Read below for Erin’s description of our work together on her various applications over the years.
Erin is now working on her Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese linguistics.
Alex has helped me through several grueling application processes, and I have achieved great results with her help. First, while in my master’s program, she helped me gather and refine my materials to apply to both the Middlebury Summer Language Institute and to be a TA for a competitive study abroad position in my master’s program. Both of those applications were successful, in no small part due to her guidance.
After 4 years out of academia, I decided I wanted to go back to pursue my PhD. Alex helped elucidate the application process and make it accessible for me. She helped me to plan and organize by showing me how to set up a spreadsheet to keep track of requirements and deadlines for the programs to which I was applying. She helped me ask appropriate questions and research programs to narrow down my search. The process can normally be very opaque, and it’s understandable that sometimes people call it “the hidden curriculum.” For example, I did not know that it is all but mandatory to email professors whose work interests you during the graduate school application process.
Alex not only taught me that this was necessary, she showed me blueprints for appropriate communication and helped me revise my emails to professors and departments. Alex walked me through the personal statement/statement of purpose processes from the very beginning, listing everything I have ever done, all the way through submitting my final drafts. She helped me tease out important information to supply for the programs and to tailor the letters to their departments, which I also did not know I needed to do before her coaching. Alex also checked in with me often and helped me to approach the process in healthy way. She gave me strategies to help break down the enormous task into doable pieces, which made a big difference for me because I was teaching K-12 full time while I was applying to programs.
Alex gave me timely and workable feedback that helped me to connect the elements of my applications in a cohesive way. Even though Alex’s field is very different from my own, her knowledge of higher education was indispensable to my application process. “The hidden curriculum” would have remained hidden without her. Alex made me feel capable of getting into my top choice program, and I did, and I would not be here today without her guidance, coaching, and mentorship.