Information for applying to graduate school (English & Spanish). Applications will be due soon!

Horizons Seminar Room

 

Applications for graduate school are usually due between December and February of the year before you are going to enter graduate school. PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP has developed a paper (presented at a conference in 2012) that will help you with the requirements for your graduate school applications. The paper can be downloaded here: Preparing for Engineering and Other STEM Graduate/Post-Graduate Masters and Doctoral Programs.  It is part of the Proceedings of the Tenth LACCEI Latin American and Caribbean Conference (LACCEI 2012), Megaprojects: Building Infrastructure by fostering engineering collaboration, efficient and effective integration and innovative planning, July 23-27, 2012, Panama City, Panama.  

 

One of the most important sections of the paper is Section 4. Here is a subset of that section.

 

  1. Innovations in Program Content Designed to Increase Access

PROMISE seminars and workshops for graduate school preparation focus on four key areas: Transcript, Letters of Recommendation, Statement of Purpose, and GRE Score.  Students are cautioned to remember that they should be striving for top grades in all of their courses.

4.1 Letters of Recommendation: 10 Item Checklist

Students who attend UMBC’s seminars are cautioned to seek very strong letters of recommendation from faculty members, a concept that has long been part of the foundation of advice that is given to students by the National GEM Consortium.  UMBC’s facilitator teaches students to provide their faculty recommenders with 10 items: (See Section 4.1: Preparing for Engineering and Other STEM Graduate/Post-Graduate Masters and Doctoral Programs and Dr. Tull’s List)

 

4.2 Statement of Purpose:  Four Paragraph Template

During UMBC’s PROMISE seminars and Horizons workshops, students are taught to thoroughly read through the engineering departments’ websites and write their statements of purpose based on their personal research interests and experiences, coupled with research that is being conducted in the department.   When students are applying to Graduate School, and to doctoral programs in particular, they must be sure to make the case for the reasons why they want to be there.  The statement of purpose should reflect the “why.”  Why you?  Why that particular research?  Why do you want to work with those professors or that lab?  (See the 4 paragraph structure in the full paper: Preparing for Engineering and Other STEM Graduate/Post-Graduate Masters and Doctoral Programs.)

 

4.3 GRE Score: Focused attention on mathematics

Engineering programs expect students to have aptitude for mathematics.  The GRE provides faculty admissions committees with a standard measure by which to evaluate prospective students.  During UMBC’s workshops and seminars, students are reminded that many of the topics in the “Quantitative Reasoning” portion of the GRE include concepts from high school or secondary school.  Other topics are taught in introductory statistics courses and some students aren’t exposed to probability and statistics until they reach the university.  However, students in the seminars regularly reveal that they didn’t know that they had to study for the GRE.  While inferential statistics and the ability to construct proofs are not tested on the GRE, several students in seminars have been hesitant when they were asked for immediate answers to sample questions involving factorials, inequalities, or geometric representations.  The students said that they “used to know” how to solve certain kinds of equations or that they “didn’t remember” concepts.  To prepare students for the exam, UMBC’s seminars provide students with a live sample problem solving session, and the list of skills that they need in order to do well on the quantitative measure.  (See Table 3 in the full paper: Preparing for Engineering and Other STEM Graduate/Post-Graduate Masters and Doctoral Programs.)

 

The Spanish Version of Section 4 can be found here: 

Preparación para Programas de Maestría y Doctorado

Sample:

