I’ve applied for a PhD scholarship. In so many ways it ticks the right boxes for me. It is in an area which I am particularly passionate and interested: mental health, young people and technology and is with a highly recommended and accomplished supervisor.

As I didn’t do honours and my masters was course-based, the university department has requested I submit more information detailing my research experience and skills so that they can argue I am suited to the PhD (and will get a return on the investment, which seems very reasonable).

So I’ve been spending the last few days thinking about what to include in this document. Some things are no-brainers – such as the literature reviews I have undertaken on numerous work and university subjects. However, I worry that my relative inexperience in statistical analysis will be a barrier the university won’t see past.

Apart from concrete examples, how do I convey more esoteric qualities that may  make me a suitable candidate: determination, curiosity, communication skills, passion, not to mention willingness to learn? I wonder are these qualities taken into account in the application process (at least as much as stats ability, which are much more easy to acquire).

Preparing this document means putting aside my self-deprecating nature and acknowledging and celebrating the skills and experience I have acquired. This is hard. But I can’t help thinking this is an important lesson I need to learn before continuing on this journey.

Meanwhile I have been quite humbled at a number of amazing academics being willing to act as my referee. If they believe in me, perhaps I should believe in me too…


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