The process of applying to graduate programs of your choice can be arduous. Usually, the first step is to find programs and potential mentors/advisors in the program who are best suited for your research interests and career goals. Then, time and money are spent on applications, getting transcripts, GRE test scores and reports, and trips to universities for interviews (unless the university pays for your travel costs). Next, you have to confirm that your supervisors and professors can write strong recommendations for you to be accepted. You are also required to draft and edit your personal statements several times to fit each program and the professors you hope to work with. Then, you review all your application requirements and decision-making in minute detail. By this time, you feel exhausted and don’t want to look back at the number of hours of preparation, but it is part of the nail-biting season of graduate school application.
Your enthusiasm is increasing in getting all 4, 5…10 applications completed. Your level of confidence fluctuates…you’ve got research experience, competitive GPA and GRE scores. There is the panic: can you see really yourself living where the university is located? What about moving with family? Can your spouse or partner find a job or attend school during your years of study? Will the graduate program financially assist with paying for your tuition, health insurance, etc.? You did all you can…but then it starts pouring in: interview invitations, waitlisted as alternative, rejection from waitlist, rejection after interview or just utter rejections. After all your hard work, you got rejected. What will be your next move when your academic goals have been derailed?
It is a normal feeling of anxiety and disappointment when you are rejected after spending a long time preparing graduate school applications. During the preparation time, you imagined long term goals coming to fruition, such as, travelling the world doing research, having your own lab, writing books, being a tenured professor, publishing numerous articles for academic journals, mentoring students, serving as an expert in a specific area or maybe giving back to community-based programs. Now, all your dreams are postponed. There is also the feeling of dread about what to tell your friends, family and mentors that you did not get accepted in any programs especially when everyone believed that you have what it takes to be successful in graduate school....