Hope Holmberg, Campus Editor

When it comes to looking at graduate schools, some Miami University students may need some guidance in finding a school that is right for them. They may also want some assistance with studying for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Lisa Farthing, assistant director of Career Services and Development Courses, said Career Services has books and materials available in their resource center for students who plan on attending graduate school.

“Students can make an appointment, then come in and talk to one of our advisers,” she said.

Farthing said every student has different needs and, through discussion, the staff at Career Services can help them identify what kind of graduate program is best for them.

She said in a typical meeting, the advisers help students figure out what specific type of graduate program they want to pursue and discuss what type of program fits their geographical preferences.

“Part of what we do with students in advising is give them resources and take them through a process of ‘How do you look at this need that you have?'” she said. “Then, they have to go off and do their own research, reflection and soul searching,”

At the meeting, advisers may also discuss what work experience or internships the student has and who the student should choose as their references, Farthing said.

In terms of preparing for the GRE, Farthing said students can take Kaplan preparatory classes in Oxford or take Princeton Review classes online.

According to Kristen Hill, a staff member at Career Connection at Ohio State University (OSU), her office also refers students to both Kaplan and Princeton Review and does not offer classes through OSU.

Senior Caitlin Tepe took a Kaplan preparatory class this summer. Tepe said the preparation class helped raise her score and that she would definitely recommend it to anyone taking the GRE.

Lee Weiss, director of GRE programs at Kaplan, said the company offers an array of options for students in Oxford who need help preparing for the GRE.

Weiss said students can choose which type of class is right for them.

Miami students have the option of taking either a class or one-on-one tutoring at the Kaplan branch in Oxford.

Weiss said private tutoring is the most customized experience for students who have specific weaknesses or strengths.

However, according to Weiss, Kaplan’s GRE Advantage is the most popular option the company offers.

Intended for students who need to prepare for the GRE but have trouble finding time to do so, the class takes place online, allowing students to take it regardless of their location.

“Wherever you are, you can have access to our best teachers,” Weiss said.

According to Weiss, the GRE is always the first or second most important factor that is considered when a student applies for graduate school. He said two or three months of preparing for the GRE can make a difference in a student’s score, giving them more choices when it comes time to choose a graduate program.

Boston College (BC) offers a continuing education program through the nursing school, which offers preparation classes for the GRE, Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and Law School Admission Test (LSAT), said Derek Cameron, a Career Services staff member at Boston College.

Unlike Miami, students have the option of taking classes through the college at BC.

Cameron said while some students choose to take preparation courses with programs such as Kaplan, Boston College offers a more favorable price break.

“It’s on campus, so students don’t have to go too far to take the course,” he said.

Sue Green, a Career Services staff member at Denison University, said both Kaplan and The Princeton Review come to campus to teach LSAT and GRE preparation courses.

“All we do is supply them with a room,” she said.

According to Weiss, getting into graduate school is very competitive. However, he said one way students can differentiate themselves is through the GRE.

Miami students can find preparation options at both http://www.princetonreview.com/ and http://www.kaplan.com/pages/default.aspx.