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Am I delusional to think I can aim for a PhD and become a professor or researcher? Watch

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    Focus on getting into HE first.

    I might be completely off, but if you are romanticising the idea of completing a PhD without even undertaking an undergraduate degree, then it's very likely that you currently want a PhD for the wrong reasons. A PhD is a lot of hard work and commitment, and you will only be able to complete it if you both excel in your chosen area and also have a passion for it.

    My advice would be to buckle down and get into the best possible university for your undergrad. While completing your degree you will learn enough about your subject and post-graduate opportunities to know for sure if it is something that you want to pursue.

    Don't think that you're not good enough, you're still exceptionally young. I will admit that you can normally tell within a 5 minute conversation if someone is bright enough to complete a PhD and excel in academia, and that has very little to do with grades. Some of people with the best grades in my graduation class failed to get post-graduate offers because although they were avid students who worked hard for exams, they didn't actually have a real grasp or deep understanding of the subject. This is something that lecturers/professors pick up on very quickly.
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    (Original post by SophieSmall)
    But as it stands student finance only funds a bachelors (undergrad) degree and then up to £10k for postgraduate study.
    And up to £25k for PhDs from 2018/19

    Generally people fund their PhDs by either being very well off and being able to afford it or by being funded.
    Or partial funding and part-time work

    Or saving up the fees and part-time work
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    (Original post by FCB)
    Focus on getting into HE first.

    I might be completely off, but if you are romanticising the idea of completing a PhD without even undertaking an undergraduate degree, then it's very likely that you currently want a PhD for the wrong reasons. A PhD is a lot of hard work and commitment, and you will only be able to complete it if you both excel in your chosen area and also have a passion for it.

    My advice would be to buckle down and get into the best possible university for your undergrad. While completing your degree you will learn enough about your subject and post-graduate opportunities to know for sure if it is something that you want to pursue.

    Don't think that you're not good enough, you're still exceptionally young. I will admit that you can normally tell within a 5 minute conversation if someone is bright enough to complete a PhD and excel in academia, and that has very little to do with grades. Some of people with the best grades in my graduation class failed to get post-graduate offers because although they were avid students who worked hard for exams, they didn't actually have a real grasp or deep understanding of the subject. This is something that lecturers/professors pick up on very quickly.
    I do agree with this. Although, obviously you need to interact with the person when they're calm enough to hold a conversation; everyone has up and downs. It is true that aptitude knocks assiduity out of the water... !

    This doesn't mean anyone should waste precious life and soul energy worrying about this though - just do your thing and see where that takes you.

    NB. Sometimes an individual will not get a PhD place for a reason/ reasons other than lacking aptitude eg. internal politics, discrimination, nepotism, a misdirected application (applying with a topic to supervisors who feel they can't handle it well), financial factors (the univ. might not be confident you can pay it, and may even have someone else offering to pay 4 years fees up front (remember, in the UK they are now behaving as businesses), often English requirements trip people up (although this doesn't apply to OP; surprisingly an individual with non-native English could be refused not because their language proficiency isn't high enough but because their language test came from the 'wrong testing body' ), lack of places (all the people who could supervise you might just have their hand full and the univ. may fail to communicate this to you in your feedback), administrative incompetence (it happens: my father has fished outstanding PhD applications to him from candidates who have gone on to excel at doctoral level and later secure university posts out the the human resources office bin!! (He now receives all his applications directly and I can tell you he had a long waiting list!) (And, yes, this is all within 'top' universities.)

    For anyone who's had indications from a reliable source that they have what it takes to do a PhD - don't be discouraged after one, two or more failed applications! It may be for one of the reasons above.
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    (Original post by Wisefire)
    I've considered someday going for study in Germany where there aren't any degree fees, but I guess you'd need to be able to understand German.
    Not necessarily.

    However, you should not do a PhD if you are not being paid a salary (or stipend) to do so.

    Not only is working for free a terrible decision financially, it is an indication of how much your employer values you. If your goal is to get a permanent job in academia, whether someone is willing to employ you on a short term basis on a lower salary is a good indication of how realistic that goal is.

    If no one is willing to employ you as a PhD student then it is a good indication that no one will be willing to employ you as permanent research staff.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Not necessarily.

    However, you should not do a PhD if you are not being paid a salary (or stipend) to do so.

