Navigating the Application process
Q1: "How did you determine your research interests?"
A1. Honestly, I was watching Monique’s stand up special that she did in a women’s prison. Something clicked and made me realize that nobody really cares about or does research on incarcerated women. I wanted to be the one to start the conversation. #TrynaGrad— Asantewaa (@AsantewaaDarkwa) February 12, 2018
A1(cont): At some point, I realized film studies was a thing, but it still seemed pretty vague to me. I was looking for a more concrete, accessible future, so I went w/ English Ed (cuz I also love books & I knew that being an English teacher was a real thing) #TrynaGrad— Jacinta (@learnteachwin) February 12, 2018
A1. I’ve always been interested in bringing diversity to historical perspective through literature and how to cater to the non-white student which has led me to focus on creating a how to guide for diversifying curricula.— Glitz and Grammar (@murdamerlin) February 12, 2018
Q2: "How did you figure out who you wanted to work with?"
A2: Honestly, by trial and error. Initially, my mind was set on one person because of our equal interests, but as time progressed, my (now) dissertation chair and I linked up based on her support, encouragement, and willingness to help me through the process....#TrynaGrad https://t.co/mJYR06rxoM— SDL, LPC (@KerraDijon) February 12, 2018
A2: Also, similar research interests are important, but mine worked out a bit differently. My dissertation chair and I are a much better fit, despite slight differences in our interests. She is also very available and stays connected! That's important for me! #TrynaGrad https://t.co/mJYR06rxoM— SDL, LPC (@KerraDijon) February 12, 2018
A2 : I researched their research and any articles they published and whether it aligned with my interests. I emailed them and set up meetings just to get to know them. I ended up being able to work with both individuals through a summer assistantship and one with my thesis..— TM (@Tre_mason5) February 12, 2018
A2. This is an easy one, she’s the only black woman on staff.— Glitz and Grammar (@murdamerlin) February 12, 2018
A2: So last week I took the Strengthsfinder assessment, which is a wildly accurate talent assessment (imo), and 2 of my highest areas were Input & Learner, both of which have to do w/ having a strong drive toward collecting information #TrynaGrad https://t.co/dCSnT5QZcI— Jacinta (@learnteachwin) February 12, 2018
Q3: "What tips would you give for preparing for the GRE?"
A3: Whew, the GRE, smh. I've never been a fan of the GRE. Didn't like studying for it, but I did find some helpful guides. I used "The 5 lb. Book of GRE Practice problems". I focused on doing the best I could, but reminded myself that "I'm more than my GRE score"....#TrynaGrad https://t.co/fzV8fS2Y88— SDL, LPC (@KerraDijon) February 12, 2018
A3: Ask (doesn’t hurt) the program coordinator(s) if the program will accept LSAT or GMAT scores in lieu of GRE or vice versa to save money and time if you’re going from prof school to grad or vice versa or joint. #trynagrad https://t.co/QpCptOOvse— Remy Étienne LeBeau⚜️♠️ (@TendentiousG) February 12, 2018
A3.... also be mindful that there are programs who waive the GRE requirement depending on gpa....when I applied I believe if you had a 3.4 or better the requirement was waived... at least 3/4programs I applied did— TM (@Tre_mason5) February 12, 2018
A3. If you don’t have to, don’t. There’s loads of quality programs on campus and online that waive the GRE requirement. Save that $200 and the stress.— Glitz and Grammar (@murdamerlin) February 12, 2018
Q4: "What advice would you give about writing the statement of purpose?"
Q4 Definitely ask others to see there’s. You have to tailor your statement for the schools individually and the faculty. Don’t have a blanket letter, craft it to address what they ask, and to always show who you are and what you want to do #TrynaGrad— Marques R. Dexter, MS (@marquesdexter) February 12, 2018
A4. Be authentic. Your intent is embedded in who you are, what you’ve experienced. Own who you are and your intention will write itself.— Erika Kimberly (@Erika_Kimberly) February 12, 2018
A4: I read sample SOPs and got feedback from others. Before I started writing, I reminded myself to be authentic and honest about my experiences and interests. I also had trusted colleagues be an extra set of eyes to check for errors and to make sure it flowed well....#TrynaGrad https://t.co/d8loBBmbq4— SDL, LPC (@KerraDijon) February 12, 2018
A4: A personal statement is not a biography; should be a professional, mechanically sound statement (with some bio) that proves you have a committed interest to your prospective discipline, that program, and its faculty, who will likely review the statement. Requires research.— Remy Étienne LeBeau⚜️♠️ (@TendentiousG) February 12, 2018
Going out of order here but A4: Make an outline! Treat this piece like you would any other academic writing assignment. I was struggling bc my thoughts were all over. Laying out what I wanted to say & figuring out how those ideas & experiences connected helped #TrynaGrad— spice (@synbad_) February 12, 2018
A4: My basic advice for this is what I do for any new academic doc I have to write:— Jacinta (@learnteachwin) February 12, 2018
1. Find samples
2. Read samples
3. Identify & write down moves writer makes in sample (like "opens w/ narratives," "includes references to specific texts," etc)
5. Profit#TrynaGrad https://t.co/3MzT4nUXP9
Q5: "What characteristics should you look for in a grad advisor?"
