On Sept. 28th, Career Services held a Grad School and Education Fair in the University Centre Galleria to help students prepare for graduate school. The fair is a great opportunity to meet with recruiters from a variety of domestic and international universities and colleges to learn about their programs, admission requirements, housing etc.
While mostly directed towards students who intend to graduate in the coming year, the fair is suitable for students of any year. After all, it is never too early to start thinking about your options after graduation. I can say from personal experience that your undergrad will be over before you know it, so it’s helpful to try to plan ahead. Now that it is November, I recommend beginning your research into grad schools if you haven’t already.
I visited with each of the recruiters briefly, asking if they had any advice for students who are intending to apply to grad school, or any tips for success once they have been accepted.
Test the waters with Co-op or placements, I say this not because I myself am in the co-op program, but because many recruiters stressed that while students are in their undergraduate years, they are studying a broad subject that they are interested in. Graduate school requires focus into a very specific subject area that interests you. Co-op and placements are a great way to gain experience and try things out in a workplace environment. One recruiter was kind enough to share her personal experiences with co-op and how they helped her decide what to study in grad school:
“I went to school convinced I wanted to be an elementary school teacher. Then, when I took a co-op in the field, I realized I absolutely hated it. However, I still knew I wanted to work with various types of people on a daily basis. So, I took a co-op the following semester working with elderly individuals. This I enjoyed a bit more, but it still wasn’t what I truly wanted to do. Eventually, I realized I wanted to work with university students as a career counsellor and help them find what they loved to study. From there, I became a graduate school recruiter, since grad school is all about studying something you love.”
Also, attend events held by the institution you have chosen. Another recruiter stressed that it is important to physically go to the school you are thinking of applying to and attending events they organize for potential grad students. It is very important to be aware of the physical atmosphere of where you are studying beyond just doing your research. This way, you can also get to know the professors and/or supervisors who you will be potentially working with. If this option is not feasible try getting in contact with individuals through email and social media personally.
Continued in Part II
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