Guide To The Best Degree Course And University

To most people, education is everything. Due to this, they are cautious from the type of courses they choose to the universities they attend. To help you out, here are tips on how to make the right decision.

Best degree courses

There are plenty of university degrees you can choose from. Some of the best being:

Web development: Everyone is now getting into the digital space and almost every company is looking to hire a web expert. In this course, you will study a lot of mathematics and physics. You will be working with computer languages thus you should be ready to learn a few computer programming languages. When you graduate you can start your own web development company or seek employment in one of the many companies looking for computer experts.

Nursing: As a registered nurse you will be doing some of the duties carried out by a physician. This can be medical prescription and even diagnosis. Since you will be dealing with the human body, you should be ready to learn about the human anatomy. Also be ready to study about drugs and drug interactions. If you have looked at the job portals, you must have noticed that every year there are plenty of nurses required in the job market. You can work in one of the hospitals or even start your own clinic.

Biomedical Engineering: This course combines engineering sciences with biomedicine and clinical practice. In addition to the comfort of a high salary when you pursue this course, you also have more meaning to your work as you will be working in two areas-you will be working with machines and also humans. The most attractive thing is that the industry is on upward trend thus many biomedical engineers will be in demand in the future.

In school, you will be learning about the various biomedical equipment and how you can use them to make the lives of the patients easier.

Occupational therapy: As an occupational therapist you help ill, injured, and disabled people to access their workplace and easily face the various aspects of their lives. Your role will be evaluating the patients in their workplace and home, identify their health needs and any possible improvements.

Guide to choosing the best university

When you are looking to join a university, you need to consider plenty of factors. Some of these factors include:

Relevance: How relevant is the university to what you are studying? While most universities teach on a wide range of courses, there are some universities that are better known for a given area of study. For example, there are some that are known for business related courses, others for medicine courses and so on. To increase your chances of getting employed and get expert knowledge, go to a college that is known for a given discipline. For example, if interested in finance, attend a university that focuses on business related courses.

Fee: This is also crucial. As rule of thumb, you should join an institution that is within your budget. When making your choice you should note that private universities are more expensive than the public ones.

Conclusion

This is what you need to know when you are choosing a university degree and the school to attend. To have an easy time, choose a course that you love.

Tips for Online Students: How to Ask a Question

Getting Started

When you are new to online learning there can be a lot to learn, and fast! As an online student you will be taking on some additional responsibilities for your time and your academic work. One of your greatest resources is your instructor. Asking for help or communicating with an instructor can be very intimidating, especially for a new student.

Before You Email

Many times instructors will post important information in the course announcements, the syllabus, or perhaps send out a welcome email at the start of class. Chances are that many of your questions will already be answered there. Be sure to spend some time reviewing your class and the materials right away. You will feel much more at ease with your environment.

How to Ask a Question

Instructors love to help students. We are here to help you succeed! In order to help us help you, we need you to be as specific as possible. If you simply say “I need help” or “I don’t understand” it doesn’t give us much to work with. Begin your email by stating the assignment, unit, or reading that you are working with. Then follow up with the question. Tell your instructor what you don’t understand or what outcome you are looking for.

A Poor Email:

Professor Smith,

I am so confused and I don’t understand what I am supposed to do! Help me!

Student Jones

Unless Professor Smith is a mind reader, chances are he or she doesn’t know either! What are you working on? Where are you in the classroom? What is the obstacle holding you back? In this scenario, your instructor will have to ask you follow up questions for more information, which will only delay you getting the help you need.

A better way to approach the issue:

Professor Smith,

I am having trouble with the Unit 4 discussion. Are the instructions asking for two responses to classmates, or three?

Student Jones

This is very clear and concise. Professor Smith will know how exactly how to respond, meaning you will get a clear answer right away.

Following Up

Most faculty members are quite diligent in responding to student emails right away. However, there are a myriad of reasons you may not get the speedy response you hoped for. The very first thing to do is review your syllabus, the course announcements, and if applicable your instructor’s biography. Look for information on contacting the instructor. Did you use their preferred means of communication? (Note, increasingly the preferred means of communication will be a messaging tool in the classroom and not email.) Is there a stated expectation of how long you should wait before a response?

If there is no expectation outlined in the course materials, wait 48 hours and then you may follow up with your instructor for a response. What you want to avoid here is multiple emails a day, or sending emails hours later asking if your instructor received your message. This is inefficient for both students and instructors.

Instructors as Resources

Remember, your instructor is key to your success. You never have to feel timid or apologize for asking questions. It is our role to support you and help you navigate the course successfully. We want to help you! Asking questions is a great way to enrich your learning experience.

Helpful Tips and Advice for Students

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been at university for a while or if you’re just beginning your time as a student, advice will be coming at you from all sides on what you should be doing to succeed during your further education career. A lot of it will come from people who have been in your position before but fail to remember that everyone is different – so if you hear something that doesn’t ring true for you, it’s fine to trust your instinct and shrug it off. However, there are a few basic tips that most students would do well to take note of that will definitely see you through some tricky times.

Speaking to people and asking questions

The first thing is pretty much applicable to life in general as well as university: never, ever be afraid to ask questions. This doesn’t just mean during your lectures; you would hope that your tutors are happy to provide answers to your queries, so remember that this also applies to your life outside the lecture theatres or study room. If you have issues that are affecting you, anything from your emotional welfare to feeling that you’re swamped with too much work, there are always people there who can help you out.

