Our guest blogger, That Girl, offers advice on adjusting expectations

The art of life

light through the trees

As I was exercising in the gym I saw someone, a person of color, a color similar to my own, from a place that I belong to, the thought seemed exhilarating in a land quite unfamiliar to me. So as I’m about to leave the gym for I’m done for the day, I stop by to say hello. After an initial exchange of pleasantries and conversational small talk, I now know that she’s been in the area for more than a decade and that there are a number of people from our community in the area. As excited as I could be to hear that, in a moment I vicariously lived through moments of celebrating a culture my own, in a heartbeat. I instantly pitched that there’s a sizable portion of our community at the University I would love for us students to connect with the community. But my reverie was broken down by “We want nothing to do with them,” followed by the reasoning “If we want to celebrate our festivals, we go to Dallas.” Soon after this with some covertly worded statements I was made to realize, that she wasn’t looking to babysit a girl, as she even ‘refused to take up the responsibility of her niece, who was coming to the US to study pharmacy’, because girls these days “think differently and you don’t know.”

Now you must be wondering why I’m telling you all this, so let me tell you why. If you are anything like me that is empathetic, I would like to implore you to grow a thick skin, a very thick one indeed, if you are planning to study abroad. People whom you’d expect to be nice, sane and look out for you, because they belong the same country, state or community as you, you stand a high chance of being disappointed in them. Look you may have heard, people have pretty linear personalities, they’ll be nice to you as long as they have their own axe to grind at your expense, you’ll probably get a taste of it after you give up on all your cushions by choosing to grow out of your comfort zone, if you haven’t until know.

You will share a living space with people who have never travelled anywhere, have never shared a living space with someone, basically linear personalities, who cannot give up an iota of their nonchalant pampered passive-aggressive ways to accommodate someone else’s needs. You’ll have a real life experience of the virtual and instantaneous “friending” and “unfriending” that happens over at Facebook, because you have an opinion different than theirs. Though you may be surrounded by people much more mature in age than you don’t expect them to act mature at all.

In words of Maya Angelou “There’s nothing in this world more tragic than a young cynic, because you go from knowing nothing to believing nothing.” So how will you deal with this? You have two options either be cynical or you be you. No matter how much you dislike the situation you are in the truth of the matter is that you are living it and no one else can deal with it on your behalf. Don’t try and emulate the characteristics that you dislike on the pretext “That’s just how the world is.” You be the silver lining in someone else’s cloud. You help a fellow human when you see them in need, cause’ if someone mentions you and people go any version of “Damn, that person is such a nightmare,” there’s something you need to change something about yourself. Moreover, try to make the most out of your experiences by making friends within your immediate community and expanding out of your own. I’m sure you didn’t travel across the Atlantic to hang out with the same bunch of people you whose company you desperately wanted to escape. You come from another part of the world you have a different perspective to share and contribute to your immediate surrounding, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise and don’t hold back.

That Girl

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Next Step Grant

Great news!

Beginning with Fall 2017 admissions, The Graduate School at The University of Texas at Tyler is offering the Graduate School Next Step Grant to qualifying students. Recipients of this grant may be eligible for two years of full tuition based on availability of funding and continued eligibility.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be a Texas resident with financial need as determined by FAFSA or TASFA.
  • Must be attending 6-9 hours per fall and spring semester.
  • Must maintain good academic standing.
  • Please contact financialaid@uttyler.edu for program eligibility.
    (Executive and accelerated programs are not eligible.)
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Choosing to Study in the US

It’s no secret that the recent changes in the US have caused concern for international students who are considering the US for their master’s degrees.

In response to the perception that the climate in the U.S. might be less welcoming to individuals from other countries, over 200 colleges and universities have participated in the #You Are Welcome Here campaign. Many of the schools even made videos like this one from UT Tyler to show international students that we definitely want them to join us: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWXUNX-QNUU.

And of course we welcome international students!! The benefits of having international students on campus are plentiful, and most universities have known this for a long time. Successful graduates in our increasingly interdependent world will be the people who move comfortably between one culture and another; those with “intercultural competence.” To function effectively in different cultural contexts, our graduates must understand the complexities of our diverse world and the global community. With the increase in international graduate students at UT Tyler, our domestic students are broadening their understanding of what being a global citizen means, and learning to understand their own culture from the perspective of others.

