PhD Application Panel Summary

A Project SHORT Panel for PhD Students

On Tuesday, September 14, 2021, we hosted a pre-graduate school panel for prospective applicants on setting the best timelines for graduate school applications and how to stay organized in the process. There can be a lot of things to do when applying and it’s important to plan out when and the order in which everything should be done as well as how to stay organized. All the panelists shared their own way of staying organized throughout the process. The big take home message we tried to communicate was that it’s important to have a way of staying organized but that’s going to look different for every applicant. There are dates to keep track of, application and program links, etc. so it’s crucial to take a little bit of time to figure out what organizational system or spreadsheet layout is going to work best for you to stay on top of everything and have all your information in one place, your future self will thank you later!

Here's a link to a recording of the event, as well as a closed captioning file.

Graduate School Application Timeline

  • Below is a helpful timeline to follow and a good order to complete things in for the application process.
  • Consider setting due dates for yourself to help you stay motivated!

Creating an Organizational System

  • Customize your organizational system to what information you need and what type of a layout works best for you (e.g., document, spreadsheet, notebook, etc.)
  • Things to consider including in your organizational system: Due dates, links to program information, requiring GRE, number of letters of recommendation required, materials required, application fees
  • Consider tracking where you are in the application process for each school you’re applying to (e.g., faculty accepting students, created online submission account, sent out letter writer emails, etc.)
  • Send a list of schools that you need your letter writers to submit to, due dates, and how to submit it (make it easier for your letter writers!)
  • Set aside time to write, plan, and think about graduate school applications each week.

Other Important Advice

  • Look into fee waivers! There is no harm in asking if they are available for the schools you are applying to.
  • Project SHORT is in contact with many schools to automatically provide fee waivers to Project SHORT mentees. Learn more here.
  • Check out if schools you’re interested in are holding open houses to hear more about the program before applying and learn how to tailor your application for that school!
  • Consider tracking where you are in the application process for each school you’re applying to (e.g., faculty accepting students, created online submission account, sent out letter writer emails, etc.)
  • If you get stuck or your body is telling you to take a break from writing, it’s better that you take a break and come back to it after you engage in self-care. When you come back afterwards your writing will be better.
  • Make sure to celebrate at each step of the process, you deserve it!
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