If you are like me, you may not have gotten into grad school upon your first try. My major requires a master’s degree and, in California, the programs are extremely limited. There are around 350 people competing for 30 spots typically. It is expected to not get it your first try, but it doesn’t make it any less soul-crushing when you get the rejection letters in the mail. I completed my undergraduate degree at California State University, Sacramento. My professors often discussed that it may take a few tries to get into a program and that we should be willing to move. After I got all of my rejection letters I was a mess. I went to my Dr. Roseberry’s office (my professor) and literally cried. We made a plan of all of the things I could do to increase my odds of getting into a program.
- Apply to out-of-state programs and be willing to move. I got extremely lucky and got into the CDIS program at ENMU, which only requires you to be on campus for one semester. I only have to be away from my family for a few months and get to return to California after making connections with the faculty here to further my opportunities.
- Volunteer like a madman with as many different cultures and populations as possible. I realized that I had a limited amount of multicultural experience and that was impacting my odds of getting in.
- If you are still finishing your undergrad, finish the semester strong. Try to end with the best GPA you possibly can.
- Spend time on the essays in the application process. Do not write an essay the night before the application is due. This is usually how the program gauges your problem-solving abilities and can be the determining factor in your getting in. It is a great idea to have somebody else edit your writing as well. There are going to be things you miss that somebody else would catch.
- Stay connected with your friends that are in or trying to get into programs. It is so awesome to be able to bounce ideas off each other or be able to ask them questions about various aspects of application processes because they can be extremely confusing.
- Lastly, DO NOT GIVE UP. I had two best friends in my undergrad, and only one of us got into a program on the first try. Obviously, I wasn’t that lucky one. Now, it has been a couple of years, but all of us have officially been accepted into programs. It took time and determination, but we did it!
The process of getting into graduate school can be really easy and quick for some, but it can also be a more laborious task for others. It is important to be willing to work for what you want, and it will happen!