Attending an Idealist Graduate School Fair? Here’s what you need to know

Connect with programs and friends at an Idealist Grad Fair (Photo Credit: Joanna/Staff)

One of the most important aspects of applying to graduate school is selecting the programs that are best suited towards your career goals and needs as a student. To help you narrow down which programs are best for you, we’re hosting 17 Graduate School Fairs around the country, starting this week in New York City.

However, we know that attending a fair and connecting with hundreds of people and potential programs can be a bit overwhelming. To cut through the confusion, we’ve outlined how to make the most out of attending an Idealist Grad Fair:

Do your homework

Before the fair, identify which attending programs and graduate schools you’re most interested in and scout them out. Review graduate school websites and other resources, like Idealist’s Grad Fair Resource Center, to give you a better sense of what the schools and programs are like, and which ones may interest you more. Doing your research will help you identify the schools you’ll want to speak with and get more information from on the day of the fair.

Prepare questions to ask representatives. Asking questions can help determine if a program fits your interests and goals. For example, you may want to know how the admission process works, what courses the program offers, or what the student life is like.

And, don’t forget to RSVP! This ensures you’ll get the most out of a fair by allowing representatives to have enough informational materials for all attendees. If you’re interested in attending an Idealist.org Grad Fair you can click here to RSVP today.

The big day

Now that you’re prepared and ready to find yourself a school remember these few tips on the day of the grad fair:

  • Dress casually, but appropriately. Remember, you still want to make a good first impression.
  • Arrival early to give yourself plenty of time. Take a moment to check out your surroundings and pick up a map if available. If you’ve done your research and know which schools you’re interested in head toward those first.
  • Be prepared to answer questions. Representatives might be curious to why you’re thinking about graduate school, what degree you are looking to pursue, or when you plan on attending.
  • Network. Use this as an opportunity to get representatives direct contact information. This gives you the ability to ask follow up questions or get in contact with someone from that school in the future.
  • Take advantage of the free workshops or informational sessions, like the Q & A sessions that are held at Idealist Grad Fairs every year. These can range from guest speakers to a panel of experts who are there with the best intentions to help you.

After you’ve attended remember to follow up with any additional contacts, and if you have further questions get a hold of one of the many representatives you spoke with at the fair. Good luck on your graduate school hunting, and we hope to see you at one of our 17 Idealist Grad Fairs across the country this fall!

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Graduate Degree Spotlight: Public Health

By Flickr user Ton Rulkens (Creative Commons)

If you visit our site often, you probably know that we run a series of graduate degree fairs every year. The idea is to bring together prospective students with representatives from all sorts of graduate programs whose graduates go on to serve the public good.

To complement the fairs (or to supplement them, for those who can’t make it in person), we have created a series of “degree overviews” — snapshots of several types of graduate programs you may be considering.

Today we’re spotlighting our public health degree overview. Public health is a multidisciplinary field that spans areas from maternal and child health to global health and health education, and encompasses a half dozen other specializations in between. This broad field focuses on improving the health of people and communities through research into illness and injury prevention and through efforts to promote healthy lifestyles and habits.

As a graduate student of public health, you will learn about the issues that affect population health and how to address and prevent the health problems that arise within a community. The flexibility of this field also allows for some interesting and surprising degree combinations: have you ever thought of a public policy and dentistry dual degree? Or public policy and occupational therapy? The possibilities abound.

To read more, or to access our full downloadable overview, click here.

We’re also getting excited about our graduate fairs in the United States (and in Toronto, Canada!) this fall. New York is first up, on September 16. Learn more about our fairs here, and mark your calendars now!

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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