Graduate Fair offers advice for prospective students

Career Services held their fourth annual Graduate School Fair last week, which was well represented with a wide variety of schools that offered both Masters and Doctorate programs.

The fair took place November 4 at the SMC MPR from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  The schools in attendance had programs that ranged from Nursing to Law degrees.  The representatives agreed that the most popular programs available were in Clinical Psychology and Education.

During the first half of the fair about half the tables filled.  Representatives trickled in to fill the room.  Attendance by students was steadily thin.  Many of the students who went to the fair were there to pick up their practice exam scores, made available by Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions.

Junior Rodney Kauffman, 22, spoke after perusing the tables, “I’m here to get my scores.  I’m not looking for anything in particular.  I saw free practice tests before and took them; I figured it would be worth while.”

However, there was a good deal of students who attended who had very specific programs in mind.  Junior Kevin Coryle, 23, said, “I haven’t found anything yet, I’m looking for computer science and I’m getting my scores.”

Andrew Lavery, a 31-year-old graduate student working on a Masters degree for a permanent teacher’s certification, was looking for something in international relations or government.  Michel Ray, a 21-year-old junior said she was looking for something in counseling, “I want to go to graduate school and I’m looking and getting ideas.”

Other students were just looking at what was available.  Junior Gayle Segar, 22, said, “I’m undecided.  I’m broadening my ideas for later and I’m keeping my options open.”

Each university and program had their unique qualities and advice that the representatives made sure to share with interested students.  Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions was the first table inside the entrance.  They offer test preparation courses and practice exams.  They also help with admission services and placement.  Kaplan Graduate Programs Manager Kerri Quick had advice for people needing to take the graduate exams, “Take the tests before you leave school while you are still in test taking mode.  Most of these exam results are good for up to three to five years.”

Kaplan is looking to expand the preparation courses in the area and create more classes, and is also looking for teachers who took any one of the MCAT, GRE, GMAT, or LSAT and scored in the 90th percentile.  Interested individuals should contact Quick at 610-231-2065 or e-mail her at kerri.quick@kaplan.com.

Millersville University had three tables at the fair.  One table was for all graduate studies, while the other two focused on specific programs.  General graduate programs at Millersville have rolling admissions, which require three letters of recommendation, and either the GRE or Miller Analogue test, which has no math component, to be taken.  The most popular program is in Education.  “We have been preparing teachers for over 150 years,” Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Melissa Wardwell said, “It was the first graduate program, and some people have to get continuing education and Masters degrees to get permanent certification.”

Wardwell offered some good advice, “Pursuing graduate school to delay going into the real world is not a good idea.  Do your research and take advantage of Career Services.”

Millersville also offers a graduate program in Social Work.  The program stands alone, drawing on some psychology, but focusing on the individual in their environment.  It is in the process of becoming an accredited program, which is expected to happen in February, by the council of Social Work Education and the National Accreditation for Social Work.

Another interesting program offered by Millersville University is the Emergency Management Masters program that is completely online.  The program attracts people from everywhere, not just in-state.  The program does not require a thesis or dissertation.  It is designed to be finished on a part-time basis.  Jill Stahl, 22-year-old secretary for the center said, “It focuses on research and based around disasters.  It is not focused on science or meteorology, but on people; the social aspect, and to keep people educated and to prevent vulnerable populations from having their lives destroyed.”

Chestnut Hill College stood out with their holistic spiritual approach to instruction.  Graduate Application Manager for the School of Graduate Studies Amy Boorse said, “It is a small school in the city, but at the edge of the city so it has the best of both worlds.”

Immaculata University offers seven Masters and two Doctorates, their most popular degrees being Counseling and Education.  Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions Sueann Robbins said, “It is the best of all worlds, we are located in a rural area, but located with access to New York City and Washington D.C.  There are plenty of cultural events and we have excellent public transportation to get there.”

DeSales University has one of the top Physicians Assistant Studies programs in the country, as well as the first online Computer Forensic programs in the country.  Director of Graduate Admissions for DeSales University Caryn E. Stopper had some advice, “Research prior to the application process.  Some schools require the GRE, some don’t.”

Lancaster Bible College programs teach courses through the lens of the bible.  They are multi-denominational and have people from all different denominations.  Their programs are geared toward ministry and community service, with leadership studies offered for those who might work for non-profit organizations.

Lancaster Theological Seminary is another religion based program, but what makes them unique is the diverse student body in age and ethnicity.  Their program is 94 credits, and requires a cross-cultural component where they take a two to three week trip abroad; not to preach, but to learn about the culture.

West Chester University has 70 graduate programs, from Psychology to Holocaust and Genocide studies.  It is the largest of the 14 Pennsylvania state affiliated schools, with a similar campus to Millersville.  Their most popular programs are in Speech Pathology, Musical history/education/and performance, as well as Social Work.

Alvernia University focuses on community service to attract and encourage students to work with the community.  They have a non-required capstone project, which students can do instead of a thesis, where they do a project and research with the community.

For more information about graduate schools, contact Career Services located on the third floor of Lyle Hall, or call 717-872-3312.