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GREady: Get Ready for Graduate School

Do you want to attend graduate school? If the answer is yes, shift the gear in drive. This blog will help you 1) stay informed about graduate programs, 2) decide on graduate schools, 3) apply for graduate schools (including the GRE and personal statements), 4) prepare for interviews, 5) find funding and lots more. Although this site cannot guarantee a masters or doctoral position, it does promise that you will be a very competitive candidate for your desired program!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Quote of the Week (04/29/06-05/-05/05/06)



"Each time someone stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. "
--Robert F. Kennedy

Anatomy of a Résumé

In addition to test scores, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and application fees, graduate school programs will also require a résumé detailing your education, extracurricular activities, awards, research, etc.. Programs such as Microsoft Word ® have résumé wizards that can aid you in the formation of your own personalized résumé.

Resumes should have all or nearly all of the following sections:

-Summary (also called a Background Summary)
-Job History with descriptions (reverse chronological order)
-Education and Continuing Education
-Awards/Scholarships/Honors
-Special Skills
-Presentations
-Publications
-Conferences
-Research
-Summer Programs and/or Internships

Summary- This section is not necessarily required in your graduate school résumé. If included, summary should state a brief description of skills and research interests.

Job History- This section should only include jobs that are pertinent to graduate school, such as tutoring, teaching, researching, etc.. However, you may choose to list unrelated jobs if your grades are low and wish to highlight and explain why (i.e. had to take on numerous jobs to pay school bills) later in your personal statement and need résumé as supporting evidence.

Education- This section should list the degree earned and institution you attended. Also, be sure to write G.P.A. and if you received honors. If continuing education classes were taken, write which field classes were listed under.

Awards/Scholarships/Honors – List these in different headings under this and place them in chorological order.

Special Skills – List any skills that you have gained while researching that may set you apart from other candidates.

Research – Write where and when research was conducted. Also, include the major research advisor.

Summer Programs and/or Internships – Please see research.

Below are two examples of résumés. Please note that résumés typically do not go beyond the first page; however, in case it does be sure to write your last name and the page number in the right hand corner so that they program knows it is more than one page. The below résumés are to be used only as examples and are not to be copied. Remember the graduate school program wants to hear about you and your accomplishments. Final Note: Do Not Even Think About Falsifying Any Information As This Could Led To Serious Consequences To Your Graduate School Career.

NAME
Address
E-mail


Education
University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Bachelor of Science, cum laude, May 2006
o Major: Chemistry Minor: Biology
o GPA: 3.472/4.
Honors/Scholarships/ Awards
· Students of Excellence Award, Spring 2005 and Spring 2006
· Dean’s List for Academic Excellence, Spring 2004 and Fall 2004
· Simpson Scholarship, Fall 2003- present
· Sorenson Scholarship, Fall 2003
· American Indians into Science and Engineering Society Scholarship, Fall 2002-May 2003
· Bureau of Indian Affairs Scholarship, Fall 2002-present
Research Experience
· Research Experience for Undergraduates Program, 2005
o Faculty Mentor(s): Richard Hart, Ph.D., and Gary Bufford, Department of Chemical Engineering,
University of California-Davis
o Research Project:
“Polymers Used For Synthetic Tissue.”
· McNair Scholars Program, 2003-2004
o Faculty Mentor: Kim Liu, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
o Research Project: “D-serine Detoxification.”
· Native Americans into Medicine, Summer 2002-2003
o Center for American Indian and Minority Health, School of Medicine, University of Minnesota-Duluth
o Research Project:
“Myocardial Infarction.”
· High School Super Star Program, Summer 2000-2001
o Faculty Mentor(s): M. Sid, Ph.D., Department of Biochemistry, University of Minnesota
o Research Project:
“The Effect of Copper (II) sulfate on Coliforms found in Lake Superior.”
Publications
· Smith, Jane. & Liu, Kim. (2004). D-serine Detoxification.
The McNair’s Scholars Journal of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 5, p.1-13.
Foreign Language Skills
· German, 1997-present
Organizations
· American Indians into Science and Engineering Society, 2002-present
· Alpha-Mu Gamma Foreign Language Honors Society, 2003-present
· Students of Science Organization, 2002-present
· Honors Program, 2003-present
o Earned 12+ honor credits in Chemistry
Presentations
· The McNair’s Scholar 6th Annual Poster Session of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, October 4, 2005, Superior, Wisconsin
· The Research Experience for Undergraduates Program in Chemistry of the University of California-Davis, August 4, 2005, Davis, CA.
· The Committee on Institutional Cooperation SROP 2005 Conference, July 15-17, Madison, Wisconsin
· The 13th National Ronald E. McNair Scholars Research Conference, November 5-7, 2004, Delavan, Wisconsin







Friday, April 28, 2006

Do You Want To Go To Graduate School?

