PhD application preparation

<p>Hello all,</p>

<p>I am currently an MS student set to graduate this December. I am thinking of applying to Ph.D programs with entry for Spring 2011 semester or Fall 2011 semester (not sure which one yet but I imagine I would be applying this Fall either way). I have an idea of which schools I would be applying to, but I just have a series of questions I'd like to get answered:</p>

<p>1) What should I be doing in preparation for applying to those schools? Should I be contacting professors this early? And what should I be contacting the professors about?</p>

<p>2) I already took the GRE back in the Summer of 2008, and those scores stay on record for 5 years. When I was applying for MS programs, I had those scores sent to some schools which I plan on reapplying for their Ph.D program. Therefore, do I have to resend my scores to those schools or do they keep them in record?</p>

<p>3) What can I do to have a better chance of receiving some kind of financial assistance in the form of RA or TA positions?</p>

<p>4) In terms of letters of recommendation, which sources do PhD programs typically want them to be from? (undergrad profs., graduate school profs., work place, research advisors, etc.)</p>

<p>Thanks for any help on these questions.</p>

<p>Regards,</p>

<p>smpaladin</p>

<p>That just a lot of questions for one post, maybe that's why no one is answering. Perhaps if you say what field you are talking about, it will spark some interest. </p>

<p>I'm not sure if you should contact profs at all. After all, they will see your application, especially if you express an interest in working with them or in their field in you ap. My daughter was told not to contact, her profs said only overeas students do it and it buries them in emails. However, if you have a very specific question (not a general one office staff would answer about applications) or a very simpatico research background, you can try a short introductory email to say you are looking to apply. But it might be better to ask advice from your profs.</p>

<p>Almost all math/sci majors get TA/RA, although that is slightly harder now. Don't know anything about other fields, except that it is much less common.</p>

<p>Just get the best LOR you can, most recent is likely best, high profile/known writer is best, one intimate with your RESEARCH work is best, avoid DWIC.</p>

<p>IMHO-
1. The best possible scenario would be a letter of introduction from your current PI to a potential PI. Failing this, direct contact from you would be fine. It's a bit late to start a meaningful relationship with a potential PI but it might be a good way to find somebody you could connect with. Don't be offended if they never respond to you, some PI's just won't.
2. GRE scores were somewhat meaningless when I applied, if it were me, I wouldn't retake them.
3. Depends on department and discipline. I just didn't apply to departments that failed to assure funding and insurance through the duration of the Phd.
4. Ideally, your LOR will come from your PI. Academic LOR are better than industry LOR, but the quality of the letter determines quite a bit.</p>

<p>Brownparent - Out of curiosity, what does DWIC stand for???</p>

<p>Thanks for the replies. I'm sorry but what does DWIC and PI stand for?</p>

<p>Regards,</p>

<p>smpaladin</p>

<p>I don't know what DWIC stands for, but PI= Principal Investigator -- in other words, the faculty member who heads the lab and backs your research.</p>

<p>DWIC = Did Well In Class.</p>