College works to make grad school planning easy

Students considering graduate school don’t need to wait to start planning their futures.

Run by Career Services, Graduate Studies Week began Sept. 22 with a panel on pursuing a doctorate in the sciences. It was followed by an environmental graduate studies panel and master of business administration panel on Sept. 23, panels on engineering and medical school/health professions on Sept. 24 and an application essay workshop on Sept. 25.

Each panel provided detailed information on the various fields of graduate studies. Turnout this year yielded record numbers of students. For some, it was standing-room only, with diverse groups ranging from freshmen to seniors, according to Colleen Perry, assistant director for Career Services.

“It put stuff into perspective,” Sarah Mensa-Kwao, a senior biomedical/physics major who attended the medical school/health professions panel, said. The panel featured representatives from the medical schools of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Thomas Jefferson University and University of Pennsylvania.

Many students who took part in other events of the week were pleased with their decisions. Representatives from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, Lehigh University and Princeton University attended the other events.

According to Perry, the next step in applying to graduate school is deciding where to go, since applying can take up to one year. She said many applicants must complete an admissions test, such as the Graduate Record Examination, Graduate Management Admission Test, Law School Admission Test or Medical College Admission Test.

“You need some time to make yourself competitive,” Perry said. Students should figure out early if they wish to pursue graduate studies, according to Perry. She also said students should never go to graduate school right after college just because they do not have other plans.

Applicants must obtain letters of recommendation, and give references plenty of notice. Applicants themselves must write an essay explaining their interest and experience in their chosen field, Perry said.

Perry also said the College has numerous other sources of aid for applicants. Tutoring services can help improve writing skills for the application essay. She also suggested applicants take a practice test before the actual exam.

“Break it down,” Perry said. “Any one piece of the process can seem completely daunting, but it’s doable.”