Perhaps you are sophomore in college or a laboratory assistant in a pharmaceutical company and have been pondering about whether or not to apply to graduate school. The decision to apply and later attend graduate school is a life altering experience and could very well be the biggest decision of your career. Chances are, since you have clicked on this blog, you have seriously given this some thought and only need a little more information to make the final commitment.

First of all I would like to briefly mention that I cannot tell you how many times I have heard potential graduate applicants state that “four to six years is too much time” or simply that they are “too old to try.” These types of negative thoughts can only dim your desire to apply for a short while and leave you later with the question , “what if I had taken the chance?”. You must ask yourself if not applying is worth giving up hope of a better future. A friend of mine told me that the best way to think about it is that odds are in six years you will still be six years older unless you have found a youth elixir, if this is the case, could you share your secret with me? So, would you rather be six years older or six years older with your masters or doctoral degree?

Before applying to graduate school, some other points to consider are the following:

1) Do You Have A Family? An immediate family is a huge factor in going to graduate school. This is especially so if you have children. They, as well as yourself, will have to make a lot of sacrifices such as moving to a new city or maybe even new state, financials, and time commitments. Also, this is a huge factor if you have elderly parents that you are caring for. You will have to make some arrangements if your parents are not able to take full care of themselves for long periods of time, such arrangements should be a part-time care giver. Make sure to have a family meeting to see how the rest of your family reacts to you attending graduate school.

2) Are You Prepared For Long Hours Of Studying? The first two years of a doctoral program are often the hardest. You will be expected to devote a large portion of your time studying for core classes and later for taking qualifying exams. Some universities suggest that when you are preparing for qualifying exams that you might want to attend the core classes again so that they will jog your memory.

3) Do You Like To Research? Right now, you are probably saying to yourself, “Duh, of course I like researching otherwise I would not even be interested in applying to graduate school.” However, some applicants do not realize how integral this is to graduate school. The majority of your graduate school career will be focused on researching, which means long hours in a laboratory and/or libraries. Also, you will have to be prepared to give monthly talks on your research and defend it in front of a committee.

4) What Will You Do With Your Final Degree? This is somewhat far in your future but is worthy of serious thought. Once you have your degree, what do you do with? You must be sure that the job market is favorable for those with masters or doctoral degrees in your field.

5) Is There Funding? One of my friends, who applied to a doctoral program in history, had to take out numerous loans to cover her tuition, books, apartment, and other living costs. This can get very expensive pretty fast. Before applying, see what the graduate school program offers in terms of teaching assistants, research assistants, fellowships, grants and scholarships. Also, check online and at your own university to see if graduate school funding is offered to alumni.

6) Is This What You Really Want? Taking points 1-5 into consideration, try to picture yourself 10-15 years from now. What are you doing? What is your life like? Has your life improved? If you see a favorable picture, you know graduate school is definitely in your horoscope.

Bulking Up Your Credentials: Summer Programs #2


National Institutes of Health Research Opportunities- Includes both high school and undergraduate summer research. Undergraduate research centers on biomedical study. In addition to having a United States citizen status, applicants must be an undergraduate at an accredited university and enrolled at least half time. The program lasts approximately 8 weeks and summer program candidates usually arrive at the N.I.H. in May or June. The stipends for trainees are adjusted yearly, with supplements for prior experience. For current stipend information, click here. Applications are accepted from November 15 to March 1.

