I Want To Go To Graduate School To Study Stuff!

What field do you intend to specialize in? All of it.

Far be it from me to discourage anyone from going to graduate school, but this Xtranormal video, which has been floating around for quite a while, demonstrates exactly the kind of vague and unfocused thinking that is exactly wrong for graduate school.

Watch the video after the jump.


Although this is a video about getting a PhD in the humanities, it applies to technical degrees as well. Generally speaking, nobody can apply to a program for broad disciplines like “literature” or “computer science” or “engineering” without being laughed off by 99% of admissions committees. Graduate school isn’t about general learning like undergrad is; it’s for focused, deep research into a particular topic. Though the character in this video is an exaggeration, there are many students out there who haven’t given graduate school the requisite amount of thought.

If you want to get into graduate school, make sure that your essay sounds nothing like the girl in this video — you want to demonstrate to admissions officers that you know exactly what field you want to specialize in and that you have given this field a lot of thought and done a lot of research. If the topic you intend to specialize in sounds like the title of a class offered at a high school, you better look over that application again!