Connections to get into Graduate School

5 Jun

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”–Winston Churchill

My journey through college hasn’t been an easy one. I’ve struggled a lot, whether it be with my family, extra curricular activities, or academics. Many times, I felt like giving up and tend to have small episodes that look something like this.

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Although it feels like I keep getting pushed to the ground, perseverance is really important…especially at this stage in my college career.

Come this Fall semester, I will officially begin the application process for a graduate program in Higher Education Administration. Although applications aren’t open until later this year, I’ve worked on preparing all of my materials since last SEPTEMBER! Some people might think I’m crazy, but this year I had many co-workers who were applying to graduate school and I saw how much they were struggling.

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After observing their experiences with the application process, I decided that I shouldn’t wait last minute or else I was going to lose my mind!

First, I decided which schools I would be interested enough to go to. My list only consisted of three schools: University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and New Mexico State. I researched each school’s admittance requirements. It didn’t seem like a lot of things, and because I had a year to prepare for them, I didn’t think it was going to be too much.

One of the aspects that I had to work on was my letters of recommendation. I have two jobs and each amazing boss was willing to write me a letter of recommendation. However, I needed 1 or 2 more depending on the program. This is where I felt lost. I had always done well in classes, but it was rare for me to make connections with my professors. This is one thing that high school teachers use to stress to everyone. Make sure you build connections; I guess that message wasn’t made clear enough to me. Connecting with faculty and staff is something that you can start doing at the beginning of your freshman year. Once you do make those connections make sure you keep them!

Once I decided that the U of A was my dream school to get into, I ensured that I was making those connections. I visited professors from the Higher Ed. program and told them that I was interested and wanted to learn more about the program. I also sent an email to Dr. Amanda Kraus (Assistant Director of the Disability Resource Center), and I set up a meeting with her. Going into the meeting, I was really nervous because I didn’t know how it would turn out. Leaving the meeting, I felt more prepared than ever. I felt like I actually had a chance!

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It is not time to celebrate yet, however. That will come later on. Now it’s crunch time, and I have to finish preparing for everything!

If I had to give one tip about applying for graduate school, it would definitely be to get a head start! If I would have waited until the Fall semester of my senior year, I don’t think I would have been able to complete everything that I wanted to do.

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