Summer Honors Undergraduate Research Program at Harvard University- - The Division of Medical Sciences administers the research training programs for PhD students in the biomedical sciences at Harvard Medical School. The Program is offered for college students from under-represented groups who are seriously considering research careers in the bio-medical sciences. Summer research opportunities will be available in a variety of biological and biomedical sciences including (but not limited to): cellular and developmental biology, cell cycle regulation, cardiac and vascular functions and pathology, studies of blood cells, endocrinology, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, receptor structure and functions, transmembrane signaling mechanisms, study of clotting mechanisms, and virology. Room, board and health insurance are provided by Harvard University. The program lasts for 10 weeks and students are paid $390/week.

The SURE Program- The Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Emory (SURE) allows undergraduate students to conduct supervised research with a faculty mentor. Students receive training in the research methods applicable to their research plan, analyze their data and create written and oral presentations of their results. At the end of the summer, each participant takes part in a formal research symposium. Panels of faculty and graduate students help explore mentoring issues, and make recommendations on how to choose a graduate program and how to balance work and family responsibilities. Speakers address their own involvement in science careers and the requirements for success in their fields. Weekly ethics discussions allow students to explore the ethical aspects of research careers. Awards for popular science essays [optional submission] and scientific posters are made at the end of the program. Approved posters and essays will be published through the program web site.
SURE is sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, by individual contributions by research mentors, and supplemented by funds from an NIH training grant to the Microbiology and Immunology Department. Our program ethics component was developed in part through NSF/REU award from the National Science Foundation.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Undergraduate Curriculum: Testing Out of Courses

More often than not college students graduate in 5-6 years, which is due to the number of classes needed to complete their bachelor degree. Somewhere in their hectic schedule of taking major and minor classes, they need to find to time to fulfill those general education (gen. eds.) requirements. Testing out of classes is increasing in popularity and is especially helpful in eliminating gen. eds.. Courses that students are usually able to test out of are Freshman English I and II, language classes, survey literature courses, and introductory courses. Testing agencies that offer the above are The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) and Dantes Subject Standardized Tests (DSST). The CLEP test costs about $55.00, while the DSST is $60.00. Also, the university administering the test might require an additional processing fee, which usually is around $15.00. Although CLEP and DSST expenses seem exorbitant, keep in mind that taking the actual course will cost lots more. Besides, what is graduating in 4 years worth? Before taking any of these tests, make sure to contact the registrar’s department and/or program department to affirm that you will receive credit and study, study, study. So if you are looking to shed some of those added college years, click on the following sites:

About CLEP

Register for CLEP

Military CLEP

About DSST

DSST Courses

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What to do if you are waitlisted

Some graduate school programs have waitlist candidates that they feel will fit nicely with their program. If graduate school programs’ do not entice their top choices, they will often offer admission spots to those on the waitlist. Graduate programs might not even notify a candidate that he/she is on a waitlist and many times candidates never know. The tell tale signs that you have been waitlisted is if you have been waiting to hear back from your graduate school program for over a month and/or if you cannot seem to get a definitive answer from the graduate school coordinator or committee. If you believe that you have been waitlisted, do not delay but act so that the graduate program will absolutely know what a wonderful candidate you are and that it simply cannot go on without you. Here are following tips to use if you believe you are on a waitlist:

1) Send a new and current transcript. If your new semester grades are in (most likely fall), send it to the graduate school and graduate program. If there is any unique class you took, such as a graduate school level course, be sure to stress this.
2) Send another letter of recommendation. Perhaps you are conducting a new research project with a faculty member; let the graduate program know through a letter or recommendation. The more faculty members that support you, the better your chances of admission are.
3) Talk with faculty members from the graduate program. Before contacting faculty, read at least one paper he/she wrote so that you can meaningfully discuss his/her research. Faculty love to discuss their pet projects. Once you feel comfortable in conversing and it is at the end of the meeting, you can tell him/her that you are on a waitlist for that program. It is possible that he/she has enough academic weight to get you an admissions offer.
4) Programs. If you are involved in any summer research programs and internships, write the program a letter. This will strengthen the research experience you have in the field. Experience is highly valued in applying to graduate programs.
5) Awards. Receiving any accolades? Tell the program. This boosts credentials and shows the graduate program that you are an emerging leader and will contribute vastly to the program.
6) Apply for outside funding. If you have received outside funding, send the information on to the graduate school program. Faculty members as well as the graduate program committee are more willing to accept someone with funding so they are not dependent upon the funding from research grants like other potential graduate candidates.


