A Class I Would Like to Take

Kimberley Boswell, Staff Writer

You might have heard people say that what you do in college determines your entire future. Truthfully, it does. We’re all in competition for the most experience, the best GPA and the greatest opportunities after graduation.

Usually, the most competitive students who are willing to jump through all the hoops to succeed will apply to graduate school. But how is FMU preparing students to succeed after graduation?

To get into graduate school, undergraduate students have to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). It’s basically the college equivalent of the SAT. It’s separated into sections, like those of the SAT, which are writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. The exam is notoriously difficult.

So, why don’t we have GRE preparation classes at FMU? Sure, we have Senior Seminar and similar classes, but students seeking admission to graduate programs should be devoting semesters to learning how to take the exam.

At the University of Utah and other universities, for example, classes devoted to the GRE are offered several times each semester.

According to U.S. News, about 26 percent of American undergraduate students go to graduate school within a year of graduating. This percentage is surprisingly low, considering the increase in expectations from employers for full time jobs. Without a master’s degree, the job field is limited, especially for those with little experience. Offering a GRE prep class would be an investment in FMU’s undergraduate students, as they would be more successful in finding prestigious, well-paying jobs.

Kaplan’s GRE practice book guarantees a higher score for every student who uses its resources. Kaplan also offers classes for GRE prep, but the prices are higher than those for most college classes. Eight classes of GRE prep at the Kaplan facility costs over $1,000, and most college students cannot spend that much money on top of tuition.

Buying the test prep book seems to be the best advice I’ve heard from recent graduates, though. It’s highly recommended by the top colleges in the US. The college with the highest rate of students who pursue a graduate degree, St. Mary’s College of Maryland, recommends the book to its students and suggests that they take classes at Kaplan. U.S. News reported that 82 percent of St. Mary’s students go on to graduate school.

Even the small step of offering GRE prep classes would make a difference for hundreds of students here.

Though FMU is not the most proactive about helping students with the GRE, many resources are still offered for students. The library has copies of GRE practice books, and the career development center can help with information on furthering your education. Also, professors are always willing to help students succeed. Visiting your advisor with a list of questions about the GRE and graduate school is a good way to begin preparing for the test that could help to determine your future. In the future, I hope that FMU will invest in its students and encourage them to succeed not just for their undergraduate degree, but for further education.