Getting Grad School on Your Radar. Career Development Center University of Louisville

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1 Getting Grad School on Your Radar Career Development Center University of Louisville

2 Is grad school right for me? Know why you re going Reasons and expectations Short term and long term benefits Are there cons to going? What are they? Choosing a program Dream schools, good possibilities, and safeties

3 Where in the world should I go to grad school? Start your search early Narrow down regions you may want to live/work in Utilize your resources: UofL Grad School Website Graduate school websites National association websites Your professors

4 Narrow your scope Begin contacting schools of interest Eliminate schools that do not have EXACTLY what you want to do Ask about open houses, and attend the ones you can Get on their website!! (a lot of information is hidden within those pages, so dedicate a lot of time to getting to know the site) Make sure the program meets YOUR needs and YOUR interests

5 Applying Apply to all schools that meet your needs and interests Common application requirements: Transcripts GRE scores Personal Statement Letters of Recommendation

6 The GRE Cost: $150 What s on it: Verbal Reasoning (30 questions 30 minutes) Quantitative Reasoning (28 questions 45 minutes) Analytical Writing 1 Issue Task (45 minutes) 1 Argument Task (30 minutes) Unscored research or 2 nd verbal/quantitative section Buy a study book!

7 The GRE Quantitative Tests you at a high school math level Review basic arithmetic, geometry, algebra, and data analysis Reasoning skills Verbal Test includes: sentence completion, analogies, antonyms, and reading comprehension questions Begin to explore relationships between different parts of sentences Study vocabulary Purchase a GRE study book!!!!!

8 Personal Statements A statement of purpose is usually required Keep it short-about one to two pages Make it personal, but not too detailed Why you want to attend graduate school What you hope to accomplish How you plan to accomplish it Emphasize any research or internship experience Tell the school why they are your number one - don t write a general letter of intent or personal statement

9 Personal Statements As quoted from Director of Law Admissions at UCLA We know you have lots of extracurricular activities we want to know how you differ, what makes you unique? What can you bring to the first year class that's going to make you distinctive from the other 99 people who are already there? The fact that you were active in your fraternity or sorority is really not going to do it. What we're looking for is somebody who, in their personal statement, stands out as being so unusual, so diverse.

10 Personal Statements Top 10 Rules: 1. Strive for depth rather than breadth - narrow focus to one or two key themes, ideas or experiences 2. Try to tell the reader something that no other applicant will be able to say 3. Provide the reader with insight into what drives you 4. Be yourself, not the 'ideal' applicant 5. Get creative and imaginative in the opening remarks, but make sure it's something that no one else could write 6. Address the school's unique features that interest you 7. Focus on the affirmative in the personal statement; consider an addendum to explain deficiencies or blemishes 8. Evaluate experiences rather than describe them 9. Proofread carefully for grammar, syntax, punctuation, word usage, and style 10. Use readable fonts, typeface, and conventional spacing and margins

11 Personal Statements Top 10 Pitfalls: 1. Do not submit an expository resume; avoid repeating information found elsewhere on the application 2. Do not complain or whine about the "system" or circumstances in your life 3. Do not preach to your reader - you can express opinions, but do not come across as fanatical or extreme 4. Do not talk about money as a motivator 5. Do not discuss your minority status or disadvantaged background unless you have a compelling and unique story that relates to it 6. Do not remind the school of its rankings or tell them how good they are 7. Do not use boring clichéd intros or conclusions "Allow me to introduce myself. My name is..." "This question asks me to discuss..." "I would like to thank the admissions committee for considering my application." "It is my sincere hope that you will grant me the opportunity to attend your fine school." "In sum, there are three reasons why you should admit me..." 8. Do not use unconventional and gimmicky formats and packages 9. Do not submit supplemental materials unless they are requested 10. Do not get the name of the school wrong

12 Letters of Recommendation 3 Letters of recommendation for each school Give each writer at least 4-6 weeks notice to write the letter How to get great letters: Choose people who can speak in detail about your work, work ethic, desire to learn and succeed, and your academic/professional capabilities and maturity Schedule an appointment with each reference Give each a copy of your resume and personal statement (for each school) Provide the stamped and addressed envelopes SEND THANK YOU NOTES!!!

13 Applications Complete applications early Most are available online and can be completed ahead of when you mail in your supplemental documents Pay attention to details and specific questions on each application (they are not all the same!) Submit supplemental documents in a timely manner after applying online **Most deadlines are in early/mid spring**

14 Paying For Graduate School What are assistantships? What are fellowships? Can I get student loans for grad school? How do I find out about these opportunities?

15 Paying for Graduate School What are Assistantships? Assistantships typically involve approximately 20 hours of work per week for a professor. Frequently this entails the conduct of research or teaching. In return, you receive a tuition waiver and a monthly stipend (i.e., salary). If you work all year on a 12 month appointment, you also receive paid time off. Medical insurance is also offered, if you hold an assistantship of at least.5 full time equivalent (i.e., 20 hours per week). Assistantships are generally awarded by your program of interest or a specific professor. However, you may also be able to secure an assistantship outside of your academic department. What are Fellowships? Fellowships are similar to undergraduate scholarships. They are typically awarded by a competition and generally do not require work in return for the award. Fellowships provide tuition scholarships and stipends, along with a supplement for purchasing medical insurance. Fellowships may be obtained from your academic department or program, the Graduate School, or an outside entity, such as a government agency or philanthropic foundation. Fellowships are typically awarded to the most competitive applicants. A program will typically consider you for available fellowships when you apply for admission; however, some fellowships may require the completion of a separate application. Selection criteria and processes will vary.

16 Paying for Graduate School Financial Aid If you choose not to apply or do not get an assistantship or fellowship, consider completing a FAFSA application Apply for any scholarships offered - most are competitive, but you won t get them if you don t try!

17 The Career Development Center Houchens Building LL04 (502) Office Hours 9:00am-5:00pm

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