Getting out there and talking to people you don’t know can be a difficult prospect for many, but at least university makes it easier for you to do so. With so many societies and clubs available, social functions aplenty and your brand new course mates (all of whom will be in the same boat as you) all you need to do is throw yourself into the mix. Locking yourself in your student accommodation and hiding away from the world means that everyone else is missing out on what you can bring to the group, so get out there. In fact, you can even use your accommodation as that first stepping stone – start chatting to people in your halls or shared house and see if they fancy a quick beer or a bite to eat.

An organised student is a healthy student

Organisation is the key to being a successful student, so make sure that you’re prepared to juggle different elements of your life. You may feel that you never have enough time to do everything you want, so prioritisation is vital; set time aside to cover your academic duties as well as your burgeoning social life – and don’t neglect old friends from home or your family either! Also be aware of your budget; money is always tight as a student, but it’s perfectly possible to live well on a small amount each week.

This also links to another important bit of advice: do everything you can to keep yourself healthy. The occasional takeaway is grand, sure, but don’t become reliant on McDonalds or the Chinese across the road. Do what you can to eat healthy food regularly and you’ll be well on the way to taking proper care of yourself. Keeping an eye on the little things will help so much in guaranteeing your physical and mental health, so do whatever you can every day.

Success as a student means different things to different people – for some it’s getting a 1st, for others it’s about flying the nest and learning to be independent. Just remember that you can always ask friends, family, lecturers, student support services, or even older students who have already learnt the hard way for advice.

Tips, Strategies and Educational Resources for Parents During Social Distancing

Approximately 56.6 million students attended elementary and secondary school in the United States in 2019. With the current COVID-19 global pandemic, school districts across the nation made the tough decision to close schools and move to online classes due to public health and safety concerns. Parents and caregivers have been charged with stepping into a more active role of facilitating their child’s educational learning. Below are a few educational tips, strategies and resources for parents.

1. Ensure that student is participating in all required online activities including instructional time and any additional online chats’ participation.

2. Discuss with teachers your child’s ongoing academic progress including completion of homework assignments, projects and exam scores.

3. Parents are recommended to supplement their child’s learning with additional academic enrichment activities including educational websites, at home science projects or fun learning games.

4. Parents should make sure to create an at home learning environment to help their child focus including having a quiet place away from distractions, routine homework and study times and learning materials including a computer/laptop, textbooks, etc.

5. For students who are receiving exceptional student education (ESE) services, are under an IEP or 504 plan, should follow-up with the school counselor or school psychologist to determine if there are any required pending updates or meetings required prior to the end of the school year.

6. If your child was undergoing a psychoeducational evaluation for determination of special education services, please follow-up with school personnel for a status report and to see if the school psychologist may be conducting testing over the summer.

7. If your child was unable to start his/her evaluation prior to school closing, discuss with school staff if it is possible for your child to have a private psychoeducational evaluation completed if you are very concerned about the potential delay at the start of the next school year. Please be mindful that a private psychoeducational evaluation may be at your own expense and the school does not have to accept the results or recommendations. Additionally, if submitted to the school it becomes a part of your child’s educational record. Please take all of the above into consideration before spending hundreds of dollars for a private evaluation.

8. If you would like to pursue a private psychoeducational evaluation, consider a more affordable alternative of having the evaluation conducted at a nearby university that has a university-based clinic with graduate students who can complete the testing under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist or certified school psychologist.

9. Students finishing their senior year and planning to attend college in the fall, should contact their selected college/university to determine if classes will start on time as previously outlined.

10. Graduating students already admitted to college for 2020-2021, should follow-up on the status of their financial aid including any awarded grants, scholarships or G.I. bill disbursements.

EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES:

Abcmouse- subscription-based digital education program for children ages 2-8.

BrainPOP- Animated educational sites for kids

Discovery Education- standards-based digital curriculum resources for K-12 classrooms worldwide

Funbrain- online educational games for kids

Khan Academy- offers practice exercises, instructional videos and a personalized learning dashboard for self-paced learning

PhET Simulations- provides free fun interactive math and science simulations

Scholastic- offers books, literacy resources and educational solutions for kids

Scistarter- connects people to citizen science projects, scientists and resources

Starfall- reading, phonics, and math educational games and activities for kids in preschool through 2nd grade

Tutor.com/military- The program provides on-demand academic support 24/7 online in more than 100 subjects for grades kindergarten through college students. Now available at no cost to any adult or child in a DoD civilian or Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve or Wounded Warrior military family.

FINANCIAL AID AND SCHOLARSHIPS:

Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)-studentaid.gov

FastWeb- online college scholarship search provider

INFORMATIONAL ARTICLES:

“20 Tips for Applying for College Scholarship”, Felecia D. Sheffield, PhD, EzineArticles.com

“Minimizing Summer Learning Loss- 5 Tips for Parents”, Felecia D. Sheffield & Shameeka T. Meredith, ezinerarticles.com

Parent Center Hub, Center for Parent Information and Resources- “All About the IEP”

Parent Center Hub, Center for Parent Information and Resources- “Developing Your Child’s IEP”

U.S. Department of Education, “A Guide to the Individualized Education Program”

Greatschools.org “A parent’s guide to Section 504 in public schools”

Additudemag.com “is an IEP or 504 Plan best for Your Child? How to Decide”

Copyright © 2020 Felecia D. Sheffield. PhD, HSP All Rights Reserved Worldwide in all Media.

