Panel shares graduate school tips, advice

On March 24, several professors from the history department discussed the process of applying to graduate schools in an informal panel sponsored by History Club and Campus Auxiliary Services.

Though assistant professor Justin Behrend, associate professor Kathleen Mapes and adjunct lecturer Todd Goehle spoke about the pros and cons of obtaining a master's or Ph.D. in history specifically, the advice was relevant to many liberal arts majors.

Although the process of applying to graduate schools is often difficult, the panel advised students to apply for programs even if they have only a slight interest in graduate school.

As a Geneseo alumnus who is now completing his dissertation at Binghamton University, Goehle said students should, "Do as much research as you can … [and] apply to a variety of schools." He noted that many institutions have easily navigable Web sites through which applicants can obtain a wealth of information.

The speakers advised students to develop strong relationships with undergraduate professors and to make contact with prospective graduate professors as well. Mapes cautioned, however, that "hardly anyone goes straight from undergrad" to advanced degree programs and suggested taking a year off to get real world experience.

Each speaker said that their graduate school experience, though difficult, was worth the effort. "It's a huge time commitment that puts a lot of pressure on you, but I'd do it all over again," Goehle said.