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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!

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.

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