Category Archives: Graduate School

Graduate School, Or Not?

grad-school-or-notShort answer: maybe.  If you are thinking about graduate school, you are not alone.  Nearly one third of seniors will enter a graduate or professional school program after graduation.  Deciding on a program and when to start is a big decision.  Before you send off those applications and secure your enrollment spot, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions and take time to reflect on whether or not graduate school is the appropriate next step for you.

The first question I ask most students who meet with me to chat about researching graduate programs and application prep is simple: why?  For each person, the answer is different.  Immediate entry into graduate school may give you a leg up in your professional field of interest.  Many times graduate or professional school will afford you a number of specialized skills or certifications and help propel you into the next step of that particular industry.  For example – if you want to be an attorney, then at some point, attending law school, succeeding in your studies, and passing the Bar exam is a pre-requisite before you can attempt to practice law.  In other fields, a graduate degree may be required simply for candidacy of application to apply.  However, this is not always the case.  Some graduate programs are more likely to admit an applicant who has work experience. It is important to identify the norm or standard of education in a given field – and do a bit of research to find out whether or not graduate school immediately after college is a necessary or realistic goal.

Another big question to ask yourself: are you ready?  By ready, I simply mean are you ready to continue attending school for several months or years?  As you approach graduation, you may find that you would like a break from school to recharge before you pursue another academic program.  Perhaps you would like to gain some “real world” experience and explore the world of work a bit before deciding which field of study is the best one for you. Maybe you would like to travel the world or give back in the form of volunteering or service work.

Whatever you decide, remember that the choice is yours.  Family, friends, and other influencers will not be attending classes (or work) for you.  Adjusting to a new academic or work environment and geographic location is a major life transition and certainly worth consideration and intention.

Thinking about grad school after Davidson?  You likely have many questions. Be prepared – meet with a career advisor, faculty mentor, and industry professional to gather information and make an informed decision.  Learn more about the ins and outs of graduate school application prep, and how to make the most of your post-graduate studies.  For now, take some time to reflect as to whether or not graduate school right after college is the right choice for you and visit the Center for Career Development to discuss your options.

Five Steps To Organize Your Post-Grad Search

Thinking

Are you planning to apply for fellowships? Perhaps you’re considering grad school or want to find a job? And if not a job, then perhaps maybe a post-grad program like Teach for America, the Peace Corps or a faith-based service year? Or maybe you’re like me and you’re trying to do everything because you don’t know what will work out.

Whatever path you’re taking, you need a plan. And not just any plan, one that lets you write lots of applications while still meeting all your regular commitments.  Because this process, if you’re being intentional, could take up to 10+ hours a week of your time. The most important thing is getting those applications in, and here’s one way you can make that happen:

  1. Make an “interest list”. Write down all the fellowships, programs and graduate schools you might be interested in applying for. Hold off on adding in job applications – that will come in later. The Fellowships Office has resources to help you find out about opportunities, as well as narrow down your list. If you are researching graduate schools, the Peterson’s website is excellent.
  1. Make a year-long calendar and divide it into four sections – July to September, October to December, January to March, and April to June.
  1. Find out the deadlines and add these to your calendar. Help yourself by adding in reminders several days before a specific deadline.
  1. Now, turn to your job search. If you don’t have specific positions you are planning to apply for yet, don’t worry. For now, find out when the highest volume of job postings are for your desired field. For many people, this will be January to March, but don’t make any assumptions! Start with the broad overview below, then come   to the CCD for drop-in hours, every day from 8:30-5:00pm to get more details. Don’t forget to also utilize Handshake for current job postings, and visit the careers pages of the companies you are most interested in.

    Arts, Media, Communication & Marketing ……………………………February to May
    Banking, Finance, Real Estate & Insurance ……………………………..August to May
    Consulting, Management, Sales & Human Resources ………………….August to May
    Education, Community Organizations & Nonprofits ………………September to May
    Healthcare, Medicine & Medical Research …………………………….October to May
    Public Policy, Politics, Government & Law …………………………September to May
    Sustainability, Renewable Energy, & Food Systems ………………….January to May
    Technology & Software …………………………………………….September to May


  1. Make some decisions. At this point, you may be looking at your calendar thinking, there is no way I have the time to apply for everything here. Good! This calendar is not just about helping you plan, but also helping you prioritize. Look where in your calendar is particularly full. Consider, too, the parts of the year you know you are more busy, ie. exam season. Then make a second list – you can call it “maybe if I’m feeling super human” or something like that – and begin to move some of the items from your calendar onto this list. You can always put them back on your calendar, but no sense getting overwhelmed now.

