When you’re applying to something it’s always nice to have a friend on the other side of it – someone to which you can ask all your questions. Since you might not have a friend to ask, I thought I’d try to give you an insider’s scoop with this post.
First comes the researching of the programs. You’re obviously doing a good job of it if you’re reading this post. Kudos. Something I would encourage you to look for is a program that pays your tuition and/or gives you a stipend. Spoiler alert: Baylor does both. I am essentially getting paid to go to grad school. Cool. I actually didn’t do too much on the research side because I knew Baylor was exactly what I was looking for, but I’m sure it’s a good thing to do.
Throwback to high school days and taking the SAT. Thought you were done with all that? Unfortunately, not yet. I used Kaplan to prepare. I bought a book off the Internet that came with an online portion. The online portion was key for practice because the actual test is online. I prepared for a few weeks leading up to the test. I read through the Kaplan book to learn strategies for the vocab and writing sections. I also studied some common vocab words (I didn’t study enough to make this helpful) and roots, prefixes, and suffixes and their meanings (this was more helpful). For math, I made sure I understood all the kinds of questions and did practice problems.
The biggest problem for me on the day of the actual test was running out of time. I didn’t do the practice problems with a timer, so I recommend doing that.
Baylor recommends a combined score of 300. If you don’t score this high, I would encourage you to study up and try to increase your score by taking it again if you have the time. Make sure you send your scores to Baylor!
Make sure to ask for these plenty of time in advance! You need one from an employer, a professor, and a student affairs professional. I got my ResLife supervisor (the one that encouraged me to go into Higher Ed) for my employer, my advisor and the head of my department for the professor, and my SGA supervisor for a student affairs professional. I asked in person then sent my resume with a reminder of when the deadline is! It’s nice to follow up close to the deadline to make sure they have sent them.
My personal statement was 1.5 pages single-spaced. This is probably on the longer side of the acceptable length, but I felt like everything I said was important. I summed up my undergrad experience, explaining how it led me to this point. Then I described why Baylor and why higher ed. There are many good ways to do this portion, so don’t stress. They just want to know your heart, really. They want to see that you’re interested and why you’re interested.
For my resume I ended up actually leaving things off because I didn’t want it to go longer than two pages. I hit all of my work experience and my most prominent involvements, listing the positions of leadership and a brief description of what that entailed. Also, don’t forget to send your transcripts.
Take note of the priority deadline. Try your hardest to get all your materials in by then.
This happens anytime between December and January. I was nervous about this because I had never done a phone interview before. I printed out my resume and personal statement and made a list of points I wanted to hit at some point during the interview. It was only 20 minutes long and not scary at all; they are all very nice people. This is a chance for you to share your heart with them. Help them understand why you want this and why Baylor is a good fit for you. Make sure your phone is charged and that you are in a quiet place in which you won’t get interrupted. I tried to jot down some names of people that were there, but the only one I was sure of was Dr. Sriram. I sent him a thank you note after the interview.
Okay, due to extenuating circumstances I was not able to attend interview weekend, but I’ve heard great things. I did my interviews via phone and Skype. If you receive an invitation to the weekend, you will get a list of potential apprenticeships and will choose your top four. Based on several factors, you may or may not get an interview with all four of your choice picks. In fact you probably won’t. Don’t be heartbroken by this. You’ll have 3-6 interviews then rank your top ones. The supervisors get together and figure out who will go where. They know what they’re looking for more than you know what you want. Everyone in my cohort got a really good fit for his or her apprenticeship. It all works out well.
Hope this helps you understand a little better what the process looks like. If you have more questions or want to know more specifics, I would love few things more than for you to contact me.
I’m a first-year HESA (that’s pronounced “hessa”) student from Georgia that came here fresh out of Samford University, and I’m doing my apprenticeship in the Global Community Living-Learning Center. Email me at Katy_Flinn@baylor.edu.