Addressing "red flags" on your application: when, why, and how to do it.

@OpenAcademics @PhDVoice #AcademicChatter #AcademicTwitter #phdchat #gradschool #firstgen #nontraditionalstudent
"Red flags" on an application can include many different things, like less-than-stellar grades/exam scores, a disciplinary record, and many others.

My first piece of advice is to try to discern what red flags you *actually* have. Especially if you're prone to self-doubt and...
insecurities, please seek as much advice as you can, preferably from people in your field, to ask if the things you're concerned about are actually WORTH being concerned about. For example, if your GPA isn't perfect, but it's decently above the minimum cutoff for the program,...
it might not be worth addressing it in your SOP.

Now, why do you want to address red flags in your SOP? Like I mentioned before, maybe you don't want to; it's ultimately a personal decision, for any red flag(s) you may have. Of course, you don't want to needlessly highlight...
something that might end up decreasing your chances of admission, but on the other hand, especially if you have a good explanation for your "red flag," then you might not be given another opportunity to explain it if you don't explain it in the SOP. If you start explaining it...
in your SOP and the program has further questions, they might ask you more about it if you're invited for an interview; otherwise, they might dismiss your application without allowing you to explain anything.

My next piece of advice is probably a very common one: When...
addressing weaknesses or red flags in your application, try your best to be as "positive" about them as possible. Where possible, try to focus more on how you recovered/are recovering from your period of hardship, what you learned, etc. Be as diplomatic as possible, and try...
to keep the focus more on yourself and your own resilience and growth, as opposed to focusing on other people, institutions, and other external factors too much (again, only *if* it's possible for your situation!).

I also want to mention that some applications will have a...
separate section for you to add or type in supplemental info. If you'd like, you can address your "red flags" here instead of your SOP, or you can even add further/more detailed explanations in this supplemental section. Again, it's ultimately a personal choice, and some of...
these things are field-dependent, so try to ask someone in your field for advice, if you can!

Having "red flags" on your application is never fun, and it's even less fun talking about them, but for what it's worth, in my opinion, you would definitely want a program that is...
willing to consider you as a whole, as opposed to dismissing your application because of one or two less-than-ideal aspects. So again, I repeat the advice I've given in previous posts: apply widely! You'll be more likely to find your ideal program that way!

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A (hopefully) broad intro to arguably the most difficult part of the application

@OpenAcademics @PhDVoice @AcademicChatter #AcademicTwitter #phdchat #gradschool #firstgen #nontraditionalstudent
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@OpenAcademics @PhDVoice @AcademicChatter #AcademicTwitter #phdchat #gradschool #firstgen #nontraditional
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You received a reply to your initial enquiry email! Now what?

@OpenAcademics @PhDVoice @AcademicChatter #AcademicTwitter #phdchat #gradschool #firstgen #nontraditionalstudent
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As uncomfortable as it may be, this is, in most cases, an essential part of the application process.

@OpenAcademics @PhDVoice @AcademicChatter #AcademicTwitter #phdchat #gradschool #firstgen #nontraditional
The concept of cold-emailing prospective supervisors may seem strange, but I do recommend it, even for programs where it may not be 100% required.

From personal experience, the first email is the most intimidating, but it gets MUCH easier. You can do this!

First, look up the...
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