This is a comprehensive guide that is designed to inform students about the process of applying and getting accepted into graduate school. This guide includes information on how to choose the right graduate school, which graduate degree to pursue, which career to choose, information about applications, information about required entrance exams, and effective interviewing techniques. This document is ideal for graduate school applicants to learn more information about the process.
This is a comprehensive guide that is designed to inform students about the process of applying and getting accepted into graduate school. This guide includes information on how to choose the right graduate school, which graduate degree to pursue, which career to choose, information about applications, information about required entrance exams, and effective interviewing techniques. This document is ideal for graduate school applicants to learn more information about the process. Contents Choosing the Right Graduate School ............................................................. 3 Applying for Entrance .................................................................................... 4 Entrance Exams .............................................................................................. 6 Interviewing Techniques................................................................................. 6 Summary ......................................................................................................... 7 © Copyright 2010 Docstoc Inc. registered document proprietary, copy not 2 Choosing the Right Graduate School Before making a choice about which graduate school is right for you, ask and answer these three questions: 1. What type of degree do I want to pursue? 2. Where do I want to attend graduate school? 3. What course of instruction do I want to pursue? Contemplating these three questions will help you to narrow your options into something that is more manageable. Your answers will give you the necessary framework to move forward and make informed decisions about your continued education. What type of degree do I want to pursue? The masters and the doctorate are the two fundamental graduate degrees. Students with an interest in pursuing medicine or the law may elect to attend professional schools that specialize in these fields. The master’s degree is considered to be the more practical of the two because students learn the philosophy that drives the aspects of the teachings. The doctorate degree is viewed as more specific and more intellectual because the teachings delve more into the theory that drives the teachings. Before pursuing any of these graduate degrees, be sure to give ample consideration to the differences between the two programs. In order to have a successful outcome, you will want to be certain that you have chosen the program that best suits your investment of time and effort. Where do I want to attend graduate school? Ask yourself some very candid questions before selecting the location of your graduate school. Here are some key points to consider: Are you single, married, or in a committed relationship? Do you have professional affiliations that need to be considered? Would moving to another city adversely impact on any of these items? If you answered yes to any of those questions, the geographical location of your school of choice will be significantly different from a graduate student who does not have to consider those factors. The choice that you make regarding the school’s location must be one that will have a minimal impact on your ability to fully commit yourself to the coursework that you are about to undertake. Many graduate programs are now offered on line. © Copyright 2010 Docstoc Inc. registered document proprietary, copy not 3 What course of instruction do I want to pursue? Ask yourself … ‘is there a particular segment within the field that interests me more than others’? Students take graduate coursework in order to become experts within a particular aspect of their chosen field. Understanding the general aspects of the entire field of study will help when choosing a program that is best suited for you. Applying for Entrance You should begin processing admission into graduate school during your senior year. The following timeline outlines the tasks to be performed; and details what you will need to take care of in order gain admittance into your graduate school of choice. S um m er/ S ept em ber 1. Take one of these standardized tests for admission. The tests will depend on what your program requires: a) Graduate Record Exam (GRE) b) Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) c) Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) d) Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) e) Dental School Admissions Test (DAT) 2. Collect and review graduate program brochures and further narrow down your choice. 3. Decide which faculty members you want to approach and ask for letters of recommendation. S ept em ber/ Oct ober 1. Research financial aid sources. 2. Review each of your program applications and make note of any that will require further attention. 3. Begin developing your statement of purpose. 4. Ask appropriate individuals (faculty members, counselors) to review and give you feedback on your essays. Be sure to head their advice and make any changes that they suggest. 5. Solicit letters of recommendation from some of your professors. Give each of them: a) A copy of your transcript. b) The recommendation form for each program. c) Your statement of purpose. © Copyright 2010 Docstoc Inc. registered document proprietary, copy not 4 You may also want to provide them with a sample recommendation letter that they could use. Be sure to ask if you have provided them with enough materials; and ask if they will require anything else in order to complete the task at hand. Novem ber/ Decem ber 1. Submit your official transcript for each program that you wish to apply for. a) Ask the Registrar to retain those transcript(s) until grades for the fall semester are in. 2. Finish off your essays and statement of purpose. Again, ask for input from others. 