Ready to take your leadership to the next level? Consider graduate school

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

Over the past two months, we’ve been visiting cities in the United States and Canada to introduce changemakers to graduate school programs for the public good. If you’re thinking about graduate school, our Graduate School Fairs are the perfect opportunity to:

  • Learn about a range of graduate programs offered by local, national and international universities
  • Engage with admissions advisors about specific programs, admissions requirements and application deadlines
  • Attend a panel discussion about admissions and financial aid

We have seven cities left and invite you to join us to learn how graduate school can help you become a stronger leader. All fairs are free and open to the public.

Thursday, October 18 – Los Angeles
Friday, October 19 – San Francisco
Tuesday, October 23 – Seattle
Wednesday, October 24 – Portland
Monday, October 29 – Houston
Tuesday, October 30 – New Orleans
Thursday, November 1 – Miami

Have questions about the Grad Fairs? Visit our FAQ page for Graduate School Seekers or leave a comment below! And be sure to check out our tips for Graduate School Seekers to ensure you get the most out of our fairs.


Considering grad school? Explore your options at an Idealist Grad Fair


A friendly recruiter chats up a prospective student at an Idealist Grad Fair. (Photo: Jung Fitzpatrick)

School may be out (or almost out) for the summer, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on your radar. We’re kicking off the summer with two Idealist Grad Fairs and you’re invited! As always, the fairs are free, open to the public, and geared toward people who want to make a difference through their careers.

Learn more and RSVP:

Why attend our summer fairs?

Come beat the heat in air conditioned spaces – ones that are slightly more intimate than the fairs we host in New York and DC in September, which tend to draw huge crowds. You’ll have a chance to talk one-on-one with admissions folks from about 60 different programs, and mingle with people who are looking to further their education, achieve their career goals, and make a lasting impact on the world.

Bonus: You’ll be a step ahead of your peers by attending a summer fair. That’s three months before the fall Idealist Grad Fair season begins, and gives you lots of time to prepare applications for 2013! The early bird gets the worm, right?

Can’t make it to New York or DC?

Don’t fret if you can’t make it to either of the summer fairs. We have 17 more planned for the fall 2012 Idealist Grad Fair season, from Boston to Denver to Miami. Check out the full lineup and please spread the word to your friends in those cities who may be considering grad school.

Hope to see many of you at the fairs!

Thanks to Kevin Kennedy, our Events and Communications Intern, for this post – and for all of your hard work supporting the Idealist Grad Fairs.

Tags: , , ,

Idealist by the Numbers: You love us, just not on Valentine's Day.

Howdy! It’s Kim and Diana, your friendly neighborhood Community Support Team. Last month we debuted our new column and uncovered just how many of you self-identify as “geeks,” “nerds,” or “geeky nerds.” We’re back now with some freshly crunched numbers for you:

301: Number of organizations that joined the site last week.
1,195: Increase in jobs posted in February 2012 vs February 2011.

18: Percentage drop in visitors to Idealist on Valentine’s Day as compared to the previous Tuesday.


Well, at least we have each other.

15: Percentage increase in visitors the next day.

That's better. (Photos: Staff retreat, March 2012)

3,837: Users whose profiles include the word “passionate.”
4,450: Users whose profiles include the word “love.

18: Idealist Grad Fairs we have planned for 2012.*
225: Graduate school programs that will be represented at our largest fairs.
2: Days it took our entire Grad Fair season to sell out.

10: Portland, OR Idealist staff members. (Apply to be #11!)
0: Land line telephones in the Portland office.

6,369: Members of our LinkedIn group.
1,569: Idealist LinkedIn group members who describe their work as entry level.
1,463: Idealist LinkedIn group members who describe their work as senior level.

80: Kilowatt hours of energy used by’s NY office last month according to thinkeco.
2.3: Kilowatt hours of energy used by Kim yesterday.

*While we’re here, we want to thank all of the graduate admissions folks who plan to participate in our 2012 Idealist Grad Fair season! Our offices have been abuzz these past few weeks as we launched the fairs and you rushed to join us. We can’t wait to see you all there.

That’s all for now. Have a question, or is there a certain number you’re curious about? Leave a comment below.

Tags: , , ,

Grad Fairs in Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans, Chapel Hill


Friendly admissions professionals want to get to know you in person. (Staff photo/J. Smith)

It’s time for our final four graduate degree fairs of 2011:

All of these events are free and open to the public, so please feel free to spread the word! The better our turnout at these fairs, the more likely we’ll be able to bring these free events back to the South in future years.

What happens at an Idealist Grad Fair? You get to meet admissions representatives from all sorts of programs that can help you further your social impact career – from education and social work to nonprofit administration and public policy to journalism and public interest law. Figure out how to make yourself a competitive candidate and clear up any questions about financial aid.

If you’re in one of these areas, we hope to see you this month!

Tags: , , , , ,

Idealist Grad Fairs coming to Denver, West Coast, South!


See you Thursday, Denver. (Photo: Larry Johnson, Flickr/Creative Commons)

Thinking about going to graduate school to further your career and make a social impact?

We’re bringing Idealist Grad Fairs to 18 cities this fall. Here are the next six. Click on a city name for details and to RSVP:

All of the fairs are free, open to the public, and feature a free Q&A panel about admissions and financial aid from 6:00-7:00pm. See the rest of the season lineup at

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Next Idealist Grad Fairs: Ann Arbor, Minneapolis, Chicago


Folks chat about degree programs at one of our 2010 fairs. Photo: Julia Smith

Thinking about going to graduate school to further your career and make a social impact?

