Getting into Graduate School Montclair State University Center for Career Services and Cooperative Education 2012
What will we review today? Advantages and disadvantages for going to graduate school How to choose a graduate program How to apply to a graduate program What to expect during interviews How the Center can further assist you in this process
What are some valid reasons to go to graduate school? To potentially earn more money To obtain positions that require graduate degrees To fulfill a genuine interest and gain more knowledge about a given field
Why should one consider not going to graduate school? If …. cost of going to school does not fit your financial situation The time commitment required does not fit your lifestyle You do not know any other options You are fulfilling somebody else’s dream
If you decide to go to school… Why go directly after undergraduate school? Making money in the work world will greatly decrease your motivation to return to school There is an immediate need to specialize in order to obtain the job you want You are confident you would like to pursue your degree and it is manageable with your lifestyle
If you decide to go to school… Why not go directly after undergraduate school? To save money in preparation for graduate school costs To gain valuable work experience To have more time to confirm your graduate school interests through exposure to the work world
Researching the graduate program and university of interest Use graduate program texts such as Peterson's Graduate Schools in the U.S. to obtain program information Utilize research websites such as http://www.montclair.edu/careerservices/sur vival.html http://www.montclair.edu/careerservices/sur vival.html Read recent articles on graduate schools from magazines such as “US News” Contact the graduate school of interest to request program and university information
Researching the program How long will it take to complete the program? Is this realistic with my plans? Is the program research based or experienced based? Which is best for me and my future career? Is the program reputable? Accredited? What kind of research do faculty members perform? Does this match my interests?
Researching program prerequisites Do I need an particular undergraduate major to apply for the program? What are the GPA minimums? What GRE, MCAT, LSAT, GMAT or Subject GRE’s scores are needed? Are there undergraduate courses I need to take prior to applying? Do I need work experience?
Researching the school Is the student population size a good fit? What are class sizes? Is the location conducive to my living needs? If I move near the school what will my cost of living be like? Does this fit my budget? Do I need to take into consideration airfare or transportation costs?
Researching the school in person Visit the college when school is in session Set up an informational interview with a faculty member; come with prepared questions Observe the faculty in the department; do they look happy? Are their doors open? Are students meeting with them?
The Application Process Register for the appropriate standardized test required for your program 1-2 semesters prior to your potential starting point at the college Request your official undergraduate transcripts at least 3 weeks in advance Create, critique and finalize your resume
The Application Process Cont… Obtaining Letters of Recommendation Identify potential references; these are usually faculty members and supervisors who know you well and are familiar with your work Mail or hand in person a self-addressed envelope with postage, written directions for you reference to follow, examples of your work, any necessary paperwork and your intentions after graduate school. After letters of recommendation have been written, send your reference a thank you note. Once you commit to a school and program, inform the reference where you have chosen to attend school.
The Application Process cont… Writing your Personal Statement Include topics such as: What experiences influenced your decision to return to graduate school Why you are interested in this program Why you are interested in this particular university versus others What your plans are for the future Remember to always have someone critique your personal statement before submission
The Application Process cont… Finalizing the application process Make and keep copies of all your application documents including: Letters of recommendation University application paperwork Personal statements Remember: it is possible paperwork can be lost during the application process.
Paying for Graduate School What options do I have to pay for graduate school? Financial aid loans http://www.gradloans.com/http://www.gradloans.com/ Graduate assistantships Grants & fellowships https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/fastlane.jsp https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/fastlane.jsp Scholarships http://www.gradloans.com/fa101/scholarships.shtml http://www.gradloans.com/fa101/scholarships.shtml Personal funds Fastweb.com
The Graduate Interview Process There is no one way graduate schools interview candidates; Interviews may be: A formality to express your acceptance One-on-one Large or small group based Formal or casual Based on performance such as providing in person writing samples Led by one individual or many
What other tools can the Center offer to further assist you? Career library texts Computers in the center’s lab Career counseling to discuss the application process and future plans Resume critiques Personal Statement critiques Mock interviews Standardized test information
Thank you for completing our Graduate School Workshop We invite you to visit our website: www.montclair.edu/careerservices/ We also invite you to visit in person: The Center for Career Services and Cooperative Education Morehead Hall, 3rd Floor, Rm. 337 Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday & Thursday (during academic semesters) until 7 p.m. (973) 655-5194