Another rejection...how many did you guys get?

posted
11-Apr-14, 17:01
edited about 23 seconds later
by lude
Avatar for lude
posted about 6 years ago
Hi everyone!
I just got another rejection for a PhD position - I've lost exact count, but nearing the 40 rejections mark. I think I might do something to celebrate when I get to 50.
Just a quick question...around how many phd positions did you guys apply for and how many got rejected? Just trying to get a feel for what's normal - though I certainly don't want this many to feel normal.
posted
11-Apr-14, 17:13
by satchi
Avatar for satchi
posted about 6 years ago
hi lude,
I had one phd rejection before I had an offer, but this was in 2008?

Yes it would be nice to celebrate--but do keep going :-)
Please don't be discouraged.
I'm sure the right one will come soon.

love satchi
posted
11-Apr-14, 17:38
by JanineG
Avatar for JanineG
posted about 6 years ago
I have had about 25 at least. Had much much more job rejections, one today and have Emailed Leicester to see if I am eligible for the toxicology PhD
posted
11-Apr-14, 18:05
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 6 years ago
Applied for 2, got 2 interviews, got 1.

I think it's the luck of the draw sometimes because I don't think I was a particularly stand-out candidate. I think I was just enthusiastic and determined in the interview and that's what they liked.
posted
11-Apr-14, 21:36
edited about 23 seconds later
by Fled
Avatar for Fled
posted about 6 years ago
Applied for 10, got 1 in my first round of apps. The plan was to keep moving down the league tables till someone bit :P
posted
11-Apr-14, 21:54
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 6 years ago
Have you had any useful feedback from your applications, lude?
posted
12-Apr-14, 00:25
by JanineG
Avatar for JanineG
posted about 6 years ago
Quote From Fled:
Applied for 10, got 1 in my first round of apps. The plan was to keep moving down the league tables till someone bit :P
Thanks for the tip! Now going down the unis! Got some stuff for NTU as well!
posted
12-Apr-14, 08:01
edited about 21 seconds later
by lude
Avatar for lude
posted about 6 years ago
Thanks for the replies everyone!

Satchi, if you know from people in the same situation, has it gotten harder nowadays than when you were applying to get a position? Come to think of it, not many of my friends/colleagues have landed one easily either. It does get very depressing, but I'm trying my best to think positive.

JanineG, well, I guess my 40 isn't too unusual then. Yes, let's not talk about the job rejections. It seems impossible to land one these days. Best of luck with Leicester and NTU!

TreeofLife, yea, you're right - seems to be exactly like the lottery really. Any tips of how to show enthusiasm in a cover letter? Haven't reached an interview stage anywhere yet.

Fled, its a good idea. I haven't really applied by the rankings. That's not much of a priority for me, so the places I've applied are high and low - anything that might have something close to what I'm doing. I anyway doubt I would get into a highly ranked uni, so sometimes I don't even bother often. I'm just looking for something decent.

Chickpea, I have asked for feedback a few times after the rejection, but I've never received a reply. Most of the rejections come in from HR who have never replied about feedback. Occasionally, the contact prof sends the rejection. I've asked them too, but without much luck - once the reply was simply that there was a better suited candidate. So much for feedback. Is it common to get a reply for feedback? I have written two formal and one informal proposals and sent them in inquiry emails. The feedback for them is "very interesting/brilliant!/good idea/great idea". But when I send my CV/application, things go quiet - I have really no idea why. I've changed my CV around 3 times (now doing it a 4th time) to try and make it better. Just don't know what to do :-(

Thanks for all the encouragement people - really do need it!
posted
12-Apr-14, 18:21
edited about 4 seconds later
by satchi
Avatar for satchi
posted about 6 years ago
Quote From lude:
Thanks for the replies everyone!

Satchi, if you know from people in the same situation, has it gotten harder nowadays than when you were applying to get a position? Come to think of it, not many of my friends/colleagues have landed one easily either. It does get very depressing, but I'm trying my best to think positive.



hi lude, most of my friends got phd positions easily but then again this happened a lot earlier than 2008. I am probably the only one in our group who did a phd so late.

I don't mean to discourage you, but to me it does seem more difficult to get phd positions now than in the past. On the other hand, it also depends on the topic, who is applying and what the university/chief investigator/employer is looking for in a candidate.

Yes I agree that it does get depressing; but please don't give up. Do continue looking for phd positions. When you finally get an offer, you will know that it is the right one because it will feel right for you.

