Why Academic Skills Cannot Guarantee PhD Success

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At the outset, let us dispel the false notion that PhD students do not require academic skills to obtain their PhD doctorate. Academic qualities include high levels of intelligence, knowledge, IQ, and testing skills. These skills are vital for any undergraduate course and can also enrol you for the PhD program, but that is where their purpose is best utilized. Academic skills are not the deciding factors in ensuring your PhD success. The reason being practically all your fellow PhD students possess the same qualities.

Undergraduates, who have succeeded academically so far on the basis of their smart thinking and IQ, find it extremely challenging to pursue and complete their PhD program. On the other hand, students with less than high-grade intelligence are able to make it the finishing line successfully.

So, what are the qualities you must possess or acquire in your pursuit of PhD success? Here are a few:

  • People skills

Some of the exercises in your PhD research may include interviewing people to collect data, talking to subject experts, seeking for funds, and dealing with administration people. These skills require that you must get along with different types of people. Familiarize yourself with people in various departments, so that they would willingly help you when you need it the most. At the same time, you must be willing to be patient with people, as everything may not work out immediately.

  • Overcoming failure

Students, who have excelled academically, hurt the most when they face failure and rejection at the PhD level. You must be ready for failure at each and every stage of your PhD program. Challenges can include solving a hard problem, ego hassles, and rejection of submitted thesis papers. To overcome failure, you must be patient and willing to persevere in your efforts in the face of rejection.

  • Clarity of thought

Clarity of thought is important in order to be able to articulate your research ideas in person and in writing. You must be able to define the problem scenario clearly and convince the subject experts that you have made a significant contribution towards solving the problem. A well-written project thesis cannot simply contain researched data, but should be able to support your overall research idea. One way to improve your writing skills is to write plenty of research papers from the start of your PhD program, or to contribute articles for a scientific blog.

  • Dealing with stress and depression

Unlike most of the undergraduate courses, most PhD programs do not follow a standard test or procedure for success. Finding a research problem is the easier part, as every industry or field are facing multiple challenges. The harder part is finding the right solution, and this can put many PhD students into depression. Dealing with the associated stress of the PhD program appropriately is the real challenge. Do not doubt your own capabilities, and do not overburden yourself with high expectations.


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