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!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

GRE Vocab Word of the Day

HECTOR (vb) = 1: to play the bully: swagger 2: to intimidate or harass by bluster or personal pressure

sentence: Insiders say that for all his public affability, the president of the company hectors his lieutenants without letup and cold-shoulders those on the bottom half the of the totem pole.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Housing Search-Part1

Attending graduate school can mean living in a new area that might be as different as moving to a foreign country. Part of a successful graduate school career is attributed to living in an apartment or home that is conducive to your learning style such that you will thrive academically, professionally and socially.

Before jumping straight into the apartment/house market, think of the type of environment you would like to spend a good chunk of time studying in. Is it quiet, noisy or a mix of both? Another excellent point to consider is the amount of money you are willing to pay for an apartment/house. If you are planning on living with roommates, the amount of rent you must pay will likely be lower. Also, transportation will play a major role in your final decision. Perhaps you own a car and require a parking space or maybe you plan to ride the bus and need to be near the bus line. It is extremely important if you plan to do science bench research that you understand that you might be in the laboratory late into the night, possibly the best housing location is near the university.

In addition to the above, it is important to have a prepared set of questions to ask the estate realtor or landlord(lady) prior to viewing the place. Here are a few questions that may serve as guidelines for your housing search:

1) How Many rooms are there? What types of rooms?
2) Is there a possibility for roommates?
3) How much is rent per person?
4) Are utilities covered or do I have to pay for them? If so, how much do utilities typically cost?
5) Is a washer/dryer included? If so, is it coin operated?
6) How big are the bedrooms and bathrooms?
7) What type of security do you offer (cameras, deadbolts, etc.)?
8) What type of heating do you have?
9) Is there a deposit?
10) Is there an application fee?
11) Is the rent at a fixed rate?
12) What type of amenities is offered?
a) pool
b) fitness center
c) air conditioner
d) central ac
e) cable
f) internet access
g) garbage
13) Is parking available?
14) Are there any association fees?
15) What is the neighborhood like? Quiet/noisy?
16) What is the crime rate in the neighborhood?
17) What type of lease is it? Year or month to month?
18) Are pets allowed to stay? If so, is there a pet deposit?
19) What type of tenants do you have? Undergraduates, graduates and/or professionals?
20) Is there a rent to own option? If so, how much would the rent increase by and what percent would go towards buying it?

In part 2 of this series, I will go over different search sites and options to get your housing search underway.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Introduction to the Graduate School Application Process

The University of California Davis' Advising Services has a short video clip that will briefly describe the graduate school application process. Tammy Hoyer, the Assistant Director of Advising Services, takes you through the various aspects that will be evaluated by the graduate school board: G.P.A., GRE, Personal Statement, and letters of recommendation. In addition to Hoyer's video clip, UC-Davis offers other videos that focus more closely on the above aspects. The other video clips can be seen on UC-Davis' Advising Services site. In order to view video clips, you must have Macromedia Flash Player, which can be downloaded for free.

Click here to watch Tammy Hoyer describe the application process!

GRE Vocab Word of the Day

PLANGENT (adj) = having a loud reverberating sound.

sentence: As plangent organ music resounded through the church, the congregation rose to sing praise to the Lord.

Monday, July 24, 2006

GRE Vocab Word of the Day

VEXATIOUS (adj) = 1: causing anxiety: troublesome, distressing 2: full of disorder or stress

sentence: During one vexatious period in his life, Eric had to contend successively with a bitter divorce, an equally bitter custody battle, and a change of jobs.

Friday, July 07, 2006

GRE Vocab Word of the Day

COMPOTATION (n.) = a convival drinking party: carouse

sentence: Although the author's transcript shows that his major was history, his former fraternity brothers claim that a major in coeds and compotations might be more accurate.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

20 Things Not to Wear to a Graduate School Interview

In a previous article, “Dress to Impress”, I wrote about what a potential graduate school candidate should wear to the graduate interview. It is also important to note what candidates should not wear to interviews. As much as we would like to think that personality and talent far outweigh everything else, our appearance is also factored into the graduate school’s final decision on whether or not to make an offer of admission. Below is a guideline of what you should not wear to a graduate school interview.

20 Things to Avoid Wearing to a Graduate School Interview:

1) Underwear as main articles of clothing. Underwear should be kept just as its name implies—it should not be worn as outerwear clothing. Do not wear camisoles (at least ones that are revealing) and make sure that lingerie is not showing. Bra straps should not be visible.

2) Workout gear. Some graduate programs are very laid back; however, even laid back programs expect you to show up in professional attire during the graduate school interview.

3) Soiled, stained or rumpled clothing. Make sure all clothing is ironed and free of stains. The best clothes to bring are ones that do not need to be ironed or are easily pressed.

4) Shorts. The weather might be hot but you should never ever wear shorts to an interview. Instead opt for lightweight clothing with long sleeves and legs.

5) Tattoos. Absolutely do not expose your tattoos if you can help it. Wear long sleeves and pants. Also, use a spray on makeup concealer to cover-up tattoos.

6) Extreme hair color. Wait on that new color. Stick to natural looking colors and natural highlights.

7) Dramatic makeup. Wear light makeup that has natural tones. The best eyeshadow has neutral tones, like tan and brown. Do not cake on makeup.

8) Cologne. Do not overuse cologne. To be on the safe side, use a nice smelling soap or febreeze.

9) Perfume. Again, do not drown yourself in that fragrance. Wear a fruity smelling perfume, if you must, and not a musky scented one. Feel free to spray febreeze on your clothing.

10) Long, fake or wild colored nails. Keep your nails short and neat.

11) Scruffy beards. Clean shaven is best but if you must keep the facial hair make sure it is neat and trimmed.

12) Micro-miniskirts. Remember skirts should only be slightly above the knee and not tight fitting.

13) Torn knee-highs or pantyhose. If you notice a huge run or tear in your stockings, remove them. Believe it or not the tear in your knee-highs is more noticeable than the fact that you are not wearing any at all.

14) Overly revealing attire. Check to insure that everything is in its place. Do not wear clothing that will expose breasts, back and arms.

15) Athletic socks with street shoes. They might be comfortable but it looks like you would rather be out playing baseball than going on the graduate school interview. If your interviews are all over the place bring your dress shoes to change into before your meeting.

16) Sandals. Keep your feet encased in professional looking dress shoes and not sandals. Toes should not be on display.

17) Body piercings. Remove nose, eyebrows, tongue and any other excessive piercings.

18) Bare midriff. Your six-pack stomach might be awesome but it is not something you want to show on your interview.

19) Low-rise pants. Do not show off your underwear and even ahem…the “plumber’s crack.”

20) Icing yourself in jewelry. The rule is that you should not be wearing more than 3 pieces of jewelry. Also, watches count as part of the 3 pieces.

To read more on what you should not wear to graduate school interviews, click on CareerBuilder.com’s article, “What Not to Wear to Work: 15 Things ."

GRE Vocab Word of the Day

TILAK (n) = an ornamental spot worn on the forehead chiefly by Hindus as a sectarian mark.

sentence: My Indian friend's tilak, which consisted of three horizontal lines across the forehead, indicated that he was a follower of the god Siva.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

GRE Vocab Word of the Day

PRECOGNITION (n) = clairvoyance relating to an event or state not yet experienced.

sentence: If I'd possessed a modicum of precognition, I never would have signed up for those skydiving lessons!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

GRE Vocab Word of the Day

STOICAL (adj) = not affected by or showing passion or feeling; especially: firmly refraining from responding to pain or distress

sentence: David took a stoical approach to his time in the dentist's chair, but it was obvious that he was not happy to be there.

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