Students often wonder what graduate school is all about, what one would do with a master's degree or Ph.D. in computer science, how tuition and finances work, and how the application process works. This page provides resources for faculty advisers and mentors.
Give a presentation on 'Why (and how to) go to graduate school' (slide deck here!)
We strongly recommend giving a presentation to undergraduates on "Why (and how to) go to graduate school?"
You are welcome to use this slide deck developed and tested at Harvey Mudd and Purdue. The presentation takes us about 40 minutes to present and Q&A can easily take 20 minutes or more. We encourage you to customize the presentation for your institution. Here are some suggestions:
- Add "true stories" about students from your institution who went on to graduate school (e.g., where they applied, where they went, what they're doing now).
- Provide information about admission rates from your department to various graduate programs (e.g., your institution might have a particularly good track record at some specific graduate programs).
Who Should be Invited?
All undergraduates, from freshmen to seniors, should be invited to this presentation. For young students, this presentation can get them thinking! For more senior students, the presentation offers pragmatic advice and tips for applying.
When to Do It?
We recommend giving this presentation at least once a year - ideally at the beginning of the fall term. But, giving a second presentation again towards the end of the academic year is useful too.
Writing Effective Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are a very important part of an application. Here are some resources for letter-writers.
- Advice to Graduate School Recommendation Letter Writers, Shriram Krishnamurthi (Brown University)
- How to avoid unconscious bias in letters of recommendation (a case study from NCWIT)
Useful data for faculty advisers
These resources can be helpful to mentors and advisers who wish to understand the current trends in graduate admissions and employment of new Ph.D.'s.
- The CRA's annual Taulbee Report provides data on the numbers of Ph.D.'s graduating each year, where they get employed, and some salary information
- An article on the baccalaureate origins of domestic Ph.D. students in computer science provides some context that can be useful in advising students.
More resources on the student side of the Conquer site!
The student side of the Conquer website has many useful resources for students including sections on "What is CS research", "Why go to graduate school", and the "Application Process." Please encourage your students to visit the site!