About Michael Giordano

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

Photo Contest!

Can you get the essence of UT Tyler in one picture?

We’re having a photo contest! Send us your pictures showing UT Tyler at its best, and you can win a UT Tyler Graduate School T-shirt!

Photos can be of the scenery, campus life, students, staff, faculty, or anything else that gives a good look at what life at UT Tyler is like. Have fun with it!

We will post the winning photo, and probably others, here on the blog.

Da Roolz:

  • Photos must be submitted by Wednesday, August 12th.
  • Inappropriate photos will be automatically disqualified, so please don’t send ’em. We are the sole judges of what is “inappropriate”.
  • Photos will be judged by the Graduate Admissions staff on entirely subjective criteria. The one we like best gets the T-shirt. If it’s not yours, sorry – try again next time.
  • No more than 5 submissions per person, please.
  • You must own all rights to any photo you submit.
  • UT Tyler employees and their families may submit photos, but are not eligible to win.
  • By submitting a photo, you agree that UT Tyler has the right to use the photo for any purpose, including marketing and promotion.

Please submit photos to OGSBlog@uttyler.edu.

–Michael Giordano
Assistant Director, Graduate Admissions

Share this post!
Facebooktwitterlinkedin
Or Follow us!
Facebooktwitterlinkedinyoutube

The Importance of Being Honest

Over the past few months, we’ve seen an unfortunate rise in the number of plagiarized application and scholarship essays. This is something we take very seriously, and in many cases, it was the deciding factor in a negative decision. One thing I’ve noticed, however, is the trend for individuals, once caught, to claim that they did not know that what they did was plagiarism, or that there was anything wrong with it even if they did. It made me think of the rationalizations that might come to mind for applicants and students when they decide to submit someone else’s work under their own name. These are the ones I could think of.

  • It’s not hurting anybody. Actually, it is. When a plagiarist doesn’t get caught, he or she is taking the place of someone who worked honestly on his or her essay. The plagiarist has no way of knowing if the person whose place he usurps is desperate for the scholarship that they’ve both applied for, or is in need of the degree in order to keep his or her job. Even if there’s no desperate situation, though, there is still the pain of being denied the scholarship or place in the program that is inflicted on an honest person.
  • It’s no big deal. Plagiarism, and cheating in general, is not something that we take lightly at UT Tyler. Students caught plagiarizing admissions material are summarily and finally denied admission to the university. Once admitted, the penalties for academic dishonesty can include failing grades, failing courses, academic probation or suspension, dismissal from the University, and/or denial of degree. It’s simply not worth the risk.
  • I’ll never get caught. I’ll admit, there is a possibility of getting away with it. We know that we don’t catch every single plagiarist. But we do catch a lot of them, and we believe we catch most of them. We employ services that check the content of an essay against other essays submitted to this and other universities. We make extensive use of Google and other search engines to find key phrases that are used in an essay. And we’re pretty good at spotting when writing styles shift in an essay between the plagiarist’s source material and his or her own work.
  • It is part of my culture. I know that there are cultures in which cheating is no big deal. In some places, a literal slap on the wrist is the worst punishment a person might get. Here, though, plagiarism and cheating are seen as severe infractions against our ethical code. And by making the decision to go to school here, a student is agreeing to abide by the ethical code of the University.
  • As long as I get in, it doesn’t matter how. Setting aside the Machiavellian immorality of that statement, let’s look at its factuality. Admission standards are not set arbitrarily just to put an obstacle in the way of would-be students. Standards are put in place to make sure that the students who get into the program have the academic ability to succeed in the program. Applicants who cheat to meet these requirements are setting themselves up for failure when they get into a program that assumes they have, at a minimum, the skills required to be admitted.

I realize that most of the readers of this blog have no intention of ever cheating or plagiarizing at UT Tyler or anywhere else. But with the recent rise in plagiarized essays, I was moved to make a statement of our position towards academic dishonesty.

–Michael Giordano
Assistant Director, Graduate Admissions

Share this post!
Facebooktwitterlinkedin
Or Follow us!
Facebooktwitterlinkedinyoutube

All in a day’s work

We had a bit of excitement Monday — a baby cardinal got into the building somehow, and was flying into windows trying to escape.

It was immediately clear that Graduate Admissions was the department to call.

Armed only with a spare t-shirt, Alecia and I rushed into action, accompanied by our trusty sidekick and honorary Grad Admissions Staffer, Beth Bruce from the Provost’s office.

The bird was sitting on a chair near the window as we approached, ninja-like in our stealth. Then Beth coughed, sending the bird into a panic. Flustered, it flew into the window behind it and landed on the windowsill, confused as to why the sky wouldn’t let it in.

