Monthly Archive for June, 2012

Sometimes it is Greek: Troglodyte

Fred Flintstone: the original troglodyte

Each week, “It’s not GREek!” will discuss a new word likely to appear on the GRE.  We aim not only to give you a new word to memorize, but also to provide you with some background and etymological history to help you remember it.  At the end of the post, we will also give you a sentence with a few other new words to add to your flash cards.  By following this weekly series, you should be more prepared than ever to tackle the sentence completion, sentence equivalencies, and reading comprehension questions on test day.

This Week’s Word:  Troglodyte Continue reading “Sometimes it is Greek: Troglodyte” »

Student Spotlight: MFA in Film Production at Boston University

As part of a new series, “It’s not GREek!” will be interviewing current graduate students about why they picked their program, their experiences in graduate school, and what they hope to do with their degree.  Today, we spoke with Joe, who just finished his first year in the MFA Film Program at the Boston University College of Communication.  It is a small (14-person) two-year program where students take courses in film production, screenwriting, acting, directing and producing, as well as electives such as editing and film studies.
Continue reading “Student Spotlight: MFA in Film Production at Boston University” »

Sometimes it is Greek: Pusillanimous

Puss in Boots is the opposite of pusillanimous.

Each week, “It’s not GREek!” will discuss a new word likely to appear on the GRE.  We aim not only to give you a new word to memorize, but also to provide you with some background and etymological history to help you remember it.  At the end of the post, we will also give you a sentence with a few other new words to add to your flash cards.  By following this weekly series, you should be more prepared than ever to tackle the sentence completion, sentence equivalencies, and reading comprehension questions on test day.

This Week’s Word:  Pusillanimous Continue reading “Sometimes it is Greek: Pusillanimous” »

Using Social Media to Your Advantage in Graduate School Admissions

Recently, we showed you how to clean up your Google search results for graduate schools.  Now that your Google search results make you look like the most erudite person on the planet, or at least, in your friend group, we’re going to focus on another aspect of social media.  Today, we’re going to turn the tables and show you how to use social media to help in your graduate school search and application process.

Nearly every university has at least one Facebook page relating to their departments or graduate admissions.  Make sure to “like” and follow these pages, as they may provide the most reliable and up-to-date information on admissions.  They can also link you to other application resources at the school that could assist you in your applications.  Plus, those pages typically always remind followers when applications deadlines are approaching and what materials are needed.

Is the dean of one of your prospective schools on Twitter? What about a professor who you’re really interested in working with? Don’t be afraid to follow these people to get to learn more about their work and potentially even establish a dialogue before you apply.  Professors and deans frequently tweet about research they’re doing, classes they’re offering, or papers or conferences they’re working on.  Being familiar with a professor or graduate dean’s research interests can help you cater to them in your admissions essay or during an interview.

Use Facebook and LinkedIn to connect with current students and alumni.  Most current graduate students love an excuse to take a break from their studies and talk to a prospective student, and proud alumni love to brag and reminisce about their alma mater.  Current students can give you a sense of student life at the graduate school, as well as provide valuable insights into the teaching styles of certain professors or the availability of research opportunities.  Alumni can let you know what they did with their degree, so you have a better idea of how you would apply your degree after graduate school.  Even if you don’t end up going to that school, the alumni, students and professors you contact can still be useful connections later down the line.

Finally, make sure to Google professors you think you may be interested in working with.  Google Scholar is a great tool for finding some of a professor’s recent publications.  You may also find other useful information about projects they’ve participated in the university, or stumble across a blog that gives you a hint as to their personality outside the classroom.  All this information can help you decide whether or not you may be interested in working with a particular professor.

Don’t forget to work all this information into your personal statement!  Use your conversations with alumni about their career paths to provide specific information about what you hope to do with your degree after graduation.  The more precise you can be, the more attractive your application will be to admissions officers! Likewise, use the information you’ve learned about professors you would like to work with to state specific information about why their research is of interest to you.

