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Graduate School Information
Selecting a graduate school is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. In addition to the info we have gathered for you here, we offer graduate school info sessions throughout the year and have an advisor, Annette Stewart (email@example.com), who can help provide information about the graduate school process.
Researching your field of interest will help to determine if the chosen career field requires a graduate degree. An advanced degree may help you get a job or advance in your field. It can help you earn a higher salary, and achieve other goals such as specializing in your field, publishing, consulting, etc. Research carefully; sometimes an advanced degree can make you overqualified.
Most people study a field that is of interest or will allow them to continue in their field of undergraduate study. Think about what you are interested in and what gets you excited. Talk with faculty in your undergraduate program to get some ideas. Do informational interviews and talk with people working in fields that interest you to learn more about those careers. Do research on various career fields and do some self-assessment to learn more about your skills, interests, values and goals.
There are many resources, including on-line directories, college web sites and internet search sites. Speak with faculty members, alumni and other students to learn about schools that have the type of program you want. Talk with family members and friends who may have attended some schools worth considering.
Some helpful sites:
When you are looking at schools and programs, consider some of the following:
- Career Goals - What is your goal and will a graduate degree help you?
- Degree Program – what courses are taught? What type of research will you conduct?
- Location – where are you willing to live while attending school?
- Faculty – Who are the faculty and what are their backgrounds? What kind of research have they done and how many publications do they have?
- Facilities – are the labs, research and computer facilities up to date? Are the hours of these facilities available to graduate students?
- Reputation - Consider the reputation http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/grad/rankings/rankindex.htm of the program and the faculty at each college
- Campus Environment – what size is the school and the program? Try to visit the campus and speak with faculty, current students, admissions and financial aid representatives. Does the campus environment feel comfortable to you?
- Graduate Internships – are internships a required part of the degree program? Ask where students have done their internships. Does the school help with finding these opportunities?
- Application requirements – find out the admissions requirements (GPA, test scores, etc.) What is the application deadline? Is a personal statement or essay required?
- Placement information - Ask to see the placement information for past graduates of the program to find out the placement rate, the types of jobs and which companies graduates worked at upon graduation.
- Cost – Create a budget for each school, including tuition, room & board, books, fees and living expenses and determine if you can afford to attend each college you are considering.
- Financial Aid– Check with the Financial Aid Office at every school to learn what they offer to graduate students. Learn more at the following sites:
Check with every college to find out which admissions test is required. This will depend upon the college and the program to which you are applying. Some programs do not require a graduate admissions test. You can find out what is required by reading the application materials for each college or by calling the Graduate Admissions Office. Make sure you practice the tests before taking them! Practice tests are offered by the web sites for the different tests, as well as books that you can purchase or borrow from the library. Part of the decision for acceptance to a program may depend upon your test scores.
- GRE – Graduate Record Examinations which include a general test known as the GRE, subject tests and a Writing Assessment www.gre.org
- MAT - Miller Analogies Test - given in the form of analogies; tests general information on a variety of subjects http://psychcorp.pearsonassessments.com/haiweb/Cultures/en-US/site/Community/PostSecondary/Products/MAT/mathome.htm
- GMAT - Graduate Management Admissions Test – for business school applicants www.gmac.com
- LSAT - Law School Admissions Test – for law school applicants http://www.lsac.org/
- MCAT - Medical College Admissions Test – for medical school applicants http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/start.htm
- TOEFL – Test for English as a Foreign Language and TSE - Test of Spoken English – these tests may be required if your native language is not English http://www.toefl.org/
The graduate admissions tests are offered throughout the year and can be taken on-line. It is good to take them early, to have the scores to submit with your applications or if you want to take the tests over to improve your scores. At RIT, the Computer Based Testing Center is located within the CMS office suite (2210, George Eastman Building, #1). It features a four-station testing lab where tests can be taken in a comfortable, quiet setting. The tests are available year round at convenient hours and many feature instant score reporting. Visit this Center to find out if the test you need is available: https://www.rit.edu/~w-outrea/cbt.php
Most graduate schools will ask you to write a personal statement or essay as part of the application process. This is an important part of the application which will be read by an admissions committee in the academic department to which you are applying. The committee members will look for your well thought-out goals for pursuing graduate school and your passion for this field of study. They also will look for anything unique about you that will make you a strong graduate school candidate. It can be the deciding factor in whether you are accepted or not, so always understand the importance of this statement/essay.