It’s never too early or late to make a calendar-plan, but the sooner you start thinking about it the more you can spread out your applications. And don’t discount the benefits of applying for early Fellowship deadlines. It may be hard to meet the deadlines, but if you do, not only will you have a couple applications under your belt, you’ll also be ahead of the game on asking for references.

Get to Know the Center for Career Development

2015 Center for Career Development Staff
2015 Center for Career Development Staff

Welcome back!  While we enjoyed a little break this summer, we are excited that campus is back to normal.  We took advantage of the quiet to do a little restructuring, plan some programming, connect with new employers, and just a few other things.  So, meet our staff and some of the great resources in the Center for Career Development!

Nathan Elton, Director
Nathan Elton, Director

Nathan’s Favorite CCD Resource: Davidson Career Advisor Network (DCAN) Some of the most common career advice you will hear is to talk to professionals in potential or identified career areas of interest.  Through DCAN there are over 800 Davidson alumni and parents who have signed up to share career advice, look over your resume, or prepare you for an upcoming interview.  Jobs and internships can be tough to land, but by using these connections you will know more about career fields that match your interests and abilities, and be better prepared for securing a position.

Jamie Johnson, Associate Director for Career Development
Jamie Johnson, Associate Director for Career Development

Jamie’s Favorite CCD Resource: Myers Briggs Type Indicator All of us have uniquely different personalities. The MBTI assessment will help give you a better understanding of your own personality, such as what energizes you or how you make career decisions. The assessment will also assist you in better understanding the people around you, whether they be at school, work or home. To take the MBTI, please contact our office at 704-894-2132 to set up an appointment to meet with a Career advisor.

 

Jeff Kniple, Associate Director for Employer Relations
Jeff Kniple, Associate Director for Employer Relations

Jeff’s Favorite CCD Resource: Information sessions are the place to make a personal connection with employers in advance of an application or interview.  They are the easiest place to make an impression with key staff members, to learn about how companies market themselves, and to learn other information that can be helpful in a cover letter or interview.  For internship and job seekers they are essential to the process.

 

 

Tiffany Waddell, Assistant Director for Career Development

Tiffany’s Favorite CCD Resource: Workshops and Programs The CCD offers workshops and events on a variety of topics for students throughout the academic year.  From getting started with LinkedIn and learning how network with Davidson alumni and other professionals, to penning the perfect resume – check out WildcatLink to learn more about what workshops are available to you this year and RSVP today!

 

 

Sarah Williams '11, Assistant Director for Alumni & Parent Engagement
Sarah Williams ’11, Assistant Director for Alumni & Parent Engagement

Sarah’s Favorite CCD Resource: WildcatLink is the best resource for accessing Davidson-specific career opportunities and resources. It is an online portal where you can apply to jobs and internships, sign up for job shadowing opportunities, and register for career-related events and programs. If you haven’t already, you will soon become very familiar with WildcatLink!

 

 

 

Jamie Stamey, Assistant Director for Internships
Jamie Stamey, Assistant Director for Internships

Jamie’s Favorite CCD Resource: InterviewStream is a great tool to help you prepare for upcoming interviews.  Record a video of yourself answering industry specific questions.  Then, critique yourself or share with a mentor to get their feedback.  You know what they say about practice!  You might also see this pop up in some of you Davidson-sponsored program applications, like Job Shadowing and the #DavidsonIE Internship Program.

 

Kate Falconi '08, Assistant Director for Employer Relations
Kate Falconi ’08, Assistant Director for Employer Relations

Kate’s Favorite CCD Resource: Vault Think of this as a huge online library of career and industry guides to help you learn about jobs and career fields, and make sure you are ready for interviews.  It also includes rankings of employers in 20 different industries, such as advertising, PR, media, banking and consulting.

