Choosing a Graduate Program: Six Considerations

Written by Andrea Jussim


Choosing a Graduate Program: Six Considerations Introduction. A well-thought-out decision to go to graduate school is one based on intense soul-searching, rigorous academic training, and careful research. Yet many undergraduates, eager to embrace academia as their future career, don't prepare themselves at all for graduate work. Often good or brilliant college students, they are unaware of gaps in their academic and social experience that may prove to be major obstacles in graduate school. I was one of those students. After living through my own difficult graduate experience, I thought hard about why I had been so ill-suited to my particular program. I came up with many "inappropriate" answers: inappropriate study skills, inappropriate communication with professors, inappropriate intellectual preparation, and other problems. I had thought about none of these issues before I applied to graduate school; they had never occurred to me. If I had been told about them, or somehow figured them out by myself, would I have made different career choices? I would like to think so. In any case, what follows are six questions I believe every student aspiring to graduate school should ask himself or herself. I discuss each question in detail.

Six Important Questions. 1. Doesrepparttar structure of this program fit my personal academic style? 2. Do I have study skills appropriate to this program's level of difficulty? 3. Do I haverepparttar 109331 appropriate level of social skills and self-confidence needed to succeed in this program? 4. Is my state of intellectual development advanced enough to succeed in this program? 5. When I metrepparttar 109332 professors, were there some that would be good advisors? 6. Do I have a good knowledge of my strengths and weaknesses?

Discussion. 1. Doesrepparttar 109333 structure of this program fit my personal academic style?

Are you good at taking tests, or would you rather be graded on papers? Do you like a lot of formal class time, or do you prefer individualized tutorials? Do you want a structured curriculum with lots of required classes, or do you want more electives that fit your interests? Do you look forward to student teaching, or do you want a research assistant post? Do you want to choose a sub-specialization early on inrepparttar 109334 program, or not? Checkrepparttar 109335 program requirements carefully, and ask lots of questions. You want a graduate program that is tailored to your needs. You should also be aware that many programs expect you to write reasonably well, so brush up on your expository writing skills before you start graduate school.

2. Do I have study skills appropriate to this program's level of difficulty?

Most graduate programs require a massive amount of study. So if you aren't good at hittingrepparttar 109336 books for several hours each day, day after day for an extended period of time, you might not be ready for this kind of program.

If you arerepparttar 109337 type of student who starts studying for a classrepparttar 109338 night beforerepparttar 109339 final exam, here is my suggestion: take an intense self-study course and see how long you take to complete it. Or enroll in a rigorous class that covers a lot of material over a period of several months and see how well you do. If you have enough motivation and self-discipline to successfully finish one of these "programs," you might be able to succeed at graduate school if you focus on your studies.

3. Do I haverepparttar 109340 appropriate level of social skills and self-confidence needed to succeed in this program?

Graduate school is not forrepparttar 109341 timid at heart. It is not a remedial program where you are coddled and slowly taught step by step in order to master any personal or professional deficiencies you may have. The staff may not care if you succeed, or even want you to succeed. So you must start from a position of relative strength, exuding confidence and focused purpose till you earn your degree.

Are you comfortable with your own personality and learning style? Can you get along with many types of people? Can you put on a professional, non-emotional faÁade even when you are feeling upset? Are you able to project an air of confidence in front of people who are critical of your efforts, or hostile, or deprecatory? Are you able to keep your problems and concerns to yourself, sharing them only with a few selected, preferably non-departmental confidantes who are unable to hurt you professionally?

Professors do exist who are truly helpful, compassionate, and desirous of their students' success. In fact, most departments have at least a few of these. But most are also filled with teachers who take a sink-or-swim attitude towardrepparttar 109342 success of their students. And most graduate students have at least one crisis of faith in their abilities. So if you aren't political, if you aren't self-confident, if you can't put on an act when necessary to hide your feelings, learn these skills or watch out!

4. Is my state of intellectual development advanced enough to succeed in this program?

Many graduate programs demand a higher intellectual level from their students than undergraduate programs do. You will be asked to masterrepparttar 109343 material you learn on a deeper level than you are accustomed to. Your professors will expect you to understandrepparttar 109344 implications of complicated theoretical problems in your field, synthesize other people's work to solve those problems or offer new solutions of your own, and ask new questions. You will thus need not only to acquire higher-level knowledge, but also to attain an advanced understanding of your coursework as you progress through your years as a graduate student.

Just What Is a Learning Disability, Anyway?

Written by Sandy Gauvin


A learning disability is defined as a permanent problem that affects a person with average to above average intelligence, inrepparttar way that he/she receives, stores, and processes information.

There are many wrong ideas out there about learning disabilities.

1) A learning disability will go away in time.

Unfortunately, this is not true. The good news is, you can learn ways to get aroundrepparttar 109330 problem. For example, kids who have trouble taking notes in class, like Michele did, can recordrepparttar 109331 class on audiotape. Or, other students can make copies ofrepparttar 109332 notes they have taken for them. The teacher can makes copiesrepparttar 109333 notes they are lecturing from. Or, whenrepparttar 109334 notes are written down on an overhead transparency duringrepparttar 109335 lecture, they can be copied after class and given torepparttar 109336 student.

For children who have trouble reading, tapes of many ofrepparttar 109337 textbooks are made available throughrepparttar 109338 publishing companies. At one school where I taught, volunteers didrepparttar 109339 taping. We also used tapes that were recorded by a company called Recordings forrepparttar 109340 Blind.

2) A person with a learning disability has a low IQ.

Again, not true. In order for a person to have a learning disability, they have to have an average or better IQ. There are many people who, although they intelligent, just cannot learn as well as their IQ suggests they should. Iíve told my students for a long time that having a learning disability is really a compliment because it means that they are very smart! But, since a negative by-product of a learning disability is often low self-esteem, they didnít always believe me.

Remember:repparttar 109341 self-esteem issue is as important to deal with asrepparttar 109342 learning disability itself!

3)A person with a learning disability is just lazy.

There has to be a reason whyrepparttar 109343 person with LD doesnít learnrepparttar 109344 way he should. Perhaps his brain doesnít processrepparttar 109345 informationrepparttar 109346 right way. He may process information much slower than other people. Or he may not be able to process what he sees effectively. Some people canít process what they hear as well as what they see. Other people canít remember information unless itís repeated again and again, and some people have real trouble gettingrepparttar 109347 information out of that filing system they have in their brain.

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