So, You Want to Go to Grad School?


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A Stand-Alone Instructional Resource (STAIR) for students to learn more about the process to apply to graduate school, intended for undergraduate students.

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So, You Want to Go to Grad School?

  1. 1. So, You Want to Go to GradSchool? A Stand-Alone Instructional Resource By Andrew Murray
  2. 2. Purpose This resource will acquaint you with the five main pieces of information that most graduate schools use when admitting students When prompted, choose the option that best matches you!
  3. 3. The “Fab Five” In order to be competitive on your graduate school applications, it is essential to consider the following factors: 1. GPA (grade point average) 2. GRE (Graduate Records exam) 3. Letters of Recommendation 4. Personal Statement 5. Internship/Research Experience
  4. 4. Grade Point Average Grades are important, as they are a long term indicator of how well you perform as a student They reflect your motivation and your ability to do consistent and successful academic work Admissions committees not only look at your GPA, but also at your major GPA as well as your cumulative (overall) score Many grad schools will expect a 3.0 or better GPA for admission, although the specific requirements often differ
  5. 5. Grade Point Average“My GPA is where it “I think I can make my should be to be GPA better before I competitive” apply to grad school”
  6. 6. How do I make my GPAbetter? Success on your transcript is all about working hard IN and OUT of the classroom Tips:  In class: Take notes, ask questions, talk to your professor before/after class  Out of class: Form study groups, visit your professor during office hours, use academic resources on campus (Writing Center, Academic Learning Center, Academic Advisors, etc.)
  7. 7. Graduate Records Exam(GRE) Prospective graduate school applicants from all around the world take the GRE GRE scores are used by admissions or fellowship panels to supplement your undergraduate records, recommendation letters and other qualifications for graduate-level study The GRE assesses the kinds of thinking (verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing) you’ll do in graduate school to show you are ready for the rigors of a professional education
  8. 8. Graduate Records Exam (GRE) “I am prepared for  “I need more the GRE and don’t information on the have any questions” GRE… what’s my next step?”
  9. 9. More Info on the GRE  GRE home page, a great place to start! /prepare  Free test prep materials!
  10. 10. Letters of Recommendation A well-written recommendation letter provides admissions committees with information that isnt found elsewhere in the application A recommendation letter is a detailed discussion, from a faculty member, of the personal qualities, accomplishments, and experiences that make you unique and perfect for the programs to which youve applied It’s important to consider your letter writers carefully and give them plenty of time to write, as these letters are essential to entrance into your graduate program You’ll need at least three (3) letters!
  11. 11. Letters of Recommendation “I already know three  “I have no idea who great faculty could write my letters. members / job How do I choose a supervisors that can letter writer?” write effective letters on my behalf”
  12. 12. What You Need to Know About:Letters of Recommendation How do I choose my letter writers?  Choose faculty members or job supervisors with whom you have lots of productive and positive experience  Don’t be afraid to ask, “Do you feel you can write me a strong letter of reference? Make writing the letter “easy”  Provide all necessary information and materials  Resume  Questions or topics to discuss  Addressed envelopes with stamps  Timeline for completion  Give your letter writers time  Your writers are busy… give them at least a month to craft and send your letters
  13. 13. Personal Statement Graduate programs will often assign specific topics that applicants must address in writing their personal statement The graduate admissions essay is a critical part of the graduate application because it is through this essay that applicants speak directly to the committee and demonstrate their unique fit to the program
  14. 14. Personal Statement “I’ve already written  “I would like to my statement and learn more about consulted with how to write the writing best personal professionals… I’m statement I can… good to go!” who can I talk to?”
  15. 15. More Info on: PersonalStatement Use your resources on campus:  Talk to faculty members / academic advisors  Writing “professionals”  The Writing Center  Faculty with credentials in writing/language
  16. 16. Research / InternshipExperience Internships and research experiences allow you to express your passion and learn more about issues in your chosen field that interest you! Internships and research experience bolster your resume for grad school and future employers, and allow you to gain practical knowledge that textbooks cannot provide
  17. 17. Research / InternshipExperience “I already have two or  “I have less than two more years of work years experience. experience in the field Where can I pursue related to my this experience? What program… I’m all set!” resources might be available to me?”
  18. 18. Research / Internships:Resources! Research:  Typically, your professors are scholars in your major and are conducting research… consult them, or the academic department, to become a research assistant Internships:  Career Services or Service Learning are great places to start Both:  Your academic advisor can connect you a lot of these resources!
  19. 19. Beginning the Journey At this point, you now have the knowledge needed to begin the application process Be sure to refer to the school’s website for specific requirements Give yourself time to apply! Don’t rush! Finally, utilize your academic advisor and favorite faculty members… they’d love to help you!
  20. 20. For a Refresher… GPA GRE Letters of Recommendation Personal Statement Research / Internship Experience Back to the Beginning How do I contact the author of this presentation?
  21. 21. Thank You! For more information on this presentation, please contact: Andrew Murray Michigan State University