7 Points To Remember Before You Start Your Ph.D.
So, you’ve finally decided to take up Ph.D. Well, that is good for you. Getting a Ph.D. degree is a really good idea unless you know completely what exactly you are getting into. I assume you’ve already received a lot of advice from your friends and colleagues, including the internet. However, it is just hard to focus on who is right and which advice will work in the long run that is why you’re here.
Before sending your application to your dream university here are seven things you should give serious thoughts on. One or more of these tips will save you from disillusion and help you prepare before getting a Ph.D.
Tip 1: The option to choose a Ph.D. program is yours
Your career center will not set plans for you. What you’ll get depends on your earnest efforts in finding a Ph.D. program that suits you best. So take the initiative and consult your professor or colleagues who have graduated from your desired Ph.D. program. Leverage your school website for a list of graduate school options and apply online if possible.
As far as I know, different universities offer varying Ph.D. programs focusing on particular subjects like biology, chemistry, or engineering. Depending on what you’re passionate about, it is up to you which field to focus on. If you’re lucky, you’ll find scholarship offers that cover full tuition fee and provide school allowance.
Either way, please free to check out BioTecNika’s Ph.D. scholarship offers.
Tip 2: Getting a Ph.D. is all about doing an independent research study
Many students don’t realize the importance of a Ph.D. thesis until they fall head-first during their meeting with the supervisor. A Ph.D. program is not just a mere extension of your undergraduate course. It’s where you concentrate on your area of expertise by developing an original research study with the goal of publishing it in the school journal.
Since you’ve decided to take up Ph.D., you should have a vision of what topic you’re going to focus.
As you embark on your Ph.D. journey, expect that your supervisor will ask about your potential field of a research study. To avoid embarrassment, make sure that you’ve researched about your topic well enough to get positive inputs from your supervisor.
Tip 3: Taking a break after graduating from your undergraduate course gives you time to think it over
You’re in your senior and your classmates are asking if you want to take up post-graduate studies. Most of them are getting a Ph.D. after graduation so you’re feeling a bit of pressure. So you told them, “Yes, I also want to get a Ph.D. degree since it’s also my dream to become a professor.”
But wait… Is it really what you want right now or didn’t you just felt challenged because your friends are getting Ph.D. and you’re not?
What I’m sure of is that many people ended up tramping through their Ph.D. journey after taking off without thinking what lies beyond. So why the rush? I keep saying that getting a Ph.D. is not a 50-meter sprint, it is a marathon.
Many successful Ph.D. graduates have worked for five years before going back to college. So why don’t you take a break? It will help you gain a new perspective and ponder about life-changing decisions.
While it is true that the longer you stay out of college the harder it is to get back, you can always choose a career path that still involves the application of science. Say, for example, a private organization, policy, and consulting.
Tip 4: You don’t have to stick to your current area of study
Just because you’re working on a computational analysis of a new medical formula to cure HIV does not mean you can’t explore other areas of your Ph.D. studies.
Your undergraduate course does not dictate the direction of your Ph.D. program. While many students opted for the safer path of pursuing their previous studies, a lot of others have explored the undiscovered areas of science. So if you’re doing a field research, you can switch to lab-based research.
The best thing about Ph.D. is that you are in control of your research and you can do what you’re passionate about. So when you’re asked, “Why have you chosen this research study?” Your answer should not be, “because I’ve worked so hard in this study for many years now.”
Try to be more creative and expand your horizon when necessary. Your passion is always worth the risk. Who knows you might stumble upon a unique topic that incorporates both research.
Tip 5: The location of your University is very important
One of the few things you’ll have to think about should be, “Where do I want to study?” Getting a Ph.D. takes at least four to five years which means that you must choose your school wisely.
If you’re the type of person who is always home-sick, then your best option is your local university. Your next move is to inquire whether your local university offers the Ph.D. program that you are passionate about. What if your dream program is not listed in the options? Are you willing to compromise and settle for a different study?
For those who dream of studying abroad, think about your comfort zone. Do you want to study in big universities in the city or do you prefer working in remote areas? Imagine your life in these locations. Can you envision yourself studying in the area for five years? Are you prepared to go through the different cultural challenges that you may encounter as you push through your studies?
Tip 6: Your finances matter more than the University’s prestige
It’s probably everyone’s dream to study in big universities in the U.S. or Australia. However, you also need to consider your finances. Do you have the resources to sustain your international studies? Are you currently enrolled in a scholarship program or are you going on a self-funded journey?
Contrary to popular belief, your character is not dependent on how expensive your school is. While most people admire students who have graduated from prestigious universities, in graduate school, your reputation as an individual is what matters more.
When you apply for work, the academia will give more value to your experience and achievements than the cost and name your university.
So just think it over. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t join major universities because of your financial status. Show them who is through your work and ethics instead of hiding behind the veil of your school’s popularity. Nevertheless, you can always check out BioTecNika’s scholarship programs.
Tip 7: Getting a Ph.D. will test your survival skills
How many times can you stay late at night to finish an experiment? How long can you manage to write a decent research report only to realize it is subject to revision?
Well, these are just a few of the many questions you’ll encounter once you start your Ph.D. studies. If you think you’ve mastered the ability to squeeze in work and academic after surviving college, getting a Ph.D. will have you think again.
In a Ph.D. program, time management will be three times worse than your college. You’ll have to attend classes, joint seminars, and meet with your supervisor. Plus you must have extra time to conduct your research, analyze data, and write your thesis.
Of course, if you are working you need to divide your time wisely while sparing a little time for sleep. If you think you lack organizational & Time Management skills, learn them and start practicing them. Else drop your Ph.D. plan right now because even if you get admission into best universities you will end up getting your schedule skewed and will be willing to let go off Ph.D. plan after investing 1-2 precious year of your career.
So these are the 7 things I want you to think about before taking up PhD. I’m sure you’re feeling a little scared right now. But that’s just how it is.
Getting a PhD is a long and winding journey. It’s a commitment that can hardly live up to your expectation – but what makes it worth trying is the chance to reach your dream.
If you are really zealous about it, then go for it. Don’t be afraid on something that can make you happy 20 years from now. Good luck!
Still not sure whether to go for a Ph.D. or not, read our Career Advice Section.
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