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Delaying Grad School Again- Advice?


JBums1028
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Hello all! So I'm in the unfortunate situation where it looks like I (probably) won't be getting any assistantship offers this round. I'm still waiting on one school, but it's probably my most competitive option of the four. I basically have two options in front of me right now: 1) Attend a school without a GA or 2) Wait another year. I've already been applying for some jobs/paid internships as a just in case, so I feel like my chances of finding something for the next year will be okay.

 

What I'm wondering is for those of you who did choose to defer and do a second round of applications, how was it for you? Did you have more success the second time around? Did you adjust your application strategy? If you went back to a program, do you think they viewed you more favorably since you tried again? Any advice or insight from either side (someone who went without a GA or someone who delayed the process for a year) would be great. Just trying to sort out what I'm going to do.

 

ETA: I should probably note I'm a HE/SA applicant...

Edited by JBums1028
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This is my first time applying for grad schools too so I don't have any advice on that front but it looks like we're in the same situation! I don't really want to start a HESA program without a GA position because I feel like it'll be harder to get a job when I graduate, I think I'm going to look for a student affairs related job at one of the local colleges around here and reapply next year. Good luck with your last school, I hope you get some great news.

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Just remember there are usually opportunities for campus jobs that aren't technically considered GAs but will still give you good experience and some compensation.  And sometimes GAs open up mid-semester or at the start of the spring semester for a variety of reasons.

 

Deferral can be a good option if 1) you find a meaningful way to spend the year that gives you something powerful to write about in your next personal statement; and/or 2) you're willing to rethink your application strategy (which could mean targeting different schools, getting different references, retaking the GREs, etc.).

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This is my first time applying for grad schools too so I don't have any advice on that front but it looks like we're in the same situation! I don't really want to start a HESA program without a GA position because I feel like it'll be harder to get a job when I graduate, I think I'm going to look for a student affairs related job at one of the local colleges around here and reapply next year. Good luck with your last school, I hope you get some great news.

 

Are you currently in undergrad still? I know one common option is doing a program like AmeriCorps or City Year during the gap year (that's what I'm currently doing and I met several at my interview weekends who also were in AmeriCorps). The program I'm in has several campus compact positions across the state of Michigan, so if you're interested in more information feel free to direct message me!

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Just remember there are usually opportunities for campus jobs that aren't technically considered GAs but will still give you good experience and some compensation.  And sometimes GAs open up mid-semester or at the start of the spring semester for a variety of reasons.

 

Deferral can be a good option if 1) you find a meaningful way to spend the year that gives you something powerful to write about in your next personal statement; and/or 2) you're willing to rethink your application strategy (which could mean targeting different schools, getting different references, retaking the GREs, etc.).

 

I think if I did defer I would definitely change a few things. I'd keep three of the schools I applied to in the mix, and I'd probably try to add in 2-3 others as well just to better my odds. I would also change up my strategy with which GA positions I'm applying to. I did take the GRE, but I chose not to apply to schools that required it because my scores weren't super strong (I don't remember the exact scores, but my estimates would be 154 V, 147 Q, 4.0 AWA). I really, really would prefer not taking it again. Setting the GRE aside, I'm not worried about getting into/invited to interview at programs. It's mainly the GA process that for didn't go well for me.

Edited by JBums1028
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That is the situation I was in last year. I decided to do AmeriCorps which has been a really great opportunity. Several states have Campus Compact programs (I know NY, CT, PA and OR and I'm sure many other states) where you work on a college campus which I think is a great opportunity to get experience in the field and do service (Also many of them have free housing). I do think that it helped my applications and the experience has definitely been good.  

 

I did defer but I only ended up re-interviewing at one of the schools and I didn't reapply to the one school that rejected me. 

 

If you're really worried about the GA interviews I think another year of experience would definitely be helpful. It will give you more to talk about in interviews and more confidence in the field. 

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That is the situation I was in last year. I decided to do AmeriCorps which has been a really great opportunity. Several states have Campus Compact programs (I know NY, CT, PA and OR and I'm sure many other states) where you work on a college campus which I think is a great opportunity to get experience in the field and do service (Also many of them have free housing). I do think that it helped my applications and the experience has definitely been good.  

 

I did defer but I only ended up re-interviewing at one of the schools and I didn't reapply to the one school that rejected me. 

 

If you're really worried about the GA interviews I think another year of experience would definitely be helpful. It will give you more to talk about in interviews and more confidence in the field. 

 

Hi Meghann, I'm current doing campus compact in Michigan. The experience has been good and I like my position, but I'd prefer not doing another AmeriCorps term. It's been a good opportunity and a good "foot in the door" experience, but I'm hoping to find something where I have more direct experience and I'm responsible for more (my sites have mainly been having me "help" with things, which I think may have made my experience sound weaker in the interviews). I've already been looking for and applying to other jobs at this point. Fingers crossed I find something so that I have a plan B. 

Edited by JBums1028
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