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!

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)


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