What to do while waiting

By Ellen Forsyth – MS in Professional Science: Biotechnology, American University

After the hustle and bustle of getting all your applications together submitted on-time, it seems like there’s nothing to do but wait for your fate to be determined by a panel of graduate admissions professors. As nerve racking as it is, there are some things that can lessen the worry. Here are a few of the things I have been doing to ease my mind while I wait for feedback on the PhD programs I have been applied for:

  1. Apply to jobs

I know this might sound pretty strait forward, but applying to jobs while you are waiting to hear from graduate programs gives you a back-up plan.  This will expedite the process of getting a job after you graduate so you are not left out in the dark if you don’t get in to your program. (Helpful tip: make your resume searchable if you can. It will help employers find you faster!)

Sense you are already looking at jobs, carefully look at the duties/qualifications sections. You can start to get a feel of the types of jobs available in your field. During this process you will most likely come across jobs that require the degree you are trying to pursue. Pay close attention to these job descriptions. They will give you an idea of what employers are looking for and what you can work on while you are in graduate school (i.e. specific techniques, leadership skills, etc). As always the job market is always changing, but knowing what is available is a good start to getting ahead of the competition.

2. Go to Interviews

If you are lucky, you will get invited for job interviews. These are, at the very least, good practice for your graduate school interview. You can prepare by going to the career center at your current school. They have tons of information about applying for jobs and what to do/ not do for interviews. (Helpful tip:  know the company who’s interviewing you and bring questions!)

3. Talk to professors

If you haven’t already, email some professors in the program you are applying for. Ask about their research or the program in general. The worst that can happen is that they never respond

4. Get a part time job.

If you don’t already have one, get a part time job. Something easy on the side to give you some cash your last semester in school.

Finally, reconnect with long lost roommates or friends. This will give you a chance to see what your peers are doing, and you might get some more ideas for post graduation activities too. They also might help you relax a bit and take your mind off your worries. You can also visit family and friends over the holidays and enjoy a drink or two (if your over 21). But most of all try and relax!