4.2. DECLARACIÓN DE PROPÓSITOS: LA PLANTILLA DE CUATRO PÁRRAFOS

Durante los seminarios de PROMISE en UMBC y los talleres de Horizons, los estudiantes son entrenados para leer extensivamente los sitios web de departamentos de Ingeniería y para escribir sus declaraciones de propósitos, basados en sus intereses personales de investigación y experiencias, ligadas a proyectos de investigación que son conducidos en el departamento. Varios miembros de los comités de admisión que son liderados por profesores, a lo largo de distintas universidades, le han comentado a nuestros facilitadores que han visto muchas declaraciones de propósitos que no tenían una conexión con proyectos de investigación que eran conducidos en el departamento. A los estudiantes se les indica que deben estar seguros que las personas encargas de recibir sus paquetes de aplicación en programas de maestría y doctorado, sepan explícitamente por qué ellos quieren estar en esa universidad, en ese departamento, en ese laboratorio o grupo en particular y qué ellos quieren llevar a cabo. Cuando los estudiantes están aplicando a estudios de maestría y doctorado, especialmente de doctorado, ellos deben asegurarse de enfatizar las razones por las que quieren estar allí. La declaración de propósitos debe reflejar el “por qué”. ¿Por qué tú? ¿Por qué ese proyecto de investigación en particular? ¿Por qué quieres trabajar con esos profesores o en ese laboratorio?  Para ayudar a los estudiantes con la redacción de sus declaraciones de propósitos, nuestros facilitadores recomiendan esta estructura de cuatro párrafos:

  • Párrafo 1: Identifica tu interés en el campo  y menciona qué quieres estudiar. Sé capaz de responder las siguientes preguntas: ¿Cuál es tu interés en el campo?, ¿Qué formó tu temprano interés?, ¿Qué tipo de investigación quieres llevar a cabo?, ¿Qué quieres estudiar?, ¿Qué problema quieres resolver?
  • Párrafo 2: Discute tus experiencias previas en investigación, las habilidades ganadas y relacionadas a procesos y métodos relevantes, y el uso eficiente de equipos. Incluye premios académicos, presentaciones y resultados. Discute las maneras en que estas experiencias contribuyeron con la preparación para estudios de maestría o doctorado en el laboratorio de interés.
  • Párrafo 3: Escribe sobre tu interés en la universidad, el departamento y el laboratorio. Discute la investigación que el laboratorio de interés está conduciendo y tu conexión, experiencia o interés en ese tema. Presta atención al trabajo que se está llevando a cabo en algún centro en particular del campus, el departamento o profesores específicos.
  • Párrafo 4: Discute brevemente tus planes de contribución al campo. Incluyendo metas a corto plazo (dentro de 5 años del programa) y metas a largo plazo (al menos 10 años, después de completar el doctorado).

__________________________________________________________________

Tull, R. G., Nino, M.  and Ramoutar, N. (2012).  Preparing for Engineering and Other STEM Graduate/Post-Graduate Masters and Doctoral Programs.  Proceedings of the Tenth LACCEI Latin American and Caribbean Conference (LACCEI 2012), Megaprojects: Building Infrastructure by fostering engineering collaboration, efficient and effective integration and innovative planning, July 23-27, 2012, Panama City, Panama.  [Spanish Version of Section 4 here:Preparación para Programas de Maestría y Doctorado]

__________________________________________________________________

The text content of this post was compiled and written by the staff of PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP and may not be copied without referencing the PROMISE organization, as “PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP”.

Creative Commons License
PROMISE AGEP Online Information by PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

 

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Categories: Ph.D. Completion

Author:Renetta Garrison Tull

Dr. Renetta Garrison Tull is the Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Student Development & Postdoctoral Affairs at the UMBC: An Honors University in Maryland (http://www.umbc.edu), and the Director of PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) – http://www.umbc.edu/promise. The PROMISE AGEP includes alliance members: UMBC, the University of Maryland Baltimore, and the University of Maryland College Park. She is passionate about training postdocs for careers, cultivating new graduate students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, retention of all graduate students, and Ph.D. Completion. She speaks nationally on these topics, and has projects in Maryland, Pittsburgh, and Puerto Rico. Her personal website is: http://renettatull.wordpress.com.

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PROMISE: Maryland's Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) is a support system for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in Maryland. PROMISE is one of the 22+ AGEPs in the United States. PROMISE, through AGEP, is a program of the National Science Foundation.

4 Comments on “Information for applying to graduate school (English & Spanish). Applications will be due soon!”

  1. November 7, 2012 at 12:07 PM #

    I wish I was a student again
    Back at that time I did not realize how lucky I was; no worries and no consumer society (I just created a corner sofa review site that you are more than welcome to visit: http://www.cornersofastore.com)

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