THINGS TO ASK YOURSELF
What is the extent of my knowledge in my chosen field? What courses have I taken? What research have I done? What seminars have I attended? What books have I read? What work/internship experience do I have? How are my research and composition skills? What other experience do I have (e.g., volunteer activities, computer skills, extracurricular, peer advising and tutoring)? Do I meet the prerequisites of the program(s)?
With answers to these questions you can evaluate what sort of candidate you are.
Talking to faculty in appropriate departments at Wesleyan will prove insightful, if not critical, to choosing wisely.
In this process of narrowing your choices, there are several things to look for. You may want to contact the department chairs or deans of the various programs to which you are applying for more information on faculty. Try to find out such things as:
- How active is the faculty in research?
- How do current students view the program?
- What is the basic departmental philosophy, orientation or thrust?
- Look at the available resources. What financial support is offered, both internal and external? How accessible are the library, laboratory, computer facilities?
- Find out basic information about the program itself: its purposes, courses, job placement, advisement of students, student-faculty ratios, intern/assistantship opportunities and degree requirements.
- Pay special attention to foreign language requirements. Some Ph.D. programs require some level of competence in a foreign language.
You will probably be exhausted at the end of this process, but you will probably also know where you are applying and where you most want to go.
If possible, visiting schools is a good idea before you begin narrowing your focus. Talk to faculty and students. See facilities. Get a feel for the program and try to picture yourself in that environment. Often the feel you will get for a place is instrumental in decision-making.