    Not only is working for free a terrible decision financially, it is an indication of how much your employer values you. If your goal is to get a permanent job in academia, whether someone is willing to employ you on a short term basis on a lower salary is a good indication of how realistic that goal is.

    If no one is willing to employ you as a PhD student then it is a good indication that no one will be willing to employ you as permanent research staff.
    Actually, it's completely normal to get the fees paid and work part-time to cover living costs. Plenty of people do this and go on to secure jobs in academia. If you're holding out for all costs covered you may be waiting a long time... (particularly outside of the nat sciences, engineering, and medical research). If you do this the worst that could happen is that you worked in a boring job for a few years whilst getting your PhD (I mean it could go worse than that but just for illustration's sake... )

    I'm surprised by how stern ppl's views are on PhDs. I mean, it's competitive and funding is hard get. It is, however, not impossible and if your have the right aptitudes and drive that puts you in a good position.
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    (Original post by Des_Lumières)
    Actually, it's completely normal to get the fees paid and work part-time to cover living costs. Plenty of people do this and go on to secure jobs in academia. If you're holding out for all costs covered you may be waiting a long time... (particularly outside of the nat sciences, engineering, and medical research). If you do this the worst that could happen is that you worked in a boring job for a few years whilst getting your PhD (I mean it could go worse than that but just for illustration's sake... )
    The worst that can happen is that you incur large direct financial costs, and opportunity costs of not earning in that time, in order to train for a job that you will not get. This is an enormous risk that very few people would consider acceptable in any other context.

    In particular I would be interested to see numbers - percentage of self-funders who receive a permanent academic job with a middle class salary, and percentage of funded students who receive the same.

    I'm surprised by how stern ppl's views are on PhDs. I mean, it's competitive and funding is hard get. It is, however, not impossible and if your have the right aptitudes and drive that puts you in a good position.
    If you have high aptitude and drive you will be competitive for funding. Where do you think funding for permanent staff comes from? It comes from the same places as PhD funding. If you fall at the easy hurdles what makes you think you'll sail over the difficult ones?
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    The worst that can happen is that you incur large direct financial costs, and opportunity costs of not earning in that time, in order to train for a job that you will not get. This is an enormous risk that very few people would consider acceptable in any other context.

    In particular I would be interested to see numbers - percentage of self-funders who receive a permanent academic job with a middle class salary, and percentage of funded students who receive the same.


    If you have high aptitude and drive you will be competitive for funding. Where do you think funding for permanent staff comes from? It comes from the same places as PhD funding. If you fall at the easy hurdles what makes you think you'll sail over the difficult ones?
    False: you simply wouldn't live outside of your means whilst studying.

    Although I do not have the numbers - who does? - I can say with logical assurance that self-funding should not cause undue problems at a later stage. Let's make this clear, by self-funding we mean paying you living costs (not your fees) whilst you work on your PhD. This is ok and should not limit you later when comes applying for you university posts. As I've said above in this thread, a superior factor in all of this is yuor publications record. Seek out collaborations and make your thesis the best it can be!

    One has to work with the reality; wiht PhD places that reality is currently that their a very few fully funded (fees + expenses) places (I'm talking about in the UK, hein) and working part-time offers a way to get around this problem.

    Hope this helps
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    (Original post by Des_Lumières)
    False: you simply wouldn't live outside of your means whilst studying.
    Huh? A cost exists regardless whether you can afford it. If you would have been 150k better off not doing a PhD, you are still out 150k even if you earned 200k in that time.

    Although I do not have the numbers - who does? - I can say with logical assurance that self-funding should not cause undue problems at a later stage.
    In and of itself, I agree. If a very strong student decided to self-fund for whatever reason, I do not believe it would put them at a disadvantage. However a very strong student would be very competitive for funding. It is like saying that going to a lower ranked university should not put you at a disadvantage provided you work hard and get a first - true as far as it goes, but the fact the students who go to lower ranked universities are not as good on average as those who go to higher ranked universities. Since an academic career is a gamble for anyone, not getting funding is a good early indication that your chances are low, an indication that you can use to guide your behaviour before you've lost too much time or money.

    One has to work with the reality; wiht PhD places that reality is currently that their a very few fully funded (fees + expenses) places
    And what I am saying is that this means very few people should do PhDs.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Huh? A cost exists regardless whether you can afford it. If you would have been 150k better off not doing a PhD, you are still out 150k even if you earned 200k in that time.


