I’ve done it! I have started my grad school applications and am almost finished. I just have a few missing pieces of information to add this afternoon before I click “apply”. Here is what the online application is like:
First, you need to create an account for each school. Most will generate an account ID for you so make sure you save it in a secure place. I have all of mine in an encrypted Word doc to keep things organized. Then you can start the application itself. There are slight differences in each application but they all require generally the same information. They want your personal info (name, address, etc), research interests, academic background, and reference information. Some have a few short-answer questions about why you want to go to grad school and why you are interested in your particular field. Others want a statement of intent (which basically talks about why grad school and what you want to do with your research).
As with anything you do, make sure to double check your applications before sending them to make sure that they’re the best they can be. Also, make sure you double check the deadlines and requirements for reference letters so that your referees know whether to use mail or email, a letter or a specific form, etc. I sent my referees an email with all that information as well as an academic audit, my CV, and a short statement about why I want to go to grad school, what I want to research, and generally why I would make an excellent grad student.
Deadlines for many programs are anywhere from mid-January to early-February so if you’re looking to apply, get on it! Let me know what schools you’re applying to!
I decided to hold off on applying to grad schools until after exams. This would help me focus on one thing at a time and it also gave me one less excuse to put off studying. I finished my exams last Tuesday (yay!) and since then, I have yet to get much done with applications. All I’ve done so far is created a list of requirements for each application (due dates, number of reference letters, etc). What’s going on here?
Confession time: I have a bad habit of putting off things that intimidate me. I’m nervous about grad school and I’ve never done grad school applications before so I’ve been pushing it aside. I did the same thing with funding applications, which really cost me…literally, because I had to pay for one of my references to FedEx his letter from California so it would arrive on time. It was not cheap. I also did this with my thesis, past essays, past studying, etc. This procrastination forces me to do everything at the last minute in a complete panic, so there’s no way I can do my best work.
It has got to stop. The first step may be the hardest but if you don’t take that first step, you won’t ever go anywhere. That first step seems more daunting with every passing day because you’ve gotten yourself worked up about it and you have less and less time to complete whatever task you have in front of you.
I am making a promise to myself to stop this behaviour. If I have something to do, then I do it. No more wasting time and putting things off until the last minute. Really, I’m just sabotaging myself. If you have the same problem, please comment about how you’re trying to fix it. I’d love to hear about it!
The holidays are just around the corner! I personally celebrate Christmas and as much as I’m excited for it, I’m mainly thinking about all the prep work I need to do. How do you manage on a student budget while you’re dealing with end-of-semester insanity? Here’s how I cope.
It doesn't have to be all about the money!
Gift-giving can put a serious strain on your wallet so it’s time to get creative. Put on a Secret Santa if you have a large group of friends. It’s easy to put a cap on spending that everyone will appreciate. Another option is going the home-made route. Making gifts can be a great way to give something heartfelt and inexpensive. I plan on baking a bunch and giving baskets of goodies to my friends. Knitted scarves or art pieces also make great gifts! For friends living far away, a cute holiday card it perfect. I just bought ones that say “Keep calm and be merry”.
You also have to keep track of your time because the holiday break never seems long enough. Only accept invitations to events you actually want to attend, otherwise it’s an unnecessary drain on your time and energy. Make group plans when you can so you can see as many people as possible. You also don’t have to spend a ton of money – instead of going out for drinks, stay in with (spiked) hot chocolate and watch a festive movie. My favourite is A Muppet Christmas Carol. You can’t go wrong with the Muppets!
Most important is to enjoy yourself! Relax, spread good cheer, and indulge in all the amazing food. I’m counting down the days!