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Tips and Tricks

Weekly Roundup: October 19

October 19, 2012

In this week's roundup: Lots of tips on applying to grad school, and getting your grad school writing done.

Please leave a comment if you have feedback or additional stories that we missed. If you'd like us to include an article in the next roundup, email the link to

Future Grad Students

  • Gradhacker: Financing a Graduate School Education: 4 Important Questions
    "In the hubbub of graduate school program searching and applications, there’s one thing that should happen during your (early) considerations:  dropping the big F-Bomb- Finances."
  • Gradhacker: On the Art of Selecting a Graduate Program
    "After taking into account the costs of pursuing a graduate degree, you now move on to one of the most stressful parts of your graduate experience: deciding which program is right for you."
  • ivry twr: How Not to Apply for Grad School (a story from personal experience)
    "Reflecting on the school I chose for my masters degree, I think it would have been better if we had agreed to see other people. My grad school is a great school filled with great people and fantastic programs, it just wasn’t the right environment for me."
  • My Graduate School: Writing a Convincing Personal Statement
    "Most of those who have been through the process of applying to graduate school will agree — writing the personal statement was the most difficult and stressful part. Part of the problem for many is that they set out to write their personal statement without a clear set of guidelines for what to include, and with some uncertainty about exactly how it will be used in evaluating their application."
  • My Graduate School: When experience isn't the only thing that matters: Choosing between Junior & Senior graduate supervisors
    "If you are applying to a graduate program that requires a thesis supervisor for your Masters or Ph.D., it may seem like a good idea to choose one that is experienced, established and perhaps even renowned in their field of study"

Grad Student Life

  • Inside Higher Ed: Impostors, Performers, Professionals - I
    "We met at the University of Washington when we were both around 30. Steven was finishing up his undergraduate degree in English and Teagan was the assistant director of a writing center."
  • Online PhD Program: Top 100 Sites by and for Master's and PhD Candidates
    "Many grad students keep blogs about their work and lives as they go through school, and some universities and professors have even begun writing about their areas of expertise or the happenings in their laboratories. The sites listed below can all be inspirational or downright useful for current students or recently minted grads." (If you want to write your own SFU-based blog, see how to get your own SFU Wordpress site.)
  • Researcher Life: Research Fellowship Applications
    This posts minutes from a UK event but the ideas for writing a grant/fellowship application are solid, particularly the line, "This all takes time - John advised 3 months at the absolute minimum, but in reality to think 6-9 months ahead."

Writing and Research

  • PhD2Published: AcWriMo — Academic Writing Month
    "The idea hails from NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) an initiative designed to turn the whole of November into a month-long write-fest for current or would-be novelists. The idea is that you set yourself the task of writing 50 thousand words in November alone and bingo, you’ve got yourself a whole big chunk of novel!  In 2011 I decided academics should give something similar a go and, I can happily report, it went brilliantly!"
  • Markets at the Intersection: PhD writing up — the synopsis
    "The fact is, the prospect of writing 80,000 words, knowing that the whole of the thesis must be considered an original, worthwhile addition to research and that those 80,000 words will be scrutinised by a set of specialists in the area makes me feel… queasy. I am not alone in this, I know that – not that helps much anyway. ... Fortunately my supervisors came up with a good, positive idea: produce a thesis synthesis."
  • Thesis Whisperer: Why writing from day one is nuts
    "Things almost never work out exactly the way you thought in the beginning. If they do, then your research isn’t going beyond the obvious." (Lots of insights in the comments.)
  • Grad School Ninja: How to Make Your Reviewer Work for YOU
    "Getting reviews is generally a miserable experience. Whether from peer reviewers at an academic press or journal, helpful colleagues, or grad school supervisors it’s uncomfortable to see the thing you created critiqued."
  • Three Month Thesis: How to write a thesis you can defend easily
    "An unavoidable part of the thesis-writing process is that at some point an expert in the field is going to read and assess your work."
  • Google Scholar Blog: Cite from search results
    "Today we’re simplifying this process by adding the ability to copy-and-paste formatted citations from search results.  To copy a formatted citation, click on the “Cite” link below a search result and select from the available citation styles (currently MLA, APA, or Chicago)."
  • Chronicle of Higher Education: Mark It Up
    "I finally discovered the benefits of annotation only in graduate school. During the past six years of teaching literature and writing while working on my Ph.D. in English, I found that roughly half of my own students had no idea what annotation was, and most had no clue how to do it."

After Graduation

  • University Affairs: Relevance and Employability
    "There is a lot of talk about making academic research relevant and about the employment of PhDs. Unfortunately, most of this discussion happens at an abstract level with very little discussion of the specifics."
  • Inside Higher Education: The Teaching Track? Really?
    "I have some very strong feelings about the recent suggestions (both here in the States and in Canada) that higher education would be better off if there were two streams for faculty: research faculty and teaching faculty."


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