How can I fine tune my focus?

  • Take an independent study course (399 or 499) and write a research paper in an area of interest. For example, if you are interested in music, you might analyze Mozart’s wind concertos. If you are interested in Chinese history, you might study the Cultural Revolution. This will not only give you a chance to get to know your professors better, but will show you a good example of what it is like to be an independent scholar as graduate students need to be.
  • Read journal articles in your specialty area. This is helpful for any level of graduate study, because it gives you acquaintance with current issues and helps you learn the “vocabulary” to use in your statement of objectives.
  • Become familiar with the faculty doing research in your field (for PhD students this is vital), not just faculty in Hawai‘i, but worldwide. As part of that community of scholars, there are a number of professors doing cutting edge research.
  • Make contact with the experts. If in Hawai‘i, try to work with an expert here for your 499 course. If they are at a program to which you might apply, write to them with any questions you have about their work.
  • If you can, publish; this is especially advisable for those interested in a PhD. Most universities are giving undergraduates more opportunities to do research and, while you are not likely to create and do your own research project, you can get involved in what someone else is doing and possibly co-author a paper.