In you statement, you can:
- Show how well you articulate your thoughts. Are you a clear and logical thinker?
- Demonstrate your writing ability and your communication skills
- Describe your strengths, interests, skills and experience
- Tell your short and long-term goals
- Tell why you are interested in this specific graduate program
- Provide more information about you as a person, which can give you the edge over other candidates
- Be specific about your research interests and how that school’s program of study matches with your interests.
- Explain any noticeable weaknesses in your records
Take the time to write your statement well. Make sure you have a professor read your statement and give you feedback before you submit it. The RIT Writing Center can assist you with writing and editing your personal statement/essay. http://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/asc/writing-center.php
4th year / Summer before 5th Year
- Start to identify programs and colleges of interest
- Research college web sites for degree information & on-line applications
- Make note of deadlines for each college
- Determine graduate entrance exam requirements and begin to prepare
- Investigate national scholarships
September / October of 5th Year
- Continue to research programs
- Take appropriate standardized tests, available through the RIT Computer Based Testing Center, located in Room 2210, George Eastman Building, #1, https://www.rit.edu/~w-outrea/cbt.php
- Write draft of personal statement / essay
- Research financial aid, assistantships, scholarships, etc.
- Request letters of recommendation from faculty members and supervisors
- Set up a reference file in the Co-op & Career Services Office
- Attend graduate school fairs and events
November / December of 5th Year
- Finalize personal statement / essay; have it critiqued by a faculty member. The RIT Writing Center can assist with writing and editing your personal statement/essay http://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/asc/writing-center.php
- Complete applications
- Submit requests for official transcripts to the Registrar’s Office to send with your applications
- Submit requests to Co-op & Career Services to have your reference file mailed
- Continue to research financial aid opportunities
- Submit applications at least one month before deadlines; earlier for colleges with rolling admission deadlines – this can help with early acceptance decisions and financial awards
- Write thank you notes to each person who wrote a letter of recommendation for you
January / February of 5th Year
- Contact schools to set up a visit and interview with academic departments of interest
- Fill out the FAFSA and the GAPSFAS (Graduate and Professional School Financial Aid Service) forms
- Check with all colleges prior to their deadlines to make sure your application has been received and is complete
- Review acceptances / wait list offers
- Discuss opportunities with Annette Stewart in the Co-op & Career Services Office and/or faculty members if you need help
- Make decision and notify college you have selected – send your deposit
- Withdraw applications from all other colleges
Graduate school is expensive and financial aid is an important part of the decision making process. Check with the Financial Aid Office at each college to determine the types of funding available and for which you are eligible. Funding is often provided by the academic departments.
These typically offer a tuition waiver or reduction and some level of stipend for living expenses.
- Teaching Assistantships: You assist a professor in class or you teach a class of your own. Typically involves working 10 to 20 hours per week.
- Research Assistantships: You assist a professor with some type of research. The work is often related to your own research interests.
- Other Assistantships: There may be graduate assistantships available working in offices such as Financial Aid or Career Services. You may help students, assist with office work or present to groups of students.
- Resident Assistantships: Some colleges offer a stipend, room and board or both to have graduate students work as assistants in undergraduate residence halls.
These are cash awards usually given to students with special qualifications, such as academic excellence, athletic or artistic talent. They do not have to be repaid. They typically include a stipend for living expenses and cover the cost of registration fees and tuition. The only requirement is that you typically must keep your grades up and make satisfactory progress towards your degree.
This is not offered at every graduate school. This type of financial aid is for students with financial need. Check with the Financial Aid Office about requirements and to determine if you are eligible if it is available.
A loan is a form of financial aid that must be repaid with interest. There are several different types of student loans, including Stafford Student Loans, Perkins Loans and Plus Loans. Many private lenders offer loans. These are based on pre-set policies and formulas and on the student’s financial need. For more information check out http://www.finaid.org/loans/
Many employers will provide partial or full tuition reimbursement, depending upon the relevance of the course work to the employee’s job and the grades that the person achieves in these courses. If you are employed, check with your employer or human resources department to see if this benefit is offered.
