Hail to the Hybrids! by Katy Rush

I’m not talking about cars, but Kutztown’s accelerated courses. They’re adult, real-world friendly classes that only last half a semester and meet once per week in the evening. I love being able to get a course out of the way early or being able to take two hybrid classes in the time it’d normally take me to complete one. Plus, having a hybrid course in the beginning of your semester along with one or two other regular length courses makes it feel like a reward when it’s over. Suddenly, your workload is decreased and it makes the rest of your semester seem so much easier. Personally, this is my favorite approach. Just when I’m starting to run out of steam, the hybrid ends and I’m rejuvenated!

Most hybrids also include an online portion in which you’re expected to post summaries and comments of related articles, discuss chapter topics or blog about a video or article the professor posts. Many also include short 10-15 questions quizzes to test you on the chapter readings. This online portion usually requires an additional 2-3 hours of your time per week. I recognize that this may sound daunting to many of you, but it’s honestly one of my favorite portions of these courses. Most of the time, many of us end up posting far more than required because the conversations that develop between classmates become so engaging and fascinating. It’s like social media with a cap and gown; academic based in theme/content but socially bound by the relationships you’ve forged with your classmates with the freedom to express your thoughts, ideas and opinions through your unique perspective and experiences.

Let us not forget, of course, to discuss the workload. I’m sure many of you are wondering about that. Are the hybrid courses sounding too good to be true? Well, you do have to achieve a similar workload to that of a traditional course, but the professors at KU have found a way to make it more manageable. Many of your larger projects or assignments will be completed in groups, allowing the workload to be shared. They also post their book list early so you can purchase books in advance and begin your readings before the start of class (this saves you a lot of time later). Additionally, many professors are willing to share their syllabus early to indicate specific reading assignments, so you only have to focus on certain portions of the books assigned. Plus, the online posting portion of the class has its assignments posted in advance so you can work ahead.

All in all, the hybrid course offerings for Kutztown’s graduate programs are a contemporary course offering that works well for those with other obligations to juggle. You get the biggest bang for your buck; full course experience in half the time with all the regular cohort and professor support available. I would definitely recommend a hybrid course and am happy to discuss it with any further if you have questions. Feel free to email gradadmissionsga2@kutztown.edu with your inquiries!

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Fall Into Services: Know Your Resources by Katy Rush

One of the most under-used features of a graduate program is its student services. To many graduate students, services such as the Writing Center, Career Development Center, Counseling Services and much more fall under the guise that they’re only available to undergrads. Fortunately, graduate students may also reap the benefits of these services, but sadly few do.

When I first started my graduate program I was panic-stricken to hear that I would hence forth be expected to write solely using APA format. Ughh! While citations are the bane of many grad students, there’s nothing to fear because the Writing Center is here! Their services are free to all students and extend well beyond citation and reference assistance, offering proofreading, brainstorming, and feedback on overall content flow.

Furthermore, utilize your Career Development office while you’re here. Schedule free one-on-ones with staff members to assess your career goals, network with professionals, learn how to use social media in your job search, have your resume reviewed, and attend job fairs and much more.

Many graduates also inquire about activities. We have a terrific Graduate Student Association which holds meetings and host events. Also, the Student Union and Student Involvement office schedule regular events such as speakers, comedians, movies, and events that graduates are welcome to attend. It’s a cheap or even free way to spend your free time. Plus, our planetarium offers many free shows and its cool laser light show is only $3, featuring Pink Floyd, Zeppelin or classic rock.

Speaking of rock, did you know that our school’s gym features a rock climbing wall? If you’re looking for a workout, consider paying the semester fee to join the gym and work off some of that study stress. Another great way to relieve stress is to talk it out with a counselor from Counseling Services, which is free to full-time graduate students.

Last, but certainly not least, I must boast about our Library Services. The library should be on the top of every graduate student’s list. While many of us find the need to search for sources, too few of us fully utilize the library with our research. Visiting the library gives you access to the research help desk where staff members are willing and waiting to assist. However, you can get quality access to academic journals even from the convenience of home. In fact, you can access over 10,000 quality electronic periodicals online! And, if you need a laptop or other equipment, you may borrow it from the library for three days at a time.

