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Graduate School: Is it for Me…IF so, when? Presented by UNIVERSITY CAREER SERVICES University of Virginia.

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Presentation on theme: "Graduate School: Is it for Me…IF so, when? Presented by UNIVERSITY CAREER SERVICES University of Virginia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Graduate School: Is it for Me…IF so, when? Presented by UNIVERSITY CAREER SERVICES University of Virginia

2 Learning Outcomes By the end of this presentation you will: By the end of this presentation you will: Understand the importance of identifying your career goals prior to your decision about grad school Understand the importance of identifying your career goals prior to your decision about grad school Understand the many factors associated with deciding on a graduate program Understand the many factors associated with deciding on a graduate program Understand the process of applying to graduate school Understand the process of applying to graduate school

3 Preliminary Things to Consider Before deciding to enroll in a graduate program, know: Before deciding to enroll in a graduate program, know: Career Goals Career Goals Yourself Yourself Timeline Timeline Affiliated costs Affiliated costs Geographic considerations Geographic considerations Admissions criteria for programs of interest Admissions criteria for programs of interest

4 Qualities Needed for Grad School Initiative Initiative Self-discipline Self-discipline Time management skills Time management skills Project management skills Project management skills Persistence Persistence Patience Patience Communication & interpersonal skills Communication & interpersonal skills

5 RESEARCHING GRAD PROGRAMS Step ONE

6 Choose Your Own Path Since UVA is consistently ranked as the best public school in the country, it was the only college to which you applied as a high school senior. When you got in, you didn’t even bother visiting before sending in your deposit. You’ve never regretted your decision to come to UVA. Path A: Search online and apply to the schools with the best overall reputation that have your program. Path B: Road trip! Visit schools recommended by your advisor, some of which you’ve never heard of before. Where is…..

7 Path A: Online School Search Ouch! You got blinded by the “bling” of the school’s name alone. You soon find out that at the graduate level, especially in arts and sciences, the reputation of the program/department is far more important than the overall reputation of the university.

8 Path B: Road Trip Your investment of $1,098 for gas, hotels and food was well worth it. Who knew that ABC University had the best XYZ program in the country?!?! It’s now your first choice.

9 Researching Programs Compile a complete list of schools with programs in your field of study: Compile a complete list of schools with programs in your field of study: List your priorities for academic & financial considerations List your priorities for academic & financial considerations Review graduate directories Review graduate directories Talk to your faculty advisor Talk to your faculty advisor Read professional journals Read professional journals

10 Academic Considerations - YOU Does program’s structure and focus fit your interests and goals Does program’s structure and focus fit your interests and goals Is there the option for flexibility within the program (incoming or after 1-2 semesters) Is there the option for flexibility within the program (incoming or after 1-2 semesters) Are faculty involved in research, teaching, or projects related to your particular interests Are faculty involved in research, teaching, or projects related to your particular interests Are the support systems adequate (computer labs, libraries, special equipment, advising) Are the support systems adequate (computer labs, libraries, special equipment, advising)

11 Academic Consideration - THEM ***Know the criteria to be a viable applicant*** Strong undergraduate academic performance Strong undergraduate academic performance GPA & graduate admission test scores GPA & graduate admission test scores Preparation for field of study Preparation for field of study Expressed motivation & clarity of goals Expressed motivation & clarity of goals Research experience if applicable Research experience if applicable Academic, co-curricular, or work experience if applicable Academic, co-curricular, or work experience if applicable

12 Financial & Other Considerations Costs (tuition, fees, books, labs, housing, food, transportation…) and compare to your financial resources Costs (tuition, fees, books, labs, housing, food, transportation…) and compare to your financial resources Types of financial aid available (loans, grants, fellowships, teaching and/or research assistantships) Types of financial aid available (loans, grants, fellowships, teaching and/or research assistantships) Geographic, climate, cost-of-living Geographic, climate, cost-of-living Environment of department and university Environment of department and university Intent of program; preparation; career paths Intent of program; preparation; career paths

13 Tools for Researching Programs Peterson’s Guides (also Peterson’s Guides (also School-specific websites School-specific websites Program specific guides such as: “ABA-LSAC Guide to Law Schools; AMCAS; Psychology Graduate Programs; Vault Business Schools) Program specific guides such as: “ABA-LSAC Guide to Law Schools; AMCAS; Psychology Graduate Programs; Vault Business Schools) Graduate School Guide (also Graduate School Guide (also Print resources such as “Getting What You Came For” Print resources such as “Getting What You Came For” Worldwide Graduate Scholarship Guide and College Blue Book of Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, & Loans Worldwide Graduate Scholarship Guide and College Blue Book of Scholarships, Fellowships, Grants, & Loans

14 More Tools - Researching Programs UCAN to connect with professionals UCAN to connect with professionals UCS Professional & Grad School Fair UCS Professional & Grad School Fair Personalized appointment at UCS to discuss your academic and/or professional interests & goals with corresponding graduate/professional program options Personalized appointment at UCS to discuss your academic and/or professional interests & goals with corresponding graduate/professional program options UCS preprofessional advising staff and UCS career counselors UCS preprofessional advising staff and UCS career counselors Graduate students here and at schools you are considering Graduate students here and at schools you are considering

15 INTEGRATE YOUR VALUES INTO THE DECISION Step TWO

16 Integration Yes, we’ve mentioned some of these already—there’s a reason! Admission requirements Admission requirements Location Location Timeline of program Timeline of program Financial Aid Financial Aid Reputation Reputation Coursework and electives Coursework and electives Professors’ interests and backgrounds Professors’ interests and backgrounds

17 Integration (cont.) Accreditation Accreditation Student-to-Faculty ratio Student-to-Faculty ratio Accessibility to facilities Accessibility to facilities Demographics of the student body and grad program Demographics of the student body and grad program Enrollment and class size Enrollment and class size Other information Other information

18 Choose Your Own Path The thought of fighting rush hour traffic, working 9 to 5, wearing a suit, paying bills and selecting a 401K plan FRIGHTENS you. Path A: Apply to graduate/professional school as a means to delay the real world. Path B: Apply to jobs anyway—through the fear!

