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Category Archives: Graduate school
Choosing a graduate program and advisor: avoid vampires
A vampire professor will suck you dry. They will rob you of your life essences. Exactly which essence they will remove might vary with professor. Some will suck away all your time. Such a professor will notice when you arrive … Continue reading
Posted in Graduate school 1 Comment
Grant review: best proposal or most needy scientist?
In a few short hours I read nine proposals from graduate students interested in funding for their research. Because this was a focused call, they were largely similar. They all involved field work, natural history, and queries into the relationship … Continue reading
Posted in Awards and prizes, Graduate school, Grant proposals, Grants, NSF Tagged democracy, grants, judging 3 Comments
Interviewing students the Oxford way
You made it! You have an interview at the top university in the world! You will meet in person with several professors or other academic staff from two or three of the colleges. One of them might be the cloistered … Continue reading
Posted in Graduate school, Interviewing Tagged Interview, Oxford, problem solving, tutor 4 Comments
Are rotations really worth it?
I think a rotation is kind of like a trial marriage, without the most fun bits. Or maybe because of that, and the power relationships, a trial adoption is more like it. Some students start graduate school really certain of … Continue reading
Posted in Graduate school, Your lab group Tagged lab culture, Research, rotation, techniques Leave a comment
Here’s why you should waive access to your letters of recommendation
Applying to graduate school or medical school is a complicated business. One important part of it is getting great letters of recommendation. It is too late this year to establish the relationships that form the basis of solid letters based … Continue reading
Posted in Graduate school, Undergraduates Tagged letters of reference, recommendations, references, waiving access 2 Comments
Remember the theory of mind when communicating officially with graduate students
Yesterday I got the following letter from the associate dean of our graduate program, here copied in its entirety: According to our records, Sewall Wright (or someone else) will begin his 7th year of graduate studies on July 1. Length … Continue reading
Posted in Graduate school, Managing an academic career Tagged length to degree, Ph.D., prelims Leave a comment
Exactly how independent should your research be?
The significance of a Ph.D. degree is that you can do much more than excellent research. You can also think of what questions to ask. You know how to push at the most important unknowns. You can read the literature … Continue reading
Posted in Graduate school, New ideas, Postdocs, Undergraduates Tagged experimental design, independence, Ph.D., Research, scientific literature, techniques Leave a comment
Choosing a graduate program: only three things matter
It is that wonderful time of year when you have heard where you have been accepted. You will be told about the hundreds of advantages of the program that is trying to recruit you. Your offer letters most likely have … Continue reading
Posted in Graduate school, Undergraduates Tagged Debt, graduate program, Graduate school 3 Comments
Make sure your prospective Ph.D. adviser is taking students!!!
Grad school applications are very different from applying to college. It is nearly always the case that in ecology and evolution, you only get admitted if there is an adviser who will take you. This is true even if there … Continue reading
Posted in Graduate school Tagged grad school, professors, Research, rotation, students 1 Comment