Sunday, October 28, 2012

Grad School Applications (In Progress)

It's that time of year again, Graduate School Applications! It has been very stressful, and while looking over which programs to apply for, I keep thinking, "What did I really want out of grad school?"

I even asked a couple friends, "Should I even apply to grad school? I don't even know what I want yet!'  Many have replied, "I think you should." And I agree with them. However, the uncertainty makes me uneasy and afraid my application won't be strong enough for my lack of direction. (It goes along the lines of never telling an interviewer that you don't know what you want to do).  I've thought about graduate school for 3 years, and in a year, I'm gunna say the same thing. Heck, I've already taken the GRE.  

But I've narrowed down my list of fields like this:

  • Nanotechnology
  • Materials
  • Energy/ Combustion
  • Controls...maybe...
  • Biotechnology...I've read too many medical ethics books...
  • Aerospace
Okay, I could see myself continuing to learn about combustion/ energy. The field is growing pretty quickly, and maybe I could throw some controls in there. 

As my Lil Sis (Nassim) has attempted to remind me, "You have the right to change your mind!", I try to keep this lingering in my frontal cortex before my hypothalamus takes over with my fear response.

So I've been spending my Saturday afternoons/nights working on applications. You'll be so proud of me! Gathering information, writing up my profile, narrowing down schools, narrowing down who should give me a letter of recommendation (which is such a hard decision!), thinking of backups, and finally contacting those people.  Yesterday, I contacted them, and that's another big hurdle that we're all nervous of (What if they say no! You ask someone else, haha). Mission Part I complete.

I was also nervous about who to ask for feedback on my Personal Statement. My mom is a terrible person for this; she'll read it and say, "Yes, that's nice honey." 

BUT I NEED YOU TO GIVE ME FEEDBACK! other words, my mom is ruled out.  Then, I learned that the Student Academic Success Center is willing to read your Personal Statement and give feedback! Thank goodness! Mission Part II complete.

Graduate school applications is such a long process...good thing I know generally what I'm doing...



  1. I know this comment is about a month late, but as someone who applied to grad school thinking that I'd become an Organic Chemist (insert long laugh here), I changed my subdivision with in the first year after taking some classes to become a Biochemist. It's totally okay to say I don't know what my specific end goal is yet, but I do know that I love this subject, want to learn more (about xyz), and think that this school is the perfect place to learn such a thing. You may also want to consider some highly collaborative groups/departments/schools so that just in case the subdivision you apply for isn't what you were initially thinking, there are always backup plans there for you. Good luck with the admissions process! - Hannah (PhD Candidate at UCSB; I'd love to grab a coffee if you are down here for admissions recruitment, though totally understand if this isn't the place to be!)

  2. I have got a question:
    I was wondering does your "Student Academic Success Center" also read SOP from other universities to evaluate?

    Thanks :)