Lazarus Center Sponsors Graduate School Panel
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 15:09
Last Wednesday evening, the Lazarus Center for Career Development hosted a panel called “Applying to Grad School.” The panel offered advice and answers to students who are considering going on to graduate school after graduating from Smith.
The program began with a special presentation from Gail Harris, Campus Manager for Western Massachusetts for Kaplan Test Prep. Her presentation focused on the GRE test, required for applications for many graduate schools in the United States. According to a poll given by Kaplan, 31 percent of graduate schools said GRE scores were the most important admissions factor, followed closely by GPA. Harris also broke down the elements of the GRE for students.
“It’s an endurance test,” Harris said of the test, which lasts for three hours and 45 minutes, including short breaks in between sections. “It’s similar, yet it’s quite different from the SAT, so you should take it very seriously,” she advised. She ended her presentation with information about Kaplan test prep courses, which can be found on their web site.
The rest of the program was run by Daryl Gehman, Assistant Director of the CDO. He pointed out the new design of the CDO’s website, which he described as “more user-friendly” than the previous website. The program opened for questions by students, one of whom asked, “Do we have enough time?” Gehman pointed out the graduate schedule online, which provided a helpful timeline for when students should begin preparing to apply for graduate school.
Other questions ranged from how to write a personal statement, what kind of work experience are necessary, financial aid opportunities at different schools and getting good letters of recommendation from professors.
“Talk with people and alums who have gone before you,” Gehman advised. “[These are] the people who have already done the research.” He encouraged talking with professors, who may know of good opportunities in one’s field of interest, as well as current students in specific graduate programs. “Ask them why they chose that school – what did they like, what didn’t they? Think about the criteria and what’s important to you.”
Gehman went on to describe the four areas of focus for a graduate program application: GPA, courses taken, letters of recommendation and the personal statement. For both the letters of recommendation and personal statement, Gehman recommended not repeating information, and emphasized the importance of presenting a spectrum of information.