Advice for Graduate School

After going through the whole process of applying to grad school, I’ve decided to write a ‘how to’ for people who are looking to get their Master’s degree… to look at while feeling destitute.

  1. Start early. I say this advice knowing full well it will be useless to everyone. Nobody looks for advice until really late in the game. But you should have started early nonetheless. Really early. Ridiculously early. It’s not out of the question to come out of the womb working on your statement of purpose.
  2. Work on your writing sample early. Specifically, you want to finish it long before anybody has any deadlines to meet. If you finish it during the summer (like I planned), the people reading it will procrastinate until October before sending you comments (like it happened).  While this doesn’t change the result, it does make your readers feel awfully guilty and that’s better than anger any day (except for Ash Wednesday). [1]Fact may not necessarily be true.
  3. Letters of Recommendation: I say you just forge them. It’ll be less stressful to both you and the writer. But if you can’t, make sure you investigate the deadlines of each department you’re applying to so you can give your writers a deathly list ahead of time.  Again, this is for guilt purposes only.
  4. Take your GREs during the summer before you apply. You want to study for at least a month before you take the test. Trust me, I studied for two months straight and I’m much smarter than you. I had a friend who asked me what the test was like and whether she should worry about it on a Sunday. She had signed up to take the test that following Wednesday. Needless to say, her head exploded. [2]A common consequence of extreme stress and swallowing extreme fireworks. We had a closed casket funeral. It was catered by Quizno’s. It was very sad. [3]The funeral, not the subs: they were great! Don’t be like my friend, treat the GREs like your life depended on it. Here is a brief math equation I have been working on:
    • PSAT = 2(ACT)/3
    • ACT = (SAT)/2
    • GRE = 2(SAT)s + a swift, yet powerful, kick to the groin [4] For further consideration, one ASVAB = A light tickling sensation to the groin
      LSAT = GRE + SAT
      MCAT = GRE + LSAT + surgical removal of groin without anasthetic
  5. Transcripts. Do well in college. If you have not, I say transfer to a better college and start again. Pay no attention to the fact that you were only a semester away from graduating, think of the wasted four years of your life as valuable lessons in the value of a dollar and real reasons to avoid sorority girls.
  6. Research. Indiana Jones couldn’t navigate most graduate school Web sites.  So make sure you allot sufficient time to look through them.
  7. Panic. You’ll do this anyway, but I think it helps to view it as part of the process. I try to have two hours of panic for every one hour of actual work on my applications. It keeps me motivated.

I hope this advice has proved as useful to you as it was to me: namely, not very. I got excellent advice when I started, but it didn’t feel real to me then, so I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have. Now that I look back and… damn.  That was silly.

Notes   [ + ]

1. Fact may not necessarily be true.
2. A common consequence of extreme stress and swallowing extreme fireworks.
3. The funeral, not the subs: they were great!
4. For further consideration, one ASVAB = A light tickling sensation to the groin
LSAT = GRE + SAT
MCAT = GRE + LSAT + surgical removal of groin without anasthetic

About Pixel

Pixel Q. Styx refuses to talk about himself. If thou wishest, thou may infer from his blog what thou wishest.

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3 Responses to Advice for Graduate School

  1. Lisa says:

    How’s it coming along? I kinda miss your craziness.

  2. Pixel says:

    Sorry, I’ve been working on grad apps every day since this post… I’ll write something cool soon. 🙂

  3. Ashley says:

    GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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