We sat down with Cory Meyers, Director of Graduate Admission at Suffolk, to ask him a few questions about the grad school application process. Take a look and get some tips directly from Cory himself!
Office of Graduate Admission: Why is graduate school a good option for someone looking to advance in their career?
Cory Meyers: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupations that typically require a master’s degree for entry are projected to grow the fastest, with an anticipated growth rate of 18.4% from 2012 - 2022. The landscape is shifting and career changers and advancers will increasingly find themselves in competition with candidates who have a graduate degree.
OGA: What are some things that students should look for while researching grad school?
Meyers: My number one recommendation is to find a program in which you are a good fit. While the larger University structure and services are important, choosing a grad school is more about the alignment of the particular academic program with your personal and professional goals. Ask questions like, what are the specialties or research interests of the faculty? Is the curriculum designed to prepare students for the career you are seeking? Are there internship opportunities with the types of organizations you are hoping to work for in the future? If you are planning on enrolling part-time while continuing to work, will the program allow you the flexibility to be successful both in school and on the job?
OGA: When is the best time to begin looking for a grad school?
Meyers: Early! While many schools, including Suffolk, accept applications on a rolling basis and will allow you to apply late, doing so puts you at a disadvantage. The decision to attend grad school is a major one, and it requires you to take the time and do the research to ensure you are making the right choice. Additionally, once you find the program that is the right fit, you need to figure out what is required in the application process. Is the GMAT or GRE required? Is a portfolio required? How many letters of recommendation are needed? What sort of essay or writing sample must be submitted? To give yourself the best chance of being accepted – start your research early and give yourself the time to be successful.
OGA: What do you look for in a personal statement when reading a grad school application?
Meyers: The personal statement, also known as the “goal statement”, “statement of purpose”, or “admission essay,” is your opportunity to convey three things. First, how will you fit into the program? This should not be a general statement that you use for multiple grad schools. It is important that you articulate specific aspects of the school and program that align with your interests and goals.
Secondly, talk about your potential for success. What personal characteristics, skills, or experiences are especially relevant in predicting your success in the program? While you can mention your prior academic performance and/or test scores, the focus should be on items that are not otherwise represented in your application materials.
Lastly, I’m always looking for a students’ ability to write at the graduate level. Regardless of how the question is worded, the personal statement/admission essay is a writing sample. Make sure that your statement is grammatically correct, properly structured, clear and concise.
OGA: What is something that not many people know about grad school?
Meyers: Simply having the potential for success in a graduate program is often not enough to be accepted. Your application needs to articulate why you are applying to the particular program and how it aligns with your individual interests and goals. Graduate programs are typically much smaller than undergraduate majors and thus are looking more at enrolling individuals who will both benefit from as well as contribute to the program, classroom experience, and community.