Applying to Graduate School by Ns92M02

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									"Being a (Ph.D.) graduate student is like becoming all of the
    Seven Dwarves.
In the beginning you're Dopey and Bashful.
In the middle you are usually sick (Sneezy), tired (Sleepy), and
    irritable (Grumpy).
But in the end, they call you Doc, and then you're Happy."




         Ronald T. Azuma
            Computer Science Graduate School Survival Guide
             http://www.cs.unc.edu/%7Eazuma/hitch4.html
Choosing and Applying to Graduate School
            Brian W. Tague
         Department of Biology
         Wake Forest University
       Time table for graduate school
ACTIVITY                                             SUGGESTED TIME                         .
Start earning good grades                            Freshman
Approach faculty about research experience           Sophomore/Junior
Seek related work/volunteer experience               Sophomore/Junior
Take GRE                                             Summer Before/Fall of Senior Year
Request information on graduate programs             Junior/Senior
Finalize decision about which programs to apply to   Early Fall Senior Year
Request faculty to write letters of recommendation   Mid-Fall Senior Year
Perfect your Statement of Purpose                    Mid-Fall Senior Year
Submit applications and                              Late Fall, Winter Break, Senior Year
     check deadline for each application
Check to be sure your applications                   Late Fall, Winter Senior Year
     are complete
Interviewing and visiting                            Winter, Spring Senior Year
How does graduate school differ
from undergraduate programs?
 • Research first, classes second
 • Teaching experience
 • Focus on process, not just information
   • Scientific process
   • Experimental design
   • Critical thinking
   • Problem solving
 • Costs
Financial support for graduate
           students
  • $15-25,000/year
    •   Teaching Assistantship
    •   Research Assistantship
    •   Training Grants
    •   Fellowship


  • Tuition Waiver
How can you judge if you would
   enjoy graduate school?
•   Enjoy independent research
•   Enjoy teaching
•   Work before entering graduate school
•   Talk with faculty
•   Intellectual aspects
•   Practical aspects
A bad reason to go to graduate school
When do people go to graduate
          school?

• Immediately after undergraduate school
• After several years of practical work
     experience
• After a career change
Choosing a graduate program

    •   M.S. vs Ph.D.
    •   Institution
    •   Department
    •   Individual Research Lab
M.S. versus Ph.D. programs

•   Duration 2-3 vs 4-6 years
•   Career options
•   Area of study
•   Certainty of research direction
•   Amount of independence
What can I do with an M.S. degree?

  • Enter a Ph.D. program
  • Research scientist:
    • Industrial, academic, government lab
  • Teaching:
    • Community college, high school
  • Science policy or administration
  • Other professions:
    • Law, MBA, health professions
What can I do with a Ph.D.?

 • Post-doctoral research
 • Teaching and Scholarship
   • College and university professor
 • Research Director
   • Corporate Research
   • Government Research
   • Academic Research
Choosing a graduate program
 •   MS vs PhD
 •   Institution
 •   Department
 •   Individual Research Lab
Judging graduate institutions and
          departments
• Research reputation and productivity
  • The key to your future!
• Range of research options
  • Medical school vs. academic department
  • Potential research advisors
• Size, geographic location, urban/rural
• Contentment of graduate students
Resources for evaluating programs
Peterson’s guide: Searchable database of schools
       http://petersons.com/
Jobweb: directories of graduate programs
       http://www.jobweb.com/catapult/gguides.htm
Getting into Graduate School: an applicant’s look
       http://dave.burrell.net//guide/guide1.html
US News and World Report: Rankings of graduate programs
       http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/beyond/bcphd.htm

Talk to your professors!
Surf the web to particular departments
Visit schools, interview, meet current graduate students
Judging graduate institutions and
          departments
• Research reputation and productivity
  • The key to your future!
• Range of research options
  • Medical school vs. academic department
  • Potential research advisors
• Size, geographic location, urban/rural
• Contentment of graduate students
    Graduate School   Growing up and
      Applications     undergraduate




