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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


  • 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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Do rankings really matter?

Going to Grad School is a big decision, and when students plan to go abroad to pursue their graduate studies, it becomes an even more challenging task.

A typical student who has decided to go to the US to pursue his/her Master’s would first Google the following –

  • Top Universities in the US
  • Top 50 Universities for his/her major
  • Top Universities which offer financial aid…
  • And so on…

For the record, I have been there and done all of that. So, let me take this opportunity to impart my wisdom to you, avid reader.

There are three main things you need to ask yourself before selecting your University –

  • Where do you see yourself 5 years down the line?
  • What is your budget?
  • Location, Location, Location.

It is important to know what you want to in the near future, as a master’s degree is more like a specialization of your skill set in a select field. In my case, my undergraduate studies were in Mechanical Engineering (-.-). By the time I graduated, I didn’t know exactly where I wanted to go, but I did know the different core areas that I was comfortable with (Designing and Manufacturing). Understanding your interests is important. So sit down and introspect.  This will help you find the right major for your master’s degree.


To explain my second point, let me first show you this chart, –


I think it goes without saying that “Best” ranked universities have significantly higher tuition rates. Remember, these rankings are mostly survey based, or in other words, simply someone’s opinion. I am not saying that top ranking universities don’t have their advantages; sure they do (I could come to that later), but choosing the right university requires you to research deeper, check the department you want to join. Do they match with your interests? Check the research areas, go through their published papers. This will give you a better idea of the department. Once you feel comfortable with the department, approach the department’s academic advisor and ask about curriculum, course syllabus, student faculty ratio etc. so that you will be 100% sure about the University before you apply, 🙂

Now that you have finished scoping out your universities, let us superimpose that list to the chart.


(Notice, how the universities above the curve now seem more favorable, so find the balance between your budget, department and “rankings”.)

Location matters. That is one of the reasons why I chose UT Tyler. (2 hours from Dallas, 3 hours from Houston and again 3 hours from Austin, if I drive really, really fast) to strategically place myself between the Oil & Gas/ Manufacturing hubs (Houston, Louisiana and so on) and the IT Hubs. Deeper research also shows that local places around Tyler and Longview have a number of small scale industries (Yep, internship opportunities!!).

Anyways, remember that one point where I said that Rankings do have their advantages. Let me come to that, to conclude this blog entry. I do believe that a high ranked university would help you gain a more recognized degree and better career opportunities. But with student debt surpassing $1 trillion people will have to decide to make that trade-off.  A study by Alan Kreuger of Princeton University and Stacy Berg Dale of the Allen Mellon Foundation found that students who went to highly selective colleges and students who got accepted to similarly highly ranked colleges but opted for less-selective schools earned around the same wage.

Ultimately, it’s the knowledge you gained from your Master’s degree that counts. Implementing those acquired skills at your workplace would take you up the corporate ladder and not the University rankings (even though it does play a role initially).

If you are interested in doing a PhD later on, then go for a thesis!! Work with the department, come up with an impressive paper and get recognized!! So the department, location and your budget should be the first things to consider about a University, rather than its rankings.

Happy hunting 🙂



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Meet YOUR Librarian!

GaimanEvery department on this campus has a subject librarian that specializes in that subject(s).

Doing college level research is hard, especially with the internet giving you access to both credible and unreliable information. The internet has made research both easier in terms of physical leg work but more challenging in terms of trustworthy sources and verification of facts.

  • So how do you navigate all of these sources?
  • How do you create the right search that brings back to best results so you don’t spend three weeks weeding through junk websites that google retrieves?
  • Why doesn’t your professor want you to use Wikipedia?

Well, to help answer all these questions, your library has not only friendly trained librarians, but subject specialist librarians. These subject librarians work closely with your faculty, the subject databases, and the subject itself to help you, and your faculty, with research.

They will happily help you with:

  • Research for papers, presentations, posters, and projects.
  • Subject specific research such as PICO articles for nursing and score searches for music.

Find yours below:


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UT Tyler Institutional Repository

The UT Tyler Institutional Repository (IR) is a digital service that collects, preserves, and distributes digital material. Here, the scholarly work of the UT Tyler community is shared, managed, and searchable.

Graduate students who write a thesis or dissertation as part of their program submit their work to the Institutional Repository, so that the library can maintain a copy of UT Tyler’s graduate student research. The IR also makes theses and dissertations available to view for the UT Tyler community and worldwide researchers.

When submitting a thesis or dissertation, students are given various release options which determine how accessible and viewable the work will be.  These release options are:

  • Option 1—Open Access: your thesis or dissertation is publicly available through the IR, library catalog, WorldCat, and popular search engines (ex: Google). By choosing this option you provide the broadest level of access to your work.
  • Option 2—Local Use Only: Access to the thesis/dissertation is restricted to members of the UT Tyler community for a period of two years. The work will also be available through the University’s interlibrary loan service during this time, after which the work will be become publicly available through the IR. If, at the end of the two year period you would like to continue the local access option, you must contact the University Archivist.
  • Option 3—Closed Access: Access to work will be restricted. Full text will not be available to anyone for a period of two years. The only information available during this two year period is the author name, title, and abstract, after which the thesis/dissertation will become publicly available through the IR. If, at the end of the two year period you would like to continue the closed access option, you must contact the University Archivist. Otherwise, the thesis/dissertation will become an open access resource.

So, how do you know which option to select?

If you want to scholars worldwide to have access to full text of your work, to further their research and contribute to your field of study, select open access. If you don’t want to allow access worldwide, but share with the UT Tyler community and those who have interlibrary loan services at their libraries—select local access. Finally, if you do not want to allow any full text access (often selected because of opportunities for publishing portions or all of thesis/dissertation), select closed access.

Keep in mind that whichever release option is chosen, authors retain all rights to their thesis or dissertation. To view theses or dissertations written in your department, simply go to the UT Tyler Institutional Repository website and browse by College, Department, or subject.

If you have any questions about which access options is right for your work, feel free to contact the University Archives at (903) 565-5849,, or come by the University Archives department in the Muntz Library, room LIB107.

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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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