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Friday, May 19, 2017

College Students Should Ask This Question First Before Considering Grad School Programs

Hello everyone.  So yesterday, Thursday, my wife and I were on a rare weekday dinner and movie date.  We decided to have seafood at Hello Betty in Oceanside, and were helped by a friendly server, a young lady with some cool tattoos on her arms.  We got to talking with her and to no surprise, she is a college graduate who moved to California from Colorado with a dream of getting into a Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate program.  She has been in California for over a year, and has yet to land a spot in any of the several Southern California Doctor of PT schools, having had one interview at the University of St. Augustine in San Marcos, but not liking the fact that it wasn't on a medical campus.

Image result for acceptance rates for medical schools

I mentioned to her (our server) that my little sister is also in the same situation.  She graduated from San Diego State in 2015, applied to at least seven programs across the state, and was rejected by almost all...got on one waiting list.  I had an interest in my little sister's application results because she had asked me to help with her multiple Statements of Purpose.  Using my writing skills, I cleaned them up for her and made each of them pretty damn good...at least I thought.  Coincidentally, my sister is also a server at a restaurant in downtown San Diego, a job she has held for three years.  The conversation with our server made me upset.

Image result for getting accepted to grad school
Source:USNews


Millennials are paying large sums of money, getting in debt for life practically, only to find themselves in limbo after graduating, having underestimated the acceptance rates of their chosen professional or graduate school program.  Are millennials focusing too much on the nature of their chosen programs, their costs, time to graduation, location, e.g., and not enough on acceptance rates?  Do they not understand how competitive some programs are to get into, especially at the top schools?  Are they overestimating their chances?  College juniors and seniors should be asking themselves:

What are my odds of getting into X graduate program/school?

Yes, it's important to research how much certain programs will cost you, the requirements, etc., but what's the point of learning all of this information if you haven't assessed your personal odds of getting into a prestigious school, or even an average one?  Here's a way to assess your chances,

Pretend every applicant can have up to 10 unique colored marbles to put into a selection jar.  Having met all of the requirements gives each applicant 5 marbles to start with.  (By the way, if you haven't met all of the requirements don't even bother applying, save your money).  A high g.p.a. well above the required g.p.a. say like 4 tenths of a grade point (ex, required 3.2, but you have a 3.6) gets you one additional marble.  A g.p.a. of 3.8 - 4.0 gives you two additional marbles.  So this applicant will have 6 or 7 marbles to your 5.  If you have high G.R.E. test scores or whatever exam you are required to take, meaning, like you knocked it out of the park, give yourself another 2 marbles.  If your test scores were average, sorry, you get no additional marbles.  Finally, if you have an excellent Statement of Purpose or a compelling story, give yourself another (1) marble.

If you have 5 marbles, guess what?  You'll be in the first batch of applicants that will get weeded out.  Whoever is going through applications, may not even get to your Statement of Purpose based on your low marble count, so to speak.  Graduate programs are very selective and will want to maintain an average class that is above what's "required" in terms of test scores and g.p.a.  They just want to appear more inclusive by publishing "average student" requirements.  I hate to burst your bubble, but if you have 5 marbles, your odds of getting into a grad school program are a lot worse than you think.  You should consider spending a year taking classes to improve your g.p.a. or retaking the G.R.E. for a better result.  Of course this means you taking a year off from school, and joining the real world, working to pay your bills if going back with mom and dad isn't an option.

This may not be a bad predicament.  Just think, you have an extra year to consider if pursuing your professional program is something you truly want to do.  Putting this into perspective, you and your fellow applicants are competing to pay a university a hundred thousand dollars or more for a professional degree you may later regret having earned.  (Think of all the California Law School Graduates who have tried and failed the CA bar several times).  Go out and get more pre-professional experience and take a deeper look at your potential future career.  One or two internships during your undergrad years may not be enough to get a hard look at a career.

It's a damn shame what's happening to kids in college today.  Universities are giving them all of this hope and misinformation, and college kids are falling for it.  If you are a college grad who has tried unsuccessfully to get into a graduate program, please comment below.  Tell us what you're up to and how you feel.  Did you think it would be this hard?

1 comment:

  1. That's interesting, to go all out for acceptance in a grad program does seem like a risky choice unless you've got a back up plan. I also wonder whether there is a payout in getting a grad degree in a field like PT that must be flooded by bachelor degree graduates that can't get into grad school? An alternate path is to pick a four year major that pays well without grad school, like engineering, which is what I did. Or to do that first and then after a few years of earning good wages to then apply to grad school. My chemical engineer son worked for seven years as an engineer and then decided to go to medical school to pursue his MD. That allowed his wife to establish her practice so they could largely cash flow his degree.

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