In fall 2014 I applied to well over a dozen PhD programs. I was struck by the difficulty of genres like the statement of purpose, about which there existed almost no resources. My mentors in my master’s program were incredible helpful, and I wanted to share the advice they gave me as well as the examples of statements of purpose that helped me get into various PhD programs. The result was this article on the “dreaded” statement of purpose I put together in 2015, a month into my PhD program.
This has consistently been my most viewed post on my personal website (and probably has more views than anything I’ve ever published…). Over the years, the article has sent a lot of people my way to ask questions about applying to graduate school. I recently spoke with Alessia Zuccarelli, one such person, and subsequently chatted on her podcast London & Newcastle about (post)graduate studies. Alessia is a student in Ireland applying to U.S. PhD programs, so much of what I have to say is specific to the U.S. contexts, which differ rather a lot from UK, Australian, and European PhDs.
So if you’d like to hear some more recent advice based on my experience the past 5 years, it’s worth checking out below or on SoundCloud. I also discuss academia generally, the job market, and “alt-ac” career options quite a lot on Twitter. If you have a specific question, please hit me up on Twitter or here.