Grad School: To Apply, or not to Apply?


By Christen McGlynn

As a senior at the University, my friends are constantly questioning whether they should apply to grad school, law school, medical school or some other type of secondary education. I have chosen to pursue a degree in law, and will continue my education after commencement in May. But I have to admit, after seeing my friends receive job offers, sometimes I wonder why I am choosing to spend $40,000 per year to continue my education, rather than making it at a job after college.

Then I remember. During my sophomore year at the University, I realized pursuing a career in broadcast journalism was not for me. Although I chose to remain with my major, I decided that I had other dreams I wanted to pursue. Six months of studying later, the LSAT arrived, and I was ready to take my first step toward law school.

If you do decide to apply for graduate school, you should know a few things beforehand:

Be aware of the time commitment

Between studying for exams, completing applications, gathering letters of recommendation and writing personal statements, the process can seem overwhelming at times. But life does not stop, and neither do classes at the University. Therefore, be mindful that organizing and managing time properly is a necessity.

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    Find a study buddy

    Most graduate programs require an examination, and whether it is the MCAT, LSAT, GRE or DAT, and studying is extremely important. No, the LSAT certainly was not enjoyable, and seeing my friends go out and have fun while I was inside studying was difficult at times. Fortunately, one of my close friends was also taking the exam at the same time as me. We commiserated together, and simultaneously pushed each other toward achieving our goals. Finding a partner to study with definitely helped the process immensely, and allowed us to feed off each other’s strengths while assisting each other with her own weaknesses.

    Know Your deadlines

    Each graduate school will place a time limit on an application, and some are vastly different from each other. Graduate schools and programs have a very strict policy regarding timeliness, so it is imperative that students are aware of major due dates.

    Be real

    The goal of an application is to stand out. However, students must be honest in their applications. For me, I know it was very difficult trying to convey what made me “special,” as I feel that I have lead a rather “normal” life. However, after thinking about it, I realized I did have some moments to highlight, such as leadership positions I have held, and there have been people in my life who molded me into the person I am today. If it seems difficult to find a topic to write about, sometimes it helps to look there first.

    Christen can be reached at [email protected].