You & the Jones Apply to Graduate School ((By Olivia))

If you’re considering applying to genetic counseling or other professional programs this year, you’re probably well into to getting your application components ready, right? Hint, hint- deadlines are right around the corner!

Your To Do List might look something like this:

  1. Pick schools to apply to/complete application forms
  2. Rank appropriately, …re-rank
  3. Recruit three letters of recommendation
  4. Request copies GRE scores
  5.  Stare down the intimidating personal statement(s), opinion piece(s), and perhaps an autobiography
  6. Edit and repeat… 5x

Let’s face it, getting the materials and motivation to put an application together is difficult and, as Jade mentioned in one of our flagship posts, can seem like a full-time job. You want to showcase your originality, so you can shine amongst the other prospective students out there,  AKA the Jones.

One way to stand apart from the crowd is to become familiar with all that is happening in your field of interest or the medical field at large & then weave it into your application. Even though I’m surrounded by all things genetic counseling as a student, I still can miss whats happening out there in the field overall. Here are a few quick ways that I use to find out what are the hot topics in Genetic Counseling.

Email subscriptions to newspapers and genetics-relevant blogs help keep me up to date with the oft changing world of genetics. For example, the Genetic Alliance has an oh-so-convenient weekly policy newsletter, as well as other specific updates, that are interesting  and don’t crowd your Inbox. Even better, each article is summarized in a healthy paragraph that isn’t exhausting. A link to the original article is always included if you are keen to see the full work and they archive articles from each week just to be extra awesome.

I don’t personally use Twitter too much, unless I’m hunting food trucks in NYC, but I’m starting to appreciate the quick genetics updates the follow accounts provide. Informed DNA‘s (formerly AccessDNA/Informed Health Decisions) co-founder Jordanna Joaquina runs a mini blog of Twitter digests called The Family Genes  to highlight happenings in our world of genetics/genomics. I realize there hasn’t been a new update in a while but I still found the topics interesting. We’re all Google savvy out there so use those skills to follow-up if something sparks your fancy. Just last week, The DNA Exchange featured a post by guest blogger/current GC student, Justin, who happens to run a Twitter of his own under geneharbinger, which focuses on of-the-moment articles about genetic counseling and the world of medical genetics- at a regularly updated pace.

Stumbling around on these (and other) websites or Twitter accounts can lead to other interesting links and sites. Do some digging, maybe followed by Googling, and see what you find.  Remember that you don’t have to understand all of the information out there (after all, that is why you want to go to a graduate program- to learn!) but sharing that you have been following what’s new in your field and forming opinions, or even mentioning questions you have shows your motivation, interest, and passion, which is a top selling point for you as an applicant.

Now go get ’em Tiger!


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