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Ola Esho sheds light on the importance of getting help with your graduate school applications

Updated: Feb 27, 2019

If you are thinking of pursuing graduate studies, let us work with you. Book a consultation here!


Scholar: Ola Esho

Undergraduate Course and Grade: Biology and Chemistry (GPA: 3.4/4.0 (no grad honors, cut off is 3.5 for the school)

Undergraduate University: University of Texas, Arlington

Graduate Course and University: Masters to PhD track - Cornell University - Food Science and Technology


My decision to go to graduate school was more of an expectation than a decision. That made things easy, as I was able to tailor my undergraduate career in such a way that I would shine during graduate school applications. I participated in research internships, government internships, took additional classes, held leadership positions among other things. These activities helped demonstrate my actual abilities as a student and scientist. What can you do right now to help demonstrate your abilities? Do them!


My actual graduate school preparation started about 18 months before I was supposed to resume school. And I tackled my required exam first, the GRE. I used Magoosh online to study. It allowed me flexibility to study on the go. I was working 2 jobs, 1 was fulltime so lunch breaks and commutes became my study sessions. The mobile apps, short videos, as well as practice problems allowed me to master as much information as possible. I wrote my GRE in June of 2016, after studying for about 8 weeks. I allowed this much time because I figured if I did not do well enough the first time, I would still have time to study and take another exam before application deadlines in December 2016. By God’s grace my results were excellent the first time around!


The next step was to start gathering all the other documents and writing the essays that I the schools required. And this proved to be the hardest part of the whole process for me. I contacted my dear friend about her education consulting business, asked her for help and we got the ball rolling. They came up with a schedule/plan with deadlines for essays including drafts, resumes, and letters of recommendations. They reviewed everything and edited in detail. Look there’s no other way of saying it, they did an excellent job!


If you’re anything like me and need some accountability partners, or someone to look over your essays to make sure that you’re “selling” yourself well, then I would say contact GetIn ASAP! Yes, you have to do your work diligently but at least you are not doing it all alone.


I applied to the top four schools in the nation for my program and all of the schools have a requirement of being fully funded before they accept you. In my case, I did not need to do a separate application for scholarships or funding. The schools that accepted me gave me full funding in the form of government grants, fellowships, teaching assistantship and research assistantship. There are differences in the obligations from the funding type. As far as I know, most science/research related fields are like in this (join us, be a scientist! J). I believe this is the case because the research you do is expected to be your “job,” so you’ll likely be working over 40 hours/week in the lab to ensure that you’re progressing well and can publish scientific papers.


I chose Cornell University mainly because when I was invited for an interview on campus, I honestly felt like “these are my people.” Yes, it had been my dream school but when I visited it felt right. I got a chance to explore the town and hang out with current graduate students and I was really impressed. The faculty are some of the best in the field and they are well connected in academia, government, and industry so I felt as though my ability to network won’t be impeded.


Summary:

· I can NOT stress the importance of giving yourself enough time for this process. Be prepared to fail and feel discouraged many times but having GetIn Consulting on your side will make the “job” that much easier! Preferably start prepping a year in advance.

· Do what you can now that will demonstrate that you’re more than As and Bs – extracurricular activities are a huge plus.

· Take your exams early. Do your homework on the schools you want – don’t fall into the trap of applying just to the very top schools. Some less known schools will be the best fit for you where you can hone your skills and shine as a student.

· Application fee waivers are a real thing, ask for them. The worst they can say is no, and the best is you can save yourself a few hundred bucks. (I only paid for 1 application fee out of 4).

· Get help with brainstorming and writing your essays, resumes, etc. It is the best investment you can make in yourself. Stop wishing or talking about grad school and start doing.

I strongly believe in this statement “it takes a village…” because my process to get in and stay in grad school has been possible because of my village starting with GetIn.

If you are thinking of pursuing graduate studies, let us work with you. Book a consultation here!

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