We came towards it from three angles, cornering it against the glass. Closer, closer, closer… I gently tossed the tshirt over the bird — and the bird was caught.

But the task was far from complete. I scooped up the cardinal in the t-shirt and we headed downstairs to the exit. It was a muggy, hot day outside, and I could feel the bird moving through the t-shirt in my hands, begging to be set free. We moved to a nearby patch of shade and opened the cloth.

And the cardinal was free. It tweeted its thanks and flew into a nearby tree to recover from its ordeal.

Alecia, Beth, and I divested ourselves of our capes and returned to our not-so-secret identities within Grad Admissions and the Provost’s office, glad of another monumental task accomplished.

See the video! Releasing the Bird

— Michael Giordano
Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions

Share this post!
Facebooktwitterlinkedin
Or Follow us!
Facebooktwitterlinkedinyoutube

New Application System Is Live, Spring and Summer 2016 Apps Open!

Hey, folks! A two-part announcement today.

First, our new application system has launched! Kudos to Kim for getting it up and running, and thanks to our programmers and tech staff as well. This means that we will no longer be using ApplyTexas for graduate applications, and if you’ve got an application in progress on ApplyTexas, you must complete and submit it by 5PM CDT on Wednesday, June 24th, or it will be deleted and you’ll have to start over again on our new system. We will still be using ApplyTexas for undergraduate applications.

Second, and related, applications for Spring and Summer 2016 are now open. To apply, visit http://uttyler.edu/graduate and click on the “Apply Now” link. Application fees are just $40 for domestic applicants, and $75 for international applicants.

Hope to see you soon!

–Michael Giordano
Assistant Director, Graduate Admissions

Share this post!
Facebooktwitterlinkedin
Or Follow us!
Facebooktwitterlinkedinyoutube

Back from TXGAP Summer Conference!

hilton ft worthAndrea, Kelly and I have just returned from our trip to Fort Worth for the Texas Association of Graduate Admission Professionals Summer Conference.

It was a whirlwind of sessions and meetings and mixers, and we have copious notes and piles of business cards to sort through. We definitely learned a lot that we will be incorporating into our practice here at UT Tyler Graduate Admissions. Of particular note was the keynote speech given by Dr. Brenda Harms. She gave us her insight into the services that we provide for our incoming students, and some practical ideas about how to help prospective students decide if UT Tyler is the right place for them, and to help them integrate into campus life if it is.

Dr. Brenda Harms

Dr. Brenda Harms

As a side note, it was interesting — and sobering — to learn that the hotel we stayed at was the one that JFK stayed at the night before his assassination. It certainly had a historic feel to it.

–Michael Giordano
Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions

Share this post!
Facebooktwitterlinkedin
Or Follow us!
Facebooktwitterlinkedinyoutube

Ridiculously Reduced Application Fees – Limited Time Only

It’s time! We’re ready to test our new application system in the real world.

To do this, we need a small number of applications to come in through our new system. These will be real applications, and will be considered for admission to the University of Texas at Tyler’s Graduate School.

As an incentive for people to try the new system, we are offering extremely discounted application fees. $1 for domestic applicants and $2 for international applicants.

To see if you are eligible for this reduced fee, please send an email to GradAdmissions@uttyler.edu before 12:00 noon (CST) on Friday, June 12th with the subject line “Reduced Fee Application”. In this email, please include:

  • Your name
  • Your date of birth
  • Whether you are a domestic or international applicant
  • What program you would like to apply for
  • What semester you would like to apply for

We only need a limited number of applications for each program, so once we have enough for a particular program, we will no longer accept applications through the system for that program and at the reduced fee. An email will be sent to selected participants with the link to the application by Monday, June 15th.

In order to qualify for this reduced fee, the applicant must:

  • Receive the special application link via email from GradAdmissions@uttyler.edu
  • Complete and submit the application by 5PM Wednesday (CST), June 17th.
  • Pay the application fee by credit card (MC/VISA Only)
  • (If applicable) Enter recommender information in the relevant section of the application

If this sounds interesting to you, don’t waste any time — send an email to GradAdmissions@uttyler.edu right away and get that application rolling!

–Michael Giordano
Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions

Share this post!
Facebooktwitterlinkedin
Or Follow us!
Facebooktwitterlinkedinyoutube

Watch this space – don’t miss out!

We are eagerly anticipating the launch of our new Graduate School application software, which we expect will go into use in the next few weeks.  Before we launch to the general public, though, we will need some select applicants to test the software in a real-world situation.

That’s where you come in. We will be offering ridiculously discounted Graduate School application fees for applicants testing our new software: $1 for domestic and $2 for international applicants. You read that right. Just a buck or two to apply instead of $40 or $75! These are real applications and will be processed just the same way as applications received through our old system (ApplyTexas) are.

