This week on Beyond the Thesis With Papa PhD, I’m thrilled to welcome Don Martin, an expert in graduate enrollment and the founder of Grad School Roadmap. In this episode, Don shares his personal journey from being the first in his peer group to attend college and graduate school to helping others overcome the hurdles of graduate program applications. We delve into the nuances of the graduate admissions process, emphasizing the importance of interpersonal skills, of good recommendation letters, and also why academic credentials aren’t the only predictor of success.

Join us as we explore why pursuing a PhD depends on more than mere academic achievements and learn how to find the right graduate program that aligns with both your educational and personal aspirations. 

And stay tuned for the giveaway of five copies of Don Martin’s book – Roadmap for Graduate School!

Don Martin

Don Martin spent 28 years in full-time enrollment management, including positions at Columbia, University of Chicago and Northwestern University. He founded Grad School Road Map in 2008 and has coached over 400 Ph.D. applicants since then, with a 97% acceptance rate.

What we covered in the interview:

  • The Power of Soft Skills: Don emphasizes the critical role of interpersonal relationships, communication skills, and trust in evaluating a candidate’s potential, revealing how these factors can often weigh as heavily as academic credentials.

  • Diversity in Graduate Admissions: Don shares inspiring stories of applicants who, despite not fitting the high academic achiever stereotype, have excelled in their fields.

  • Advice for International Students: For international candidates, Don underscores the importance of doing thorough research on graduate programs, focusing on accreditation, community fit, and personal interactions over mere rankings.

  • Navigating Challenges: We discussed the hurdles faced by minorities and underrepresented groups, and explored strategies to boost self-belief and persistence in pursuing advanced degrees.

  • Don’s Personal Journey: From being the first in his family to attend college to guiding prospective grad students, Don’s personal mission is deeply rooted in his own educational challenges and triumphs, making his advice not only practical but also empathetic.

🔗See the resources section below for links!

This episode’s resources:

Thank you, Don Martin!

If you enjoyed this conversation with Don, let him know by clicking the link below and leaving him a message on Linkedin:

Send Don Martin a thank you message on Linkedin!

Click here to share your key take-away from this interview with David!

You might also like the following episodes:

Sue Ashford – Preparing for life as a PhD

Jessica Schleider  –Dealing With Mental Unrest in Graduate School

Sheena Howard – How to Leverage Academic Branding

Melissa Gismondi – The Power of Graduate Internships

As always, if you find value in Papa PhD and in the content I bring you every week, click on one of the buttons below and send some of that value back to me by becoming a supporter on Patreon or by buying me a coffee 🙂

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