Classroom 224, Episode 10 “Graduate School”

Welcome to the tenth and final episode of Classroom 224. My name is Butler Cain, and I’m your host and producer.

I’m wrapping up this podcast project with a few thoughts on graduate school. By the time students reach their senior year, this is a topic that comes up frequently. Here are four pieces of advice for anyone who might be considering graduate studies.

Number 1 – Be serious about the decision. Graduate school can be a fulfilling continuation of your academic development. But, make sure you want to be there. Students who have a clear understanding about why they want to pursue a graduate degree can use that motivation to push through the difficult times. Graduate school is not easy, and if you’d really rather be doing something else, it can get stressful in a hurry.

Number 2 – Take entrance exams seriously. If your undergraduate GPA isn’t breathtaking, a solid score on the GRE or MAT could get you over the top. But it’s not simply about getting into a program. A solid exam score also positions you to be competitive for graduate research or teaching assistantships, or even a graduate fellowship. These help decrease the amount of tuition you pay out of pocket, and sometimes you might earn a stipend.

Number 3 – Attend a graduate school fair. Full disclosure – I started one of these for my Communication students at the University of North Alabama. I’m convinced the personal, one-on-one interactions with recruiters helped my students with their applications. Grad school fairs give you an opportunity to browse programs and ask questions without a lot of the pressure or commitment. University recruiters usually have some cool swag to give away, too.

Number 4 – Get good recommendation letters. This one is probably obvious, but you’ll want to request letters of recommendation from faculty members who know you and who can write honestly about your capabilities and potential. Ask them with plenty of time to spare before the submission deadline, and remember to thank them for their time and effort in helping you continue your academic journey.

If you’ve been through graduate school and would like to share some advice, make a comment on this episode’s page at ButlerCain – dot – com.

The music you hear on this podcast was produced by Kipp Cain and is used with his permission.

You’ve been listening to Classroom 224, I’m Butler Cain. Thank you.

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