Having international graduate students on campus benefits them, but it also benefits every other student with whom they interact. Our graduate international students have an opportunity to earn advanced degrees at UT Tyler, while our domestic students have an opportunity to interact with students from around the world. International students are a tremendous resource to UT Tyler (and the local economy). They bring an international perspective both inside and outside the classroom, making it extremely valuable for domestic students to have international students in the classroom with them.

Here are some interesting facts:
• In the past 5 years, we’ve seen an increase of over 200% in graduate international enrollment. The majority come to us from India, but we are seeing an increase in applicants and inquiries from Canada, China, Columbia, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.
• This past year we received applicants from 30 ‘new’ countries; that is, countries from which we hadn’t gotten application the year before.
• The most popular programs with graduate international students are Computer Science and our three graduate engineering programs, Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical; the MBA; the Industrial Management MS; and, increasingly, Psychology.
• We now have many international student organizations on campus. These organizations provide assistance and guidance to international students to ease their transition to American culture.
o African Student Organization
o Asian Student Association
o Bangladesh Student Association
o Global Patriots
o Indian Student Association
o Muslim Student Association
o Nepalese Student Organization

Another concern is the perception regarding opportunities post-graduation. As it turns out, the expected H1b changes will actually benefit international students. Moving from a lottery system to a merit-based immigration system would provide those with a master’s degree a much higher chance of getting H-1B visas. The reality is that there simply aren’t enough US students graduating with master’s in the STEM fields. We need international talent – especially students who have been educated at American universities.

So while you’re deciding on which university to attend, keep this in mind: US colleges and universities truly do welcome international students, and the job opportunity outlook for highly educated, highly skilled international graduates remains healthy.

Dr. Alecia Wolf
Assistant Dean, The Graduate School
The University of Texas at Tyler

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Welcome to Chelsea Miller!

Today, we’re welcoming into the ranks of Graduate Admissions our new Office Manager, Chelsea Miller!

IMG_1634Chelsea Miller, (no relation to our Jessica Miller, Secret Agent), will be taking over from Sydni Blundell, who has gone on to the College of Education and Psychology here at UT Tyler to be their Coordinator of Admissions to Online Graduate Programs. We’ll miss Sydni, but we’re excited to have Chelsea join us!

An avid golfer, Chelsea comes from Lufkin, TX. She played golf at TJC and UT Tyler as a student, but doesn’t play as much as she’d like now that she’s graduated with her associate’s degree in Health Sciences from TJC. Her husband recently left the service as a Marine, and is now a Psychology and Counseling student here at UT Tyler.

Please join me in welcoming Chelsea to the team!

–Michael Giordano
Assistant Director, Graduate Admissions

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Scholar Works at UT Tyler

Scholar Works at UT Tyler is UT Tyler’s institutional repository, a digital service which brings together all of our University’s research under one umbrella, with an aim to preserve and provide access to that research.

Graduate students that write a thesis or dissertation will add their final work to Scholar Works, adding to the digital collection of UT Tyler scholarship.

Once your thesis/dissertation is added to Scholar Works, authors immediately begin to see the benefits of providing access to their research—with the Scholar Works world map, authors can see where, worldwide, their work is being viewed. New graduates can link to their thesis/dissertation in their CVs or resumes, pointing potentially employers to their graduate research work.

Scholar Works allows you to distribute your work worldwide—most works deposited are freely available to anyone via the web. Your thesis/dissertation will be discoverable through major search engines like Google, and you’ll have the opportunity to share your work with more friends, colleagues, and like-minded researchers all around the world.

Digital Commons Network Wheel

When you add your thesis/dissertation to Scholar Works, you have an opportunity to choose disciplines which represent the subject area of your work. Whether it is electrical engineering, history, biology, or nursing—by selecting disciplines associated with your thesis/dissertation, your work is added to the Digital Commons Network wheel, a portal that brings together free, full-text scholar articles from hundreds of universities worldwide. It is a great access point for researchers worldwide to discover your work. On the Scholar Works at UT Tyler home page, there’s a network wheel specific to materials only in Scholar Works—that way researchers everywhere and our UT Tyler community can have a sense of the scholarly work we create at our university.

wheel

Live Readership Map

Scholar Works at UT Tyler also displays a live readership map, which pinpoints on a world map where content is being viewed and downloaded. Since the creation of Scholar Works in April 2016, there have been over 1,800 downloads of UT Tyler graduate students’ theses and dissertations, faculty publications and posters, and even some librarians’ research and publications.

