I like to jump into any opportunity that mixes the best of both academic and social worlds. You know, having some fun while filling up those CV lines. I decided in August that I would do a solid for IU’s Ethnomusicology Student Association and serve as the liaison between the ethnomusicology/folklore graduate and undergraduate student associations.
What did you wear today?
I think we can all agree that the anticipation felt from the “first day of school” prompts vibrant memories. For me, year after year, there has always been the excitement mixed with nerves about meeting new classmates, the decision of what my first-day outfit will be, and the dreaded first-day-of-school photo session outside my house. Then again, I was also always pleasantly surprised to find mom’s celebratory first-day chocolate chip cookies waiting for me when I got home.
Last month, I posted a “To-Do List” where I listed my personal thoughts on how one should mentally prepare for the decision to move forward with graduate school applications. I knew that I could create a much stronger post if I could gather feedback from my fellow SU blog contributors based on their lived experiences. So I did just that! I now present to you a comprehensive list of graduate school advice, not-so-secrets, and high-fives from Ana, Heather, Liza, and Alice!
1. Are you ready to apply to grad school?
Decide early if possible. If you apply to graduate programs during your senior year, you will need to take some necessary steps: powering through the GRE, drafting personal statements, soul-searching, and narrowing lists of programs. The alternative is to delay the application process so that you can instead focus on your final schoolwork and personal growth.
But Jennie, how do I know if I’m ready to apply?
I thought I’d take a break from the riveting world of textbook review to comment on something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Many websites and other founts of knowledge have said something like the following when it comes to choosing a graduate program: “it’s critical to find a specific professor to serve as your thesis [or dissertation] advisor. This person will be your guide, mentor and critic. The best advisors are approachable, available and engaged in your work. Apply to schools that have one or more professors who do research in your general area of interest, and with whom you can imagine working closely for a year (or six)” (http://www.princetonreview.com/grad/choosing-a-school.aspx). This is the advice I have always heard when applying for grad school (to give you a little background: I applied for a master’s program once and a PhD program two or three times). And it is advice I’ve given, on occasion, to other people. It seemed to make the most sense.