So you want to go to Graduate School?
Graduate school admissions are fundamentally different than any other admissions process you may have witnessed or endured. This process is not like applying to college; Grades, Scores, and Recommendations are only the beginning.
What programs/schools are you interested in?Grad school is not a place to find yourself, have a clear goal.
Talk to others that have pursued a graduate degree in your interested area.
Also talk to professors in that area of study. They tend to have a wealth of knowledge on that subject.
Most schools require GREs, but not all The GRE measures skills that you've developed during high school and college. It consists of three sections: Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical.
Based on a departmental basis, contact depts at grad schools, see if they require it. GRE application booklets, available from CDC office.
GREs: how to gain experiencePRACTICE! Lets face it, its not a cheap test, $115 bucks is a $115 bucks! Get some study guides. Barnes and Nobel, Amazon.com.
Check out www.gre.org
GREs: what to expectTakes 6 weeks to receive scores. If you take the test in October scores will not be ready until November.
Schools like to see scores above 500 on each section, possible 800pts. Like a fancy SAT
Grad School Search Do not be afraid to go out of state, pick a place where you have always wanted to go. Many times there is money available through assistantships/fellowships. Attend a Grad School Fair Get as much information from schools as possible. Use yellow post cards available in CDC Library in conjunction with Petersons Guide
Things to think about when choosing a schoolReputationCompetitionLocation & DistanceRecommendations# of studentsUrban/RuralResearch InterestsAcademic ResourcesCurriculum ChoicesSocial LifeJob PlacementRate of AttritionAccreditationWell known FacultyAge of FacultyFunding Possibilities
What do you want in a grad school?Email departments at grad schools, do not be afraid to ask hard questions.. ie, what makes your program stand out from other institutions? What can I expect as a Grad Student in this program? Visit websites: www.gradschool.com www.petersons.com gradschool.about.com
Making a ChoiceWhen receiving information from grad schools develop a way to keep track of it all. Make an excel spreadsheet of all information. This will help make your decision easier.
Visit schools that you are interested in. This is where youre most likely going to be for 2 years, and the program should really fit you.
A sensible application strategy will include schools in three general categories: dream schools - places you'd love to attend, but where your chances of acceptance are up in the air or even unlikely good possibilities - programs you'd like to attend and where your grades and GRE score are close to the mediansafeties - schools where your numbers make acceptance likely.
Research FacultyFind out their research interestsRead some articles they publishedWhich ever professor interests you most, contact them (email or mail). Ask them about the program, and to gauge your credentialsInclude their name in your personal statement
Application Process So you have narrowed your search down to the 4 best schools. Now what?!
Get applications out, if your applying for grad school for fall try to have applications out by January 1st (even if they arent due until Feb/March). The sooner you get your applications in the better chance you have at receiving assistantships/fellowships.
Different Schools ask for different thingsSTAY ORGANIZED! They could need:Application (paper/computer)ResumePersonal StatementLetters of Recommendation (confidential)They may request forms to accompany the letterOfficial Transcript (may need more than 1)A writing sample (besides your statement)
Personal StatementCan never be read over too many times or by too many eyes!Dont be clich, find your own angle.Focus on your opening paragraphMake it specific to the school. They also may ask specific questions.Tell a story. You dont want to bore the reader if youre the 30th statement they have read today.
Personal Statement contStrive for depth rather than breadth. Focus on being specific with 1 or 2 ideas.Proofread carefully for grammar, syntax, punctuation, word usage, and style Do not submit an expository resume; avoid repeating information found elsewhere on the application.Do not incorporate technical language or very uncommon words.
Credential foldersCareer Development Center can handle the complete application process. Credential folders hold references from your professors/employers, resumes, cover letters, and copies of transcripts.
Make sure you waive your right to view references. Grad schools usually require at least 3 confidential letters of recommendation.
Credential FoldersRemind writers of what you have accomplished. Give writers a copy of your resume. Keep track of letters; never assume people will do what you ask of them. Follow requirements for how each item should be submitted to your folder. We need to know transcripts and letters of reference are official.
You applied Now What?You have to just waitand waitand wait!Many graduate schools will have you interview but the process varies with each school. Either phone interview or in person, or you could have 1 to 15 interviews.Then get ready to wait some more!
Acceptance So you have been accepted by all of your grad schools AWESOME! now make your final choice.
When you plan for success thats what youll get!
What to think about before acceptingCan I get a scholarship or assistantship?How much will it cost without help?Do I like the university? The students? The Faculty?Do they have a doctorate program?What is the average standard of living in the area around the school? (You could get into a cheap school but what if you have to pay 3x as much for housing and food because you chose a school in an expensive city?)
YOUVE CHOSEN!Now send letters to all schools, either accepting their offer or rejecting it.Pay your holding fee (commitment)Search for housing (maybe sign an apartment lease)Make various other plans for the following year.