Many students are starting to think about the GRE and graduate school applications. Unfortunately, many are in the dark about how and when to begin preparing for the exam, where to apply, and how to decide whether graduate school is the best fit. Sarah Haas, a Colgate Class of 2016 Graduate, attends the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is currently earning her master’s degree in journalism. As a student at one of the top journalism schools in the country, there is no one better suited to answer the commonly asked questions about graduate school.
When did you make the decision to go to grad school, and how did you start preparing for the exam?
I made the decision to start looking into grad school after completing my junior year (2015). Getting my masters was not something I ever really considered, but my mother had mentioned it.. and I am so happy and thankful she did. I took the GRE that fall and started applying to grad schools that winter.
What has your experience been like so far at grad school? What skills are you learning to move you towards your career path?
My experience at grad school thus far has been absolutely incredible. I have acquired so many skills since starting the program this summer. Medill has really taught me how to be an excellent reporter, storyteller and communicator. Additionally, it has given me the confidence to network and really put myself out there, which will be a vital asset in establishing my career post-grad.
What real-life career experience have you gained so far?
Grad school has also provided me with real-life experiences I never would have imagined to have in my lifetime. I have met amazing individuals including politicians, activists, celebrities, authors you name it. All of these individuals have been more than friendly and more than willing to help me in terms of my career (think resume review, general advice and referrals) I’ve gone to new, unique and exciting places. I even just got back from a 9-day reporting assignment in Johannesburg where I met some amazing people and expanded my portfolio!
What advice would you give to students thinking about attending grad school or preparing for the GRE?
Research all of the programs you’re considering throughly, and reach out to the admissions counselors at these schools and current students! They’re generally really helpful and friendly, and can provide you with insight on the admissions process. In terms of the GRE, take as MANY full-length practice tests on the computer as you possibly can… including the essays! I know it’s annoying, but it will really put you in a test-day environment, and prepare you to take the long exam on the computer.
Interview by: Sarah Kurland