    In and of itself, I agree. If a very strong student decided to self-fund for whatever reason, I do not believe it would put them at a disadvantage. However a very strong student would be very competitive for funding. It is like saying that going to a lower ranked university should not put you at a disadvantage provided you work hard and get a first - true as far as it goes, but the fact the students who go to lower ranked universities are not as good on average as those who go to higher ranked universities. Since an academic career is a gamble for anyone, not getting funding is a good early indication that your chances are low, an indication that you can use to guide your behaviour before you've lost too much time or money.


    And what I am saying is that this means very few people should do PhDs.
    According to your logic about earnings, one could perpetually be loosing out on millions of pounds until the point that one begins to earn these kind of figures. Imagine the millions you could therefore consider yourself to 'be down' in your lifetime be adopting this outlook. It's a fairly unescapable, trapping view.

    I agree with what your observations about the relative difference in outlook at various institutions. I also agree with you that self-awareness is key at all times.

    That said, I personally do not take the current number of available PhD places to be an authoritative indication of the numbers of able and willing candidates there are for doctoral study. That has to be established otherwise. I prefer to form my overarching impressions not based on circumstances that may be resulting from underfunding of education and society, and the privatisation of universities... Consider that fact that society as a whole could benefit from a higher levels of education, thus promoting technology and culture.
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    (Original post by Des_Lumières)
    According to your logic about earnings, one could perpetually be loosing out on millions of pounds until the point that one begins to earn these kind of figures. Imagine the millions you could therefore consider yourself to 'be down' in your lifetime be adopting this outlook. It's a fairly unescapable, trapping view.
    Opportunity cost here means money that you could be earning right now but are choosing not to earn, not money you might earn in the future.

    If you have a job that is paying you 20k/year part time and your manager is willing to let you go full time and earn 40k/year, your opportunity cost over the course of an 8 year part time PhD is 20*8=160k.

    So the implicit cost of an unfunded PhD, even with fees paid and a secure part time job that is enough to cover your bills, is at least 160k in this situation.

    I agree with what your observations about the relative difference in outlook at various institutions. I also agree with you that self-awareness is key at all times.

    That said, I personally do not take the current number of available PhD places to be an authoritative indication of the numbers of able and willing candidates there are for doctoral study. That has to be established otherwise.
    The number of available PhD places on its own tells you that few people should do a PhD. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't do one - maybe very few others want to do PhDs, or maybe you are one of the best people who wants to do a PhD? But failure to secure PhD funding suggests that there are many better candidates, which suggests you aren't likely to be successful in the job hunt.

    I prefer to form my overarching impressions not based on circumstances that may be resulting from underfunding of education and society, and the privatisation of universities... Consider that fact that society as a whole could benefit from a higher levels of education, thus promoting technology and culture.
    These are political points that have nothing to do with what career choices an individual should make.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Opportunity cost here means money that you could be earning right now but are choosing not to earn, not money you might earn in the future.

    If you have a job that is paying you 20k/year part time and your manager is willing to let you go full time and earn 40k/year, your opportunity cost over the course of an 8 year part time PhD is 20*8=160k.

    So the implicit cost of an unfunded PhD, even with fees paid and a secure part time job that is enough to cover your bills, is at least 160k in this situation
    I don't think like this because I don't measure opportunity (or my life for that matter) in money...

    [/QUOTE] The number of available PhD places on its own tells you that few people should do a PhD. [/QUOTE]

    Where does the concept of 'should' come from here? The political points I made where in response to this kind of 'should-thinking', which goes:

    The situation is A
    Therefore B is true because it is present in situation A (despite the fact that others factors could exist in situation C, negating the value of B)
    Conclusion: If a feature is not represented in A it cannot ('should not' ) exist. Your limiting yourself to living and thinking perpetually within the confines of situation A here.

    I disagree with this and do not find the adoption of such axioms to be very helpful to me personally in navigating the world - I find this kind of dogma robs me of my creative thinking.

    Now, that is not say that everyone is able and willing to do a PhD. However, if one fulfils both of those criteria then a little persistance (especially given the adverse factors I have listed elsewhere in this thread) seems like a reasonable approach. Playing the odds in the probability game up to a point is no more ill-advised than applying for a range of jobs. Furthermore, doctoral study could help one to develop one's thinking, to network, collaborate, gain more understanding into oneself and the world, and may bear professional fruits immediately, at a later date, or imperceivably.
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    (Original post by Des_Lumières)
    I don't think like this because I don't measure opportunity (or my life for that matter) in money...
    Fine. Note that you are not the OP and most people are motivated at least in part by money. Furthermore many other important aspects of life depend on money at least in part (e.g. ability to have a family).

