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SMC students ponder graduate school options

Anneliese Woolford | Monday, January 19, 2004

While some Saint Mary’s seniors use their second semester as a chance to locate their ideal career, others wait in hope of pursuing another post-graduation option – graduate school.For those who plan to attend graduate school next fall, this month marks most application deadlines. In the preceding months, seniors have spent countless hours studying for the Graduate Record Exam, requesting recommendations and obtaining academic transcripts.”The application process took a considerable amount of time and effort,” said senior Meaghan Blake.Blake applied to seven chemistry programs, all of which pay her salary as a teacher’s assistant and to work in research labs. Although she pays no tuition cost, Blake said she would still attend graduate school even if she did.”In my field, I can’t really go anywhere unless I get a higher degree,” she said. In addition to students, Saint Mary’s faculty and staff also play an active role in the application process. Many departments include graduate advisors who work with students to answer questions they have and provide feedback on application material.The registrar’s office is especially instrumental in helping students prepare for graduate school, mostly through its work processing transcripts. The office processed over 250 transcript requests at the end of last semester, although it is undetermined how many of those were intended for graduate applications, said registrar Lorraine Kitchner.This year, 56 students attended the Counseling and Career Development Center’s Graduate School Night held in September. The number of interested students remains consistent from year to year, said Angela Bryant, career counselor and function coordinator.”Graduate school is an excellent step for students if it coincides with their career aspirations and desire for intense, advanced training in a specialized area,” Bryant said.Instead of attending graduate school immediately following college, a significant number of students also remain open to the option of applying in the future. “I’m thinking about taking the GRE’s because they’re good for five years,” said senior Jessica Kendrick. “That way, I have time to decide whether or not grad school is something I want to do in the future.”