Graduate Programs

Blogs from students, faculty & staff

Embarking on a journey towards graduate education is a significant decision that can profoundly shape one’s career and personal growth. In a recent episode of the Victors in Grad School Podcast hosted by Dr. Christopher Lewis, the conversation centered around the critical aspects of choosing the right graduate program. The episode provided valuable insights into the multifaceted process of selecting a program that aligns with individual aspirations and goals. Here, we delve into the key considerations and guidance offered, empowering prospective graduate students to make informed decisions.

Understanding Personal Goals and Aspirations

Dr. Lewis emphasized the importance of understanding personal goals and aspirations when considering graduate school. It’s essential for individuals to reflect on their career ambitions, areas of interest, and long-term objectives to identify a program that resonates with their professional and academic trajectory. By gaining clarity on personal motivations, prospective graduate students can make informed choices that complement their individual aspirations, leading to a more fulfilling educational experience.

Impact of Graduate Education on Career Advancement and Personal Growth

Graduate education wields a profound influence on career advancement and personal growth. During the podcast, Dr. Lewis highlighted how advanced education can significantly impact earning potential and open up avenues for career progression. Understanding the link between graduate education and professional development is crucial in evaluating the long-term benefits and implications of pursuing a specific program.

Importance of Hard and Soft Skills

Beyond academic knowledge, the significance of honing both hard and soft skills in graduate education and employment was underscored. Graduate programs offer a rich environment for developing critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership abilities alongside specialized expertise, making it imperative for aspirants to seek programs that foster holistic skill development, enhancing their competitive edge in the job market.

Building a Professional Network

Networking opportunities provided by graduate programs are invaluable for fostering professional connections and broadening one’s sphere of influence. Dr. Lewis shed light on the significance of building a professional network through graduate education, emphasizing how strong industry connections can bolster career prospects and provide access to mentorship and career opportunities.

Different Types of Graduate Programs

The podcast delved into the diverse array of graduate programs, encompassing master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and specialized degrees in various fields. Understanding the nuances and focal points of each program type is essential for applicants to align their academic pursuits with their professional goals and aspirations.

Application Process and Requirements

Navigating the intricacies of the application process, including GPA considerations, admission requirements, test scores, letters of recommendation, and personal statements, was a focal point of the discussion. Dr. Lewis provided valuable insights into the common questions found on graduate school applications and advised applicants to diligently complete all requirements to facilitate a seamless application process.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Exploring avenues for financial aid, scholarships, and potential employer education benefits was emphasized as an integral part of evaluating graduate programs. Dr. Lewis underscored the importance of seeking out scholarship opportunities, understanding application deadlines, and exploring fully funded options to alleviate the financial burden of advanced education.

Quality of Graduate Program and Campus Life

The quality of a graduate program extends beyond academic curriculum, encompassing faculty background, student-faculty ratio, resources, and campus life. Prospective students were encouraged to delve into the nuances of campus life, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and the support services available, ensuring a conducive and enriching educational environment.

Selecting the right graduate program entails a comprehensive assessment of personal goals, program dynamics, financial considerations, and campus life. The insights shared in the Victors in Grad School podcast equip aspiring graduate students with essential guidance to navigate this pivotal decision, empowering them to embark on a transformative educational journey that aligns with their aspirations and sets the stage for future success.


Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:00:01]:
Welcome to the Victor’s in Grad School, where we have conversations with students, alumni, and experts about what it takes to find success in graduate school.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:00:11]:
Thank you so much for being here today. I am doctor Lewis. I’m the director of graduate programs here at the University of Michigan Flint. Really excited to have you here today. And, as I said right before, if you have as you’re joining, Just make sure that you put your full name in the breakdown, of who you are so that we know so that I do know who who is attending, so We can contact you and reach out afterwards with a follow-up. But today we’re gonna be talking about choosing the right graduate program. There are so many different graduate programs that are out there, and it’s so important to be able to do the things that you need to do to find the program that is the right fit for you. Whether that’s here at the University of Michigan Flint or wherever you plan to go, there are things that you can do today That will help you to be able to find that right fit.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:01:09]:
And there may be more than 1 right fit as well, But there’s good questions that you need to be asking and things that you can be doing as you’re going through this process of searching And reviewing and exploring the programs for yourself. And that’s what I hope to be able to share with you today, to be able to help you in that. So Let’s talk about a few things we’re gonna be covering today. So couple things that we’re gonna be covering today. These are a few things that we’re gonna be covering today. Wanna talk to you about Looking internally at the goals, the aspirations, the things that that you have for yourself that are important to you, so that you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, but also what you’re looking for As you’re exploring these different graduate programs because you have to know yourself to be able to best advocate for yourself to know the program that’s going to be the right fit. You also need there’s some definitely some different factors, some different things to look at as you’re going from program to program and you’re reviewing those programs. So I wanna make sure that you have some context there to be able to know what to look for there, Understanding the graduate student experience, and then we’re also gonna be talking about the application process as well.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:02:29]:
So let’s talk a little bit about your goals and aspirations. Went too far there. 1st and foremost, as you’re considering graduate school, every person has to take the time to be able to really look internally amongst yourself to be able to better understand why are you going to do this, what are you trying to accomplish, What are the goals that you have set before yourself? Is it that you’re in a career and you want to move to the next phase of that career? Or you’ve talked to people about being able to get into a specific job in the in the place that you’re In or you see yourself in a different company or in doing something else down the road. And to get there, you need a certain type of degree Or a certain a graduate credential behind your name. There’s lots of different factors, lots of different reasons that people choose to go to graduate school and understanding that for yourself is going to help you to be able to then take that next step to look at different programs and understand what you need to be doing To be able to look at those programs and understand what that program is going to offer you and whether that is going to help you to get to where you want to be. And then also as you are looking at that next phase, and this kinda goes into the looking at the programs that we’re gonna be talking about and some of the factors, Is looking at the different opportunities and resources that are available to you as you are looking at, the future. There are different resources that are available that if you really need to really delve a little bit deeper into setting goals for yourself And being able to understand your aspirations a little bit more. There are things that are out there online that you can turn to to be able to Better understand what your skill set is, where your strengths lie, where maybe some of your weaknesses lie So that you can then say, well, based on those strengths, based on those weaknesses, what might be a graduate program that I might be interested in as well? Now you may say to yourself, I already know what program I’m looking at.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:04:46]:
I know the institutions that I’m interested in. That’s great. But if you don’t, Taking the time ahead of time to get to know yourself is the first is a first step for you to be able to make sure that you are able to, move forward. So a couple of things that I want to I always want to touch on, and this is some kind of some interesting factors As you’re looking at graduate school and graduate education, graduate education has a huge impact on career advancement and personal growth. All of studies, if you look out, across many there’s many different studies that are out there. But if you look at, this is just 1 study that I pulled. The and this one study, on average, employees with their bachelor’s degree earn a medium average about 61,000 over the course of their career, While employees possessing a master’s degree earn 78,000 per year. And then as you continue to get those additional credentials, you had the opportunity to be able to expand that.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:05:46]:
And all of these are based on specific career areas too, and the amount that you can make in those careers can vary greatly Based on the career aspect as well. Now Georgetown University Center on On, education in the workforce found that not only in the sense of just annual income Is there a exponential increase? But over the lifetime of a career, you can Make so much more by getting that graduate credential. So you can see here that individuals with bachelor’s degrees Can earn up to 2,270,000 over the lifetime. And with an advanced degree, you can earn up to 30% more. So there is a lot of opportunities there for you to be able to expand in many different ways. Not only does it expand your earning potential, but it also increases your opportunities for getting hired And increases the opportunities for you to get a promotion. So as you’re looking at these different opportunities and you may be choosing to go to graduate school because of that, But 36% of employers reported that they would be unlikely to promote Someone who didn’t have a college degree and 27% of the employees employers are seeking candidates with a master’s degree or above. So all of those pieces are really important as you’re thinking about these.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:07:22]:
