Free Textbooks for a Year Scholarship

Usually, when thinking of scholarship grants, some may think of financial aid in the form of cash, which can be physically handed to the student or directly paid to the school on his or her behalf. Sometimes, however, scholarships can be given in kind. For, it is offering a scholarship in the form of free textbooks a year through an essay contest. The grand prize and consolation prizes are still in cash, and winners can use this to buy college textbooks. The grand prize has been set at a particular cost based on the estimate of one year’s worth of textbook in college.

How do you join?

Those are enrolled in college and are over 18 and a legal resident of the United States may join the essay contest. Participants have to write an essay on the topic: “Which is more important, education or healthcare?” The essay must be between 500 and 1,000 words and must be submitted through’s online form. Participants have to submit the form by October 31, 2010. The announcement of winners will be on December 15.

What are the other requirements?

Other requirements that one needs to submit are documents that serve as proof of age, residency, and student status. Participants must also sign a publicity release because if they win the grand prize, the essay will be published on Another requirement is a high resolution headshot.

What are the prizes like?

As mentioned earlier, the grand prize of equivalent to the approximate cost of one year’s worth of textbooks. The grand prize is $1,250, while the runner ups will be receiving $250 each.

The contest will be benefit a lot of students looking for additional financial aid opportunities. Some of these opportunities require application forms and documents, while others may require a winning essay such as this one.

Photo Credits: textbookace

Tips on What to Expect from the Law School Admission Test

Law school is tough. It has to be to create lawyers that can make logical arguments and arrive at the truth. TheLaw School Admission Test (LSAT) is then used to gauge the analytical and logical reasoning of would-be law school students. However, when certain apprehensions are added to the mix, the applicant can get very flustered and may fail the exam because of nervousness, which can be very unfortunate. Though failing after a good fight is better, passing the exam is still best.

Reasoning tests

Reasoning tests, both analytical and logical, are LSAT mainstays. Admission tests prioritize logical test results as well since logical reasoning is a very important factor of a law student’s, and eventually a lawyer’s, life. The applicant must be able to show just how competent he or she is when dealing with arguments. The applicant must be able to present his or her arguments in a logical and organized way.

Analytical reasoning is also vital to an applicant’s admission into a law program. This test is basically like the logical reasoning in terms of gauging the ability of the applicant to use logic and problem-solving skills. Applicants do have to watch out for over-analysis, as some can easily get too carried away when taking the LSAT that they over-analyze everything.

Reading comprehension

Most entrance and standardized tests have reading comprehension. If an applicant is ready to pursue higher education, he or she must be able to show a certain degree of understanding and comprehension when reading a text in a given limited time. This is especially true for law students and lawyers who have to read pages and pages of text and make sense of them all in a short period of time. The applicant must not only keep things in memory but also comprehend the very point of each passage.

The LSAT can be an intimidating exam but if the applicant has what it takes to become a lawyer, he or she is expected to do well in it. If this is not the case, then the applicant may be better suited for another career. With proper preparation and steady nerves, the applicant will allow the test to be very accurate in gauging his or her capabilities.

Photo Credits: Bryan Gosline

Introduction to Washington University in St Louis Olin

The Olin Business School is one of the seven schools at the Washington University St. Louis. The school was named after the entrepreneur John M. Olin. The school was actually founded in 1917, but it was called the Olin Business School only in 1988.

Degrees offered

The school offers various programs and courses. These include MBA, BSBA, MS in Finance, MS in Supply Chain Management, Executive MBA, Masters in Accounting, and PhD Degrees. The business programs in Olin Business School are considered among the best in the country. The doctoral program at Olin Business School focuses on quantitative methodology, economics, and mentorship with the faculty. This technique aims to prepare doctoral students for teaching and scholarship careers.


The Olin School at Washington University St. Louis boasts many notable alumni. These include the president and CEO of Mel Bay William Bay, the CEO of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation David P. Connor, the adventurer and options trader Steve Fossett, and the president and CEO of HNI Corporation Stan A. Askren. Aside from the ones mentioned, Olin Business School produced more notable personalities not only in the business world, but also outside of it.

