Where Am I Going from Here?
Have you determined that you are going to graduate or professional school? If not, what are your range of options and motives for each?
Begin now to think, discuss, and prepare the graduate school options:
Begin to inquire into specific graduate programs:
- Discuss your options with a professor but also with others whose perspectives are varied and perhaps overlapping. Listen to what they say as you try to decide whether it makes sense for you to head straight into another level of academic studies.
- Attend campus events that help you connect your interests to the public conversation on topics that energize you.
- Discuss with a professor what journals you might read to help you narrow your fields of interest.
- Engage in a research project or thesis that allows you to work closely with a mentor.
- Actively search for internships that might open doors you want to open.
- Find out what the minimal undergraduate requirements are in graduate fields that interest you. For example, if you want to go forward in a certain fields, you may have to have fluency in a modern foreign language or two semesters of economics or certain mathematics courses. Check on those now-not during your senior year.
Begin to assemble a resume and a personal statement:
- Don't evaluate programs strictly by websites. Some good sites are not reflective of good programs.
- Talk to faculty members about their evaluation of best schools for subjects you are interested in.
- Pay attention to where the scholars work who write the journal articles you read. Consider contacting a professor/scholar under whom you might wish to study.
- You will need to represent yourself well on paper. The Career Center at Baylor can help you begin to format and refine your resume.
- Personal statements take lots of time to perfect. Use summer evenings or weekends to brainstorm the materials you might wish to place in these profiles. Be prepared to spend many, many hours (and drafts) articulating your interests, academic qualifications, and goals. Ask others who have expertise in this area to give you feedback or take your essay to the Baylor Writing Center for evaluation. The goal of the essay is to show your ability to write persuasively about your "trajectory"-and to show how everything you have done has prepared you for this particular, valuable opportunity.
- Take the GRE in the summer, then again if you need to. Only the highest score counts. Register for a course that allows you practice for the GRE.