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Speak Up and Build a Relationship!

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~Obtaining a letter of recommendation for graduate school can be tough because you have to find professors who will have the time to complete it. It is the middle of the semester where professors are really busy and have little extra time on their hands. Not only is finding professors are an issue, but having them remember you can be an issue as well. The last time I communicated with my old professors were two years ago, so asking them to write a letter for me was a scary process.

If you are planning to attend grad school, have some professors in mind during your junior year. Therefore, you can spend time getting to know them, which will make it easier and much faster for them to write it.  I know sometimes it could be awkward speaking with your professor about things other than classwork and sometimes you don’t care to know your professor outside of the classroom. If you’re that shy person like me and you don’t normally speak to your professors, now it’s that time to CHANGE. You don’t have to know all your professors, just the professors who’ve class you’ve enjoyed. Therefore, you can feel very comfortable with asking them to write you a letter of recommendation in the future.

The graduate school process is such a long process and having professors in mind before your senior year, is a BEST way to begin applying for grad school. Have you thought about which professors you wanted to write you a letter of recommendation?~

Money!!

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Hello. My name is Lindsey, and I am a shopaholic. I know I have a problem, and I am ready to face my consequences: credit card debt. Although I’m not too far in the hole, any kind of debt still freaks me out. Fortunately, I paid my way through my junior college, so my Associate’s Degree hanging on my wall is paid off. (Whew!) My last two years of my Bachelor’s Degree….well that’s another story. That’s why when I think about how I’m going to fund my Master’s Degree my blood pressure rises. About a year ago is when I found out about assistantships for grad students. My blood pressure is now back to normal.
Question: What is an assistantship?
Answer: M O N E Y !!
Graduate schools have different kinds of assistantships where you can trade your time and skills you have acquired during your undergrad for tuition, and sometimes a stipend. For example, one of the grad schools I’m applying to has two options for an assistantship: teaching or research. Dependent on wether or not I get accepted for an assistantship, if I put an extra 20 hours in a week, my Master’s Degree may just be paid, or well on its way to being paid for. Yes, it’s more work while you’re earning your degree, but you can earn it now, or pay it off later. I rather buy a house and more shoes later than be a slave to student loans for the rest of my life.

Want more information on assistantships?? Attend the Graduate School Fair this Thursday, November 3rd from 11-2 in the PAC concourse. This is not a fair for graduate students: freshman, sophomores, and juniors need to attend this fair!

Graduate School Application Process

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Filling out graduate school applications is a long process and it involves time, commitment and dedication. It is a long process that has to be attended to ahead of time. You sit back and say “Oh, I have plenty of time,” but time goes by fast and you realize that you have to begin the process NOW. You have to try to contact your previous professors to see if they have the time to write you a letter of recommendation. Last month I have asked one of my professors to write me a letter of recommendation and I haven’t heard from him since.

Moreover, I am at the stage of writing a personal statement and restructuring my resume. In the beginning, I was unsure of how I should begin my personal statement or even what I should write about. It was tough because I haven’t written one since high school. In addition, certain schools want the essay to be in a certain format, while others require a basic writing sample. I recommend that if you’re at the process of writing your personal essay, you should visit the Career Development Center or visit the CTL.  One of the things I find interesting when applying to graduate school is when you start to feel good about the progress you’ve made. If you are applying to grad school and is not feeling good about it, than maybe you should rethink attending graduate school.  In addition, it’s not too late to attend the Graduate School Fair on November 3rd because you may just discover a new college that interests you.

Don’t Do What I Did…..

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Eggs, whole-grain waffles, peanut butter and coffee. Let me tell you, this is a protein and caffeine-filled breakfast of champions that would make Dr. Oz proud. This protein power punch was my fuel at 6 am in preparation for the GRE at 8 am that same day. I was so “on it” that morning that I even arrived at the testing center at 7:25. After getting through security that could rival an airport, I was sitting at the computer and away I went by 7:30.  After a while, I sensed the first part of the test was loading rather slowly, and the time in between the questions were getting longer. Not ever taking the test before, I figured the time span was created by imagination due to nerves. After leaving for my 10 minute allotted break, I looked at the clock and when I saw that 4 hours had passed for just the first part I finally said something to the proctors. Turns out my software had been completely messed up the whole time I had taken the first portion of the test! I had to sit in the waiting room while they rebooted everything. After that didn’t work, they had to make a call to the GRE gods to see what else they could do to fix my test. My protein punch had worn off. I was tired and hungry, which was not beneficial to finishing the test after everything was finally fixed.

OMG.

What did I learn? To plan ahead. If I would have taken the GRE a lot sooner, I could have opted to come back at a later date to finish and let them work out their bugs. Even better, if I would have taken it earlier, I possibly would have taken the test twice, which would have benefited me by knowing the amount of time it should have taken between particular tests and questions. Don’t let this scare you: this was a one-in-a-million occurrence. Take my experience and please, please, please plan to take your GRE earlier than your last semester in college!

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