College reps talk about graduate studies in the U.S.

College reps talk about graduate studies in the U.S.

August 15, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


[MUSIC] KRISTIN WILLIAMS: At the
graduate school, it’s also important to be aware who are
the top leaders in your field. I suggest that students look at
who is doing publication in professional journals, who
is listed in conference proceedings as presenting on
areas that are of interest to you, and find out what
institutions they’re associated with. What’s required is going to vary
from school and program to program, so it’s important
to read the guidelines carefully to select the
particular institutions you might want to apply to, and
then see exactly what’s offered by that institution. When a student is putting
together their portfolio, they have to know to take the time–
it takes time, it takes work, but it’s not difficult
particularly. You just have to follow the
guidelines, and really importantly, if there’s any
piece of it that you’re not familiar or don’t understand–
don’t guess. Ask questions– the people at
the schools are there to answer your questions. They’ll be glad to tell you
and explain deadlines and explain the pieces of
the application. One of the problems I see–
particularly with international graduate
students– is they start stressing over one piece of the
application or the other. Graduate programs can review
everything holistically, so every piece that’s submitted
is going to be part of the decision. Certainly, some pieces are going
to be more important than others– if you’re
applying to a doctoral program, schools will be more
interested in your prior academic experience, GRE scores,
and prior research experience. If you’re applying to a business
school, they want to look at that prior work
experience that’s relevant, and GMAT scores. In all cases, universities are
looking for how the student fits with their program. They’re not trying to make the
process difficult– they’re just trying to confirm that
whoever they admit is prepared and will be successful
in the program. The statement of purpose
is always a good spot. Every school will have specific
guidelines for how long a statement of purpose
should be and what they’re looking for. Sometimes it will be an essay,
and sometimes it will be simply asking about your
background and what you want to do with your life. If you research the program
carefully, you understand the focus of the program, and
who they’re looking for. If you use the statement of
purpose to highlight those characteristics that are part of
your background and who you are that make you feel you’re a
good match for the program, that’s a good idea. So while I think students have
to follow the guidelines, if they ask for a thousand word,
don’t send them a 50 page treatise– you do have to use
the statement of purpose as a way to explain what’s unique
about you, like how you fit in the program but what might make
you a little special and make you stand out
from the crowd. STEVEN RISCH: Certainly, to be
more competitive, I think it’s in the student’s best interests
to be sure that they are portraying themselves in
every aspect, such as from a letter of recommendation and
ensuring that the recommender is perhaps noting notable
accomplishments or specific areas academically that they
succeeded well in, published, or research that they
have completed. It would certainly stand out, as
well as in a CV or resume– also with an essay. Incorporating those things into
an essay is very crucial. I think when committees look
for potential graduate assistants, whether for research
or even teaching, they look for key items on what
they’ve accomplished, and oftentimes some students fail to
really portray all of those things that they do. Also, from the academic side, of
course, they want to ensure that the student is academically
prepared in that specific field. Sometimes even the GRE scores
come into play in terms of competitiveness for the
assistantship dollars. In assistantships, the amounts
and the types vary from one university to the next. Some of them offer full tuition
waivers– it’s a partial tuition for state
institutions. Like for Old Dominion, for
example, we offer a number of out-of-state tuition waivers,
which is quite a significant difference in terms of
the tuition and cost. Most of the assistantships
also come with a minimum stipend of some sort. They usually range between
$5,000 to $8,000. Usually the stipends would be
sufficient enough to cover living expenses, food, rent,
and things like that. Our students do pretty well at
getting by with the stipend that they’re offered. Of course, for Ph.D students,
they are usually offered a bit more, because they’re
expected do more. As a teaching assistant, for
example, they usually would receive a bit more
in a stipend. In fact, most of the Ph.D
students would get a full tuition waiver. For graduate students– and this
varies from institution to institution, as well–
sometimes it’s not always the case where they’re offered an assistantship with their admission. Some departments like to have
the students come for a semester, or even a full year,
before they’re offer an assistantship opportunity. That’s just so the faculty can
get to know the individual student, see where their
strengths and weaknesses are, and where they would best
place in terms of an assistantship opportunity. I always encourage students–
don’t have high expectations with assistantships with
admission, because for master’s students
in some fields, they’re few and far between. [MUSIC]