What do 97% of grad school applicants get wrong? What is ‘goodness of fit’, really, and how can you align your application best with what grad schools are looking for? Orion Taraban, Achievable’s GRE author and founder of StellarGRE, answers these questions on this episode.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive course to maximize your score on the GRE exam, check out Achievable’s GRE course that was authored by Orion.
0.0s Welcome to GRE snacks short approachable and it's a full episodes about the GRE exam at graduate school admissions. I'm Tyler founder of Achievable founder of Stellar GRE an author of achievable GRE course. All right, let's get started. So why don't you talk with you about goodness of fit? This is a really interesting how you said 97% of people do it wrong and you can really stand out right? I mean first maybe I'd love to get me be like a background like when you think of this if it was that me was Geneva College admissions counselor II, like what are some of the tactics to maximize your fit at school at just keeps you out. It's a gatekeeper and a filter that allows universities to reject the vast majority of applicants in the legally defensible way. 57.8s So if the jury doesn't actually help you get into grad school, what does and what I think really help students get in is demonstrating what I called goodness of fit and goodness of fit more or less is the ability to demonstrate with your letters of recommendation your statement of purpose essays and supplemental materials that you're already part of the club on some level the people who demonstrate that they need grad school. Delete are the ones who are most successful in obtaining invitations. It's unfair, but we see this all the time like the people who have the most money are given all these opportunities to make even more money. Where is the people who are broke and they don't have experience there like struggling to get anything. So to the extent that you can kind of demonstrate that you're already doing what grad school prepare you to do you demonstrate goodness of fit. I said the previous episode that I got a perfect score on the GRE and I was still rejected by so many Clinical Psychology programs, and that's because I was changing careers. 117.8s Pictures of Fine Arts. I took 1 intro to psych class in undergrad. I got a b-minus in it. I have no research experience. I was just like somebody who is super motivated to become a psychologist. And so you might think I have more to learn than anybody else in the world because I don't have the same background and so I could gain even more from grad school than somebody who lets say or he has a BA in psychology as entrance reappears at a clinic web published these things because I had demonstrated that I was already committed to this path. I made the number one mistake that students make in trying to demonstrate to this is fit and that mistake was insisting on my passion and I was like, I am super passionate about psychology. I want to be a psychologist stool bad. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make this habit. I love 177.8s Research I am just infatuated with everything about this subject. I wish I could do it. When you do you get the idea right that doesn't work, which is fine cuz you would think but at least they'd want you to be excited by what you're going to learn their will show you they don't want to accept people who are going to be like, I guess I'll go to grad school because that's not very bright. But think about it in like a job interview. Who is it? Who is a manager who is a company going to accept the guy who has who super enthusiastic and about the job that has zero experience or somebody who's like I like this job and it's already demonstrated that he could do the job, right you feel bad for the first guy, but you're going to go to the second guy 10 times out of 10. So that's the situation what I help people understand is that grad school is very very different from undergraduate school undergraduate school is one way more social into it's about to expire 237.7s Orion what your interests are like I took classes in miltonian poetry and quantum mechanics and African diaspora literature. Like I was interested in all these subjects to take a class to your into not really be serious about it. You know what I mean? When I tell people is if you approach graduate school that way you're never going to get in saying that you're passionate about something. It's like you passionate about this get a library card. It's like that's not what grade school is about grad school is about offering opportunities to people who already know what they want to do and they only know what they want to do because they demonstrate that are already doing it and to an extent and it's a little bit of a game where they're trying to find the people that will make them look the best later. Enjoy it. 295.4s I think that there are two types of graduate programs in General Degree that you are legally required to earn in order to do a job. You know, I mean, my belief is that if you just need a degree to get the license, it doesn't matter as much where you go because now here I am. I'm a licensed psychologist in the state of California really asked where I went to school to see if I'm a licensed psychologist. I can pee on the open market with a licensed psychologist who went to Harvard the one that went to Stanford. Nobody cares help me write a program for actually not in that category of them are actually don't legally need to do a job. 355.4s Essentially to whatever is your next job after grad school that you can clear the turtles to get into said grad school and then you know, you have a certain GPA and that grad school and it's just like we were talking about even with the origins of the GRE score give yourself some Benchmark against other people. That's what I call socialization. We're socialization to the profession. We going to grad school help me to learn how to write an academic language which is like learning a foreign language. It's about learning how to read methodologies. It's about understanding how to navigate professional organizations in power hierarchies where there's a lot of politics. It's about knowing the lingo in the culture is not about like the factual information that you learned which is totally Google right now which respects each other programs that you don't legally need to do a job get really really matters where you go because it's basically like a country club. It's a really expensive country club. 415.3s You not paying the Medieval ages when it was the University of that had all the books and books didn't exist anywhere else if we all information is free, so it's not like Stanford has information about business that Texas Tech doesn't it opens doors and we'll get you rubbing shoulders with professors and cohorts that will then be a professional Network for then, you know the next 10 to 20 years, which is very very valuable does Texas Tech. Sorry, Texas Tech not to open the same doors. 460.8s But yeah, that's what I mean. When your talking then about goodness of fit if you take a school, let's just keep using Stanford cuz it's easy like Stanford isn't working Valley. It's clearly focused on started. Right like do you so goodness of fit to you would mean, you know, not just talking about how you want to start your own company in your essay, but maybe even you change who you're getting your letters of recommendation from Flats more relevant to that world is write their own letters recommendation, which sounds very weird. When I first heard that when I first had a recommender asked me to write my own letter of recommendation, I was shocked I was like is that you actually standard practice? 509.6s And do you want a custom all of your materials? They tell a consistent narrative that supports the fact that you already are very similar to the people that they've accepted in the past. Yeah, except it in found successful. I think it's like the other part 2. I don't know how many I don't know how many people got accepted into Stanford grad school weren't successful in a notable way. Sometimes we fail in spectacular ways and it's interesting as a cautionary example, but most most like a success is just quietly ignored. 555.3s So how do you actually move forward with your materials because you don't want to say don't say that you're passionate because nobody cares on your own time. Why should the university invest you with their time and opportunity was because of what you're going to do now in most traditional. Let's say research-based PHD programs. What's your there to do is to pitch your dissertation most grad school programs that are research-based our research factories you exist to do science to publish papers and to serve as you are primary investigators Gopher for like 5 to 7 years not an enviable position. And so you need to order me know what you're about when you apply to be like, I'll figure it out when I get there. I want to take some classes and decide what I'm passionate about. It's like no you need to know that's what other grad was about. That's what the three to five. 615.2s Professional experience was about you need to know what you're going to do with these five to seven years or else we're going to have to pass it up to somebody by the plant now if you're also if you're if you're not going to a traditional research-based you get around that problem by saying this is a real world problem that I'm going to solve so I'll vote for me. Is it really a vote for Orion? It's a vote for a solution to this social ill you see so if I was given the skills in the opportunity that this MBA program would afford me. I'm going to make sure that after I graduate this problem fixed, right and then they're going to specially, you know, the Harvard Professor the Stanford Professor. It's a it's a bid for authority authority, you know, people do this all the time. I Doctor Who went to Harvard 675.5s Okay, why do bad doctors he went to Harvard? No offense. If you tell people you went to grad school. Very next question are going to ask is where did you go? So you want to be able to be proud of what you say next? Yeah, but that's that's what is the quick and dirty about goodness of fit snacks hosted by Orion from Stellar GRE and Tyler from Achievable in Orion have partner to build a great GRE course, you can try it for free at achievable.me. Use the code podcast to get 10% off at checkout.