Today’s job climate is harsh, especially for fresh university graduates. As a result, many of them are choosing to go further with Graduate programs.
Completing graduate programs could have a fantastic impact on someone’s job search. Of course, this isn’t the only reason you should consider grad school. If you are really interested in your field it could be a great place to learn more about it. Grad school isn’t a walk in the park though, and a lot of preparations should be made before ultimately committing to more years of schooling.
Graduate Record Examinations (GREs)
If you hated taking the SATs or ACTs this factor could be a deal breaker. The GREs are like the aforementioned tests, but double as hard. They cover Math, Verbal, and Writing like the other tests. There are plenty of resources online, and in print that will help you prepare. The tests seem daunting at first but if you prepare well they shouldn’t be a problem.
Love Your Subject
Look back on your four years of undergraduate and ask yourself, “Do I really love what I study?” Many people are satisfied with their major, but you should really be committed to learning about your subject if you want to go further with it. It shouldn’t be a decision you make just to increase your job prospects. If you struggled with your grades, you might not be ready for another round of school. By extension if you got good grades, you should have left an impression on your professors. Show some genuine interest in the subject. It’ll make getting letters of recommendation from your professors easier to get.
The Cover Letter
The Cover Letter is one of the most important parts of your grad school application. Its purpose is to let the admissions office know how much your field means to you. You should try to be unique, and stand out in your cover letter, but for your own sake don’t start it with “When I was young I discovered I love…” Try to avoid clichés in your cover letter and look for the real reason you want to be in your field. Admissions officers look at the cover letter before your writing sample to see whether you’re a good candidate to take in.
The Writing Sample
This part is pretty simple. If you’re graduating from Penn State, most undergrad programs have a mandatory final thesis. Your project from that class should suffice. Be warned though, you should make the corrections your professor provided you with. Your writing sample should show that you are able to properly research and write about a subject in your field.
Grad school applications could be intimidating, but if you make careful preparations while you’re still in your undergrad program it doesn’t have to be. Make sure to engage your professors, and get some advice. Just remember, you’re in grad school to learn more, so don’t get intimidated.