UW Graduate School

Taking the Course

This 10-week course is for juniors and seniors who know they want to pursue, or are considering the possibility of, graduate education; learn first-hand from faculty and staff involved in graduate admissions how to find a good program fit and how to prepare effective application materials.

The course seeks to engage students in determining the right “fit” for their individual graduate education goals through three primary objectives:

  • Investigation: What is your desire to attend graduate school?
    • What you need to know about the graduate school experience
  • Revelation: What do graduate school admission committees actually expect?
    • Demystify the process
    • Personal statements, resumes/CVs and letters of recommendation
  • Preparation: How does investigation and revelation lead to finding a “good fit,” and how do you chart a course of action?
    • Why do you want to go? When do you want to go? Where do you want to go?
    • What do you want to do? How can you do it?

Course Details

  • Credits: 2 C/NC
  • Time: Fridays, 1:30–3:20 p.m. / Autumn 2016
  • Location: Bank of America Executive Education Building, Room 110
  • SLN: 15647

A few words from the course instructor – Issa Abdulcadir

Why I teach this class

As you near the end of your undergraduate career, a really difficult question looms: What’s next? For many, being a student has been a staple of your identity for decades. Some of your closest friends, your most memorable experiences, your triumphs, and difficult moments are often closely related to the experiences, relationships, and environment that school provides. It’s over now. You’re no longer a student in a formal sense. There is no classroom in which to congregate, no guided lecture, no course of study. There is only you and your relationships and an opportunity to put to use all that you’ve learned. What do you do now?

This is the difficult part; it’s a question that is more urgent than it is clear, and like a blinking cursor on a blank word document, or a paint-tipped brush directed at an untouched canvas, what lies before you is endless, hopeful, exhilarating, terrifying possibility. You could create a masterpiece, imitate the work of some other artist, pen nothing, or paint something extraordinary. Whether your work is something of your own design or someone else’s, the picture and the journey are a consequence of your own choices.

Unlike any course I’ve seen or taken, it offers an honest account of graduate school, as one of the many choices available to students after graduation. By facilitating discussions with graduate students, faculty, and admissions staff the course offers a kaleidoscopic vision of the experience of being a graduate student, and helps students develop insightful application materials. Along the way, students are required to reflect on the many options available to them, and if, after being exposed to an honest vision of graduate school, their interest in further, formal education solidifies, students leave the course better prepared for the application process.

My own experience after college in which I worked as a teacher, waiter, editor, and filmmaker, among many other interesting jobs, eventually brought me to graduate school. Had a course like this one been available to me, the application process would have been a much less frightening one.