 

 

 

Julie Lucas, Office Manager
Julie Lucas, Office Manager

Julie’s Favorite CCD Resource: It’s easy to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our advisors.  Stop by the office or call 704-894-2132. Appointments are available from 9-12:00 and 1:30-5:00.  For quick questions, we also offer daily walk-in times M-TH 10:00-12:00 and M-F 1:30-3:30.

 

 

 

Logan Myers, Career Adviser
Logan Myers, Career Advisor

Logan’s Favorite CCD Resource: Davidson’s LinkedIn Landing Page and LinkedIn Networking Group Want to learn what 11,000 alumni are doing based on their major, where they live, what they do and where they work?  Davidson’s LinkedIn Landing page is an easily searchable system to learn about alumni based on these and other criteria.  Want to interact with alumni in LinkedIn?  Check out the Davidson College Network Group, where you can send messages to over 6,000 alumni.

 

Career Development Ambassadors 2014-2015

The Center for Career Development is pleased to announce the 2014-2015 class of Career Development Ambassadors.  Trained to assist with peer advising regarding topics such as resume review, cover letter review, and mock interview prep – stop by and visit them during walk-in hours this semester in the Center for Career Development (Alvarez 201):  Sundays 3-5pm, Tuesdays 7:30-9:30pm, and Thursdays 7:30-9:30pm.

Emily Burke
Emily Burke ’15

I am majoring in economics and will be working in investment banking after graduation.  During summers off from Davidson I have pursued internships in a variety of fields including investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the leveraged finance group and a boutique investment bank in Boston, management consulting at a firm in Washington DC, and foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington DC.  On campus I play the oboe in the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra, volunteer with the Office of Admission as a tour guide, and have served as the social chair of my eating house, Warner Hall.  In my free time I enjoy playing golf, reading, and traveling.

Colin MacKay '15
Colin MacKay ’16

I am majoring in economics and plan to pursue a career in banking, consulting, or financial accounting. I have served as the corporate social responsibility intern at Bank of America where I researched competitive trends in the CSR space. I am a member of the Davidson College varsity swim team and serve as a representative in the Student Athlete Advisory Council and the Davidson Athletic Fund Student Athlete Engagement Program. I am a member of the Symphony Orchestra string bass section, a fraternity brother in Sigma Phi Epsilon, and a member of Campus Outreach. My hobbies include camping, spending time with family and friends, traveling, and playing cards.

Braden Beaudreau '15
Braden Beaudreau ’15

I am majoring in political science and I plan to pursue a career in law, government, or public policy.  Last summer, I interned at Akerman LLP, a law firm located in Washington, DC, for a public policy adviser working on issues concerning higher education policy.  Previously, I worked in the Davidson College Center for Career Development as a work study student, where I managed internship databases.  I spent a semester abroad my junior year traveling across the breathtaking landscape of Australia and studying business and economics at the University of Melbourne.  I also write for the Davidsonian and perform spoken word poetry with FreeWord.  My hobbies and interests include intramural basketball, supporting the Red Sox, and going on adventures with my friends.

Catherine Lowenthal
Catherine Lowenthal ’15

I am majoring in psychology with a concentration in medical humanities.  I plan to eventually work with individuals with mental illness and/or  HIV/AIDS or other physical disease.  In my summers, I have served as a research assistant at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and interned at Broughton Hospital, a North Carolina state psychiatric hospital.  I have also worked in an orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS in South Africa, and volunteered at several programs for children with HIV/AIDS in New York City.  On campus, I work as a research assistant for a psychology professor and am the Vice President of Queers and Allies, Secretary of the College Democrats and a member of the Common Ground Council.  My hobbies include traveling and trying new foods.  My favorite quote is from Booker T. Washington:  “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”

James Cobb
James Cobb ’15

I am a Political Science major from Middlebury, Vermont. Next year, I will be working as an investment banking analyst with Morgan Stanley in New York City. Prior to an internship with Morgan Stanley this past summer, I worked with Gridley & Co, a boutique, M&A technology bank in New York City; as an equity research analyst with WEDGE Capital Management in Charlotte; as a summer analyst with the Davidson College Endowment; and as a consultant with the Atlantic Leadership Group in New York City. Through Davidson, I have been able to study abroad for two semesters in Ireland and India and the Middle East. On campus, I am the Vice President of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, a Chidsey Fellow, Terry scholar, and play saxophone with the jazz ensemble. My hobbies include reading, weight lifting, and challenging travel.