    Where does the concept of 'should' come from here?
    In my opinion. You may disagree but, again, if a necessary assumption for disagreement is "Money is no object." you will find few sympathisers.

    Now, that is not say that everyone is able and willing to do a PhD. However, if one fulfils both of those criteria then a little persistance (especially given the adverse factors I have listed elsewhere in this thread) seems like a reasonable approach. Playing the odds in the probability game up to a point is no more ill-advised than applying for a range of jobs. Furthermore, doctoral study could help one to develop one's thinking, to network, collaborate, gain more understanding into oneself and the world, and may bear professional fruits immediately, at a later date, or imperceivably.
    People should take the approach that is most likely to achieve their goals. If "Get a PhD." is a vital goal in and of itself, then one might not be phased by the problems I've raised. In that case fair enough. But the OP specifically wants to know about getting a permanent job as a researcher, for which a PhD is just a stepping stone. If the options are 5% chance of a permanent job as a researcher, or 80% chance of employment in a traditional profession like nursing, engineering, accountancy, then maybe the latter looks better. I certainly don't agree that any approach that has any risk is essentially the same as any other approach that has any risk, regardless of the magnitude of that risk - otherwise buying a lot of lottery tickets should be viewed as a valid career plan!
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    Fine. Note that you are not the OP and most people are motivated at least in part by money. Furthermore many other important aspects of life depend on money at least in part (e.g. ability to have a family).

    In my opinion. You may disagree but, again, if a necessary assumption for disagreement is "Money is no object." you will find few sympathisers.
    Yes, well I wouldn't carry it to that extreme. Nor would I torment myself over 'income lost' (hypothetical, lost income that is) whilst I was working on PhD. As long as mine and my future family's material needs are fulfilled in the present moment - with a greater degree of stability once I have a family as far as possible - I will personally be content with that.


    (Original post by Observatory)
    People should take the approach that is most likely to achieve their goals. If "Get a PhD." is a vital goal in and of itself, then one might not be phased by the problems I've raised. In that case fair enough. But the OP specifically wants to know about getting a permanent job as a researcher, for which a PhD is just a stepping stone.
    You generally cannot get a permanent job as a researcher without a PhD and so given OP's aspirations pursuing one may well be appropriate; tenure no longer exists in UK univs (and is is even being taken off many mid-career academics). Things to bear in mind. Anyway, I don't think we should speculate much more about OP's situation, not knowing endless things about his/her personal aptitudes.


    (Original post by Observatory)
    If the options are 5% chance of a permanent job as a researcher, or 80% chance of employment in a traditional profession like nursing, engineering, accountancy, then maybe the latter looks better. I certainly don't agree that any approach that has any risk is essentially the same as any other approach that has any risk, regardless of the magnitude of that risk - otherwise buying a lot of lottery tickets should be viewed as a valid career plan!
    I have been framing this in terms of risk/ benefit. I haveb't been saying that any risk= any risk. Rather, that there is an interplay of many factors to consider. Pretty similar to what you've been saying really - except that our political outlooks are clearly diverging a bit, which has been differently colouring the tone/ optimism present in our assessments.

    If you feel like sharing, I'd be curious to know, what was you doctoral thesis on?
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    (Original post by Des_Lumières)
    Yes, well I wouldn't carry it to that extreme. Nor would I torment myself over 'income lost' (hypothetical, lost income that is) whilst I was working on PhD. As long as mine and my future family's material needs are fulfilled in the present moment - with a greater degree of stability once I have a family as far as possible - I will personally be content with that.
    I haven't said anything about tormenting.

    I have said that if you forgo 20k per year for 8 years then your PhD has cost [at least] 160k. That is a fact. Now you may respond to that with, "My PhD was worth even more than that, so it was a good decision.", and I have not said that you shouldn't. But being completely unaware of this cost, intentionally or through ignorance, can well lead people to do PhDs they do not value at or above the actual cost.