Pharmcas Pharmacy Schools That Do Not Require The PCAT And The 2 Big Tips When Applying

There are many Pharmcas pharmacy schools that don’t require the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT). These schools are mainly located in the West Coast but there are three of the ten that are not even near this area.

If you suffer from test anxiety like many other pre-pharmacy students, applying to schools that does not require the PCAT may be a shrewd and smart thing to do. These schools will mainly look at your grade point average (GPA), pharmacy experience and other factors that are important to that school of pharmacy. As you know, schools that do not require the PCAT may receive more applications than schools that do require the PCAT; therefore, making competition for a seat at that pharmacy school more cut-throat.

Below are the Pharmcas pharmacy schools in the US that does not require the PCAT.

1) Albany College of Pharmacy at Union University

2) University of California at San Diego

3) University of California at San Francisco

4) Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Boston

5) Oregon State University

6) University of the Pacific

7) Purdue University

8) University of Southern California

9) Touro University in California

10) Washington State University

There you have it, all of the Pharmcas pharmacy schools that do not require the PCAT. So if you suffer from test anxiety or you’re not a great test-taker, you should consider applying to these schools that does not require the pharmacy admissions test.

The 2 big tips in increasing your odds of getting into pharmacy schools especially a school that does not require the PCAT are:

1) Know the pharmacy profession inside and out. You should be able to articulate why you have chosen pharmacy school and the current issues relating to the pharmacy profession

2) Knowing the profession is only one part of the equation. The other part is to have pharmacy experience. Without any pharmacy experience, your chances of getting into a pharmacy school is not very good. So get the experience early and continue get them even when you are in pharmacy school.

For more advice, tips and insiders secrets and a FREE PCAT Study Guide please visit http://www.GetIntoPharmacySchool.com

Three EMBA Program Survival Tips

Once you decide that you need to go through an EMBA program, you have to prepare yourself for the experience. The biggest mistake many executive students make is to assume that the program won’t be that difficult, since the hours tend to be part time. What they fail to realize is that juggling any MBA program with a full time career and possibly a family life and personal life can be stressful and exhausting. The following tips are designed to get you off on the right foot so you know how to survive the next year or two of study.

1. Choose your program according to hours and program structure, not just reputation.

When you went through degree programs in the past, you probably considered the reputation of the school before you thought about anything else. While that still remains important when getting your EMBA, you have to give more thought to the structure of the program you select this time around.

You probably have a lot more going on in your life this time, since you are now working full time and may have more serious personal relationships or even a family to take care of now. This means you need a program that will fit into your lifestyle in a reasonable manner. It may not be entirely comfortable or easy, but it should be possible to juggle other responsibilities while going through the program.

It doesn’t matter how reputable a program is if you cannot possibly meet all requirements of the program right now. Find something that fits your life right now.

2. Be realistic about what you will have to give up in order to make it through the program.

The EMBA is designed just for working professionals like yourself, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have to sacrifice to get through the program. Once you know what the schedule will be for the program, figure out your schedule and take account of what you may have to give up to make it through the program.

For example, you may have to give up watching your child’s football games or being home on time for dinner every night. You may have to sacrifice weekends to be in the classroom while spending weekdays locked in the office at work.

If you are mentally prepared for these sacrifices going into the program, you will handle the stress much better. It is when these things come as a surprise that EMBA students struggle emotionally.

3. Keep your mind open to learn new things and expand your skill set.

Too many EMBA candidates come into the program thinking they have at least a few years of working experience in the business world and they already know it all. They feel like the degrees they have already achieved and their work experience has already prepared them for a successful career in management or even at the corporate level. They have closed minds and do not get the most out of their programs.

Whether you are going into your EMBA program on your own ambition or you have been required to undertake the degree by your employer, acknowledge that you still have a lot to learn. No matter how far you climb up the ladder at work, there is always something more to work. Keep your mind open and you will get more out of your time studying.

Fast Track Ivy League Admissions Tips

The Ivy League is an athletic union of American educational institutes based in the north-east of The States including Harvard, Yale and Columbia University. Many people mistakenly believe MIT and Stanford are members of this union. While we reference these institutes in this article, they are not.

There are a series of factors that will determine your acceptance to the Ivy League or other elite institutes. Here we’ll analyse the best approach. Let’s begin with your GPA.

GPA Requirements

Of course, your GPA is a pillar of your application. But is your application a house of cards without it? Not necessarily. Why is it that some students with 4.0 GPA’s are rejected, while others with sub-3 GPA’s are accepted? Because the value of the courses you took is often of equal value to your result. Because your application needs to demonstrate extra-curricular pedigree.

Your record at school needs to display academic rigor – don’t opt for the easiest courses. A prescribed high school path featuring 4 years of the cornerstone subjects, English, Math and Science, are best complimented with 4 years dedicated to History and learning a foreign language.

That brings us on to Extra-Curriculars.

Those Darn Extra-Curriculars

Meet John. John has a 2.7 grade point average and equally unremarkable SAT results. Although John was never the best student, he excelled in sports, holding the post as captain for his Baseball, Basketball and Football teams, winning awards for his sporting ability. It’s these strengths that secured his place at Harvard. Meanwhile many thousands of students are rejected every year with outstanding academics.

Stories of a sub-3 GPA turned Harvard graduate are the exception, but there’s a moral to this tale. If two students are equal academically, universities like employers, will opt for the candidate who has held leadership roles or displayed an extra-curricular spike. Without these traits, your application will be lost.

