Applying to Graduate Programs and intro to
What’s in the application packet?
• General GRE (some also want a subject
• Personal statement/statement of purpose
• Research Summary
• Letters of Recommendation
Extremely expensive from
Princeton review! $900 and up!
Kaplan also has prep classes,
these classes are around
Worth a try! Will help you gauge
what areas you need to focus
studying and its FREE!!
GRE Test Prep Tips
from US News
Go Back To High School!
– Many of the math concepts come from high school geometry and algebra, a good
review book will help!
Sleep with your dictionary!
– The vocabulary on the GRE is much more advanced than the SAT. Read read read as
much as possible and find a Kaplan or Princeton Review vocabulary review book!
Take a tough English class!
– If you still have time, challenge yourself with an advanced college level English class.
This is assist you with your analytical writing skills and comprehension.
If you can afford it…Take a Prep Class!
– Whether its through Princeton Review, Kaplan, or a course available at a local college
Don’t like your score? Take it again!
– The GRE is offered several times during the week/day! If you don’t like you’re initial
score, study again and take it again. This is why it is advised to take the test early, just
incase you want a retake!
Dr. Blakey’s Advice
• Discuss research experience, expectations, career goals
• State who you would like to work for and display an aptitude for
the type of research taking place at the university
• Display a passion for science and a vision for where you see
the field progressing over the next couple of years
• Show how past experiences have driven their personal goals
and how those experiences will help in graduate school
• DO NOT include personal hardships
• DO NOT make general statements
Research Summary vs Personal
• Research Summary
– Detailed scientific accomplishments
• Personal Statement
– Educational scientific experience
– College experiences
– How your interest in science began
• What is it?
– A short (30 sec or less) introduction including
career/career goals and research interests.
• Why is it important
– Quickly inform others, helps them care about
• Others are your audience: Friends, Family, Peers,
• May be very different in different situations
– Speech you give to your new neighbor will be
different than the one you give at an ACS
conference which will be different that the one
you give at the company you are interviewing with
• Who you are
– “My name is ____.”
• Where you are now
– “I’m earning my ___ degree at ___ University.” “I will be graduating with
a ___ in ___”
• What you’re doing
– “I have been working/exploring/investigating ____ with ____.
• What you want to be doing
– “ I am interested in ___ which offers ___ after I graduate. “
• Difference between what you can say at a conference or job
interview versus family or neighbors.
• “I am a scientist, I’m working on designing new tools for building
molecules” versus “My focus is organic methodology specifically
catalyst design and optimization for sp2 C-H functionalization”