Rankings and reviews

Olin is ranked among the world’s top schools for business by the Financial Tines, the Economist, the US News and World Report, and the BusinessWeek. The full-time MBA program of Olin is ranked numer 19th in the 2011 edition of the US News. The part-time MBA program is ranked number 10 by the same body. The Undergraduate program of Olin School is ranked by the Businessweek as 13th and the full-time MBA program as 28th.

Admission tips

Aside from passing the entrance exam and initial admissions interview, one must also submit a notable personal statement to get better chances of admissions to this competitive business school. Having an excellent high school record is also a plus. This business school is highly competitive sothis is why passing the requirement is not enough. One must really exceed the requirements in order to succeed in the admissions process, as this business school is quite competitive.

Admission facts

2010 Enrolment data

Program Enrollment
Full-Time MBA 300
BSBA 705
PMBA 395
EMBA- St. Louis 142
EMBA – Shanghai 99
MS Finance 5
PhD 52

Contact info

Information about the Olin Business School can be found at The school’s office is located in Danforth Campus, Simon Hall, Suite 114. The admissions email address is You can also reached personnels by calling 314-935-7301.

GWSB Will Accept GRE for MBA Admissions

The George Washington School of Business (GWSB) will start accepting the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) as a standardized test basis during admissions. This will take effect on the applications season for school year 2011-2012.

Reasons behind the decision

So why is the GWSB accepting the GRE as a basis for admissions? This is because the GRE allowance should help the GSWB create more diversity in the classroom in terms of educational background. With this, it is also expected that the number of applicants will increase, which translates to the GSWB having more applicants to choose from. This increase in the number of applicants can also help provide just a little more flavor into the upcoming student body of the GWSB. Allowing students from various educational backgrounds, including the liberal arts, will also provide new and different perspectives about business, according to Doug Guthrie, GSWB dean and professor of management and international business.

Benefits to the applicants

Judith Stockmon, the executive director of the George Washington Graduate Admissions, says that the administration is really excited about offering the GRE acceptance to applicants who desire a graduate degree in business. Applicants now do not need to have a business background to become part of a business graduate degree. Therefore, it is not too late for applicants to start considering a career in business with the GRE helping them get into an MBA program. The GSWB is also happy to be part of a growing group of top-notch business schools that are offering the testing option.

On the GMAT

Those who are wishing to seek a higher education in business must be familiar with the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), a standard test used to gauge the preparedness of an applicant for an MBA degree. Applicants who have already taken the GMAT should be relieved to know that the GWSB will still be accepting GMAT results.

Photo Credits: d3b…*

First Year Guide to College

So now that you’ve finally scored your high school diploma and are about to take off for college, do you really know what it takes to survive your first year at the university? Whether you’re excited about your first foray into self-reliance and independence, or dreading the day when you’d move into a campus dorm and share your private space with a complete stranger, university life is more than what meets the eye. This first year college guide is aimed at helping you, the college freshman, experience a smoother transition from the laid-back days of high school to the challenging but nevertheless exciting jungle that is college life.

Common misconceptions about university life

Before you can truly prepare for college, learning how to separate the real scores from a few misconceptions is very important. After all, how many times have you been told that college life is one great party? How many times have you seen movies depicting university life as the best time to simply have fun, choose the best sororities and fraternities, and actually forget your homework and GPAs? Countless, perhaps!

While it’s easy to be blown away by all your grand expectations about your college years, there are a few things you need to remember while studying in the college or university of your choice. Life on campus is different from your life at home, and although you will have more time for exploration and socializing, your academics should still be on top of your list.

The real college scenario

Contrary to sugar-coated tales about college being a grand carnival, college life actually means serious business. This does not mean, however, that you will end up having no fun during your entire stay on campus. The most important ability to have when trying to weather your college experience is balance. Staying focused on your academic goals while learning to have fun on the side will allow you to get the best out of your college years. Of course, you would still want to look back at some fun, happy, gratifying times in college once you venture out into the real world and join the ranks of job-hunting graduates.

Setting reasonable expectations

It is important to set reasonable expectations starting from day one, so you don’t end up feeling disappointed or overwhelmed. You may think that your teachers will be less strict now that you’re in college, or it’s perfectly okay to switch majors more than once during the course of your stay in the university. Some of you may be led to believe that living in a dorm room is like living in a posh apartment or that the cafeteria will always serve the best gourmet dishes. As much as college should be a fun time for everyone, it is also a time for serious learning, a time when you need to rely on yourself, without having to completely exclude others. Having the right attitude and setting reasonable expectations will help you weather the challenges of your college freshman year and the subsequent years to come.

