At the end of Fall 2017, CCE career counselor Sarah Goldberg and General Studies Dean Tiffany Decker teamed up to dig into the questions we often hear from students about applying to graduate school. How do I figure out where to apply? How o I put in a compelling application? And how do I secure an effective letter of recommendation from my professors?

Key Takeaways from the Conversation

Grad School: It’s Not an Avoidance Strategy

Contrary to what one of our speakers thought when she was an undergrad, going to grad school is not a way to just “avoid the real world.” Graduate programs are a huge time and, often, financial commitment. Even if you’re not paying to go to school, as may be the case for many PhD programs, you’re taking time away from the workforce—and you may be in school for anywhere from a couple of years to nearly a decade! It’s important to know how further education fits in with your specific career goals before you decide to take the plunge.

It’s All About Motivation and Metrics

Dean Decker, who leads the Graduate School Coaching Program at the School of General Studies, shared her tips on putting in a stellar application to a graduate program: it’s all about clearly conveying your motivation for applying to the program and your ability to do graduate-level work once you’re there. You also want the committee to see what makes you a unique applicant … maybe even your dragon-boating hobby!

You Have Resources at Your Disposal

There are many resources you can take advantage of to research your options and strategize your application process, including advisers at CCE, Center for Student Advising, General Studies and in  your department. If you’re a GS student, you can sign up for Dean Decker’s spring Graduate School Coaching Program which kicks into gear on Friday, February 2.

For more information on how to pin down your motivation, how to research programs, and how to assemble the elements of your application, check out the full conversation.