Basically, you want to reinforce why the graduate program should accept you, demonstrate that you are a perfect fit for the program and school, address any concerns that the program might have raised about you, and present a polished and mature look. Remember as long as you are waitlisted, there is still a chance for you to win the graduate program over!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

GRE Questions of the Week (04/25/06-05/01/06)

Verbal:

Judge: Gavel

A) Veterinarian: Animal
B) Lawyer: Papers
C) Surgeon: Patient
D) Dentist: Drill
E) Student: Grade


Math:

If the area of a circle is equal to 146m^2, what is the diameter of that circle?

A) 13.6 m
B) 15.1 m
C) 23.2 m
D) 114.5 m
E) 229.3 m

Friday, April 21, 2006

Quote of the Week (04/21/06-04/27/06)



"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."
---John Wesley

Results to GRE Questions of the Week (04/13/06-04/20/06)

Verbal:

Correct answer is (B). (A), (C), (E) are all synonyms. (D) is an antonym but is not used in the right context.

Math:

Correct answer is (C). A right triangle always consists of a right angle, which is 90 degrees. Since we know that a second angle is 33 degrees, we can find the third angle.
180 degrees (in triangle) = 90 + 33 + x
180 = 123 + x
57 = x

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bulking Up Your Credentials: Summer Research Programs


It seems like more and more programs expect that students have had a least one undergraduate research experience. Many universities will allow students to work with faculty members either through work study or through an individual agreement. However, it is extremely important to understand that you must diversify your experiences and that the more opportunities you seek, the bigger the edge you will have over other candidates. Some summer programs to consider are listed below:

Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program – This program is dedicated to the astronaut and physicist Ronald McNair, who tragically died in the Challenger accident. It is specifically designed for juniors entering their senior year in an undergraduate program. The primary focus is to see minority and/or first generation college students earn their undergraduate degree and pursue higher education in the form of a master’s or doctoral degree. However, in rare cases sophomores are accepted. Depending upon the undergraduate facility, you will either be assigned or decide which faculty member in your field to research with. Also, you will be expected to design a project or continue to research the faculty member’s current project. The McNair Scholars Program typically lasts 10 weeks and involves writing a research paper, including an abstract, which will be published in the university’s McNair journal. A stipend of around $2,000 is also given. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to present your research project in an oral or poster format at the National McNair Scholars Conference.

Research Experience for Undergraduates Program- The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation. REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects designed especially for the purpose. This solicitation features two mechanisms for support of student research: (1) REU Sites are based on independent proposals to initiate and conduct projects that engage a number of students in research. REU Sites may be based in a single discipline or academic department, or on interdisciplinary or multi-department research opportunities with a coherent intellectual theme. Proposals with an international dimension are welcome. A partnership with the Department of Defense supports REU Sites in DoD-relevant research areas. (2) REU Supplements may be requested for ongoing NSF-funded research projects or may be included as a component of proposals for new or renewal NSF grants or cooperative agreements. Undergraduate student participants in either Sites or Supplements must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. Most individual REU programs require students to be of junior status. A stipend or around $4,000.00 is supplied to students for living and other expenses. REU students will be expected to present his/her project in a PowerPoint presentation to the university’s graduate school.

Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) - A program to expose talented undergraduates to professional and educational opportunities in the academy. The goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented students who pursue academic careers by enhancing their preparation for graduate study through intensive research experiences with faculty mentors. The major activity of the SROP is an in-depth research experience with students working one-on-one with faculty mentors. SROP students are required to write a paper and an abstract describing their projects and to present the results of their work at a campus symposium. Each student receives a stipend of at least $2,500 for the summer, plus up to $1,100 toward room and board and travel to and from the host institution. The faculty mentor may receive $500 to cover the cost of the student's research project. The host institutions provide funding for students to attend the annual SROP conference.

Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship Program- The Undergraduate Research Summer Fellowship Program of the Council on Undergraduate Research provides support for a seminal experience in the life of an undergraduate natural or social science, mathematics, or engineering student. Fellowships provide ten weeks of research with a faculty mentor on the student’s home campus. The student and mentor apply jointly. Research projects are conducted during the summer between the junior and senior years. Fellowships currently provide a student stipend of $3,000 - $3,500 and $500 for supplies and materials. Some awards also provide up to $500 in travel funds for the student to present a poster or a talk at a scientific meeting and a $500 stipend for the faculty member who serves as mentor. CUR has established an endowment fund named after CUR founder, Brian Andreen, to support these fellowships. In addition, CUR accepts contributions from individuals and corporate and government sponsors for current-year support.

