Michelle Faust shares experience of Applying to Graduate School and Acceptance to UC Davis Chemistry PH.D program.
I was admitted into the McNair Scholars Program the summer before the Fall 2009 graduate school application process. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school, but I really had no clue where to begin. I only had six months to research schools and submit my applications.
The McNair summer workshop series included a day where we talked about the graduate school admission process. The session covered how to reach out to faculty at our prospective graduate schools by email. I would have never thought to contact a faculty member directly before applying to the school.
After researching schools, I became very interested in UC Davis. I contacted a professor (per advice from the McNair meeting) who was performing research in a field of interest to me. The faculty member at UC Davis immediately set up an appointment for me to visit the campus and meet with her.
After speaking with the professor, I knew UC Davis was a great fit for me. I became extremely focused on submitting a strong application and I was set on going to UC Davis. Luckily, I got accepted to UC Davis Chemistry PH.D program with full expenses paid and a pretty good annual stipend. I am excited to start my journey at UC Davis in Fall 2010.
I recommend that every student start the graduate application process early! I waited until my senior year to think about graduate school, I didn’t have two full years to think about where I would like to go and what I needed to do to prepare myself. Instead, I was taking the GRE at the latest possible date, rushing to gather transcripts and finish essays for the application, taking classes and working!…not a good combination. The best lesson of the McNair Program is DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. The application deadlines sneak up so quickly and will ruin your whole winter break if you do not prepare.
All in all, life as a McNair Scholar is good. The research experience you gain from working underneath a faculty member at CSUEB looks tremendous on your application. Not only do you gain experience, but McNair also walks you through the application process to make sure you are successful in finding a graduate school that will match your needs.
Moral of the story: start early, research schools that interest you, and contact a professor in your research field directly to get the inside scoop on the university. Did I mention you should start early?