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Cornell University

Graduate and Professional School Day

Overview

Cornell’s Graduate and Professional School Day is an annual event offering students the opportunity to talk informally with representatives from diverse graduate and professional schools from around the country virtually. A wide variety of graduate and professional schools and health-related programs are represented at the event every September.

Sign in to chat with school representatives to learn about features of their schools and admissions criteria, and to ask your questions. It is not necessary to dress up; school attire is fine.

Your time at Graduate and Professional School Day will be most effective if you prepare in advance of attending. Knowing basic information about the graduate/professional schools, as well as what's important to you in choosing where to apply and ultimately where to attend, will help you decide what you need to learn from the representatives at the event.

View Handshake for details and to register for the event.

Peterson's Annual Guide to Graduate Study, which provides listings of schools by area of specialization, plus discipline-specific directories are available in Handshake Resources. You can use these to develop a preliminary list of schools you'd like to learn more about at the event. Visit the schools' websites for more complete information on academic programs, research facilities, current faculty, financial aid resources, cost of study, cost of living, and application requirements.

Making the Most of Graduate and Professional School Day

When deciding whether, where, and when to undertake graduate or law study, it is important to learn as much as you can about different programs. Prepare a list of questions to review with admissions representatives from schools of interest to you at Graduate and Professional School Day. The following areas of consideration can help you create a list of questions on issues that may be important to you.

Factors Relating to Faculty

Graduate School

  • What is their academic training?
  • Describe their research activity and productivity.
    • Describe recent publications produced by faculty.
    • Describe recent research grants and funding won by faculty.
  • Describe their level of concern for student development.
    • What are some examples of faculty-led student development?
  • How would you describe their teaching effectiveness?

Law School

  • Describe academic training and experiential backgrounds of faculty members.
    • Identify specific faculty members of interest rather than asking about the faculty in general.
    • Which faculty members would the law school representative like to highlight? Why?
  • Number of full-time vs. adjunct faculty?
  • Student-faculty ratio?
  • Number of female and minority faculty members?
  • Are faculty members working on ongoing legal matters?
    • What can the representative share with you about this work?
  • What are some examples of recent law review, law journal or op/ed articles published by faculty?

Facilities and Resources

Graduate School and Law Schools

  • In general, do the facilities provide a comfortable learning environment?
    • What recent investments has the school made in classrooms, laboratories, meeting and study space?
  • Describe the library resources available to students.
    • What are the library holdings?
    • How does the library staff support students?
    • What library technology is available to students?
    • Is the library large enough to accommodate the schools' holdings and allow students to conduct research and study?
  • Do students have access to courses from a range of academic disciplines to supplement the major curriculum?
    • What types of dual-degree programs are available?

Student Body/Life/Cost

Graduate School

  • Which undergraduate schools contribute a significant number of your graduate students?
  • How would the admissions representative characterize the academic ability of your graduate students at entrance?
  • How would the admissions representative describe graduate student satisfaction with various aspects of the program?
    • What tools are available to investigate this information at schools you're considering?
  • Is housing available at the school?
    • If not, does the school offer assistance in locating off-campus housing?
  • Is the school located in a safe area?
  • What is the cost of attendance?
    • What does tuition, housing, and transportation cost?
    • How much financial aid does a typical student receive?
      • What are the typical sources of financial aid?
    • What opportunities exist to earn money while students pursue their degrees?
  • What types of cultural opportunities are there?
  • Does the school provide recreational facilities?
  • What are students’ achievements, knowledge, and skills at completion of their graduate degree?

Law School

  • How would you describe the student body at your school?
    • What values do your students typically share?
    • What undergraduate schools have they attended?
    • From what geographic regions do they come?
    • How would you describe the diversity in their interests and personal/cultural backgrounds?
    • Would you describe your students as competitive or collaborative?
  • How does your school support students who are interested in specialized practice areas?
    • What coursework is available in specialized areas such as intellectual property, international or environmental law?
    • What types of experiential opportunities are available related to special programs?
    • Are there specialized institutes or journals in students' areas of interest?
  • Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid:
    • What does tuition, housing, and transportation cost?
    • How much financial aid does a typical student receive?
    • Are merit-based awards available?
      • What factors are considered in awarding merit-based financial aid? 
  • Describe your loan repayment assistance programs for graduates pursuing law in the public interest.

Career Services

Graduate School

  • Describe resources available to students searching for internships during their graduate study and to students seeking full-time employment following graduation?
  • Who provides the help?
  • Do employers recruit on campus?
  • In what types of positions and in what geographic areas do graduates work?
  • What are typical salaries of graduates?

Law School

  • Describe resources available to students seeking internships, externships and clerkships while attending your school.
  • What types of positions have recent graduates chosen after graduation?
  • What resources are available to assist with job searches?
  • Describe career development resources available to students considering a public-interest position?
  • How many employers recruit at the law school, who are they, and where are they located?
  • What is the typical criterion (GPA / class rank) for a student to be eligible for on-campus recruiting?

Admissions Policies/Procedures

Graduate Schools

  • How much weight is assigned to the undergraduate record, including GPA, letters of recommendation, research experience, the GRE or other standardized test, the personal statement, etc.?
  • What other factors are considered?

Law School

  • Does the law school engage in a “holistic” review of applications? If so, what does that mean at your school?
  • Which does the school value more, GPA or LSAT score? Will the school use the highest LSAT score or an average of multiple scores?
  • What roles do personal statements, essays and letters of recommendation play in the admissions decision?
  • If the school is a state school, does it give in-state preference?
  • What additional factors are important?

The Pre-Law and the Pre-Graduate School modules in the Career Development Toolkit are also good resources for helping you manage the information-gathering and application processes.