Preparing for your first year in college

College will be a different experience for everyone. However, there are a few things you can know and do before entering into college, so that you will be better prepared for the experience. With the right attitude and by making smart choices, there is no reason why college should not be the best time of your student life. Here are some useful tips for incoming college freshmen:

– Choose colleges or universities you are interested in as early as your senior year in high school. This will allow you to review the requirements from each school as early as possible, thereby maximizing your chances of getting in.

– Attend orientations and campus tours. These will help you get a feel for the place, help you get around campus much easier, which will essentially be your “home away from home” for the next four years or so.

– Attend your classes. It’s fairly easy for students to assume that college is nothing but a stroll in the park, especially since class schedules are less stringent compared to high school. But when you start skipping classes, serious problems can crop up. College is about furthering your education more than anything else.

– Be prepared to be more self-reliant. This time, there will be no one to cook for you, no one to do your laundry, or no one to fix your bed when you don’t feel like doing it. If you’ve been pampered at home, that’s fine. However, all the comforts of home won’t be available on college campus, and this time, it will all be about self-reliance.

– Be organized. Whether it’s in your dorm room, with your study notes, with your assignments and projects, or with your class schedules, organization is very useful when you’re trying to focus. A good planner will help you organize everything according to schedule.

– Seek out new connections and attend social activities. It’s easy to be intimidated by almost everyone during your first few months on campus. However, you first year in college is the perfect time for you to start honing your social skills and establish new connections. Go out and get noticed.

What you can expect after your first year

Once you’ve already learned what balance, focus, and organization are all about during your freshman year, it will be fairly easy for you to apply these practices on your succeeding years in college. After your first year, you will have more difficult subjects, more demanding teachers, and fuller schedules. By this time, you will also have to start looking for apprenticeships and start building networks both with senior students and alumni.

There is no reason for you to be intimidated by university life; however, you need to understand that college is also about responsibilities. By learning how to separate misconceptions from the real scores and by setting the right expectations, there is no reason why you should not breeze through your freshman year. By all means, attend all your classes, befriend your professors, and establish connections with classmates and fellow students. If you’re bored hitting the books, don’t forget to have a little fun. Many students have gotten the best out of their college years, and there is no reason why you should not do so!

Photo Credits: Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch, Steven S., Daehyun Park

First Year Guide to Law School

After obtaining your undergraduate degree, you have now set your sights on law school. You may have decided to enroll in law school with the collective purpose of completing your legal education, securing your diploma, and working at some posh law office after passing the bar exams. However, before you can fully accomplish any of these goals, you will need to pass through law school first. This guide is aimed at helping you, the law school freshman, separate facts from fiction so you can get a good grip on what really takes place during your first two semesters in law school.

Popular misconceptions about law school

How many times have you been told that getting a law school diploma and passing the bar examinations will lead you to a financially secure life or that legal education is all about memorizing laws and nothing else? There are many popular misconceptions about law school, and here are some of them:

– Law school is about studying and note-taking. Some incoming law students attend law school with the expectation that studying and dutifully taking down notes will assure them of passing grades. Others assume that long hours of studying will almost always guarantee excellent marks.

– Everything in law school will be spoon-fed by the professors. Another misconception in law school is that the professors will provide the students with all the necessary input. Some students may have the expectation that the teaching methods in law school are typically the same with undergraduate education.

– Law school is about memorizing laws. Another misconception about legal education is that law students will be tasked on memorizing laws all the time.

– Getting a law degree and becoming a lawyer will ensure you financial success. Many undergraduates plan on enrolling themselves in law school, thinking that doing so will ensure them a high-paying job in the future.

The reality

There is more to law school than endless studying and dutiful note-taking, and yes, it’s not about memorizing laws and knowing them by heart. When you’re in law school, you will be participating in a lot of discussions and analyzing complicated cases. You might as well be prepared for oral recitations. When it comes to participating in discussions, however, it is not enough for your to be able to defend your opinions and arguments; you need to be able to do so citing the right context of law.

