Anyone else worried about lack of awards?

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Cookiezi
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I'm applying for PhDs this admissions' cycle and getting quite nervous seeing how many academic awards the people at top Unis have. I technically ranked second in my cohort in 3rd year but didn't get any award because only the top student each year gets one. I've done some research and noticed that other Unis, e.g. Oxford or Imperial, are much more lenient with regards to awards, giving out many more to each year group. Some departments at Imperial even give out a Dean's list award to the top 10% of students (which would correspond to ~25 awards in my year group). On the other hand hardly any of those people had any published papers from their undergrad, while I currently have 3 papers, either submitted or still in preparation, so I refuse to believe I'm any less qualified because I lack awards.
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QuentinM
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(Original post by Cookiezi)
I'm applying for PhDs this admissions' cycle and getting quite nervous seeing how many academic awards the people at top Unis have. I technically ranked second in my cohort in 3rd year but didn't get any award because only the top student each year gets one. I've done some research and noticed that other Unis, e.g. Oxford or Imperial, are much more lenient with regards to awards, giving out many more to each year group. Some departments at Imperial even give out a Dean's list award to the top 10% of students (which would correspond to ~25 awards in my year group). On the other hand hardly any of those people had any published papers from their undergrad, while I currently have 3 papers, either submitted or still in preparation, so I refuse to believe I'm any less qualified because I lack awards.
I'm a bit confused about what you are asking about (probably more me being stupid than anything you said)

Are you saying you are concerned that you didn't receive any awards during your bachelors for, say, having the best results in a particular module or something like that? And you are worried this will affect your chances of getting a PhD?

I've just started a PhD, don't think I was every really close to getting any awards on my Bachelors and there were no opportunities on my Masters iirc. Whilst it can be a nice thing to have, its by no means a requirement, or something that will be taken that seriously, for several reasons, including what I think you are concerned about (that its not exactly uniform between universities, and people won't know the in's and outs of each universities system).

Other things stand out far more. Like your experience in work relevant to PhD's you are applying for, and how you can sell this in your application-arguably it was only this that led to me getting the PhD I'm on (I was working in the lab of my now 2nd supervisor during my application which couldn't hurt).

You should be proud of finishing 2nd best in your cohort in 3rd year, clearly a testament to your hard work (and better than I ever did), but I would focus on really pushing other things in your application, like experience, which are in my mind far more important for this kind of application

TL;DR-yeah try not to worry, experience and how you sell it is more important than awards you win
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Cookiezi
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(Original post by QuentinM)
I'm a bit confused about what you are asking about (probably more me being stupid than anything you said)

Are you saying you are concerned that you didn't receive any awards during your bachelors for, say, having the best results in a particular module or something like that? And you are worried this will affect your chances of getting a PhD?

I've just started a PhD, don't think I was every really close to getting any awards on my Bachelors and there were no opportunities on my Masters iirc. Whilst it can be a nice thing to have, its by no means a requirement, or something that will be taken that seriously, for several reasons, including what I think you are concerned about (that its not exactly uniform between universities, and people won't know the in's and outs of each universities system).

Other things stand out far more. Like your experience in work relevant to PhD's you are applying for, and how you can sell this in your application-arguably it was only this that led to me getting the PhD I'm on (I was working in the lab of my now 2nd supervisor during my application which couldn't hurt).

You should be proud of finishing 2nd best in your cohort in 3rd year, clearly a testament to your hard work (and better than I ever did), but I would focus on really pushing other things in your application, like experience, which are in my mind far more important for this kind of application

TL;DR-yeah try not to worry, experience and how you sell it is more important than awards you win
I don't know how exactly applicants to PhD programmes are ranked. I believe there isn't a strict rule that applies to every university, especially since supervisors themselves must apply for any available grants or scholarships on behalf of the students that are applying. I've not seen the criteria used by say the research council when selecting applicants, but I've seen some PhD scholarships explicitly adding points to applicants for any academic awards held, which is why I was slightly worried by how important those actually are, given that many of the students who were successful in applying did hold some awards.
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QuentinM
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(Original post by Cookiezi)
I don't know how exactly applicants to PhD programmes are ranked. I believe there isn't a strict rule that applies to every university, especially since supervisors themselves must apply for any available grants or scholarships on behalf of the students that are applying. I've not seen the criteria used by say the research council when selecting applicants, but I've seen some PhD scholarships explicitly adding points to applicants for any academic awards held, which is why I was slightly worried by how important those actually are, given that many of the students who were successful in applying did hold some awards.
If you did get awards, it would purely help you are the level of supervisor choosing you. If they did and went on to apply for funding, that would depend far more on the research proposal (which you might not write if we are talking science degrees-sorry I didn't check).
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Helloworld_95
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PhD programs aren't competitive enough that awards for being top of your cohort are going to make a difference. Maybe if you're an international student then yeah, but if you're domestic status, definitely not.

