Transition into graduate school with four steps


Martha Faulk, a UNF MBA student, decided graduate school was her next course of action in order to give herself more time to decide what to do with her degree and to prepare herself for competition in the job market.

Faulk said master’s degrees are becoming a lot more common.

“Most people that you talk to, like professionals, the business world, have a bachelor’s, and the master’s is almost like the new bachelor’s,” she said.

Faulk said it is imperative to have a master’s degree in today’s professional world.

The job market is competitive, Faulk said.

Holly Hengerer and Joey Hearn, both educational leadership graduate students, also think graduate school is beneficial for students.

“I think it helps make you a life-long learner,” Hengerer said. “It also makes you more marketable.”

Hearn agreed.

“I think people look up to you if you have a master’s degree,” Hearn said. “It gives you some prestige.”

The Graduate School at UNF has 30 majors. Some majors also have several concentrations, which means a student can pick a major and study more specifically in a certain subject.

“It keeps you thinking,” said Nicole Crosby, an educational leadership graduate student on the school leadership track. “It keeps you growing as a professional and as a person.”

For Florida residents, a three credit-hour graduate course costs $954.24. For non-Florida residents, a three-credit hour course costs $2,994.33.

After students select the program in which they are interested, they can start the application process, which includes four steps.

The steps

Step one is completing and submitting an application. For this step, students can apply and pay online, or they can submit a hard copy application and a check. The application fee is $30.

Former UNF students may also complete a student update form in lieu of an application form, said Kiersten Jarvis, the graduate coordinator of the UNF Graduate School.

Step two of the process includes sending in all official transcripts. However, former UNF students do not have to submit transcripts because they are already on file.

Step three is taking the appropriate tests. Students take either the GRE or the GMAT. The GRE is used for most programs. The GMAT is used for the MBA and accounting programs, Jarvis said.

Step four includes sending in reference letters, resumes or personal statements depending on the requirements for each program. Most programs accept applications three times a year in the fall, spring and summer semesters.

“I always recommend to give yourself at least a month and a half before the deadline to apply,” Jarvis said. “That way, you have time to take the appropriate tests, and it gives people who are going to write letters of recommendation time to write them and get them in the mail.”

Students must send their applications to The Graduate School office.

Funding the endeavor

After the school accepts them, students may concern himself or herself about how he or she will pay for graduate school. However, there is no need to worry because there are scholarships for graduate students. Most of the scholarships are offered through the individual colleges, and information about these scholarships can be found on The Graduate School’s Web site, Jarvis said.

She also said The Graduate School offers two scholarships of its own, The Graduate Scholars program and The Delores Auzenne Fellowship. For more information about these scholarships, students can also visit The Graduate School’s Web site.

Future of the school

The Graduate School may also grow in the future. Keith Martin, the director of The Graduate School, said that there are plans for offering new programs for graduate students in the future, but moving forward with the plans has been hard because of the budget.

“We’ve had our dreams dashed a little bit over the past several years because of the budget crunch,” Martin said. “We had to put on hold a lot of plans and dreams for offering new programs.”

Martin said that the graduate school hopes to establish new degrees, such as a doctorate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in music, in the future.

“A lot of things will come to fruition once the economy improves,” Martin said.

Martin said UNF prides itself on small class sizes, personal interaction and classes taught mostly by professors rather than teaching assistants.

“At the grad school, it’s even more of the same but even better,” Martin said. “It’s a continuation of the really excellent undergraduate experience.”

Martin said that the university wants to become known as a “destination institution” for Florida and the Southeast.