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Preparing for Graduate School. Presented by: Patty Dang, M.S. Career Development Services Counselor. Learning Outcomes. Identify two reasons to attend graduate school Summarize how to select and prepare for graduate school tests

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preparing for graduate school
Preparing for Graduate School

Presented by: Patty Dang, M.S.

Career Development Services Counselor

learning outcomes
Learning Outcomes
  • Identify two reasons to attend graduate school
  • Summarizehow to select and prepare for graduate school tests
  • Estimatehow far in advance a letter of recommendation should be requested
  • List the important things to consider when writing a statement of purpose

Why Graduate School?

Graduate School Resources

Application Process


When Should You Attend Graduate School?

  • Things to consider for graduate school
  • Reasons for attending graduate school
  • Graduate School Bound Program
  • Graduate School preparation resources online and at Career Development Services
  • Timeline for graduate school application
  • What materials are needed to submit your application?
  • How far in advance should you request a letter of recommendation?
  • Which test to take?
  • How important are the scores?
  • When should you take the tests?
  • How do you prepare?
  • Immediately after graduation
  • After some work experience
  • During your entry-level career
why graduate school
Why Graduate School?

Things to consider…

  • Going to graduate school is a major commitment of time and money and you really have to be sure before beginning.
  • What are your specific reasons for attending graduate school?
  • Graduate school should NOT be a default option because you don’t know what to do or you can’t find full-time work after graduation.
  • 3 Good reasons to attend Graduate School:
  • Career Goal, Compensation & Staying Marketable
reason 1 career goal
Reason #1Career Goal
  • Earning a graduate degree that leads to a specific career goal (Doctor, Lawyer, Psychologist and Teacher)
  • Not all careers need advanced degree to be successful (Computer Science, IT/Networking, Business, Marketing, Communications etc.)
reason 2 compensation
Reason #2Compensation
  • On average, MOST people with advanced degrees earn more than people with a bachelor's degree
  • Making more money shouldn’t be the only reason.
  • There are plenty of Bachelor’s degrees you could select that make more money than some careers that require an advanced degree
reason 3 staying marketable
Reason #3Staying Marketable
  • Career Advancement and promotions
  • Professional Development
  • Moving towards supervisory or executive roles
  • Improving skills and obtaining needed competencies (Series 7 License)
graduate school resources
Graduate School Resources

Graduate School Bound Program

  • 6 session that will go over testing, application process, financial aid, writing a personal statement or statement of purpose, and graduate school research in a hands on approach
career development services
Career Development Services

Graduate School Counseling

  • Individual one-on-one counseling to cover a single graduate school topic
  • Requires the student to complete a large portion of research and homework before meeting with a counselor
  • To make an appointment, please call or email the Career Center
career development services1
Career Development Services

Graduate & Professional School Handbook

  • Guide to help you get started
  • Basic information on the application process
  • Provides a list of resources
career development services2
Career Development Services

Eureka& Career Cruising

  • Online resource that can help you locate and research graduate school programs
  • Contact information to programs universities and admission advisors.
career development services3
Career Development Services

Weekly Resume Clinic and Drop-In Counseling

  • Polishing or critiquing your resume for graduate school application
  • Answer quick questions
  • Help you get started on the graduate school application process
annual programs events
Annual Programs & Events
  • Graduate School Bound Program
  • Mock Interviews
  • Graduate School Panel
  • Graduate & Professional School Fair
  • Graduate & Professional School Week

Which test should I take?

  • Depends on the graduate program & university/college
  • Most students will need the GRE
  • LSAT – Law School
  • MCAT- Medical School
  • GMAT – Business Schools
  • Check with program requirements found on application website



  • Self- Study (ETS website, test books)
  • Graduate School preparation classes (community college courses)
  • Private test-prep schools (Kaplan)
  • ETS Website – free
  • Test books ($10-$30)
  • Test-Prep classes ($150-$500)
  • Private test-prep ($500-several thousands)
application process timeline
Application Process Timeline


  • Select programs and schools of interests (takes 3-4weeks to 2-6 months depending on the person)
    • Find out about prerequisites
    • What is the application requirements
    • Should start around February-July of the previous year you plan on starting your program (Research Feb 2012 to be admitted in Fall 2013or 8-10 months prior to the application deadline)
  • Visit the school’s website
    • Do you like the courses or curriculum?
    • Who are the professors? What kind of specialty or research?
    • Does the program and school’s mission align with yours?
application process timeline1
Application Process Timeline


