WHY GRADUATE SCHOOL? Turning Today s Technical Talent Into Tomorrow s Technology Leaders

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1 WHY GRADUATE SCHOOL? Turning Today s Technical Talent Into Tomorrow s Technology Leaders (This presentation has been ripped-off from a number of on-line sources)

2 Outline Why Should I Go to Graduate School? What is Graduate School Like? Where Can I Go to Graduate School? How Do I Apply for Graduate School? How Can I Pay for Graduate School? How Do I Succeed In Grad School?

3 Why Should I Go To Graduate School?

4 WE NEED YOU!

5 USAF - Civilian Acquisition Workforce Gap Analysis Require ~1500 new hires annually to offset losses; more to get ahead of the curve Years of Service (YOS) Experience Gap Very difficult to hire here! FY01 Inventory FY09 Projected Inventory Projections based on AFMC Loss Model 45% of Civilian Acquisition Workforce may depart by FY09

6 Benefits Increased compensation Higher starting salary Greater ability to earn independently Enhanced career flexibility Competitive advantage Greater choice of work Greater mobility Fortified self-confidence Demonstrated ability to perform rigorous tasks

7 Identifies You As A Leader A seat at the table. Solutions to some of the nation s most pressing problems lie in science and engineering: Healthcare (AIDS, Cancer, Alzheimer's) Environment Transportation Communication Civil Infrastructure

8 Is Graduate School for You? Degree pros and cons Bachelor s Degree Good starting salary (+$50k) but peaks early More job openings Opportunity to swap jobs or move to management But many jobs are entry level Less control of day-to-day tasks Employer usually benefits from not promoting you May become bored have to hop jobs

9 Is Graduate School for You?

10 What is Graduate School Like?

11 What is Graduate School Like? A professor s perspective Every professor runs a small company Product: Invents and develops long-range research Customer: typically Federal Government (National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA) Annual Revenue: $300,000 - $1,000,000 Employees: Grad students

12 What is Graduate School Like? M.S. Degree years Coursework similar to senior-level undergraduate courses Usually provided an opportunity to specialize Can easily start degree without selecting area of focus Good schools provide opportunity to take many focused courses in your favorite area Research (in form of thesis) may be required Tuition and stipend are possible (full tuition + $16k / 9 mos + summer job)

13 What is Graduate School Like?

14 What is Graduate School Like? Ph.D. Degree 4-6 years Similar coursework to Master s Degree plus seminars and courses related to research Research required Tuition and stipend scholarships are standard ($22k / 12 mos) Required to specialize Helpful to know research interests from day one to expedite selection of research focus Many select research focus after starting school

15 What is Graduate School Like?

16 Where Can I Go To Graduate School?

17 Start Your Search! MIT CalTech UC Berkeley Cornell Stanford Princeton UCLA Purdue U of Michigan U of Illinois Rice U of Notre Dame

18 How to Research a Graduate Program Research university libraries Peterson s Guide Chronicle of Higher Education Directory of Graduate Programs Request information be mailed to you from the department Visit schools you are interested in Surf the Web

19 How to Research a Graduate Program (continued) Gradschoolshopper.com Your guide to graduate programs in engineering and related fields; go to gradschoolshopper.com, enter search parameters (i.e. geographic or academic preferences), and receive pages meeting these criteria. Gradschools.com Worldwide web site dedicated to post-baccalaureate educational programs; tens of thousands of programs listed, continually updated; go to gradschools.com, enter search parameters (i.e. geographic or academic preferences), and receive pages meeting these criteria. Student prospector.com - draws prospective students from the gradschools.com web site and offers them a place to create & store a academic profile; recruiters subscribe to this service for a fee.

20 How to Research a Graduate Program (continued) PhD.org

21 Identifying a Graduate Program Are Faculty members conducting research in your area of interest? Ask other students about their faculty. What is the educational infrastructure (labs, library, computers, etc.)? Does the curriculum support your interests? What are the degree requirements? What is the average time to degree completion? Is financial support available? What will be your work/study environment? Are the social outlets adequate?

22 How Do I Apply To Graduate School?

23 How Do I Apply? Application packet consists of the following Transcript Important, but not much you can do about this now Letters of Recommendation Important make or break marginal cases Establish relationships with 3 Rice profs (in your major) now! Personal Statement Somewhat important think about what you like GREs Sanity check only.