Daniel Reitten
Daniel Reitten ’15

I am originally from Tel Aviv, Israel.

I am majoring in economics and planning to be in finance after graduation. I spent my previous summer at the summer internship program at UBS in Sales & Trading where I worked on the FX spot trading desk in the New York office. Prior to attending Davidson College, I served 3 years in the Israeli Air Force. I played Tennis for Davidson during my first two years, and I got the chance to attend 3 different abroad programs. I am also a member of Hillel, and this is my seventh semester that I teach Hebrew here at Davidson. I enjoy music, traveling, crossfit and philosophy.

Leigh Miller
Leigh Miller ’15

I am majoring in psychology with a minor in French. I plan to work in Human Resources (hopefully doing recruiting), eventually pursuing a career in coaching for businesses. I have served as a Human Resources intern at the corporate headquarters for Chico’s and for Vans, working with the Recruiting, Learning & Development, and Payroll departments. I am a co-president of the Pep Band, and president of the Knitting Society. My hobbies include swimming, cycling, reading, and knitting.

To Grad School or Not to Grad School? Ask Yourself the Question.

If you are thinking about graduate school, you are not alone.  Are you asking yourself if you need a break post-Davidson before you pursue your next course of study?  Deciding on a program and when to enter is a big decision.  Before you send off those applications and secure your enrollment spot, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions and take time to reflect on whether or not graduate school is the appropriate next step for you.

Harvard_University_Academic_Hoods

The first question I ask most students who meet with me to chat about researching graduate programs and application prep is simple: why?  For each person, the answer is different.  Immediate entry into graduate school may give you a leg up in your professional field of interest.  Many times graduate or professional school will afford you a number of specialized skills or certifications and help propel you into the next step of that particular industry.  For example – if you want to be an attorney, then at some point, attending law school, succeeding in your studies, and passing the Bar exam is a pre-requisite before you can attempt to practice law.  In other fields, a graduate degree may be required simply for candidacy of application to apply.  However, this is not always the case.  Some graduate programs are more likely to admit an applicant who has work experience. It is important to identify the norm or standard of education in a given field – and do a bit of research to find out whether or not graduate school immediately after college is a necessary or realistic goal.

Another big question to ask yourself: are you ready?  By ready, I simply mean are you ready to continue attending school for several months or years?  As you approach graduation, you may find that you would like a break from school to recharge before you pursue another academic program.  Perhaps you would like to gain some “real world” experience and explore the world of work a bit before deciding which field of study is the best one for you. Maybe you would like to travel the world or give back in the form of volunteering or service work.  Gap years are increasingly common for students and a great year to gain more experience, sharpen your professional skills and supplement your academic pursuits before pursuing a graduate or professional degree.

Whatever you decide, remember that the choice is yours.  Family, friends, and other influencers will not be attending classes (or work) for you.  Adjusting to a new academic or work environment and geographic location is a major life transition and certainly worth consideration and intention.

As you explore your options, you have many questions. Visit with faculty advisors to discuss your areas of interest and strategies to identify the programs that would best suit your interests.  Learn more about the ins and outs of graduate school application prep, and how to make the most of your post-graduate studies, by visiting the Center for Career Development.  Take some time to reflect as to whether or not graduate school right after college is the right choice for you now – or in the future.

“Somebody Has to Run the Kennedy Center”: Sherburne Laughlin ’83 Discusses Careers in Arts Management

Sherburne Laughlin '83 shares arts management career resources with students

Sherburne Laughlin ’83, Director of the Arts Management Program at American University in Washington DC and a former member of Davidson’s Board of Trustees, visited campus last week to speak with students about careers in arts management.  An economics major at Davidson, Ms. Laughlin went on to work at a bank before earning her MBA from Yale University and launching her career in the arts management.  This is the third successive year that she has given this talk to a full room of students.

Ms. Laughlin started her talk by generating discussion on many pertinent issues in the arts today, such as the role of government funding for the arts and how to get that funding, ensuring that boards can make decisions for the sustainability of their organizations, censorship in the arts, and intellectual property issues with art.  She also commented on what she calls the “Arts and …” movement which encompasses arenas such as health, social justice, and business as well as technology and “gamification” in the arts.