To get a copy of your FAFSA, you can get an online version at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov
For more general information on financial aid, check out http://www.fastweb.com
Finding Schools and Programs
- www.gradschools.com The most comprehensive on-line source of graduate school information
- www.graduateguide.com Graduate School Guide is a reference tool for college students to quickly locate schools offering the programs they want.
- http://www.petersons.com/graduate-schools.aspx Peterson’s reaches an estimated 105 million consumers annually with information about colleges and universities, career schools, graduate programs, distance learning, executive training, private secondary schools, summer opportunities, study abroad, financial aid, test preparation, and career exploration.
- http://www.princetonreview.com/grad/ A comprehensive site with information to help with your graduate school search, test information, on-line applications, financial aid, deadlines, etc.
- http://www.allaboutgradschool.com/ All About Grad School provides a comprehensive geographic directory of graduate schools in the United States along with test preparation information & recommended books.
- http://www.gradschoolshopper.com This site is a good search site for students interested in a graduate degree in the field of physical sciences.
- http://www.gradprofiles.com Features in-depth graduate and professional school profiles with information about programs of study, degree requirements, facilities, expenses, financial aid, faculty research and much more.
http://www.onlinembaprograms.org/resources/graduate-school-tips-and-information - a site that provides general tips and information about the graduate school process.
www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/grad/rankings/rankindex.htm The U.S. News rankings spotlight the country's academically excellent graduate programs, which can start you on the right track toward picking the right school for you. We offer personalization tools–like searches and comparisons–as well as school directory pages and feature articles to help you make the best decision.
General Graduate School Info
- http://www.nagps.org/ NAGPS is the acronym for the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students. We are the umbrella group for over two million graduate and professional students currently studying in the United States. NAGPS acts as a clearinghouse for graduate and professional student organizations, serves as an advocacy group for graduate-professional student needs and rights at all levels, addresses a broad range of issues via our national committees (international student concerns, human diversity concerns, legislative concerns, and employment concerns), and much more!
- www.asgs.org ASGS is a service organization for graduate students and graduate-degree-granting institutions. ASGS services and products assist students to plan, initiate and complete their theses or dissertations, produce the highest quality research, write effectively in the proper editorial style, obtain their academic degree(s), and improve their lives throughout the process.
- http://gradschool.about.com/mbody.htm A general site with articles and information about graduate school, financial aid, admissions, dissertations, etc.
Financial Aid Info
- http://www.gradview.com/finaid/ The award-winning GradView® site is the premier Web resource for information about graduate school. The site includes virtual tours of top graduate schools in the US and Canada, graduate school financial aid information and financial aid resources, information and articles on careers and career planning as they relate to graduate school (from articles on how to determine what career is right for you to tips on writing a resume that gets you in for an interview, how to write a cover letter that gets the reader's attention, how to shine in a job interview, and how to keep a job and advance your career); articles and information on graduate school admissions tests and electronic graduate school admissions testing, and a library of articles that can help you get the most out of graduate school and its rewards in your career and life.
- http://www.finaid.org/otheraid/grad.phtml Information about financial aid for graduate school.
- www.pin.ed.gov Obtain your PIN so you can complete the FAFSA on-line.
- http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ Complete your FAFSA on-line.
- www.fastweb.com Search for scholarships for free.
- www.hesc.com Obtain information about New York Tuition Assistance Program for graduate students.
- http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/dollars/dshome.htm Contains helpful articles and information about financial aid, as well as interactive tools to assist you.
Annette Stewart, Program Coordinator
and Graduate School Advisor
Graduate School Workshops:
Friday, October 12, 2012
12:00pm - 12:50pm
Bldg 12, Room 3225
Friday, October 19, 2012
12:00pm - 12:50pm
Bldg 12, Room 3215
Graduate School Fair:
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
11:00am - 1:00pm
SAU Lobby and Fireside Lounge
Over 70 schools typically attend. Open to all students and alumni from Rochester-area schools.