Applying for PhD studentship(20 Posts)
Hi Polter I'm not sure I know all the answers to your questions but I'll have a go.
1. I think you probably need to have an academic referee, is there any way you could email one of the tutors, even if all they did was mark your work? Did anyone supervise your dissertation, and if so, could that person act as a referee? You don't need someone to know you personally to confirm you have the right academic potential.
2. I usually structure my letters as follows: I introduce myself and put a short statement of what I'd like to do (so apply for this PhD) 'because I believe I have the following skills' and then detail the skills in headed sections, so one section is 'academic achievement', where you detail your best marks, courses that you did well in, perhaps dissertation marks, overall grade and so forth, the second section is 'other achievements' or 'work experience' and I would explain in this section what skills you have from your work that would be relevant to a PhD (persistence, team-work if working as part of an academic team, any relevant research type work), and then the final section, I'd detail the topic of the PhD in some depth. I'd then finish with explaining why I'd particularly like to work at that institution and with those particular supervisors (rather than do just any PhD).
I hope that helps!
You do not have to have headings though, if that doesn't appeal to you, I like to outline the evidence I'm the best person for the job in a systematic way, but you could just write it as one long covering letter. You may also have to submit a proposal or outline of how you would take that particular project forward. Good luck!
I agree, your tutors might well remember your essays, and certainly they would be able to comment on your work if asked.
But, for funding, I would be inclined to get in touch with potential supervisors and discuss this with them. My PhD supervisor acted as one of my referees, because by the time I submitted my application, I had been accepted by the department anyway. And, as she had begun to work with me, she was the academic who knew my work best.
Definitely mention your prize and top marks.
Well done, Polter even really good candidates usually have to make quite a few applications to get successful so that's something to bear in mind, the good ones usually do get something though. Crossed fingers for you.
Hope you get on ok Polter - I'm doing the last few bits for a PhD studentship too - it's a terrifying prospect!
Polter I'm sorry it didn't go as well as you hoped. I think asking for an adjustment is probably a good idea, we do have students and researchers who are on the spectrum, mostly it isn't raised at interview, but at least one person has recently and has got the job. It is not uncommon in academic fields and should be something they can accommodate.
Polter try not to be too discouraged. I know it sounds a bit blunt (this is how I tend to be, hope it doesn't come over rudely) but if you were the best candidate in every other way, then being nervous in interview may not have mattered too much. Conversely, if you were slightly worse on paper but brilliant at interview, I wouldn't pick you myself, I want people that can do research and write, and although performing at conferences might be a small part of it, being able to write well and at a high (approaching publishable) level is what I'm lookinf for in a PhD student.
Good luck with it all, and keep applying, it can take many gos to get a PhD, there should be a lot of ads coming out in the next few months.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.