Today, at noon, the youngest daughter (this is the one who graduated from college just days after me) will be taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
Had she been given a choice she would not be taking this exam today, but she spent her collegiate years focused on both social and geological sciences. If you’ve been around IATIW for any time then you have heard the story of Running Start, anthropology/archaeology, 6 weeks in the Oregon desert, double majors, and passions for rocks, sediments, and stratified hillsides.
Geology will be her focus in graduate school, and graduate school geology programs require the GRE. She has been studying for months, and for months, she has been hovering between quiet acceptance and downright indignation over this exam. I have seen what is involved in this exam, which by the way, is only the general exam and not a discipline specific version. I would not pass this exam, at least not the math portion.
When this day is over the next big step is to finish up all the applications, double-check on all the recommendations, edit and finalize a CV and personal statement, send everything off by January and then sit back, definitely on pins and needles, and wait.
She has chosen four universities, with two in reserve for the future if all goes afoul this time around. One is in our state of Washington, one in Oregon, then Colorado and Arizona. She believes each program is promising, and would let her focus on a specialization area that suits her. I don’t think that she has a favorite from that group. I know she just wants to get accepted, somewhere. Plus, research funding and graduate teaching offers would be greatly appreciated and willingly accepted, and actually necessary.
I think you can imagine that stress is an understatement in describing her position right now.
So dear readers, what has been your own experience with graduate school exams like the GRE or equivalent? Any words of advice regarding grad school in general?