can I find more information about graduate schools and programs?
Graduate and professional school
information is available in the Career Services Network and may be available in various
academic departments. The Career
Services Network has
some graduate and professional school catalogs and copies of the Graduate School Guide.
Make an appointment
with one of our staff members or a faculty member in your department to review your
graduate school admissions strategy.
Considering graduate school?
There are many reasons to pursue a
graduate education. Some of the best reasons
for enrolling in a graduate program are the love of a particular subject of study and the
desire to study it in depth, and/or the need for an advanced degree to enter the
profession of your choice.
Unfortunately, some students will use
graduate school as a way to temporarily delay career decisions. Students who are apprehensive about entering the
job market should carefully evaluate their decision to enter graduate school. In some instances an advanced degree will increase
your marketability while in other instances additional work experience in your field will
be more relevant.
Many students will also face pressure
to attend graduate school from parents, peers, or mentors.
Make sure any advice taken also reaffirms your own professional goals. Graduate school is self-directed and it can be
difficult for a student to be successful in graduate school when not self-motivated.
Prepared to commit to a career
Perhaps you are interested in attending
graduate school but are unable to select a specific field or degree program. You will want to spend some time defining your
interests before graduation. Visit the Career
Services Network, talk with faculty members, read educational institution literature,
and consider an internship or co-op. If those
exercises aren't helpful, you may want to consider gaining a year or two of work
experience to enhance your perspective.
Have you given some thought to your
long-range career and lifestyle goals?
Whatever your motives are for attending
graduate school, it is a good idea to think about the impact this decision will have on
your life. Will the degree prepare you for a
specific occupation or career field? If so,
what is the employment outlook for that field? When
you select a field of graduate study you are also defining a profession and lifestyle. Make arrangements to talk with professionals in
that field about the benefits and liabilities of that path.
Currently enrolled graduate students are also useful sources of information.
A full-time Master's program will
typically take two years to complete, while Ph.D.'s and some professional degrees require
three or more years. Part time enrollment
will require additional time and may even be discouraged in some universities. During this time period you will focus intensely
on your academic subjects and the individuals in your program. You will typically forfeit a competitive salary,
workday routine and leisure time. Are you
comfortable with the thought of living the lifestyle of a student for a few more
Is it worth the financial
Given the costs that you and/or your
family have incurred over the past few years, this can be a legitimate concern. Everybody places a different value on education
and ultimately you will need to decide if graduate school is worth the financial
sacrifice. Before making that decision,
however, you should familiarize yourself with potential funding sources. Fellowships or scholarships may be awarded by
individual departments or institutions as well as outside organizations. Institution-based aid most frequently takes the
form of a graduate assistantship. Graduate
(or Teaching, or Research) Assistants work part-time in exchange for a stipend and tuition
reimbursement. Federal loans are also
available to many graduate students. The
types of aid available to you will vary tremendously from one institution to another. Make sure you investigate these options carefully
before making any decisions.
Once you've made the decision to attend
graduate or professional school, you'll then need to evaluate which institutions and
programs are best suited to you. It is also
very important to understand how the application process works. In deciding where to apply and ultimately which
graduate program to enter, there are many factors to consider.
Is the program/institution nationally
recognized? Recognized on a regional or local
level? For those of you who choose to look
into program rankings, be advised that there is no single rating for graduate or
professional schools which is universally accepted. Read
several different reports and ask faculty members about the reputations of the programs
you are considering.
Program of Study
What emphasis does the program use? Theory? Research? Case Study? Thesis
vs. Non-Thesis? How many students are
enrolled in the program? What is the student
mix and attrition rate?
Is this an area in which you want to
spend two or more years? Ties that you
develop here could also lead to jobs in this area.
Post-Grad School Employment
Where do graduates of the program
typically find work? How much assistance is
provided by the institution to find employment?
Are the faculty conducting research in
areas that are of interest to you? Are
professors seen on the cutting edge of their field? What
have they published? What is the
student-faculty ratio? Have you visited the
campus to meet with any faculty to discuss the program?
