Considering Grad School? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

photo-2Guest Post by Halina Lotyczewski, MSW
Director, Utica College Office of Career Services

Making the decision to attend graduate school is an important one, affecting students academically, professionally, financially, and emotionally.

I know, because I’ve been through it. After completing my sociology degree from SUNY Geneseo, I was accepted into Fordham University’s MSW program. I deferred enrollment for a year to work and save as much money as possible for my graduate school tuition. Fast forward 10 years later, and I’m now helping students decide if graduate school is right for them. I will be facilitating a program as part of Career Services’ Coffee, Cupcakes and Careers Series called Get Me into Graduate School. During this program, I will help students answer these 5 questions:

1. How will a graduate school education and degree affect my short and long term professional goals?

2. Can I make the commitment to attend graduate school, and do I understand how it will impact me financially? Even mentally and emotionally?

3. What criteria should I use in deciding which graduate school/program is right for me?

4. What are the elements of a graduate school application, and what is important to those reviewing my application?

5. What on campus and online resources are available to help me before and during the application process?

While these questions may seem daunting at first, a little introspection and planning goes a long way, and UC Career Services is here to assist. The Coffee, Cupcakes, and Career Series will be held in the DuRoss Dining Room from 2-3pm on Thursday, October 27.unnamed-6

Coffee and cupcakes will be served, and pre-registration is required through UC Career Connect. Please join us!

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Anxiety Level: Applying to Grad School

This is my last semester as an undergraduate student here at Utica College. The past four years have been made up of some of the best times I’ve had and some of the best people I’ve met. But let me tell you, these past 1,000 days or so have flown by! And now – its time to start another adventure…

Grad school was something I have thought about in the past but I always shied away from the idea of attending MORE school. However, earlier this fall, I decided it was something I absolutely wanted to do for a few reasons. First of all, I was worried about if I could mentally take more schooling but then I thought; four years of undergrad flew, what’s two or three more at this point!? Secondly, after seeing all the greater opportunities that came along with a graduate degree, it seemed like the best option for me. And finally, I’ve spent most of my life in school – I’d like to think I’ve mastered the art of being a student and I think I could rock grad school!

I am in the middle of applying for acceptance in the Utica College Masters of Business Administration program. For now, the hard part is applying. When I started this process I was overwhelmed and honestly, didn’t know where to start. My first step was to contact the counselors in Graduate Admissions. I can easily say they have made applying manageable and easier than I ever thought it would be!

Somethings that are required for my application are a personal statement, at least two letters of recommendation, the application its self and a copy of my most recently updated resume. At first, this list of requirements gave me anxiety. After talking to a bunch of faculty and staff for advice I took away a few good tips for each of these requirement.

Letters of Recommendations:

  • Ask for one letter from an education resource like a professor and ask for the other from someone who will represent your extra curricular life like a boss. Also- make sure your references know you on a personal level so that your personal flare will reflect in the letter.

The Application:

  • This part of the application process is supper straight forward and it made the whole experience much easier when I got that out of the way first.

The Personal Statement:

  • At first I had a really hard time with this – I was overthinking and felt pressured for it to be “perfect”. After taking a break and a few deep breaths I gave it another try and this time I told myself to just be genuine and realize that the best I can do is just be myself.

My Resume:

  • My resume was a train wreck! I made sure to do it as best I could by myself then I made an appointment with the Career Services office for them to look it over and make improvements. They met with me and pimped out my resume! 

UPDATE:

all my hard work paid off! I am officially enrolled into the MBA program here at Utica College. I will begin my Masters of Business Administration this summer! WOOOHOOOO!

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Last Semester To-Dos: Preparing for the PT Grad Program

Just a few weeks ago, I began my last semester as an undergraduate student—quite surprising, to say the least! Also, the thought of entering graduate school in June is quite nerve-racking. So, I will spend this semester preparing by doing a few things:

  1. Completing all necessary paperwork and requirements:

Before entering the graduate portion of the physical therapy program at UC, each student must complete a few key things. As a student set to enter the   DPT program, I am required to submit paperwork stating that I completed a minimum of 40 observation hours, update all health information including shots and physicals, as well as papers stating that I understand the basic layout of our program (the 3-year track).

  1. Meeting fellow classmates:

Though I am pretty sure that I know each of my PT classmates, it is important to ensure that feeling. These people will be people that I will spend the next 3 years of my life with. If I do not know them, especially on a personal level, it will be extremely awkward in class when we are all required to practice on one another.

  1. Researching the curriculum:

I am aware that our graduate work is roughly 3 years long, though I am not exactly sure how the courses are organized within the curriculum. Therefore, I plan to research the graduate curriculum in order to stay organized and determine what I will be completing each year.

  1. Staying involved, yet focused:

As an undergraduate student, I am involved in many, many things that take up a majority of my free time. However, as a graduate student, I may not always have that free time, so I will have to give up a few leisure activities in order to remain focused on my studies. Therefore, I will be spend a few moments this semester determining what I wish to stay involved in and what will have to stay in my undergraduate years in order to accommodate for the course load that I am going to be taking on in graduate school.

  1. Making plans for life after graduation:

Though it seems a little far-fetched, it’s always important to plan ahead! I have 3 years to truly decide on my post-graduate plans, but I want to explore all of my options and find what I like best. So, I plan to spend more time this semester exploring the large sector of physical therapy in medical practice in order to determine which route I would like to take after graduation.

Though I have a lot to do, I’m ready to enjoy my last semester as an undergrad all while preparing for grad school in June!

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