As arts management graduate programs are looking for students with experience in the field, even at an assistant level, Ms. Laughlin advised joining the workforce for a few years before pursuing a graduate degree.  If you work first, she argues, you will ask better questions in graduate school and will have a better sense of why you want to pursue a career in arts management.  When looking for a first job in the field, look for various assistant level positions or internships in areas of arts management like development or marketing.  She suggests staying in contact with people who are in your network, including Davidson alumni.

Ms. Laughlin also guided students towards resources such as the Arts and Science Council in Charlotte and the North Carolina Arts Council that have their own job banks.  She also pointed out Americans for the Arts, which has a great professional development web page and services.  Laughlin explained the importance of keeping up to date with publications and blogs such as The Art Newspaper, Arts Journal and Createquity and advised students to register for the e-mail list You’ve Cott Mail.

There are many different places to look for jobs in the arts, including education, established arts organizations, service organizations, artist residencies, clubs, and festivals.  Laughlin encouraged students to look for opportunities that may not be obvious, giving an example of someone she knows who has a position in the arts with the National PTA (Parent Teacher Association).

Laughlin ended the presentation by giving more details about her program at American University, one of the oldest arts management programs in the country.  She pointed out that the older programs are beneficial due to the large alumni network that they create.  It provides an opportunity to graduate with certificates in Technology in Arts Management or International Arts Management.  The program is small, with twenty students in each class, and has a nearly 100% job placement rate.  They also have a special arrangement with Sotheby’s through which they send students to a very rigorous and fulfilling program in London.

If you would like to get in touch with Ms. Laughlin to discuss a potential careers in arts management, and/or the American University program specifically, feel free to send her an e-mail at slaughlin@american.edu.

Duke Law Visits Davidson

During Thursday’s Common Hour, Mark Hill, the Director of Admission at the Duke University School of Law, met with Davidson students to discuss law school and the process for applying. Hill emphasized Duke’s top-tier education and small classroom environment, as well as the personal and professional engagement outside of the classroom that makes Duke Law students successful. He noted that Duke strikes a balance between theory and practice as evidenced in their two-semester Legal Writing Program, which occurs during a student’s first year at law school.

After a brief introduction about what distinguishes Duke Law School, Hill left the majority of time for students to ask questions about the admission process and timeline. During this time, Hill explained that roughly one-third of Duke’s students attend law school immediately after college, but this is by no means necessary. He also asked students to keep in mind that Duke Law uses rolling admissions, and encouraged students to apply before the February 15th deadline. The Director pointed out that while college record, LSAT, and recommendations and personal statements are weighted equally, the admission staff does understand that Davidson does not have grade inflation and that might be reflected in academic performance.

Hill closed the presentation by stressing that there is no perfect mold of a law student that Duke Law is looking for applicants to fit into. Instead, the Office of Admission attempts to determine if a student has both the potential to be an active and engaged law student and the foundations for a promising professional career.

Duke Law School will return to campus on Tuesday, November 5th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., along with a number of other schools for the Greater Charlotte Law School Fair hosted by Davidson College. Over fifty law schools will be in attendance.  Students can find more information about the fair and schools attending on WildcatLink.

Research & Internship Opportunities in the Sciences

Includes: Neuropsychology, Psychology, Environmental Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Medicine, Public Health, Biochemistry, Engineering, and Computer Science

Undergraduate research opportunities offer you the chance to participate in exciting projects, working beside some of the most talented scientists in the field.  They also help you gain needed experience to get in to graduate school or to obtain the position you’re applying for after graduation.

Below are links to a wide range of scientific research opportunities. Some offer stipends, while others are unpaid.  Deadlines vary, but in general, the earlier you apply the better. You should also check with your professors when seeking research opportunities as many have openings available for Davidson students that are not advertised. Davidson professors will also know of colleagues looking for people to work in their labs.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates
This is the premier site for summer research positions in the sciences. REU sites are competitively selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF), so the positions tend to be of very high quality (and tend to pay well, also).

Grants and Research Opportunities on the Davidson College Biology site
List of opportunities listed on the Davidson College Biology Department website.  This is for all sciences, public health, etc.

American Psychological Association
Undergraduate research opportunities and internships in Neuroscience and Psychology.