These are just a few of the terrific services our institution offers to its graduates. If you want to learn more, call our Graduate Admissions office at 610-683-4190 or visit the campus for a tour today. Melissa or I are more than eager to show you around!

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Back-to-School: Bookstore Banter by Katy Rush

Fall is in the air! The nights are getting cooler and the days are filled with the hustle and bustle of back to school preparation. Take heed: this rite of passage isn’t reserved strictly for the little ones. Certainly, many undergraduates are busy searching for the perfect color of comforter or coolest cult poster to adorn their dorm, but us graduate students must prepare too!

Do you know that the KU Bookstore is quite competitive with its prices? They offer several great solutions in addition to buying brand new. For those seeking a relationship with their pages (you know who you are; you like to write in the margins, underline and circle things), buying used is your best bet. Many of the bookstore’s used books look gently used and have minimal markings, yet you can save up to 40%. For those students wanting the down and dirty, no commitment option (just take what you need quickly, use it, and give it back as fast as you found it), I suggest renting your books. This option can save you up to 55%. But what if you fall in love? If you have it bad and don’t want to give up your precious tome come semester’s end, no problem! Just keep your rental and your credit/debit card will be charged the additional amount for full purchase. Perhaps you’re the tech savvy type. If so, the bookstore can suit your needs too with digital downloads! Those prices vary but their price comparison tool will help.

They have an online search feature where you can see what books your courses require, and it lists the KU Bookstore prices along with its competitors like Half.com and Amazon. It’s nice being able to order your books directly from the KU Bookstore; they’re all found in one place, unlike searching the internet over and over, which is more like herding cats! So give the bookstore a try. They’re convenient, they’re not some fly-by-night operation, and there’s an actual live person to assist you with any questions or concerns.

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What’s a summer grad course at KU look like?

The good news is I survived my course this summer! This course was a week long intensive Student Affairs class that ran Monday thru Friday 8am-4pm. With this class we had nightly readings that were up to 100 pages and several projects to work on. Our main project was a group presentation that was due at the end of the week. There were less than 20 students in the class which made it easy to contribute to discussions and gave opportunity to ask the professor specific questions, as they came up.

Let me tell you, life was pretty busy that week! I’d have to say that overall it wasn’t too hard to manage. The amount of work that was assigned could be accomplished in the evening hours after class. By the end of the week I felt pretty good about what I had achieved and excited to have completed 3 credits of course work! I highly recommend taking graduate summer courses here at KU for these three reasons.

  • 1. Shorter overall classroom time
  • 2. Completion of 3 credits in that time span
  • 3. Opportunity to get ahead in your program

I hope this commentary reassured you that you can take a week long intensive course and survive with minimal stress. Until next time, good luck with your future studies here at Kutztown University!

 

 

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Summer Lovin

The arrival of summer break is readily welcomed by most grad students. It’s a time to relax, reboot, travel, and relax some more. It’s hard to believe that when I come home from work each day (from my summer position at Graduate Admissions) I have no reading to complete or projects to work on! It’s taken me a moment to adjust to this change in my daily routine. I now have time to garden and read for pleasure. I even have the time to take a trip to Michigan to visit my family for a week in July. This gives me a glimpse of what life will be like post grad school. As much as I love my program of study, I can’t wait to re-enter the world of the full time employed! Before this happens I just need to complete my final year of grad school beginning this fall. I’m slightly nervous about beginning my first summer course at KU in 3 weeks. It’s a week long intensive course. Stay tuned for more about my summer experiences here at KU!

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Summer Graduate Student Worker

Hey there- 

I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself and give you a feel for my story. My name is Jen Spencer and I am the Graduate Student Worker here at the Graduate Admissions Office for the summer. In the fall I will be in my final year at KU, pursuing my M.Ed. in Student Affairs Higher Ed. Administration. Prior to this I worked in the human services as a case manager. It’s been really neat to transition from one area of the helping profession to another. Before working in the human services I resided in Michigan. I actually spent my entire life in MI before moving to PA for my first professional position after undergrad. 

It was tough graduating with a B.S. in Sociology in 2006. I knew that I wanted to work with at-risk youth in some aspect but opportunities were not coming my way. In fact, I ended up working at Costco for 1 1/2 years before I began applying for jobs out of state. In December of 2007 I landed a job as a Life Skills Counselor in Bethlehem, PA working with at-risk adolescents. I stayed in this position for almost 5 years before pursuing my graduate degree full time. 

