Graduate College seeks diverse population


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After receiving their undergraduate education, students have a choice: remaining on the campus they have inhabited for the last four years or traveling to a new university.

Officials in the University of Iowa Graduate College encourage students to broaden their horizons when considering their next school, especially because the college strives for a diverse population of graduate students at the university, said UI Graduate College Dean John Keller.

“It doesn’t take long to have one perspective and narrow view if we’re only training people from the undergraduate school,” Keller said. “[We] need a different view.”

Keller said this is one reason the Graduate ¬†College encourages the individual UI colleges to take a “holistic” view of all applications, focusing especially on where the students received their undergraduate degrees and asking the question How can we broaden our viewpoint?

He also said it is important for students to keep options open when searching for the right school.

“From the broadest perspective ‚Ķ you owe it to yourself to look around and not lock yourself in to where you got your undergrad,” he said, noting that it is important for students to go to school where they will have the best experience.

This viewpoint differs from the undergraduate school, where there is a strong emphasis on admitting in-state students.

Keller said there aren’t numbers readily available on how many UI graduate and professional students earned their undergraduate education at Iowa. For the fall of 2013, 5,152 graduate students and 3,939 professional students are studying at the UI.

Annie Hardin, a UI second-year law student, said that while it is important for students to attend the school which “fits” them best, it is also important for graduate schools to keep the idea of a diverse campus in mind.

“It’s really good to have diversity,” said Hardin, who did not receive her undergraduate degree at the UI. “It kind of opens your eyes to the ways other people conduct their lives and the experiences they’ve had.”

Gwen Archibald, a second-year UI Ph.D. student, said she found diversity and a change of pace through her schooling over the years, even after already pursuing three separate degrees at the UI.
Archibald is now studying to obtain her Ph.D. in higher education and student affairs from the UI College of Education.

“The idea is more about what you do in that degree than [what school] you learn from,” she said. “I think the real deal when looking at [schools] is that it’s very specific to the type of program you’re looking at.”

Archibald does not think students should deter from staying at their alma mater, if it means receiving the education they desire.

“Sometimes, it matters to people in the field, and sometimes, it doesn’t, so I would recommend that students focus on what they need,” she said. “If someone is looking at elevating their academic level, don’t let it stop them if it [means staying].”

Although she does not see a problem with receiving all three degrees from the same school, Archibald said it is important for students to expand their opportunities when possible, something she did by moving to Chicago after receiving her graduate degree.

“Sometimes, you have to be in the same place, sometimes, you don’t,” she said. “Everyone’s personal experience is different, and that matters when making a big life decision.”

Matt Enriquez, a second-year law student who studied at the University of Kansas for his undergraduate degree, said for him, it was important to branch out and challenge himself at a different school. This is an idea he thinks all students should explore.

“Whether or not students decide to leave, it’s important to look at different colleges and universities,” he said. “It’s not necessarily that [they] have to leave, but it’s important to look.”

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