And then as you’re looking at your graduate education, As you’re looking at the graduate programs that you’re considering, many employers are looking for people that have Not only direct hard skills, things that you’re learning in the classroom that are preparing you academically, But they’re really looking for those soft skills. So taking advantage and looking for programs that give you opportunities for things like internships or externships or clinical experiences, Work study. Any of these type of opportunities that allow for you to get that practical experience is really important And gives you an opportunity to be able to learn the the soft skills and the hard skills that you’re going to be needing. So soft skills, when I’m talking about soft skills, That’s typically out of class learning, things that you might learn in an internship, an externship, a work study like I have on here, Things like time management, collaboration, creative thinking, problem solving, working with others, you know, all kinds of factors like those are things that That employers are looking for as you are looking at going for that. On top of this, be being in a graduate program builds your network. It gives you not only a network of people from academia, faculty members that have their own networks that they can tap you into, but on top of that, There are others that are in the program with you that you can build on and work with to be able to build that professional network for yourself as well. So let’s talk a little bit about graduate programs. So there are many different graduate programs that are out there.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:09:03]:
There’s tons of different Graduate, there’s tons of different graduate programs that are available to you as a, as a student. And it’s important for you to be able to understand and to know what type of graduate programs are out there, but also How do you find what the differences are in those graduate programs? So first and foremost, as we’re looking at different graduate programs, I’m gonna say there’s a couple of different things that you need to be thinking about as you are going to look at the differences between graduate programs. 1st and I’m gonna start with this the first the 2nd bullet point here is the first one. 1st is the type of degree. So There are master’s degrees, there are doctor degrees, depends on and depending on the type of degree that you’re looking at will depend on how long that program is. So a master of arts, a master of science, you may be looking at a PhD, an EdD. There are specific degrees in specific areas. Like In social work, you have MSW.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:10:10]:
So many different types of degrees that are out there, And depending on the degree itself may determine what you have to do to be able to get the degree itself as well. So you have to look at that and look at the focus of the programs themselves. Every program is a little bit different. I saw that 1 person on here was interested in, some in in biology or communications. And A general master’s in communications is is one aspect, but then many times within the programs, there are concentrations, There are opportunities to take specific courses, and that goes back to what are you trying to get out of this? Are you trying to get a better understanding of what let’s say with communication. Are you trying to become, are you trying to find program that is going to help you to be a better communicator or a better communication leader within your organization. Do Do you wanna understand organizational communications? Do you want to do something that is more, targeted toward, maybe a combination of communications and marketing. There there’s lots of different there’s lots of different programs that are out there.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:11:32]:
Do you wanna do something that has more of a, You know, a journalistic aspect to it that is more creative writing and communications. You know, there’s there’s every program is a little bit different, In every program based on the faculty that are in the program, the programs will have a little bit different spin. So each program is unique, And you need to be able to really read well and ask good questions about what the program goals are, What they want students to take out of the program and based on what they want you to take out of the program and the classes that you’re taking, is that going to get you To those aspirational goals that you’ve set for yourself, or is there a different program that will help you to get there better? The program could be at a public university, a private university, you know, depending on that will determine the size of the program and you wanna look at that too Because, you know, if a program has an open admission policy and on average, they’re bringing in a 100 new students every every term, That’s a pretty big program versus a program that brings in 2 or 3 students a year, and then it becomes a very competitive program. And the and with a very small program, you’re gonna know that you you are going to have a lot more expectation to be very actively involved in that education. The difference between undergrad and graduate work is the the focus of the of the the topics that you’re gonna be talking about In undergrad, for those that have never gone to graduate school, you’re gonna find that in graduate school, you are really delving deep into that specific targeted topic that you wanna go into. Many students love going to graduate school because of the fact that you are focusing on something that you’re passionate about Versus in an undergraduate degree, you tend to be focusing somewhat on that, but then also taking other courses To get to the end goal of getting the bachelor’s degree itself. So these are things that you need to be thinking about. These are things that you need to be looking at, And I always tell students that as you’re comparing programs, set up a Excel spreadsheet, set up a Google A sheet and build out some columns in that spreadsheet for yourself that looks To each of the unique programs and each of the, each of the program and what each program offers And try to align the questions and have and be able to set the questions that you have for each program the same So that you can find out, okay, what is this program offering me? What is this program offering me? What is this program offering me? And then you can look at them side by side, And you can align what each offers you to find the program that has that good fit for yourself.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:14:38]:
