Graduate program recruiters come to Kent State for graduate and professional fair

Tristan Buirley

The first floor of the library was filled with Kent students on Wednesday looking for the perfect place to continue their education.

According to the Graduate Studies website, representatives from 30 schools — including Kent State, The Ohio State University, the University of Pittsburgh — were at the first Graduate and Professional fair held by Kent State Graduate Studies. Joelle Bettura, the graduate admissions coordinator for the division of graduate studies, said they contacted other graduate programs about registering for­ the fair by email. She said so many schools registered that there was a waiting list within two weeks.

“A lot of schools were excited that Kent State was finally hosting something because a lot of smaller schools in northeast Ohio host fairs,” Bettura said. “But, you’re dealing with smaller student populations, so they were excited to tap in to Kent’s student population.”

Bettura said some people were confused with why this event was being held at Kent.

“A lot of people who aren’t familiar with graduate and professional school fairs, especially internally that don’t go out and recruit, they’re like ‘Why do you let these other schools come to Kent State to potentially recruit our students and take away our students?’” Bettura said. “As a division of graduate studies, we want to encourage graduate education as a whole. We want students to explore graduate education in their future because a master’s degree is going to become a necessity in the near future.”

The fair wasn’t limited to only Ohio universities. A few universities from Pennsylvania came to recruit Kent students, such as Chatham University in Pittsburgh, which offers 28 graduate programs.

“We’re hoping to find really strong students for all of our programs,” said Athena Birckbichler, graduate program recruiter from Chatham. “We look for students that have done their research, that are really prepared. We look for students who have passion. I think that’s probably the most important quality.”

Some of the recruiters were actually graduate students themselves, including Rimma Avanesyan from the University of Akron, who represented Akron’s law school.

“My interest in law was most apparent when I was in college after I started interning at the public defender’s office in Athens,” Avanesyan said. She knew she was interested in law school after shadowing the attorneys and being in the courthouse environment. “When I started looking at law schools, I was really interested in Akron, first of all because it has great faculty. … Another thing that I really liked was the location of the law school, it’s right in the heart of downtown Akron.”

Some students took the opportunity to look at all the colleges present at the fair. Willie Dillard, senior psychology major, was walking around the fair with handouts from many of the booths.

“I was looking for information about graduate schools, specifically for my social work programs, but I’m actually finding a lot of other information that’s been useful,” Dillard said.

Dillard has found one qualification that he needs, no matter the school he decides on.

“Having a high GPA is basically all you need for grad school,” he said.

Some students knew exactly what they were looking for when they walked through the doors. Missy Hendrix, senior public health major, was looking for master’s programs in public health and higher education.

“I’ve had experience with (the public health program) before, but I learned today that there’s an event coming up where we can talk to master’s students and professors about the programs, so it was very insightful to hear that,” Hendrix said.

On top of learning about upcoming programs to further her own education, Hendrix gave some advice to newer students who are looking to further theirs.

“For freshmen and sophomores, I would advise you to start looking now, to start preparing for and taking those pre-tests and getting ready for grad school,” she said.

Contact Tristan Buirley at [email protected].