Hopelessly Hopefully

I have been in the process of applying to Data Science PhD programs for about a year now.

Unfortunately, I keep getting rejected from programs I felt highly confident in. I have a pretty solid idea of what I want to do for research, the professional path I would like to persue, and im working in a potential publication, have a high GPA, worked on many related projects, contacted and mentioned names of potential supervisors in my SOP. I feel at a loss and I finish my Master’s in Business Analytics and Data Sciences next month. Any advice on what I can do to secure admission?
Any help would be appreciated! Thank you

@Ty_Albs175 I am in a hurry right now but I will write a couple of words because I know what it is like to feel lost in this field with no feedback about what is really happening.

First question: Have you tried to ask for the programs you were rejected for feedback about what you can improve for your next application? Some of them will tell you nothing useful or maybe say nothing at all. But I had one that replied I mentioned only one of their faculty and that raised the question of “What would happen if that person I mentioned was not available?”. When they told me that I realized I should find a balance between the faculty specialties and the whole program.

Second: Do you have access to review papers about the topics you are interested in? I don’t have any answers for that strategy because I am about to apply at the end of this year using this strategy in a fuller way but I believe this would be a great way to show that you know you live in a real world where your research will help someone do something rather than being some kind of zealot that will entrench yourself in a basement and never leave from there.

As I said, I will think more about this and see if I can come up with other ideas.

I’m back and I thought about other questions:

Third: Do you have any work experience? I do not know about your program but the programs in my field (Organizational Development) that is not only valued but mostly required. Even for Ph.D. programs because in Organizational Development I will interact with other companies so I need to have some idea about how is their reality. Maybe this could be your case. In addition to talking with possible supervisors, I would recommend you reach out to a couple of students from the program you are applying to. That would help not only to have more information about the organizational culture of the program but also double check if the working experience is something to be worried about.

Forth: I do not know the reality of your field but most of the faculty from the programs I watched some kind of online presentation reinforce that research interests change along the program. So when you wrote that you have a pretty solid idea of what you want to do for research, I asked myself if you are not coming too hard on that. I don’t know. If you think that is the case I would recommend you shift the focus on your personal statement from your research to the values of your field. As I said before, I have no measure of success with this approach because I am only following this strategy right now. And before trying to guess the values from your field, I would recommend you find papers about the state of the literature from your field. Look for special editions from the main journals in your field. Usually, they have a conceptual paper that serves as an introduction for that edition that presents a summary of the state of the literature up to that point.

For instance, Data Science is a trending topic for the past one or two decades. I would not be surprised if the industry is following some paths the Academia does not approve of or is reluctant because of the lack of studies about the topic. Presenting that may be a good way to show that you know your field and you know what you are talking about. That would be something I would value but take this with a grain of salt because I am still applying for a doctoral program and I have no records of success for that strategy so far.

So far, these are the topics I can think about off the top of my head. Do they make sense to you? I hope I have helped you somehow!!