Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Helping Hints for Potential Nursing Doctoral Students

Academic journal article ABNF Journal

Helping Hints for Potential Nursing Doctoral Students

Article excerpt

Abstract: Returning to school can be a frightening experience. This is especially true for adult students returning to graduate school to complete their doctoral education. There are many decisions that must be made. Selection of the university or college, meeting admission requirements as well as committee selection. This article provides the reader with ways to make the return to academia a more positive experience.

Key Words: Doctoral Students; Doctoral Students in Nursing; Helpful Hints; Minority Doctoral Students

Students returning to school to obtain the doctoral degree face numerous challenges. Most doctoral students are adults juggling the multiple roles of spouse, parent and employee. The decision to return to school will affect these established roles, while adding the role of student. Some challenges confronted by the incoming student include selection of the university or college, the application process, selection of faculty that will facilitate your career goals, and the ever present "fear of failure." Most students will experience these challenges but the minority doctoral student will need to cope with these challenges, and the hidden agendas and issues that may be associated with race. I have been a minority doctoral student, with all the challenges previously mentioned. so I understand the trials of being a student and the many other issues and responsibilities associated with being "the AfricanAmerican student" and the graduate student. I hope these tips will be helpful to all students, minority and non-minority in the process associated with returning to school.

STEP ONE. SELECT A SCHOOL THAT VALUES THE STUDENT

The common question is: How do I know which school is the best for me'? Although the answer may seem easy, the prospective student should look further than the university or college catalog which tend to paint glowing pictures of the academic center's attributes. Most universities and colleges will boast of the success of graduates. the prestige of the faculty and the wonderful diversity on campus. Students need to be educated consumers and like the car buyer "kick the tires and look under the hood" before they decide. I would suggest that all students schedule a campus tour and interview sessions with several key people at the university or college of interest. Some people I suggest a prospective student meet with are the school dean, assistant dean and graduate student coordinator. If you are told the key people cannot make the time to meet with you as a prospective graduate student, take heed. Will these people be available when you are a graduate student and need their help? Talk with other students on campus who are in the program. Impromptu sessions with other graduate students may provide a great deal of information about the campus community and the faculty.

Do not restrict yourself to one university or college, but explore the academic climate at other universities and colleges. Students should evaluate at least three other universities or colleges and do some comparison shopping. After all you want the best buy for your money. Compare the benefits and limitations of the learning environment at each university and college. Ask yourself what are the opportunities each has to offer academically, financially and psychosocially to students. Also, consider if this is a place where you will receive the skills necessary to be successful in your academic and career goals. A few questions to consider when making your decision include:

1. Are people in administrative positions accessible to you? If they are not available to you, this may be an indication that you are merely a number to add to the enrollment figures.

2. How long does it take the average student to complete the program? If they hand you a slip of paper with a curriculum outline for the I st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and the 5th year plus program, be wary. They have not answered your question but have merely provided you with an outline of possible outcomes. …

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