Friday, October 26, 2007

Ask My Readers: Grad School Admissions

An assiduous undergraduate correspondent writes:

Is it actually encouraged to email prospective advisors at the schools to which you will be applying? What do you send them-just an email, a copy of your thesis? Should your current faculty be sending introductory emails on your behalf to colleagues who you can then follow up with? Are there any good blogs that focus on getting into grad school, as opposed to the end of grad school life? How much do grades and scores actually matter in grad school admissions (I know, there are so many different schools, etc. Maybe confine answers to the social sciences and humanities?)? Do faculty at prospective grad schools actually want to read your work? Do they actually want to meet with you when you visit the school?

First, my generic warning for anybody considering grad school in an evergreen discipline: for the love of all that is holy and good, don't do it! (For the longer version of this warning, see here.)

That said, one of the perks of working at an open-admissions college is that we don't deal with the angst of people trying to psych out the admissions process. It's pretty transparent: if you meet the basic requirements, you're in. Grad school is not – and should not be – like that.

The downside is that I have precious little wisdom to share on the etiquette of grad school admissions. Luckily, I have the Best Readers Ever, so I'll throw this one open to the readers who have experience working in or on graduate admissions. Wise and worldly readers, what do you think?

Have a question? Ask the Administrator at deandad (at) gmail (dot) com.