8 Stresses Of Applying To Grad School
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Student Life

8 Stresses Of Applying To Grad School

From applications and the GRE, to letters of recommendation and statements of purpose...

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8 Stresses Of Applying To Grad School
The Slate

So, I am a senior finishing up my undergraduate degree; I am also applying to graduate school, and it has definitely got me feeling a certain kind of way.

1. The Search

This is the first step for many people, having to narrow down the list of possibly hundreds of school to find the ones that have the programs you like, the speciality you want, and a location that you don't horribly dislike. I also narrowed down my list based on reputation, professors, and aid (the important things). This is grueling and involves copious hours online trying to figure out where your life is going. This is indeed the first stressful part about going to graduate school besides making the initial decision to go.

2. The Stress

I feel stressed constantly. On top of being a full-time student and working three jobs, I am also trying to fill out applications and take care of all the little things involved in applying to graduate school. I know could take a gap year or something and wait to try going to graduate school, but I would rather try and go now than put it off for another day.

3. The GRE


The GRE was awful; I say "was" because I already took it. It was long, like four hours of sitting there looking at a computer screen. I prepared all summer and took it before I got back to school for the year, and I still didn't feel prepared. Not only was it painful to take and study for, but it was also expensive! Not kidding, I decided not to take it again because I was fine with my score and in no way had to money to pay to take it again.

4. Letters of Recommendation

You would think that this would be the least of my worries but making sure that I get everything that those professors need to send to them with enough time for them to do it is actually kind of overwhelming. I also feel so annoying with asking them for all these letters and then making sure that they send the letters and know when the deadlines are. Maybe this is just my fear of being an inconvenience to others, but this actually stresses me out a lot.

5. Statements of Purpose

This one actually makes me have to sit down and figure out what I want out of graduate school, which is a good idea but still makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry at the prospect of me having no future or not understanding my purpose. I don't understand what they want from me at this point; I know they have a list of questions for me to answer about why I want to study this (history in my case), what I specifically want to study, who I want to study under, why I like that person, why I want to go to that school, etc.

6. Deadlines

These are simply stressful because they are always looming over your head and come way sooner than you ever think they will, even if you had started preparing to apply far in advance.

7. The Waiting

Waiting to hear back about applications, I haven't even finished applying yet, and I am already worrying about having to wait to hear back from the programs. The stress of waiting and possibly having to face the fact that maybe I won't get in is heavy and ever present.

8. Not Getting In

There is always the prospect of not even getting in, which can lead to the crises of worrying: what will I do with my life, what is my backup plan, do I even have a back up plan, why did I study underwater basket weaving, how does one find an apartment, what do you mean paying back my multitudes of loans back, what about my dreams and goals, etc. This train of thought might seem like it is less stressful than actually applying at points because then at least you don't have to wait to hear back.

But hey, at least I know I am not alone in these feelings, and now you know you aren't either! We shall get through this eventually. If at first you don't succeed or give up, you can always try, try again!

**I know I probably missed things and not all programs are alike, but these are the things that have been plaguing me the most with my first deadlines approaching on December 1st.**

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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