  Eugene




Santa
Cruz


    Santa
   Barbara


            San
           Diego
Judging graduate institutions and
          departments
• Research reputation and productivity
  • The key to your future!
  • Medical school vs academic department
• Range of research options
• Size, geographic location, urban/rural
• Contentment of graduate students
  • Visit schools, interview, meet current students
Choosing a graduate program
 •   MS vs PhD
 •   Institution
 •   Department
 •   Individual Research Lab
Choosing a research advisor

• Common research interests
   • Peterson’s guide, web sites
   • Laboratory rotations
• Compatible working styles
   • Visits, interviews and rotations
• Laboratory environment
   • Visits, interviews and rotations
• Availability of the advisor
   • E-mail, snail mail
Applying to graduate school
         Research experience
• One of the best ways to be competitive is to
     have worked in a laboratory

• At your home institute
• NSF and NIH
   • Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences
• Volunteering or working summers
• Intensive summer lab courses
 Taking the Graduate Record Exam
              (GRE)
• Visit GRE website
  • http://www.gre.org/atglance.html
• Register well in advance
• Most schools require the GRE general test
• Many require (“strongly recommend”) the GRE
     subject test
   Makeup of GRE general test
• Verbal
  • Analyze and evaluate written material
  • 30 minutes, 30 questions

• Quantitative
  • Basic math skills and concepts
  • 45 minutes, 28 questions

• Analytical
  • Reasoning skills, deduction, evaluation of arguments
  • 60 minutes, 35 questions
Preparing for the GRE general test

  • Kaplan GRE preparation books
    • good software
  • Barron’s GRE preparation books
  • Sample questions at www.gre.org
    Taking the GRE general test
• Where?
  • Prometrics Testing Service
     • (336-854-4230)
     • 3 Centerview Drive
     • Greensboro, NC

  • Also in Asheville, Boone, Charlotte, Durham,
     Fayetteville, Gastonia, Greenville, Raleigh,
     Wilmington

  • Full list at www.gre.org
   Taking the GRE general test
• When?
  • General test
     • Anytime, online
     • Register well ahead of time
        – Saturdays are difficult to schedule
     • Allow about 4 hours total
     • Cost: $105.00
        – Fee waivers available
   Taking the GRE subject test
• When?
  • Designated dates: 11/10/01, 12/8/01, 4/6/02
• Where?
  • On paper: Wake Forest University
  • Other locations: see www.gre.org
• Cost: $130.00 (Fee waiver available)
• Format: 100-200 questions, ~3 hours
• Subjects:
  •   Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
  •   Biology
  •   Chemistry
  •   Physics
Application deadlines for graduate
              school
• Apply to 7-10 schools
  • From very competitive to “safety” schools
  • Many schools have on-line applications
• Wake Forest
  • Application fee: $25
  • Fall application deadline - February 1st.
  • Reply deadline - April 15th
• Others
  • Application fees: $0-100
  • Fall application deadlines: 12/15 – 4/1
   Letters of recommendation (3)
• Ask a teacher you know well.
  • Helps to have research experience
  • Cultivate relationships with a few of your professors!
  • Best if professor is in your field, in science
• Provide recommender with a resume.
• Ask well in advance of the deadline.
• Provide any necessary forms and an addressed
     envelope with instructions on whether it is to be
     sent to the school or returned to you.
           Statement of purpose
• Similar to essays written for undergrad applications
  • Read the directions!
• Be familiar with the school
• Discuss the science you have performed or an
     interesting topic from your classes
• Mention particular faculty members
• Specific reasons you are interested in a field and in
     the particular school
• Be concise! Be focused! Rewrite!

• http://www.rpi.edu/dept/llc/writecenter/web/gradapp.
  html
              Interviewing
• Usually arranged and financed by department
  • Individual interviews
  • Group interviews
• Go to department web site
  • Learn about school
• Read/review journal articles by faculty
  • E-mail faculty and ask for reprints of recent articles
  • A couple of intelligent questions go a long way!
   The realities of graduate school
• You are being paid to do science!
  • A great privilege

• Things won’t work for a while!
  • Different than undergraduate experience

• Long hours
  • Work hard/play hard

• Tremendous satisfaction and achievement
Graduate school:
     One final view

								
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