Students explore grad school options at U fair

by Chelsie Hanstad

Anyone who has been through it can tell you that the road to graduate school is not an easy one.

There are interviews, applications and entrance exams, not to mention decisions about which school to choose and when to go.

On Wednesday, the College of Liberal Arts’ Career and Community Learning Center held workshops and an education fair to help answer students’ questions and alleviate concerns about graduate school.

“The decision to go to graduate school is a complex one, and there are a lot of things to consider,” Career and Community Learning Center coordinator Elizabeth Hruska said.

Some students use career assessment tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory to help make decisions.

“The tests gave me a few pointers,” said senior economics student Andy Disch, who is thinking about going to graduate school for economics.

Even if students know where they want to go, an intensive application process still awaits them.

Most graduate schools require applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination, and grade point average is also a determining factor.

The University graduate school, for example, requires a 3.0 GPA; other programs might be higher or lower.

Many students also write personal statements explaining why they are applying and what they hope to accomplish, Hruska said.

“We like to see a statement of intent because it gives us an idea of what the student’s goals are,” said Carola Benson, a graduate recruiter for Augsburg College.

Students might also be asked to interview, either in-person or over the phone, Hruska said.

Todd Powell, president of the University’s Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, said he went through a face-to-face interview when applying for a fellowship at Penn State University, and offered several tips for would-be graduate students.

“Be very concise, use critical thinking, but don’t mute your passion,” he said. “You don’t want to ramble, but you want to let them know you truly love the idea of graduate school.”

The number of graduate school applications at the University increased slightly this year from 3,082 in 2002 to 3,115.