RIT Co-op and Scientific Internship Listings
This list provides a wide range of short and long-term cooperative and internship listings in science and technology.

List of summer research/internship opportunities in the sciences
Provided by Grinnell College, but not affiliated with the college – open to students across the country, and in a variety of disciplines:  biologybiochemistrychemistrycomputer scienceengineeringenvironmental sciencemathematics,medicinephysics,

Biotech and Pharmaceutical
Bio
Biotechnology Industry Organization is a professional association designed to provide information and support for those in the biotechnology field.  Their website provides excellent information on specific fields, current research and career opportunities.

BioSpace
News and job opportunities for those interested in the biotech and pharmaceutical fields.

PhRMA
PhRMA’s mission is to conduct effective advocacy for public policies that encourage
discovery of important new medicines for patients by biopharmaceutical research companies. This webside provides a variety of resources on the field.

Environmental Studies
Environmental Studies: Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowships
For undergraduate students in environmentally fields of  studies.

Environmental Science Institute
Funded by the National Science Foundation, this program is open to a national pool of undergraduate applicants and requires a ten-week commitment. Students create their own research project, participate in a research group, and present their work.

Math
Mathematical Association of America
The MAA provides mathematicians with the best expository articles, engaging problems, and articles devoted to teaching collegiate mathematics. The MAA also provides research funding opportunities.

The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
International community of over 13,000 individual members. Almost 500 academic, manufacturing, research and development, service and consulting organizations, government, and military organizations worldwide are institutional members. The website has an excellent career-related section that lists internships and jobs within the field and provides career information and advice.

Physics
National Science Foundation
List of physics REU sites, both theoretical and experimental.

Public Health Opportunities
Johns Hopkins  – Funding/Internships Announcements
Compiled listing of public health related internships and research opportunities. Students do not need to be attending Johns Hopkins to apply.

Science
The National Academies
The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute ofMedicine, and National Research Council are private, nonprofit institutions that provide expert advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world.

Science.gov: USA.gov for Science
Internships and fellowship opportunities in science.

Scientific-related opportunities compiled by Columbia University, Department ofBiological Studies
Biology, Biomedical, Minority, Ecology and Environmental Studies, Marine Biology Research Opportunities, Fellowships, Internships and Summer Courses. Programs are located in all geographic areas of the country.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program: Boston University
Ten-week undergraduate program for students interested in pursuing a career as a research scientist. Students are chosen from a national pool.

Visitation Days with Savannah College of Art and Design

If you are interested pursuing graduate study at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), consider attending the below special visitation days that enable you to tour facilities, talk to faculty and admission representatives, and meet other prospective students.

SCAD DAY  ATLANTA
Oct. 29
3-6 p.m.
• Tours
• Opportunities to meet students, faculty and staff
• Portfolio counseling
• Performing arts auditions
• Admission, financial aid and scholarship information
• Deans panel discussion
Register

SCAD DAY  SAVANNAH
Oct. 8 or Nov. 12
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
• Tours
• Opportunities to meet students, faculty and staff
• Individual admission appointments
• Portfolio counseling
• Performing arts auditions
• Admission, financial aid and scholarship information
• Deans panel discussion
Register

Poets & Writers Magazine Unveils 2011 List of Top 50 MFA Programs

Poets & Writers Magazine recently published the 2011 list of the “Top 50 MFA Programs.” Criteria used include job placement, selectivity, fellowship availability, teaching loads, and popularity (based on a survey of prospective applicants who indicated where they planned to apply).

The rankings have come under fire by a large group of creative writing faculty across the country, who wrote an open letter to Poets & Writers claiming that the study used specious methodology, including placing too much emphasis on the schools’ ability to provide financial aid to their students. These faculty offered their own two cents to students considering pursuing MFA programs: “Do your research through the programs you’re considering. If you are able to visit those programs, ask to sit in on classes and for the contact information of current and recent students. Talk to people you respect about different programs. Read work by the instructors.”

If you are looking into an MFA program in writing or other creative arts, we recommend perusing rankings but focusing on the above advice. Try to connect with students and alums at your schools of interest to ask important questions regarding the climate and culture of their programs. Faculty may have some useful contacts, and you can always use Alenda Links to contact Davidson alumni who have MFAs for advice.

At the end of the day, after all, you want to find the graduate program that is right for you!