About Michael Giordano

Michael Giordano is the Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions at the University of Texas at Tyler.

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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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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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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Door Decorations

IMG_0972I’m proud to announce that Graduate Admissions won the 2015 Homecoming Week Door Decorating Contest! The primary artist for the door was Brittani, but we all chipped in to some degree, even if it was just moral support.

We got a huge trophy for winning — check it out!

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A big welcome for Kevin

kevin2We’re happy to announce that we have a new member of the Graduate Admissions family. Kevin Hawbaker has just signed on to be a Data Analyst in our group. That means he’ll be crunching numbers and munching data to give us reports that will help us better serve the Graduate School community and the potential members thereof. He’ll also be working on application processing, software and workflow implementation, and interpretive dance. (Just kidding on the last one. (I hope!))

 

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Photo Contest Winner!

image2Hey, everyone, we have a winner!

This photo was taken by Abhinav Mahajan. What can be more quintessentially collegiate than a bunch of students hanging around a pizza box? It doesn’t hurt that Khaled is in the picture modeling our Graduate School T-shirt!

Abhinav has won a similar t-shirt! Keep an eye on this blog for future photo contests!

–Michael Giordano
Assistant Director, Graduate Admissions

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Bowling Night in the OGS

The Gang's All Here

The Gang’s All Here

Yesterday night, we went bowling!

That’s right. The Graduate Admissions Staff dusted off our fancy shoes, polished our sparkly bowling balls, and headed out to the bowling alley. (Okay, so we rented shoes and borrowed balls. We still went!)

And we had a — wait for it — ball!

Kim pauses dramtically before launching her shot.

Before you get too excited, you should know that we are not professional bowlers. We are not competative bowlers. We are, sadly, not even good bowlers. But we had fun, and that’s what counts.We broke into three teams, each on its own lane, and averaged our scores to compete with each other. Chaitanya, Kevin, Riley, and Mike (yours truly) made up Team 1. Brittani, Chaffe, and Kim were Team 2, and Team 3 was Alecia, Khaled, Sydni, and Aamani. The stakes were high — bragging rights for the rest of the month for the winning team, and the title King or Queen of the night for the highest score.

Brittani celebrates a gutterball
Brittani celebrates a gutterball

Spirits were high. Good rolls were met with cheers, and poor ones with sympathy and good-natured joking. Pizza and soft drinks fueled the bowlers, and we had three hours on the clock. People laughed as strikes were followed by double-gutterballs and cheered when Kim almost made three strikes in a row.

The rivalry between teams was friendly, and, probably because nobody was particularly good, the competion was light-hearted and fun. But like all good things, the night had to come to an end. Scores were tallied, and results were posted.

Kevin's Impending Strike
Kevin is lined up for a strike

 

The highest average of the night went to the team of Chaitanya, Kevin, Riley, and Mike (yours truly, thank you very much!). We averaged a game score of 87.5 points. (I told you we weren’t very good!). King of the Night status went to Chaitanya, with an outstanding game of 136 points, beating out Kim’s 125 at the last minute.

A Selfie before we go

A selfie before we go

Before we left, we had a surprise visit from Praveen, who had just picked up a friend from the airport and stopped by to say hello, roll a ball (twice), and take a group selfie. Below, I’ll post some more pictures from our night to remember. We’ll definitely be doing this again!

King of the Night

King of the Night: Chaitanya!

–Michael Giordano
Assistant Director, Graduate Admissions

A Bunch of Us

Just a bunch of us

Sydni Prepares

Sydni prepares to launch

Sydni, Brittani, and Chaffe

Sydni, Brittani, and Chaffe sharing a moment

Smiles all around

Smiles all around

Mike points something out to Praveen

Mike points something out to Praveen

Alecia launches the ball

Alecia launches the ball

Mike aiming for a spare

Mike goes for the spare. (I missed.)

Khaled Fixes the Scores

Khaled “fixes” the score

A quick break

A quick break

Alecia gives advice

Alecia has some advice for Chaffe

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New Grad School Apps!

We’re psyched to announce that we have just released apps for Android and iOS platforms. These apps have general grad school information, as well as some information specific to the upcoming Orientation.
Download the app!
Is there anything that you’d like to see on the app that’s not included? Let us know in the comments!
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