Here I am now! I’m loving my program of study and am super excited to start my first internship this fall. This summer will be an excellent opportunity for me to gain more experience in another department in higher education. Wish me luck!

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Where Did All The Time Go?

One of my favorite bands has a song that has pretty much summed up the past year of my life. The song is called “Where’d All the Time Go” by Dr. Dog. The opening lines go a little something like this:

“Where’d all the time go? It’s starting to fly.
See how the hands go; Waving goodbye.”

It is funny how much a few lines from a song can sum up just about a year of life. This is how I feel in regards to completing my first year of graduate school. Time has never moved so quickly, however, I look forward to each passing minute with an unbridled enthusiasm for what the next moment may hold. This brings me to an overall analysis of my first year of graduate school. While, I still have a few weeks before the end of the semester, I have no doubt that I will be a little pre-occupied with trying to finish my work and get my affairs in order before the end of the school year.

I began this year uncertain as to how I would fit in as a graduate student. Actually, to be quite honest, I had no idea what to expect from my graduate program, and I was terrified. How quickly things change! I quickly came to realize how different graduate classes were from my undergraduate classes. With an emphasis on reading and class discussion, I soon realized that the component of these classes suited my learning style very well. After a month or so of classes, I began to enjoy going to class. Not only was I learning new and exciting information about my content area, but I was creating relationships with those individuals around me.

I will be the first to say that I am beyond fortunate to have met everyone that I have in my first year in grad school. I have formed relationships with individuals from all different backgrounds, and for that I am thankful. To know that you have the unquestionable support of your peers is an unimaginably powerful tool in helping you accomplish all of your tasks as a graduate student. Aside from having support in attempting to accomplish your academic goals, these relationships offer a new outlet to try new things. I would have never thought that I would have tried swimming before this semester, but I took the plunge and actually enjoyed it! I have tried my best to stay in contact with my new found friends in an effort to foster our already blossoming relationships. Going to grab a bite to eat after class became more than just a casual experience, but a necessity to unwind from the fast paced life of a graduate student.

While enjoying the course work and forming relationships with your fellow students is a large part of adapting to graduate school, so is adjusting to the demands and styles of your professors. This is a difficult task for any individual. Luckily, the faculty members that I have had the privilege of working with so far have done everything in their power to help me succeed. Words cannot express how grateful I am towards them and all the hard work that they have done in training me to be the best possible counselor I can be. More importantly they have showed me how to become a better and more responsible human being. Having my professors and advisors take time out of their busy schedule to provide assistance to students,  has shown me what it means to be a true professional. It is easy to see how these interactions will be beneficial to me in the future. The faculty members in this program care not only for how you are doing as a student, but how you are doing as a person.

Throughout this academic year I have been trying to figure out what the most important thing I have learned from graduate school. Has it been the theory on the person-centered approach to counseling? Has it been the ethical standards of being a professional school counselor? Or, is it something else? While both of these questions have aided in my learning this year, I would say the most important thing that I have gained from this year is….perspective. The fact stands that when entering a graduate program you are entering a completely different world. In this world you will be greeted by new challenges, new friends, and new opportunities to prove to not only yourself but, those around you that you deserve to be in the position that you are in. You may hear from individuals the negative aspects of graduate school, however in my time I have gained nothing but positive experiences and helpful life lessons.

I will be the first person to say that I love it here at Kutztown. I love the sights and sounds of campus on a beautiful day. I love my program and knowing that I am receiving a top notch education from faculty members who care about the work they are doing and their students. I love the friends that I have made both in and out of the classroom environment, because they are the support that keeps me going through the thick and thin. Graduate school has given me the perspective that life is a long and hard road, but this road can be more enjoyable with some hard work and a little help from your friends. After all, wasn’t there a band that got by with a little help from their friends?

I love graduate school, I love my program, I love my friends, I love Kutztown, and I would love to talk to you about why you should love these things too. Please feel free to contact me at tklaw243@live.kutztown.edu at any time to discuss graduate school, programs, Kutztown, or to just talk. I would love to show you why my time here at Kutztown has meant so much to me. As always, I wish all of you the best of luck.

Tim

 

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