Gain Experience (especially important for professional degrees)

Faculty admission committees want to know whether you understand the nature of the work before they commit to the effort required to produce a graduate student. Gaining experience is also for your own protection. Graduate, and especially professional degrees are very expensive. You need to be sure that this is what you want to do before you invest several years and many thousands of dollars in pursuing a degree.

Where can I gain experience?

  • Internships or practica. These are often connected to courses in your major, and you should take advantage of these even if they are not required. Some opportunities offer wages in addition to academic credit.
  • Paid jobs in your field or in related fields are always good experience, whether or not they earn academic credit.
  • Volunteer work not only provides experience, but can demonstrate a commitment to public service as well, which is important for some professional fields.