Also in graduate work, you have a lot of opportunities here to be able to engage very closely with faculty and with research. With many graduate degrees, there’s lots of opportunities for practical experience, but also research experience, And and that’s an important thing because it, again, lets you delve deeper. Some graduate programs will require research, Will require that you have a thesis at the end or some large research project at the end. If you’re in a doctorate, You have a dissertation typically at the end, so it’s important to understand what is the expectation in the program For you to be a learner, for you to be a researcher, for you to be a writer, and make sure that Whatever those expectations are within the program that it aligns with what you’re looking for and what you’re comfortable with. And I’m gonna say That you’re comfortable with but that at times you sometimes wanna push yourself too, out of your comfort zone, into something you might not be comfortable with But that will push you, challenge you, and prepare you for the future as well. But research is a It’s a great opportunity for you to be able to find faculty with similar interests and be able to tap into them. There’s nothing that says that you can’t Reach out to faculty. Look at the websites because many times faculty will be listed and you’ll be able to see Who those faculty members are and what their interest areas are, and you can always reach out.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:16:13]:
Ask them questions. Explain your own interest, Especially if the program is a, is a program that is a has limited seats, Being able to reach out early, have those conversations, learn more about the faculty, show that interest that you have in the program, It may give you a little bit of a leg up or may not. Some programs, especially on the PhD side, will require That you do that research ahead of time and you find a faculty member that would work with you on a research topic. So we have a PhD in computing here at the at the University of Michigan Flint. One of the requirements of that program is that you’re going to be doing your due diligence, You’re going to be then reaching out to faculty members after you’ve looked at the faculty, they’re at their research, And you found someone that is willing to work with you on a research topic. So that is a unique factor of that program alone, But you need to look at each program that you’re considering to be able to understand and better be able to align and see, Is this program fit? Does that program fit with what I’m looking for? Couple other things to think about. Accreditation is very important. You may or may not have ever heard that word, but accreditation is what pro every program should have some type of accreditation.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:17:46]:
Many programs are accredited by a national body, A body that will say that, that this program has gone through the steps to make sure that Not only is there are there courses and are is the academic solid, but it’s preparing students well, and it’s getting students prepared for the workforce. They look at Metrics in regards to, career placement. After the fact, they look at entering credentials. It’s a very Extensive process that, oh, that assures you that the Program is of quality, so you wanna look at that. Wanna make sure that if a program is on probation, that they’re taking the step, because sometimes programs will be get get put on probation for small things, things that are not, you know, vastly problematic, But they might be they need to make a tweak in in in some courses or they need to make a tweak in something else. So sometimes you’ll see that a program says we’re on probation, for our accreditation. Ask a question. Just say, what does that mean? What are you working on to get out of Out of that probationary, period, sometimes programs have to start on on probation.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:19:01]:
So if it’s a new program, They might not have that initial accreditation for a year or so, so ask those questions. Are you accredited? Who are you accredited through? And and ask that along the way. Program reputation, this was a little bit harder to come by. You can always go online and there’s lots of sites that will say this is the best program for this. I always Tell students to be wary of those because a lot of those are either, one, Being created through surveys of peers. So peer every year, let’s say for US News and World Report, US News and World Report sends out an email to people all over the country and they say, who do you think is the best education program For education graduate program, and they’ll ask lots of different questions about what you know about different programs. Well, The problem is is that there’s many different education programs that are out there, and the people that are filling these surveys out may or may not know about other programs. So what happens with a lot of these entities is that they are a starting place, but they can be subjective.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:20:23]:
And because they either are being made from surveys of peers or surveys that are sent to institutions, so For the latter, institutions sometimes will get these surveys, they’ll fill them out themselves, And then they learn, okay, what is this group really looking for? And they can make tweaks to move their ranking up as well. So I just always warn people to say if you look at US News and World Report, if you look at, any of these other ones that are out there and you see these rankings that are out there, you can use them as a starting point, But just know that there are many other programs that might end up being a better fit, and they may not be on that list, but that doesn’t mean That they are bad programs. It just means that that for some reason or another, they’re not showing up there. And So I always encourage you to look beyond the national rankings per se and find the questions, The factors, the things that are most important to you, and then look into the programs. Again, setting them side by side And seeing how the programs answer your questions to be able to make sure that you’re finding the program that’s the best fit, Not just the program that comes up on a list as the best program per se. You also wanna look at the program format, but also the lifestyle that you will have as a part of that program. So when I talk about program format, 1st and foremost, what that means is is is how it how is the how are the courses being offered? Is this a fully in person program? Is it a Hybrid program where you’ll have some in person, some online. Is it a fully in person program Where you’re coming in with a cohort of students, and you’re gonna be with those students from the beginning of the program to the end of the program.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:22:27]:
