Describe the steps you take when applying to Graduate School.
To apply for graduate school, I had to first take the GRE in the summer of 2017. In the fall of 2017, I began to write my statement of purpose and personal statement for various grad schools I had selected to apply. These essays underwent several revisions and I asked different professors, mentors, and friends to proofread them for content, grammar, and consistency. In order to keep the documents and deadlines straight, I created an Excel sheet for each school as well as what they required - GRE scores, (un)official transcripts, statement of purpose and/or personal statement, etc.
How far in advance did you prepare and begin applying for Graduate School?
I began studying for the GRE in May 2017 and I took the exam in August 2017. Even before the GRE, I started to research potential graduate schools in my spring semester of junior year. I had a checklist of criteria I searched for in each school - required major, GPA, GRE score, commitment to service, admissions rate, faculty members, and research interests were factors I took into account. I began drafting my essays in September 2017 with deadlines of around December 2017/January 2018.
If you used any Career Center services, resources, or events when preparing, what were they? How did they support your application process?
In my quest to write the best statement of purpose I could authentically produce that most accurately reflected myself as a person and a scholar, I went to The Career Center for an initial edit of both my CV and my essay. To get advice geared specifically towards math majors, I sought the help of my Career Liaison Krystle Graham. The first time we met, we discussed schools I planned to apply to and looked at their websites together to figure out how to tailor each essay to the specific school. Krystle also helped me distinguish more between a personal statement and a statement of purpose. We met a few times after for more rounds of edits.
What advice do you have for other FSU students interested in applying for Graduate School?
Prep for and take the GRE in advance! Not only does this make the prospect of the exam less stressful, but it also gives you time to retake it if your scores are not what you want. Take advantage of the resources available to you! The Career Center will not only help you revise your resume/CV, but also has binders of example statements of purpose you can look at to assist you in writing yours. Don't be afraid to ask those you know to read your essays for you, but be picky with whose advice you take - if you have a strong feeling about an edit, go with your gut. You don't need to take every edit given to you - if you do, the end product may not let your true self shine through. Look at grad schools from all angles - not just their rank and their acceptance rate. Check out their faculty, research programs, financial aid, current students, surrounding city - remember you'll be there for the next few years. Good luck :)
"Take advantage of the resources available to you at The Career Center!"
Major: Biomathematics, Class of 2018
Graduate School: Florida State University