A5: Someone who is approachable! I've dealt with standoffish advisors and it's been a TERRIBLE experience! Being available is also extremely important! I understand office hours, but if I STILL can't reach you during that time....😩....#TrynaGrad https://t.co/ME5mjl2EAB— SDL, LPC (@KerraDijon) February 12, 2018
A5 Someone who will support and motivate you, but at the same time challenge you. Don’t find someone that will baby you or is well-known and assume you’ll get a job because of it. You need to find someone that will help you grow not stay complacent #TrynaGrad https://t.co/IwX6kiAIbH— Marques R. Dexter, MS (@marquesdexter) February 12, 2018
A5: Aristotle and Quintilian suggest to look for academic mentors of high moral standing that demonstrate mastery over the craft. Finding a TEAM that motivates you and actually cares is impotent. Finding someone who wants YOU to create what YOU want the correct way is key.— Glitz and Grammar (@murdamerlin) February 12, 2018
See, my program didn’t even let us choose 🙂 So guess what I did? Requested to switch 😂— Nat Lidet 🌞 (@everythingimnat) February 12, 2018
My program is mostly white women so I just found an advisor that had research I was interested in and honestly is just understanding of my life as a marginalized student. #TrynaGrad https://t.co/Nyx4BJBwoe
A5. Someone who is going to be truthful...I applaud my advisor for being 💯 at all times.. even when I did not want to hear it... however she always let me decide what route I took in the end.. which in my opinion made me stronger with research— TM (@Tre_mason5) February 12, 2018
A5 someone who is available... I need to know that they have time for me to have weekly/biweekly meetings regarding my research... I lucked up and was the TA for my advisor- we always made time.— TM (@Tre_mason5) February 12, 2018
Bonus: "How did you handle rejection from grad programs?"
The essence of who you are is not determined by an admission or rejection. It has no bearing on you as a person or as an intellectual.— AmaBemma🇬🇭🇺🇸 (@AmaBemma) February 12, 2018
Also, it's good to have a solid backup plan in case things don't go the way you plan.
(continued below)#trynagrad https://t.co/OEO0ftJFlk
I used my rejection from the Higher Ed programs at tOSU and UMD as motivation to ensure I was the most competitive applicant possible.— Foster, Sayvon JL (@SayvonJL) February 12, 2018
I revamped my résumé, enhanced my writing skills, and realized that ‘no doesn’t mean never’ #TrynaGrad https://t.co/gjruaCDoI9
Bonus: "Do y'all have any tips about how to attend grad school for free (or close to it)?"
Oooh. Okay.— Nat Lidet 🌞 (@everythingimnat) February 12, 2018
1. GRE fee reduction waiver.
2. Contact schools for app waivers.
3. Ask for more money in aid package.
4. If/when they say no, ask about assistantship positions. (I did this and they said no but they increased my scholarship to 100% tuition) 😏😂#TrynaGrad https://t.co/ce5ZJsDHIh
Most schools offer a fee waiver for grad apps. Big 10 schools have the CIC Free app. Kaplan has a program that’ll take up to 60% off GRE prep course. ETS has a fee reduction program. Check to see if you need certified transcripts v. Unofficial. #TrynaGrad https://t.co/0YRkXdVIM0— Amber. (@ayeemach) February 12, 2018
1 - look for fee waivers for apps, GRE, etc.— Foster, Sayvon JL (@SayvonJL) February 12, 2018
2 - see if unofficial trans are acceptable
3 - ask faculty if there are fee waiver opportunities
4 - request info from the schools. I received waivers just from completing those contact forms#TrynaGrad https://t.co/j1I7JSJBSq
Ask you undergraduate/grad advisor or career services center for information. Many grad/prof programs seek black prospective students, will offer app fee waivers, and/or other incentives at grad/prof fairs. Also, the grad school (general; not program) might offer incentives.— Remy Étienne LeBeau⚜️♠️ (@TendentiousG) February 12, 2018
Seek out funding sources from every place you can: assistantships, fully-funded programs, scholarships/fellowships, tuition assistance, different websites, etc. Being intentional is important! I kept a Google sheets document w/ funding sources to help keep track too! #TrynaGrad https://t.co/QaicrLMj3B— SDL, LPC (@KerraDijon) February 12, 2018
Most grad programs will fund you w/ a fellowship, assistantship or teaching position + give you a living stipend.— AmaBemma🇬🇭🇺🇸 (@AmaBemma) February 12, 2018
I would honestly urge people NOT to attend a program that will force them into accruing debt. I would also be wary of any program that offers 0 funding.#trynagrad https://t.co/YaBBxHJroQ