ample time to write a glowing personal statement and get recommendations from the appropriate people.
Take into account obstacles that might make the application process take longer than expected. If you have challenges putting the right words on paper, look at samples online or ask essay writers to guide you.
Apply To Many Programs
Doing research will help narrow down where you want to get a doctorate degree. But to increase your chances of success, apply to many schools. But first, check the requirements and ensure you have met all of them. You might find that some schools require applicants to have a master’s degree while others accept individuals with a bachelor’s degree. To choose a university that will meet your education needs, consider the following:
- Program availability
- Available research facilities
- Employability rate
- The reputation of the faculty
Remember that each university will have a different academic environment, including its own unique way of approaching research. If you will require financial help, consider schools that pay their PhD program students a stipend, tuition waiver, and full or partial funding. Overall, apply to a school you would love to attend and have a higher chance of receiving an admission letter.
Make Your Application Stand Out
A student has a higher chance of gaining acceptance if their application stands out. The board will not only look at academic grades, but they also want to see if you are unique. So instead of focusing on what the board wants to read, make your application stand out by staying true to your interest.
Let the officer understand what led you to pursue that program and the steps you have taken to make your aspirations a reality. Tailor your application to show that you are the perfect fit for the PhD program. Before you write, browse the school’s website to get crucial information that will help improve your application.
Ensure Your References Are Strong
Don’t just assume that a professor will craft a stellar letter of recommendation or reference letter. Take an active role to ensure your references are top-notch. This can include giving the recommender relevant information that you want to be included in the letter. The person writing it should be an individual that knows you well academically or has supervised your research. Ensure that they have ample time to write the letter and submit it weeks before the deadline.