Monday, April 17, 2006

What To Do If You Do Not Get Accepted to Graduate School

It can be awfully disappointing to be turned down by the schools you were hoping would accept you. You are an intelligent, talented and charming person, who has great promise for that graduate school field. Although all of these qualities are looked for in a graduate student, the graduate program decision process is largely subjective. If you did not get accepted to graduate school, consider doing the following:

1. Apply earlier (avoid the last six weeks before the deadline). Try applying the week before Thanksgiving.

2. Apply to more schools (six is usually considered a prudent minimum: two safe schools, two middle of the road schools, two reach schools).

3. Apply to more safe schools (even 4.0 students can and do get rejected).

4. Visit the school. Talk with a faculty member you’d like to work with (be absolutely certain to read some of their recently published work first). Also, be sure to write a thank you letter to faculty members you met with and ask even more questions about their research. They love talking about their research and a letter will give a lasting impression.

5. Go to summer school in the targeted subject and do well (it’s easy to get into summer school, even at Harvard).

6. Take one class at a time in the targeted subject and do well (remember: your most recent grades count the most).

7. Get volunteer or internship experiences in the targeted field (even part-time or unpaid). Great programs are the McNair Scholars Program, Research Experience for Undergraduates Program, and the Summer Research Opportunities Program.

8. Work in a “real job” in the targeted field (there’s no substitute for actual experience, and recommendations from supervisors in the profession). See if your advisor has any suggestions on where to look for a job.

9. Get an intermediate degree (such as a master’s or even a credential or certificate).

10. Get older and try again (sometimes, that’s all it takes).

Don’t forget that the best time to apply is early in the fall to start graduate school the following fall, so be sure to plan ahead!

Adapted from Graduate Admissions Essays by Donald Asher (Ten Speed Press, 2000)



Saturday, April 15, 2006

Applying to Graduate School: Locating Graduate Programs Using Book References

Although online resources are extremely convenient and widely used, sometimes they do not show you everything you would like to know about a particular program. The majority of online sources require you to register and pay an online fee to look at all program statistics. Therefore, I believe the best course of action is to find information from the ‘hard copy’ sources. Instead of spending an enormous amount of money to peruse the below listed books, see if your local or university library owns them. If this is not an option, click on this site Best Buys for Textbooks to determine the most cost effective site to buy book references.

Peterson’s Guide To Graduate Schools In the U.S. 2006 – This works similarly to the Peterson’s Guide Online version. However, no registration and online fee are required. Again, this Peterson’s Guide is the most comprehensive source to locating graduate school programs.

Complete Book of Graduate Programs in the Arts and Sciences 2005 by Princeton Review - This book is used for the person thinking about applying to graduate school. It goes over masters programs and doctoral programs. It also states the reasons why you should apply for graduate school. Subsequent chapters tell you about the current programs in arts and science and what each requires.

Complete Guide to Graduate School Admission: Psychology, Counseling, and Related Professions - Is similar to the Princeton Review book except that well, it deals with psychology and clinical psychology programs.

Finding the Best Business School for You : Looking Past the Rankings - Lists business schools according to what you view school strength to be, which insures the best possible match for you.

Guide to American Graduate Schools : Ninth Edition, Completely Revised (Guide to American Graduate Schools) - The usefulness of this book is best put by the words of the following buyer, "The book has profiles on essentially every school in the US with graduate programs, including many I had never even heard of. The profiles explain what programs are available, admittance requirements and procedures, costs, addresses, phone numbers, contact personnel, etc. All the information is extremely well presented and genuinely useful. While I am sure that there are small errors in a book this comprehensive (just like there are errors in any 700-plus page book, be they grammatical or otherwise) this is a great resource for basic research into a school or program. Obviously, when a student has accomplished this first step, they will need to go to individual school websites, talk to schools, and ultimately visit campuses. For general information on graduate programs in the US, this book is the clear champion compared with the other available options. Any prospective graduate student that isn't 100 percent sure what program they want to enroll in should own this book. "

