**The Right Match (Diverse Issues in Higher Education, September 8, 2016). **“The first time Alyssa Rodriguez applied to graduate school, she ended up being waitlisted. But when no spot opened up, she began work as an associate scientist at a small biopharmaceutical company in San Diego.
“My original plan was to work in [the] industry for at least two years and then apply to graduate school again,” says Rodriguez, who graduated from the University of San Diego in 2015 with a degree in biochemistry. Once I had accepted the fact that I would not be starting graduate school in fall 2015, I started my graduate school research once again that summer.”
Only this time around, Rodriguez discovered and ultimately decided to use GradSchoolMatch.com – a new website that seeks to match prospective grad school students with graduate schools.
It only took a day before Rodriguez started to see results.
“The next day, I checked my profile and was very surprised to see that I had already received messages from various graduate school program directors,” Rodriguez says. “I was in such shock that I shared the news with my mom that programs were interested in my profile.”
Rodriguez says what surprised her the most was that she could clearly see that the messages were “not spam and that truly there were assistant deans and directors on the other end of the message.”
One of those messages came from Beth Bowman, assistant director of graduate programs in biomedical sciences at Vanderbilt University.
Bowman considers GradSchoolMatch.com a “fantastic avenue for graduate programs to get to know individual candidates in the global applicant pool.”
“This sort of individual communication not only allows programs to showcase what they have to offer, but also allows a program to individualize their communication to a specific student,” Bowman says. “Personal recruiting is the best avenue to bring students to any program and GradSchoolMatch makes this ideal recruiting strategy a reality.”
Asked if the website was simply a nice thing to have or a necessity to attract and engage candidates, Bowman says: “I think more and more, this site is getting close to being a necessity for graduate program recruiting for any program interested in getting to know their applicants.
“These days, there are so many programs on the site that a student may miss out on a program that doesn’t have a presence here.”
Bowman says the website – which is free to students – helps facilitate the diversity of candidates as well.
“In my mind, this site helps to promote diversity of candidates in the program simply by being a free site and avenue for programs and candidates to get to know each other,” Bowman says. “This helps to remove any cost barrier that is typically present in a graduate program application process.”
Bowman says the website has helped Vanderbilt by increasing the number of candidates that the school can communicate with during the application process. “We are pleased to be able to pick the candidates that fit our program best,” Bowman says.
Inside the site
GradSchoolMatch.com was started by T.J. Murphy, an associate professor of pharmacology at Emory University.
He says that the website has around 400,000 user profiles and that the number is growing daily. About 30 percent of the student users are underrepresented minorities and about 20 percent are from overseas, he says.
The students come from a range of academic disciplines and specializations, Murphy says.”
Please click here to read the complete article in Diverse Issues in Higher Education (September 8, 2016).