I Applied to Grad School!

It’s done.

As of 3:53 PM yesterday, my graduate school application has been sent out. Now it is in the hands of the lovely admissions officers at George Mason University who will decide my fate.

I want to feel hopeful, confident, happy. Yet, I can help but be riddled with self doubt and anxiety. There are some many reasons I should be nervous, to be honest. But at the same time, I’m trying to remind myself of some pros I have in my corner.

Before I get tooooo ahead of myself, I should finally reveal what degree I’m aiming for, what concentration I’ll delve into, and what exactly I applied to!

After a lot of soul searching, listening to all of the beautiful advise you guys gave me, and most importantly, amazing luck, I picked my program. Here’s the story.

I was wracking my mind to pick between a masters in history or one in English. I was not confident in either decision and was playing every scenario in my mind that I could think of. I even wrote out multiple pros and cons lists and asked about every person I knew (and didn’t know) what to do. And then, during one of my late night research sessions, I cam across something on GMU’s site that I hadn’t noticed before.

Wait. Hold up, how could I have missed this?

There’s a teaching concentration under the English masters? To get in it requires recommendation letters from administrators and fellow teachers at your job and NOT English professors or academic relations? It is the shortest (and that also means cheapest) program offered at Mason? It gives me a chance to take teaching classes and English classes ranging from literature, writing, and vocab? It literally offers and is priced at exactly what I would want and would ever hope for. And all the requirements to get in match exactly what I’m already in and pursuing? It gets rid of all my hesitations and concerns of getting into an English program with only limited past academic practice in that subject? But at the same time does not diminish my degree and lets me delve into practices I truly enjoy?

It is literally an entire program dedicated to everything I would ever want in a masters degree program?


Yes, yes, yes, yes. So I’ve officially put my name into the mix and now I will sit here, bite my nails, pitifully cry and panic until probably around Christmas when I finally hear if I was accepted or not. No, but really though, my nerves are still so on edge I can barely stop shaking.

There’s only one other catch though. Deadlines to normal programs end around early October. I knew when I was ironing out the details that there was no way I was going to be able to decide which program and craft the perfect application for whichever one I chose in that amount of time. I knew that the only way I could start my long and expensive journey to getting my degree was to apply under a non-degree platform first. This way I had until December 1st to apply, far less competition into a specific program, and even less requirements and expectations to my application. A far more guaranteed “in”.

Even so, I still created a goal statement, resume, got two letters of recommendation, picked a writing sample, and filled out the needed paperwork. All that is actually required of non degree students is the paper work. But hey, I am not leaving anything up to chance. Even if it’s not as strict, there is no way I’m not going to give it my all. And I think I did!

But, here’s why I’m still nervous.
1. I have no idea how to write a good goal statement. Did I go waaaay too overboard with my fluff and vocabulary? Did I fulfill all their questions they needed to know? Did I sound like one big ass-kissing, over compensating, narcissistic loser?
2. Non degree students are only allowed in the extra spaces not filled up by real program candidates. If those classes I chose from are full by the time they review my app, then I’ll pretty much not get in.
3. I’m not an English major, I haven’t even had any classes above 200 level! On top of that I’ve only been working in the English department at my school for four months, is that enough experience to get me in? What if I’m just not English material?
4. What if I’m just not grad school material in general?

Despite all that, I’m trying to calm myself down a little.
1 They didn’t even ask for a goal statement. So hopefully it’s either null or an added bonus.
2. If they ran out of space, then they ran out of space, I can always try again if that’s the reason!
3. Non degree students only pick which “school” they’re trying to get into, not which program. I picked Humanities (because of English, duh), which is what subject I teach currently at my job every day and what history is under, so I’m competent in that area as far as they know. Furthermore, non degree students have far less expectations, far less restrictions, and are allowed in on a completely different platform. I fulfilled all their requirements which were 3.0 GPA (mine is 3.8), hold a bachelors degree (which obviously I do, and my alma mater is Mason), and that’s it. If that’s all they’re looking for then hand me my letter of acceptance.
4. I got good grades, I work very hard, I have a great job giving me amazing experience, and I even went above and beyond with my application. Why wouldn’t I be grad school material?

At least those are the things I”m going to keep reminding myself until I hear otherwise.

Ok, now I’m just rambling and freaking out. But thanks for listening! Now you know what crazy journey I’m (hopefully) about to get into real soon. So, keep me in your prayers, guys and maybe send a little luck my way every day until Christmas break or hopefully sooner!

— Brey