Presentation on theme: "The Ins and Outs of Graduate School Academic Success Center 109 Moon Library SUNY-ESF Adapted from the Career Development Center at the University of Albany."— Presentation transcript:
The Ins and Outs of Graduate School Academic Success Center 109 Moon Library SUNY-ESF Adapted from the Career Development Center at the University of Albany and the Career Center at Ball State University
Outline: Is Graduate School for You? Preparing for Graduate School Finding Graduate Programs Choosing Schools The Application Process General Timeline Resources
Is Graduate School for You? Graduate school is different from your undergraduate education: More demanding Independent Subject material is more specialized Classes are smaller You typically develop closer relationships with faculty
Graduate School: Now or Later? Are you reasonably sure of your career goals, or could you change course after a taste of the working world? Would a break from campus life benefit you? Would you have difficulty returning to school after time spent in the real world? How much will your job and salary prospects be enhanced by graduate school? Will it be easier to enter graduate school in your field directly after college or after gaining work experience? How much will graduate school cost? Is there a possibility that an employer may pay for you to attend? Do you need some time away from academics to acquire work experience, clarify your career goals, or mature?
Graduate School: Now or Later? Do I have a clear sense of what career I want to pursue? At the graduate level, you will be expected to have focused career interests. You will be required to communicate this in your personal statement/essay and possibly an interview. If you are unsure, it is best to wait. Do I have what it takes (i.e., commitment, perseverance, patience, dedication) or am I "burned out" academically and in need of taking some time off? Most likely you've been in school continuously since kindergarten. Each person is different - some may prefer to attend graduate school immediately after graduation without taking a break and sampling the "real world" first (including a paycheck); others may need a break to "charge their batteries" to be able to tackle the books again.
Graduate School: Now or Later? Is an advanced degree required for entry into my desired field? Which degree? Specializations? Licenses? Certification? Do your homework and find out as much as you can about particular career fields, including the type and amount of education/ training required. If licensure or certification is required, be sure to check with individual state's or credentialing bodies' requirements based upon the geographic area in which you choose to work after graduation. For some fields, a Bachelor's degree is sufficient for employment. However, some people choose advanced study for the love of learning or for personal fulfillment.
Preparing for Graduate School Identify your interests and career goals. Gain relevant experience through internships, related jobs, volunteer work, and college activities (clubs, professional organizations, programs, etc.). Attain and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better. Research programs and their admissions requirements and deadlines. Save money for application fees, admission test fees, and college visits. Get to know your professors and ask for letters of recommendation. Prepare and take admission tests (GRE, MCAT, LSAT, etc). Utilize study guides in the Academic Success Center (109 Moon).
Finding Graduate Programs There are many resources available to help you find good programs: Your advisor and professors ESF faculty, staff, alumni, and graduate students Supervisors and co-workers in your field Reading research journals and papers to identify a major professor and his/her associated school Faculty, graduate students, and alumni from the programs you are considering School websites, graduate catalogs, and admissions information Speaking to employers at internship and job fairs Professional organizations websites Directories and rankings on the web to identify potential schools Academic Success Center Resources in 109 Moon
Choosing a School Things to Consider: Do you meet the admissions criteria? Is it a quality program? Is it accredited by a professional organization? Can you work with your prospective major advisor? Are you working outside or in a lab? What are the curriculum/program requirements? What courses will you take? Require an internship? Require a thesis/dissertation? Is there a comprehensive exam?
Choosing a School Things to Consider (cont.): What are the employment statistics upon graduation? How many students attain jobs after graduation? What do they do and for whom do they work? Are there employer relationships between the school and a given employer? Whats the faculty and department like? Do you have similar research interests? Are you using cutting edge technology? Do you get an office or work space? How big is the school? Whats the faculty to student ratio?
Choosing a School Things to Consider (cont.): Where is the school located? Proximity from home? Proximity from a major airport and other resources? What resources are available to you? On-campus housing? Apartments nearby? Health insurance? Clubs and organizations? How will you pay for your education? Are there graduate assistantships, scholarships, grants, etc.? Are you paying in-state tuition?
The Application Process Each school has a different process! Research the schools or prospective major professors website to find information on how to apply, deadlines, and the required materials. You should also contact school and professor to request information. Most schools require: Application and fees Official transcripts sent by the Registrars Office Official test scores sent by testing agencies Letters of Recommendation Personal Statement Resume Interview Portfolio of your work (Landscape Architecture)
The Application Process Leave time for each staged requirement in the process. Be mindful that depending on the time of year your letter of recommendation may take awhile for the faculty to get to or the required test might only be offered at specific times during the year. Plan accordingly! Make a campus visit at some point to see the facilities, talk to faculty and students, etc.
The Application Process Admissions Tests: Take the required tests at the end of your junior or beginning of your senior year so that you have time to retake them should you choose. Determine which tests are required before taking them. Not all programs require admissions tests. GRE General and Subject Tests (Arts & Sciences) MCAT (Medicine) LSAT (Law) GMAT (Business)
The Application Process Letters of Recommendation: Serve to address your skills and abilities, such as academic abilities, communication skills, character, maturity, responsibility, leadership ability, etc. Check with the program to determine who and how many letters or recommendations are needed. Some may have a required form and format. Writers are generally faculty, staff, employers, etc. Ask writers early and give plenty of time. Provide each with a copy of your resume and other information that will aid the writer. Only ask writers that you know will give you a good recommendation.
The Application Process Personal Statement: Often the most difficult part of your application. The admissions committee is judging your skills and if you are a good match for the school/department. Write a different statement for each school to which you apply. Often each school has a different question or format required. Proofread and revise! Have a faculty member proofread and critique your statement before you send it in. Use specific examples, emphasize strengths and goals, and avoid needless words and repetition.
General Timeline Freshman and Sophomore Year: Explore your interests and begin to identify your career goals. Attain and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or better. Gain relevant experience through internships, related jobs, volunteer work, and college activities (clubs, professional organizations, programs, etc.). Maintain an accurate resume. Develop a mentoring relationship with a faculty member in your career field.
General Timeline Junior Year: Identify your interests and career goals. Identify and research potential schools and major professors. Request information as needed. Create and maintain contacts with potential reference writers through classroom work, internships, research, and employment. Study for appropriate admissions tests. Take appropriate admissions tests (late Junior year/summer). Maintain campus involvement and high GPA.
General Timeline Senior Year (Early Fall Semester): Identify which schools you will apply to. Last chance to take admissions tests. Take GRE Subject Test if required. Research financial aid sources, fellowship, and assistantships. Ask writers for letters of recommendation. Be sure to give plenty of time to complete! Write, revise, and proofread your personal statement and/or portfolio. Have a faculty/staff member critique it.
General Timeline Senior Year (Late Fall Semester): Finalize personal statements and ensure letters of recommendation are completed. Proofread and finalize your resume. Have the Registrars Office and Testing Agencies send your official transcript and test scores. Complete application and send in all components before the deadline! Maintain campus involvement and high GPA.
General Timeline Senior Year (Spring Semester): If required, prepare for an interview. Check on application status. Apply for financial aid and assistantships if havent done so already. Make a campus visit if havent done so already. If accepted to multiple schools, notify schools that you will not attend. Graduate from ESF! Begin preparations for transition to graduate school
Resources ESF has numerous resources to aid you: Your advisor, professors, faculty, and staff Current graduate students and alumni Academic Success Center (109 Moon) Writing Resource Center (109 Moon)