Remember, though, that while social media can be a valuable resource for learning some information about a graduate school, program, or particular professor there is still no replacement for going there and seeing it yourself.  Social media is a great way to lay the foundation for new relationships, but make sure to solidify them with some in-person (or at the very least phone) interaction.

Sometimes it is Greek: Nabob

“I’m on the job, you big nabob!”

Each week, “It’s not GREek!” will discuss a new word likely to appear on the GRE.  We aim not only to give you a new word to memorize, but also to provide you with some background and etymological history to help you remember it.  At the end of the post, we will also give you a sentence with a few other new words to add to your flash cards.  By following this weekly series, you should be more prepared than ever to tackle the sentence completion, sentence equivalencies, and reading comprehension questions on test day.

This Week’s Word:  Nabob

I’ll be honest. I picked this word because it and all of its variants–nabobery, nabobism, nabobish, nabobical, nabobishly, nabobically, nabobship–are just really fun to say.  A nabob is either a governor in India under the Mogul Empire (this is also called a nawab), or a person of wealth, prominence, or influence, or grandiose style or manner.  Its origins are Arabic, from nuwwab, the plural of na’ib, meaning viceroy, or governor.

Ever visit Nob Hill in San Francisco? Its name, which comes from “nabob,” was originally an exclusive enclave for the super-rich and famous.

Fun fact: “nabob” is just one of hundreds of words with Arabic origins.  Other GRE-level words include: alembic, sheikh, and drub.

Sample Sentence:

The narcissistic nabob naively trusted the nefarious but obsequious banker who later lost all his money in a scam.

Miss last week’s “Sometimes it is Greek?” Check it out here. Want more GRE vocabulary? Click here for the free TestMasters GRE vocabulary list with over 2,000 words!

Unconventional Graduate School Experience: Peace Corps Master’s International Program

Are you thinking that both the Peace Corps and graduate school are likely to be in your future?  If so, the Peace Corps Master’s International Program could be a great way for you to combine these interests.  The Master’s International Program allows Peace Corps members to partner with a participating university and gain their master’s degree while serving in the Peace Corps.

Prospective applicants must first apply to a participating graduate school.  Over 80 graduate schools currently participate in this program, including Boston University, Cornell University, Emory, Texas A&M, and the University of Texas-Austin.  Participating schools offer master’s degrees in a variety of subjects, ranging from public policy to engineering to environmental science.  After they are admitted to the graduate school of their choice, they can apply for the Master’s International Program.

Participants in the program typically spend one to two years on campus at the graduate school of their choice doing coursework.  Upon completion of the requisite coursework, participants will serve in the Peace Corps for 27 months.  Participants receive academic credit for their time in the Peace Corps and conduct a research project related to their mission while they are abroad.  This typically culminates in a thesis or other long written paper about their research and time serving in the Peace Corps.

Student theses over the years have covered a variety of topics, from species diversity in Guatemala to child health in the Dominican Republic to political representation in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Thinking this might be right for you? Admissions requirements vary by school, but successful applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 and new GRE scores of 153 or higher on the verbal section and 150 or higher on the quantitative section.

Sometimes it is Greek: Mephitic

Each week, “It’s not GREek!” will discuss a new word likely to appear on the GRE.  We aim not only to give you a new word to memorize, but also to provide you with some background and etymological history to help you remember it.  At the end of the post, we will also give you a sentence with a few other new words to add to your flash cards.  By following this weekly series, you should be more prepared than ever to tackle the sentence completion, sentence equivalencies, and reading comprehension questions on test day.

This Week’s Word:  Mephitic Continue reading “Sometimes it is Greek: Mephitic” »

“Should I Retake the GRE?”

Let’s say you took the old GRE a couple years ago, and are thinking about applying to graduate schools this fall.  Should you take the new GRE if you already took the old GRE?

All GRE scores, from the old and the new test, are valid for five years after you’ve taken the test, and the departments we contacted have indicated they will continue to accept old GRE scores as long as they are valid.  So, if you took the old GRE within the last five years, and are happy with your old score, there’s no reason to retake the test.  If you’re looking to score higher, though, you might want to consider retaking the exam. Continue reading ““Should I Retake the GRE?”” »