Getting into graduate school is probably one of the most difficult and stress invoking things you will do in your whole life. It begins with completing the right courses, getting the right grades and makes those grades that are not so hot As. From there the application process begins. Depending what you are going to for can make this step of the process more simple or more stressful. For many programs it’s an easy step of the application process and is part of your current process but for many healthcare professionals higher education does not work that way. For most healthcare higher degrees it consists of interviews, letters of recommendation, personal statements, volunteering experience, hands on patient care experience and much more.
Most healthcare graduate or doctorate degrees require things such as your GRE or your MCAT. These are standardized tests that basically place you on a scale in comparison with those who also took the test. Basically, this is a means of rating you. These tests are looked at and weighted heavily when it comes to your application. That being said, it is important that you do well THE FIRST TIME on these type of exams to ensure your application is at its very best. In order to ensure I did the very best on my GRE I hired a tutor who tutored me for four months and who received a 100% on his GRE. Therefore, tutors, resources, and some serious study time should be utilized throughout this process.
Once the testing is over and you received the score you hoped letters of recommendation and personal statements are next. Begin these as early as possible and have multiple people read them. Especially when it come to your personal statement. You want someone to get the full picture of you within the word count allotted. I was lucky to have a teacher who worked with me on this who basically specialized in personal statements, reaching out to faculty to help is a great idea when it comes to personal statements.
Once you have gathered all you need you complete the application send it off while your heart is beating 200 times a minute. Be sure to apply to as many schools as you can afford to heighten your chances of approval and to ensure you go to a school you will like. You press the send button and that’s when about a month to three months of anxiety begin. The waiting period is by far the worst part of the whole graduate school application process. The past however many years of your college career swarms your head and you will think of every mistake you made, everything you made right, everything you could have done differently and then it hits you the big phrase we all think: “maybe I’m not good enough”.
Then maybe you get an interview slot. This is key! This means your halfway there and I hate to break it to you but the interview will make you or break you. Be prepared! Practice questions, jot down things about yourself you want to get across. But a suit! Look presentable and be confident but not cocky. Show yourself in your best light and be prepared because these interviews are what will get you where you want to go. Each program uses different methods of interviewing such as group interviews, panel interviews and one on one interviews, feel free to reach out and ask the school what type of interview you should prepare for. They are usually open about these types of things. Do your best! Sometimes you will think you did terrible but actually do wonderful and others you think you did wonderful and actually did badly. It all comes down to the interviewer or interviewers. Just do your best and remember your half way there!
After your interview comes the hardest part, waiting. This process continues for the duration of the application reviewal process. If you feel your loosing your marbles and like an anxiety ball of craziness it’s normal, but some piece of advice I will share. Remind yourself that sometimes there’s a plan for us bigger than what we imagined for yourselves and that if this is meant to be it will. Who’s to say how many times or how long it will take to get what you want or into the program you want if it is meant to be and you don’t give up you will get there. This is the point where you let go of the wheel and have faith that whatever is mean to be will happen. Realize your acceptance is out of your control. When you do this whatever letter comes your way rejection or acceptance you will be in a place to deal with it.
Applying to graduate school is a roller coaster. For some it takes several years, for others it takes one try. For me, I promised myself that whatever was meant for me was going to happen and that the first thing that fell in my lap was right. So I did just that. I got accepted, I cried, I was overjoyed and I took my place where I wanted to be and where I was meant to be. It’s a long rough road but just like me you will get there, and when you do you’ll know this was the path that you not only wanted but that you were meant to follow.
So keep your head up. Keep your grades up. Keep you friends and family close for support. And most importantly never ever give up, because chances are, if you feel in you’re heart you are good enough and meant for a specific career then you are and nothing will stop you. Good luck!