19 Path A: Graduate/Professional School You soon realize that graduate/professional school is not simply an extension of the undergraduate experience. It’s highly competitive and intensive. It’s also EXPEN$IVE—both money and time.

20 Path B: The Real World You soon realize that there is no such thing as a 9 to 5. You work 8:00 am-6:00 pm Monday- Friday and often take projects home on the weekends. Although your parents helped you select a retirement plan, they asked for their credit card back. You begin to calculate all of your expenses in numbers of hours worked. Pair of shoes = 5 hours of work

21 What if I apply/attend a year or more after graduating? Benefits Earn money for school Earn money for school Gain experience that can help chances for admission Gain experience that can help chances for admission Build skills & knowledge to clarify goals for grad school as well as make you a more competitive applicant Build skills & knowledge to clarify goals for grad school as well as make you a more competitive applicant Possibly work within the profession Possibly work within the profession Relax & refocus Relax & refocus Opportunity to mature more Opportunity to mature more Costs “Use it or lose it” “Use it or lose it” Lost momentum Lost momentum Lack motivation Lack motivation Longer you wait, the longer to finish Longer you wait, the longer to finish Possible weaker ties with references Possible weaker ties with references

22 SENDING APPLICATIONS Step THREE

23 Application Tips Follow directions! Follow directions! Start early! Start early! Follow-up to ensure application is complete Follow-up to ensure application is complete Know the selection procedure for each institution Know the selection procedure for each institution Realize that public schools may have preference for state residents Realize that public schools may have preference for state residents

24 Standardized Tests Which test required Which test required What if tests “recommended” What if tests “recommended” Register in time for score submission Register in time for score submission General and subject exams General and subject exams Time for preparation Time for preparation Retaking Retaking

25 Transcripts Official transcripts required Official transcripts required From EVERY school where you’ve ever taken one or more class From EVERY school where you’ve ever taken one or more class Highlight major or upper-division gpa elsewhere on application/resume if higher than overall gpa (as shown on transcript) Highlight major or upper-division gpa elsewhere on application/resume if higher than overall gpa (as shown on transcript)

26 Recommendation Letters Academic references may carry most weight— usually (depends on type of grad program) Academic references may carry most weight— usually (depends on type of grad program) People who know you well enough to describe specifics about your capabilities, knowledge, experience, academic performance (gpa differntial) People who know you well enough to describe specifics about your capabilities, knowledge, experience, academic performance (gpa differntial) Do not wait till the last moment! Do not wait till the last moment! Update your resume Update your resume Preference of admissions: waive your rights to review (legally you can make either choice) Preference of admissions: waive your rights to review (legally you can make either choice) And more…. And more….

27 Recommendation Letters (cont) How to ask someone to write a letter How to ask someone to write a letter Provide examples of why you though of them Provide examples of why you though of them Get to know them in advance Get to know them in advance Ask what you can provide them (resume, list of programs, etc) Ask what you can provide them (resume, list of programs, etc) Thank you notes Thank you notes Interfolio (option) vs. separate forms via mail Interfolio (option) vs. separate forms via mail

28 Personal Statement and Statement of Purpose Tell your story; your words Tell your story; your words Answer any specific questions specifically! Answer any specific questions specifically! Accurate, grammar, punctuation Accurate, grammar, punctuation Connect your interests/goals to program specifics Connect your interests/goals to program specifics Research faculty interests and discuss Research faculty interests and discuss Articulate career goals clearly Articulate career goals clearly UCS and Writing Center UCS and Writing Center

29 Writing Samples No narratives No narratives Incorporate professors comments Incorporate professors comments If possible, revise with the professor If possible, revise with the professor Relate to your field of study Relate to your field of study One or two project/research papers One or two project/research papers Thesis chapter Thesis chapter

30 Choose Your Path Your personal statement is finished, but you can’t decide on the third letter of recommendation to submit along with your applications. Do you choose the professor who only knows you by your student i.d. # or your former supervisor at Bodo’s. Path A: Choose the professor Path B: Choose your former supervisor

31 Path A: The Prof The faculty admission committee considers the professor you have chosen to write your letter as a respected peer in the field. Unfortunately, since he didn’t know you well enough to report on how you stand out amongst your peers, the recommendation didn’t end up adding much to your application.

32 Path B: The Super The primary difference between applying to undergraduate and graduate programs is the emphasis on a sense of direction on the part of the applicant. Good thing you shared your career aspirations with your supervisor while working together on the late shift!

33 Next Action Steps Will vary Will vary Clarify career goals Clarify career goals Research career fields to determine need for grad school Research career fields to determine need for grad school Appointment with UCS counselor Appointment with UCS counselor Graduate & Professional School Fair (fall) Graduate & Professional School Fair (fall) Print resources in UCS career library Print resources in UCS career library

34 AND FINALLY… ?????QUESTIONS????? POINTERS YOU WANT TO SHARE??


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