What has been other people's experiences. i have had one interview so far, i thought my performance was promising until 2 weeks later when i got a rejection email. I am still distraught and i am finding a hard time applying to more schools. It appears securing a PhD at a prestigious departments is about being super smart or having connections?
sorry to hear you are having a hard time with it - my only real input is that you shouldn't take the rejection so hard. You just need to keep applying - many PhD'ers have had to go to loads of long intimidating interviews before accepting the right place.
It may even be that they had someone in mind for the post, but they still have to advertise it anyway - in which case you'd have had no chance regardless of how well you performed
Keep at it - that one just wasn't for you, no doubt you'll find a much better one in time
Thanks for words of encouragement.
What really hurts is that i know they are not looking for one student but many probably about 5 or so. If they know who they were going to give them too and still called me in for an interview that is bad. I spend a whole day of talking to people for their own formality? wow! i hope that is not how it works.
My downside is that i am from a university that ranks around 200 in the world but i am looking at institutes that are above hundred. I am starting to consider an option of applying for Masters (although i am about to finish one) as this will hopefully make it easier to get a PhD in the department of my choice.
''It may even be that they had someone in mind for the post, but they still have to advertise it anyway - in which case you'd have had no chance regardless of how well you performed ''
'' THAT IS SO TRUE AND IT HAPPENS OFTEN , I CANT UNDERSTAND WHY THEY WOULD THEY EVEN BOTHER INTERVIEWING THE OTHER CANDIDATES , TO WASTE THEIR TIME OR LOWER THEIR MORALE OR WHAT !''
I have no idea why they advertise the phD if they have decided to offer it to someone they know already . I only know this because one of my collegue secured a phD studentship with the supervisor already(she didnt even applied) , then the same project was advertised on here a few days later with the application deadline in June .
I told her(my collegue) and she said it is definitely the same post and she already accepted the offer , but we decided not to ask him (supervisor) because we dont want to make a fuss .I feel sorry for the candidates who will be drag down here for the interview only to find out a few days later that all of them have been rejected.
so essentially you are saying this is quite common? yeah exactly my point, people who have connections end up getting the positions. So i think doing a Masters at the department of choice might be a way to get to know the professors and increase chances of getting in. That is if i can secure a Masters position. Only downside is that funding is hard to find a Masters level
I am not saying it happens everywhere, but I know from experiences that it does happen . The supervisor already had someone line up (His own Masters student, research techician /assistant etc ), long before the project is advertise , the purpose of this is to make their selection look fair .This doesnt only happen in phD posts , it is the same scenrio if you applying for jobs , work experience etc .
Knowing people does usually pay off .
I'm sure some of that does go on, but don't despair. When I was going through the application/interview process, I got offered two PhD places at good universities and I didn't have any contacts at all. They both told me that what they look ultimately look for is a good proposal.
The key thing is to keep trying. And if you don't get in because they've already got someone in mind for the place, ask yourself "Why would I want to go somewhere that is that unfair?" I certainly wouldn't. Remember, many a university is judged on the calibur of its research students, and any uni that is prepared to give places to people on the basis of connections rather than potential really isn't worth your time. Good luck in your search.
I think the reason for this is because they HAVE to advertise it - quite why they would make you go through the full process I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that if the funding is for over 6 months they are obliged to advertise it - very commonly with these, you will see that they put a closing deadline of a week or something like that - and I think thats a clear sign they are just following procedure etc.
This isn't just for PhDs though, I'm pretty sure there are equal opportunity type laws that mean employers have to externally advertise posts - (can't remember where I heard it but am fairly sure its true)- So it goes on in all walks of life
I seen a few that have a deadline only 10 days after the project is advertise , and they expected you to complete the application form , a CV , a cover letter and requested two references by that time. O, I nearly forgot that they also wanted you to send the form by post only, not mentioning that it probably takes another 5 days for the application to arrive from the department to the supervisor .
I'm sorry if I sound harsh, but have you considered the possbility that the other candidates that applied for the positions were just better than you? It's very normal to get rejected for anything you apply for these days, be it jobs or PhDs. If one failure leaves you distraught then I'd seriously think twice about embarking on a PhD as it will, by its very nature, be full of wrong turns, disappointment and failure before you reach your goal.
I know! some of the other candidate could have easily been more in tune with the research groups objectives because they are from more prestigious schools. that is why i was considering doing an Msc. Fortunately, i have had a positive response from another school that i am interested in and I am likely to get in at this point.
As for being disappointed. I can very well handle disappointments. sure i was disappointed but it is not like i sat there and cried the whole day or something, life goes on. I have been through a lot in my life and i know i want to do a PhD and i know i can do it.
Glad you've managed to find a place somewhere else. From your first post I just thought you were taking rejection a little hard, but obviously you are capable of dealing with it. Good luck in your PhD.
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