Financial Aid

Unfortunately, you’ll have to factor cost into attending your dream school. Fortunately, though, the world’s most prestigious schools are often in possession of the largest financial aid endowments. Consider Harvard which has a financial aid budget of $172,000,000. This aid is reserved for students whose parents are earning under $60,000 per year. The net result means the cost of attending actually matches or bests 90% of other universities. Before preparing your FAFSA application (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), you’ll need to know where you stand.

What About Reach Schools?

Universities with low admissions rates, including Harvard and Yale are considered ‘Reach Schools’. A ‘Match School’ is one that has a high probability of acceptance. Identifying reach schools and match schools is smart forward planning.

Perhaps your heart is set on attending Yale. You may dream of being published in Yale Law Review before one day running for Congress. Students negotiate a path towards their dreams every year. Equally there are who students fail to reach the school of their dreams without Plan B. Identify other institutes with a prestigious record of graduating the finest minds in your field.

Post-Graduate Success

When creating a shortlist of schools, it’s wise to assess the post-graduate success student’s are likely to experience. Let’s take MIT. While the US economy struggles and jobs are scare, MIT bucks the trend. Studies demonstrate just 20% of students find employment on graduation. MIT students however, fare better than the national average with on-campus hiring still prevalent.

The idea that your post-graduate success is purely dependent on your education, however, is mistaken. History is shaped by those who defy the rules and define their own route. Be they a Harvard reject Warren Buffet or Princeton reject Ted Turner. So, you don’t need to graduate the Ivy League to be a success… But it helps.

Tips on Applying to Graduate School

Graduate school provides a more specialized level of training and enhanced, expert instruction in a particular field. The most critical decision in applying to graduate school is not in selecting the institution but rather in identifying the most favorable area of study. Unfortunately, the decision-making process does not end there. Other considerations such as timing, location of study, financial aid, and the student population should all be given appropriate attention.

In this publication, we offer tips to jumpstart your search for a Master’s or Doctoral degree. We explore the common reasons for applying, the selection process, test taking, and the necessary preparations leading to attendance. These guidelines will provide you with insights into approaching the application process with confidence and will serve as a reference as you go through the application steps.

Good luck!

I. Top Reasons for Applying to Graduate School

Career Change/Advancement

People with several years of working experience often realize that their career path slowly becomes limited, or even spares no room for professional growth. Some also discover that their skill set is no longer applicable to their field of exposure and subsequently pursue specific training in their industry as a means to move forward.

On numerous occasions, a rank-and-file employee may have already acquired a knowledgeable understanding of how a company is managed, and may wish to pursue a supervisory position in the company or in another enterprise. Whether you are planning to switch careers or aiming for advancement, a graduate education can greatly offer more flexibility.

Increased Salary

Higher earnings directly correlate with higher education. Management and/or supervisory positions are often restricted to those with advanced degrees, thus limiting your earning potential if you do not have these advancements. According to studies, a graduate degree holder in the United States can earn an average of 33% more than someone with a bachelor’s degree alone.

Personal Improvement/Intellectual Stimulation

Discounting future career and income potential, other people opt to pursue graduate studies simply because they love to learn and are genuinely interested in acquiring more knowledge on their chosen field.

II. Determining if Graduate School is the Right Choice for You

Graduate school is perfect for people who enjoy research and learning. It is not ideal for people who merely want to take more courses, or for those who are in a rush to get a job.

Undergraduate study differs from graduate education in that it requires more of your time, motivation, and effort. It also entails forming professional and personal relationships with professors and other students. Generally, it challenges you in what you want to achieve in your life.

III. The Right Time for Graduate School

The right time to pursue an advanced degree is situational. You can embark on graduate school right after you receive your bachelor’s degree, a year after graduation, or even several years later. If you are approaching graduation, and you have decided that graduate school is the next step for you, it may be helpful if you ask yourself the following questions:

1) Are you ready for another three to eight years of studying?

2) Should you take time off before moving on to graduate school?

3) If you want to take time off, why?

If the main reason for taking time off is fatigue, then ask yourself if the two or three months of vacation before graduate school can help you revitalize yourself. If you are convinced that graduate school is the next step for you, then there is no reason why you should delay your application.

Right after Graduation

If the knowledge you acquired in your undergraduate education is specifically relevant to your graduate program, then this option may be the right one for you. Other reasons for going straight to graduate school include your excellence as a student; your current status of having few (or no) obligations, both personally and financially; and your interest in pursuing an area of expertise that requires a graduate degree.

Take time to ensure that graduate school is right for you. Advanced study requires a considerable amount of motivation and the ability to work independently. Sometimes, a vacation from studying may help intensify your motivation and enhance your skills. As such, you may want to consider the following option.

After a Sufficient Rest Period

Many graduates take a year off before they start their graduate program. You can use this time to work, both to help you fund your studies and to gain experience. Perhaps, you simply want to travel. If you are traveling, remember to apply for courses at the right time, keeping in mind that you might be asked to attend an interview or an admission test. You will need to plan well ahead, sometimes as long as 18 months prior to application. In the case of some overseas programs, it is common for students to put together a timeline before they begin focusing on their time off.

It is important to understand that pursuing a graduate degree a number of years after undergraduate study is not uncommon. Some time off can be valuable if it improves your qualifications and primes you for the pressures and rigors of graduate school.

