Fair educates students on grad school

(Photo by: Cade Clark) Dr. Greg Thompson from Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine is speaking with student Bryce Galbraith at the Grad Fair this week.

On Wednesday, Weber State University hosted the Graduate School Fair in the Shepherd Union Building Ballrooms to give graduate schools at WSU and from other schools around the state and country a chance to showcase themselves to WSU students.

Generally, those with a master’s degree can make 20 percent more than those with only a bachelor’s degree, according to the fair’s webpage on the WSU website. As a result, some students at WSU express interest in graduate programs at the university or at other schools throughout the state and region. Many of them showed up Wednesday to tour the booths that were set up for the fair.

While checking off a list of graduate school booths to visit during the fair, Kayla Blackford, one of the students in attendance on Wednesday, said she is looking for certain aspects in a graduate program.

“I’m looking for professors who are going to help me get to the next place in my career, good resources and good research mentors,” Blackford said.

Blackford said she has an interest in microbiology and that, despite WSU’s graduate opportunities, she would need to find her resources elsewhere.

“It (WSU) just doesn’t have the programs I’m looking for,” she said.

English professor Hal Crimmel, who manned the English master’s booth for WSU, said faculty, along with students, benefit from having more graduate programs as WSU, including more incentive to research.

“I think one of the nice things that a master’s program does is it helps encourage faculty to stay current in their field,” Crimmel said.

Crimmel also elaborated on what students can get out of graduate programs at WSU. While the variety might not be as large as necessary for some students, like Blackford, Crimmel mentioned many new programs introduced during the last couple of years and their advantages for local students.

“It offers Weber students a way to gain skills that will help them give them an advantage in the job market, and they don’t necessarily have to move and disrupt their lives and move to another state or commute a long way to get a master’s degree,” he said.

Crimmel also said there are differences between graduate schools at WSU and those from other schools.

“I think one of the real positives about the master’s programs at the university is that Weber is really focused on small class sizes and individualized attention,” he said.

There have been other developments lately in terms of how students can apply to graduate schools. Recently, the Graduate Record Examination, a graduate school admissions test, has changed, according to Dawn Piacentino, the director of GRE Communications and Services at the Educational Testing Service.

The biggest change has been to how students can send their scores to universities. After the test is taken, students can either send their most recent scores to universities or send all the scores from the past five years. Each student can send four score reports for free. In another development, the number of tests that can be taken per year went up in July. Students can now take the test five times per year, with 30 days in between tests.