Part 2: What do you want from me? Applying to STEM Graduate Programs

Author’s Note:  I’ve been working on some version of this post for over three years.  During that time, so many folks have provided feedback.  Thanks to Katie SmithJoanna SolinsPriya ShuklaJordan HollersmithAviva Rossi, and (as always) Meridith Bartley.  Any omissions of important information are mine, but many of the most valuable bits of knowledge come from these individuals.

If you haven’t read Part One in this series, please consider giving it a quick peek. Applying to STEM graduate programs is a long, stressful, multifaceted journey. In the previous post, we covered what resources you may already have at your disposal, how to get in contact with potential graduate mentors, and what information you’re likely to want to share with them during this initial contact. That sounds like a lot, but there’s even more to cover! With this half of our guide we will detail what additional components you must compile to submit as part of an application to a research program. 

Baby Bachelor Scientistas

Taking Required Entrance Exams (August-December)

Graduate schools often want you to report scores from a few major exams.  This requirement is currently in flux, so it’s worth it to check carefully to see what each school you are interested in requires.  Preparing for these exams is a big part of preparing for your graduate school application. You can dramatically improve your scores by taking advantage of the training materials ahead of time.  While these tests are important, most graduate programs do not use these scores as the only metric to judge your application. In addition to several departments removing the GRE as a requirement altogether, others are decreasing the weight given to the GRE during the admissions process. It’s important to do your best and, once the test is complete, shift your focus to making the rest of your application as strong as possible.   

Continue reading “Part 2: What do you want from me? Applying to STEM Graduate Programs”

Sweet Link ParTea (November 2018)

We hope everyone had a delightful Thanksgiving break and was able to relax and refresh with friends and families. We each did a little bit a traveling but now it’s back back to the Big Push to the end of the fall semester! This can be a tough time with lots of finals-related stress, seasonal depression, societal expectations of mass consumerism, or maybe just that one house that never shovels the sidewalk when it snows. We hope everyone is taking care of themselves and invite you take a quiet moment to sip some tea and peek at some of our favorite links from this month. 

Our first article seems like it might be a pretty divisive one. With the current #STEMmeToo movement working to address sexual harassment and abuse within academia we must figure out whether we can support the research and not the researcher. This opinion article attempts to answer “Do we still keep citing the scholarship of serial harassers and sexists?”. Do you agree with their conclusion? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Image

So many levels of excitement about this Smithsonian article about a recent paper using community science to explore the three way interaction between plants, arthropods that eat those plants, and insectivorous birds in residential areas leading to the recommendation of planting native to help the ecosystem. It’s delightful to have such a nice #scicomm story out of a research project. This work was done at the Migratory Bird Center in DC and Fun Fact: Meridith just submitted a research fellowship application to do stats-y bird migration research with them! 

Continue reading “Sweet Link ParTea (November 2018)”