After Working Full-time

The reasons for acquiring work experience before graduate school include acquiring a better understanding of your professional objectives, obtaining relevant work experience, and developing a more responsible attitude toward studying. If you know in advance that you intend to pursue a graduate education after several years of work, look for an employer with a tuition reimbursement program. Often, employers are willing to finance part, or all, of the expenses entailed in graduate study.

While Working

The biggest percentage of the graduate school student population consists of part-time students. The idea of supplemental education is a growing trend because rapid industry changes affect almost all fields of expertise. Continuing to work, whether on a part time or a full time basis, can also be a means of paying for expenses incurred during the course of your graduate study.

IV. Master’s vs. Doctoral Degrees

It is a common misconception that a prospective PhD student must possess a Master’s degree to enter a doctoral program. Although majority of graduate programs do require this, it is not always the case. It is better to conduct your own research and investigate the degree requirements for a program as opposed to making an assumption. In this booklet, we provide some of the more significant differences between being a Masteral and a Doctoral candidate.

The Masteral Candidate

You will spend, on the average, about two years in graduate school. The purpose of this program is to provide you with solid education in a specialized academic discipline

Your First Year The enrollment process is similar to that for undergraduate study. You are required to fulfill the coursework requirements of your degree. However, the work will be heavier, the course topics will be more specialized, and much more will be expected from you than when you were an undergraduate. With your adviser’s help (chosen by you or assigned by the program), you will start to solidify your academic focus.

Your Second Year You may take more advanced classes to complete your course requirements. Having determined your research direction, you will gradually spend more effort toward the completion of your thesis. Depending on your pace, you may need one semester or an entire academic year for you to finish your masteral thesis, the objective of which is to show your mastery in your area of study.

The Doctoral Candidate

You will spend, on the average, five to six years in graduate school. The purpose of the program is to provide you with comprehensive knowledge of your field, prepare you to conduct original and significant research, and make you ready to become a member of a teaching faculty.

Your First Three Years You will enroll in classes to fulfill your degree requirements and obtain comprehensive knowledge of your field of study. You will gradually establish your research direction, often consulting with an adviser (usually) appointed at the start of your graduate study. By the end of your second or third year, you would have completed a thesis or taken comprehensive exams, or both. The thesis and/or exams will allow your professors to evaluate your capabilities to continue with doctoral studies.

Your Last Three Years Coursework becomes a minor component of your academic workload, and may even disappear as you conceptualize your dissertation, a novel and significant contribution to the available knowledge in your specialization. You will teach more and more classes and gradually collaborate more with senior faculty members. You will form a close professional relationship with a faculty member who shares the same research interests as you do, and he/she will become your dissertation adviser. Your program will end with the completion of your dissertation, which may entail an oral defense of your research before a panel of faculty members and/or experts in the field you are in.

V. Selecting a Graduate Program

The following are some of the more important factors and questions that students need to consider and answer when deciding on what graduate program to apply to.

Specialty

This criterion will ultimately depend on your interests, but we always suggest job market consideration. Certain fields may undergo positive developments after a few years, while those that are currently experiencing rapid growth may become stagnant.

Ranking

A graduate program’s ranking is critical for some prospective graduate students. They believe that a program’s ranking signifies the quality of education they will receive and the level of resources that will be available to them. However, different sources of information – school Web sites, published rankings, and independent ranking organizations – all have specific criteria for evaluating a specific program. Students should therefore be aware of the factors that are considered in determining a program’s ranking, as well as the evaluation methods (if any) that are implemented.

Location

Location can play a large factor in your graduate school experience. You will establish many ties in graduate school and should therefore consider if the school of your choice is located in an area that you would consider living in. On the other hand, if you are looking for temporary residence in a place you have no intention of living in permanently but desire to live in for a few years, graduate school is an opportune time to gain that experience. Wherever you are, you should be comfortable with the location because you will be (usually) staying in that place for the next two to eight years of your life. Some questions you need to ask yourself are the following: Are you more partial to a small or large school? Urban or rural? Country or city?

Cost

Take into account all direct and indirect costs (tuition, miscellaneous fees, books, and especially cost of living) and the availability of financial assistance. The amount of financial assistance you receive often depends on whether you are pursuing a Master’s degree or a PhD. It is not unusual for a university or college to waive tuition requirements if you are applying for a doctoral program. Moreover, many PhD students are given some form of funding or stipend.

Admission Standards

It is better to select a graduate program with stringent admissions standards. Schools with lower admission requirements may provide a lower quality of graduate education. Majority of schools and universities make this type of information available to the public. Look for the base requirements for admission; these usually include the necessary undergraduate GPA and standardized test scores.

Teaching Personnel

Narrowing down your program choices will prove much easier if you are definite about your research interests. It is recommended that you apply to programs where the faculty members have research interests that coincide with yours.

It has often been stated that a graduate program is only as good as its faculty. It is important to learn from and train under professors who are respected and recognized in their chosen specialty. The easiest way to evaluate the quality of a program is to look at the proportion of classes taught by full-time faculty. At the same time, indicators such as the number of scholarly publications and the professional experience of the teaching staff could also provide insights into the reputation of the faculty.

Facilities

Check if the program you intend to apply to has the facilities/amenities that you need. Can they provide you the tools necessary for your research? It is important to investigate whether the “state-of-the-art” facilities promoted by the school or university are truly as claimed.

Time for Completion

Ask yourself how quickly you want to complete the program. Do you want to finish in two years? Three? Four? Do you have other plans after earning your graduate degree and thus have to finish it within a specific duration of time?

