The US is the biggest and most popular Ph.D. study destination abroad. The country’s approach to postgraduate education is unique and fundamentally different from that of the UK and Europe. It involves structured degree programs featuring extensive training coupled up with independent research.
Such unique qualities make university Ph.D. programs in the US so appealing, and thousands of graduates all over the world apply for them. If you’re interested in a Ph.D. admission in the US, here are five tips for applying for a scholarship that you need to know.
Spend ample time on your dissertation proposal
Even though a well-researched dissertation proposal is a crucial component in many Ph.D. applications, it’s sometimes absent in others. Nevertheless, whether you are asked for a simple paragraph stating your specific interest or an 8-page proposal, this description often determines if you’ll be accepted as a Ph.D. candidate or rejected.
Although sometimes the proposal you write in your application might have little to do with the research you will conduct, it’s wise to take your time to craft a quality proposal. University graduate students who need help with their dissertation writing can try Edubirdie. Here they can receive quality writing services that range from an essay, research papers to dissertations from professional writers.
That said, the clarity of focus on your application proposal, plus the reasons you provide for wanting to work with certain professors in the school of your choice, can determine if you’ll be accepted to a given program.
Use your proposal to showcase how passionate and committed you are to your discipline while showing off your exceptional researching, writing, and organizing skills.
Know your interests
If you’ve finished your degree and you’ve decided that a Ph.D. is the right path for your career, you need to find places where you see a strong fit. This means that your research goals and interests should align with those of your program and your future goals.
The first step is to nail down your interests by figuring out the courses, projects, topics, and experiences that appeal to your curiosity enough to spend about a half-decade or more studying them. Although your interests will evolve over time, defining them now will help you follow the right path.
Highlighting your relevant qualifications
Most young individuals haven’t had academic and career journeys that follow a straight line. But this isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can add to the extensiveness of your knowledge base and make you an all-rounded candidate than those individuals who have gained experience in just one field.
Therefore, in your Ph.D. application, don’t apologize for a hotchpotch CV. Rather, create a map for the admission team by pointing out the interconnections of the various positions you’ve held. However, don’t mention those positions or studies that are not relevant to your current interests; they may steer the attention of the admission team away from the other qualifications that make you a perfect candidate.
But if any question arises based on your winding path, be prepared to provide a sincere and confident reason for why you’ve made the choices you have. Emphasize how they’ve shaped your current interest.
Look for reference letters beforehand
Look for reference letters from your professors in advance before the first deadline. Find professors connected to your field of study and who understand you better, and ask them if they can write you a strong reference letter.
If your professor shows hesitation in writing you a reference letter, then they might have some objections that could reduce your chance of being picked, so don’t insist. Find other writers who can write you the letter and provide them with the information required to compose a quality letter, such as deadlines, a copy of your research statement and CV, and a few points highlighting your work.
All these materials will remind your professor about all the accomplishments you’ve achieved under their mentorship.
Prepare well for your interview
If you make it to the interview level, whether it’s through telephone or Skype, ensure you have a perfect understanding of what type of interview it will be and prepare yourself thoroughly.
Ask for as many details as possible. Will it be a one-on-one interview, or will a group of professors interview you? Should you prepare for a casual conversation or presentation? Knowing what’s required from you beforehand gives you a better chance to minimize the risk of being caught off guard.
During the interview, ensure you have come with more comprehensive questions that show you’re interested in the Ph.D. program, and you want to determine if it’s the perfect program for you.
Applying for a Ph.D. scholarship in the US is more like applying for a job: you apply, you get interviewed- if you get selected- you work on what you love, and sometimes you might even receive a stipend in return. Therefore, it’s crucial to make your application stand out and show you’re the best candidate.
Sell yourself as the best candidate by stating your practical and voluntary experience and any high-level research you’ve conducted in the area of interest.