24 How Do I Apply? Transcript Your school s reputation, your grades and your courses will speak for themselves Schools are sympathetic to GPAs that improve over time and weaknesses in outside areas

25 How Do I Apply? Letters of Recommendation These carry a great amount of weight Help your letter writer by reminding him/her of significant interactions you have had Help your letter writer by sharing your research interests so he/she may find ways to write a letter that complements your personal statement

26 How Do I Apply? Contact person at other school This can be difficult Strike up an conversation with prof from another school US profs get many such s from foreign students Don t sound desperate Ask a reasonable question about the professor s research showcase your qualifications

27 How Do I Apply? Personal Statement This is a great opportunity to stand out Research the schools in which you are interested Ask professors to explain research areas Try to sound like a student with experience, focus, and initiative Don t limit your choices by writing something that makes you sound too focused (unless you are)

28 How Do I Apply? GRE s General test always required General test is like SAT s but slightly harder Subject test frequently required Subject test is very detail oriented Study! Purchase old tests for practice!

29 University Perspective on Graduate Admissions Research Intensive Universities Focus on PhDs Some Masters Teaching Intensive Universities Focus on Master s Some PhDs

30 Graduate Admission Process Applications Graduate Admissions Offer Office Rejection Sorted by department/area Dept. A Dept. B Dept. Z Admissions Committee a b c Research Groups Individual Professors Yes/No Admission/Financial Support

31 University Perspectives I Virtually all US graduate students supported by faculty research grants Admission decisions are driven by individual faculty based on their research grants Most admissions offers require a faculty member to agree to support the student Priority is given to PhD students, and a very few exceptional Master s students

32 University Perspectives II Fewer Master s of Science (MS) students are being considered for Research Assistantship financial aid. - Poor Return on Investments (ROI) for research program - Takes two years of support, one research paper at best - Poor ROI for MS students - Takes two years vs. one year for ME - Industry does not differentiate in salary between MS and ME - Virtually NO Master s of Engineering (ME) students are being offered financial aid. PhD s give a good Return on Investment - Produce advanced research results and multiple paper - Help get new research grants - Net producer of funds for University

33 University Perspectives III If you do not get tuition or other resources from a Master s student, then it s a waste of University funds Normal ratio of PhD to Master s students in most top research intensive Universities in the U.S. is 3:1

34 University Perspectives IV Reference letters: Play a critical role in admissions decisions Must be written by professor who knows the student Best letters are from professors with international reputation Never make an offer unless you personally verify the reference with some one you know Telephone interviews are okay but you can never be sure that you are talking with the actual student

35 How Can I Pay For Graduate School?

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40 RESOURCES FOR FINANCIAL INFORMATION The Financial Aid Web site - The Graduate Office at your University The Graduate Office at Universities of interest to you The department you plan to pursue your degree in McNair Scholars waives application fees. Go to Project 1000 waives up to seven application fees Go to

41 Tips for Getting Fellowships! Start Early Application deadlines range from early November to early February. Research your options To find a program or a fellowship that matches your interests and goals, plan on doing some serious research. The money won t necessarily come to you you have to go to it (or at least tell them how to find you...). Pay attention to the restrictions Some programs put a limit on the number of credit hours you can have finished before application.

42 Follow directions More Tips! Although this may seem obvious, follow the directions in the application packet to the letter. The Name Thing... When applying for fellowships, you should be consistent in how you report your name. The name on your SS card, your graduate school admissions application, and your fellowship application should be identical. Supporting documents matter Letters of Reference and Statements of Purpose can make a difference in the selection process. Keep trying If you don't get an award one year, apply again next year.

43 How Do I Succeed In Graduate School?

44 Graduate School It s unlike anything else; unstructured. Is not for everyone. Independent work Lots of reading Commitment; (not finding a job is not a reason to go to grad school)

45 Goal and Objective Your goal is to graduate Need unique (interesting) thesis topic To graduate, Be a good researcher; (READ, READ, READ!), understand. Organized: keep journal, file of papers Stay motivated Show initiative in research ideas

46 Choose the Right Advisor Advisor is the most important person for your MS or PhD! Area of research, fame, good school? Interview advisor, ask about average time to graduate, your special circumstances like family. Talk to his/her current grad students Ask about failure rate, relations, support You should get along and trust advisor.

47 Modus Operandi + Intelligence = Ph.D. People skills Networking is important Network with supporting societies (e.g. ASME, IEEE, etc.) Get to work, be disciplined, make a schedule Set time for recreation too!

48 Elements to Speed Transition After Graduation What are the key elements that enhance their transition from graduate school into academia and/or industry? Find mentor and role model Integrate into the group Focus

49 Why Graduate School? Questions?

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