Law school is unlike college in many ways, and one of the stark differences involve the professors not explaining the readings most of the time, or providing you with useful supplementary materials. There is no spoon-feeding in law school, and the sooner you understand this, the better you will be. If you think that becoming a lawyer will immediately ensure you financial success in the future, it may perhaps be time for you to rethink your goals. Attending law school is a huge step and you need to be motivated by the right reasons.

Setting reasonable expectations

The more reasonable your expectations are, the easier it will be for you to adjust successfully to life in law school. Expect a lot of discussions, oral participation, and case analysis. You will most probably have professors who will demand that you read multiple cases for a single class session. Without a doubt, your first year in the law school will be most grueling and intense, but with enough preparation, you can progress through your second year without having to deal with major setbacks.

How to prepare for your first year

– Increase your reading speed as well as your comprehension. In your first year in law school, you will be required to do a lot of reading, as well as analyze a lot of cases. With such a large volume of reading required during your first year, improving on your reading speed can help a lot.

– Develop a study schedule. A study schedule will help you stay focused, so you don’t give in to distraction easily. It is important that you adhere to your study schedule.

– Get the right supplementary materials. Although you will have a lot of reading materials provided by your professors, as well as those from your law books, researching on new cases will help keep you updated and will serve as valuable supplementary materials for your law courses.

– Hone your writing skills. Being able to write a good essay, complete with analysis, arguments, and conclusion, is essential in law school, especially during your first year.

– Learn to think like a lawyer. Most law schools today require their students to think like lawyers. If you want to improve your chances of success in your first year in law school, don’t be content with thinking like a law student; think like a professional.

What the rest of your years in school will bring

Without a doubt, your first year in law school will be the most intense, and as you progress through your second year and third year, you will be more calm and poised and may cultivate more confidence. Since you already know how it is to participate in class, pass or fail examinations, read and analyze cases, and engage in Socratic dialogue, your stay in law school will no longer be as overwhelming than when you first stepped into its portals. During the rest of your law school years, you will be expected to further your understanding about the law and you will most likely tackle more complicated cases. However, now that the initial trepidation of your first year have finally been abated, you will have more time to discuss with your classmates, network with other students, and even jump-start your law review.

Although your freshman year in law school will be one of the most demanding and tiring, there are things you can understand and accomplish before entering law school so you don’t have to be overwhelmed by all the changes and demands. More than having an organized time table, possessing the right attitude will dictate whether you’ll be able to finish your law studies on time, or otherwise.

Photo Credits: Mathieu Marquer,, Lidyanne Alves

First Year Guide to Medical School

If you plan on having a career as a physician, it is important that you take up a pre-med course for your undergraduate studies and apply for medical school once you finish college. Your first year in medical school will perhaps be one of the most difficult, given that you will need to dedicate long hours listening to lectures and even longer hours studying your notes. This guide is aimed at helping you get a clearer picture of what medical school is and what you can expect during your first two semesters.

Popular media misconceptions

Before attending your first year in medical school, it will help you a lot if you take time to look into the popular misconceptions surrounding medical school, so you can build reasonable expectations about your studies and the medical profession as well.

– You need to have a strong science background.

– There is only one teaching method adopted by different schools.

– Medical school is easy.

– You can’t attend medical school if you’re short on funds.

The reality

First off, you don’t necessarily need a strong science background in order to get accepted into medical school. Although students who plan on taking up medicine after their undergraduate education are encouraged to take up a pre-med or any science-related course, having a strong science background does not necessarily ensure your success in medical school. There are more than a few things you need, beyond having a strong background in science.

Moreover, different medical schools have different teaching methods. A single method adopted by any specific medical school may not necessarily be used by another medical school. Medical school is nothing like what you may have experienced in college. The teaching methods are different, and the courses you will be taking for your medical studies are more specialized. Simply put, medical school is difficult. You will be required to listen to 50-minute lectures, read 500 pages due for an exam the following day, and spend long and grueling hours studying if you want to get high grades.

With various medical school scholarships and grants being offered, you can still pursue your medical studies even though you may not have enough funds to start with. Many of these grants are offered for research projects, community-based medicine, and even made available to minorities.

