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Equipping Undergraduates For The Graduate School Process

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.201.1 - 1.201.8



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Paper Authors

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Jim Jones

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Ed Berger

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Linda Blevins

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

I Session 1634 . .

Equipping Undergraduates for the Graduate School Process

William Oakes, Linda Blevins, Ed Berger, Jim Jones ASEE/Purdue University


The objective of this paper is to document a successful seminar series developed and used at Purdue University which educates undergraduates about graduate school and equips them to successfully move through the application and financial aid processes. The seminars are designed for all engineering disciplines . At Purdue the series consists of four seminars given during a two week period. The four seminars are “Graduate Study in Engineering: To Go or Not to Go, That is the Question”, “ Helping Engineers Prepare for the General Graduate Record Exam (GRE)”, “Approach and Helpful Hints on the GRE Engineering Exam” and “Strategies for Applying to National Fellowship Programs”. An alternative format of a single seminar highlighting all four topics is also discussed. Data from student evaluations are summarized and show that while students are not initially well informed about the above topics, the seminars provide a significant increase in their understanding.


During the past decade, there has been a growing concern over the steadily declining percentage of U.S. engineering undergraduates pursuing graduate study. U.S. students have earned less than half of the Ph.D.’s granted since 1991 1. Many concerns have also been expressed about the small percentage of women and minorities seeking graduate degrees. While recent efforts have increased the number of minority and female engineering students, the percentages are notably lower than those found in the pure sciences and significantly below the demographic representation of the U.S. 2,374.

There are numerous reasons that U.S. students do not choose to pursue graduate degrees, but many stem from misconceptions and incomplete information5. This provides a powerful opportunity for ASEE student chapters to impact undergraduate interest in graduate school by formulating means to educate them on the merits of graduate school.

Although there are numerous efforts underway around the country to produce “engineering pipelines” encouraging U.S. students to pursue higher degrees, most are limited to the local institution and have not been successfully transported to other institutions. Also, most do not involve cooperation between the different departments at an institution.

This article outlines a successful approach taken by the ASEE student chapter at Purdue to educate the undergraduate population on the pros and cons of advanced degrees. The approach is a four seminar series held each semester which highlights reasons for pursuing graduate education and equips the students with

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Jones, J., & Berger, E., & Blevins, L., & Oakes, W. (1996, June), Equipping Undergraduates For The Graduate School Process Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6038

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