As it is November — the season for applications to graduate school — I have a special request of you this month. Do the world a favor, and ask a talented undergraduate of your acquaintance out for coffee or tea. Talk to him or her about graduate school and ask about whether an application might be in the works. Sometimes students need an extra nudge to prompt them to consider applying to graduate school. They need to know someone thinks they could bring something valuable to further study here or elsewhere. As a near-peer role model, you’ll be especially influential.
The good feelings you derive from being helpful in this way will be magnified if you talk to a student who might not have even imagined applying to graduate school. Some students come from backgrounds where this is not the first option that comes to mind when nearing completion of a B.A or B.S.
If you’re feeling really generous, you might even offer to read the student’s statement of purpose or research interest, and offer feedback. You are an expert at navigating the process of applying to graduate school. It’ll take perhaps an hour out of your day to try to pass along some encouragement and information to an undergraduate in your research lab or discussion section. Berkeley is strengthening its culture of mentorship at every level. You can be part of this and, in the process, you just might do the world a big favor.
Andrew J. Szeri
Dean of the Graduate Division