Author Dashboard

The Author Dashboard feature at Scholar Works at UT Tyler allows authors to view their own readership map, showing where researchers have downloaded their thesis or dissertation. The dashboard also shows if your work has been downloaded at other institutions like research centers or other universities. This dashboard allows you to view and then showcase the visibility and research impact of your thesis/dissertation.

Overall, Scholar Works at UT Tyler provides a great opportunity to exhibit the scholarly output of UT Tyler—and especially your thesis or dissertation! If you have questions, please contact Terra Gullings, the Head of University Archives and Special Collections, at 903-565-5849 or tgullings@uttyler.edu.

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Pokémon? On Campus? Yes!

007If you look out on campus today, you’ll see people walking around with their noses buried in their cellphones, narrowly avoiding collisions with each other and with trees. Unless you’ve been vacationing under a rock the last week or two, you know that they’re playing Pokémon GO. It’s everywhere!

I’m too old to admit this, but here goes… I play it, too. And UT Tyler is a great place to play.

We have a ton of Pokéstops on campus — I lost count at about a dozen, but there are many more. There are two gyms on campus that are very active – one between our beautiful lakes, and one by our unique bell tower. I’ve seen them flash red, blue, and yellow many times over the course of a day. Besides the ever-present Rattatas and Pidgeys, I’ve caught Venonats, Polywags, Doduos, and all sorts of other little animated critters all over campus.

There are great places to play all over Tyler, as well. I’ve spent some time (I won’t say how much) at a table in a local Chinese restaurant where there happens to be a Pokéstop, dropping lures and catching Pokémon. Gyms and Pokéstops are everywhere you turn, and you can’t throw a digital stone without hitting a Caterpie or Weedle.

I’m going to out some people, too. Kevski, BK, and even Alecia play Pokémon GO to some extent. BK is the biggest Pokénerd among us — she knows all of the backstory of each Pokédude — although I’m currently the highest level of the Grad Admissions team. (I’m not sure whether I should be proud of that, but I am.)

So come on and bring your phone to campus. You won’t be alone — you may even find one of us on our lunch break tossing Pokéballs and catching critters.

 

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Job hunting? Here are some tips

Job hunting is one of the hardest tasks you face in the business world. Writing resumes and cover letters and making first impressions on company after company is tiring, and rejections, however politely phrased, sting badly. It’s hard to put yourself out there day after day trying to find the perfect fit. Or even a good fit. Heck, sometimes we’d settle for a fit that’s just “okay” if it will get us in the door of a company we want to work for.

We’ve recently hired some new representatives for the Graduate Admissions office, and so we’ve had this on our minds. We’ve seen some stellar applicants, and some that make us wonder how they could possibly have thought we’d offer them a job based on their behavior and/or resume. I’d like to pass a few bits of (very basic) advice on to any job-hunters out there. A lot of it seems like common sense, but based on the number of applicants who did not do any of these things, I guess it’s not as common as you’d think.

Application:

Give the employer what they ask for in the application. If they want you to apply online, using a certain form, or in a certain way, do it! Applications that come in through other routes are likely to be ignored, as employers have a process they use to vet potential employees, and their application procedures feed into this process. Also, if you don’t follow directions in the application, why would an employer think you’d follow them on the job?

Interview:

First of all, be on time. If you show up late for your interview, the employer will assume that you’d be late for the job, and unreliable in other ways. I’d recommend showing up five to ten minutes early, but no earlier than that.

The interview begins long before you enter the conference room or employer’s office. Remember that every single person you meet, from the receptionist to the CEO, is likely to be asked their impression of you. Make sure you treat everyone courteously and professionally.

Make sure to ask questions. Many people, going into an interview, think of it as a one-sided sales job — sell themselves to the company. Remember that if it is to be a good fit, the company must also fit your needs. Make sure that you find out about everything that is important to you during the interview so that you don’t have to ask basic questions later.

One exception to the previous note is salary. Don’t ask about the salary during the interview unless the employer brings it up. Once they offer you the job, you can negotiate the compensation package, but during the interview it shows that your focus is more on your wallet than your ambitions.

At the end of the interview, remember to ask for the job. You want to make sure that the employer knows that the interview further ignited your interest in working for the company and that now, more than ever, you want to work for them. A statement like, “After hearing more about this position, I’m really convinced I would be a good fit, and I hope we can be working together soon.” shows the employer that you used the interview as a way to learn about the company as much as they used it to learn about you.

