I've never been one to sit back and wait. It's frustrating and feels distant. I'm nosy by nature, and I figure that my future university should know me as well as possible anyway. I think the universe is tired of me nosing around, because things just started moving really quickly.
I've seriously applied to three schools, grudgingly to one, and have more casually submitted partial applications to others. Let's talk about me as an applicant in general, first.
I'm female, 21 years old. I'm Hispanic and from a military family. I have a "learning disability" that seriously impacts my life.
I have a good employment history with occasional promotions, and have worked at a large bank for the past two years.
I've been named to the Dean's List 6/7 semesters, but my first semester of freshman year (the time I was not named to the Dean's List) was also when I was going through the testing and diagnosis process for my aforementioned disability. I currently have a 3.6 cumulative GPA and 3.8 Psychology GPA.
I studied using Kaplan's 2015 GRE prep book and took the GRE this past November. I received final scores of V: 162/ Q: 152/ A: 4.5. I found the book and accompanying materials helpful, and used the Kaplan GRE Vocab app on my phone to go through flashcards frequently.
My minor is Communication Studies, but I've also taken courses on Criminal Justice, Business, and am a student researcher in a Neuroscience Lab on campus. I was in a community musical theatre company from ages 5-18. I talk way too much. I'm from a rural area in Michigan, and have gone to my hometown University. I have no family history of graduate education, and am a second-generation American.
Great, moving on. Next, schools.
First, there's Western Michigan University. Though it's in MI and I'm in MI, it's farther away than my other schools. WMU does have in-state tuition, which I obviously qualify for.
I've applied to their IOBM Masters program, but they also offer a PhD. According to SIOP, they accept an average of 7 students into the IOBM MA each year.
On 1/11, Western called to offer me an interview for their program, and the weekend event is Feb 4-7. I will be hosted by a current grad student, but because I'm a wimpy scared baby my parents will be driving there with me and staying in a hotel nearby during the interview weekend. I mean, they offered, I'm not about to say no to anyone offering to keep me company on a long road trip!
My academic advisor knows one of the professors in I/O at WMU, and thinks I'd be a great match for her.
Western seems to have a great program, and I've heard only good things from the few current students I know. I'd be able to get a nice apartment for a very reasonable rate, and staying in the state is nice for insurance and blah blah blah. However, the city of Kzoo is less than perfect for I/O, and my current employer does not have a presence in lower Michigan so I would not be able to remain with the company, no matter what.
Oh, and as I was writing this I received the detailed schedule of interview weekend. It seems that IOBM, BATS, and BA will all be present. Also, my grad student host just emailed me, and she's under the impression that she has to pick me up from the airport. Like I said, I'll be driving. Whoops! Someone gave her some bad intel, friends.
Next on my mind today is Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. I've applied to their I/O M.A. program, and am currently working on getting my LoR gathered for the separate application for graduate assistantship and scholarships. RU does have a PhD as well.
My employer has solid presence in the Chicago area, and I would very likely be able to transfer to a convenient location and continue my part time employment while attending RU-- especially because RU holds classes in the evenings. My advisor is "old friends" with one of the IOBM professors at RU, and I'm emailing him back and forth to arrange a time when we can skype or chat on the phone. That'll be sometime next week.
Now, a little update. I logged on to my applicant account for RU, and today there was a new document required: official college transcript with degree. Since I haven't graduated, that's difficult to provide and the application for assistantship is due Feb 1st. So, I called their admissions office. More confusion. I spoke to a woman who was very confused about my undergraduate transcripts, and after some investigation she realized that my records were weird because my application is already pending a decision. WHAT. Like, excuse me, hold on, no. What?
So I expressed my shock to her, but she assured me that I should proceed with the assistantship app as I am. I asked some questions about sending in my LoR, all good. It'll save me some postage the way I'm doing it anyway.
I have to mention: I have a feeling about RU. For some reason I am drawn to their program, and feel like it would be a great fit for me. My limited exposure to Chicago has been wonderful, and weather isn't a concern of mine. It would be a huge change, but I'm not afraid of that.
The third serious application I've sent is to Elmhurst College, just outside Chicago. Their I/O Masters is highly rated by SIOP and within my preferred application area.
Elmhurst doesn't seem to have an application fee, but they also seem to have extremely limited funding opportunity and no graduate housing resources. Their application process has been the most strange so far. I've been told I sent my GRE scores to the wrong office and that I'd have to pay to resend them only to have the scores found in the correct location later. I've gotten rather curt emails from their admissions office, and later was contacted by the assistant directer of admissions who asked me to send further correspondence directly to him. Checking my email just now, I found a new message asking me to activate my Elmhurst Technology Account that I've just been issued. What in the world does this mean? Why do I need this? Have I been quietly accepted, and the emails were sent in the wrong order?
Besides, I haven't even sent my LoR to them yet.
Let's recap this, because my head is spinning and a lot has happened today.
1. Interview at Western. My host for WMU interview weekend thinks she needs to pick me up at the airport, even though I've indicated that I'm driving.
2. Roosevelt already has me listed as "pending" a decision to accept or reject me, and the application for assistantship/scholarship is due Feb 1st.
3. Elmhurst issued me a Technology Account that leads to a "campus portal" and the email said that they hope I "will be an active member of the Elmhurst College community," but I haven't even sent them my LoR yet and haven't been officially accepted or rejected. Confusing.
Today has been REALLY weird. I think there's Netflix and wine in my near future.