Not accepted from more than 12 applications

posted
30-Apr-15, 18:39
Avatar for marcellohendrix
posted about 5 years ago
Dear Collegues,

in the last 5 months I have applied to many PhD programmes (most of them in Germany) following scrupulously the procedures indicated on their website. I graduated (MSc) with 110/110 Magna cum Laude, I have 2 pubblications (one of them as 1st Author) and I have two referees who are available to support my application.
Despite those requirements, I have not been accepted from all the PhD (around 12) I have applied for ( also without have performed the interview!).
Is this normal? Should I continue to try with further applications or should I give up? I feel like an incompetent...
posted
30-Apr-15, 18:40
Avatar for marcellohendrix
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From marcellohendrix:
Dear Collegues,

in the last 5 months I have applied to many PhD programmes (most of them in Germany) following scrupulously the procedures indicated on their website. I graduated (MSc) with 110/110 Magna cum Laude, I have 2 pubblications (one of them as 1st Author) and I have two referees who are available to support my application.
Despite those requirements, I have not been accepted from all the PhD (around 12) I have applied for ( also without have performed the interview!).
Is this normal? Should I continue to try with further applications or should I give up? I feel like an incompetent...
posted
01-May-15, 10:03
edited about 20 seconds later
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 5 years ago
That does seem quite strange to be honest. Have you had someone look over your CV and application letter? Are you applying for advertised programs or directly to supervisors? Do you know what information is in your reference letters?
posted
01-May-15, 10:54
Avatar for ZaoRazor
posted about 5 years ago
That's rough...

You know, many PhD studentships are earmarked for a specific applicant and they advertise them just because they have too. I found out the hard way :(

It is a good idea to have someone (e.g. MSc supervisors?) to check your CV and cover letter

I wish you the best
posted
01-May-15, 11:05
edited about 18 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
That does seem quite strange to be honest. Have you had someone look over your CV and application letter? Are you applying for advertised programs or directly to supervisors? Do you know what information is in your reference letters?


As a german I can say that this is definitely strange ! Most master students have 0 publications. As most of the programs have an automized online application process, I don't think that the application itself is the problem.
Did it take you extraordinarily long to get your degree? Are you relatively old? Do you apply in a different field as you worked before? Do you study philosophy, history or some other subject where it is really hard to get funding? Things like that could be a reason.

Keep also in mind that these programms are popular and that there are tons of students and international students your competing with. Maybe it takes some time.
posted
01-May-15, 12:03
Avatar for sempronius
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From Dunham:

... Are you relatively old?...


I don't mean to start an argument or detract from the validity of your many good questions, Dunham; however, should age be an issue? I'll be 32 (and "relatively" is relative, I guess) when I kick off my Ph.D. - didn't encounter any prejudice issues along the application routes.

I would be interested to know if anyone thinks age comes in to it...
posted
01-May-15, 12:39
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From sempronius:
Quote From Dunham:

... Are you relatively old?...


I don't mean to start an argument or detract from the validity of your many good questions, Dunham; however, should age be an issue? I'll be 32 (and "relatively" is relative, I guess) when I kick off my Ph.D. - didn't encounter any prejudice issues along the application routes.

I would be interested to know if anyone thinks age comes in to it...


I am currently in the application process myself and in several of these programs they say that you should preferably be under the age of 30. It may not be important if you make an unsolicited application to a groupleader or professor directly but apparently in some programs this seems to be a disadvantage. It does not have to be that way. I think it"s difficult to make that kind of online diagnosis without having more information including the subject, the programs and the CV :)
posted
01-May-15, 12:56
Avatar for chickpea
posted about 5 years ago
I was 43 when I started my PhD and it definitely wasn't a barrier. I've been told repeatedly that my supervisors find it easier to supervise someone with a lot of work experience, although I suppose supervisors and departments differ in terms of what they're looking for.

To the original poster, I'd agree with others about getting someone to look over your application. It does sound as if you should have been more successful by now, since you got an excellent result in your Masters and have publications.
posted
01-May-15, 16:05
edited about 23 seconds later
Avatar for Mathcomp
posted about 5 years ago
Do you personally contact the prospective supervisors to have their confirmation and support before you formally apply?
posted
01-May-15, 16:13
edited about 8 seconds later
by Eds
Avatar for Eds
posted about 5 years ago
That's the usual way of things, discussion with a potential supervisor as to the merits of one's research proposal prior to application. Quite possibly the OP is under the mistaken impression that one is automatically accepted into a PhD due to qualifications, rather than to the contribution it would make. I would be interested to hear more regarding the masters-level publications too; it is also possible that they do not carry as much weight as the OP believes (e.g., self-published, non-PR perhaps?)
posted
01-May-15, 16:22
edited about 1 second later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From Eds:
That's the usual way of things, discussion with a potential supervisor as to the merits of one's research proposal prior to application. Quite possibly the OP is under the mistaken impression that one is automatically accepted into a PhD due to qualifications, rather than to the contribution it would make. I would be interested to hear more regarding the masters-level publications too; it is also possible that they do not carry as much weight as the OP believes (e.g., self-published, non-PR perhaps?)


We are talking about PhD programs here, not about advertised projects from a specific professor or group leader. They usually advice you to NOT contact any group leader before you get accepted. I applied to several such programs in the last weeks. It is always the same. If you are a short listed candidate, they invite you to an interview (sometimes 3-5 days, includes also discussions with group leaders) and if you are then accepted, you can talk with the researchers that are part of the program (Usually many groups in completely different fields) about a potential topic and of course if this would fit.
posted
01-May-15, 16:27
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for sempronius
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From Dunham:
[quote]
...they say that you should preferably be under the age of 30...


Dunham, I am really sorry to hear that you've encountered that. Are you applying in the UK / EU? Age Discrimination over Ph.D. application - I would have HOPED - would surely be against the rules(?).

Very best of luck with your application process!
posted
01-May-15, 17:24
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 5 years ago
I don't think age is a barrier in the UK. Having said, most science students that I know are 22-35 when they start their PhD.
posted
01-May-15, 19:28
Avatar for marcellohendrix
posted about 5 years ago
Thank you Guys for your suggestions!
I'll be 28 year old on the next 8th of June and I graduated (BSc) in Biology in 2011 in Italy. After that I spent one year in New Zealand, working and living there, since I decided to come back in Italy to get a MSc in Reproductive Biotechnologies. I concluded my MSc last October and I have been already working in three different IVF labs for one year. I thought that maybe many PhD positions are already assigned and Uni's advertise them just because they have to. This should be a shame! Many of them just replied: "In view of the large number of applications (1000+) we regret to inform you that we are unable to pursue your application further." Could this be a serious motivation to be excluded?!?!?! For me it has no scientifical evidence...
posted
02-May-15, 10:03
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 5 years ago
I guess it's the places and type of PhDs you are applying for. I know PhDs at my (very good) university often have 0-10 applicants.

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