Sunday, May 24, 2015

Ode to Flaming Hoops

[I wrote this some time ago, but just now felt okay to post.]

I’m trying to get accepted into a graduate program at my local university. I don’t want to jinx my chances, or risk my job (did I mention that I work there too?) so I’ll not name where or which program other than to say it is a Master’s degree from the Education College.
Now, here’s my problem—paper work. I have to apply to the Graduate School and the Education College separately. (Document count 2) Obviously both have to approve me, but they have different criteria. Graduate School application fee $40, plus two first-class stamps. To save postage, I could have applied for the Graduate School online and walked my Education College application to the building, but I still had to get the check to the Graduate School. It was worth two stamps. (Out-of-pocket $40.82)
The Education College wants an additional ‘autobiographical sketch’, 5-7 pages of ‘who you are’, ‘what you want to be when you grow up’, ‘why do you want to be in our program’. (Document count 3) However it doesn’t stop there, they also require an additional unspecified example of writing. I sent in an old class paper (did I forget to mention that it has been more than ten years since I graduated and therefore ten years or more since I had written a paper; it was a really old paper). (Document count 4)
I also had to ask three people to write letters of recommendation on my behalf. (Document count 7) Gee-whiz, what is this, the Freemasons or local government; I can only get in if someone likes me well enough or I’ve pleased them on some level. What happened to merit? I guess it’s just the name of a cigarette now. I just want to better myself. On the application it was suggested that for ease, I gave each person an addressed stamped envelope for the letters. (Out-of-pocket $42.05)
For the Graduate School, they want two copies of my transcript from every upper level school I’ve ever attended. I attended one other university before I transferred to this one and completed two baccalaureate degrees. Four bucks a pop at one U, and five bucks a pop at the other. (Document count 11—I counted each transcript, because I had to pay for each.) That’s two stamps plus $18; they won’t let you hand deliver transcripts; that’s not official. (Out-of-pocket $60.87) And I don’t even know yet if they’ll take me.
The Graduate School requires a 3.0 grade point on the last 60hrs of credit classes. The Education College requires a 2.7 cumulative grade point. I slid by the 2.7, but I didn’t quite make it to 3.0, so because of this I have to take the GRE (That’ll be $140, thank you kindly.) or an equivalent test. (Document count 12—Yes, I'm counting the test.) Since I’m applying to the Education College the MAT (Miller Analogies Test) is an acceptable alternative ($60, less than half of the GRE, wow.).
However, the soonest testing date for the MAT is late July and the results won’t be back for four weeks. I called the Graduate School and that is unacceptable without someone from the Education College writing a letter on my behalf, basically okaying my admittance tentatively until the results come in. (Document count 13)
(Out-of-pocket $200.87 for GRE route or $120.87 for MAT) At this point the GRE is probably the most likely. All of this just to see if I'm worthy. I always heard that opinions were free. Hardy-Har-Har.
Why are there all of these flaming hoops to jump through? If I want to go to grad school, why can’t they just accept me and let me sink or swim based on the work I do? They’ll get the money from my first semester anyway at least; isn’t that enough incentive to cut some of the crap and just let me in. If I can’t make the grades then I’m out. That is pretty simple, but this hoop hopping is just discouraging before I even start. Bureaucracy, check and balances, what ever you want to call it, it feel like a test to see how badly I want it, not whether or not I would succeed.
However, there is more; on the bright side, since I work here, I get an employee discount when I take classes. By now you’ve already guessed, another form. (Document count 14) Oh but wait, to pay by payroll deduction is another form. (Document count 15) Awesome.