Post back here any time you need to say something. We'll always be here for you

love satchi
posted
12-Apr-14, 19:59
by wowzers
Avatar for wowzers
posted about 6 years ago
Are you matching yourself adequately to the departmen and their research aims/theoretical perspectives used by them. You really have to tailor your application very carefully each time. Even down to the university ethos, how do you fit with that etc. Are you meeting the basic academic requirements? Is there anything you need to do academic wise to improve your application. For example some ask for at least merit at Masters but often they don't want any old Masters degree, they want one with substantial research modules like an MSc in research methods (but they don't tell you this beforehand!). Before making a formal application are you contacting prospective supervisors to see if they are interested in you? This is usual practice before a formal application in some areas eg humanities and social sciences. Good luck.
posted
12-Apr-14, 22:23
Avatar for incognito
posted about 6 years ago
I got rejected by 80% of the unis I applied to (10 in total)…only 2 accepted me without any financial aid. That was 4-5 years ago, so I imagine now it's even more difficult to be accepted. Just keep trying and don't give up lude
posted
13-Apr-14, 00:28
edited about 23 seconds later
by Noctu
Avatar for Noctu
posted about 6 years ago
I was very, very lucky to get the first PhD I applied for.
posted
13-Apr-14, 21:31
Avatar for TheEngineer
posted about 6 years ago
I received at least 50 rejections between 2011-2013 before finally landing one in May last year. I made a bulk of applications to UK, EU, USA and Australian universities. I was luck to have former professors who never got tired of writing references for me and kept on encouraging me to continue applying. Being a non-EU applicant, my options for funded opportunities in UK universities were quite slim because of the competitive nature of fewer slots available to international (Non-EU) students.

I was shortlisted and interviewed on several occasions via Skype and phone. I figured out that I was bit apprehensive and jittery during most of the interviews and I am pretty certain that contributed to my rejections. I also got some valuable feedback from some professors who told me that despite my good academic results (Bachelor+MSc), most of which hinged on publications. I didn't have any publications, and that is a factor in my field (engineering). They were actually right, supervisors would rather pick someone who has published some papers in reputable journals over a candidate with none.

But I learnt some valuable lessons from failed interviews and rejections and that gave me the opportunity to take stock of my performances. I was more than delighted when I received an email from a UK university in May 2013 asking me to accept or reject the offer. I couldn't believe my eyes initially. That was the best day in my life.

In my view, there are several PhD opportunities in UK especially if you're a UK/EU student.
posted
15-Apr-14, 05:36
edited about 21 seconds later
by lude
Avatar for lude
posted about 6 years ago
Satchi, yes, it seems it has gotten harder. I hope the right one comes around for me soon. Thanks for the well wishes!

Wowzers, one of the reasons I've been trying mostly European universities is because of the scientific tradition present there. I do try and tailor my application to each university/departments objectives as well. I do write to the potential supervisors whenever I can. Sometimes, if the application deadline is too close, I can't, so I just fire off an application - anyway, I don't expect it to get accepted. Regarding my M.Sc., I took a coursework+research degree. I hope I'm not at a disadvantage because it wasn't completely research based.

Incognito, were you able to secure some financing after admission, or were you self-funded? Hope your job hunting pays off soon.

Noctu, that is very good luck indeed!

TheEngineer - hey! I'm also an engineer :-). Did electronics for undergrad and masters. From what you say, it seems that getting around 40-50 rejections isn't unusual. I really don't know what they look for in engineering PhD admission! Its just crazy the amount that profs expect us to publish, and yes, I've heard it all hinges on publications. I do have a reasonable publication list with a number of citations also, but it hasn't helped in admission...now I'm beginning to feel that all the extra work I put in has been wasted :-(. The pressure to publish is so much, I'm still trying to publish though I'm not affiliated with a uni anymore.

Just wanted to ask if, in your or anyone's experience, the ranking of the university that you did Masters matters much? My uni's ranking isn't GREAT, but its alright. For example, the undergrad program is internationally accredited (Washington Accord), and the M.Sc. program isn't too awful either. Could it be that the uni ranking is getting in the way?
posted
15-Apr-14, 08:56
edited about 6 seconds later
by satchi
Avatar for satchi
posted about 6 years ago

Just wanted to ask if, in your or anyone's experience, the ranking of the university that you did Masters matters much? My uni's ranking isn't GREAT, but its alright. For example, the undergrad program is internationally accredited (Washington Accord), and the M.Sc. program isn't too awful either. Could it be that the uni ranking is getting in the way?


hi lude, nice to hear from you! I honestly think that it is not the uni ranking getting in the way. From my experience (and those of my friends)-- it is the topic of study, results, and what we can bring to the phd (from the masters and previous degrees etc).

keep going!
love satchi

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