Are you wondering if you need to work with PhD admission consultants to get into the program of your dreams? You're not the only one. PhD admissions are getting increasingly competitive, so you need more than a good GRE score and some research experience to secure admission. Your personal statement and research interest statement need to be outstanding, and the rest of your application needs to be just as compelling. PhD admission consultants can help you make that happen. In this blog, we explore the different ways in which they help candidates strengthen their applications, thus significantly increasing your chances of getting into post-graduate programs. So, keep reading if you want to find out more about their services and you can decide if working with one is right for you.

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Article Contents
8 min read

Why are PhD applications challenging? Who are PhD admission consultants and how can they help? Conclusion FAQs

Why are PhD applications challenging?


A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is considered to be the highest awarded degree for most fields of study. In Canada and the United States, these programs are extremely competitive because they are typically smaller than master’s programs and much smaller than undergraduate degrees. Additionally, they are highly coveted by both local and international students, which means that there is a very high number of applicants for a limited number of spots available.

That said, the level of competition for doctorate admission varies dramatically between different programs and institutions. Because there are so many different fields that offer postgraduate study options, it can be difficult to calculate precisely how competitive PhD admissions are overall. However, if you look at the admissions information for specific schools and programs, you will find that even though their admissions rates may not be as low as law school acceptance rates, for example, they suggest that there is quite a bit of competition to get into doctorate programs. This is especially the case for top institutions, such as Ivy League Schools.

To give you some context, let’s take a look at the admission statistics of a few universities’ graduate programs: The University of Toronto is one o the most famous universities in Ontario, and it admits approximately 22.6 % of applicants to its post-graduate programs. Duke university is another well-known university, this time in the United States. Although it has an acceptance rate of 8% for undergraduate admission, only 10.4% of PhD applicants are actually offered admission by Duke.

It is always best to verify the admissions statistics for the specific school and programs you're interested in if you want to know just how competitive they are. Having that information well in advance will help you prepare your PhD application timeline and materials accordingly.

Check out a step-by-step guide for getting into grad school:

Challenging admission requirements & process

Getting into PhD programs requires careful planning, time, and effort. Schools generally want to admit students who are likely to thrive academically and socially in their programs. This is why schools often have a list of requirements that they need you to meet before you can be considered for admission. For example, if you are hoping to get into medical school, you would have to meet the medical school GPA requirements and other thresholds that your chosen school may set.

PhD school programs are no different. In fact, because PhD programs are so selective, they usually have very challenging minimum requirements that applicants have to meet. Keeping in mind that meeting the minimum requirement is not enough to guarantee a spot in the program. You need to be a competitive candidate if you want to get in.

Although many parts of the admissions process will look different depending on the program that you are applying to, most PhD programs require some or all of the following :

Who are PhD admission consultants and how can they help?

PhD admission consultants are trained admission professionals who help students navigate the process of applying to and interviewing for PhD programs. Their services are comparable to those offered by graduate school advisors. Depending on when you contact them and what you reach out to them for, PhD admission consultants can provide a variety of different services. From application review, where they look at your already completed application packet and provide feedback about different components, to essay consulting where they help you write a more compelling admission essay, or even interview coaching. PhD admission consultants can offer all of the above and more, but ultimately, their aim is to help you maximize your chances of getting accepted to a PhD program.

Let's look at the different ways in which they can help you every step of the way:


Most PhD applicants don't just decide to get a doctorate degree on a whim. One of the many reasons for this is the admission requirements of PhD programs. For example, if you've decided to pursue a PhD, and you want to apply to Canadian universities, then you'll need to have a master's degree. You will also need to secure letters of recommendation from the right sources and get relevant research experience.

Furthermore, you may need to prepare differently depending on whether you are pursuing a PhD with the intention of remaining in academia or if you want to conduct your research and work in a different field altogether. Applicants who intend on staying in academia need to focus on getting published to build their profile, while the other applicants can simply focus on their areas of interest.

In other words, planning for doctorate programs is not a straightforward process. Students aren't always sure which research or work experiences are best for the PhD programs they want to get into or who they should get a graduate school letter of recommendation from. That's where PhD admission consultants come in.

While some can argue that applicants can now find a lot of information online, you need to remember that while the information online can be beneficial to you, it is not specific to your situation. For example, as I write this blog, I do not know your academic background. I can advise you on the general admission requirements for a PhD program, but if you want to know if your GRE score makes you a competitive applicant, the general information I provide will not be helpful to you. On the other hand, one of our PhD admission consultants could look at your entire application and provide a more personal service. Their feedback and advice would be based on what they have seen in your application.

In addition to providing information about your application, if you contact them early enough, they can actually help you plan for this process and set you up for success. For example, let's say that you are hoping to pursue an MD-PhD program in the future, PhD admission consultants can help you figure out which clinical research experiences for premedical students would look best on your CV.


The process of applying to PhD programs can become overwhelming if you're going through it alone. Sometimes students assume that if they could figure out how to get into grad school, they can easily do the same with Doctorate programs. This may be true for a few students, but not for most. Keep in mind that PhD programs as much smaller and, therefore, even more selective than graduate school programs. This means that in addition to the fact that the process is different from an application to a master's program, you are also dealing with more competition.

Additionally, PhD admissions require several different written components that can be hard to get right when you do not have the right information. For example, many applicants struggle with preparing their admission essays such as statements of intent or research interest statements.

