School: Harpeth Valley Elementary School; Metropolitan Nashville Public
What influenced your decision to go to graduate
How did you explore graduate
Do you have any tips related to
the application process?
By the time I reached senior year, I knew I wanted to be a special
education teacher. At that time, Grove City was just beginning to
develop plans to add a Special Education major, so I did not have any
choice but to look into graduate school programs. After discussing the
options of teaching first, or going straight to graduate school, I
decided it would be best for me to go to graduate school right away.
I began by searching for schools in my hometown area that had the type
of program I was looking for. I did some informal research, and also
looked specifically for schools and programs that offered
assistantships. I thought “small” when I first started the application
process, and it wasn’t until I asked Dr. Nichols for a letter of
recommendation that she encouraged me to think “big” and apply to
Vanderbilt University. I actually remember her saying she wouldn’t write
me a recommendation unless I applied to Vanderbilt!
Stay organized! Have a folder with all of the necessary paperwork—there
are a lot of steps, and having everything at easy access makes the
process much less stressful. Save your essay questions. Many programs
have essay questions that are similar. Write one solid essay, then adapt
it for each application. Apply early! Many schools waive application
fees if you apply before a certain deadline. Talk to your professors and
Education Career Services! They are a wealth of knowledge and are so
helpful and supportive.
Yes! I was offered a graduate assistantship by a Vanderbilt professor. I
worked 20 hours a week doing research, course preparation, or oddball
jobs. This paid for my tuition and gave me a $600/month stipend. The
application process was very easy. There was a section on the
application that asked if I would be interested in obtaining an
assistantship or work-study position. I checked ‘yes’. A few months
after I heard that I was accepted to Vanderbilt, I received an e-mail
from a professor offering me a graduate assistantship. I replied that I
was interested, and that was it!
More information about
experience with Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and employment-related tips
Back to Alumni Profiles