Learning about Graduate Programs
- Talk with faculty. Younger faculty within a department may be particularly helpful.
- Consult guides. Among the most useful are the following:
- Peterson's Graduate Programs in the Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences
- Guide to American Graduate Schools. Ed. Harold R. Doughty
- The Real Guide to Graduate School: What You Better Know Before You Choose Humanities and Social Sciences. Ed. Robert Clark and John Palatella
- Explore university websites.
- Learn about the profession by going to the Reports and Resources section of the Association of Departments of English website: http://www.ade.org/reports/index.htm.
Advice for Getting Recommendations for Graduate Programs
- Wisely select references. They should be individuals who know you well, think highly of your abilities, can comment on your abilities most relevant to the graduate program you are seeking, and hold a respected position.
- Give references adequate time to write a letter of recommendation - at lease a month is preferable.
- Arrange a time to meet with your references to review the guidelines and expectations of the letter of recommendation and to answer their questions and clarify points.
- Provide references with information about the program to which you are applying, submission instructions, and a written schedule of deadlines for all application materials.
- Provide materials that will enhance your reference's understanding of your academic history, interests, and career goals. These might include the following:
- A resume
- Examples of work in the course - preferably graded copies
- Other materials, such as a portfolio of creative writing, work produced for an internship or Furman Advantage project, publications (essays published in the Furman Humanities Review, articles for the Paladin, articles written for a journal or newspaper, etc.)
- Personal statements
- Note that references are typically asked to comment on academic performance: honors and awards; traits such as motivation, integrity, and reliability; ability to work independently and to work with others.
- A few days before deadlines, follow up with your references to make sure that the recommendations will be submitted on schedule.
- Write a thank you note to your references.
- Inform your references immediately when you are accepted into programs and let them know of your final decision.
What to Avoid
- Last minute requests
- Lack of information about the program and degree you are seeking
- Providing envelops - Faculty should use professional stationary and envelopes. Furman covers mailing expenses.