I would also be very sceptical of a bachelor's student having 3 papers already. 3 good papers is enough to get a PhD, and if that was kept up during your master's then you would likely find someone whose happy to hire you as a research assistant for a year and get you to PhD by publication level (~10 papers). If I'm seeing an applicant who has just completed their bachelor's and master's in succession and has 3 papers then I'm going to be asking 1) are they in good journals or bad journals?, and 2) how much of the work did they actually do? The answers to both of those questions have the potential to both increase and decrease an applicant's chances of admission compared to having 0 papers.
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Cookiezi
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(Original post by Helloworld_95)
PhD programs aren't competitive enough that awards for being top of your cohort are going to make a difference. Maybe if you're an international student then yeah, but if you're domestic status, definitely not.

I would also be very sceptical of a bachelor's student having 3 papers already. 3 good papers is enough to get a PhD, and if that was kept up during your master's then you would likely find someone whose happy to hire you as a research assistant for a year and get you to PhD by publication level (~10 papers). If I'm seeing an applicant who has just completed their bachelor's and master's in succession and has 3 papers then I'm going to be asking 1) are they in good journals or bad journals?, and 2) how much of the work did they actually do? The answers to both of those questions have the potential to both increase and decrease an applicant's chances of admission compared to having 0 papers.
I'm actually doing an integrated master's and in my final year. When I said I had 3 papers, what I meant exactly is that I'm an n-th author on 2 of them, and could be the first author on the 3rd. None of them did actually get published yet. One of them will be submitted for publication in a prestigious journal in the next couple of weeks. The other is in a limbo and I'm not sure when it will be sent for publication. The one paper where I could be a first author is still very early in the process of writing and definitely won't be finished this year. So it's not as great as you might have assumed.
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Helloworld_95
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(Original post by Cookiezi)
I'm actually doing an integrated master's and in my final year. When I said I had 3 papers, what I meant exactly is that I'm an n-th author on 2 of them, and could be the first author on the 3rd. None of them did actually get published yet. One of them will be submitted for publication in a prestigious journal in the next couple of weeks. The other is in a limbo and I'm not sure when it will be sent for publication. The one paper where I could be a first author is still very early in the process of writing and definitely won't be finished this year. So it's not as great as you might have assumed.
That's ok then. Make sure that your nth author papers have a credit statement on them describing what you did. Also make sure that your primary author paper is submitted to a journal with a decent impact factor.
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variksenmarja
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(Original post by Cookiezi)
I'm applying for PhDs this admissions' cycle and getting quite nervous seeing how many academic awards the people at top Unis have. I technically ranked second in my cohort in 3rd year but didn't get any award because only the top student each year gets one. I've done some research and noticed that other Unis, e.g. Oxford or Imperial, are much more lenient with regards to awards, giving out many more to each year group. Some departments at Imperial even give out a Dean's list award to the top 10% of students (which would correspond to ~25 awards in my year group). On the other hand hardly any of those people had any published papers from their undergrad, while I currently have 3 papers, either submitted or still in preparation, so I refuse to believe I'm any less qualified because I lack awards.
Me!! I'm just applying for a MSt but we don't really do awards in Finland?? At BA level at least, like it's def not a thing here.
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Cookiezi
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(Original post by Helloworld_95)
That's ok then. Make sure that your nth author papers have a credit statement on them describing what you did. Also make sure that your primary author paper is submitted to a journal with a decent impact factor.
I don't think this credit statement is common in my field since it's the first time I hear of it, but it doesn't really matter since my references will be from people who supervised my research which will be included in each of those papers, so they will definitely mention what I did.
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xbiology
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I know what you mean. Luckily I have an award from undergrad but didn't get any during my master's as they didn't award any even though I was top of my cohort. I am just hoping my references will mention these things instead. I have no published papers though.
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