Five tips on applying for a PhD

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9 Responses

  1. George Byrne says:

    Hi Roger. This is very similar to my experience, except I took a big gamble re: ‘tip 5’. I only applied to one course and luckily I got in. I don’t know what I would have done or where I would be now if I hadn’t!

    The one thing I would add to this list is that you have to sell yourself, and particularly your unique strengths (whatever they are) in your application. People are often too humble, or just too scared, too say what they are actually good at and blow their own trumpet. Also, this means that if you have experience in one thing that most people don’t (for me that was living and working in Ecuador) then that is what you need to play up. If you specialise in studying one country or region or have experience in one field (such as environment/ecology), you should apply to do things that are directly related to that.

    If you apply for something you are interested in but have little experience of, there will probably be someone, somewhere who is a better candidate. As you say, it is really competitive and so you don’t have to be really smart and have loads of experience, you have to be better suited than whoever else is applying.

    Great post! I really enjoyed it. I will look through some of your previous ones when I have a bit more time on my hands.

    • Roger Tyers says:

      Cheers George, and yes you make a good point. It can be a strange thing to ‘sell yourself’ in applications but it is necessary, and we often have personal skills and experiences which we don’t realise can help us stand out.

  2. Casey says:

    Interesting how so many things hinge on networking and salesmanship. This should be more about intellect and a good idea rather than personality.

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