Posted by: thediygeochemist | January 10, 2009

Mistake #1, and my first success

My number one mistake in applying to grad school was being impatient.  It’s not like I didn’t have a good excuse: I was 36 at the time I made my decision, and I knew I would be past 40 when I finally finished grad school.  Therefore, the logical decision was to apply as soon as possible, right?


I made the final decision to further my education in April 2008 and intended to apply to schools for Fall 2009 admission.  However, 17  months preparation wasn’t enough in my case.  I’m not saying that I won’t  be admitted to a doctoral program for Fall 2009; I’m saying that, knowing what I do now, I think that waiting for a Fall 2010 admission would have been preferable.

Given the decision I made, I think I’ve played my cards about as well as I could.  But I think that, had I been willing to wait a year, my chances to do as I wished would have increased dramatically.  Once I’ve posted more of my history, you’ll understand why I say this.  In the mean time, take my word for it…

But back to my tale.  My first move, upon making my decision, was to register to take the GRE General test.  I knew that without a good GRE score, I really had no chance whatsoever at getting into a decent school, so I decided that my future actions would be based in large measure on how well I performed on the test.  And since I wanted to get into a decent school, I studied like crazy.

When I decide to do something, I usually give it my all.  My GRE study guides accompanied on three trips (one family vacation, two speaking engagements), two of which involved cross-country flights.  I carried my vocabulary flashcards everywhere.  Boy did I ever study!

My diligence paid off: less than six weeks after I registered for the GRE, I took the test…and pulled off relatively impressive scores.  All three of my scores were above the average, some considerably so, for chemistry grad school applicants.  For a brief time, I was on cloud nine.



  1. […] remember mistake #1? Wishing I’d not been so impatient to get into grad school? Well, here is one way in which […]

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