5 things to do before applying to a Ph.D. program

Few academic decisions are as momentous as selecting where to pursue your Ph.D. degree. In fact, I would argue that deciding where to get your Ph.D. is more influential for your academic and professional career than the decision regarding your undergraduate institution. Yet, I’m constantly surprised that more prospective Ph.D. students don’t do better homework before jumping in to a Ph.D. program. In today’s post, I share 5 things to do before applying to a Ph.D. program.

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Applying for a Ph.D. program can easily be a five to seven year commitment. The quality and prestige of your program will also determine your career options and opportunities after graduation.  Moreover, even your chances of graduation can be influenced by your choice of program.

As a result, you need to do your due diligence before committing to a program. In fact, I would suggest you need to do work before even applying to a program. Specifically, I recommend you do the following 5 things before applying to a Ph.D. Program.

How to choose the right doc program in higher ed

I meet with a number of master’s students and prospective doctoral students considering getting their doctorate in higher education. There are many programs out there that offer various types of Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees. I’ve previously discussed the difference between an Ed.D. and Ph.D. In today’s post, I want to share some things to consider in how to choose the right doc program in higher ed.

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Higher education doctoral programs are different from other disciplines because many students have never formally studied higher education. As a result, I believe students struggle in comparing programs and deciding what kinds of programs might be the best fit.

Four qualities of a great research assistant

One of the greatest assets for a faculty member engaged in scholarship is a great research assistant.  Over the years, I have had great ones, so-so ones, and some that were down right terrible.  During the past two years, I’ve been blessed to have a great one.  She has helped push my work and made me more productive with my writing.  Molly graduated this past weekend with her M.Ed. and I’m thrilled she is staying on for her Ph.D. in the fall.  I’ve been thinking about what has made Molly such a good research assistant and in today’s post will share the qualities of a great research assistant.

I daresay that if you find a productive researcher then you will find an outstanding research assistant (or even assistants).

The past two years have been among the most productive for my scholarship in the last decade.  It is no coincidence that I’ve had a great research assistant during that time.

How to write an academic CV

One of the questions I often get asked by graduate students or higher education professionals looking to move in academic circles is how to write a curriculum vitae or CV for short.  Curriculum vitae is Latin for “the course of my life” and your CV should should provide a description of the basic blocks of your academic life.  Of course, every field and discipline has slightly different expectations and norms for how CVs should look.  However, in today’s post, I will share the basics of how to write an academic CV that should largely work regardless of your specific field.

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There is no single convention or style that you should use on a CV.  You should, however, remember a couple of rules of thumb.

Four Strategies to Figure out Tenure Expectations

Tis the season for faculty job searches.  In programs across the country, doctoral students are furiously sending out application materials and preparing job talks.  During the process, one question inevitably comes up and rarely gets a clear or direct answer.  “What are your institution’s expectations for tenure?”  Whether as a job candidate or as a new assistant professor, the lack of clarity around tenure expectations can be a source of constant frustration.  In today’s post, I want to provide four strategies to figure out tenure expectations for your institution.

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