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Graduate School 101. How to apply and survive while avoiding common pitfalls. Why might someone want to go to grad school?. Grad school is not for everyone. What should you ask yourself to determine if it’s right for you ? What type of career am I seeking?

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Graduate school 101

Graduate School 101

How to apply and survive while avoiding common pitfalls.


Why might someone want to go to grad school
Why might someone want to go to grad school?

  • Grad school is not for everyone.

  • What should you ask yourself to determine if it’s right for you?

    • What type of career am I seeking?

    • What are the degrees required for this career in my field?

    • Where do I see myself in five to ten years?


Why should someone choose to go to grad school
Why should someone choose to go to grad school?

  • To learn more

  • To enhance his or her marketability

  • To obtain a particular job after graduation


Reasons not to go to grad school
Reasons NOT to go to Grad School

  • It is your default decision if you don’t find a job.

    • Caviat: largely depends on the state of the economy

  • You are burnt out on school when you graduate.

  • You want to put those coveted letters after your name.

  • You want to be called “Dr. (your name here) ”.


Advanced degrees pros and cons
Advanced Degrees: Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Become more specialized within your field  overqualified for some jobs  limited employment

(Potentially) accrue more loans in lieu of pursuing advanced degree

Can often earn much higher salary in industry

  • Become more specialized within your field  more expertise (valuable knowledge)

  • Can defer undergrad loan payments upon proof of full-time enrollment in graduate program

  • Can be paid to go to school


So i think i want to be a grad student
So I think I want to be a grad student…

Application Process:How to manage your time and optimize your success!


Application timeline

Application Timeline

Application Timeline


Beginning application process
Beginning Application Process

  • Decide what type of program you want to apply to

    • ME: Master of Engineering, basically just take more classes in your interest (no thesis, but maybe final project)

    • MS: Master of Science, take classes and do research (thesis)

    • PhD: Doctor of Philosophy, some classes, but lots of research

  • Decide on ~4 (realistic) schools

  • Don’t overload yourself!

  • Determine requirements and make a spreadsheet of what each school wants and when it’s due.


Standardized tests
Standardized Tests

  • Most common: GRE

    • Verbal Reasoning (800 pts, minor trig, no calculus)

    • Quantitative Reasoning (800 pts, large vocab words, written by walking dictionaries)

    • Analytical Writing (meh…)

    • Shoot for around 1300

    • Can take GRE once every 30 days, but not more than 5 or 6 times a year.

  • Others: GMAT, LSAT, MCAT


Application materials
Application Materials

  • Transcripts (degree-granting institution and transfer credit institutions)

  • Reference letters (at least 3)

    • Professors

    • Bosses

    • Organization faculty sponsors

  • Statement of Purpose

  • Other essays may be required, depending on school and program applying to.


Funding
Funding

  • If doing research for the university, you can be considered an employee or staff.

    • RA: Research Assistantship (usually given by a professor who will fund you to work for him/her)

    • GA: Graduate Assistantship (could be given by a professor, but usually involves more departmental duties, i.e. maintaining department computer networks, being a grader for a class, etc.)

    • TA: Teaching Assistantship

      • May be given to students in ME as well as students in MS or PhD

      • Requires some form of teaching and grading assignments

  • All typically involve tuition remission as well as some form of health insurance.


Funding continued
Funding (continued)

  • Fellowships are packages of funding, usually nationally-awarded

  • Some departmental or university-wide fellowships exist as well

  • Advantages of fellowships

    • Typically larger stipend than assistantships

    • Independent funding

      • Choose your own research

      • Not tied to a specific professor or grant

    • Health insurance and sum of money to be used to travel expenses (conferences, etc.)


Preparation starts as early as freshman year
Preparation Starts as Early as Freshman Year

  • Objective: gain as much experience as possible to make yourself as marketable as possible before applying to grad school

  • Things that selection committees like to see

    • Solid GPA (at least 3.0, 3.5 or above is preferable)

      • Various schools will post the stats (GRE and GPA) for previous successful applicants on their website.

    • Involvement in student organizations (like SWE!)

    • Volunteerism (like Girl Scout Day, Habitat for Humanity, etc.)

    • Undergraduate research of some kind

    • Internships (especially research-based)

    • Study abroad

    • Anything that shows you are a proactive, responsible, intelligent person!


Resources
Resources

  • Undergrad research opportunities

    • http://essap.tamu.edu/usrg/

    • http://www.cse.tamu.edu/reu

    • http://cyclotron.tamu.edu/reu/reu2011.php

  • Fellowships

    • http://www.gradschools.com/article-detail/graduate-fellowships-1676

    • http://graduateschool.ufl.edu/files/nsf-grfp-2012.pdf

      • NSF-GRFP

  • Statements of Purpose

    • http://www.statementofpurpose.com/colleges.html

    • http://www.graduatingengineer.com/higher-education/20021120/The-Statement-of-Purpose

  • GRE prep

    • http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/about?WT.ac=grehome_about_b_121009

    • Fun games!

      • http://gre.tyrannosaurusprep.com/Vocabulary/Quiz-Games

      • http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/vocabmania.htm


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