Signup date: 18 Apr 2011 at 7:49pm
Last login: 04 Nov 2011 at 7:43am
Post count: 22
I got a 2:2 and so I did a masters to make myself look better. I only got a pass, but in the end it seems my supervisors realised research skills were more important than grades - although I admit I had a few interviews before this where they felt the other way!
It's a lot harder when you don't have awesome grades, but you can still get there.
The worst thing is having to put up with advisor meetings. I have very recent experiance of the job centre (since I'm going to sign off in 2 days before starting my PhD), and the advisor meetings are what frustrated me to no end.
They're not advisors at all and will have no idea what your qualifications mean. Instead, they will give you lots of irrelivant jobs and tell you to apply for them, even if you try to explain there are actually plenty of jobs in your feild (as I did...but of course, he had no idea what scientists do).
I was told to apply to be an admin assistant at a local technical college because I had "been a student and therefore may like to work with students", and I was also told to apply for a bank position, lol. Completly useless.
I don't mean to rant. It's not as bad going there as it used to be as there are many decent people having to sign on, so the dodgy types are pretty dilute and thus it is slightly less soul-destroying. Last I knew the placements started at 6 months, but maybe they've changed it. The placement thing is a joke. You do full time hours but only get jobseekers allowance. Hopefully you won't have to get to that point.
I was into art/music more than anything when I was younger, and I only chose to study biology as I had a good teacher who got me into it, although music was still my major passion - but how many musicians have successful careers!?
I didn't think about my future much at all until my undergrad 4th year, and by then I was more interested in psychology than biology. But I realised doing another BSc would be a bit silly, so I applied for the masters my uni did that was very close to my undergrad course, and mid-way through I figured I liked the academic environment, thus went the PhD route.
I'm not overly passionate about it, but I do think academic lab-based research is about the only career area I would feel happy with (due to the casual nature of it mostly - I hate structured, formal environments). And hey, I still have my hobbies.
I like to think it's not a requirement to be obsessed and fascinated by science.
I would avoid mentioning it in a personal statement. The last thing you want is to look like you're trying too hard to explain your grades not being perfect, and it's an issue you can address during the interview if you feel it is important.
I understand about exams dragging grades down, as I am dyslexic and feel the same thing happened to me. I was asked about my grades in an interview and tried to explain (without saying that I'm dyslexic) that the exam component affected my grade badly, but they didn't seem impressed! I should probably have mentioned it then, but I guess I'm a little paranoid about disclosing it, and I know the supervisor I'm going to start with next month has no idea about it (which I am worried about).
I also always avoided telling universities at all that I am dyslexic, as they harassed me so much with their disability service stuff (seriously...I got many emails and letters from them even though they hadn't offered me a place! I had many anticlimaxes from that), but yeah...I say it's best to bring up at a later date in a more subtle way.
For the sake of giving anyone in this situation a little more hope, I was offered a fully funded (and funded better than the minimum btw) studentship to study at one of the best uni's in the country this week.
I didn't need to get work experiance and the subject isn't super-relevant to what I've done before, so never lose hope! Just apply for as much as you can (so long as it interests you!) and you'll get there!
I'm worried about feeling old rather than feeling young, and I'm only 24!
I figure since I'm Scottish and I'll be studying in England (where undergrad degrees are a year shorter), I'm more likely to be around first year PhD students who are a couple of years younger than me, especially since I did a masters degree then had a year of, well, bugger all (yay recession!!).
We all have things to fret about if we let ourselves. Though it can be fun to fee like the "baby" of the lab to be honest.
My BSc and masters were both in a pretty specific field (parasitology), but my PhD shall relate to pharmacology/structural biology, which I figure is pretty different.
I don't see it as a big deal. I'll read the relevant papers once I get access to them and take it from there. Though maybe it's easier to switch about in biology? Either way, it's not easy to stay within one field forever, especially these days with such high competition for everything, so I figure no one would expect you to be massively knowledgeable.
I get the feeling my day one will be a while away, ahaha.
I was offered the PhD yesterday (and I accepted within a few minutes of getting the email...obsessive), and I notice my uni's postgrad introductory stuff has started already! I'm in Scotland and the uni is 400 miles away in England, so I'm thinking my day one might not be for another month!
I still need to get all the admin stuff sorted (which involves proving my qualifications), then there's registration and all the other complexities. It's weird to think most people are starting already! I hope I don't end up left behind and feeling outcast >_< /paranoid
======= Date Modified 27 Jun 2011 14:08:04 =======
I'm in the exact same situation as you, and although it's frustrating as hell, I'm still hopeful.
I've went for the option of mostly applying for things I have a lot of experience with, either with the lab techniques or the topic of the research projects. I was turned down for a place (funded) I was sure I would get because of my background knowledge because my grades weren't as good as other applicant's, which was massively disheartening, but having a 2:2 and a pass means you meet the minimum requirements (2:2 + masters = 2:1 equivalent as far as most of the big research councils are concerned), so hopefully it's possible to eventually get ahead of the competition in some way.
I have started considering ways to self-fund, but that's just me getting anxious after months of failure. Most supervisors know lab experience matter a lot more than grades.
The key definitely is talking to supervisors and letting them know how capable you are, and consider other funding options as I was foolish enough to assume I'd be able to get a studentship easily.
Hello. I had a look through the forum and I don't think anyone has asked about this before.
At the moment I'm pretty panicked about getting a PhD place. I graduated at the end of 2010 and since then I have been obsessively searching for opportunities in my area of interest. I've got about 8 pending applications and about 4 of those feel at least partially hopeful to me (in other words, the supervisors are interested in me, but I don't know what I'm competing with).
So yes, is this a "normal" amount to apply for!? I feel a compulsion to keep contacting potential supervisors, but there's always the worry of getting inundated with offers/pissing off my referees (who have given two references so far, and I assume it's a bit of a tedious process).
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