Is it a full time program where you’re gonna be taking Fourteen to 16 credits every term. Is it a part time program where you may be working Full time and taking some classes at night or on the weekend. You know, look at the types of formats that are out there. What works best for you and what works best for the life that you’re trying to live? Many students are not able to just automatically quit their job if they have a job already. They’re trying and they may be trying to say, look at a program that they can fit into the work that they’re doing and then they can utilize that work to be able to Then, be able to, take classes while you’re working. But if you’re looking at, hey, I’m stopping work Where I’m moving to a brand new area and I wanna do this, I wanna get done as quickly as possible to be and I wanna just completely focus on this, Then a full time program probably would be a great opportunity. You also wanna look back at what I said before. Are there opportunities within the program for you to be able to get practical experience, Not just in class experience, but practical experience, whether that’s through graduate assistantships, Whether that’s through internships, externships, clinical opportunities, what type of opportunities are there? How many can you take advantage of? Because the more especially for the programs that are very tangible about the outcome at the end of what you’re gonna be using that for, Having practical experience will not only broaden your network, but it will also offer you opportunities to be able to hone those skills That you’re going to need to be the practitioner that you want to be in the end.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:24:26]:
You also wanna look at again, as you’re factoring and looking at these, you wanna look at the what Are the admission requirements? What are the what are the qualifications for you to be able to be even be considered for the program? What are the requirements for getting for applying And for getting accepted into the program, each program is going to be unique. Many programs will may have a GPA, a certain GPA that they’re gonna be looking at. They may be having a, letters of recommendation, personal statements, maybe a test score. Some programs will require either a GRE or an MCAT or a GMAT or an LSAT. You know, it just depends on the type of degree that you’re interested in, but you’re going to need to look at the websites, and the website should be very clear. They should explain everything that you need to be doing to apply to that institution and be considered for admission. So you want to make sure that That is something that on that spreadsheet that we were talking about, put those in there too. Make sure that you’re adding that into the mix So that stew so that that as a potential student that you know what you have to do.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:25:39]:
You also wanna look at how do you have to apply. There are some programs at some institutions where you just apply through the regular website. There may be an application fee, there may not. There may be opportunities for you to get an application fee waiver, and maybe not. So it just depends. Some some some institutions don’t even have an application fee. There are other programs that use what are called credential assembly service, CAS application systems. So at our institution, we have a few of those.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:26:12]:
So our physical therapy, our occupational therapy, our physician assistant Studies and our public health programs all use different CAS application systems. What that means is it is a external application system That you use to be able to pull all your documents together, and then you it allows you to apply to Many different programs across the United States that are available to you, and it’s a one stop place for you to be able to say, I have these 5 programs. Here’s the 5 programs. I wanna apply to all 5 of these. Once your file is complete, You then can easily submit those and you pay the application fee through that that that Cas application system itself. But each program is gonna be a little bit unique, so you wanna make sure that you really look closely at what those differences are. And At the same time, look at the timeline because there are some programs that have very hard application deadlines, There are other programs that may admit students on a rolling application basis, meaning that as Applications come in and they’re complete, they will be considered, and that they’ll consider them up to a certain point. So if they say the final deadline for fall of 2024 is August 1st, well, that’s the hard deadline.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:27:40]:
Well, it’s January, Let’s say right now and as you are looking at being admitted for that fall term, you would want to then say, Okay. I can apply at any point between now and August 1st knowing that if you have everything in tomorrow And everything’s complete, they’re the program will consider you. There are other programs that will say you have to have your application in by this date for Early admission and this date for regular admission. So every program is just a little bit different and you have to look at that closely. The class size, again, important, good question to ask is to say, is there a certain number of Seats that you have within this graduate program, some programs have a set number of seats that they can admit. Others will be just an open admission type of process looking for the best fit, and they’ll continue to fill. Also, that student faculty ratio. The big difference between a program that has, you know, 5 full time faculty members and you have 60 incoming students every fall versus 5 full time faculty members in, let’s say, 10.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:28:56]:
