*I am still in the process of applying to graduate school. As follows is information on how I am handling this process, but until I actually am accepted into a PhD program all of this is more of a journal entry than a guide. I am NOT an admissions expert for graduate school, just sharing my experience!!*
Yes, I use all the planners I make and post online. Some I use once or twice, some more often than that. This graduate school application planner has been a beautiful example of one I use just about every day.
Thank GOD I made this planner, because it is actually really useful. Here is a little bit on how I have been using this planner thus far, and how it has helped with my graduate school admissions process.
Here it is! Take a look and keep on reading!
The meeting notes page is easily the page I have used the most. During calls with potential advisors I dont want to leave anything behind or forget to mention something. It is ALWAYS a good idea to have your questions prepared ahead of time.
I have a nice little page of general questions that apply to all advisors and programs, which I add to all the time. For a specific call, I take the time to read the professors latest literature, their blog (if they have one) and any emails we have exchanged in correspondence.
There is a summary page for a short description of six graduate programs. I have greatly benefited from this format because it has forced me to boil my options down to only a few schools. The whole contact process for professors and programs is very time consuming, and I only contact those professors who I am VERY enthusiastic about and could potentially see a future with.
Graduate school varies from undergrad in that many of the deadlines are different depending on the department you are applying to, and even the emphasis within the department. Because of this I have been keeping very close tabs on what exact department the professors are listed under, and if at a given school I will be applying to multiple departments.
By now I am sounding like a broken record, but I seriously get a LOT of use out of the “Potential Advisors” page in this planner. Here I summarize their key fields and important findings in the past years. When I am looking at their papers, I really focus on the conclusions and if they contain any suggestions for further research. When talking with advisors I like to bring up what they may have suggested in the paper and if this is in fact where they are heading with their research in the coming years.
In addition, I keep track of my correspondence with that specific professor. If that door is explicitly CLOSED (ex a professor wrote back to say he retired two weeks ago) I will take note of that as well. Even if I am unsure of whether a professor can take graduate students into their lab, I have still reached out. If that is in fact the case, most have been helpful in referring me to other professors or programs that might be of my interest.
Through all of this, I am DUBIOUSLY TAKING NOTES. If I cant carry around this binder whenever I am working on graduate school stuff, I sit down every couple of days to summarize what happened.
ALL of this planner has been incredibly useful. I am so excited for each potential graduate scenario sitting in front of me. I have absolutely no idea where I will be going, but at least I know I have a whole lot of information to make an informed decision when the time comes.
If you need some help getting all your graduate school shenanigans in order, the link is here. I promise you wont be dissapointed!