Career Planning

If your reason for going to graduate school is career related, then it will be wise to find out what types of professional development activities are available in the program/university you are pursuing. Are there opportunities for networking or training with actual practitioners in the field of specialization you have chosen?

Many students love the field of study they are in, but are confused with what specific positions they can apply for after graduation. The program or department will have information regarding the average salary earned by their graduates and the proportion of students who land jobs after graduation. You can also check if the department has connections with various organizations/companies to assist its students in finding employment after graduation.

VI. Finding Top Graduate Schools

Seek Out Fellow Graduate Students

Seeking out and talking to students enrolled in your program of interest is one of the best ways to conduct research on graduate schools. Getting the “inside scoop” on what you can expect upon admission into a program will certainly help you obtain “real-life information” about the program. Aside from obtaining information on courses, tuition, and faculty members, you may also be lucky enough to hear personal experiences with regard to the quality of instruction, the rigors of the program, and other factors that will aid you in making a decision where to apply.

Graduate School Rankings

Graduate school rankings provide a practical guide for finding the school that is suitable for you. Aside from general rankings, information such as average grades and test scores are included in these records. This will help you establish whether or not your qualifications are competitive.

In fields such as medicine, business, and law, rankings can be very useful. Rankings in these disciplines are frequently determined based on meticulous scientific evaluations, and if applied properly, these can direct students toward organizing their applications by enabling them to highlight the aspects they will be competitive in. Nonetheless, these rankings are not the end-all and be-all of selecting the right graduate school. Many students focus too much on international or national rankings. Combined with careful research, however, graduate school rankings can most certainly point you in the right direction.

VII. Applying for Admission

Materials

The following materials are generally required for applying to graduate school:

a. A completed and signed application form

b. The application fee

c. Certified true copies of transcripts from colleges and universities attended

d. Statement of Purpose or a Personal Statement

e. Recommendation Letters

f. Standardized test scores

VIII. Timetables for Applying to Graduate School

The earlier you complete your application, the better your prospects for admission. In this manual, we provide two options of a timetable you can utilize as you prepare for your application to graduate school. Carefully review each, and choose the one you believe will work best for you.

TIMETABLE (Option 1)

1. Conduct research

– Obtain information online – both institutional and external sites – and visit campuses (if possible).

– At graduate school fairs, speak with representatives from the schools. Collecting materials is often less effective than spending your time in verbal communication with people who are a reflection of the school. Generally, the material in brochures and distributed paperwork contains the same information as that of the online site. Talking to people may help you make better use of your time.

2. Prepare for the required standardized tests (i.e., GMAT and TOEFL)

– This is between one and six months ahead of taking the tests, depending on your initial level.

3. Start drafting your Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose

– Think about your accomplishments, relevant experiences, influences, and inspirations.

– Identify your goals and reasons for pursuing graduate study and/or the specific graduate program.

4. Obtain your Letters of Recommendation

– Decide on and speak to the people you wish to get recommendations from; make sure you give them plenty of advanced notice.

– Discuss your plans, and remind them of your academic/professional achievements and capabilities.

– Give them clear and realistic deadlines for writing the letter (six to eight weeks).

– Follow-up with a call three or four weeks after making your request to find out how the letters are progressing (and as some recommenders have busy schedules, to remind them to start writing the letter).

5. Request for your undergraduate transcripts

– Do this at least two months before you submit your application.

6. Take the standardized tests

– Request that the scores be sent to the schools.

7. Finish drafting your Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose

– Provide copies to friends and colleagues and ask them for their opinions regarding your work.

– Obtain the services of a professional English language review and editing company like KGSupport to enhance your essay’s content, improve English usage, and make your statement competitive.

– Type or write neatly. If your application is unreadable, it cannot be evaluated.

8. Mail all completed applications

– Do not wait for deadlines. Submit early!

– Keep photocopies for your records.

TIMETABLE (Option 2)

9-12 months before graduate school starts

– Select the programs you wish to enroll in.

– Obtain application forms and requirements from the university/school. Inquire from the admissions office if you have any questions.

– Decide who you will ask to write your letters of recommendation.

7-9 months before graduate school starts

– Start drafting your Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose.

– Collect your Letters of Recommendation.

– Complete the application in preparation for submission. Double-check that all necessary information has been provided. Read the instructions and follow them carefully.

– Keep photocopies of your application form, Personal Statement, undergraduate transcript, and Letters of Recommendation.

6-8 months before graduate school starts

– Submit your application documents. Check if there is a difference between deadlines for online submission and mailed applications.

– Begin looking for housing if required.

5-7 months before graduate school starts

– Request that your undergraduate transcripts be sent to your intended school/s.

– Acceptance letters are usually sent out around this time. If you have not heard from your school, contact them to make sure your application is complete.

3-6 months before graduate school starts

– Complete all your admission requirements: final transcripts, registration, medical checks, others

IX. Standard Tests/Exams Necessary for Application

GENERAL

1. GRE – Graduate Record Examination (General and Subject)

The GRE General Test measures a person’s verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills acquired over a period of time, and not related to any specific field of study. The standardized score serves as a yardstick for evaluating your qualifications as an applicant.

The GRE Subject Tests measure undergraduate proficiency in the following eight disciplines:

Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Literature in English, Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, and Psychology

2. IELTS – International English Language Testing System

The IELTS is an internationally recognized English language test. It enables students to show their ability to pursue courses in English. It is accepted by universities in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. However, it is not accepted by most universities in the United States. The score that students must obtain to be eligible in a university that requires IELTS depends on the course and the university.

3. TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language

The TOEFL is the most widely accepted English language test in the world. It measures the spoken and written ability of non-native, English-speaking students. It is best to check the Web site of the university/school you wish to apply to before deciding on which English test to take.

4. TOEIC – Test of English for International Communication

The TOEIC assessment measures the capability of non-native English-speaking people to use English in everyday work activities.

5. TSE – Test of Spoken English

The TSE assessment measures the verbal communication ability of nonnative English speakers in an academic or professional environment.

SPECIFIC

1. LSAT (Law)

The LSAT is intended to measure skills regarded as indispensable for success in law school: accurate reading and comprehension of complex texts, organization of information and the capacity to obtain logical inferences from it, critical reasoning, and analysis and assessment of the reasoning and opinions of others.

2. GMAT (MBA)

The GMAT is a standardized test that aids business schools in evaluating the qualifications of applicants for advanced degrees in business and management. It is often used by business schools as a predictor of academic performance. The GMAT measures basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills that have been developed through education and employment.

GMAT requirements vary depending on the school. You should research on the average GMAT scores at the universities you wish to apply to. This information should be readily available. Remember that top business schools view a score of at least 600 as competitive.

3. MCAT (Medicine)

The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice test intended to evaluate an applicant’s problem-solving, critical-thinking, and writing skills as well as knowledge of scientific concepts and principles essential to medical study. These scores are considered by medical schools as an essential factor in their evaluation process. Majority of medical schools in the United States require applicants to submit MCAT scores.

4. DAT (Dental)

General academic competence, grasp of scientific concepts, and perceptual ability are among the factors measured by the Dental Admissions Test.

X. The Admissions Interview

Although not all graduate programs conduct admission interviews, it is better to be prepared for this possibility, especially if the university, program, or field you are applying to is particularly competitive.

What is the purpose of the admissions interview? Sometimes, graduate school applicants are not as ideal for a program as they appear on paper. Therefore, the interview helps the people involved in the selection process to identify if a candidate can be successful in their program. It often provides insights into a person’s motivation, fundamental knowledge, and interpersonal and communication skills.

The interview process is different for each university and program. It may even vary within the program itself, depending on the person or panel handling the interview. During your interview, do not expect the interviewers to remember anything about you. They may have read your application essay or have gone through your transcript or resume, but keep in mind that they have likewise reviewed hundreds if not thousands of applications. Therefore, be ready to repeat certain details that are already presented in your file.

Before the Interview

o Conduct research about the program and faculty. Identify the program’s strengths and the faculty’s research interests.

o Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. What is it about you that make you suitable for the program?

o Step into the faculty members’ shoes. Try to determine what it is they want from a graduate student. Will your qualifications enable you to positively contribute to their program and research? What skills do you possess that will prove valuable to a professor as he or she conducts his or her research?

o Think about obvious questions that will be asked, prepare potential answers, and rehearse them with a friend (or even by yourself in front of a mirror).

During the Interview

o Always keep your goals in mind during the admissions interview.

o Try to sincerely communicate your passion, enthusiasm, and proficiencies.

o Be natural. Do not attempt to second guess what the interviewers are looking for. Be yourself, and most importantly, do not invent stories or accomplishments to impress the interviewing panel. You may succeed one time, but it could cost you your opportunity to get into the program if you are found out.

o Listen carefully to what the interviewers are saying and/or asking. When answering, remember to speak slowly and clearly.

o Establish and maintain eye contact with the interviewer/s and remember to smile. Show them you are happy for this chance to talk to them.

o Some interviews involve social affairs like a small gathering. Keep in mind that although it is a party, it is still part of the interview. You might not see it or feel it, but you are being evaluated all the time.

University of Montana, Missoula – Five Tips to Travel to Missoula by Amtrak Train and Bus

Missoula, Montana is the state’s second largest city and one of the most scenic metropolitan areas in the country. The University of Montana provides an academic and cultural anchor to this western Montana city. Unfortunately, Missoula lost its Amtrak service in 1979 and the only low fare airline to the city flies directly to the Southwest.

For UM students and other residents of the Missoula area, utilizing a combination of Amtrak and buses is the cheapest way to travel to other parts of the country. Here are five tips/hints for effectively traveling to/from Missoula by land:

One: If you are going westbound to Missoula, ignore Amtrak’s recommendation to connect with the train at Whitefish. On Amtrak’s schedule for the Empire Builder that runs between Chicago and Seattle/Portland, there is an indication that connecting service is available between Whitefish, MT and Missoula. Rimrock Stages, which is part of the Trailways system, provides the service. Unfortunately, Rimrock’s schedule does not work well with Amtrak’s westbound timetable.

The only bus from Whitefish leaves at 11:35 am and arrives in Missoula approximately 3 ½ hours later. That works well if you are coming from Washington State or Idaho and the train arrives at Whitefish at 7:26 am. It is not convenient if you are coming from the east and the train arrives in Whitefish at 9:16 pm. You will have to get a hotel before taking the bus home the next day.

Two: If you are coming from Missoula, you should not connect to Amtrak at Whitefish in any case. The only Rimrock bus from Missoula leaves at 8:00 am and arrives at Whitefish around 11:25 am. You will have already missed the eastbound Empire Builder train for the day. The westbound train will leave Whitefish about 10 hours later – a long wait indeed!