What type of housing is available? How extensive and available are labs and
facilities? How comprehensive is the
How will I pay for school? What are the
average starting salaries of graduates in this field?
Will I be able to support my loan payments? Is
financial aid available and what sort of time commitment will that require?
The Application Process
Gather information early. It is a good idea to begin seriously considering
graduate school at least a year before you begin further study. Application deadlines vary and it is important to
know when a particular institution's deadline is well in advance. Generally speaking, the deadlines fall between
January and March. Applications by those
requesting consideration of financial support (scholarships/assistantships) always have
earlier deadlines. Some schools have rolling
To receive applications, send a neatly
written or typed postcard requesting information to the schools of your choice. Request an application, catalog and any specific
information they may have on the program in which you are interested. Many schools also have information available on
Each field has different requirements
and schools offering the same type of degree may have different requirements. It is therefore important that you read the
information available from each program and decide what needs to be completed before
applying. Colleges and universities usually
require specific graduate admissions tests and departments sometimes have their own
requirements as well. Most programs will
require the following items:
Make sure it is neat. Before typing your final version, it might be
helpful to prepare copies for practice versions.
The essay varies from school to school
and is often the most difficult part of the application process. Your essay should be well organized, succinct,
customized, and proofread. Remember to stay
on topic and consider your audience. The
essay is your chance to demonstrate why you want to attend graduate school, your strengths
and achievements, and why you are interested in a particular department or program. The essay should represent your best writing
efforts. It is a good idea to ask for input
from others on your essay. Faculty members
who are involved in graduate programs are often good mentors in this process.
Official transcripts are maintained by
the Registrars Office on all academic work attempted at Olivet College. Students may
request individual copies of their records or request that copies of their record be
mailed to other parties. Requests must be made in writing and bear the
signature of the student. When ordering a transcript students should include a current
address, daytime telephone number, social security number, birth date, and years of
attendance. All requests should be sent to the Registrars Office. Transcripts
will not be released for students who have failed to meet their financial obligations to
the College. They are free for currently enrolled students and $5.00 for former students.
All standardized tests are offered
periodically throughout the year. Most
commonly taken tests are the GRE (for most academic disciplines), GMAT (business), MAT
(psychology, education), LSAT (law), MCAT (medicine).
Check with the school to which you are applying to see when you should take the
Letters of Recommendation
It is a good idea to start this process
early and allow enough time for the authors of each letter to complete the task. You should select faculty and professionals who
know you well and are recent references. Ask
them if they can make a strong recommendation for you.
Prepare them by giving them a copy of your resume and explaining your career goals. Make sure they know your deadlines. It is a good idea to select at least one extra in
case you fall short. Remember to thank your
references and stay in contact with them.
Don't forget that most graduate schools
require an application fee.
Some graduate schools require you to
appear for an interview. It can be a very
important opportunity for you to persuade faculty and administrators from that department
or discipline that you are an excellent candidate for their program. The ideal candidate is a mature, thoughtful, well
prepared person who has a mission and clear vision of his/her life.
Junior Year, Fall and Spring
Research areas of interest,
institutions, and programs. Talk with your
advisors about application requirements. Register
and prepare for appropriate graduate admission tests.
Investigate national scholarships and financial aid.
Junior Year, Summer
Write for application materials. Visit schools of interest. Write your application essay. Check on application deadlines and rolling
admissions. For medical, dental, osteopathy,
podiatry, or law school, you may need to register for the national application or data
assembly service most programs use.
Senior Year, Fall
Obtain letters of recommendation. Take graduate admission tests if you haven't
already. Send in completed
Senior Year, Spring
Check with schools to ensure
application file is complete. Send fall
transcripts. Once accepted, visit programs to
which you have been accepted. Send deposits
and registration material. Notify other
colleges and universities that accepted you of your decision so that they may admit
students on their waiting list. Send thank
you notes to people who wrote you letters of recommendation, informing them of your
The Educational Testing Service
Graduate Management Admission
Graduate Record Examinations
Law School Admission Test
College Admission Test (MCAT)
For more information, please contact:
Olivet, MI 49076