Too Soon For Graduate School?

I am currently taking English 225: Professional Writing. The class so far is extremely interesting. It has only met about three times, but I can tell it will be useful in the long run. We were recently given an assignment that I initially grappled with, and I would like to share my experience with you all. We were told to pick a graduate program at a particular university that we are interested in applying to, and answer the prompt to the essay question for that program’s application. At first, I had a difficult time choosing what university to look into. I pictured myself in 3 years, and where I plan on relocating once I graduate. New York City came to mind, as both my siblings moved there after college. In addition, New York is where I grew up, and I have always pictured myself coming back home after receiving my diploma at Michigan. To start, I found difficulty in which university to choose (NYU, Colombia University, etc.). I know nothing about the colleges so close to home because when I applied to undergrad, I wanted to leave the state and experience something new. No New York schools were on my list at the time.

I finally settled at Colombia University. After doing some research, I took interest in the Colombia Journalism School, and began answering the essay questions on the application. I then realized, however, that because I am only a sophomore in college, I do not (yet) have enough professional and academic experience to make a credible case for myself as to why I am qualified to study there as a graduate student. I voiced my concerns to my professor, who knows I am one of the only sophomores enrolled in the course (most students are juniors and seniors). She agreed that most of the experience I have is high school experience, which for the purposes of this assignment would not be useful on a graduate school application. Yes, I have had recent, relative experiences in college (and this past summer) that have strengthened my resume, however, I wanted more to talk about than solely this past year in college. As a result, my professor tailored the assignment to my situation, and helped me re-think my choice. She found a better program I could “apply” to: the Colombia Publishing 6 Week Intensive Summer Course. Because it is not a graduate school in itself that I was applying to, I was a more qualified candidate, and could write about my experiences in a more genuine and passionate way. I am crossing my fingers that by the time I need to apply to graduate school, wherever it may be, I will not run into the same problem. Thank god it was only a mock application!

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