Tag Archive for 'recommendations'

Can I get into graduate school with a low GPA? Part 2

In our last post, we gave some suggestions for graduate school applicants with low undergraduate GPAs.  Remember, a low undergraduate GPA does not mean you have to kiss your graduate school dreams goodbye.  Here are some more tips on how to make an application with a low undergraduate GPA more attractive to graduate schools.

Retake the GRE until you have a stellar score.  Thanks to ETS’s new ScoreSelect policy, you now have nothing to lose by taking the GRE multiple times. (Graduate schools won’t even see your lowest scores!) If you took the GRE already and are not satisfied with your score, study harder and retake the test to see if you can get a higher score.  A high GRE score can do wonders for offsetting a low undergraduate GPA, particularly if several years have passed between your college graduation and your application to graduate school. Continue reading “Can I get into graduate school with a low GPA? Part 2” »

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.

Continue reading “I Want To Go To Graduate School To Study Stuff!” »

Grad School Application Woes: Another Recommendation Tip


Here’s a sixth critical thing to know about getting a letter of recommendation: request an alternate, immediate method of getting in contact with your recommenders!  A personal email address or phone number, for example, would be good to have.

Long story short, one of my professors has gone AWOL, and I have no way of contacting him besides his school email and office phone number.  Despite repeated emails and a couple phone messages, it would appear that he is going to forget to send in my recommendation by today.  What can I do at this point but cross my fingers and hope that this school isn’t super strict about their recommendation deadlines?  I mean, they already took my application fees, so…cut me some slack (please)!  Ever been in my position?  How did it turn out?  Leave a comment below!

In any case, I finished my second application over the weekend, so now I’m par-2 for the course.  Sort of.

UPDATE 01/04/11: A happy ending — I got an email confirmation from one of the schools saying that my professor had turned in his recommendation last night.  Phew!  I very much appreciate the effort, Professor, but couldn’t you have responded to at least one of my emails saying that you were on it!?

Preparing for the GRE: Psych Student Psyches Himself Up for the GRE

The key to success...is your mind. That's deep.

Three thousand vocabulary flashcards, hundreds of hours of practice, a Testmasters GRE prep-course, private tutoring, and a trip to the psychiatrist- this is what it took for me to get the competitive GRE score I needed. English is not my second language, I do not have a learning disability, and I did not take the test drunk. My friends, I suffered from a serious case of TEST ANXIETY! My hope is that readers may benefit from my story and potentially avoid the self-induced suffering I experienced.

Continue reading “Preparing for the GRE: Psych Student Psyches Himself Up for the GRE” »

Soliciting Letters of Recommendation: 5 Critical Things to Know

This guy knows what he's doing

Too bad I didn’t go to clown college…because then maybe it’d be easier to juggle all of these applications!  Haha…ha…


Before I delved into all the statement of purpose writing, resume updating, form filling, score sending, transcript requesting, and question answering, I decided it would be wise (and nice!) to gather all the requisite reference letter information and compile it into one convenient email for my reference writers.  Being currently mired in the mayhem that is applications, I decided that I should probably simplify the process for them as much as I could so that they wouldn’t have to go through the same h-e-double-hockey-sticks.  Here are some important things to compile for them:

After the GRE: Four Things to Start

I didn't die! (And neither will you)

The apocalypse has come and gone, and I am still alive and kicking.  I’ll be taking the next several days to recharge, but unfortunately no longer than that.  The GRE is only one part of the grad school admissions process.  Now comes…well, everything else.  Looking ahead, these are the next four big stops that I can see along the road to grad school.  So much to think about!  I love thinking!  I love it!

1. Program Research
Now that I have a (unofficial) GRE score, I have a better idea of where I should/can apply.  So far, all I’ve done is make a big list of all the schools that might possibly interest me; now the next step is to whittle away at the list until I get down to a reasonable list of four or five schools.  This is by far one of the scariest/exciting-est (not a word) things I’ve ever had to do in my life — I don’t think any other decision will define the rest of my life as much as this one will.  No turning back now!

Continue reading “After the GRE: Four Things to Start” »

Grad School Advice: The Counsel of Elders

"Yes...I know much about this 'computer science' of which you speak."

A couple weeks ago, I finally (finally!) got around to emailing one of my former computer science professors for a letter of recommendation.  Part of the reason I put it off for so long was that I didn’t (and still don’t) know exactly what programs I was applying to.  I felt kind of embarrassed about my apparent lack of direction, but since it was already the end of October, I figured I’d better touch base with him, at the very least to reconnect and remind him of my existence.

As I was writing my email, trying to figure out how to phrase my questions so that it wasn’t obvious I had no idea what I wanted, I realized I was being ridiculous — I should just ask my professor for his advice!  It seemed so obvious that I was kind of mad I didn’t do it sooner.  But better late than never, I suppose.

Continue reading “Grad School Advice: The Counsel of Elders” »