Applying To Grad School: Be Your Own Best Advocate – by Vicky Karpilovich MPA ’18

Deciding to attend graduate school is a monumental decision. If you’re like me then you probably have a massive pro/con list, a cost-benefit analysis, piles of graduate school brochures, and have invested hours and hours into researching programs, attending informational sessions, and preparing your application. Kudos to you!

You’re almost there:

Grad school is an opportunity for you to define and refine your interests and as a student your job is to assess whether the program you are in has the resources and tools available to ensure your success. I encourage you to research courses, professors, student organizations, national associations, and so forth that align with your specific goals and then figure out how you can incorporate these activities into your experience at Price. While the administration is in charge of preparing courses that will train you to become leaders in the field and can offer you insight on programming, it is ultimately up to YOU to shape your experience. Staff will gladly share information or point you in the right direction but you have to take the initiative to determine the path that aligns with your interests and that motivates you to drive positive change.

Remember, you have worked so hard to get to this point in your academic career and the program you select should empower you to realize your potential and create opportunities for you to succeed.  Practically, this means that if you are interested in taking a few business courses because you believe that supplementing your graduate degree with those courses will make you a more viable candidate for a future position, you should contact the academic advisor/administrator early on to determine the protocol for taking courses outside of Price. Again, now is the time to reflect on what is important to you and if it is not immediately available through the core curriculum (i.e. the required courses) then initiate a conversation with admissions staff to figure out how you can enrich your experience. For example, let’s imagine starting a student organization around a specific topic is imperative for you – – – ASK what the process for that is so that you are prepared to make the absolute most of your experience.

Graduate school is not about compromising on what’s important to your academic career, it is about learning to stand up for your needs and interests and being willing to advocate for yourself every step of the way. This is your education and your future career and no one bears higher stakes in this than you, so why not make this the most fulfilling, inspiring, and positive experience ever?

Fight On!

Vicky Karpilovich

MPA/Graduate Certificate in Sustainability & Business Candidate – c/o 2018