  • Study for exam (May-August 2012 for Fall 2013)
    • Plan for a possible retest. If you test early and don’t meet the requirments for your desired program you can re-take the exam.
  • Pay & Schedule ETS exam 3weeks-2months prior to exam day
    • Exams fill-up quickly, you don’t want to wait until there is only a few days or a week before you take the test to register.
    • Tests are not offered every week, check exam dates at early
  • Take the Exam (July-September 2012 for Fall 2013)
    • If you need to re-take the exam it should not be later than November.
    • You need to consider when applications are due since results take 4-8 weeks to report
application process timeline2
Application Process Timeline

Letters of Recommendation

  • Contact Professors and Supervisors 3-6 months prior to the application deadline
  • Producing a well written letter representing you in a positive way is cultivated from communicating your educational goals to your letter writer
  • Provide Summary & Transcripts
    • Don’t assume your letter writers know and remember everything about your career and educational goals.
    • Remind them why you are interested in your chosen program and school.
  • Request letters 6-8 weeks in advance
    • Good letter writing takes time. Faculty and supervisors are busy people, if you give them a really short deadline it shows you didn’t prepare in advance.
application process timeline3
Application Process Timeline

Statement of Purpose/Personal Statement

  • Research program and school
    • If you understand the program and school’s goals and missions you can reflect in your essay writing both your interest and fit
    • Start taking notes and identifying what are the program goals, missions, student learning outcomes 6-8 months prior to the application deadline
  • Write Rough Draft
    • It is a common mistake to wait for the last few weeks before your application deadline before writing your essay(s)
    • Essay writing for graduate application is complex and needs several reviews
    • After extensive research on the program and school begin your draft 4-6 months prior to the application deadline
  • Review & Edit by friends, professionals and faculty
    • Feedback from multiple people is best
    • CDS reviews and edits both content and grammar (takes 3-7 reviews)
application process timeline4
Application Process Timeline

Attend Graduate & Professional School Fairs

  • Meet with Enrollment Advisors
    • Get tips, additional help and your questions answered
    • Find out if your test results makes you a competitive candidate for the program, or if you need to retake the exam.
  • 9th Annual Graduate & Professional School Fair
    • Thursday November 8, 2012 from 10am – 2pm (Fall Only)
  • Graduate & Professional School Panel
    • Learn from Admission Advisors and current graduate students what it takes to get accepted and be successful in your graduate program.
application process timeline5
Application Process Timeline

Submit Your Application

  • Applications are usually submitted between December 15-Jan 15
    • Each program at each school is different, check application deadlines directly from the program department
  • Send your application 1-2 weeks early
    • Mistakes happen: missing document(s), application sent to the wrong department on campus, transcripts lost in the mail
    • If you send your application early you can easily remedy most issue(s) within 1-2 weeks so you don’t lose the opportunity to apply.
  • Interview requests occur 1-3 months after the application deadline
  • Acceptance letters are sent 3-6 months after the application deadline

If you are unsure about anything, check with the Admissions Counselors or program department.


Resources to help you …

Career Development Services: Website

Career Steps on CDS Website: Career Steps

4-year Career Compass Guide: Career Compass

Detailed Listing of Workshops & Events: Schedule

Exploring Majors: College Majors 101, Myplan,

What Can I Do With My Major


Preparing For Graduate School Survey

Thank You!


Please feel free to come by the Career Center for Drop-in Counseling held every Thursday

at 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

from September 13, 2012 – November 29, 2012

Amanda Carpenter, M.S.Coordinator of Career Development Services &

Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo Institute Internship ProgramCalifornia State University Channel Islands Bell Tower 1527(805) 437-3565 (office)amanda.carpenter@csuci.eduCareer Development CenterCalifornia State University Channel Islands Bell Tower 1548(805) 437-3270 (office)(805) 437-8899 (fax)

Patty Dang

Career Development Services CounselorCalifornia State University Channel Islands Bell Tower 1548(805) 437-3270 (office)(805) 437-8899 (fax)