    You generally cannot get a permanent job as a researcher without a PhD and so given OP's aspirations pursuing one may well be appropriate; tenure no longer exists in UK univs (and is is even being taken off many mid-career academics). Things to bear in mind. Anyway, I don't think we should speculate much more about OP's situation, not knowing endless things about his/ personal aptitudes.
    I am not speculating - this is what the OP has clearly stated. The value of a PhD, in the sense of the OP's goals, is in its providing qualifications required to get a permanent researcher job. So the value of the PhD is directly connected to the likelihood of getting a permanent research job thereafter.

    I have been framing this in terms of risk/ benefit. I haveb't been saying that any risk= any risk. Rather, that there is an interplay of many factors to consider. Pretty similar to what you've been saying really - except that our political outlooks are clearly diverging a bit, which has been differently colouring the tone/ optimism present in our assessments.
    I haven't made any political statement, or any statement that would give you grounds for guessing my political views. Optimism is great if it is well founded, or at least if nothing can be done mitigate any risks. Using optimism as a reason to ignore real costs and avoidable risk is an easy way to make yourself less happy, not more.
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    I haven't said anything about tormenting.

    I have said that if you forgo 20k per year for 8 years then your PhD has cost [at least] 160k. That is a fact. Now you may respond to that with, "My PhD was worth even more than that, so it was a good decision.", and I have not said that you shouldn't. But being completely unaware of this cost, intentionally or through ignorance, can well lead people to do PhDs they do not value at or above the actual cost.
    I agree, awareness of the cost and of other things involved is very important to have before embarking, and for success.

    Eight years is a long time to spend and around double the average; it would be unlikely anyone would get a fully-funded place for this long. There is usually a time limit on these things.

    (Original post by Observatory)
    I am not speculating - this is what the OP has clearly stated. The value of a PhD, in the sense of the OP's goals, is in its providing qualifications required to get a permanent researcher job. So the value of the PhD is directly connected to the likelihood of getting a permanent research job thereafter.
    No, I mean speculating about whether OP will fall into the category of people who don't benefit from doing a PhD.

    (Original post by Observatory)
    I haven't made any political statement, or any statement that would give you grounds for guessing my political views. Optimism is great if it is well founded, or at least if nothing can be done mitigate any risks. Using optimism as a reason to ignore real costs and avoidable risk is an easy way to make yourself less happy, not more.
    There came across as being an implicit political, philosophical outlook in what you've said - particularly when you were discussing the 'should doctrine'; that was highly political coloured. Of course, implicitly communicating things is almost always unavoidable...

    Good luck to OP in their future studies in phycology, where ever they make take them!
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    In things like PhD applications the thing which seems to matter most, from my limited vicarious knowledge, is just sticking at it and just developing a good level of knowledge and having a 2.1 or above at undergraduate level. Becoming a lecturer I imagine is very competitive though. But none of this would really take into consideration anything pre-degree anyway.
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    I'm a PhD student, and I've never felt more alone. You're working independently on research that's unique to you...it gets lonely.


    (Original post by Wisefire)
    Have you made many friends through remaining in university education for a very long time? How many years have you been at university now? I have many reasons for wanting to remain in education/be a student for as long as I'm able to, one being that I guess it'll just mean more people. I'd be likely to be far from alone if I stay in education for a long time.
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    (Original post by Des_Lumières)
    I'm surprised by how stern ppl's views are on PhDs. I mean, it's competitive and funding is hard get. It is, however, not impossible and if your have the right aptitudes and drive that puts you in a good position.
    This sub-forum is particularly pessimistic and can be unhelpful at times. A lot of regular members dish out poor advice everyday with a bizzarely satisfied tone, as if relishing the alleged impossibility of academia, and as a sort of therapeutic release. Several regulars have said they are pursuing a doctorate for it pays the bills - these people are not what we would call future superstars nor is it likely they will have any real impact in their fields. Take their advice with a pinch of salt (or not at all).

    Regarding your debate with Observatory, I often agree with his posts but he has a tendency to be a contrarian and to make brash statements for their rhetorical effect. In this instance I agree that, on average, failing to get a stipend is not a promising sign for a career in academia. There are nuances he is missing of course. For example, that the factor of luck is higher in PhD studentships where funding is offered before a student has finished their masters thesis (or even started their masters in the case of a 1+3). It is based more on potential than track record whereas jobs in academia are more appropriately balanced between the two and success does not revolve around a single thesis proposal. It is a much more thorough and comprehensive assessment of a candidate.