PhD admission consultants can help you prepare these application components. Please understand that this does not mean that they will write the essays for you; that would be rather unethical. Instead, they give you the tools and strategies that you need to write compelling statements. This way, not only will you be preparing your application documents with the guidance of an expert who can help you edit and polish your essay, but you will also be developing and improving your research and writing skills.


The interview is one of the most important steps in the PhD admissions process. This is your chance to speak with the admissions committee directly, show them your communication and interpersonal skills, and convince them that you are the ideal candidate for their program.

Preparing for interviews is essential, but not all candidates see it that way. It can be easy to dismiss the need for preparation when you have already gone though several academic and professional interviews, but you should keep in mind that each interview is different. PhD interviews will include questions about recent topics in your field, expectations for post-graduate work, and so many other topics that you likely haven’t discussed in previous interviews. It’s important that you have a plan or a framework for how to tackle these questions.

Furthermore, many applicants may have a strong academic record, but unbeknown to them, their interview skills may be lacking. PhD admission consultants can work with them to learn better answering strategies, interview etiquette, how to sound more confident, and so much more. Good PhD admission consultants will also give you a chance to participate in mock interviews which give you a chance to familiarize yourself with the setting of your interview and practice your answers in a way that will be more impactful.

Lastly, but certainly not least, working a PhD admission consultant will teach you lifelong skills. In order to help you, a consultant will give you tips and strategies for answering questions that are specific to your specialization, but they will also teach you how to structure your answers, and approach general questions like "tell me about yourself" or "what is your greatest limitation?". These are very popular questions that tend to come up in different interview formats, and having the right tools to answer them can help you succeed long after submitting your PhD application.


It is no secret that doctorate programs can be expensive. Students are often looking for ways to supplement their income or get funding that will alleviate some of their financial burdens. PhD admission consultants can help with this. They can help applicants research, find and apply for different scholarship opportunities. Most of the time, admission consultants have gone through the process of looking for funding opportunities in the past, either for themselves, their students, or both. This means that they know where to look for various types of opportunities, and they can help you highlight your strengths in a way that will make it more likely for you to land those scholarships or financial aid opportunities.

Curious about the similarities and differences between Masters and PhD? Check this out:


The process of preparing for and applying to doctorate programs can be lengthy, complicated, and overwhelming. Not only does it require a lot of careful planning, but it also involves a lot of application components that are easy to mess up when you do not have the right information and strategies. That's where PhD admission consultants come in. They know this process inside and out, having been through it themselves and having helped multiple other students get into their chosen programs. Working with a PhD admission consultant is your best bet if you want to maximize your chances of success. The consultants can guide you through the planning stage; they can help you strengthen your application to ensure you are a competitive candidate, help you prepare for PhD admission interviews, and secure financial aid opportunities. Ultimately, they help you put your best foot forward and significantly increase the chances of you getting into your chosen program.


1. How competitive are PhD programs?

PhD programs are very selective, and the competition to get in can be fierce. That said, some programs are more competitive than others, so the level of competition you will have to face depends on your field of study and the program and school to which you are applying.

2. Do I need a master's degree to get into a PhD program?

Not necessarily, but that depends on your location and field of study. For example, you don't necessarily need a master's degree to get into a PhD program in the US, whereas you need one in Canada.

3. Can I get into a PhD program without the help of a consultant?

Yes, you certainly can. Many students are able to get into their programs of choice without the guidance of an admission consultant, but there are also many students who face rejection because of simple mistakes that a consultant could have helped them avoid. At the end of the day, no two students are the same, so it is really up to you to decide whether you want that extra support or not.

4. How long does it take to get a doctorate?

The typical timeframe to complete a PhD in the United States and Canada is five to six years. However, it takes longer than that for many students, so it depends on each student and their chosen program.

5. What do I need to apply to a PhD program?

You will need a competitive score on a graduate admissions test such as the GMAT or GRE, an admission essay, a research proposal, letters of recommendation, and a writing sample.

6. How can I make my PhD application stand out?

You can improve your application by securing recommendation letters, getting relevant experience, and giving yourself ample time to prepare your written application components.

7. Can I get into a PhD program with a low GRE score?

Getting into a doctorate program with a low GRE score is possible, but you will need the rest of your application to be impressive enough to make up for a low test score.  This means writing an impressive admission essay and acing the interview.

8. Can I get into a PhD program with a low Undergrad GPA?

It is not impossible, but this question is hard to answer without more information for context. If you are in the United States and you’re applying straight to a doctorate program from undergrad, it may be challenging to get admission with a low GPA. While if you also have a graduate school degree with a high GPA, then that would significantly boost your chances.

9. What is a PhD admission consultant?

PhD admission consultants are admission experts who help applicants navigate the long and complex process of applying to doctorate programs.

10. How do PhD admission consultants help students?

They help applicants by assisting them in preparing the various application components required for PhD applications and preparing for PhD admission interviews.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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Rupali Deshpande

I am a working professional with 17 years of experience in tech industry, i am exploring possibilities to pursue PhD. Would like to have a discussion on this topic


BeMo Academic Consulting

Hi Rupali! Thanks for your comment. Please feel free to reach out to us for a free strategy call to discuss how we can help you get into your desired grad program!