What to expect

During the first two years of medical school, most of your studies will be spent in classrooms and in laboratories. Huge volumes of reading materials, books, and the like are to be expected during your first year and second year. Although the subjects in first year and second year will vary from one medical school to another, as a freshman, you can expect to tackle subjects on Gross Anatomy, Molecular Biology, Human Genetics, Physiology, Pharmacology, and Physical Diagnosis, among many others.

How to prepare for your first year

– Expect to study everyday, even during weekends. If you think that medical school is anything like college, wherein you can study at your own pace and skip class if you don’t fancy your professor, it’s very possible that you’re pursuing the wrong profession. Medical students spend long hours poring over notes, reading huge volumes of books, and trying to catch up on lectures.

– Learn to organize your notes. In medical school, you will be presented with a lot of information, most of which will be coming from volumes of medical books. It is important for you to be able to transcribe this information into easy-to-read formats, so you can easily digest them during study time. Some students are known to make voice recordings of their notes as well, so that they can listen to them too, whenever possible.

– Never underestimate the benefits of a study group. If studying on your own gets stale over time and you need some form of interaction from others, a study group will be most beneficial for you. However, make sure that you form a study group with people who have the same study ethics as you to achieve greater efficiency during your study sessions.

– Know which study material to focus on, so you can maximize on your time. You can do this by understanding what a certain topic is all about and which possible questions will be most relevant during examinations. It is best to remember that you will do a lot of reading during your first and second years in medical school, and since it will be impossible to memorize every single information contained in your books, it is crucial to know which parts you need to focus on. This will help make the most of the study time available to you, when you’re not listening to hour-long lectures or catching up on lost sleep.

What the rest of your years in school will bring

During the third and fourth year of medical school, however, you will no longer be confined to studying inside classrooms and laboratories. You will be taught hands-on patient care during this time, and these years will be considered as the “clinical years” in your medical studies. Hospital rotations will take place during the third year, and these hospital departments will include internal medicine, family medicine, surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, and obstetrics or gynecology. During your fourth year in medical school, you will also need to attend hospital rotations, although during this period, you will be encouraged to choose rotations in departments that suit your planned specialization.

Medical school is a serious commitment, and only those who have the innate desire to serve in the medical community are likely to make it through the first four grueling years of medical training. Medical school is expensive as well, and if you are not able to obtain any funding, you should expect to pay for all your tuition and other fees. Your first year in medical school, however, will be one of the toughest years during the course of your studies. Your freshman year will necessitate the right preparation, so you can progress through the rest of your medical school years without major difficulties.

Photo Credits: ernstl, John Jay Glenn, Effe effe

First Year Guide to MBA School

Do you plan on honing your business skills by getting an MBA? Do you want to step up in the career ladder and ensure a higher and more financially secure position for yourself? Many professionals seek out an MBA to further their career goals or to jumpstart their own business. If you’re planning on getting an MBA or have already enrolled in an MBA program, this guide is designed to help you begin your MBA education the right way.

Some misconceptions about getting an MBA

There have been some popular misconceptions associated in getting an MBA degree. These false ideas about MBA school and getting an MBA education can quickly turn into frustration for some MBA students, especially for those who are still starting out in the program. It is important for you to discover what these misconceptions are, while you’re still in the early stages of your business program. Here are some of the more popular media misconceptions about getting an MBA:

– Any MBA school will do.

– An MBA degree is a good move for everyone.

– You have to give up your job to pursue an MBA.

– An MBA will automatically ensure you a management position in your company.

The real score

If you think that getting an MBA degree from any business school will do, think again. Not all business schools offer the same quality of MBA education and if you’re really serious about getting a graduate-level business degree both for your personal and professional goals, you will have to take time to review the schools available to you and to make a smart choice. Going to back to school again to get your MBA degree can be expensive, and some people make the mistake of leaving their current jobs in order to focus on their studies full-time. Some people however have successfully finished their MBA studies while balancing full-time work.

Moreover, an MBA is not for everyone. If you plan on getting an MBA for the sole purpose of getting a promotion at work, then you are in the program for the wrong reason. An MBA can help you step up the career ladder, but this degree alone will not guarantee any top position for you. You will still need to build up on your job experience, sine an MBA is not meant as a substitute for experience in the real corporate world. Getting an MBA will definitely add to your credentials, but this alone will not ensure a top management job position for you within your company.

