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What applying to doctoral school is actually like:

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

For every school (yes all of them), you will enter your name, email address, physical address, phone, writing samples, letters of recommendation, and transcripts. For most schools, there is no way to import this information from another application, so you will need to re-type it every time.


Once you have done this, each school will then, usually, want something degree specific that is called a portfolio, such as scores of musical compositions, videos of recitals, photographs or videos of paintings and sculptures, creative writing essays, etc.


But the most interesting part is a "statement of purpose," which is a document to describe why you want to go to the school. Part of this always seemed redundant to me; you want to go to school, especially at the graduate level, because you want the specialized knowledge. I later found out that this is actually asking you why you should go to their school instead of someone else's, and what qualities you specifically posses that are unique to you that merit you admittance into the institution.


You will see this a lot: "We are not accepting you at this time, and we cannot answer specific questions from every applicant regarding their situation." It will frustrate you. I wish you luck. I am still trying, and may need to apply to even more schools.


Edit: As of 10/04/2021, I will be applying to more schools. Of the original set to which I applied, all but one replied "we are not accepting you at this time, and we are not answering questions as to reasoning," or some other version of this. The last school has not completed out the application. Though the semester started in August, the application still reads "waiting on departmental review". This is even one of the schools that liked me enough to interview me. I have emailed their music admissions' office and the professors who conducted the interview. None have replied. This means that while I have not received an acceptance letter, I have also not received a rejection notification. I am unsure where this will lead.

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