From itsolivia “I have finally been thinking about grad school. How does one start feeling confident before applying? Is confidence the key sign to finally get off my butt and applying? Help me, Mr. Blake.”
The way to feel confident about applying is the same way to feel confident about doing anything: lather, rinse, repeat. Don’t just apply to one place – and don’t freak out at the prospect of not getting your first choice the first time out. If you’re dead set on one place, be willing to contemplate re-applying if it doesn’t work out right away. Many of the students I talk to look at waiting a year like it’s the end of the world, when in fact they could put that time to good use marshalling their financial resources and preparing themselves for what is a serious commitment. On the other hand, I would also say be willing to be surprised by a program that you may not have thought about right away: they may have better access to what you really need than the first place that comes to mind.
Confidence isn’t the key sign – and you shouldn’t wait for it in order to apply: it’s like waiting to be “inspired” to work. You get more work done by making work into a regular part of your day – so researching schools, making plans and writing essays should become a regular part of your day, and then when the deadlines come, it’s not a nail biter. Don’t worry about what the place is “looking for” either. Just try to give an accurate picture of who you are and what you’re like. Finally, have fun with it. I think it’s groovy that you’re thinking about it.
It’s still March!
You can still ask!