Under 20 undergraduate students from the University of La Verne traveled to the University of San Diego for its 28th annual California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education, where almost 200 different colleges discussed their programs.
At least a thousand guests gathered in the Jenny Craig Pavilion to hear opening statements from keynote speaker Esteban Del Rio, professor of communications at USD.
“I had big ideas,” Del Rio said. “I came out of my graduate education fully transformed…it nourished me.”
The first workshop of the day titled, “How to Select, Apply to and Prepare for Graduate School,” was led by Raslyn Rendon, director of graduate student affairs and alumni relations at UC Irvine.
“Graduate school is entirely different from undergraduate education,” Rendon said. “For every single program you apply to, you need to submit a separate application,” Rendon said.
She gave what she called three simple steps for prospective graduate students; begin with research, apply, and then decide which program to select out of those that you were accepted.
The first step is to conduct research on different programs, ideally two years before you plan on attending graduate school.
Once potential programs are chosen you need to learn what each institution’s application process requires.
Every program, application process and offer made will be different from the next, Rendon said.
“The entirety of the process is going to test you,” Rendon said. “In the end faculty are looking for a hearty amount of grit, resilience and determination.”
The last workshop was titled, “How to Finance your Education,” led by Cherie Francis, coordinator of fellowship and financial services in the graduate division at UCLA.
She said that funding for graduate school may include campus-based fellowships, external fellowships from outside resources, need-based funding and plus loans based on credit score.
Graduate school may seem like an impossible hurdle to some, but resources and additional help offered at forums such as this one proves to be a critical tool to help navigate through the process.
“Grad school is vastly different from undergraduate education,” Francis said. “You need to try as hard as you can to get as much financial support to free you up to do your studies.”
Jocelyn Arceo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.