My Friend Is Ignorant???

<p>My friend is going into her junior year of undergraduate at Syracuse in a week or two. She has a 3.83 out of 4.0 GPA with a major in Japanese. She wants to go to graduate school, but unfortunately was misinformed or well say, ignorant, about graduate school admissions. She didn't know that graduate school admissions is almost completely different from undergraduate admissions. So right now, she has no research, publications, or experience in her intended graduate major (Asian Studies or Japanese). The best she probably has that is even close is that she has tutoring experience in math and economics, which as you can see not even close. She also was called up for science tutoring, but once again, these don't pertain to her intended course of study for graduate school. </p>

<p>What she doesn't understand is that how can she do research, get into publications, and/or get experience in Japanese?</p>

<p>One approach is to get an MA in her field of interest. This might be expensive, but it allows one the chance to make up for the missed opportunities of the undergraduate years. Terminal MA programs are not terribly competitive in most fields, including area/regional studies, so admission should not be a problem.</p>

<p>Additionally, your friend seems to have two years of undergrad to go! That's a lifetime to develop some research experience and relationships with faculty.</p>

<p>Tell her to relax. The next two years are actually the crucial years to prepare for graduate school. She still has an opportunity to develop relationships with her professors and think about her senior thesis, and put together a summer research project (or spend the summer studying more Japanese).</p>

<p>I didn't start doing research until the summer going into my Junior year--since then, I've been in 4 labs and 1 summer REU, several conference poster presentations, and a conference publication. A late start is better than nothing and she can quickly make up for lost time. I feel like I can be a better applicant, so I'm taking this year (graduating after summer school) to work as a research associate and try to situate myself and taken on more projects to hopefully get a publication in a solid journal. An MA/MS is not necessary--just more research experience is.</p>

<p>She is fine if she can get some things going in the fall. She can spend the rest of the summer researching profs she'd like to work with at her school and reading their papers, checking on their current projects she might ask to join.</p>

<p>Any kind of TA or tutoring is a nice addition to the resume, as grad student often have to do that.</p>

<p>My son, too, is a rising third year student who is an EALC major with a primary interest in Japanese. While his undergraduate program is very strong overall in EALC, no one at his school specializes in or does research related to the particular (somewhat esoteric) area he hopes to pursue in graduate school. He will have good relationships with several faculty members, very strong language preparation, substantial study abroad experience, and both an independent study and an honors thesis in his area of interest by the time he graduates. It's not obvious to me how he might obtain more research experience than that, though.</p>

<p>In a field such as EALC, the type of research engaged in by most faculty members isn't really conducive to having undergraduate research assistants. I'm curious what kind of research experience(s) beyond an honors thesis might be possible at the undergraduate level. Does anyone have direct knowledge of how much research experience would be expected for someone to be a strong candidate for a competitive graduate school program in EALC?</p>

<p>That's it. Really. PhD programs give BA students a bit more of a break. The thesis is usually sufficient enough to demonstrate the applicant's potential as a scholar and ability to work independently. Independent studies and summer research are nice.</p>

<p>Your S needs to continue his focus on his language. Get it good and sharp. I know that Japanese isn't easy. Another year in Japan may be enough for him to get it solid for graduate programs, especially in lit, where his readings will be in that language.</p>

<p>He is also at a terrific school where I would definitely expect his professors to steer him in the right direction.</p>

<p>My friend says that extracurriculars and volunteering does not count for admissions. Is that true? She does do Japanese Club and has volunteer for Japanese translation.</p>

<p>As long they're relevant.</p>

<p>Thanks for your helpful response, ticklemepink.</p>

<p>She's half right... Admission to terminal Master program is pretty similar to undergrad admission, but admission to PhD program is a completely different animal.</p>

<p>Admissions to a Ph.D. program in one field of study can be a a completely different animal from admission to a Ph.D. program in another one. The best people to guide the OP's friend, are the faculty members in her department. They are the ones who know what is expected of Ph.D. candidates in that subject matter.</p>

<p>Sorry to clarify here, but she's not going to apply to any Ph.D. programs. She is going to apply to MA programs, and does not aspire to ever get a Ph.D.</p>