Graduate school application season kicked off on Oct. 27 in the Ackerman Ballroom, as schools throughout the country promoted themselves to prospective students who will be filling out their applications in late fall and early winter. Schools’ intentions also included familiarizing themselves with potential applicants.
“Recruiters are out there trying to connect with students who are ready to make the decision about applying this year, but also to share information to younger students who are now beginning to explore the entire process,” said Kathy Sims, director of the Career Center. “Recruiters representing graduate and professional schools are happy to speak to younger students to answer their questions and clarify what their long-term interests will be over time,” Sims said.
Chengappa Kodira, a second-year business economics student, attended the UCLA Graduate & Professional School Fair in hopes of finding out which career path to pursue. He came away with a better idea of the opportunities awaiting him upon graduation, but there was little for him in terms of the immediate future.
“I thought (the graduate fair) was kind of helpful, but it was too big,” Kodira said. “For what it’s worth, the graduate fair would have been useful if I was graduating. For a sophomore or junior looking for an internship or a job, there were too many programs.”
Amanda Silver-Westrick , a third-year geography/environmental studies student, did not share Kodira’s sentiments.
“The graduate fair has been helpful,” Silver-Westrick said. “A lot of us spend hours in the middle of the night looking at graduate schools online. It’s nice to have actual physical pamphlets to solidify the process.”
Jonathan Cote, admissions counselor for the Boston University School of Public Health , said that for the graduate schools at the fair, being able to meet with students face-to-face is effective in recruiting and getting the message out.
Heidi Denkers, admissions counselor for the California Institute of Integral Studies, also emphasized the importance of face-to-face communication, as opposed to online communication.
“Face-to-face communication is a chance to get individualistic attention, stumble upon resources, and a chance to make a real-life connection, even if it’s a school you will not attend,” Denkers said.
Rolando Lowrie, enrollment counselor at the Independent University of Guadalajara School of Medicine, has been at the UCLA Graduate & Professional School Fair for the past four years and said he noticed that there are fewer students showing up each year.
“Students might think they know more or they are too busy,” Lowrie said. “The main thing is that most students are looking at schools online.”
Two other graduate school events, the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs Graduate School Fair and the Pre-Law Society Deans panel, will be held today. The international affairs fair is facilitated by the Career Center to tell students about public affairs graduate programs.
Hosted by the Pre-Law Society, the Deans panel includes Cornell, Duke, Stanford and New York University law school deans , who travel together around the country speaking at various schools.
The panel will give students the opportunity to learn more about law school and what admissions officers are looking for. There will be a Q&A session at the end, said Judith Perera , president of the Pre-Law Society and a fourth-year history student.
“Going to graduate school is a financial and emotional commitment,” Sims said. “Students have given it a lot of thought and are deliberate in research. They know they want to be in graduate school and that will help them achieve their ultimate goal.