Application Season!

By Katie E. Yeaton

I cannot believe a year has past since I applied to graduate schools and was interviewing.  Senior year of undergrad flew by and now I am second semester of graduate school.  Wait, what?!  My word how time flies.

Since application season is upon us in the higher ed. world, I wanted to dedicate this post to all those caught up in the heat of the moment and offer you a little advice and encouragement.
  1. Talk to your references.  Update your references on where your are applying and be sure to provide them with your most recent résumé.  If possible, I suggest talking to your references in person and then following up via email.  Sometimes talking in person gives you the little boost of confidence you need to shine in your future interview.
  2. Create a checklist/to do list. This suggestion might come more naturally at this point, but remember to update your planner, checklist, and fellow time-management tools.  When deadlines start popping up, stress will start to sink in and the more you can accomplish earlier on the better.
  3. Reflect and identify what you want.  One important aspect I have come to realize more and more over the past year is to be true to yourself.  By interviewing at multiple graduate schools and completing more applications I have learned to trust my instincts and to identify what is important to me during an interview.  If professional development opportunities off-campus are important to you, ask about them and the potential funding available.  If the position or program does not feel right, then go with your gut and continue to reflect on your values and what you are looking for in a program or assistantship.
  4. Remember to thank your references.  I am personally guilty of delaying my thank you notes to references when I get wrapped-up in the stress of applying and interviewing.  One way I remind myself to thank my references is creating a draft email or addressing a card, this way the first step to my letter is complete and I will have fewer excuses to finish.
  5. Finally, remember to breath and take a break.  You are not the Energizer Bunny and you do not have to be working at every second of the day.  Take some time to recharge.  Even if you consider yourself to strongly extroverted, dedicated some time to get to know yourself, challenge yourself, and find your zen.

My best wishes to all those currently applying to graduate school and summer internships.  Feel free to comment below with your cheers and fears! :)

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