Here are some hints to consider, there are definitely more—but this is a start.
Be as specific and to the point as possible in terms of research direction and faculty you are interested in working with. Note how your experience or training can contribute to research currently being conducted or potential research that may be conducted once you arrive.
Submit a completed application as soon as possible, meeting the application deadline. Keep records, a file of every school you apply to.
Ask plenty of questions while preparing, during, and even after the application process. Know all your potential funding sources and how to access them.
Be assertive and do your research on schools and locations. Explore your options by gathering as much information about each school as possible and make a campus visit.
Expect opportunities to simply present themselves.
Submit anything without having made sure you have copies of the particular application component.
I recently attended a McNair conference and I was impressed with how much work the McNair Scholars put into their research endeavors. As I spent time sitting in on presentations and reviewing poster sessions, also encouraging students to consider Indiana University for graduate studies, I immediately thought to myself that these students in attendance are the future of academia. When considering the present state of affairs in relation to retention and recruitment of underrepresented student populations, both undergraduate and graduate, as well as faculty of color in higher education, programs particularly such as McMair play a significant role in diversifying the academy. The early access to career and professional development was clearly evident in the quality of work presented by students.
An honest approach to seeking out a faculty mentor is to consider the impact of having several faculty mentors. I am currently in the process of forming my dissertation committee and so I see how this can be applied in a practical manner. My advisor recently alluded to this in that accessing critical feedback and understanding its worth will enhance my training as a future faculty member. Keep in mind a critical key to developing into a well-rounded scholar and a professional is actively engaging in opportunities to form meaningful connections with your colleagues and faculty alike.
For a great follow-up and a little bit of inspiration you should check out the featured articles on the concept of having confidence in your individual abilities and their relation to accessing invaluable support in graduate school. Enjoy!
What’s up bloggers? It’s that time again. You may be asking yourself the question: “Time for what J.T.?” Well I’m glad you asked. It is time for myFREE TIP OF THE DAY. And today’s tip is sponsored by… The Office of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs or DEMA for short.
This past Wednesday I attended a Fall Reception hosted by DEMA in IU Art Museum, and it was PHENOMENAL! It was great to be surrounded by such a diverse group of scholars (students, faculty and staff). It also helped that they served delicious foods and beverages all for free. I was able to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones. Conveniently I also ran into a former emissary, and the FREE TIP OF THE DAY comes from her. Check out the video below…
Hello blogosphere! I’m back with a quick post. This year I am serving as President of the Black Graduate Student Association, an organization focused on the social, educational, and political uplift of Black students (and allies) at Indiana University. We had our kick off event a couple weeks ago and I wanted to share a few photos from the event. Enjoy!
PS - FREE TIP OF THE DAY is take a deep breath… relax… and have fun! You only live once =)
*This entry has been back dated. The first post was the entry titled “Only a month late”
Starting graduate school is a little like being thrown head first into a rushing current and not knowing which way to swim – all the new information, new people, and new questions can quickly become overwhelming. For a little while, you might feel like you’re struggling to keep your head afloat – but don’t worry! Things will get easier with time. In his previous post Tony mentioned networking, and I’d like to continue from there with some valuable tips that I have learned since starting grad school three years ago. Networking can expand your opportunities out there in the wide world of academia, but it can also be an enormous help close to home in your own department. If you haven’t met them yet, here are three groups of people who can help you make sense out of your first weeks of school:
Senior Grad Students - They’ve been in your place before, and they’ve learned lots of tips and strategies in their years in your department. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel – go to them with questions on classes, how many credits you should be taking, program requirements, where to eat – all of it!
The Office Staff - These people keep your department running, and they are great people to know. I go to my department’s staff with all those technical questions (like “How many credits do I need to take my qualifying exams?” or “Do language credits count towards my degree?”). Being friendly with the staff has made my grad life much more pleasant.
Department staff might seem menacing... but they are actually great friends to have. (Left to right: Agatha Wong, Linda Barchet, and Susie Bernhardt of the Anthropology Department)
Your Advising Professors - This one might seem obvious, but checking in regularly with your advisor(s) will keep you on track. They can help keep you aware of deadlines and opportunities, but they can also give you the reassurance that you are doing just fine and banish the “imposter syndrome” doubts you might have.
Networking with these three groups will help you academically, but it will also help you feel like you are a part of the grad student community. And that’s important!