That faculty student ratio is gonna be very different and you’re gonna have a lot more one to 1 connection In that class of 10, then you are in 60. So, again, just something to ask and to look at. Also financial aid and scholarships. Different institutions will offer different types of, financial aid packages in In scholarships that are available, I always encourage graduate students to fill out the FAFSA. No matter if you think you’re going to get financial aid or not, if you’re a domestic student, Filling out the the federal application for for or the free application for federal student aid is very important because it will, at times, Allow for you to be able to be considered for scholarships that may be available at the institution. You also need to look at the institution to determine whether or not there are unique Scholarships and if there are specific processes you need to follow to be able to be considered for those scholarships. So for example, Internally here at the University of Michigan Flint, we have some scholarships that are donor based scholarships that you have to apply through our financial aid office 4. So and there are specific deadlines that you have to follow to be able to do that.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:30:10]:
So you want to make sure that you wanna make sure that if you do have or if there are specific deadlines for those scholarships, so you don’t miss those. If you’re an international student, sometimes students sometimes there are scholarships that are specific to that population, so you have to look at that as well. If you’re looking at specific programs, sometimes there are program specific scholarships, and there may be specific criteria that you have to follow to be able to be considered for that as well. So it’s just really important to be able to start early, look at the opportunities to be able to see, are there scholarships that are available? There are Some programs that may be fully funded graduate opportunities, but then there’s many other opportunities that may have Small amounts of scholarship that would help you along the way, but they’re not gonna completely pay for your graduate education as well. One of the other things that I’ll that I’ll put out there that, before I go into the internships and networking opportunities here is that One thing that I always encourage students to do as they’re considering graduate school is if you’re working full time, is to talk to your employer and let them know of the interest that you have in continuing your education, especially if it’s something that would benefit you And benefit the work that you’re going to be doing. Because many employers may have an education benefit That is there that you may not even be aware of. And it may be that your employer offers a a tuition reimbursement, Which basically means that you’ll pay upfront and then you’ll get reimbursed for maybe it’s 1 class, maybe it’s 2 classes a term, but That after the fact, they will reimburse you, or maybe they have a specific scholarship based program where You turn in and say, okay, I’m taking these 6 credits and they will pay for 3 upfront. Each each program is a little bit unique.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:32:11]:
Each employer is a little bit unique, but many times, people don’t realize it’s That it is available as a benefit. So I encourage people to look into that, especially if it’s especially if you’re looking at a program that’s going to enhance the work that you’re doing. Because I know sometimes people are a little bit afraid of bringing that up, especially if the employer may think that it’s gonna detract You from the work that you’re doing. So you, you know, if you’re asking those questions to HR and, you know, that’s definitely something you have to just keep in mind that they might Say, well, how is this gonna impact, you know, your work? And you’ll have to have an answer to that as well. We already talked about internships, But it is important to look at those when you’re looking at graduate programs. Are there internships, externships, clinical opportunities available for you? And, being able to look at look at those as you’re going along. And then also what type of alumni network is available And can you tap into that alumni network? How do you develop a network for yourself, whether it’s through the interactions that you have with current students, Interactions with other students in other classes or alumni as well. So those are all factors that you need to be thinking about and looking at in general.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:33:28]:
So couple things, and I’m just gonna kinda go through a number of these. So how do you determine the quality of a good graduate program? So 1st and foremost, you wanna look at your faculty. In when you’re looking at graduate work, faculty relationships are so critical and so key. So you wanna look at what what type of background do the faculty that are teaching you have? Have they, You know, have they been teaching for a long time? What is their academic background? Were they working in the field? And are they bringing some of that back to you as a, as a student. And, what type of classes are they are they teaching in? Are there are they teaching in some specific areas, specific areas where they may have had direct experience in? Look at those type of things to be able to better understand who is gonna be teaching you and what are they gonna be able to to, In the end, teach you to be able to be the practitioner, the, the practitioner that you want to be down the road. How accessible are the resources on campus, and how accessible is it for you to be able to access the faculty? That goes into that faculty to student ratio. That also goes back to the opportunities that you have for for research. You know, it’s definitely a question to say, you know, for me, it’s really important to be able to have a close relationship with my faculty member.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:35:03]:
And how easy is it for students to develop those relationships with faculty? One of the other things that you can do and you can ask of any program is to say, is there a current student that I can talk to? That I could talk to about their experience in the program. And most graduate programs are gonna be more than willing to Find someone that you can talk to to connect with, to be able to get a better feel for, 1, is this the right program for you? And 2, You know, here, what they as students are are experiencing in class, out of class, and see if that type of experience, what they’ve had Is a similar experience that you wanna have? What are the facilities like on campus? Is it up to date? Is it, is it something that is going to offer you, state of the art opportunities to be able to hone your skills and help you to be able to push you in the direction that you wanna go and and push you toward the the things that you want to learn. What’s the social environment like? Now this may not be as big of a deal for you, especially if you’re looking at an online program or or a hybrid program where primarily you’re gonna be taking things, online from afar and you’re not taking advantage of the social aspects. But if you are gonna be on campus, either part time or full time, that’s an important thing. It’s to look at what type of opportunities are there to connect With others to build that network, to be able to create those relationships with others, and then also looking at alumni. And this is another good question to ask Programs that you have an interest in is what are your alumni doing? What are some of the pathways that they’ve followed after getting that degree At your institution, is there someone that is an alum that I can talk to, that they would be willing to talk to me about their experience And how it helped them to be able to get to where they are. Those are all questions that are fair game And definitely something that you should ask because it’s something that will help you to better understand the program and to better understand what that program can offer you in the end. So as you’re looking at the experience of a student of a graduate student, as I said, Reach out, talk to the programs that you have an interest in, be able to better on to better understand what the student experience is like.