We’re bringing Idealist Grad Fairs to 18 cities this fall. Here are the next six. Click on a city name for details and to RSVP:

All of the fairs are free, open to the public, and include the option to attend a panel about admissions and financial aid from 6:00-7:00pm. See the rest of the season lineup at


Podcast: Is nonprofit management the grad degree for you?

By Amy Potthast.

Right this minute, our Idealist Grad Fair season is kicking off in New York City. To celebrate, we’ve got a fresh podcast for you: a look at nonprofit management programs through the eyes of three friendly admissions counselors. The podcast comes in three bite-sized installments. Click here to learn more and listen.


With a plethora of graduate disciplines available to you—MBA, MPA, Social Work—you may be wondering, why might I go for a specialized degree in nonprofit management?

We hope this show might help answer this question. Topics include:

Special thanks to our panelists:

Edward Grice is the Associate Dean of the MBA program in nonprofit management at the American Jewish University. Chris Nicholson is the Director of Graduate Admissions at North Park University in Chicago, home of the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management. And Rebecca Zirm is the Director of Recruitment at the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organization and Case Western Reserve University.

Links to learn more:

If you listen to the podcast, I’d love to hear what you think!

Amy Potthast served as Idealist’s Director of Service and Graduate Education Programs until 2011. Read more of her work at

Tags: , , ,

September grad degree fairs: DC, Boston, Providence, and more!


Some of our favorite recruiters at last spring's DC fair. Photo: Julia Smith.

Thinking about going to grad school? You’re in luck: it’s Idealist Grad Fair season again! We kick off the season in New York and DC this week, and then head to Boston on Monday, Sept. 19 and Providence on Tuesday, Sept. 20.

See the full lineup and RSVP to a fair near you at

Why come to a Grad Fair?

Whether you know precisely what kind of degree you want or you’re just beginning to explore options, our events allow you to meet with lots of admissions counselors in one place; ask them what makes for a successful application; and even attend a free panel about graduate admissions and financial aid.

Why come to an Idealist Grad Fair?

Our fairs are designed specifically for people who want to further their social impact careers. Admissions folks have consistently told us that they get their best applicants at Idealist Grad Fairs, because members of our community really want to go on to create social change after they graduate.

At each event, you can learn about programs focusing on nonprofit management, public health, public policy, social work, education, international affairs, and many other fields.

How to sign up

The fairs are free and open to the public. Visit and click on your city to RSVP.

See you soon!

Tags: , , , ,

Summer to-do list for grad students-to-be

Amy Potthast served as Idealist’s Director of Service and Graduate Education Programs until 2011. Read more of her work at


Two of our favorite recruiters at the Idealist Grad Fair in DC last Thursday. (Photo: Julia Smith)

As summer gets underway, and our summer grad fair tour comes to an end (shameless plug: tonight only, 5-8 pm, at Roosevelt University in Chicago), future grad students can turn their energies toward getting ready for fall classes. Here are some things to think about:


From Alamosbasement on Flickr

Visit campus (again)

Since campus is relatively quiet, summer can be an ideal time for a first or second campus visit. While you may not have as many courses to choose from to observe, you will benefit from the slower pace of office life and more quality time with staff and faculty.

In addition to the campus tour, and financial aid and department office visits, you might take the time to orient yourself to the library (home away from home for many in grad school), and take a current student or two out for coffee to get the inside scoop on professors, funding, and coursework.

Read more about visiting campus in our Grad School Resource Center.

Get the inside scoop on financial aid and scholarships

Use your campus visit to meet with your financial aid office, if you haven’t already, to make sure you are making the best choices regarding your student loans, and so that you can get the skinny on scholarships. While you should have been looking for scholarships all along, it’s never too late to search for funding for next year and experts in the financial aid office or your department’s office should have some pointers for you. If you haven’t already put your name in the hat for a graduate assistantship in your department or another, this is a good time to do so.

Read more about funding your graduate education in our Grad School Resource Center.

Take pre-requisite classes

From T.Young on Flickr

Finally, use the summer to take care of pre-requisite courses you need to complete before you can bite into your graduate-level work.

If you are required to take a class before you can enroll, find out if the school has specific restrictions about where you can take the class. Ask the admissions office for course approval before you pay for it and take it. Also find out if you need to earn a minimum grade in the class for it to count.

If you are deficient in a foreign language, or another skill that will take a longer time to master, talk with the admissions office about your options. Your best bet may be to wait another year before applying.

Finally, if you are not starting school this fall, check out this 12-month to-do list for prospective grad students.

Tags: , ,

This Wednesday: Two invitations for NYC-area Idealists




In NYC? Come meet friendly people from grad programs around the world! (Staff photo/Julia Smith)


This Wednesday, June 22, is a big one for our team in New York City. Come hang out!

  • Idealist Grad Fair, 5:00-8:00pm: Thinking about going to graduate school? Join us at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus for this free event! Meet recruiters from 60+ grad degree programs from nonprofit management to education to urban planning. From 6:00-7:00 youcan also sit in on a Q&A session and learn more about admissions and financial aid. Learn more, sign up, and help us spread the word:
  • Focus group for people who think Idealist should be more mobile phone-friendly, 4:00-5:00pm: Do you have a smartphone? Do you wish you could browse Idealist more easily via your phone? Do you like snacks? If so, join us just before the Grad Fair for some treats and idea-sharing. Learn more and sign up here:


    Last year the fair was the night of the NYC tornados! Hopefully this Wednesday will be calmer...but mingling with admissions recruiters in a huge, strong building is a pretty great way to wait out a storm. (Photo: Anthony Quintano.)

Tags: , , , ,