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Applying to Graduate School? These Books that May Help.


Whether you’ve already made up your mind to apply or are in the consideration stage, chances are you have some questions or may even feel like you are on an island, wondering should or why did I.

We understand. Years of speaking to students have taught us that sometimes our minds are the most significant battle in deciding to attend or getting through grad school. And chances are, if you’re considering grad school, you’re probably a reader. So, we’ve decided to give you some options for your holiday gift list this year. 

Our first recommendation is bound to have you laughing and grateful that you made the purchase. While published in 2004, it’s still considered a must-read for grad students. According to the description, Playing the Game: The Streetsmart Guide to Graduate School simplifies even the most complex aspects of grad school. 

“Authors Frank and Stein have broken down Playing The Game into three hilarious and straightforward sections. In whatever stage of graduate school you find yourself, rest assured that you will never again grumble, “If only I had known!” 

We think that sounds like practical advice, and who can’t use a laugh these days!

We know you will be writing a lot in grad school, so getting some help is always good. According to several studies writing apprehension is a very real thing. Our second recommendation, How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing (2018 New Edition) Second Edition by Paul Silvia, seems to make a lot of must-have book lists for grad students. 

Keepinspiring.me shared,

How to Write a Lot covers bad habits, common excuses, and practical strategies to help students, researchers, and professors become more prolific writers.”

We don’t need a study to know that writing assignments are often delayed to the last moment. Whether in grad school or not, this book sounds like it would help. No more excuses!!

Our final recommendation goes beyond pleasure reading (humor) and writing and tackles that fear that (for many) is greater than death itself. Yes, you guessed it – group presentations!!

Whether you plan to teach or not, most graduate students will find themselves presenting at some point along the way. Teaching College: The Ultimate Guide to Lecturing, Presenting, and Engaging Students, by Norman Eng, is a must-have.

We love the fact that Teaching College is described as, 

“an approachable blueprint for learning the necessary graduate school skills of presenting, lecturing, teaching, and engaging.”

Those are skills we can all use along the way regardless of what path we walk down. 

If you haven’t decided to apply yet, that’s ok – these books will give you some fun (and practical) advice and motivate you to go after your dreams. And, if you have applied, consider them part of your arsenal for success. 

Graduate school isn’t for everyone, but no doubt, differentiating yourself in the job market is becoming increasingly important. Whether you are doing it for personal reasons or because it’s required in the field you’ve chosen, many have walked the path before you. These authors are just a few. 

Ready to apply? We’re here to help.

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Lessons I’m Glad I Now Know

As I set down the book of my Juniata Experience, I reflect on the many lessons I gleaned over my four years at Juniata College. From graduating with an individualized Program of Emphasis to coming to terms with being a student-athlete throughout COVID-19, here are some lessons I’ve learned at JC.

Don’t fret about what comes next. Even during my first year, there were students who had clear plans about what they wanted to do after graduation – going to law school, medical school, teaching or more. By my junior and senior year even more of my peers had plans set in stone. I was different. Sitting at my desk for hours each week brainstorming ideas, I still didn’t feel that same drive to commit to some idea of who I want to be that I wasn’t fully on board with. It wasn’t until my last semester of college that same drive to decide finally came. It’s okay not to know what awaits you after Juniata, but once something motivating jumps out, make sure to grab on to that next adventure and hold on tight!

Motivation can come from anywhere. This lesson I learned from the journey leading up to my next adventure after college. I’ve vacationed outside the US before, but never lived elsewhere for an extended period of time. When COVID-19 crushed my opportunity to study Communications abroad in Germany in Summer 2020, I felt even more motivated to travel overseas. I briefly held out hope that a reprieve would come in the form of a trip to Brazil for my men’s volleyball team to play in a preseason tournament my final semester. Not surprisingly, even that was postponed. In the winter when I was given the chance to continue both my academic and athletic career by getting a Master’s Degree in England, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. Although the decision was my own, the opportunity given to me came thanks to the complete higher education experience that I underwent at Juniata. And, the motivation driving my leap of faith to move overseas to earn an MA was thanks to the strong encouragement to study abroad and opportunities for travel at Juniata that I was sad to have missed.

Live in the moment was the most important lesson I learned from Juniata. When people told me freshman year that four years will pass in the blink of an eye, I had no idea what they meant. It wasn’t possible then for me to see that one day soon, I would be walking across the stage to pick up my diploma, saying so long to the halls of BAC and having an especially sentimental final meal at Baker. It’s sad when the chapter titled ‘College’ in the book of our lives closes but part of living in my new present means living with our connection to Juniata.

As an alumni I expect to stay connected with both the lessons learned and people met through my alma mater. And when it’s your turn to leave the nest, I hope you don’t forget your eagle family either.

Reacting To Old Footage with Anna Sule ’22 | Student Vlog

Juniata Admission
Juniata Admission

In her vlog, Anna Sule ’22 watches some videos from Juniata College’s past. She reacts to videos from Homecoming 1996, Homecoming 1988, and film reels from past graduations and campus events.

How Juniata Helped Me Get into Dental School

Maggie Peck
Maggie Peck ’21 Biology/ Pre-Dentistry POE

When I was in high school, I realized that I wanted to be a dentist. However, I did not have the slightest clue how I was going to get there. The journey to become a dentist involves a variety of steps. Dental schools are competitive, looking for well-rounded, compassionate, insightful candidates. Before you plan to matriculate into dental school, you must take the Dental Admission Test (DAT), score in the competitive range, and apply to schools of interest. If a school likes your application and feels that you are qualified, they will offer you an interview to determine if you are the right ‘fit’ for that particular school. Once admitted, you must complete another 4+ years of schooling in order to become a dentist. Daunting, right? As a high schooler, I was overwhelmed.

At Juniata College, I was fortunate to receive ample guidance which made this process simpler. In my first semester, I met with Dr. Jim Borgardt who was assigned as my academic advisor.  Dr. Borgardt advises all of the pre-dentistry students at Juniata, which means that he knows a lot about the admissions process for dental school. We meet every semester, helping to track my progress and keep me on pace for my goals. He also is an awesome guy who has made my overall experience at Juniata a great one.

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What I wish I knew – Jules Slater ’21

Jules Slater
Jules Slater ’21, Advocacy Communication POE, Future Mayor of Picklesburgh

This blog post started as a “What I wish I had known before starting college,” but after staring at my screen for longer than I’d like to admit with no ideas popping forward, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s nothing I really and truly wish I had known.

Some may say that they wish they had known who their friends were going to be, or how to study for a college exam, or how to pay their taxes, but I truly believe that everything I’ve learned between my senior year of high school and my senior year of college have shaped me into who I am. I would not be the person I am today without these formative learning experiences. Sure, it would have been so much easier on my GPA had I known how to study for a college exam, but learning through actually doing  is what taught me things about myself that I didn’t know before and taught me how to deal with failure.

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