Grad school endgame
October 27, 2012 5:59 AM Subscribe
Switching fields... not sure I'll get in this year to grad school... don't want to bore recommenders... but want to go.
What do I do?
posted by anonymous to education (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I want to go to grad school in a field that is difficult to get into-very competitive, but with a higher yield of tenure track jobs than the original field I started out in. My background is such that I’m not applying for exactly the same field I did for undergrad + masters…It’s like someone who studied anthropology going into archeology (for example… these are not the fields)…. Meaning the fields have similar concerns and an overall thrust but the methods are very different. New field Y is much better fit for many reasons. I have some background in field Y… working with a professor and doing research assisting for a major study and high (99%) GRE scores.
I’m still not advanced enough that I have a niche in field Y. I have a lot of transferrable skills, and can carry out others’ research well, but if you plonked me down in a research setting and said “design your own study,” realistically, I would have no idea what to do—or maybe I would, but I’ve certainly never been in a setting where that was realistic so I haven’t tried yet. There are some programs where this would be ok and some not. My guess is that independence would be more highly valued in more competitive programs. This might negate some of the benefits of the better overall job outlook in field Y. Also, this is an issue I’m going to have to cover in my personal statement; not being a tested commodity.
There are other ways that I make up for it, but honestly, I’m (realistically) nervous about the competitive nature of grad school and think the best safeguards are a good fit and enough skills to carry a program of study.
So pretty much, I need to decide whether to ask for recommendation letters. I guess my question is this.
Given that I want to do a PhD and no way, no-how can afford a masters, should I apply all this year, or hold back and try a small number of schools, planning for next year?
There’s another factor. I’ve asked my recommenders for exactly 3 cycles of letters already… a scholarship program (rejected), another scholarship program (ok), last cycle in topic Y (rejected). If I get rejected again this year, it’s gonna start looking awkward. So this is an issue that is in the mix. I have 2 new recommenders but the 3 old ones will probably be confused about what is going on, since they are in the old discipline that is not so competitive to get into as this.
Actually, that should be at the top of this question. I’m pretty worried about that.
Thank you Metafilter.