There will be a limited number of applicants for each program who will be selected for the test application, so watch this blog for the announcement that we are ready for testers and the instructions on how to become one. Don’t wait too long and miss out on this unprecedented opportunity!

Remember to look at the blog’s front page to see the announcement. It won’t be in this post.

Tell your friends!

–Michael Giordano
Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions

Share this post!
Facebooktwitterlinkedin
Or Follow us!
Facebooktwitterlinkedinyoutube

3 Essential Skills for Graduate School

Graduate school is demanding. There’s no getting around that. Nearly everyone struggles at some point in their graduate career. Fortunately, there are a few basic skills that will make graduate school easier, and the struggles less severe.

  1. Time Management

current_event_clock_clip_art_24453I’m sure it’s not surprising to find this at the top spot.  Time management is an essential skill at any level of schooling, but especially in graduate studies. As a graduate student, you may be balancing your studies with a job, a significant other, a family, and / or other responsibilities.  If you can’t schedule your time wisely, it is likely something will be dropped in the mix. There are dozens if not hundreds of web sites that give time management advice. Just don’t get so caught up in reading them that you neglect your other responsibilities!

  1. Test Taking

cod_fsfe_checklist_icon_clip_art_9572I’m amazed by how many people tell me that they’re bad at taking tests, as if that were a malady that was incurable. Now some people have test anxiety or other legitimate reasons why taking tests is a daunting if not impossible task, but I’m talking about the people who just shrug and say, “I’m just bad at tests,” and then do nothing about it. Test taking, like most skills, can be learned. For all of the major standardized tests, including the GRE, GMAT, MAT, and TOEFL, there are countless books, workshops, and courses that help build the skills necessary to do as well as you can on these tests. Familiarity with a test increases performance as well, so take the computer and paper based practice exams that you can find everywhere. The skills learned for these standardized tests transfer to the skills needed for in-class exams. Practice, get familiar with the tests, and be confident, and most of the time, you’ll do better.

  1. Networking

Why is networking a skill for graduate school? For most people, networking connotes building a system of people who you can call upon for assistance in professional matters after graduation. And this is an important reason to network. But networking can also help you academically. Having a support system of people to study with, bounce ideas off of, and collaborate (not cheat!) with can mean the difference between a lackluster graduate career and one that shines.

These are just some of the skills that can make graduate school easier. Of course, there are many more. What skills would you recommend developing?

–Michael Giordano
Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions

Share this post!
Facebooktwitterlinkedin
Or Follow us!
Facebooktwitterlinkedinyoutube

A Glimpse inside the Admission Process

People send thousands of applications to our graduate school, and in turn, we return thousands of admission decisions. From the outside, it can look like a black-box process. Applications in, decisions out, and what happens between is a mystery.

There’s actually quite a bit of activity within that black box, and I’d like to give you a glimpse of what goes on once your application is here.

Application In: The application arrives at the Graduate Admissions office.  It is immediately processed, archived, and posted to our admissions database software. An email is sent to the applicant confirming receipt and giving login information into myUTTyler, which is the side of the database that applicants and students can see – where they can track their applications and enroll in classes, etc.

Documents In: Once the application is in our system, we need to receive supporting documents. Typically, these include official transcripts and GRE / GMAT scores, but depending on the program, we might need to receive essays, recommendations, informational forms, or interview transcripts. Some documents come to us in the Graduate Admissions office, and some go directly to the department. The program’s web page will have details about where to send which documents. As these documents come in, they are scanned, added to the applicant’s record, and marked off of our checklist in the database.

To the Department: When all documents for an application have arrived, the application packet is sent to the department for evaluation. This process can take anywhere from one day to six weeks, depending on which department is receiving the application and how busy they are at the time. Decisions are made by faculty committees of varying sizes, and take multiple factors into account including grades, GRE / GMAT scores, other documentation, and interview results.

Decision Out: The department will send the application back to the Graduate Admissions office along with an admission decision. At this point, we will process that decision in the database and notify the applicant of the outcome of his or her application. For accepted applications, this is when we push the button that turns a hopeful applicant into an admitted student. That’s our favorite part of the day!

This peek into admissions is very basic and simplified. There are many smaller steps that make up each of these larger steps, but they are pretty technical, and without actually training you to use our systems, it would be hard to present them in a way that makes sense. But I hope this gives you at least a better idea of exactly what is happening inside the black box of Graduate Admissions.

–Michael Giordano
Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions

Share this post!
Facebooktwitterlinkedin
Or Follow us!
Facebooktwitterlinkedinyoutube