All that 12th grade mayhem may have made college seem like the final stop, but guess again! Making it in the real world (wherever that is) requires you to finish what you start, and for us students, that might mean graduate school. Getting accepted is more competitive than ever this time around. “We’re looking for a GRE score, and at least a bachelor’s degree in whatever program they’re applying for,” says Robyn Broadnick, admissions counselor at Temple University. “The numbers hold a lot of weight, and it helps to prepare a year before applying.”
Goucher senior Elianna Apothaker started thinking seriously about graduate school a year a go, and has recently kept her nose in her GRE handbook. “I want to take the revised version and the subject psychology test, and have already met with someone to help me figure out what to do in terms of which degree most interests me.” Apothaker knew she wanted to take her psychology major to the next level when she declared in her sophomore year. “I’m looking programs with multiple schools of thought, professors who are doing work that interests me, and a high rate of student placement in internships.” As with picking a college, grades and direction matter. Like, a lot.
Toni Foster, a rising Stony Brook University senior, has come up with her own system of preparation: she’s drawn up a chart of prospective schools. “The y-axis contains the list of schools,” she explains, “and the x-axis has different aspects of each one… tuition, requirements, course load and such.” Each school’s merit is a matter of location and what it offers with regard to her major. Foster started thinking about graduate school the winter of her junior year, and started organizing things while she wasn’t busy. “The chart has changed a bit since then, because I’m still deciding which major I want to apply to.” She has settled on linguistics, and hopes to teach English as a Second Language. Foster has also been preparing for the GRE, and she graciously put her practice book to the side for this interview!
A seat in grad school can be just as much of an accomplishment as a college diploma, and getting one right after the other takes work. It’s the same story they told us in middle school: have a goal, buckle down and get the grades. Past experience is also a plus, especially for us journalists—but when it comes down to it, the numbers hold a lot of weight, and it’s worth the effort to get them as high as possible.