How to Get to Graduate School
Posted May 8, 2010on:
The experience of trying to get to graduate school has taught me many lessons I hope others can learn from. I’m currently going though the process. I already got in. Now I just need to get there. It’s like seeing a door wide open but realizing there’s a really big chasm between you and it.
That chasm’s called “Loans, Airfare, and Housing.” Getting in wasn’t so hard, actually. I took my GMATs and filled out applications. The school I wanted actually approached me with an offer, and it’s been lovely working with the recruiting agents. It’s Hult International Business School, if you’re curious. I’ll be going to the Masters in Digital Marketing program.
If I ever get there. First off, any graduate school attendee who isn’t the heir of the richest man in the world, or that man himself, needs loans. In my case, I can’t turn to the federal government and instead have to look to the State of Massachusettes. Banks of the private variety wont lend to me because my school is smaller and newer and the companies don’t have a relationship with it yet. I’m still looking, but it seems I’ll have to borrow from Uncle Massachusettes. So lesson number one: don’t wait until the last minute to try and get your loan from your bank. They might not have one for you.
Next, where are you going? Are you going to the local graduate school? Then skip this paragraph. If you’re going to have to move, where will you live? Is there student housing? Are you too old for that and want an apartment? How will you find it? Most schools have a list of prefered housing providers or complexes they own or are working with. But again, don’t wait until the last minute. I am trying to move to London, and already housing is getting sold out for the next school year. Luckily, I got in to a nice dorm early enough. Since I’m going to a big city in Europe where there is a tradition of student housing, I will be going “dorm.” I’ll have a bedroom to myself, but share my bathroom and kitchen with a hallway of 5 women. Interesting to note: in Europe grad students often live this way, so all Americans thinking I’m too old for this, well, when in Rome…
Airfare. We all know it will be expensive, but just how much of a hit is up for debate. In my case, a big hit. Again, Europe. I went ahead and tried to go through a student ticket provider. I wont name them because it was not a good experience signing up but I have hopes for the future. I don’t want them to put me on the black list. Anyway, they asked for proof of student-hood. I haven’t paid my tuition yet and don’t have a class schedule… I didn’t even have a letter saying I had been accepted. I had plenty of informal e-mails, but no letter. It’s a small school. The packet will arrive eventually.
I wound up having to ask my recruiter for a document, which he e-mailed me. In Word format. No problem, right? I uplaoded it into the ticket service’s website, just like they told me to. It was late at night after work. I was trying to get a last minute workout in before bed. My BlackBerry buzzed. The verification service said that my document was in “copy paste” format and they couldn’t accept it. Huh? First off, I had never heard of a simple word .doc called “copy paste” format. I made a jpg out of the words and put them in a document and sent it in again. Then I went back to my workout. … My BlackBerry went off. Still no good. I needed the header. So again, I went to my original Word document, print screen and copy to get a jpg of the header and the words and past into a word document. … It’s a go! I have my cheaper airfare! Of course, I couldn’t have written up the entire document myself with no school involved and made a jpg of it. That’s impossible.
So yes, be forewarned that getting to graduate school is a saga, even after you get in. I will update this saga with new lessons as they are learned.