Friday, April 14, 2006

Applying to Graduate School: Locating Graduate Programs Using Online Sources


Frequently future applicants to graduate students know which field they want to enter but not which program. Furthermore, some areas of study are scarcer than others and can be difficult to locate a program. Here is a list and description of online sources that can be used to find graduate programs:

Peterson's Guide. Peterson’s Guide is the largest listing of graduate programs. You can search by zip code, program interest, or university name. Peterson’s Guide also rates the school and shows what it requires in terms of tests, G.P.A., etc. The side button on the website provides further help in writing your personal statement and finding scholarships.


Find the Right School. This site shows you possible programs by research area and zip code. Furthermore you can see the website’s top pick of graduate schools by looking on the main page. If you click on the school site, you can request information immediately about your desired program.

U.S. News. If you really want to apply to graduate schools that are ranked in the top 10, U.S. News is the place to start. It will show you the top 3 graduate schools in your programs and provide the institution's website. However, to view the top 100, you will need to pay a fee of $14.95.

Graduate School Guide. This site works similarly to Find the Right School.

Other helpful hints are to look up societys and other organizations of your major field to see what institutions they recommend that you apply for. Also, be sure to go to the library and check out books that have current information about graduate school rankings and required information. If there is a specific project you would like to research, check out journals like Pubmed to see if other doctores have similar interest to determine which university he/she is working at. You can seek the help of your advisor, chances are he/she knows the best places to apply to. One final thought is to join a number of summer programs and internships like the McNair program, Research Experience for Undergraduates, and Summer Research Oppertunities Program.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Undergraduate Curriculum: Choosing Your Minor


In addition to selecting an undergraduate major at the end of your sophomore year, you need to choose a minor. Again, before you select one, here are a few guidelines:

1) Look At The Rule For Choosing A Major. The same rules apply here. Click here for Choosing a Major.

2) Make Sure That Minor Complements Your Major. If your minor coincides with your major, you will be able to make more connections to your major and reinforce what you learn.

3) Check the Classes You Must Take For Your Major and Required Courses for Graduate School. Sometimes your major or graduate school requirements state that you need a certain amount of credits from a particular field. If they amount to 50% or more credits needed for a minor, select this area to complete a minor. It is a huge time saver.

4) Consider A Language. A minor in a foreign language is a definite booster for your graduate admissions score. It is especially helpful if you plan on interacting with a large amount of people on a daily basis. Furthermore, some graduate fields require that you know a particular language to translate papers.

Quote of the Week (04/13/06-04/20/06)


"One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself."
---Lucille Ball

GRE Questions of the Week (04/13/0-04/20/06)

Verbal:

What word is the most opposite of Hirsute?
Furry
Bald
Bearded
Neat
Flocculent
Free polls from Pollhost.com


Math:

A right triangle has a 33 degree angle. What is the third angle in the triangle?
30 degrees
45 degrees
57 degrees
90 degrees
147 degrees
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Undergraduate Curriculum: Choosing Your Major

During your first two years of college, you are expected to take a variety of classes ( which usually amount to your general education requirements) to establish an idea of not only what the college provides, but also what major you would like to graduate with. At the end of your sophomore year you are required to declare a specific major and minor unless there are special circumstances which prevent you from doing so. Prior to making your decision, be sure to look at the following tips and check them off.

1. Take math, science, and English/other language classes. These are usually required and are consequently the major fields involved in graduate school.

2. Make a list of the classes you absolutely hated or did not do well in. If you do not like a class, most likely your grades will reflect it. No one wants to be in a field he/she are desperate to get out of. Also, if you like the field and do poorly in it, your chances of getting into a good graduate program are significantly lowered. See if you can create a special major that centers on your likes but is catered to how you test best.

3. Make a list of classes you particularly liked and excelled in. This gives you a base to make your final decision.

4. Research people who majored in that field and what types of jobs and salary
they have. Trust me; the only reason why the artist is starving is because he/she wants to lose some weight. You cannot simply go into a particular field without having a sufficient financial backing. Also, it is important to keep this in mind if you are planning on having a family of your own anytime soon. Final line: It does you no good if you are doing what you love to do if you have to submit and live in substandard conditions.