Three: The best way to connect with Amtrak from Missoula is through Spokane, Washington. Greyhound Lines has a convenient schedule that works well with Amtrak’s. Part of the beauty of the connecting through Spokane is that the trains arrive and depart in the early morning from both directions. Thus, if you are going to Missoula, your train will arrive in Spokane no later than 2:00 am. You can take the 5:05 am Greyhound bus and arrive in Missoula at 10:30 am. From Missoula, there is a 9:10 pm bus that arrives in Spokane at 12:35 am. The earliest train leaves Spokane at 1:15 am.

Four: Connecting in Spokane is easy since Greyhound uses the Spokane train station as its depot. Since the connections take place in the middle of the night, this is very convenient.

Five: The Empire Builder is an all-reserved train. Whether you will be experiencing Amtrak’s enhanced coach service with at-seat meal service and large pillows or the Superliner sleeping accommodations, you must make advanced reservations. By buying your tickets in advance for both Amtrak and Greyhound services, you may be able to receive discounted advance purchase fares or special fares for students and seniors.

Don’t Just Survive it – Thrive! Tips For Your Freshman Year in College

You’ve chosen the school you want to attend and you’ve been accepted. Congratulations! You’re preparing to embark on an entirely new and exciting stage of your life. College is more than just continuing school. You are charting the course for your future. Beginning college life is the greatest year of transition you will have experienced so far. That may seem overwhelming, but every step you take prepares you for the next one. You’re excited, a little frightened and full of questions. Attending orientation is a good starting point, but you may still have some unanswered questions.

Experts are the best source of information, so I’ll share advice from college students who have “been there and done that” and survived to talk about it. Their best overall advice to incoming freshmen is: Try and balance your time between schoolwork, making friends, and relaxing. College isn’t studying 24/7 or partying 24/7; Hang in there in there; once you get past that first stage, it gets easier; and Stay true to your beliefs, but be open to new challenges and experiences that college life offers.

HOMESICKNESS, SEPARATION ANXIETY AND OTHER FUN THINGS

Whether school is two hours from home or halfway across the country, you’ll probably experience some degree of homesickness. It’s perfectly normal, so don’t be surprised by it. Those first few weeks are an adjustment period. However, you’re more likely to feel lonely and homesick if you spend too much time alone. So get involved. Join clubs and groups that interest you. Talk to everyone. This may be difficult for you shy types, but college is an opportunity to grow. You can present yourself differently than you ever have before. If your friends think of you as shy and quiet, why not see what it is like to be outgoing and friendly? Your new friends will accept you as you are. Your RA (Resident Assistant) can also help you make the transition smoothly.

Stay in touch with family and friends back home by phone, email and IM. Being able to vent your feelings with people you know and trust will go a long way in helping you adjust. As you meet more people and settle into the routine, you’ll feel more comfortable.

SO WHAT’S THE BIG DIFFERENCE?

College is different from high school.

No one checks to see if you go to class or complete assignments. Classes meet less frequently, sometimes only once a week. If you miss classes and don’t hand in assignments, no one checks up on you. You go from highly structured classes, parents and teachers hovering over you to almost total freedom. You’ll quickly find you need to be very careful how you exercise this freedom. So go to class, take notes and pay attention! College is your new full-time job.

If you have difficulty with a course, it’s your responsibility to get help. And the sooner the better! Take advantage of every resource available to you – teaching assistants, tutoring programs, speech and writing centers, mentors, peer advisors and academic advisors you can speak to. Don’t forget about your professors. You can meet directly with them during their office hours or get in touch via email. Meet with your academic advisor regularly to ensure you are taking the courses you need. Working together with other students in a study group can be very helpful.

TICK TOCK

Time management skills are absolutely critical. If you haven’t already mastered this, get a handle on it now. One of the most daunting tasks for many students is the large amount of reading that is assigned. Reading boring material can be difficult. Discipline yourself to set aside time just for school reading. Plan ahead and keep track of when assignments are due. You need to realistically estimate the amount of time to allocate for academics (studying, reading, doing papers, completing assignments), your work study job, if you have one, adequate sleep, social activities, as well as maintenance tasks like laundry.

A good (loud) alarm clock, watch, post it notes on your computer, planner or palm pilot will help you get to class on time and keep track of assignments, quizzes and tests. The more organized you are, the less overwhelmed you will feel. Here’s more advice from the experts:

DORM LIFE

Keep your room as clean as you can. You spend most of your time there so it will affect your mood one way or the other. Make friends with those on your floor. They may turn out to be your best friends.

FAITH/SPIRITUAL LIFE

It’s so important to believe in a higher power because there are so many situations that are out of your control. Remain true to your faith and continue to practice what you believe in.

GETTING ALONG WITH ROOMMATES

Be friendly, be courteous, be honest and be yourself. Never be afraid to confront your roommate if you have a problem. Be polite and respect each other’s space. Be willing to compromise with each other and avoid selfish thinking.

CHOOSING CLASSES

Try to balance required, core classes that benefit you in your career path with ones that interest you.

PROFESSORS

Using ratemyprofessor.com can be misleading. Some of the best professors have poor ratings on that site. Ask around and see what other students say about professors. If your choice is creating problems, switch the class as soon as possible.

OK, you’re armed with some practical advice from those who have gone before you. Here’s a last thought to keep in mind as you step into your future:

Change is a necessary part of life. Some changes are harder than others. Hang in there. No matter how hard things seem at first, have faith that it will get better – and it will.