Myths on Graduate School
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Myths on Graduate School



Presentation for undergrads considering graduate study. Debunks myths on what graduate school is and isn't about.

Presentation for undergrads considering graduate study. Debunks myths on what graduate school is and isn't about.



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    Myths on Graduate School Myths on Graduate School Presentation Transcript

    • More Education, More Problems? Debunking the Myths of Graduate & Professional School
      GO-MAP/ECC Graduate and Undergraduate Diversity Mixer
      February 10, 2011
      Kane Hall, Walker Ames Room
      Presentation compiled and adapted by: Sabrina Bonaparte
    • Someone in your family told you to go
      Your best friend is going
      Nothing else to do at the moment
      Doctors get better seats in restaurants
      You aren’t ready to start working for a living
      It’s a good place to meet girls/guys
      Why should you go to Graduate School (Poor Reasons)
    • Why should you go? (Good reasons)
      You have found a subject or discipline that you can’t put out of your mind. If you could, you would work at this 24 hours/day. You can’t get enough of it.
      You have done an undergraduate research project and it was a real turn on.
      You have always wanted to teach at a college/university/community college.
    • More Reasons to Go
      When you encounter a problem, you think about it until you solve it, even if it takes days.
      You want to cure cancer or build the first controlled fusion reactor
      You would prefer to have others working for you, rather than you working for others
    • Should I go straight to grad school or work first?
      Short Answer: IT DEPENDS! (and it’s different for everyone!)
    • Common Graduate Programs That Require Work Experience (at UW)
      Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
      Full time MBA has “preferred” business experience, all others required
      Computer Science Professional Masters Program (MS)
      2-20 years required
      Master of Communication (MC)
      For mid-career professionals
      Executive Masters in Public Administration (MPA)
      For senior managers in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors
    • Most PhD programs do not require work experience (except maybe business)
      What will set you apart is RESEARCH experience
      With a program (McNair, undergraduate research, summer research programs, etc)
      With a professor (paid, unpaid)
      With a graduate student
      What about PhD programs?
    • The Graduate School Application
    • Parts of the Graduate School Application
      GRE/MCAT/LSAT (Standardized tests)
      Writing Sample
      Letters of Recommendation
      Statement of Purpose/Letter of Intent
      Optional Personal Statement
      Portfolio (for some fields)
    • Myth 1: I am the only person who is unfamiliar with the application process
      Reality: MOST people are not familiar with the process. Only those who have friends/family who have been through the process recently or are involved in academia are familiar with it. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help! You’re not the only one!
    • Reality: Graduate school admissions is a holistic process, meaning you will get in based on your complete application. If your GRE scores are a little low, compensate by showing strong writing skills and good letters of recommendation, etc.
      Myth 2: If one part of my application is weak, I will not get in
    • Myth 3: If I have a perfect GRE and GPA I will be guaranteed admission to any graduate program
      Reality: You will only get into programs where the faculty think you will “fit”, meaning you have similar interests with faculty in the department.
      Moral of the story: tailor your personal statement to each school you apply to!
    • Graduate School Myths
    • Myth 1: Grad school is good for anyone
      Reality: Grad school is good for those looking to expand their knowledge
    • Reality: This CAN be true in some STEM fields but is not necessarily true for others. You will not become rich as a professor! Also, keep in mind you may have to take out loans, so the extra money made might not be as much as you think!
      Myth 2: A graduate degree will get me more money
    • Reality: Work experience fixes your resume just as well!
      Myth 3: Grad school will improve my resume
    • Myth 4: A Master’s degree is the ticket to the top
      Reality: It can definitely help put you over the top, but is not a sufficient stand-alone for success
    • Myth 5: It’s all about the degree
      Reality: Even if a degree is a mandatory requirement for a job, you get what you put into your degree. If you don’t work hard and get good letters of recommendation, you just having the degree won’t be enough to get you a job
    • More Common Myths about Graduate School
      Only people with 4.0 averages get in
      Only people with 1600 GRE scores get in
      Graduate classes are just like under-graduate classes only more intense
      If you have a bad grade in any class you will not be accepted
    • You need to be very good at what you do
      You need a “fire in the belly” or passion for your chosen field
      Graduate classes are unlike undergraduate classes; a different skill set is required and must be developed for success
      Drive and motivation counts as much or more than native intelligence (having both is nice, of course)
      The Reality of Graduate School
    • Master’s degree, 1-2 years of FT study
      Plan A (Thesis master’s)
      Plan B (Coursework master’s)
      Professional master’s (MBA, MPH, etc. Some programs require a thesis or capstone project)
      Professional doctoral degree (MD, JD, PharmD, etc.), time is variable
      Research doctoral degree (PhD), typically 4-7 years of study
      Some doctoral programs require a master’s along the way, others don’t
      Quick Overview: Levels of Graduate Study
    • ECC (
      EIP (
      GO-MAP (
      McNair (
      LSAMP (
      Undergraduate Research Program (
      Where can I get help on campus?
    • Citations
      Much of this PowerPoint was adapted from Applying to Graduate School: Myths and Realities (ppt) by Dr. Jim Henkel and Dr. Harold Bibb
      Grad School 101: The Truth About the Top Six Grad School Myths by Tiffany Monhollon