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Seniors pave way for grad school

February 24, 2011

By Annie Hunter, Campus Life Editor

Katie Dyer gets hands-on experience to prepare her for graduate school. Photo by Ashton Jones

As Young Harris College’s first year as four-year school comes to end, three of its seniors have already been accepted into graduate schools programs. Kyle Hatley of Kennesaw will pursue Physical Therapy at North Georgia College & State University.  Meg Ruth Patterson of Toccoa and Katie Dyer of Hiawassee will both go on to the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry.  Their success is a testament to these students’ hard work and YHC’s ability to prepare its undergrads for a promising future.

Hatley, Patterson and Dyer each put in extensive hours interning with professionals in their given fields.  In addition, they took a standardized test, similar to the SAT but geared toward their respective graduate programs.  Also varying from undergraduate admissions, applicants had to be interviewed by their prospective schools. These graduate programs are highly selective with some only offering 18-24 spots for incoming cohorts.  YHC professors assisted these students by connecting them with internship opportunities, writing letters of recommendation and being available to answer any questions.

Patterson feels as though YHC’s undergraduate science program has given her the tools necessary to succeed at the next level in her academic career.

Hatley agreed, “I definitely feel prepared to handle the course load in graduate school because the curriculum at Young Harris has been very challenging.”

Dyer attributes much of her success to YHC’s strong academic programs and the dedication of its faculty.

“Young Harris has been the best decision of my life,” said Dyer. “Young Harris has provided me with the foundation of not only studies but also confidence. I appreciate all the professors and faculty that have helped me and inspired me along the path to my career. I love that YHC challenges us and pushes us to be the best we can be.”

The Academic Advising Center mirrors the campus’ willingness to help and can aid students in every step of the graduate process, beginning with discussing various options with an advisor to preparing students for mock graduate program interviews.

“In one-on-one and group settings, the Academic Advising Center is actively working with students to explore graduate schools and programs, prepare applications and personal statements, locate internships and observation experiences, study for graduate school entrance exams and prepare for the graduate school interview,” said Debbie Roach, director of the Academic Advising Center.  “The Center has a collection of resources to assist students in all of these areas.”

For students looking into certain professions, a master’s degree may be necessary or beneficial; a bachelor’s degree may suffice for others.  Students contemplating grad school should speak with an advisor from the Center on the most appropriate path to take.

“Applying to graduate school is a personal decision, and the process is individualized,” said Roach.  “Perhaps the most important advice for a student considering graduate school is for them to talk with their academic advisor as early as possible to begin exploring the process.”

Acceptance into a competitive graduate program is a major accomplishment, something that all three students and the college should be very proud of.  As more seniors await their acceptance letters from their graduate schools, underclassmen can get a jump start on their own futures by doing their research and taking advantage of the college’s many resources.

Dyer puts it best, “YHC has given me opportunities that I would not have had anywhere else.”

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