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Featuring Allison (Diller) Lienert '09

Graduate School: Vanderbilt University

Graduate Program: Special Education- High Incidence Disabilities (Mild to Moderate)

Information on Allison's employment profile

Position: Special Education Teacher

School: Harpeth Valley Elementary School; Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools

Location: Nashville, TN

(Profiled: 2011)

 

♦  What influenced your decision to go to graduate school?
♦ 
How did you explore graduate schools?

♦  Do you have any tips related to the application process?

♦  Did you obtain a Graduate Research/Teaching Assistantship?  If so, what was that application process like?

 

What influenced your decision to go to graduate school?

 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.

 

How did you explore graduate school?

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!  

 

Do you have any tips related to the application process?

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.

 

Did you obtain a Graduate Research/Teaching Assistantship?  If so, what was that application process like?

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 Allison's experience with Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and employment-related tips

 

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Education Career Services
Grove City College | 100 Campus Drive, Grove City, PA, 16127
PH: (724) 458-3397 |
2010 Education Career Services
Maintained By: Deb Snyder | Last Updated: August 2014