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:37:36]:
So ask students, what is the experience like in class? What is the experience like out of class? You know, why did they choose this program, And what have they found since they’ve been in the program? What are they like most? What are they like? What are they like least? What do they wish they knew before they started in the program at that institution. Those are all great questions and things that will help you as you prepare yourself for for the future. Campus life, building, we talked about that in the last slide a little bit. But But especially if you’re gonna be on campus, those are factors and things that you’ll want to definitely look at and see. And then, couple other things just to think about Is the, the the university’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion? If if that is important to you and more for more and more students that I talk to, it is. You wanna look at look at the faculty that you’re going to be having. Look Get the opportunities on campus. Look at the things that the that the university is doing to support diversity, equity, inclusion on campus and whether that supports the needs that you have as well.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:38:49]:
Support services, there’s lots of support services that are on different campuses, for disability services, for, academic resources, and what are the what’s the library like? Is there tutoring available? You know, lots of different is there a writing center on campus? You know, all kinds of factors like those. Those are all things that you should be asking and looking into Because you never know what type of services you may need to be able to support you, to help you to find success in the future. Couple other things, just to keep in mind. Again, understanding the application process, wanna make sure that That you do understand the application process. The because there will be some typical things that they’re gonna be asking for. I’ll kind of bring some of those up. There’s different types of applications. I already talked about those.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:39:44]:
The questions on the applications are typically going to be pretty similar. Especially Generic wise, they’re gonna wanna know more about you, your demographics, you know, what you’re going to need. If you’re a domestic, international student, there’s different needs. There there may be specific questions on the application that are program specific as well that you’ll need to answer along the way. The biggest piece as you’re going through that application is to make sure that you answer everything fully. You don’t wanna leave anything to chance. Leave any blanks that then the the institution is going to have to follow-up with you on because if they do, There is the chance that then your applications kinda just sits out there until we get the answers to those questions. Test scores, Definitely something that many that that some schools will require.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:40:35]:
You’ll have to make sure that those official test scores are submitted From the test agency. Same with your transcripts. Some universities will allow for unofficial copies of the transcripts to be sent to be considered. Others will require official copies of your transcripts to be to be sent, to be considered. Some Some institutions will allow for unofficials, but then by the end of your 1st term, official transcripts will have to be received Because we know that some students will still be working on that that undergraduate degree and finishing that up. But In the end, by the end of your 1st term, you will have to make sure that your application, or that your transcripts are in Because otherwise, you won’t be able to continue taking classes. So every institution’s a little bit different. You need to look at that.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:41:24]:
Couple other things, letters of recommendation. It’s pretty common that Letters of recommendation wise that you, that that many institutions will require letters of recommendation. Sometimes it’s People from your past in academia. So you might ask for a faculty member letter of recommendation or a person that is in a field of practice, professional reference, so you have to look at that and what they’re looking for. And some programs will require inter an interview as well, So you do have to look at that too. Thank you very much for being here today. Really appreciate your time. I hope that this has been helpful, And stay in touch.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:42:06]:
Let us know if you have any other questions. Again, my my email, our email here Is flint grad office at Feel free to reach out and to ask any questions that you might have. We’d be happy to help in any way that we can, whether you’re planning to attend the University of Michigan Flint or not. You know, we want you to be successful In the journey that you’re on. So I highly encourage you to do that and to reach out further. Thank you for your time. Have a wonderful day, And go blue.

Dr. Christopher Lewis [00:42:38]:
The University of Michigan Flint has a full array of masters and doctorate programs if you are interested in continuing Your education, whether you’re looking for in person or online learning options, the University of Michigan Flint has programs that will meet your needs. For more information on any of our programs, visit to find out more. Thanks again for spending time with me as you Prepare to be a victor in grad school. I look forward to speaking with you again soon as we embark together on your graduate school journey. If you have any questions or want to reach out, email me at [email protected].