    Put simply, it's what you do during the PhD that matters most. Publications, conferences and networking are far and away more significant for your future career than whether you obtained funding. I'm partially funded (no stipend) and have noticed no difference between my fully self-funded colleagues and the fully funded ones. We all have the same record - 1st, prize, distinction, publication, etc. But not all of us are equal in networking ability and leveraging a job. Some of my fully funded colleagues are clueless on how important networking is, let alone how to go about it. You can, quite literally, have a job made for you under the wing of the right person. Academia is no different to any job in that regard.

    I will make a final point, and perhaps this is what Observatory was saying to some extent (albeit with a focus on pecuniary gain that is mostly absent from academia relative to other careers). The types of people who fail to get stipends tend to be the types of people who fail to break into academia. This is not to say that full funding is required for your CV as a prerequisite for academia, but that those who tend to understand netoworking and maximising application success and accumulating publications/talks, also tend to acquire full funding. In my case, I know it will make no difference if I have the stipend on my CV. Publications and networking secures jobs in academia, first and foremost.

    This is why generalising these sorts of topics is so fruitless. There are no figures, no statistics, huge exceptions to the rules, and no clear path to success. The only useful advice to the OP is: see how your undergrad goes.
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    (Original post by macromicro)
    Put simply, it's what you do during the PhD that matters most. Publications, conferences and networking are far and away more significant for your future career than whether you obtained funding. I'm partially funded (no stipend) and have noticed no difference between my fully self-funded colleagues and the fully funded ones. We all have the same record - 1st, prize, distinction, publication, etc. But not all of us are equal in networking ability and leveraging a job. Some of my fully funded colleagues are clueless on how important networking is, let alone how to go about it. You can, quite literally, have a job made for you under the wing of the right person. Academia is no different to any job in that regard.

    I will make a final point, and perhaps this is what Observatory was saying to some extent (albeit with a focus on pecuniary gain that is mostly absent from academia relative to other careers). The types of people who fail to get stipends tend to be the types of people who fail to break into academia. This is not to say that full funding is required for your CV as a prerequisite for academia, but that those who tend to understand netoworking and maximising application success and accumulating publications/talks, also tend to acquire full funding.
    This is what I am saying.

    I think pessimism is appropriate because most people approach academia with unjustified optimism.

    Academia feels safe because it is the only system many people have ever known. But academia is an organisation like any other that requires money to function (that does not mean that producing money is the purpose of academia - but it is a necessary component). Universities hire people who produce publications because publications produce funding. Just like a car showroom would expect you to sell cars to stay in the field, a university will expect you to produce research to stay in the field. This is true regardless whether you are working in the industry because you love money or because you love cars.

    What I am saying is that if, in your three or four years of undergraduate car salesman training, you do not succeed in selling many cars, you should not pay a car showroom for the privilege of working there with the plan to make up your losses by selling a really large number of cars in the future. People simply do not make decisions like this when it comes to any other career.

    I would like to draw attention to something you have said:

    We all have the same record - 1st, prize, distinction, publication, etc.
    Many people considering self-funding are doing so because they do not have this profile.
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    (Original post by macromicro)
    I will make a final point, and perhaps this is what Observatory was saying to some extent (albeit with a focus on pecuniary gain that is mostly absent from academia relative to other careers). The types of people who fail to get stipends tend to be the types of people who fail to break into academia. This is not to say that full funding is required for your CV as a prerequisite for academia, but that those who tend to understand netoworking and maximising application success and accumulating publications/talks, also tend to acquire full funding. In my case, I know it will make no difference if I have the stipend on my CV. Publications and networking secures jobs in academia, first and foremost.
    While this is true, if I am evaluating two very similar CVs for a postdoc job, and one had a funded PhD and one didn't, that could make the difference. But research quality is most important.

    (Original post by Observatory)
    This is what I am saying.

    I think pessimism is appropriate because most people approach academia with unjustified optimism.
    ...
    Many people considering self-funding are doing so because they do not have this profile.
    Exactly. You could even emphasize this more. Many people might not know whether they are brilliant or not (Dunning-Kruger effect), and what external funding does it say that someone else believes that you have potential. Without such independent verification, you could be fooling yourself into thinking you are better than you really are. Of course, external funding guarantees nothing...
 
 
 
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    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

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