Resume:

Unless you have fairly extensive work experience, limit your resume to one page. I know it’s tough to get everything you want to say about yourself in that limited space, but employers typically spend very little time with resume-clipart-canstock5245260each resume before making the decision to interview or not — and the more concise your resume, the more information can be read in that little time. If you do have extensive experience, you should still limit your resume to two pages. Let’s face it, anyone with enough experience to need more than two pages for a resume probably isn’t looking for job hunting advice at this stage in their careers.

It’s good to have a resume that stands out from the bunch, but don’t go overboard. Crazy colors, scented paper, and funny fonts (I’m looking at you, Comic Sans) have no place in a resume. Stick with good quality white or very light cream paper, basic fonts, and a simple, easy-to-read format, and you’re more likely to be taken seriously.

Hygiene / Dress:

Make sure you are clean, neatly dressed, and — this is important — deodorized! I can tell you for certain that employers will turn away otherwise qualified applicants who look sloppy or smell bad. Nobody wants to have their company represented by someone who looks (or smells!) slovenly or unkempt. On the same note, avoid strong perfumes and colognes. Any scent, however pleasant to you, might be cloying to the interviewer, and some people are sensitive enough to scent that a strong perfume or cologne could trigger a headache — something you certainly don’t want to leave an interviewer with!

Always dress for an interview one step up from the way you would dress for the job itself. If the job requires a tie, wear a suit. If it’s a blue jeans-and-t-shirt job, go with business casual for the interview.

Hopefully, you’re already doing everything I suggested in this post. I didn’t suggest anything particularly novel or unusual. But after seeing dozens of applicants for this most recent set of positions in Graduate Admissions, and seeing how many of them did not follow even the basic advice given above, I couldn’t help but wonder how they could have missed such common-sense practices as those above.

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Hello! Did you miss us?

It’s been a loooong time since we’ve updated this blog. Let me get out a snow shovel and clean up some of this dust off the keyboard. Phew!

(Hmmm… where did I find a snow shovel in Texas, anyway?)

Anyway, we’re still here and plugging away as hard as ever. And we have a few pieces of news to share.

First, get ready for Graduate Orientation!

That’s right – on Saturday, August 13th, all new graduate students are invited to come to campus for an orientation where we will be presenting information about our programs, student life, financial aid, enrollment, and many other topics of interest to graduate students. And there’s swag. And free food. Don’t forget the free food.

If you’re an online student, you’re also welcome to attend, but if you’re too far away to reasonably make it here, or if you just can’t make the day, we’ll have all of our orientation material available online on our Orientation webpages.

KEVSKISecond, a big welcome to Kevin McDaniel, who has just made the transition from student worker to full-time employee in the Graduate Admissions Office. Please join me in welcoming him to the team!

Kevin recently graduated from UT Tyler with bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and History. As disparate as these degrees seem, he somehow made them work together. By counting soldiers or something, I don’t know.

 

bkFinally, a congratulations to Brittani Keith, who has been promoted to Senior International Admissions Representative. She’s been rocking the new job, and we’re thrilled to have her aboard.

It’s an exciting time here in Graduate Admissions! We’ve got a lot to tell you about, and we’ll do our best to keep any more dust from settling on the blog keyboards!

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An Important Message for New Graduate Fellowship Applicants

The Graduate Scholarship Committee will be meeting soon to review applications for the New Graduate Fellowship (NGF).

Please be sure to use your own words when writing your brief essay about why you should be selected to receive the scholarship. Any form of plagiarism will permanently disqualify students from receiving any financial award from The Graduate School for their entire time at UT Tyler. It will also mean that they are not eligible to work in the Graduate Admission office.

Let’s take a look at a sample essay submission:

“I believe I deserve to be selected for one of your foundation’s scholarships because as a hard working student I commit myself to effectively take advantage of the opportunity that the scholarships will provide me. Besides, I am a student that does not only persistently works hard academically, but also I constantly try to improve my own community’s quality of life by doing volunteer work.”

Sounds compelling, right? WRONG! This essay appears on multiple ‘how to write a scholarship essay’ websites. Don’t believe it? Google it. We see submissions like this far too often. These sites are intended to generate thoughts about your personal experience, and are not an invitation to plagiarize. Students often protest that they were advised by their agent/consult to submit the essay – we do understand that this happens; however, it does not mitigate the consequences.scholarship

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please don’t forfeit this amazing opportunity – take the time to write a few genuine sentences. It is heartbreaking to each committee member to deny awards to otherwise deserving students. If you are applying for the NGF, it means you’ve already been admitted. That means you’ve spent money on the application fee, test scores, and for international students, the evaluated transcript. The NGF pays you $1000 USD, and for non-resident students it cuts your tuition almost in half. That means the NGF can save you roughly $7,000 USD, and pays you $1000 – so don’t lose the benefit of $8,000 a year because you copy phrases, sentences or paragraphs from another source and present it as your own.