Reasonable MBA expectations

For many of you, MBA school will be expensive, especially if you plan on getting a good program from a reputable school. Since getting an MBA is essentially an act of furthering your education, you also need to commit to your studies, be prepared to do research, and to choose the right business courses. Networking and establishing valuable connections is also an important factor in securing your MBA. As long as you have the right expectations and the right motivations in taking up this graduate course, your stay in MBA school will be gratifying at the very least.

How to prepare

There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself during the first year of your MBA program. Here are some of the preparations you can do:

– Plan in advance. As much as possible, start planning on your MBA program as early as one year prior to your enrollment. This will allow you to get a good headstart on the program you have chosen to take.

– Outline a schedule for your studies, for reading and analyzing cases, as well as for research. Your academics can easily eat up a lot of your time, so a detailed schedule will be most helpful.

– Sharpen your quantitative skills. Consider taking diagnostic tests if you don’t feel like you’re sure about your aptitude in math. Many incoming MBA students feel that their quantitative skills need some improvement prior to entering business school. If you are one of these students, don’t hesitate to get some math review courses before your first year in MBA school.

– Know the advantage of clubs and groups. Networking is a huge word in graduate school, and business school is not any different. Whether or not you’ve been joining groups and clubs while in college, participating in clubs and groups in business school is highly recommended. This is especially helpful if you are currently on a job search or if you plan on shifting to another industry once you’ve already completed your graduate-level studies.

– Learn how to make full use of on-campus resources, such as library materials, seminars and lectures, and even people who can be of tremendous help to you once you graduate. These will include your classmates, professors, guest lecturers, and business school alumni.

What the rest of your years in school will bring

During your second year in business school, you are expected to further your experience and expand your knowledge in a specialized area in business through various electives and seminars. Different electives will be offered to you, and in some business schools you will be allowed to take up to 18 electives, so you can gain a solid footing on general management and strengthen your knowledge on the various areas of business. Students will also be required to attend seminars during the rest of the years in business school, and these will provide valuable opportunities for networking. Between your first and second year in business school, you are also expected to start looking for summer internship opportunities.

While an MBA degree can help you secure a top management position in your chosen career in the future, it is not meant to be a substitute for real-world experience. There are a few things you can do to ensure that you make the most out of your stay in business school, especially during your first year. With enough preparation and with the right attitude, getting what you want out of your MBA education is always possible.

Photo Credits:, Mark Hillary, Mark Hillary

First Year Guide to Graduate School

People choose to go back to school and enroll themselves in a graduate course for several reasons. Some do so for the purpose of career advancement, while others opt to go back to school for personal reasons. Whatever your reason is in enrolling in a graduate school, the first year will surely be very challenging. As a graduate student, some adjustments will have to be made on your schedule, and this is where efficient time management comes in. Graduate school is often considered to be more demanding than undergraduate education. With the right planning and time management strategies, however, there is no reason why you should not make it successfully out of grad school.

Common misconceptions about graduate school

Unfortunately, many students apply to graduate school without really understanding what it entails. Some graduate students, moreover, expect a graduate degree to be their only ticket to professional success. Here are some of the typical misconceptions about graduate school:

– Graduate school is for everyone.

– A graduate degree is the answer to all your career woes.

– All you need are good grades to make it to graduate school.

– Being a full-time graduate student does not require any time management.

The real graduate school scenario

When applying to any graduate school of your choice, you need to remember that a graduate degree is not for everyone. Just because your best friend is taking up graduate studies or because all your office mates are getting their own PhDs does not automatically make you a good candidate for a graduate degree. Before anything else, you need to understand what motivates you to enroll in a graduate school.

Many professionals believe that getting a graduate degree will immediately help them secure a top-ladder position once they graduate. Although a graduate diploma or certificate will surely add to your credentials, this will not immediately ensure a high-ranking position within your chosen career or your promotion within your current company.

Making it to graduate school is also beyond getting good grades. While it is crucial that you maintain good grades especially during your first year, you also need to establish ties, which can potentially help you after graduation. Networking is just as important as maintaining decent grades when you’re in graduate school.

