I like working in research. It is usually the last area hit when the economy goes down (like right now) and deadlines are not something that vacation gets cancelled over. (One of the big reasons I had no problems leaving my last job.) To advance in research I do I have two choices: I can spend a few years working for advancement or I can work for a few years on a PhD for advancement. Even with the stigma of being a perpetual student I have decided to go with the PhD since that is easier to transfer to a new job than proving the same years of job experience.
I went with the same plan as when we applied for our Masters degrees. I call it the shotgun approach; fire off a bunch of applications and take the best one that sticks. Of course this means filling out a lot of applications and writing a lot of papers. I spent November and December doing just that, and is the reason why I fell behind on writing entries for this website. It also means having some really good professors who agree to be references. When applying for my Masters I just dropped off a bunch of self-addressed stamped envelopes and the professors just had to drop them in the mail. Now every school has a web form and apparently they are all different. I felt bad for putting them through it but made my conscious feel better by sending them our homemade carmel and fudge at Christmas. The most annoying part is trying to figure out where to send extra paperwork like grades and GRE scores. Anyone that thinks that universities have become an industry only needs to look at the application process. I spent on average about an hour or two search each university for their address to send papers to. (None had a phone number to call.)
So the outcome. Well, I don’t know. I am in the fun waiting stage right now. So far I have been accepted by the place with the earliest deadline, but I have not heard about funding yet. I have also heard back from another school that has funding but not sure if they can offer it to someone outside the country. (Yep, that is right I applied to a few schools in other countries. I figure I might as well try to see if someone will pay for me to live abroad for a few years. Why should I be the one paying for all my traveling.)