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How To Decide On A Graduate School After Multiple Offers Of Admission. Olubunmi Shares Her Story.

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

Scholar: Olubunmi Adegbola

Undergraduate Course and Degree: Religious Studies, Second Class Upper

Undergraduate University: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife

Graduate Course and University: M.A. Religious Studies/New Testament, University of Ibadan & (Second Degree) Master of Theological Studies (MTS), Vanderbilt University.

I made several mistakes, but I did one thing right; learning and loving Greek. I also knew and

minded my business without comparing myself to other people. I went after what I wanted which

helped me to recognize opportunities when they showed up. I completed my master’s program at

the University of Ibadan in 2015 and experiencing OAU and UI made me certain that I wanted to

go to a different university outside of the country for my PhD. So, I asked questions and I got

help from very willing friends and family members. I took every feedback seriously and that paid

off. Professor Ojo, Professor Ilesanmi and my friend, Moyosooreoluwa Kemi-Rotimi came

through by offering names of schools and potential programs while I did the job of looking at the

programs, studying and sitting for exams.

I began the process of application in the fall of 2015, but I did not get into any school because

my GRE results were late, and I could not reference them. By the way, I self-trained for the

TOEFL and GRE exams. I was duped by the individual who offered to help me register for the

GRE because there were no GRE centers in Ibadan. In 2016, I applied again, fully cognizant of

the requirements for the programs. I also added the option of a second master’s because I wanted

to be infused in the new education system before starting a PhD.

I got into two schools for the master’s program and both gave me scholarships. How did I decide

on which one to accept? Well, it was pretty easy. One of the schools doubted if I had been

properly taught and wanted to know more about the classes on my transcripts (this is normal,

considering the fact that they might not have had previous applicants from that pool), the other

just trusted that I was going to be a vibrant and valuable addition to their community.

Transitioning was hard. Learning Greek was easier, lol. Nashville is a city where something is

always happening and that made me feel on top of the world and overwhelmed at the same time.

I contemplated going back home one time too many. Everything about school was different. I

cried several times (twice) because everything was moving so fast. I also had many good times.

Good friends and good communities made and still make a vast difference in helping me survive

all of the experiences I’ve had. Through all of these, I kept it in the back of my mind that I

wanted a PhD.

In the fall of 2018, I applied to five schools: Chicago Divinity, Emory, Southern Methodist

University, Union Theological Seminary, and Vanderbilt. All of them, except Union, were

familiar places I had applied to previously. I got into Union and Vanderbilt. I was offered full

funding by both places and I also received two fellowships (one is named and the other is for

professional development which would fund travels to different parts of the world).

I think asking questions and following up on the answers I got was a vital part of this process for

me. I had no idea of the opportunities available until I spoke to people who shared their

aspirations, experiences and knowledge with me. I have found that not taking pieces of

information offered for granted is such a great deal. Some are useful for knowing what has to be

done, others are for knowing what you need to do differently in order to get a different result. I

put all of these together, had several people go through my statement of purpose and other

essays, and found an advisor who would be able to offer me what I wanted. I knew I always

wanted to teach so when I completed my master’s program at UI, I didn’t search for corporations

offering more money. I applied to schools and serving as a teaching assistant has been a great

help in getting here.

Tips For Future Scholars

Do not let people tell you differently that your dreams are weird and strange or without value.

People want you to place a value on your life and goals for living because a capitalist world

measures achievement based on quantity and that puts so much undue pressure on so many

people. If you believe in something, work towards it. You have no idea how many things are

possible. But possibilities are only apparent and persuadable when one is prepared. Several times,

plans will change, and styles will have to be adjusted but you still get to where you intend to, so

stick with that dream!

Read inspiring stories of other scholars here

If you are thinking of pursuing graduate studies, join our Graduate School Application Bootcamp!


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