When Carly Ladd and Andrea Valentini were seniors preparing to graduate from Bridgewater last May, they began making plans to take the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, so they could apply to graduate school. They knew BSU’s Testing Center administered the exam, so they asked if the university also offered a prep course.
When they were told the answer was no, the two young women were invited to put together a plan to change that.
“They came back and said the university could do something,” recalled Dr. Pamela M. Witcher, associate administrative dean for the College of Graduate Studies.
Beginning this spring, the College of Graduate Studies, in partnership with the Academic Achievement Center (AAC), will offer a reasonably priced support program for those interested in taking the GRE. The first support is a one-time, detailed GRE test-preparation information session for those who want access to test resources and general insights.
The second support will be a five-week hybrid GRE test-preparation course which will provide an in-depth review of the test, followed by a series of practice tests with results and detailed feedback. Throughout the course, the AAC team will also provide practice sessions on stress reduction strategies when taking the high-stakes exam. Administrators from the College of Graduate Studies have been working with Educational Testing Services, better known as ETS, the nonprofit organization that issues the GRE nationwide, in planning the prepatory program.
BSU’s first GRE test-preparation information session will be held on Thursday, February 15, at 6:30 p.m. with the first offering of the 5-week hybrid course beginning on Monday, March 12.
Many graduate school programs, including business and law schools, require applicants to take the GRE. The exam measures quantitative and verbal reasoning as well as analytical writing skills that should reflect an applicant’s readiness for the rigors of graduate study. Most successful graduate school applicants invest in their future by taking GRE test-preparation courses with vendors such as Kaplan Test Prep and Manhattan Prep.
A needs-assessment study is underway concerning the new BSU offerings. Already roughly 200 people expressed interest in such a program.
The GRE prep offerings are being marketed to recent alumni and current juniors and seniors, Dr. Witcher said. Students and alumni affiliated with other local colleges and universities will also be offered the chance to partake. If the initial pilot events go smoothly, other sessions will be scheduled for summer and fall.
Joining Dr. Witcher in putting the new GRE prep program together were Alicia D'Oyley, ACC director; Amy Barnes, who was previously associate director of marketing and recruiting with the College of Graduate Studies (now in Marketing and Communications); and Darren Macdonald, the College of Graduate Studies' director of communication and outreach.
Costs for the program have yet to be finalized.
For further information, please contact Kaylee Fernandes at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 508-531-6010. (Story by John Winters, G '11, University News)