Do you want to go to graduate school?
What does your ideal career path look like?
- It is okay if you do not know exactly what you want to do in the future!!!
- Make a list of things you do want to do, and things you do not want to do. Look to see if the path to what you want your life to look like needs graduate school.
- Start making lists about what aspects of geology excite you. This will help you later for when you start the task of looking for your potential advisor.
Start thinking. Is graduate school the right path for you?
Do NOT plan on going to graduate school if you are not interested in doing research, do not want to write, or if you are just planning on applying because it is easier than searching for a job.
Do you have an academic Twitter?
- If not, this may be a good time to start! Science twitter is full of graduate students, early career researchers, and faculty that are posting about the things they do in small, digestible tweets. This is a great way to expose yourself to different areas of research you may not have thought of.
- Bookmark tweets that have content that excite you!
- It’s not uncommon at all for professors to tweet that they are looking for a graduate student! Keep an eye out
Before we get started…
***Does your school take GRE scores at this time? Check with COVID adjusted application requirements***
Check with the programs you are interested in applying for. Many programs are starting to drop the GRE requirement in a movement called #GRExit
When should you take the GRE?
We recommend taking the GRE in August right before school starts, that way it is one less thing to worry about in the school year. Asmara did not do this, and it was really overwhelming to take the GRE while finishing up senior year and applying to graduate schools. If you are planning to apply after a gap year(s), plan to take the GRE at any point in your life when you are not juggling too many things!
Start studying for the GRE
Get a GRE study book. Options include:
- Hpb.com, chegg.com, poshmark, ebay, look for a used edition! If your university has an unofficial Facebook page dedicated to students buying and selling books/furniture, post in there to see if anyone is selling.
- When you sign up to take the GRE, they provide free practice tests. Make sure to use them!
- Plan to take all of your practice tests in the same timeframe as your exam. Build your stamina!
Get a study buddy
- The GRE is soul sucking, but it’s much better when your buds go through it with you.
- Keep yourself accountable and practice at least 3 times a week with someone
Download vocabulary apps
- Vocabulary is an easy way to boost your score. Start studying vocabulary early and often!
- If you were raised bilingual like Asmara was, you may relate. “I feel like my vocabulary is not as advanced as standardized tests want my vocabulary to be. I used the Magoosh vocabulary app to learn 10 words each day and review the words I had learned in previous days. This really boosted my GRE score.”
- Asmara recommends the Magoosh vocabulary app:
Schedule Your GRE Exam Well Ahead of Time
- Create a work plan and schedule based on the amount of time you have until the actual exam.
- Look at the pricing of the GRE exam. Yes, it is hefty and it is unfortunate. Start saving up for the exam and the costs of sending the exam scores for graduate school.
- Luckily, there are also waivers and fee reduction programs that can help with the cost of the exam. We recommend looking into this sooner rather than later, as things like this typically take quite some time to approve, and often there are only a limited number of waivers that are first come first serve and go quickly.
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Start working on your CV. In the fall, when you start emailing potential graduate school advisors, you want to have a beautiful CV on hand to email them. Creating your CV is a tedious task that you don’t want to have to do during the semester. You don’t want to be caught up on your CV when you need to be focused on finding someone you want to be advised by.
Make a list
- Use these headers to start: Field experience, lab experience, work experience, presentation (ie conferences, invited lectures), professional memberships, leadership positions
- Fill out this list with everything you can remember since you started college. Do not include high school experiences here
Use a template
- Input the items on your list into the template.
- First focus on content, then the formatting
- Don’t get frustrated! Formatting is tricky. It’s okay to ask for help
Does your university have a career services center?
- Schedule a meeting with the science representative in Career Services for an extra set of eyes on your CV.
- If not, contact your academic mentors, academic advisors, or even your favorite TA to proofread your CV.
- Be sure to ask someone who is familiar with your involvement in your academics. They may remember something to add to your CV that you forgot!