Speak openly and honestly about why you think you deserve the award. It doesn’t have to be more than a paragraph. We want to know what you’ll do with your degree from UT Tyler, and how the fellowship will help you achieve that.  That’s it! 3-4 sentences in your own words.

Please review UT Tyler’s Graduate Admissions Policy: The submission of documents in support of applications for admission and fellowships such as transcripts, diplomas, test scores, references, essays, or the applications themselves, that are forged, fraudulent, altered from the original, plagiarized, materially incomplete, obtained under false pretenses, or otherwise deceptive (collectively referred to as fraudulent documents) is prohibited by The University of Texas at Tyler and may be punishable by: a bar on applying for admission, fellowships, suspension, and/or expulsion. Students who submit fraudulent documents are not eligible to reapply.

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Important Message about Scholarships

We get a lot of inquiries at this time of year about scholarships, so please review this post – it will answer the most frequently asked questions.

AWARDS FROM THE GRADUATE SCHOOL

The New Graduate Fellowship is only available to incoming NEW students. We have a limited number of awards to renew top performers who previously received the NGF, and also a limited number of awards for new Fall 2015 students who did not receive an NGF but performed well in Fall – the NGF GAP award.

DEADLINES

The deadlines have passed for all scholarships- if you did not apply, it is too late.

“I NEED AN APPOINTMENT TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT A SCHOLARSHIP”

Please do not email or ask to meet with us to plead your case. We have over 200 people who applied in time, and funds are limited. You will be notified via email if you were selected for an award. Meeting with us will in no way ensure an award.

“DID I GET AN AWARD? WHY DIDN’T I GET AN AWARD?”

Graduate Admissions/The Graduate School do not have access to the awards that are made by other offices. We only process NGF, NGF renewals, and NGF GAP. That means we can’t tell you why you didn’t get a College Scholarship. There are several individual and endowed scholarships awarded by the various colleges of the University. They range in criteria, requirements and amounts, and are awarded by the scholarship office – not Graduate Admissions/The Graduate School.

If a student is not recommended by the department, has ever violated the UT Tyler academic honesty policy, or plagiarizes any part of the application, they will remain ineligible for our awards for their entire time with UT Tyler. The submission of documents in support of applications for admission and fellowships such as transcripts, diplomas, test scores, references, essays, or the applications themselves, that are forged, fraudulent, altered from the original, plagiarized, materially incomplete, obtained under false pretenses, or otherwise deceptive (collectively referred to as fraudulent documents) is prohibited by The University of Texas at Tyler and may be punishable by: a bar on applying for admission, fellowships, suspension, and/or expulsion. Students who submit fraudulent documents are not eligible to reapply.

Finally, the number of awards we can make is limited by our available funds. Therefore, not everyone who is eligible to be considered will receive an award.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE AND HOW ARE THE DECISIONS MADE?

Applications undergo a holistic review, which looks at the following criteria:

Full-time enrollment

  1. Academic standing/cumulative GPA
  2. Donor restrictions
  3. Date application received
  4. Available funding
  5. Faculty recommendation
  6. The applicant’s demonstrated commitment to his or her chosen field of study
  7. Involvement and level of responsibility related to other factors, including extracurricular activities, employment, community service
  8. Geographic region of residence
  9. Academic Program

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS

  • I am the only student who didn’t get an award. We have over 2400 graduate students and only 237 awards. Not everyone gets an award.
  • I have a higher GPA than my classmate who got an award, so it’s unfair that I didn’t get one. The awards are not based solely on GPA.
  • I am having financial difficulties and need the award more than another student, so I should get the award instead of her. The awards are not need-based. Graduate School is expensive and no one is guaranteed an award. This is why we let students know what the costs will be before they apply to grad school. This is also why we ensure that international students provide the Certification of Financial Responsibility so there is no doubt that they are aware of the costs.
  • I have a friend who got an NGF but he’s not going to come to UT Tyler, so you should give that award to me. Unclaimed awards will go back into the pool of funds and will be re-awarded to the next eligible candidate on the list. We will continue to award unclaimed fellowships until they are claimed.

We will make our final awards this week, so please keep an eye on your email account, and best of luck!

 

 

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