Finally, it is impossible for any student to make it to graduate school without effective time management. Graduate school can be overwhelming and many graduate students will find themselves pressed for time when accomplishing tasks and completing projects. Being a graduate student requires commitment and time management skills.

Setting reasonable expectations

Whether you are applying as an incoming college freshman, a law school freshman, or a graduate school freshman, setting reasonable expectations will help you get the most out of your graduate school experience. It is crucial that you learn how to separate misconceptions from the real stuff, to keep yourself from feeling frustrated as early as your freshman year. Although graduate school should not intimidate you, being prepared for all the adjustments you will be facing should always be one of your priorities.

You can talk to a faculty member or an adviser in order to get a full description of the program you are planning to enroll in. You can ask questions about the exams, projects, research and thesis requirements so you will understand as early as possible what the demands of the program are and what you can do to make the most out of your first year.

Preparing for your first year

– If you’re still planning to enter graduate school, make sure that you choose the right course and the right school. Prior to applying, make a review of potential graduate schools within your area or those which offer your desired graduate course.

– Make sure that you have the syllabus for the graduate course/s you will be taking. A syllabus will help you keep track of readings, assignments, and research requirements.

– Be prepared to read a lot. During your first year a lot of reading will be required, as this will allow you to get the right background on your chosen course. Comprehensive exams are also typical in graduate school, and these will often require a lot of reading.

– Learn how to be an independent thinker. If you want to make it through your first year, you need to be able to think and analyze on your own. During your first year, you also need to participate in discussions, as well as attend seminars and other fora.

– Set up a schedule in advance to make time management easier. If you’re working while studying, make sure that you understand beforehand what graduate school entails. You will need to organize your schedule to be able to commit to both your studies and your career.

– Be prepared to ask intelligent questions. Graduate school is more on interaction and less on lectures. Graduate school professors are more likely to conduct discussions, which allow students to raise questions, analyze concepts, and create new ideas.

What the rest of your years in school will bring

Your succeeding years in graduate school will be no less taxing; however; it will be fairly easy for you to adjust to life in graduate school once you’ve breezed through your freshman year. Due to all the adjustments you will be making, your first year in graduate school will be one of the most demanding. Before your first year is up, you will have to choose which areas of research you will focus on. During the rest of your graduate school life, moreover, you can expect to have more readings, more discussions, more in-depth studies and research. Also you will need to start looking into networking opportunities, not only from your fellow graduate students but from alumni and your professors too.

Life in graduate school is going to be overwhelming for some, but with reasonable expectations, commitment, and successful time management, there is no reason why you should not ace your graduate studies and get the diploma or certificate you’ve always aspired for.

Photo Credits: Ed Brambley, The Italian Voice, Lars Plougmann

MBA Changes from Wharton and Harvard

Top business schools are making changes with their admission decision timelines. It seems that they are taking cues from each other. After Harvard Business School has changed its round 1 timeline, Wharton announces that it will do the same. Wharton is giving its applicants a cutoff date in which they can expect interview requests. Round 1 of the admission timeline includes submission of requirements, including personal statements, transcripts, and recommendation letters.

Wharton’s admission decision timeline

The Wharton admissions committee is releasing interview invitations starting October 29, 2010. To candidates who do not get their invitations that early, it would be a relief to know that invitations are to be sent out up to November 5. Unfortunately, November 5 is a crucial date. Students who will no longer be considered for admissions will be informed that they are no longer moving on to round 2, which is the interview.

About the interview

For the lucky recipients of the interview invitations, the deadline for the interview is December 3. So, applicants who are also working may have to make arrangements for a day that they could take the interview even before December 3, just to be on the safe side. Wharton is already giving them a great opportunity to be part of a highly reputable business school.

Final admissions result

By December 17, those who have been interviewed will know if they have been accepted or not. This may be an early Christmas for those who do get accepted into Wharton. Harvard University Business School has just about the same schedule. So by mid-December, the admission decision waiting game will finally be over for many aspiring Harvard and Wharton business students.

Just as more and more applicants are competing for positions in a reputable business school and highly regarded MBA program, top business schools are also competing for the applications of highly qualified students.

Photo Credits: Teofilo