Welcome to 2016! Even though we get this fresh start in the dead of winter, the new year always provides a “spring-like” feel with all of the adventure and opportunity that awaits. It’s a time for reflection on the past year and contemplating what could have been done differently, but also a time of change. A change of the calendar of course, but this is also the season where everyone seems more focused on the future and/or changing for the better, whether it be personally or professionally. I once had a friend tell me that if you repeat a behavior for 30 days, without skipping, you will eventually make it a habit. As in, if I continue to go to the gym through the month of January, I won’t skip a morning run in February. We shall see…
If you’ve been considering attending graduate school to earn your degree, January is a great time for you. Just think of the opportunities that are just beyond that graduate school application. This year could be the year you take your education to the next level. If you’re thinking of applying to the Communications program at the University of Charleston, South Carolina at the College of Charleston, here are a few things to consider:
Pay Attention to Admissions Criteria: If you need two letters of recommendation, make sure you send two. Ensure that your official transcripts arrive in sealed envelopes from your institution and that you provide the required number of copies. Identify application deadlines, and turn your packet in before the deadline. Don’t forget if you’re applying from out of state that it could take up to a week for your packet to arrive, so make sure you put it in the mail with plenty of time for travel..
Ask Questions: If you have a question about what the MCOM Admissions Committee is looking for in your personal statement, now is a great time to ask! Don’t be afraid to clarify what is expected. If you’re concerned about your writing sample (too long/short, outdated, etc.) reach out to the program director; Dr. Ruth-McSwain is more than happy to respond to your concerns.
Take the GRE: Many programs require a minimum set of scores on the GRE exam, and if you don’t prepare properly, you might not reach those scores. Take the free practice exams at http://www.ets.org/gre/ and see how you perform BEFORE you take it for official scores. Also, you’re going to want to give yourself time to re-take the exam, if necessary. As important as it is to do well on the test, it’s equally important to remember that while the exam provides insight into your academic ability, it’s not the only factor in an admissions decision.
Recruit Recommenders: Your letters of recommendation are a large piece of the admissions packet. In essence, your prospective program is interested in learning about the “real” you, not the picture of you they get from standardized tests and writing samples. Make sure you give your potential recommenders enough time to write their letters before the application deadline. Keep in mind that your letter isn’t the only thing on their plate, and you definitely want their full attention to be on you when they’re writing the letter. Additionally, don’t forget to give them accurate information about your accomplishments and why you want to attend a particular school/program. These individualized details can provide a helpful description of your qualifications, both as an academic and a person. Also, remember to thank your recommenders!
Talk with Current Students in Your Prospective Program: This is a perfect opportunity to reach out to current graduate students in your prospective program. With a finished semester fresh in their minds, and a new one underway, they’ll be able to better describe the current and past workloads, what their final projects may have looked like, what finals week entailed, etc. Current graduate students are always able to give an accurate depiction of their program, their professors and the opportunities available to them. Additionally, they are a great resource for all things local. As a current graduate student, I can tell you that while I don’t have a huge amount of free time, I know where to live, go eat, see a movie and hang out with your friends. We are here to answer any campus or city questions you may have.
If you have questions about the admissions process or would like to schedule a campus visit, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Program Director, Dr. Amanda Ruth-McSwain (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information about how to apply to the Master of Arts in Communication program at the University of Charleston, South Carolina at the College of Charleston, please visit the graduate degree program website.
You can also download a copy of the MCOM admissions checklist, which is a great way to keep track of everything you need in your admissions packet.