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Postgraduate applications (form-filling!)

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 3:53 pm
by parnassus
I'm applying for postgraduate courses now. I've decided to apply to all the ones that look interesting, based on proximity to Danni and the course duration. This will give me a little longer to think about which one I would like best - and it may be that the choice is made for me by the admissions people anyway.

The first deadline is 17th January, and as I have to collect references and sample essays by that time I need to start filling in the forms now. So I had a go this afternoon. Using the fancy online application system.

My learning difficulties mean that I cannot, for the life of me, manage forms. Over the course of the afternoon I have registered my date of birth as 1080, which was an accident (my dyscalculia isn't that bad) but I couldn't work out how to change it. Then I chose the wrong code for 'current institution' and registered myself as a student of a Chinese university specialising in technology and electronics. I started giving information about my (non-existent) previous degrees - and, after correcting this mistake, read that I would have to pay a £25 charge for each application that I make via the online system. I am using it to apply for two degrees (a diploma in theology and an MPhil in English literature) and can't afford to lose £50.

So I am going to have to apply on paper.

This means sixteen pages of form-filling. Handwriting. Getting things in the right boxes. I will have to ask one of my parents to do it for me.

This has made me pretty anxious and doleful. I know that my confusion with forms won't affect my ability to work towards a PhD, but it feels as though I'm having to take a very unnatural test before I can even be considered for a place. Then there are the applications I have to make to get the necessary funding - more complicated forms and things. It makes me want to cry. :cry:

Then, in the course information, I read that an oral examination is given to MPhil candidates. I nearly had a panic attack. I started to go dizzy and feel sick. I went and took a hot shower to calm down. I don't even know if I will get a place. It is silly to get anxious at the thought of a viva voce that may not even happen, but...the thought of having to make a coherent argument and defend my points with somebody whom I've never met gets me extremely nervous. My doctor and one of my supervisors have both remarked that I don't always give relevant answers when I'm speaking. I know what they mean. Writing is so much easier, as I'm alone with the text and don't have to focus on my tone of voice and my physical presentation (positive body language) and the reactions of the other person, which are sometimes unpredictable enough to cause me to lose my thoughts. How could I ever pass something that involves an oral exam?

I don't really know whether this should be in Blue Day Cafe or Study Support, but I will put in Study Support for the sake of being cheerful and practical. Ideas would be gratefully welcomed.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:59 pm
by M's Mum
Does the form need to be hand written, or could you scan it in & then type it? M's often done that using image editing software. If there are large blocks of text you can type it up in word or open office first to spellcheck & the cut & paste. Or could you fill the form in & ask someone to help you use it as the basis for applying online?

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:59 pm
by Steph
Could you not ask to be disapplied from the oral exam on account of your autistic spectrum disorder? I'm sure there must be some sort of rule that makes provision for people who would be unfairly disadvantaged by this sort of process. I'm sure they could make the same decision based on written work.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:27 pm
by Thirteen-thirty-seven
I agree with Steph.
If you have to have a face-to-face examination, would it be possible for you to take in a laptop and type your answers rather than speak them? Would that help?


PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:10 pm
by k9ruby
Awwww! * sends virtual chocolate*

My advice would be to get your parents to do it for you :)

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:04 pm
by C
Vicky, no offense but your post cheered me up a bit! I have just posted a topic about my struggles with the practical lab component of my course. From 3 - 6 today I had to sti there and attempt to do formulas and analyse data! In the end, my friend took over and did in two minutes what I had been trying to do for twenty! After the class I felt really down. In a way it's nice to know that other people have problems with these things too.

All jokes aside, I think Steph makes a good point. There must be something about discriminating against certain candidates.

I think asking your parents for help is a good idea. And congratulations on applying for a postgraduate course by the way. Best of luck xxx

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2007 7:37 pm
by Cartouche
Best of luck with it, future postgrad!*

I agree with the advice here...there ought to be some way-round for those who have trouble with oral examinations.

* = Even if you are 927 years old proud graduate of Guangxiou Technical College.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 2:42 pm
by Thirteen-thirty-seven
We've already btalked about this on the phone, but congratulations again for making a decision. Choices are hard.

I wish you all the luck in the world. I know you can do it.

P.S My great-aunt did a PhD in archaeology when she was in her 60s. You have plenty of time.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2007 8:37 pm
by Spoon girl
I'm glad you found a course that suits you vicky. congradulations!

I'll still post my advice on oral examinations just in case it's relevant to anyone else:

If someone is deaf then they would be given a sign language interpretor. If this form of provision is available then an alternative should be provided for people with other disabilities even if it requires a little prompting or education from the applicant about their disability.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 1:45 pm
by C
That's great Vicky, really pleased for you and I'm sure you'll be brilliant :D

Did you read my post about the stats element? I'm sure you'll cope fine xxx

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 2:37 pm
by parnassus
C wrote:That's great Vicky, really pleased for you and I'm sure you'll be brilliant :D

Did you read my post about the stats element? I'm sure you'll cope fine xxx

Yes, I did. Thank you for the reassurance. :) I have persuaded my friend at Cambridge to teach me some stats well in advance, so I will have a head start. He's not the most patient of individuals where maths is concerned, largely thanks to fanatical perfectionism (he has AS and OCD) but he is very good at the subject.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 3:30 pm
by Cartouche
Many congratulations Vicky! :)

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 10:18 pm
by Thirteen-thirty-seven
I'm glad your friend is going to help you. :)