5. Get to know the faculty. You will be spending a lot of time with these people anyway so you best just get to meeting them sooner. If you only like one of the faculty members, you will not want to stick with this major. More importantly, meeting the faculty will allow you to see the type of research they do and whether or not it is compatible with your interests.

6. Ask other students. Sometimes a university can be really good with a specifically poor program. Have lunch with other students and ask how they like their major field of study or if they could switch, would they and where would he/she be in. Also, questions students about the faculty i.e. anyone you want to avoid.

7. Ask your advisor. That is what he/she are there for.

8.If you cannot decide. See if you can have a double major that is complementary. In other words do not get a chemistry major and an art major as they conflict. Sometimes majors that complement one another require that you take the same class. Hence the proverbial birds and stone, by taking one class you, complete two requirements. If the above will not do, simply see if you can get more time to make this commitment.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Accepting An Offer Of Admission

Starting April 15th, graduate programs will ask you to inform them about your decision pertaining to their offer of admission. If you have either decided in the affirmative or negative, graduate programs require you to notify them via a written letter. Listed below is a form stating that the offer of admission has been accepted, please feel free to use this and write additional information that might help cater the letter more to your specific program. If you have decided not to accept an offer, click on declining an offer of admission for further information.



[Date]
[Your address]
[Program address]



Dear [Name of Program],

It is with the utmost pleasure and excitement to inform you that I have accepted your offer of admission to the [program name] program. After visiting your program, I truly knew that none of the [field of study] programs I was accepted to could offer me the critical thinking that the [name of graduate school] would. Quite simply I could not envision myself anywhere else.

I was extremely impressed by the quality of faculty and graduate student research projects and of the research facilities. I thoroughly enjoyed my recruitment meetings with Drs. [name of individuals whom you have met with or corresponding with]. I can honestly see myself working with the entire [name of program] faculty and it will be a difficult decision to choose only three rotations. Again, I look forward to becoming an active student and researching with the [name of program] faculty and students. Thank you so much.

Respectfully,


[your name]
[your e-mail]

Sunday, April 09, 2006

GRE Questions of the Week Results (03/31/06-04/06/06)

Verbal:
A moratorium is an official halt or cessation of an activity. One possible purpose, or use, of a moratorium is to preserve (for instance, to preserve an endangered animal species). Similarly, one possible use of a tree is to shade. The second answer choice is the best response.

The first answer choice: Is one possible use of a revolt to tyrannize? No. The purpose of a revolt might be to stop tyranny (which means "oppressive rule").

The third answer choice: Is one possible use of a problem to solve? No.

The fourth answer choice: Is one possible use of a collection to accumulate? No. The relationship between these two words is just the opposite: One possible purpose of accumulating is to form a collection.

The fifth answer choice: Is one possible use of an eclipse to cover? No. Covering is part of the definition of eclipse.

Math:

450-3x = 320 +5x

130=8x

130/8 = 8x/8

x = 16 ¼

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Quote of the Week (04/07/06-04/13/06)

"Never, never, never give up!"
----Winston Churchill

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Cost of Applying to Graduate School*


If you are like most candidates applying to graduate school, money is a scarce resource. Before applying to graduate programs, you should have a rough idea of how much it will cost you. Listed below is an itemized account of what each graduate school might expect you to have. Please note that not all graduate schools require their candidates to complete a subject base GRE test and TOEFL. Furthermore, it is possible to have the graduate school waive the application fee if your undergraduate financial aid office can provide the program with a letter stating that you are in financial need or if you are a member of a program that offers waivers, such as the Ronald E. McNair Scholar Program and Research Experience for Undergraduates Program.

1. Graduate Records Exam Registration Fee….$115.00
2. GRE Score Report....$15.00
3. Subject Base Graduate Records Exam….$130.00
4. Subject Base GRE Score Report….$15.00
5. TOEFL….$140.00
6. TOEFL Score Report….$17.00
7. Undergraduate Transcript (must supply one from every institution you have attended)....$8.00
8. Application Fee….$100.00

Total: $540.00 if applying for 1 school

Additional schools will cost you $155.00 per. Graduate program


*Fees are reflected for tests taken in the United States.

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