3. Apply for alternate sources of financial aide that would be relevant such as fellowships, etc. 4. Verify and record the due date for each application that you plan to submit. Decem ber/ Jan u ary 1. Finish completing each program’s application. All applications must be neatly prepared using either a word processor, or a typewriter. a) Go back over each essay and statement of purpose and verify that each is free of spelling and other errors. 2. Mail out your applications, sit back, and relax! 3. Typically, schools will send a post card or letter to acknowledge receipt of each application submitted. You will want to retain that for your records. a) If you do not receive confirming correspondence within a reasonable length of time and well before the submission deadline, contact the admissions office either by email or phone and make an inquiry. F ebr u ary 1. Begin preparations for your admissions interviews. Give careful consideration to: a) The questions that you will be asked. You may want to pre-organize your answers to some of the more commonly asked questions. b) The questions that you want to ask. 2. Collect your tax forms and then complete the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. M ar ch 1. Have discussion with faculty or with a career/graduate counselor about the schools that you were accepted for, and the ones that you were not accepted for as well. 2. Visit the schools that you have been accepted to. 3. Prepare and submit appropriate notifications for the program(s) that you are: a) accepting © Copyright 2010 Docstoc Inc. registered document proprietary, copy not 5 b) declining Entrance Exams Colleges and Universities will utilize a wide range of grading standards. As such, standardized testing levels the playing field for students and allows for a more comprehensive comparison of their thinking aptitudes. All students who apply for graduate, law, medical, or business school are required to take a standard examination. These tests will help admissions staff to determine which students are capable of enduring the inflexible environment of graduate school. The types of exams are as follows: Graduate Record Exam (GRE) 1. Taken by applicants to graduate school 2. Tests verbal, quantitative, and analytical abilities Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) 1. Taken by students who want to want to go to medical school 2. Evaluates fluency in the sciences Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) 1. Taken by students who want to go to business school 2. Measures verbal, quantitative, and analytical reasoning Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) 1. Taken by students who want to go to law school 2. Measures reading, writing and logical reasoning Dental School Admissions Test (DAT) 1. Taken by students who want to go to dental school 2. Measures general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability It is important to note that although performance on these standardized tests is a strong factor in the admissions process, it is not the only thing that will get you into the graduate school of your choice. Other considerations that are reviewed and that will hold merit include undergraduate transcripts, letters of recommendations, and personal statements. Interviewing Techniques B efor e t h e In t ervi e w Familiarize yourself with the instructors, and the program. Prepare a list of strengths, achievements, and recognitions that you have received. Make sure they are relevant. © Copyright 2010 Docstoc Inc. registered document proprietary, copy not 6 Practice answering questions with family, friends, or other school faculty. Research faculty publications to gain more insight about their labs. Prepare a list of intelligent and thought provoking questions to ask. Remember that you are being evaluated not only on you application, but also on: 1. Your appearance. 2. Your ability to articulate your interest in the program and the faculty. If possible, interview existing graduate students and find out what they have to say about their advisors and the program. Th e Day of t h e In t e rvi ew Make sure your attire is comfortable, professional, and conservative. Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your interview. Be sure to take copies of your resume (C/V), papers, and/or presentations. Follow the standard rules for interviewing: 1. Maintain eye contact 2. Have a confident but friendly demeanor Summary What qualities do graduate admissions panels look for in graduate applicants? The Graduate admissions panels’ goal is to identify graduate students who will make major research and leadership contributions in their selected fields. The graduate students who are accepted are the ones who have demonstrated the most promise. The ideal graduate student is able, extremely motivated and eager to learn. They work hard and express a desire to work closely with faculty. They are responsible and easy to work with. They take constructive criticism well, and are able to work independently, with or without supervision. The information furnished in this guide is a representative sampling of the processes involved with getting you into your ideal graduate school. We hope that you will find it useful and wish you the best of success in your graduate educational endeavors. The following sites contain more detailed information on this subject matter: Information sources: 1. http://gradschool.about.com 2. http://www.gradschools.com/Category/Why-GradSchool.html 3. http://graduateschools.com/ 4. http://www.gradschools.com/Category/Get-Informed.html 5. http://www.testprepreview.com © Copyright 2010 Docstoc Inc. registered document proprietary, copy not 7 6. http://gradschool.about.com/od/admissionstests/Admissions_Exams_for_Graduate_School_ GRE_MCAT_GMAT_LSAT.htm 7. http://www.princetonreview.com © Copyright 2010 Docstoc Inc. registered document proprietary, copy not 8
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