Going from MEd->PhD!

By Chelsea Smith

Wait….what? It’s hard to believe that one year ago I was anxiously submitting applications for PhD programs. This just so happens to be the same time I was finishing up my first semester of my second [final] year of my masters program. I remember vividly about a year before, only about 2 months into my program, I reached out to my mentor and told her I wanted to get my PhD next. She told me to slow down, it hadn’t even been 60 days yet, but somehow I just knew. Fast forward to now, I am almost done with my first semester as a PhD student…


I made that sound so easy, right? Truth is, it was far from that. I am just fortunate to have such a wonderful village and an authentic, and genuine love of academia.  


So how did I make the decision to straight from my M.Ed. to my Ph.D? What steps did I take?


First, I made the commitment early on and truth be told it is certainly a commitment. I also knew I was interested in the faculty/scholarship route so I tailored my experience in my masters program for that. I sought out opportunities for research and networked with those in the field that had similar research interests as me. Attending ASHE last Fall also sealed the deal for me. I was amongst some of the biggest names in higher education, but they are regular people and lo and behold they actually had an interest in me.


The Application Process


In all honesty I didn’t have the best GRE score, which I know is what most people worry about , but I did what I could to get to where I wanted to be. I would say just do your best to prepare for the test, and follow the test taking strategies that are out there. With my grades, I just focused on doing well in my masters program. While you definitely need at 3.0 at minimum, but preferably higher because that’s one of the unwritten rules, you don’t need a 4.0 nor do you need a perfect GRE scores. Showing you are an academically competitive student is enough, and that comes in many forms. But in regards to other parts of the application process DO EVERYTHING EARLY, do not wait until November 25th to start turning everything in, life happens so make sure you cover yourself. Also, make sure you have strong recommendations and double check to see if you submitted everything that was required. Don’t be afraid to call the admissions office.


You’re here…now what?


I AM here! And while it’s tough…I love it. I love what I do, I love my work and I have the BEST advisor there is. Like I said, it is tough, some days I feel like the reading will never end, and my fingers will fall off from all the typing, and hypothesis testing, what does that even mean? BUT I know this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I try to take care of myself and seek out the many resources that are available to me to make this journey a success!

If you have questions please feel free to reach out and follow me on twitter at sea_likedaocean for real time updates of my PhD journey.-Future Dr. Smith

HEA’s Doctoral Liaison for the 2018-2019 school year. Chelsea just completed her masters at Iowa State and is now pursuing a PhD here at North Carolina State University.